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Monday, August 29, 2016


in the time it has taken me to write and post my last couple of blogs james patterson has written 4 novels, co-authored seven and plotted seventeen others while outlining the next two years worth of books that will bear his name. all while establishing a brand new format for reading

patterson found fame and fortune with his main character alex cross, a black private investigator who used to be part of the fbi. oddly if you look at the covers of the books there are times when you would be hard pressed to realise that the lead character was black – which says more about marketing than a host of books ever could.

i have only read the one alex cross novel. it was shit. i have read a couple of james patterson's other creations, both co-authored works and both shit. i might even be bold enough to state that james patterson is the worst writer that publishes and consistently and successfully.

patterson writes page turners. now some would say that the page turner genre is not worth the paper it is written on (see what i did there) but they are wrong. reading should be fun, it should be entertaining, it shouldn't be a chore.

one of the kings of the page turner is dan brown, the much maligned dan brown, and i am sure he cries himself to sleep at the poor reviews he receives from literary reviewers, just after he rolls naked in piles of dosh.

lots of people sneer at dan brown for being a poor writer but he knows how to keep you interested and he knows how to get you to keep turning the pages. trust me read a few of his pale imitators and you will see it is not as easy as it looks. his main trick is short chapters that end on a little cliffhanger making you want to know what happens next, because you know the next chapter is short you think ok just one more, but dan is wise to you and has switched viewpoints so you have to read another chapter. hooked. a page turner.

patterson on the other just has short chapters – the endings of which seem to be based on arbitrary factors such as he needed to go pee, he fancied a cup of coffee the cat jumped on his keyboard, in short they are not story driven they just occur willy nilly. while the chapters are short they are irritating because the just happen.

as pants as he is i hold james patterson in high regard. not only is he a beacon of hope to all us useless writers (he can, we can) he is, more importantly, getting people to read. he is involved in literacy programmes, he has put his name to initiatives to encourage reluctant readers. for that alone he has to be admired and praised.

i love books and i love reading. i will never have enough books and i will never read all the books that i have on my, rather long, must read list but that isn't going to stop me from trying,

there is a part of me that doesn't trust people who have no interest in reading – there is something odd about them.

i was lucky when it came to books – infant and junior schools i had teachers who encouraged reading, dad loved to read (i can't remember mum being much of a reader until later in her life) (both of them loved to tell tall tales or as they are more commonly referred to: lies), there were always books around. i had a curious jump from enid blyton to ed mcbain and ian fleming. a genre fan was born and a genre fan i remained.

i spent many happy hours in second hand bookshops looking for a james bond, a doc savage, a john carter warlord of mars or something new that would have me hooked and waiting for their next book. falling in love with science fiction and horror and imprints such as pan and new english library.

books i love them.

and i don't understand why there are some out there who just don't share my enjoyment of the written word. i just don't get why.

and for the work he has done to bring people to the written word a hat has to be doffed and a glass has to be raised in appreciation of the work that james patterson has done and will continue to do. praise him.

just don't ask me to read his books.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


it is funny how tastes change. there was a time when i would sneer at the idea of porridge: what eat that upchuck? oh yeah i am quite the foodie.

oh well how wrong i was. since my recent bout of ill health i have become a bit more conscious about the food i eat: how much sugar? how much fat? you are shitting me! (and dear mr. sainsbury's you don't need the government to bring about healthier food – you are big enough to make the changes, just don't want to in case you lose money).

anyway there i was in pret a manger and i thought i really can't have any more cheese, oh ok let's give that porridge a go. whatta y'know i liked it, hell more than that i really liked it.

so now i eat porridge.

one of the many things i can't claim to be is a cook or even vaguely interested in the whole preparing meals process. as far as i am concern food technology has had only three major inventions: fire, sliced bread and the microwave.

but i still know stuff and the stuff i know includes that it shouldn't be impossible to make consistently decent porridge. you just need the right ratios of oats to milk/water or milk and water and cook for a certain length of time. oat so simple - see what i did there? (and that is the closest i will ever come to cooking.)

imagine my surprise when i rock up at gregs the bakers one morning and purchase their porridge. carton felt nice and hot. i was looking forward to it. i kept shaking the pot as i walked to stop it from congealing. i needn't have bothered. when i finally sat down to enjoy it what i was confronted with was a curious asian fusion dish that was miso meets oats. if i had wanted warm milk with bits in i would have asked for it. what i wanted was porridge – a dish that isn't hard to make, a dish that is almost perfect for fast food places to have on hand to dole out to hungry customers.

gregs have obviously decided that the humble porridge needs an upgraded and misoed the hell out of it.

no need to worry plenty of other places do it. there i am on victoria station, train is close to leaving, i know i will try the people at breadbox they are offering porridge. hand over the cash, get the goodies and helter skelter to catch the train. a bit of heavy breathing and adjusting bags and then popping open the porridge container.


not quite porridge – what they are offering is a milky sweet gruel. sure you can hunt around and find some oats you can even try to stir it all up to see if those oats will expand with agitation and fill the carton magic bean style. you can do any number of things and you will still be left with a cooling gruel. i am not knocking gruel – it was the staple diet for many for a long time – it is just that when you a buying one thing and you get something that isn't quite that it is easy to be disappointed.

i was.

lesson learnt. stick to pret.

what macdonalds do porridge?

oh ok let's give them a go.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


it wouldn't be an olympics if there was not a story or three about drugged up super athletes this year was made all the more spectacular by the banning of russian track and field competitors because of states sponsored doping. (interesting sidebar and a foreshadowing of a coming up future blog – the alt right (or conspiracy theorists) have argued that this is just a reaction to putin not playing the new world order game).

of course it wouldn't be a scandal if the governing body did what it was supposed to do, instead it fobbed the hard decision off on to various sporting federations. hey you get paid the big bucks to pass the big buck.

so drugs in sport! who would have thought it?

there was a time not so very long ago where i was totally anti-drug. those days have gone. it is not that i am now pro-drug, it is more that i am legalise and control drugs, let people use them and make money from the taxes. for social use i can only see benefits – drugs are exciting because they are illegal so kids want to try them: look at me i am so rebellious. that puts them in touch with a group of people who are just like any other business; they want to make money and they want them to buy more and more of their shit (to use old school parlance – like i know what the fuck i am talking about). like ciggies and booze some dabble and drop it, others become life long sensible users and a few become addicts.

making drugs available over the counter means they will quality controlled, they will be price regulated but more importantly the element of criminality will be removed.

more tax, less crime. winner.

solved the social issues of drugs, i shall now move on to drugs in sports. no messing about here.

pretty much all sports have had some sort of issue with drugs – whether it be their stars being caught using recreational drugs or turning into full blown disaster zones because of drug abuse. or there is the issue of performance enhancing drugs.

performance enhancers come in all shapes and sizes all with the express aim of making you better at what you do – whether it be running, riding, driving, jumping, thinking or just posing.

being clean and being a winner is what counts, and most champions are indeed that.

but are they really clean – have they taken painkillers/ blockers to allow them to compete? if they have then it can just be as easily argued that they have been 'enhanced'.

the thing is that drugs are becoming much more sophisticated and it is taking longer to find 'drug cheats', they are still testing samples from the beijing and london olympics and finding some were doped.

why bother?

the reasons why you would want to keep drugs out of sport are as follows: it isn't a level playing field and so doping is cheating. that it gives the impression that these athletes are different from the rest of us and we can't aspire to attain their levels of competitiveness. that by doping they are poor role models and, worse, poor walking billboards for advertising the wears of various high profile companies.

the main reason to take drugs? to win.

given that i come back to my question of why bother worrying.

look most of us are not going to become top line sportsmen, so it hardly matters to me if the upper echelons of sport juice themselves up with lawks knows what in order to get that extra yard out of themselves. ironically if doping was made legal then perhaps more people would be able to compete at higher levels.

if everyone had the choice to use drugs then the playing field is levelled and so cheating is no longer an issue. if you wanted to compete clean you could – usain bolt, among many others, has shown that to be the best you do not need to be injecting or pill popping. in fact you could have two classes of athlete clean and enhanced. the only one that would need checking would be the clean athlete.

if social drug use is made legal then the question of sportsmen being doped up is no longer a worry for them being role models, if we keep choosing to use them as such.

probably the key driver that keeps athletes on the straight and narrow is their endorsements – you put in all those hours of training, you might as well do all you can to make sure you keep the money you get from your many sponsors. you know when a tiger woods has fallen from grace – not by the lack of wins but by how many companies choose to release him from his contract to promote their brand.

now i would wager that the majority of fans just want to see the fastest, longest, highest, furthest. fans want to see the best, and they want to see the best win.

i would legalise drugs in sport, that sportsmen would have to declare if they were clean or enhanced and you would test only those who were clean. then see what market forces wanted – do the fans turn up to see serena sweep all before her because of talent and hard work or do they turn to the latest wunderkind who has taken a jamboree bag of pills to aid their rise to the top? do the fans protest the heavyweight championship because the winner is a reject from rocky 4?

once the fans have shown they accept their heroes are using drugs you will see the once very moral brands return to paying big money to their sports stars again.

sure there will be a few doped up guys who win, but the fans will know who they are and whether or not they want to support them. then we will see just what the public want – do they want clean or do they want to see the best being the best that they can possibly be. where the fans go, that is where the money goes and where the money goes the sports stars go.

if the public go for doped super athletes then it won't be long before drugs are made legal.

hypocrisy is beaten.

everyone happy.

sport's problem solved.

a societal problem solved.

Friday, August 19, 2016


as the olympics comes to an end and the footie season begins in earnest my love hate relationship to sport continues.

there was a time when i was a contender to be a contender, all that stopped me was a mix of not quite enough talent, nowhere near enough dedication and little or no drive (oh and i was let down by my body deciding that while my peers were going to have a growth spurt upwards gaining 6 to 12 inches the only additional inches i was going to get were going on my waist) . if that sounds like a recipe for failure – it was. thing is you can get away with not having the dedication if you have the talent and you can compensate for no talent by just applying yourself and training hard. if you skip all three bits well you can look back on your glory days while you sit at your desk at work while you bore the tits off your colleagues about just how talented a footballer/rugby/tennis/modern pentathlete you were. (though on balance that is preferable to hearing about how blasted your workmate got over the weekend because they sank twenty pints, did two lines, got off with someone but can't remember much else about the weekend).

while my sporting heyday was fleeting it did give me an insight into the world of dedication, determination, sweat, tears, puke, time and sacrifice that is necessary to become good – moving to elite is another level altogether.

it follows then that i should be a keen fan, on the edge of my seat cheering on my guy/gal/team. living and dying by their success or failure, alas i am not. i used to be. many moons ago i was an avid fan of basketball. staying up late to watch highlights on channel 4 and itv, sitting through the night to watch full games. falling in love with the poetry of michael jordan in action. when i discovered a new british team was setting up in my area i became an instant fan. never missed a home game, jumped for joy when we won the cup and championship, had a sniffle when we were knocked out of the cup by manchester what i knew about basketball could be written on the head of a pin, my ability to play basketball was non-existent but i loved the ebb and flow, the speed, the power, the artistry that went into the game, some players were brutes hurtling down the court like an express train and slamming the ball into the net, others danced and pirouetted their way to scoring. it was magical, it was breathless entertainment, it was edge of your seat heart in your mouth count the seconds thrills and spills. i loved it

and then the team hit financial troubles. moved too far away. the nba was only available on satellite channels and the love died.

that was probably the start of the cynicism. curiously this was also the time when i fell for the wwe where cynicism is the name of the game – but it was all part of the shtick of sports entertainment so all fine and dandy.

what really tipped me over the edge was a combination of money and sportsmen as divas. eye watering financial rewards are only available in the 'elite' sports, those watched on more tv screens than the rest. more tv coverage means more advertising revenue, more advertising revenue means more tv coverage and that means more money. more money means greater rewards for the elite of the sport, and of course their agents.

as if the money wasn't enough we have had to suffer the celebritization of sport during which sports personalities have gone from being role models (not something that kicking a ball or riding fast necessarily makes you competent to do) to being people who have their everyday life played out in front us – sometimes as aspiration sometimes as tragedy.

in short the media have created monsters and we the public seem willing to go along with it,

the sport almost becomes second fiddle to hang other narratives on – such as sacrifice & legacy, good and bad.

of course fans themselves don't help. they pay money for the pleasure of watching their heroes and once you start paying a lot you start expecting a lot. more often than not those expectations run wild and create an in built failure. a pal of mine is a season ticket holder at a football club, a club that is there or thereabouts every season challenging for honours. as there are only 4 titles the club can win in any given season then the odds are not in their favour, but logic is not something the fans like. yet what my pal wants to see from them is that they care, that they do their jobs well. for him the complaint isn't that they lose it is that they don't try. now i may not be a great footballer but for a weekly salary that is far and away greater than the average annual salary i can guarantee i will run my tits off every time i get on the pitch. not so footballers – because they don't see their reward as being exceptional to them it is the norm.

when silly money comes into play it also seems to create a sense of entitlement on the part of the sports star – well i am being paid this much therefore i am important – in fact more important than the club and fans. how often do you hear someone say 'they need to match my level of ambition', though this mostly means pay me more money or i will find someone else to pay me. yet for all that ambition and desire you never hear them say – cut my wages and use the spare cash to improve.

meanwhile the publicly funded olympic athletes either want more to help them live their dreams. or they want more benefits such as free tickets to watch events or to invite their families. or they want us to appreciate their sacrifices. of course the rewards are theirs, it is the public that takes the risk.

there are students out there who have taken on huge debt to live their dreams – and in many cases these dreams are going to be of a bigger benefit to the general public than any number of medals won at sports events. yet we expect lawyers, doctors, social workers, teachers etc to fund their dreams themselves.

when it comes to sacrifices you only have to look around at the people working long hours for little reward and even less glory to understand that sacrifice comes in many shapes and shades – and for some it is a lifetime of sacrifice.

so yes dear reader i have fallen out of love with sport because of money and entitlement. yet i can't help myself i keep going back to it in the hope that i will be wowed and inspired again.

live in hope.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


fashion is not my bag.

though bags do play a large part in my fashion choices.

i live by the jobs/zuckerberg school of dressing – i just throw a little more variety into it. instead of large walk in closets filled with numerous versions of the same style and colour tops, and bottoms of the same colour and style. i operate under the two bag system – one bag contains the clean clothes and the other contains the dirty clothes. a quick dive into the clean bag brings out the clean top, pants and socks for the day, the bottoms being used for several days. easy peasey. sadly i haven't invented a new style of computing or social media with all the time i have saved through my streamlined dressing).

(and no while i might look like i have dressed from the dirty bag, even i don't make that mistake.)

so me and fashion are not even close to being pals.

probably the last time i was in fashion was when i was in nappies, because nappies are pretty universal (and i am not talking about adult baby fantasy here). the last 54 years me and fashion have parted company.

of course my lack of fashion sense or interest doesn't stop me from looking at some fashion choices and think what the fuck, no really what the fuck.

seriously why has the low slung jeans/ trousers become a fashion staple, why did it ever become popular in the first place? most people who sport the fashion do not have the body for it and as they shuffle charlie chaplin like down the street doing the i have shat my pants waddle. of course if you are young and have a gym honed body then perhaps you can carry it off, and the makers of the pants you are wearing are pleased for the extra publicity. the majority of wears tend not to be like this and seemingly they don't necessarily want the pants either. in a large number of cases you are confronted low jeans, no pants and a flabby arse with a dirty crack of doom. trust me that isn't a look anyone wants to be having. more to the point it is a look that most of us don't want to see.

gents put your arses away and pull those strides up.

the current fashion craze i don't understand harks back to something i loved as a kid/teenager: ripped jeans. back when i had ripped jeans it was because i had done something to wear the material out, it was a badge of effort. those ripped knees were a sign you had been out being active. now such rips and tears are fashion statement – except it doesn't stop at rips and tears it is whole chunks of the jeans that are missing, and it isn't just one rip or tear it is loads of them, in some cases there are more holes than there is jeans.

why? what is so special about tramp chic? other than you are showing the world you have more money than sense and you can afford to dress shabbily and all your peer group and other fashionistas will congratulate you on your brand choice and admire your taste for looking just like them.

maybe that is the point – it is a signifier that you belong with the others who wear jeans that are torn to shreds and have large holes all over them (of maybe more accurately – they have a bit of jeans defining empty space of the fashion statement.

to me clothes are something i have to wear, so something easy, practical and comfortable to wear. no hassle, pluck it from the bag and put it on. i don't want to be navigating holes to make sure i don't rip the item any more than it already is, after all i wouldn't want to ruin the look of such stylish clothes.

maybe it is best that i stick with sensible bland clothing as i am pretty sure that old chubby blokes shouldn't be trying to make fashion statements.  ever.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


going into the referendum there was a dream, a hope that result would have far reaching repercussions. oh how right we were.

only problem is they were not the repercussions i wanted.

ok here was my dream scenario. june 23rd the votes would be cast and during the morning of june 24th i would enjoy listening to the results being announced, early in the morning victory for remain would be declared so i could sleep. throughout the day we would be treated to the smug face of david cameron as he wittered on about how wonderful it was that remain had won the day and that the country had spoken and we were staying in europe. yays all round. over the weekend all those eurosceptic tories would kick up a fuss, rebel and basically make cameron's small majority virtually useless leading to a general election and us all happily dancing on the grave of the now fractured and useless tory party.

i can dream can''t i?

didn't quite happen that way.

boris switches sides, brexit campaigners indulge in a bit of number manipulation, much of the media was for leaving and there were a number of voters who decided that june 23rd was time to give the government/ elites/ establishment a bit of a kicking so chose to vote against remain and for getting out of europe.

and come the early morning of june 24th out of europe we were going.

david cameron resigns and for a brief glorious period it looked as if the tories were going to destroy themselves with infighting, but no a few scares and then bish bosh they have their leadership election and instead of boris, theresa may is handed the poison chalice of getting us through the article 50 negotiations.

already she looks like a steady eddie keeping the tories on an even keel and moving forward.

meanwhile over in the labour camp chaos rules.

in an effort to shake up the party and to weaken the unions ed milliband changed how the leader was elected: it was changed to one member one vote. all very democratic all very sensible.

fast forward to the election of a new leader and jeremy corbyn throwing his hat into the ring and suddenly there is a huge surge in membership and before you know it they have all gone and voted corbyn as leader.

road to hell, no good deed, unintended consequences – you choose.

corbyn wanting a new type of politics– a less combative style. the whole brexit debate was the end his honeymoon period, with many of the labour parliamentarians being disappointed at his half

hearted defence of european membership.

while he has the mass support of the new membership he does not have the support of his mps. an odd situation.

some are calling a coup (though some might argue that what the corbynistas have done has been a coup of the labour party), and if it is it is the slowest and most advertised in history, and weeks after the referendum we are still embroiled in what to many is a foregone conclusion: corbyn re-elected as leader of the labour party.

the danger of the corbyn leadership is that it is more interested in ideological purity than it is the practicalities of being elected, or even of being an effective opposition. just when the tories might have been at their weakest the labour party has decided to commit suicide. yet for some of them they will be happy that they haven't compromised their principles and ideals and instead of being a political force they are just as unelectable as the socialist workers party and others of that ilk (george galloway's respect party success being a unique case). reduced in effect to being a party of protest, slogans and banners.

my dream was we stayed in europe and tory party was in turmoil. instead i have the nightmare of an extended period of tory rule just because the labour party is prepared to immolate itself rather than work together to hold the tories to account.

still it does mean that the lib dems might get some votes at the next election.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016


not to get too personal (or too graphic) but i am constipated. i am bunged up – i can feel a very large chunk of turd loitering, but like a reluctant bride it isn't ready to come down the aisle just yet. i have a history of annoying bowel troubles – started young (and in a freudian jungian kleinian way probably explains many of my quirks), after all you try to recover from a trip to the doctors when you are still in short trousers only to have a finger inserted in your arse and then wiggled and before you cry abuse – he did lube up and give me a sweetie afterwards. and that doesn't sound much better does it.

this was followed by a course of visits from the district nurse who happily and joyfully (and perhaps a little too erotically – no just making that bit up, really, no really) administered a series of daily enemas.
which by the end of would clear me out – yet also plant the seeds of dark erotic leanings for the future and allow me to be sympathetic towards alien abductees who had been probed.

while this sorted out the immediate problem – my movements have never been what one could call regular.
every so often there would be a period where nothing would exit the back passage. even though i hadn't developed a phobia of probing district nurses and doctors with lubed fingers as i got older i was a little more reluctant to allow things to be inserted into my arse, some might call this probophobia i called it personal preference.

when confronted with another bout of constipation various remedies would be called upon. ex lax and senokot would be used, get the dose wrong and well you could be caught short dumping a load into your britches and doing the charlie chaplin shuffle. only happened a couple of times but that is still one time too many.
with the loss of medicines other avenues had to be investigated.
a change in diet to include pooh friendly foods, bananas for instance. an increase in high fibre food such as shreddies or all bran. stronger coffee (a personal fave – and no not as an enema, but one day maybe...).
next up is a change in lifestyle – some exercising just to get the body moving and churning the insides up and therefore (hopefully) out.
or the final option – move into the toilet with a stack of comics and books, sit down and wait for nature and gravity to do their thing and after an unspecified amount of time a whoosh slash and sigh – the sounds of mission accomplished. however as this would be a patient long game there would be no jumping to my feet and a loud yell of triumph – no that would have to wait until later, until i had recovered from the dead legs, until then i would have to continue my toilet bound ruminations of life and the price of coffee. of course i would be peeling myself off the toilet seat and as my arse would be melded to the toilet seat and when i finally get to my feet i would have an indentation of the toilet seat firmly embedded in my arse cheeks, for a few hours i would be a walking work of art ready for rachel whiteread to do a cast of the negative space of my arse and the toilet seat. (it would have won the turner prize – and who knows it might just happen).

i am still waiting for the whoosh splash sigh of a successful dump. i keep telling myself it will happen on my next visit to the throne room, as yet no real luck, a rabbit dropping here or there but no real dambuster style emptying.

every time i go in there to cogitate and read i am conscious of elvis’s last words and in the back of my mind the mad bad thought that the turd monster might get me and i would be found slumped clutching a copy of the latest instalment of the executioner series in my hand.
i hope that is this should happen i have remembered to have left a copy of moby dick or the complete poems of t h lawrence in there. just a bit of class.

Monday, August 01, 2016


there is little that annoys me.

oh who am i kidding i am a man full of irk, so much so i irk more than miley twerks.

what makes me an irker is that that life is full of the little things that annoy, irritate and vex. in a way this is a good thing because there are so many causes of exasperation that i do not spend much time on each one worrying about how to revenge myself on the causes of my current beleaguered irk. no doubt if i fretted and gnawed at just one i would become obsessed and thus would begin the journey to serial killer.

yes! yes! i know, dear reader, you are keen to know just what it is that turns calm gentle pat into a raging seething giant sulk monster.

doors are simple things, their purpose summed up in a number of dualities: open/closed, locked/unlocked, in/out (occasionally a third purpose is applicable – but only in times of earthquakes where you can stand neither in or out, but within and be protected.

doors so simple, yet so crucial. they are transformational – you start out inside and with a stride and end up outside, or you are outside and with a step you are inside.



why then, i ask, is it so difficult for so many to grasp the concept of the door and use it properly?

are these people unfamiliar with doors coming from some primitive culture were there are no such portals and they live under the stars and need no protection from the elements, or are they from some some alien planet were doors do not exist because beings can materialise where they think they should be, or have the ability to turn themselves immaterial and thus pass through the very fabric of matter?

ah both of these would be lovely explanations and render my irk pointless – after all how can you be angry and annoyed at people who because they have no concept of door do not use the door properly. besides they would be strangers in a strange land and should be treated like guests.

alack and alas this is not the case – these door huggers, these door hangers are fully aware of the door principle they just don't think it applies to them. they believe they are more important than the door, that they are better than those who wish to benefit for the transformational properties of the door. it would not be so bad if when they saw someone approaching the door they acted like the red sea under moses's command. they don't. instead they stand their ground like a self important sentinel of the gap. really they are little more than irritating wastes of precious space who in a perfect world would be abducted by aliens and anally probed so that these space travellers could learn the right way to use doors.

to the best of my knowledge this does not happen – so we are left with the ritual of jostling and ignored 'excuse me, excuse me', pushing by and through ignorant arseholes who are busy looking at that oh so important text about what to do for lunch on their phone.

it is lucky i don't have a superpower as i suspect that these are the sort of people who would turn me into a villain who wreaked havoc on them, by turning them all into living hinges forever at the beck and call of the door.

as i say it is lucky i don't take these sort of things to heart.