Panic on the Streets of London

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It’s official. London is too small. Loosen the green belts, extend the northern line, flatten The Pennines and lets expand this tangled smoke spewing mess of a city all the way down to The White Cliffs of Dover.

It seems one can’t so much as set foot out the door these days without bumping into someone one once babysat for/ met at pony club/ bought courgettes from/ took ketamine with.

Sometimes it’s nice to bump into people… ‘oh hairlo’… ‘haaaaiirrlo hower you?’… ‘i’m fine thank you, hower you?’ …’I’m fine thank you hower…’. Then before you get stuck in the ‘hower you loop’ someone pipes up with some small talk ‘you look well’ (read as ‘you’ve gained weight’), ‘I’m so busy with work’ (I’m single and I spend most evenings wondering if my cat would notice if I died) ‘we should go for a drink sometime’ (I will never, ever go for a drink with you, let fire rain down from the sky and let this ma effin city burn to the ground before I ever go for a drink with you.)

Other times, it’s not even half this pleasant. A friend of mine swears that every time she leaves the house in her ‘cleaning the bathroom sweatpants’, you know the ones, (the ones with the bleachy bits that look a bit like piss stains), she bumps into an ex boyfriend. Heart jumps into mouth. Arms suddenly feel like somebody else’s. Words exit mouth at random. Can’t breathe. Musn’t breathe, haven’t cleaned teeth.

Fortunately for me, most of my exes have left the country… really, I’m that great. But actually, I did bump into an ex, no lets call him an ex lover, at a casting. That’s fine, you say, actors do these kind of things all the time (go to castings, take lovers), except that I was the only person auditioning for my role who wasn’t a dwarf. The situation read as follows…

Me: Oh hi Keanu (yep, I’m calling him that). Hower you? You’re up for the ‘Nivea Man’ role ci? (I sometimes throw in a bit of foreign when I’m nervous)

Keanu: Yeh I am, you’re going for the role of ‘Dwarf Mermaid’?!

Me: Yeh, well I’m only 5ft3 and I still look ok in a bikini so…. JHnkLdjhej>€$*** F.M.L

So why does bumping into people throw us off so badly? It’s not just the surprise… I love surprises. Is it the small talk? Can’t be, we all exchange pleasantries with countless strangers all day and survive to tell the tale. I think it’s the lack of context. I once bumped into a guy who works in the coffee shop in the library and was so genuinely alarmed to see him without a flat white in his hand that I almost threw Tess of the D’Urbevilles at him. Sometimes we (sorry), I, can be so bloody self centred I forget that the world continues to revolve without me and it’s a shock. So no knickers Natasha Banks is pregnant, who’d have thought it? And there I was thinking she had just ceased to exist after university and had hired robots to update her Facebook page. Well. I. Never.

And it’s not that Natasha doesn’t matter as a person, it’s just that we don’t swim in the same seas anymore, dwell in the same woodland. She drinks lapsing suchong and I drink too much and smoke in bed.

So what can we do? Wear a fake moustache and hide behind broadsheets in bistros? Not so much. Maybe we shoukd just accept that people continue to live and breathe sans nous (nerves again) and face the fact that the world keeps on turning and thanks to some puzzling algorithms in the universe’s composition we occasionally cross paths with people from our past. So… next time you bump into your Maths teacher at a sex party, give him a hug, because he probably feels just as awkward as you do.

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Hey there fellow child of the Universe…

At uni in Cardiff my mate Mike and I, mainly because we were twats (and actors, these things go hand in hand) used to refer to people we didn’t know as extras or supporting artists. I’d be all ‘hey boyo’ (one can’t help but pick up the lingo) ‘you at welsh club? Is anyone there? Should I come down?’ and he’d be like ‘yeh a couple of faces, but mainly extras… I wouldn’t bother mate, stay in bed and watch the O.C.’ So I would….

London life in all it’s cinematic glory is full of them, the general public or G.P – hired at great expense by God’s own casting director to clog up the transport system, the streets, coffee shops, bars and offices. They give this little set I like to call Earth some substance, thus enhancing the overall production values of this little movie I like to call Life.

But lately, since I started reading books about spirituality (because I am perhaps STILL a twat, albeit a more enlightened one) I’ve been making a conscious effort to connect with the humanoids and make Joe Public my friend. The Indian dude who wrote one of the aforementioned books informs me that we are all ‘children of the universe’ – I like this, for a moment it makes me feel like one of the blue people in Avatar and then suddenly I feel guilty that we don’t make enough of an effort to recycle. As an only child (read as: reason for being a massive twat) this notion of one large family excites me somewhat so I head out on onto the neighbouring streets of Dalston (read as: another reason for being a massive twat) for a spot of jogging.

There’s something liberating about jogging, the idea that you are just ‘zipping through’ is emboldening some how, so I begin my assault on the notoriously unfriendly people of London with a few wry smiles. Nothing major- just enough to say ‘I see you there brother, fellow child of the universe, let’s connect’. Some people smile back and most don’t seem to mind, apart from one guy shopping with his girlfriend who seems to think I’m giving him ‘the come on’ – no bother, I just run a little faster to get away.

Overall I’m inspired by the generally positive response so I decide to give it a little more… a toothy grin if you will. Of course, being January, it’s balls cold so the grin is a little forced and post Christmas I’m pretty unfit so I’m panting, no, wheezing. Fortunately, as I hit the home stretch the iPod shuffle gods select my soundtrack- Siouxsie and the Banshees and I find myself ‘walking on sunshine’ all the while grinning inanely through clenched teeth, panting, sweating and shivering my way down the street. A lady outside the post office gives me a look in which I detect a trace of concern, a bus driver laughs, a child buries his head in his mothers thigh and then I nearly get hit by a car. I try to laugh it off, but coupled with the panting I forget to breathe and have to stop and put my head between my legs. I decide to call it a day. I walk home wondering whether I would have got a better response in California, after all, displays of unbridled joy are not commonplace on wintry London streets. I’ll try the good people of London again in the summer, I’ll also try and save up for a flight back to L.A.

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Dining at the trendy Ward 2a, The Hospital, Gloucester.

It is with intrepid hesitation that I arrive at today’s restaurant choice, its conveniently located for a spot of after theatre dining, so I visit on a Tuesday evening.The clientele are a casual bunch, stylishly pale and mysteriously sombre. I should hazard a guess that most punters arrive ravenous and leave feeling pretty much the same. One gets the sense that eating in an establishment such as this, is an experience closer associated with survival than pleasure but the seating is comfortable and comes with fully adjustable back supports and partition curtains for those craving that extra degree of intimacy. The decor is intimidating- a courageous blend of utilitarian and clinical influences, stark and modern with a post apocalyptic 80s twist.

The service is slow but efficient, I wait a total of 12 hours for my main course, by which time I have totally forgotten what I’d ordered. Sausages and broccoli apparently. One suspects that the sausages had indeed been cooking since then. The broccoli arrived moist, tender and distraught. No sorry, it was me that was distraught. The Broccoli was just moist and tender. Dogs noses should be moist, lovers should be tender, broccoli however, should be neither.

I am disappointed to find myself seated next to the loo, a real pet peeve of mine whilst dining. But given the fact that it was strapped to my waist and threaded into one of my orifices, I wonder if its unfair to point the finger, so I remain silent. Will I be coming back? Probably, I can’t move.

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6 Reasons why I am Angry with America for Stealing Pulp.

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In the midst of Pulp’s first US tour in ten years… Some of us are feeling a little left out.

1. They don’t remember the first time.

Brit-pop was amazing. Fact. It was pubs, trainers, puking and pills. It was not Ketel One cocktails, blogging about your trainers, wheatgrass shots and Adderall. Its ok, times have changed, we now know that track suit tops make you look fat and beer makes you actually fat and a combination of the two is a one way ticket to a musical melt down the size of Robbie Williams’ pre comeback gut. Having all but ignored Pulp through most of the nineties and forgotten about 

them in the noughties, Jarvis and his boys are enjoying a revival right now in the States. Here’s the problem: once again America have shown up late to the party. My grandad said it in 1941 and I’ll say it again… ‘About fucking time, Johnny come latelys.’

2. They call them ‘The Pulp’.

Potato – potarto, tomato – tomarto, trunk – boot, bum – butt, caving – spelunking (yeh, weird!) we may be two nations separated by a common language but names are not open to interpretation and failure to comply with what we consider to be a matter of basic politeness will result in your looking stoopid.

3. Whilst Helping the aged, they might end up relieving us of one of our national treasures. 

The only thing to really benefit from all this second wave madness is Jarvis’ pension fund. Now 

that the poor bugger has been unceremoniously ripped from his rock and roll retirement by a bunchof daisy duke wearing, bubble gum chewing hipsters, who’s going to present the nations art docos? Who’s going to interview our legends on BBC 6 Music? And who’s going to make sure we want to nip off to Paris on the Eurostar? Because we do Jarvis, we do – Paris won’t be Paris without you- you’ll probably buy a mansion in Malibu and you won’t call us anymore.

4. What about The Blur?

So they had Oasis, albeit slightly late in the game, once they’d started writing songs about how big their bar tabs were (see champagne supernova) and their business class air travel (see All around the World) but what about Blur? In a recent poll (conducted by me) one in three Americans knew Damon Albarn as that monkey fella from the Gorillaz, the other two Americans I asked didn’t have a clue who he was. I don’t want to open up a can of worms, but I think we’d all agree that Blur, Oasis and Pulp formed the big three as far as Brit Pop goes. In the same way that one cannot claim to be an expert on Southern French reds unless one has at least tasted a Chateux-Neuf du Pape; one cannot be qualified to contemplate the Northern Socialist lyricism in The Last Day of theMiner’s Strike unless one can juxtapose them with the Southern subtleties of Charmless Man, can one?

5. They don’t know the real reason why Pulp rule.

Let me take you on a journey to The Brit Awards 1996, a time when a Brit was worth having… Sadly Pulp went home empty handed, beaten by Oasis in the Best British Group category. Ironically though, it was Noel Gallagher who dothed his cap at the end of the night, referring to Jarvis Cocker as a ‘star’ who should be awarded an ‘MBE’:

It was during America’s favourite pedophile’s performance of his big (s)hit Earth Song which
unnecessarily involved frolicking with infants and pretending to be The Messiah, that cocky Cocker
took a dislike to this prophetic display of Personal Jesusing and decided to show the moonwalking
pillock a moon of his own. Later that night Cocker was arrested but had cemented himself a place in our nations hearts 4EVS.

And now to reason number 6, this is where all the rotten vitriol in the rest of this article has stemmed from…

6. The S. S. bloody Coachella.

‘A musical voyage aboard the Celebrity Silhouette’ setting sail to the Bahamas and Jamaica in mid December, brought to you (or them) by the people that brought you (or them) Coachella, a festival for beautiful, over sexed Los Angelino’s in Indio, California. The Celebrity Silhouette comes complete with onboard restaurants, Solarium pools, 24 hour room service and a headline performance from the one and only Pulp. Tempted? Yes, me too.

Here’s the drawback… tickets start at $700 for a windowless cabin in steerage with fire stoking
responsibilities and a less than desirable position on the lifeboat priority list. They end at somewhere in the region of P.O.A which usually means about $30 million for a Royal Suite so spectacular that they can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is on the website, so they don’t. I’ll sure bet its nice though. Oh boy, jealousy is an ugly emotion. This kind of experience is not for common people like me.

Tickets $700, flights to Florida $600, Es and whizz $200, waiting until they play in the Uk next
year? Priceless.

What it feels like to be an old man trapped in a young girls body…

No matter how hard I try to fight it there are some undeniable truths following me around with more persistence than the creepy little midget in Labyrinth. For a while now, I have felt with quite some conviction that my young, supple feminine form is being squatted by a cantankerous old codger named Arthur who has an unwavering dedication to making my life difficult.

Please see below a list of my evidence…

1. Je fume trop. Whether it’s the generation that finds it unseemly for females to smoke, the one that would prefer you spark up a big fat doobie, or the one that knows tobacco will pickle their chances of ever winning X Factor – I’ve become increasingly aware that nobody smokes anymore. Instead of giving up, I seem hellbent on converting the naysayers and puffing smoke in peoples faces, all the while wheezing like an asthmatic dancing next to the smoke machine at a school disco.

2. I move slowly, real slowly. You won’t find me flitting down Oxford street with the other nimble young fillies to push and shove my way to the last J.W Anderson sweater at Topshop, no siree. I’m shuffling, shuffling, everyday I’m shuffling. But it’s ok, I make allowances for this by avoiding rush hour and leaving the house three hours earlier than necessary. And this works out quite well because…

3. I rise early. I’m up, sometimes before the pubs shut, not to greet the day with an enthusiastic high five but because I have to pee. Arthur like most men of a certain age has an inconceivably small bladder and it’s fucking with my sleep patterns. Don’t worry I’m still sitting down (for now).

4. I have developed an unhealthy obsession with Katy Perry. Her with the alabaster skin and a body more curvy than a Cornish ring road. I think Arthur likes her because she harks back to the starlets of the good old days, a wanton bisexual harlot with crazy in her eyes, much like the late Joan Crawford. Plus she dresses like a Christmas tree and Arthur loves Christmas, it warms his tiny cholesterol riddled heart.

I don’t have much experience of exorcisms and with the pressures of modern life how does one find the time? If anyone has knowledge of a suitable priest do get in touch, you’ll find me, I’ll be the only one under 75 in the queue for William Hill on a Wednesday morning. If not, no worries, I’m actually becoming quite fond of the old bastard.