Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Queue - Part 1

London, St Pancras. 5 days before Christmas

Hunched, hands pressed deep into their pockets they shuffle along. Dragging their belongings behind them as they try to hide from the unrelenting, biting, cold. A wind whips up snow and ice and children cower next to their parents, eyes wide with a fear of being separated. Their tiny hands tightly grip the torn and ragged overcoats which cover their parent’s painfully thin bodies.

The queue moves with glacial speed and cars slow down to watch their progression amazed by the sight. A refugee trail as far as the eye can see.

Riot police quietly herd them in the right direction, the only direction. They have come prepared for a violent outburst, but it never comes. They are too weak to rebel, compliance is now the only option. All hope has been lost, every turn they took was blocked by a bureaucratic brick wall and they all end up in the same place, the queue. Across the country the scene is repeated, blanket TV coverage ensures we are all aware of what is happening in our country. Politicians condemn everyone except themselves, the guilty make excuses and run from roaming reporters.

London, somewhere near Heathrow

What happened, why can’t you resolve this?” a devil horned reporter thrusts the snow covered microphone into the face of a scared and panicking young media-relations manager

We were surprised by the ferocity of it, it caught us unawares” he mumbles back.

With your pants down?” the cloven hoofed one replies.

Well I wouldn’t put it exactly like that, but we were surprised, yes”

You don’t care about your customers”


You didn’t invest in infrastructure”

Well, that’s not entirely…..”

It’s true!” he cuts in forcefully You are making money hand over fist, millions, no billions, but you invest nothing!” pushing his tripod into his chest.

Well, no, not really, last year the profits of…..” The demon cuts him off again, switching tack

What do you have to say to all the people out there watching this going on?”


What do you have to say, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY?” goatee-beard is now standing with a foot on the throat of the ill prepared young man.

He looks defeated and with a hopeful tone he replies “Sorry?”

A pause and then he continues “But it was, it was, well, umm, the wrong sort of snow you see” His jugular is now exposed in anticipation of the killer blow.

Pausing, Satan glances at the camera. Aware the whole country is watching he savours the moment. He smiles knowingly and his eyes glow a deep dark, blood red. You can almost hear the cries of Kill him! Kill him! from behind the camera which silently blinks red.

I presume by that you mean the cold kind of snow?”

The queue shuffles onwards, never stopping, never reducing and the mercury drops another notch.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Procrastination vs Motivation

I often wonder why it is some days I wake up, full of energy, have breakfast with my family all smiles and sunshine. I arrive at the office, the day is a flurry of to-do list decimation and output. In the evening I enjoy dinner with my family and later fall into a deep happy slumber content with my day. The problem is the following morning I wake up late, tear strips off my face as I rush shave and go to work looking like 2000yr old corpse just pulled from the Siberian permafrost.

My work day is spent wishing away the minutes and hiding from any form of productive activity. I have an argument with my wife in the evening and decide to stay up late drinking.

Why is one day the polar opposite of the other, they could easily follow on from each other, Monday happy, happy, happy, Tuesday Dr Death?

What is it about my motivation which allows such swings. Is there a difference between motivation and mood?

What is motivation?

A simple definition is the minimization of pain and the maximization of pleasure but I think it’s more deep rooted than that, some days I simply can’t be bothered and other days I want to conquer the world and there is no other external differences to the day.

Its 30 years since Mark Chapman decided to take a gun to the Dakota Building in New York and murder John Lennon, why? What was the motivation here? It’s easy to say he is a mental, a mental with a gun or even worse still, he was a motivated mental with a gun. Yes I am sure he has some form of psychiatric disease but a lot of people have that problem, I am sure to some extent we are all a little unhinged. Instant fame? He was a nothing man, a nobody going nowhere and the few seconds it took to change the world of music guaranteed we still know his name 30years after the tragic event.

Simply writing it off as an act of madness is convenient and simple but it would be the same as saying it was because God willed it, doesn’t really explain anything other than allow us to move on and ignore it. Is it random or can we as individuals, increase or decrease the levels of our own intrinsic motivation? Is it learned or genetically inherited?

I don’t know the answers to these questions but I do know that when I hire someone motivation or perceived enthusiasm is very high on my list. Be careful with this approach though, an idiot with motivation is simply a motivated idiot.
Take this blog for example, its now been nearly 3 months since I made an entry. Why do I sometimes post 3 entries per month then other times leave it for 3 months to do another?

Its one of those things which becomes self fulfilling - I haven’t done anything for so long now, one more day wont matter. Smoking is the same, if I smoke one cigarette in an evening then 30 more wont do any harm, I have broken the smoking rule anyhow – in for a penny. Its nonsensical I know but I never said my brain was straightforward.

Perhaps the fact that I have the motivation to think and write about motivation tells me everything I need to know.

It’s a bit sad and I should simply stop, now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Old Father

Time – it’s a concept which I have been mulling over recently - blink and it’s gone.

An abstract concept which for me is up there with the 5th dimension, not entirely comprehensible. Yes I can measure it, something mankind has been doing quite successfully since, well, since the beginning of time but I still find it slightly out of reach. If I think about it, it’s already gone. I can’t eat it, touch it, breath it – I just know it’s there, always ticking along.

Where does it start and where does it end?

People make a living from it – a whole industry dedicated to its measurement resides in this small Alpine country, Usain Bolt is a superstar because of it, greeting card companies and Microsoft Outlook exists purely because it’s there.
Without it we would always be late, early or on time but who would know? It’s a strange thing.

It’s been one year since I started this blog, I know this because my son is about to reach his first major time-unit milestone, that is, one year.
And here lies the problem with time, a year is one of the larger time measurement units, in colloquial language it could be catogrised as a “long time” however the fact a year has passed since Cameron was born is simply barking mad.
If I logically think about it it makes sense but my initial reaction is to tell you to fuck off, no way, not a chance, a year, come on?

It was exactly a year ago tomorrow that I was standing on a far away sun-kissed beach in my finest kilt watching my best friend marry before rushing back to Switzerland to help deliver our son into the world. I say help, my wife delivered him, I watched and said stuff of a vaguely comforting nature.

That was never a year ago, it was yesterday, last week or perhaps last month at a stretch but a year….
As we age, the intervals between the time measurements get shorter, a year in Cameron`s life is, well, his whole life. In my life it’s just a couple of weeks.

Another strange phenomenon related to time is that its speed is directly related to what we are doing. If I have a day of tax training the day will drag on for weeks or months. My friends tell me when I am talking time slows to a crawl, but a night at the pub is over in less than an hour. Ask any time scientist, if one exists and he will confirm the existence of this phenomena.
I blame this on the complaints I used to receive relating to my lovemaking stamina. I can last for hours but in my partner`s mind it is over in seconds.
Time does fly......
Anyhow you will imagine my delight when in the midst of this time analysis I went to the cinema to watch “Inception”. The film perfectly captures the time inequity when it comes to dreaming. A 1 minute real time dream can last a day in dream time, a dream within a dream`s time is multiplied again by the 1min-1day factor. Thus 1 minute of dreaming a dream within a dream is nearly a month of dream time and so on.

Following this logic a 30minute real time dream would be 50 years in a dream, within a dream, within a dream. A lifetime can occur during the time it takes for an episode of Eastenders to be broadcast. As crazy as this sounds, it also sort of makes sense.

I like the idea and will keep working on the theory: logically if 30mins = 50 years then an hour = 100 years.

At this point I might actually start accepting a year has passed since I was in Mauritius, Cameron was born and I have now turned 40.

Which was probably the reason I started thinking about the whole thing in the first place.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Hairless Homo

Why do people publish other people’s quotations on Facebook?

Do they think that by quoting, say Winston Churchill, in a virtual-public forum they will be viewed in a similar light?

And how does one react to such a post?

Do you solemnly nod your head at the screen and agree or say thank you for reminding you that life is good, or that being an optimist is best or whatever the fuck they are saying.

Liking it seems a little, well too little.

To find out I will start to run a test and start quoting scripture on FB - one a day to gauge the responses I receive.

Or, as an alternative and a more fun way to understand how one should react is to imagine the person posting it standing up in a bar and saying it out loud.

I think it should be pretty evident then what the appropriate response should be. Unfortunately Facebook, at least to my knowledge, doesn’t have a “you’re a twat” button yet.

I have been reading Men’s Health magazine and am now ready to start ripping my abs, maxing my presses, minimizing my fat and burning my thingies.

When I was a child I would watch movies and be inspired to be like the protagonist: Rocky – take up boxing, Karate Kid – Karate, Midnight Cowboy – well you get the idea.

I guess this is the hormone this type of magazine in hoping to capitalise on.

Unfortunately when I read Men’s Health magazine I don’t think I want to be like the models flexing their shiny abs in between the advertisements.

These guys are all clearly madly in love with themselves and most probably not interested in the things I am, like for example, girls.

Secondly as a child I would quickly discover that boxing hurt (a lot), Karate took dedication and years of practice. Very quickly my enthusiasm would dissapear and I would go back to my computer game, smoking or hanging around the chip shop.

The same is true for the magazine. Perfect abs in 5mins, 0% fat in an hour, 50inch biceps in the blink of an eye.

It’s a lie of course, a trick to make you purchase the glossy book. To look like those guys you need to commit a few hours a day, every day, eat only very low fat stuff and avoid drinking beer. I, Like most guys I know, work, have family commitments, eat chips and meat and am very partial to the odd glass of beer.

Having only skim read the magazine, the message I take from it as follows:
Eat broccoli, fish and nuts, don’t drink beer ever - instead replace with tasty water.
Give up work, sitting down, coffee and TV.
Work out 2hours every day and take up kite surfing and in-line skating.
Wear lycra shorts.
If you follow these easy steps for 5 years you too can end up looking like a shiny, hairless homosexual.
Feeling inspired?

Definition of a photographic memory? One which needs developing.
The Muppet Show DVD, special guest Leo Sayer, midnight - does the above start to make sense?
We are all going outside.
He is coming too.

Jet lag is easy when you have to stay awake when you are tired. Jet lag when you have to go to sleep when you are not tired is somewhat trickier but certainly manageable. Trying to explain this to an 11month old is even more difficult.

Hence the muppets, midnight, bad jokes and another blog entry.

We have now had one week of our son living on EST whilst we, and importantly, our work schedule is firmly planted in old world CET.

I pray that soon he will decide sleep is important. I am hoping that the quality of the Muppet jokes will speed this process up but until then my shiny body is on hold and if you decide to throw a quote my way please don’t take offence if I quietly and without warning punch you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Very Random

It might not be politically correct (certainly not if we are to start taking "thinking" advice from the Prime Minister) and I am certain the family of Chris Brown would disagree but I have to admit to a small measure of sympathy for Raoul Moat.

I recognise this is probably counter to all the facts published and yes it’s hard to articulate why as he clearly is responsible for one cold blooded murder and two attempted ones. I do feel though here is a man who should not have ended up lying in a ditch with a shotgun to his forehead. It’s the same feeling I had when George put a bullet in Lennie`s skull - it could have been avoided.

I know the similarity between Lennie and Raoul ends with their size however in this instance I do feel that there could have been another solution. I have to add at this time I have a very distant perspective, do not know the man in question other than reading the BBC & other news channels and I am sure the police did what they could at the time.

When I watched the news last Saturday morning though I felt sad, not happy that the steroid fuelled nutter has been stopped in such a violent way. A somewhat different feeling to the one I had when I read about Harold Shipman`s suicide shall I say.

Anyhow the police have got their man and I am sure the streets are a little safer on account of this.

Not that the same can be said of a football pitch on which the Dutch team are playing - like the segue-way?

Yes, the World Cup is over for another 4 years and I have to admit being a little disappointed by the whole thing.

As with most things in life the anticipation is better than the actual event and this was no exception. The star players decided not to play and of course the much hyped England team seriously under performed. The stand out moments for me were limited but I have to admit to jumping up and shouting out when Iniesta finally stopped the Dutch from taking the final to penalties.

The best team won the tournament but judging from the tournament this does not say a great deal. Roll on Brazil.

The most pleasant thing I read this week is the story of a radio presenter who was fired for calling a local councillor a “Health Nazi”. Its not the story which interested me but its reference to a theoretical law called “Godwins Law”.

This is a theory developed in the 1990s by Mike Godwin a US Lawyer after observing chat room participants over a period of time. The rule states that, over time, all debates will end up with one participant comparing another to Adolf Hitler, or the Nazis.

Whether it’s actually proven or not I don’t know but what I like about it is it essentially articulates the point in an argument when one person simply shrugs their shoulders and tells the other to “fuck off”.

I will remember this theory so the next time I am in a pub and a drunken Neanderthal calls me a Nazi, Hitler or simply tells me to “fuck off” I can quite justifiably quote Mr. Godwin and point out, to my soon to be assailant, how I have won the moral high ground.

Ha-ha, let’s see who’s laughing then.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cannon Balls

What do you get if you cross a volcano next to Naples and the female genitalia? A Vuvuzela.

Yes the World Cup has kicked off and given the aforementioned plastic horn is its biggest talking point thus far, it is certainly not with the bang the organizers would have hoped for.

I will apologise for the opening attempt at a joke here however I do feel, given my previous entries, that there definitely should be a world naming committee to police these things before things get out of hand. Preferably with me as its chairman.

Perhaps then we would have some more logical, sensible or pronounceable names.

A Volconoligist would become a Volcan, Hàüfjdoqirqwnvcöcnziupaä$ä would become Iceland Volcano and a Vuvuzela : Aaaarghpleasestop!

So far on day 5 with 11 games played we are enjoying the lowest goal per game average of any world cup since 1624. Back then the ball used was a cannon ball and players had wooden boots so I can understand a medieval player`s reluctance to have a go from 40yds.

Today with the exception of North Korea, who still play with wooden boots, the modern player has the most technological kit available and a ball which is simply a composite of cotton wool and helium.

The Jabulani is the official match ball for the World Cup and as normal everyone is complaining about it. It swerves too much, its too round, I cant pronounce its name, it will be very difficult for goal keepers to save, I cant kick it etc etc. Apparently the only world cup where the ball was just right was way back in 1966.

Every world cup the pattern is the same - the ball is unplayable, England will win, I learn some new words and a clever brewery from the Netherlands get some free publicity for persuading people to wear their sponsored clothing for free.

The official world cup beer is Budweiser and they seem to take umbridge at such attempts to hijack their monopoly on the Soccer. Unfortunately Budweiser, soccer, or as 99.999% of the watching public call it, football, is a game of people who can and will wear whatever the hell they like.

I am wondering what Nike will say when 30,000 fans turn up wearing Adidas or god forbid Pepsi is consumed anywhere in South Africa in the next 4 weeks. I just saw that Tesco`s are the official supermarket of the England football team - surely tie-ins don't come more tenuous than this.

Anyhow, here's hoping the goal average rises, North Korea qualify for the next round to draw the USA, someone points out the Vuvuzela is not BPA free and En-ga-land win.

Yes that's right, win. This is the only way the rest of the world will stop having to put up with stories, documentaries, replica tops and songs about something which happened 4 years before I was born.

Wayne Rooney getting knighted would also make me snigger a bit.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tin Sheds

BBC News Today.
An object which hit Jupiter last year with the force of a few thousand nuclear bombs leaving a scar the size of the Pacific Ocean is being studied by astronomers as it could give clues about what might happen if a similar object was to hit Earth.

Augustin Sanchez-Lavega from the University of the Basque Country stated “It would be catastrophic”

Of course it will be fucking catastrophic, a thousand nuclear bombs? Scar the size of the Pacific, a third of the earth’s surface area? Come on Augustin.

What else does it tell us? Well nothing actually - Jupiter is 11 times larger than Earth and, wait for it, made up entirely out of gas!

Also on the news this week is the interesting experiment starting in Moscow, one which is hoped will replicate the conditions encountered by a manned trip to Mars. 5 volunteers have agreed to be locked up for 18months in some steel canisters so the psychological and physical implications/limitations can be studied.

Another waste of the license payer’s pixels. This is nothing more than a Sci-fi version of I’m a celebrity get me out of here. I expect during their time inside they will be given tasks such as eating dried baby food and having to wrestle a man dressed as a Cyborg.

Isn’t the real difficulty in a Mars trip, excluding the technical difficulties like inventing a ship which can get there and back, the fact that rescue is clearly not an option.

My suggestion, stick the whole contraption at the bottom of the Mid-Atlantic trench and you then might just have a worthy experiment.

Why would we want to go to Mars anyway? Personally I would find the whole thing extremely exciting – watching the moon landing still fills me with awe but I struggle to come up with a good reason other than cos. Finding evidence that there once was water on the surface isn’t a good enough reason, theres nothing there to rape and pillage and I think it might be some time before real estate prices start to rise in Ophir Chasma.

Captain Cook as we all know discovered Australia and claimed it for the British – a very worthy endeavor if you excuse the pun. However this was not the purpose of his voyage. No one sat down with James Cook and said “heres a boat n stuff, go off and find somewhere hot for us to send our criminals”. No, he was originally tasked with recording the transit of Venus across the sun.

Royal Society: James sit down would you, tea?
Captain Cook: No thanks.
Royal Society: James we want to ask you if you fancy going on a trip somewhere? We will provide you with a big boat and some men.
Captain Cook: Sure, what do you want me to do – expand the Empire? Kill some brown people? Pick a fight with Asia?
Royal Society: Actually, no. We want you to record the transit of Venus across the sun.
Captain Cook: You want what?
Royal Society: Venus, sun, transit.
Captain Cook: Do I get paid?

Remember the only form of recording instrument was painting back then so he probably got his mate to knock up some pictures of planets and stuff then sailed South to find somewhere hot where the women wore very little and in the process discovered Australia.

If the British Royal Society back then were willing to invest in an expedition to draw some pictures of planets then a Mars expedition isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. It will take superhuman political will, some very serious technological advances and a few very brave people. What it will not require is some men sitting in tin sheds in Moscow bickering with each other and I sincerely doubt very much we will find a martian Botany Bay up there.

Will we ever go to Mars? Probably.
Why? To paraphrase my mother “because I said so”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head

I can’t finish this dad – he says thrusting a half eaten pie towards my face. The crust has been nibbled with perfect symmetry and its watery filling virtually gone, congealed fat lines the pastry. The excitement, the wall of noise, the music, the pageantry, the anticipation of a major upset has disappeared. A very large and excitable beach ball with a slow puncture has just had knife thrust into its heart and it lies deflated and quiet.

3-0, 15 min to go.

He sits there quiet and distracted, less interested in the happenings on the pitch. A balloon floats down from the upper tier and he follows its slow progress down to the touchline, 2 goals could be scored to setup a frenzied final few minutes and he wouldn't notice. I watch his gaze moving around, anywhere but the pitch. The fans across the stadium make conversation difficult and I find myself thinking if we leave now we can beat the queue for the train.

A normal day in the life of an underdog supporter.

The pattern never changes, always the same, the build up to the game, the excitement, the conversations, hushed at first – don't tempt fate. Later, after a few pints, the conversation is much more confident – we can do this, on a good day we are a match for anyone, their star player is injured. Enter the stadium, well oiled, 50,000 fans singing, the music, the perfect green, the lights, it's a heady cocktail and you join in, singing yourself quickly hoarse.

To suitably stirring music the teams stride onto the pitch and the noise goes up a few notches, handshakes all around and the children leave the pitch. Its quiet for a few seconds as the referee checks the nets and then kick off.

From that moment on we have reached the zenith and its downhill all the way. Sometimes they manage to hold their own for a time delaying the inevitable, the shouting, the foul language continues. The referee, the opposition player, the opposing fans, the linesman, anyone for that matter save the 11 players, are all wankers. It's a conspiracy against the underdog threatening to upset the normal order of things.

Pretty soon though the first goal goes in and the shouting for a while increases – don't drop your heads - but inevitably it dies down. The pints are wearing off, a foul taste is present in your mouth and thoughts start turning back to the real world, the one you put on ice a few hours and pints ago.

Come on son, let’s get off eh? Get the train before the rest – we might make it home for Dr Who if were lucky. He takes little persuasion and very soon we are trudging up towards Mount Florida kicking the multi-coloured flotsam and jetsum filling the streets. The noise behind you is muffled but you still keep one ear open for a telling roar - it doesn't come.

A Jurassic sized police horse takes his attention and the game is a distant memory, easily forgotten, one to be replaced with all the future upsets he will definitely witness. Tomorrows headlines will be the usual regurgitated shite - brave hearts and worthy contenders.

Am hungry dad, can we get something to eat - he looks expectantly up at me, face blushed from the cold.

Life is tough, life isn’t fair.
If it was I would have stayed to 90mins and celebrated long into the night. I look forward to the day a man with sunglasses stuck to his nose offers me a blue or green pill. I will take the suspend reality pill, I don't want to know that the world is a barren nuclear wasteland with machines milking us for energy. No, I want to stand and cheer as yet another famous upset unfolds on the pitch in front of me. I will take a cheating, diving, sneaky, underhand, Uruguayan-esq win over a brave valiant loss any day. I don't even care if it’s a computer generated one, implanted in my brain to keep me a docile energy source.

I smile looking down at his expectant face, crisps, juice, chocolate are running though his childish mind. I ruffle his hair and produce the cold, half eaten pie from my pocket – here you go.
It's a hard lesson but one which he needs to learn and I run after him wailing his way onto the dirty orange train.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


You learn something new everyday.

It is 10am in the morning and already I have learned loads. The WIFI on ICE602 Basel – Dortmund high speed train is not switched on, the Kasabian album I purposely loaded onto my i-pod for the trip doesn't work and that Scipio and Hannibal actually met each other and had a discussion before they readied their respective armies for battle, just before the fall of Carthage.
Random knowledge and, unless you are reading this before getting on the 602 from Basel expecting to do some work or quietly going about your business in Carthage in 146BC, is most probably useless knowledge.

In 2006 during the World Cup I learned that someone from the Ivory Coast is called Ivorian and last Thursday I learned that people who study volcanoes are called Volcanologist. The first time I heard this on the news I looked up expecting to see a man with a bird of prey on his arm. Of course the Icelandic volcano debris which has caused so much chaos over Europe is the reason these people are having their day in the sun. Unfortunately Vulcanology I would imagine is a very particular career. Not one I would assume young/cool people aspire to and that is the reason we have been subjected to the disturbing images of beardy men & women on prime time news talking to us in squeaky voices about the infinately unpronouncable Eyjafjallajoekull glacier in Iceland.

How the hell did a glacier end up with a name like that by the way? Is there any sort of sane naming convention up there? My bet is there is none and no-one actually named this Glacier. Someone rested his/her arm on the keyboard and the output somehow made it onto the Glacier Naming Form (GNF) in the same screwed up way an out of office in Welsh made it onto a road sign. Another theory could be that it didnt have a name until it started erupting last week and then the Icelanders, still pissed from the banking meltdown last year, decided to make life very, very, difficult for our news reporters.

No problem for our beardy types though. I reckon somewhere in the world there is a good looking, Geoff Goldblum type. In his slightly eccentric way he has been running around for the past month trying to warn the great & the good about this eruption. He tried time and again to warn the world’s leaders about the impending doom but they were too busy with minor political matters to listen. Only now they are turning to him for advice but it is too late, he is too busy dodging lava flows with his cutesy children in Iceland and doing live reports exclusively for Fox News.

This is why we are left with Mr Turbot, leading Volcanologist from Hull Polytechnic to grace our SKY, BBC and ITV screens. He is a busy man, even the birds who were nesting on his face have migrated to a nearby Tsunami expert in the hope of some peace and quiet

Imagine a world where only birds were the masters of the sky.
A world where we take our time to get from A-B. A trip from Southern Europe to, say, the UK would take a day or two. A visit to the USA would be a week and Australasia would be a couple of weeks. The food on our plate would be locally grown and sourced. The great shipyards of the world would once again churn out floating leviathans and all our electronics would be manufactured from either the country it is sold in or very nearby. Most evenings would be spent with the family around the dinner table telling stories. Family values would return and crime would decrease. The art of reading would once again become important, the ozone would be intact and white rhinos would once again be safe to gore things at will.
The skies would be peaceful, birds would sing and bees would buzz and the pace of life would slow down.

There are at least a couple of problems with this Utopia:

1. I just made it up
2. Have you ever used a TV made in the UK? If you have you will be like me and want your i-pods designed in California and made in China and want to eat fresh lettuce/papaya/something exotic in January.

So Mr Turbot, you have had your 15mins of fame and a very interesting “what if” exercise it has been too. Yes we now realize how powerful nature is and how easily it can bring us into check. Now that that has been agreed can you please pop up to Iceland, earn your money and do whatever it is you do to shut the fucking thing up.

Whilst you are at it please set the timer for 200years until the next occurrence please. This should give us enough time to invent an instant transportation machine and allow us to blow raspberries in Mother Nature’s direction again next time she decides to have a go.

Thank you.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thieving Gypsy Bastards

Cocktails by the jug - a very British thing.

I have never seen Margaritas, Mojitos or Pina Coladas served in the 2 ltr measures anywhere else. Now I am sure the UK doesn't have a monopoly on such things but whenever I see them, I think of Britain.

Other than the obvious things like Pounds Stirling, shitty weather and the Queen there are a lot of other little things which remind me of home. My version of the UK is not a London, Eastenders version of Britain, it’s now not even a North of Scotland version, it's the Southern Scotland version and, given this is a personal thing, presumably mine and mine only.

My version has wrinkly old people, in walking gear fit for an Arctic expedition doddering through the park in search of a nice scone and a flavoured tea.

My version has the family Neanderthal dragging their knuckles as they sport the latest fashion direct from Ibrox. Father Neanderthal doesn't see the irony in having the word Carling stretched thin over his jellied torso. The kids, always boys, are shaven headed monsters and mum brings up the rear, perma-fag stuck to her lightly bearded lip.

My UK is outdoor heaters, fag butt piles, Bank of Scotland cash points (not ATMs), tracksuits everywhere, all day breakfasts, white trainers, sports bars done badly, stripy pole barber shops, great music, history, three cheese sandwiches and Regal King Size.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending 3 hours at Prestwick airport.

The low price gateway to Scotland and reciprocally the world, or at least an airport about 2 hours bus ride from the world. As I waited for check in to open I enjoyed a drink in the Yates bar and was pleasantly surprised to find all aspects of my version of Britain present. Cocktails were consumed by the jug, family Neanderthal ran riot next to the plasma screen, lager and sugar loaded drinks fuelling their anarchy.

The poor old couple were there, drinking tea and trying very hard to ignore the hen party going full throttle next to them but the Pièce de résistance was the outdoor smoking area - at an Airport.

You can tell you are at a low cost airline hub as you have to pay through the nose for everything and the sight of people emptying their suitcases to reduce the weight at check in is common place.

All airlines have weight and hand luggage policies but only Ryanair police it with vigour of an Israeli counter terrorist cell - they even have weighing scales as you board the plane for your hand luggage.

On board and on our way the warm experience continues. Being happy is optional for Ryanair staff and judging from my experience all had decided to opt out. They remind me of gypsies at a travelling fair - pissed off and looking for every opportunity to squeeze, steal or rip money off you. I sat rigid, in my wipe-clean plastic seat, with my hand firmly gripping my wallet for the duration.

We arrived on time, a fact which was proudly and very loudly announced throughout the cabin.

It was very, very, cheap, safe, on time and did exactly as advertised. They don't claim anywhere to offer an enjoyable flight so it really is my own fault for being disappointed when I didn't receive one.

I truly hope when people visit Scotland and decide to use Ryanair as their method of getting there they don't think that the airline or airport is representative of the country.

My advice – get as far away from the airport as possible, find a bar, drink 2 liters worth of Margaritas, smoke a fist full of Regal King Size and eat a three cheese sandwich.

Trust me if you do, Ryanair will fade away and Scotland will morph into the wonderful destination that it really is.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beam me up please

When you drive a car you can pretend you are James Bond.

If you take the train you can pretend you are James Bond and enjoy a martini, if you take your bike you're not James but at least you are healthy, if you take the bus, well lets ignore that option for now.

I am sure there was a time when flying was an 007 experience as well, a time when it was exclusive and expensive. You could breeze through the terminal, no security, terrorists couldn't afford to fly back then.

You would sit waiting for the flight to be called and have someone serve you things.

On board the experience would continue, a pretty young deferential stewardess would serve you a gin & tonic, hot food and after your meal you would walk to the bar, light up a cigarette and discuss the state of the empire with your fellow travelers.

Today the flying option is shit.

Yes it is very convenient, it can be very cheap and is probably the most efficient method to get from A-B but the experience from entering the terminal to exiting the other side is one which I would happily consign to the past, a Spanish inquisition or an hour with Jack Bauer.

If someone invents instantaneous travel I will be very happy. I will vote for him, I will happily pay her double, no triple, the current cost of the journey. I will make sure this person is knighted and will probably be found sporting a tattoo of his/her name on a very personal part of my body.

To say I would be happy would be an understatement.

Anyone who has seen the film The Fly will probably laugh and then in dark tones point out the risks of becoming part man/fly/pizza/whatever is sitting in my pod before I transport.

Humour me for a moment though and consider these two alternative scenarios:

The alarm sounds and you surface, softly, to feel the cool morning breeze on your toned muscled body. As you sit up and stretch, your wife stretches out a slender arm and strokes your back, her body is covered partially by the sheets. You stand up and she sits up revealing herself to you, smiling she sleepily whispers that she loves you then descends back to her sleep.

You shave quickly and easily, Gillette style and finish your morning routine quietly. A sharp shirt, suit and shoes and you are ready to go.

Before you do through you stop off at the kids room, you kiss your daughter and pull the blanket back over your son, smiling as you leave the room.

Downstairs you make and drink your espresso quickly as your meeting is starting in 10mins.
Ready to leave you pick up your briefcase and step into a cupboard next to the front door and exit the other side…in the Paris office.

Today's reality involves a 4am alarm call coupled with some seriously foul language from your wife. The razor hurts and cuts and the coffee machine is too noisy to use at such an ungodly hour.
The first train chugs its way slowly to the airport, they use the old rolling stock for this journey. The airport is busy and hot, security slow and intrusive – by the time you have reached the gate your perfectly pressed shirt is grimy and bunched up.

Even if you take off on time you are guaranteed a delay on arrival and after 20mins circling somewhere on the outskirts of Paris you land at Charles de Gaul airport where the real fun begins.

Somewhere between 1 and 2 hours after landing you walk into the office, dirty, tired, pissed off and wondering why the fuck we thought it was a good idea to liberate this country 65 years ago.

Which one would you prefer?

Now understand the second scenario is repeated thousands of times every single day - do you still consider me crazy?

Even when we overcome the fly issue there are still some minor laws of physics to overcome but surely if we can put a man on the moon……

I propose a solution:
Air travel is the biggest contributor to climate change.....probably. Divert all of the funds pouring into research for climate change into research towards instantaneous travel. With such focus from the worlds sharpest minds I have no doubt I will be zipping around Captain Kirk style in no time at all.

Not only will we remove a major contributor to pollution, allow millions of people to have a longer lie in and shave better but we will also put CDG out of business.

A definite win, win, win, win solution in my book.

Monday, March 29, 2010

University of Life

I washed my car today.

Properly washed it that is, with a bucket, sponge and some elbow grease. I cannot remember the last time I did this, I don't think I have ever done it to our current car. As I approached the poor thing it nervously eyed the alien-hose-thing as if I was about to subject it to a form of auto-enema.

So that's at least 3 years - probably much longer as I don't remember handing my old car back clean.

We, of course, do wash our car but this is normally performed at the filling station, once every 3 months, a Sunday afternoon, sat there, windows tight shut as program # 5 runs its course. The end result is the same - a clean car, but there is a certain satisfaction gained from doing it yourself. Can you remember the last time you exited a car wash, stopped, got out and stood there admiring the work of the robo-cleaning-garage thing?

It was this satisfaction which has lead me to the conclusion that I am slowly going soft.

My world is now so full of labour saving devices and people that I now don't have to worry about such trivial things as cleaning the car, ironing my shirts, cleaning the house, fixing the house, booking my travel, I even have a 6 month old who does my sleep for me. When was the last time you wrote a letter, by hand? Even writing a postcard is a pain, and there’s only 5cm² to fill in!

I finished my masters degree last year, a 3 year program and the climax of each year was a set of exams. Normally 3 hours in duration each and there was 5 exams a year. For the exam you are allowed to bring into the exam a pen and a calculator, nothing else.

Imagine if you will how terrifying a prospect this is - no spell check, no goal seek, nothing to refer to other than your brain. Believe me after 3 hours of writing my wrist ached like I was 13 years old again and I shudder to think what the marker thought of my writing or spelling.

Yes I am going soft.

Ok I accept I was never going to be a workhorse, Boxer from Animal Farm. Physically I was not built to toil the fields but I have done my share. It’s been a while though since I have sweated, through physical exertion, to earn my living.

Finance is not a career which requires much physical ability, it does require ability, but none that would help me should I find myself challenged to a wood chopping competition. No, finance requires other skills, number one being common sense.

Yes you need the qualifications.
Yes you need to understand the rules.
Yes you need to understand the regulations.
Yes you need to know the fundamentals.

But beyond this it is simple honest common sense.

We use lingo, acronyms and financial mazes to create a smarter-than-you smokescreen but blow it away and if you have good common sense and know the fundamentals its a fairly easy profession.

The University of Life folks will never know this though, it takes a bit of determination and wherewithal to find this out. That's a small hurdle to overcome to find this truth out and I would argue, brain surgeons, fighter pilots and grand master chess champions aside, that most professions are similar. Not all require qulifications but they all require common sense and hard work.

One day the our cover will be blown, everyone will jump on the bandwagon and salaries will fall through the floor. Until that time though, I will continue to earn my money avoiding calluses along the way and perhaps take up something more manly in my spare time – taekwondo?.

Or I might just wash the car more.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Won't Get Fooled Again

I was raised by a toothless bearded hag.

I was schooled with a strap right across my back.

But its aaaaaaall right now, in fact it's a gas.

Now that's how it should be, some steel in the spine, the Dunkirk spirit.

That's how empires were built, countries conquered, penal colonies established and Who wants to be a Millionaire? exported.

On one hand I read about the bravery being shown by the young men and women overseas and on the other I read about the winging and the militancy which is again raising its ugly head in the UK and I struggle reconcile the two.

If it didn't affect me directly I would probably have a more aggressive opinion on the whole thing, more Thatcherite in tone.

But as of today Sunday 21st March I still am not sure how I will return home next weekend and just want a resolution, whatever that is.

I am, as always, booked to travel with British Airways next weekend and in their infinite wisdom the Unite union have decide to strike this weekend and the next affecting mine and a lot of other peoples travel plans.

Just sort it out, please.

My childhood was spent in the 70`s and 80`s, two decades of intense militancy.
The teacher strikes and the miner strikes, two which I remember clearly but there were more, lots more. Everyone was striking, everyone had something to complain about, everyone was the victim of the management.

Two decades on thanks to Thatcher the British unions are a shadow of what they were 20 years ago but they can still be disruptive, even for a non-UK resident like myself.

But is there a place for a Union in today’s day and age? It will come as no surprise to you that I don't think so.

Working practices are not quite as Dickensian as they once were. Health and safety, minimum wages, working conditions are all covered by legislation and the Unions are now left arguing over the scraps of pay, conditions and trying to tell management how to run a business.

If BA wants to freeze pay, reduce services and costs then why is this anyone’s concern other than BAs? If the staff don't want to work under the new conditions they are free to seek other employment elsewhere – I am sure Ryanair or Easyjet will happily explain to them the realities of the world as it exists today.

Reciprocally, if they are in fact right and the services decline then customers will not hesitate in telling Willie Walsh and the rest of the management quickly and directly. Surely the fare paying customer are the ones to decide if they are right or wrong, not the Union?

In my right of center, private sector, management, humble opinion there is no place for a union in the modern world, none whatsoever. Thatcher for all her faults knew this and I concur.

“The staff and Union take no pleasure in this action” . This apparent somberness was notably absent when they voted to strike for 12 days over the Christmas period last year and the scenes of jubilation did nothing to further their cause. I shudder to think what would have occurred had they gone ahead with the proposed strike.

This time they have said that they will not strike over Easter, thanks a lot Unite.

Is the fact this is an election year and Unite are a major contributor to the Labour party a coincidence? I don't think so and am happy to see, at least in public, the government condemning the strike.

I would imagine behind the scenes they are getting their money’s worth from their “friends” in Westminster and this is what worries me about our current labour government. The radical left winger Michael Foot might have passed away recently but his politics still form the foundations of the current labour government. Like permafrost it remains and I see this current action as a last gasp attempt by the Unions to eek out something before it is too late.

Give it a few months and the political landscape will have changed dramatically.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Not this time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Help me I`m helpless

Charlie Chaplin entered a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like competition in Monte Carlo during the 20s….he finished third.

This was quoted to me in the context of being yourself. Crap huh?
Good story but as an analogy doesn't really work except for showing how stupid the French can be and like we really needed help figuring that one out.

Self help books are shit. Self indulgent, anti-climatic and a waste of time. I am old enough to have no shame in admitting I have, on occasion, dabbled in the solitary pursuit of happiness through an airport paperback over the years.

Double your income in a month!!!!
Who wouldn't be tempted, its only £7.99 and its an Airport Exclusive?

I know it's a slight diversion but I don't understand the term “Airport Exclusive”. Does that actually mean its only sold at airports? Why on earth would a publisher want to do that? The only logical reason is that the book is crap. So crap only a knackered, half drunk, business person staggering around an antiseptic, wipe clean environment bored out of their skulls would be even slightly attracted to its title.

Double your income in a month!!!
Yes please and before you know it you are £7.99 poorer. Slightly poorer yes, but very soon, a month to be precise, you will be much richer. You have the secret in your hand, the secret only airport people know about. It doesn't work for bus people, apparently.

The book is secreted away, hidden next to your porn mags and hemorrhoid cream as your late night flight is called. Somewhere between drinks being served and the 10min call is ping`d you quietly pull the book from your bag, carefully, so as not to attract your fellow passengers attention. It has a cheap printed feel, not quite the quality it appeared to have on the shelf but that doesn't matter given the inherent value contained within.

And here is the rub - what it contains. Precisely nothing, without even knowing if such a book exists I am sure it would contain nuggets along the lines of:

-Don't focus on money ­- focus on self happiness.
-There is power in positive thinking
-Get a job which pays twice your current salary in the next 30 days.


I guess the Secrets of finding the perfect man offers something along the lines of – look up Brad Pitt and make him fall in love with you. Perfect thank you.

I have a great idea which will make me trillions overnight. Start selling cars which fly, all I need to do is work out how to make a car fly and I am there, simple.

They are selling a lie, pure and simple - the Emperor has no clothes.

Its funny though, the act of purchasing the book is therapeutic in itself. I am going to take charge of my roadcrash life and turn it around thanks to this purchase – reading it and adopting the intrusive steps is never going to happen - it's the intent behind the purchase. Same as buying a gym membership.

I am going to make a million overnight. No need for a book to help me with this, no need for clever metaphors, analogies or tenuously linked anecdotes.

I am going to start printing laminated cards (Posi-cards ©) with good positive statements of intent on them and sell them at airports, bus stations, divorce courts, outside fancy gyms or at weight watcher meetings.

Every time you start feeling down, just quietly take your card out, read it, agree with it and you will instantly feel better.

You will still be fat, poor, ugly, have a small penis, shit car or be a crap lover but you now plan to do something about it.

All this happiness and only for the exclusive, bargain price of £4.99.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Brass Eye

So Geert Wilders will arrive in the UK tomorrow.

I look forward to hearing the condemnation coming from every major political party. Each will line up in order of their electability to distance themselves from his views. Each will denounce him and throw as much mud as it takes to ensure none of his "offensive" utterings land anywhere near them.

Good Lord it is after all an election year remember.

He should be banned from the UK.
He should not be given any right to speak in this country.
He should be burned at the stake!
He should get a haircut.

Should he?

Yes on the haircut front definitely, only Boris Johnson is more in need of a makeover but like Boris his soundbites are certainly worth a listen.

He has publically compared the Koran to Mein Kampf.

He has said that Islam is the Trojan horse of Europe.

He has commissioned and published a film, “Fitna” which suggests that the Koran motivates its followers to among other things - acts of terrorism, antisemitism, violence against women, violence and subjegation of infidels and against homosexuals and Islamic universalism.

Ok so most of us would agree his politics are questionable to say the lease and he probably has some form of deathwish but it doesent disguise the fact he is an elected member of parliament from a bona-fide card carrying European union member.

Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak without censorship and/or limitation so why wouldn't this apply to Geert?

Could it be because of his views on Islam?

Have a read of his speech against the PVDA the Dutch Labour party and then tell me you don't start warming to this man.

If I didnt know any better I would believe he was a character from Brass Eye but he is not, he is actually real

Now why couldnt our own version, Nick Griffin, be more like Geert?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Great Expectations

John McEnroe made good television.

The man we loved to hate, an American spoiled brat with a stupid perm and eye wateringly tight shorts.

Nowadays John would not exist, in the modern game of tennis that is - he does of course still exist.

The John of old would simply challenge and the marvelous Hawkeye would confirm or deny his crybaby outbursts. As much as we loved Johns whining the invention of Hawkeye must go down as one of the best sporting inventions since woman’s beach volleyball. Players have three challenges, use them wisely, and that's that, stop dripping about it and get on and play – perfect if you love tennis.

Some years ago I watched a regional news bulletin and there was a piece about inventers of Hawkeye, who were at the time a bunch of spotty students. They were putting the finishing touches to their invention before approaching the various sporting bodies. I clearly remember remarking at the time that it was a great idea and am sure those spotty students are now being well rewarded for their innovation.

Googling “top 10 great inventions” brings up 1.5million results.
There are a lot of top 10 invention lists out there but they generally contain at least the Telephone, TV, Penicillin, Steam engine and the wheel, which is un-credited, along with fire I would imagine.

All of these are good but if you are looking for that eureka, make a million overnight, moment you probably need to look elsewhere for inspiration. Running down the list they all required a lot of hard work, a sprinkling of luck, a couple of bucket loads of intelligence and more importantly a lifetime of determination.

Google isn’t anywhere to be seen, in fact the most recent addition to the top ten was first invented in 1936.

Alternatively try Googling “how to make a million fast” and you will find 52 million answers. Without even looking I can bet you that none will say develop software which will assist an umpire in disputed calls.

Having browsed the results I can safely tell you they are all shit, or shite depending which side of the border you are reading this from. Granted I only looked at 5 but am assuming the other 51,999,995 were similar. Either way I am no richer having spent 5 mins browsing through the answers. 52 million seems did seem high so as a control I tried Googling “Sex” - clearly Sir Tim Berners-Lee didn't really think his invention through before gifting it to humanity.

516million if you are interested.

None of this has helped me in my invent something and make money from it search.

Generally speaking I have my best ideas as I drift off to sleep or when I am drunk.

The major problem with the first fleeting creative period is it is normally followed by 8 hours of more creativity, during which I save the world, become James Bond and get chased by a strange orange ball, all conspiring to overshadow the real brilliant innovation.
On the odd occasion I have actually woken up to write down my brilliance it somehow changes from a Hawkeye idea into a invent an alternative fuel source idea by the morning and I am back to square one.

The drunken ideas come to me and then normally disappear into a memory black hole As a side note I can attest that there is not much money to be made from being a singer sporting the latest line in Police cones on your head.

Apart from these instances I thankfully haven’t had a Jerry McGuire moment and decided to act upon my epiphany there and then as I tend to find the sober cold light of day is rather good at giving perspective. Unfortunately this same cold light of day hasn't let me act on any of my world changing ideas so far.

I guess as I fast approach 40 I should either decide to split the atom, invent a new fuel, take on Google or, as a fall back solution, knuckle down and try to earn a living in Finance.

A backup career as my father would put it, one to revert to if the worst comes to the worst and my glittering professional footballing career doesn't work out.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Greed is good

I have just finished watching a documentary about the internet.

Very good - I particularly liked the piece which delved into its humble beginnings. Like a lot of inventions it's the story of a world changing event which at the time is little more than a solution to an annoying problem in the office.

I have lots of annoying problems in my office, mostly related to the expectation that I actually do something whilst I am there. I am currently working on some simple solutions to that particular issue, mostly focusing on persuading someone else to do it but given the terms empowerment and delegation have already been invented I need to be more creative if I am to benefit from it financially.

What’s not to like about Sir Tim Berners-Lee though? He excels in good old fashioned British understatement, has a radio 4 voice and basically gave the internet to the world for free.

Yes - for free! For the good of mankind apparently.

Not sure I would have done that, but you have to doff your hat to someone who would.

Bill Gates is the same.
I spent most of the 90s cursing him on a daily basis. He was the fucking specky twat who invented the piece of shit which kept crashing whenever I wanted to save the hours work I had just completed. To rub salt into my seeping MS inflicted wounds he is also pot ugly, richer than anyone on the planet and could do pretty much anything he liked.

Very easy to dislike and then he goes and spoils it all by announcing he was going to give all his money away. Not only does he announce it – he does it.

Saying something and actually doing what you say are two totally different things - suddenly it becomes difficult to keep hurling abuse at him as he single handedly starts to cure Africa.

Who else? ………David Beckham - Twat, stupid voice, emaciated wife but still its very difficult to find fault. Yes he is a celebrity, yes his choice of spouse is extremely ill advised and yes he talks like a girl. However his work ethic, his determination and his down to earth attitude makes it, again, very difficult to actually dislike the man.

I don't want to like everyone - where’s the fun in that?

I, like a lot of people, have an inherent distrust of success but when that success is combined with what appears to be a decent person I start to get confused.

It’s not possible to be nice and successful – is it?

Tim Berners-Lee earned a knighthood for his idealism. Bill Gates is already on the road to canonization. David Beckham will most likely become prime minister. Gordon Gekko the CFO of Oxfam.

Who are we left with?

Answers on a postcard please.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thick or what?

I have a reading problem.

It only becomes apparent when reading certain things, a good example comes from the BBC website today:

“Dr Glenzer said that experiments using slightly larger hohlraums with fusion-ready fuel pellets - including a mix of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium as well as tritium - should begin before May, slowly ramping up to the 1.2 megajoule mark”

The reason this is troubling, is not because I have any aversion to megajoules or have a allergic reaction every time I am in the company of a hohlraums. No this is troubling because no matter how many times I read this I still cannot fathom what on earth it is telling me.

It could be something extremely important, something dramatic. The mix of deuterium and hydrogen could offer me everlasting life or alternatively kill me instantly. It could also be something, somewhere in between.

The point is I simply don't know.

I read the paragraph and it hurts my eyes as my brain sees a word, it doesn't register in my, albeit limited, data bank, it tries again, moves on, goes back, tries again and then gives up. Every incomprehensible word is blanked out leaving me with another, shorter, unintelligible paragraph.

Dimensions are another problem for me.

The first 3 are ok, I get them:
Move up one to the 4th dimension – time – and I am still ok. It's a struggle but I sort of get it.

Move up one more and my brain starts seeking out the easy words.

“In physics, the fifth dimension is a hypothetical extra dimension beyond the usual three spatial dimensions and one time dimension of Relativity. The Kaluza-Klein theory used the fifth dimension to unify gravity with the electromagnetic force.”

So that's the 5th dimension – something which unifies gravity with the electromagnetic force – simple.

And it goes on, apparently all the way up to 11 and I challenge anyone out there, anyone, with the exception of someone with a name like Kaluza, to explain them to me in a way which I will understand.

Personally I think its crap, made up crap at that. I bet there is no one called Kaluza and even if there is how can they say – “up to 11” surely they either know how many there are or not, up to 11 is a bit too vague. Why don't they just say there is up to 375, it would make no difference, at least to me.

My February resolution is to not try and understand, like I avoid thinking about infinity, space and why are we here. I will leave that to the theoretical physicists and hippies.

Actually thinking about it, being a theoretical physicist must be very easy. Just think of something, say space worm holes. Explain using a piece of paper that you just fold space like this and hey presto they “might” exist. No need to prove it exactly how someone might achieve the simple act of folding space. Theoretically it just might exist or be possible. Instant travel to Australia is possible all we need to do is squash the earth so thin that we can burrow our way there instantly.
All we need to do is solve the small problem of squashing the earth.

I have just changed my February resolution.

I am going to become a theoretical CFO of a FTSE100 company, a theoretical premier league football player or a theoretical super cool guy.

Stephen Hawking - pah, he`s just a day dreaming fraud.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cold Showers and Bromide

Sex addiction?

What exactly is that? It sounds like a disease, something which one suffers from, something which is out of your own control where sufferers are victims.

Apparently Tiger Woods is being treated for sex addiction, poor soul. I guess we non-sufferers should have some sympathy for a man who’s fall from grace has been nothing short of spectacular. His income generating ability is a fraction of what it was 6 months ago as sponsors won’t touch him with a shitty stick and his wife is battering him with one.

All this because of a disease.

Of course its bollocks, we all know that. Here is a man who could have everything and anything and at some stage he must have thought the cloak of invincibility had been draped over his shoulders and decided that everything actually meant everything.

Do happily married, monogamous people catch sex addiction? Probably not.

But more importantly – I want to know how its treated.

There are one or two websites devoted to the act of sex and having spent many, many, hours researching them all I find myself not much wiser but a certainly more short-sighted. I am also an expert on clearing temporary internet files.

Seriously I have no idea.

I would imagine, they will check in to the clinic somewhere in Beverly Hills, wave goodbye to their, soon to be estranged, wives and have a couple of weeks of bromide and cold showers.

Or, more realistically, check in, wave goodbye and then agree the story to tell the wives with the owners, pay a huge fee for this and spend a week or so doing whatever the hell they like.

Either way – I couldn't give two hoots what Tiger gets up to. I don't shave with Gillette, employ any Accenture consultants or use AT&T to make calls and this isn’t going to change depending on who the Tiger is fucking or not. I do think that dropping him so quickly is perhaps a little knee jerk, he is generating more news now than he has ever done.

I`m not sure but I don't think any man would be buying their razors based on the fidelity of the man on the screen, I would go as far as to suggest that these recent events might have a positive impact on razor blade sales.

Without condoning his public infidelity and apart from the obvious schadenfreude opportunity I am secretly happy the Tiger has fallen.

I don't want my world populated by saints - I like the George Best`s, Ollie Reed`s and Kim Jong Il`s of this world. It makes it more interesting but then again I don't live in North Korea.

Ultimately Tiger has been caught with his pants down and as everyone knows to err is human.

The question is: are his wife, his sponsors or the razor blade buying public divine?

Friday, January 8, 2010


For the Swiss Family Shanks it arrived without much fanfare, a 3month old baby tends to subdue your appetite for a party.

10 years ago though we drank, we sang and waited with baited breath for the toasters to attack and planes to fall out of the sky. With retrospect it might sound melodramatic but back then I would rather have faced an angry Somalian wielding a machete, with a hangover having just heard a rumour that I had buggered his wife than be sat on a plane as the clocks moved over into the new millennium.

We took the millennium bug seriously, very seriously indeed.

The noughties have passed in a blink of an eye.
Granted it was a very long blink but for me the fact that a whole ten years have passed since I stood there staring blurry eyed at the rainy Glasgow sky spotted with fireworks is simply incredible. If I list everything that has passed through my life it sort of adds up, the life changes which have occurred to me, the career achievements and failures, the children, the travel, the friends found and lost - I found my soul mate in the Noughties.

Still it’s gone fast.

I do hate the name the “Noughties” though, sounds like a kids’ TV show, why not the "Two thousands, or the “Twentyhundrends”? What did the people call the years 1900 – 1909? Probably nothing. I believe it is a relatively modern phenomena to give a decade a label, I am guessing this annoying trend stems from the sixties and the baby boomer`s desire to give that special decade a label and a cute habit was formed. We do like to label things now though. A good example of this is the flurry of “new” diseases which have magically appeared in the noughties which simply did not exist before - even in the 1990s. Bipolar disorder, MRSA, Swine Flu, Bird Flu to name just four of these "so called diseases".

I can’t remember anyone calling in sick during the 90s with Swine Flu can you? No of course not. Back then we simply had a cup of tea, or took an E and got on with whatever we were getting on with. I accept if it was the E then it probably wasn't very productive, but we definitely had a smile on our face and there was no complaining.

Does this mean we have become softer in the last ten or so years?

Judging by the way the UK is bravely coping with the current inclement weather, probably. This is the country which gave the world Churchill, Nelson, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, John Lennon, The Raj, America, William Wallace, football, tennis and cricket. We conquered, we defeated, we led, we stole, we built ships, we invented cities, the telephone, TV and penicillin.

We have become an anaesthetized shadow of our former selves, closer resembling our Gallic neighbours than the generation of our grandparents.

The solution?

Drag ourselves up out of our sickly bedshed beds, stop trying to capture nostalgia, drive to the pub regardless of the weather and do what we do best: have a drink or six and start a fight with someone.