One of my biggest fears in life, outside of a nuclear war or losing my children to illness, is failing. In fact, my fear of failure is so acute and all-pervading that it’s held me back most of my adult life. I tend to cling to my comfort zone where it’s safe, and I can do things moderately well. I rarely, if ever, raise my head above the parapet and have never really been inclined to challenge myself. To do so is to flirt with failure. In the words of Homer Simpson, when offering advice and reassurance to Bart and Lisa: “Kids, you tried your best…and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.”
I pretty much live by these words.
Continue reading “Creating content for the Great Internet Toilet in the Sky”
These days, you can’t claim to have truly honoured the fallen unless you’ve had a poppy-adorned howitzer on display outside your bungalow since at least early October. And you’re rightly smeared as despicable and unpatriotic – unworthy of enjoying the dwindling freedoms our military heroes fought to preserve – if you haven’t scattered a load of limbless mannequins on your front lawn to add that special something to your DIY Somme ahead of Remembrance Sunday (a scene of unsettling thousand-yard stares because they’ve seen some shit in TK Maxx). Is your poppy smaller than a standard hubcap? Well, fuck you if it is!
Continue reading “Are you Remembrancing properly?”
On Sunday, I endured possibly my most miserable day on Twitter in 12 years. Why? Because I foolishly responded to a Twitter poll about face masks (“How will you feel about going into shops and on public transport after 19 July if the requirement to wear masks is removed?”). Using my son’s nursery as a microcosmic example – where parents were informed several weeks ago that masks are no longer required during drop-off and pick-up – I replied to the tweet, saying that I have continued to wear my mask regardless. For my trouble, I got pilloried for the best part of a day.
Continue reading “They walk among us”
When I was 11, my first job was a paper round at the local newsagents. I was given the Tudor Avenue round, a road lined with 1930s semis with mock Tudor frontages, which stretched out into the distance like a vast runaway. I got £10 a week for my efforts, which seemed like a small fortune at the time (and kept me in Spectrum computer games for a good 18 months or so).
Continue reading “A belated Father’s Day piece about my dad”
I say this most begrudgingly, but you’ve almost got to hand it to those on the right: they’re pretty good at what they do. And by that, I mean they’re very good at poisoning the well.
Continue reading “Poisoning the well”
There’s an old YouTube video of a festival-goer wandering out of a portaloo while a Dutch TV crew are filming the facilities, who then proceeds to wash his hands in a fetid urinal. As if hallucinating a crystal clear babbling brook and snow-white bar of Dove, he picks up a urinal cake from one end of the trough then shuffles down to the other end where the piss is more plentiful, swishing his hands around in the frothy, citrine shallows. But as he rubs the deoderising block between his palms, he slowly catches on. “This isn’t a urinal, is it?” he asks the Haarlem105 TV presenter. “I think it is, man,” she regretfully informs him.
Continue reading “Stop talking Britain down? Seriously, how do we talk this place UP right now?”
For my son’s 6th birthday, we bought him Minecraft for the PS4. As he’d been spending a lot of time watching gamers playing it on YouTube Kids, we thought he might like to experience the game for himself rather than just passively watching other people. I had always thought of it as “that stupid game with the blocks”, which now feels like a terribly unfair and disparaging comment, especially when it pops into my head in the wee small hours while I’m branch mining with an enchanted pickaxe, as my dry, unblinking eyes scan subterranean tunnels for rich seams of diamond, emerald, lapis lazuli and redstone.
Continue reading “Daddyopolis”
The first time I watched The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington, it took me much longer than the 132 minute runtime to get through it. The reason was that I kept rewatching the bit where Denzel’s character, Robert McCall, effortlessly takes down a room full of Russian Mafiosi in just 28 seconds, leaving a trail of broken, bloodied bodies in his wake.
Continue reading “Beware: spoilers”
I’m new to running. I’ve obviously run at times in my life – to catch a departing train, for instance, or escape a persistent wasp. Also, my tardiness has occasionally forced me into a frantic dash across campus to attend a meeting, where I’ve strived to achieve a fashionably late arrival, albeit as a sweaty, breathless, dishevelled, shambles of a man. But actual running, for fitness, on a regular basis, never.
Continue reading “The paunch of shame”
Recently, late at night, as my wife and I peel ourselves from the sofa to clear away our empty gin glasses and extinguish the Christmas tree fairy lights (by wildly jabbing at an inaccessible switch with a mop) one of us will grumpily exclaim: “Oh God. What the fuck are we going to do with Larry?”
Continue reading “What about Larry?”