Finally, a portmanteau I can believe in

I recently became a father again. Unbelievably, given that I’m a bit of a dickhead who tends to stumble through each day, I am now a father to two boys, tasked with keeping them alive and raising them to be kind, loving, thoughtful, intelligent, confident and empathetic human beings. It’s a truly daunting prospect.

Continue reading…

The Oreos incident

The other day, my wife and I were at the park with our three-year-old son. He was playing on the swings and I was doing that thing that dads do, where I positioned myself directly in the way of his ascent so that he could kick me up the bum in a slapstick comedy style. After every carefully choreographed impact, I would then express Widow Twankey-levels of shock and surprise that even a pantomime director would ask me to significantly tone down. Still, it was a routine that was delivering lots of giggles, which is better than any drug in the world. (I had a toke on someone’s spliff at the Reading ‘95 festival and then had to spend a couple of hours pretending that I found fruit hilarious – so it’s definitely better than that.)

Continue reading…

Sacrificial offerings to the giant pig god

My wife and I recently went on a train journey to take my two-year-old son to see Peppa Pig and George, courtesy of my very lovely and thoughtful mother-in-law. As I’m now a father, this is how I occasionally spend my time.

Our journey began at Kidderminster Severn Valley Railway station, where we immediately joined the end of a long queue of families. “Hell is other people,” as Jean-Paul Sartre once said, which is why, despite the quaintness of the station, it’s how I imagine Brief Encounter would’ve looked if it had been produced by the Channel 5 documentary team behind the series Neighbours from Hell, High on Spice, Hacked Down My Conifers.

Continue reading…

A dispatch from my safe space

I hate all this bollocks about ‘safe spaces’, as if the very notion of having somewhere you can go to be content and happy, largely insulated from the hate, fear and bullshit of the world, is somehow indicative of weakness or timidity, or an unwillingness to engage. “Get back to your safe space, snowflake!” seems to be the insult du jour on social media at the moment – often, but not exclusively, used by emboldened right-wingers (let’s call them ‘red caps’) who just love snappy slogans (Take back control! MAGA!). However, it completely loses its impact if, like me, you think of it merely as a kind-hearted suggestion. “Get back to my safe space? Thanks, I will! It’s cosy there and we have Hobnobs.”

Continue reading…

I worry…a lot

I worry. I worry about lots of things. Only a couple of weeks ago, I cheerfully said “white rabbit!” to welcome in the new month, before blowing off loudly in the confines of my shower. I then started to overthink the consequences of my actions, speculating that the black squares of misery and misfortune on the Gods’ chessboard might be reserved solely for the flatulent and disrespectful. Is that bad luck, I thought? Has my farty observance of this superstitious ritual now cursed November? Should I apologise and repeat the saying… or will my repeating it only serve to amplify the bad luck that will likely befall me this month?

Continue reading…

I have a son…and I’m writing about it. Sorry.

You have to believe me: I never planned to write anything about becoming a father. I’ve written the obligatory Facebook post, in which I efficiently announced my son’s arrival and immediate retirement from social media, but I didn’t want to dribble on about it too much. It was my brother-in-law’s recent admission that he can’t remember anything about the very early months of his sons’ lives that prompted me to scribble down some thoughts. Both he and my sister claimed that these first few gruelling weeks of fatherhood will eventually be purged from my mind to make the thought of having a second child seem like a good idea. So I’m writing this now before the last few weeks of my life disappear down the memory hole.

So here’s the abridged version from the beginning.

Continue reading…