Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of Anxiety Over Social Distancing)

Award-winning playwright and novelist Marsha Norman once said: “Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.” If that’s true, then my book is destined for an inconspicuous bargain stand in WHSmith, clumsily stacked next to some shop-soiled Toffee Crisp and a collection of incongruous 10p advent calendars.

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This pandemic is killing my cynicism

I’ve cried a lot recently (more so than normal). While driving to work one morning in the week before lockdown, I welled up listening to The Leisure Society’s ‘The Last of the Melting Snow’. There’s nothing particularly unusual about that – plenty of songs get me in the throat – but it’s the fact that I was sobbing uncontrollably even when the song had finished. Inconsolable at the wheel and completely overwhelmed by the creeping, all-consuming nightmare of a deadly pandemic. Yesterday, I cried at the kitchen sink listening to the The Smiths’ ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’. If we’re in this for the long haul, I may cry myself to the point where my entire body becomes as withered, cracked, and desiccated as my excessively washed hands.

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Teenage Brexit Fanclub: The Grant sisters one year on

When I eventually call time on this blog and reflect on the fine body of work I have produced over the years, I will likely have to conclude that it wasn’t my writing about gardening, Peppa Pig, or moronic YouTube vloggers that proved popular; it was two posh, pro-Brexit sisters from Kensington that drew thousands of visitors to my humble little corner of the Internet.

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WAR IS OVER! If You Want It

In the 1994 ‘Itchy & Scratchy Land’ episode of The Simpsons, Homer and Marge visit T.G.I. McScratchy’s Goodtime Fooddrinkery, where it’s constantly New Year’s Eve. “It must be wonderful to ring in the New Year over and over, and over,” Marge says to a glum-looking waiter, as a live band plays Auld Lang Syne for the umpteenth time. “Please, kill me,” he replies.

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Content

A friend once described me as a “Premier League raconteur”, which, to this day, is the best compliment anyone’s ever bestowed on me (even if not entirely true). Anyway here’s a self-deprecating little anecdote about a terrible moment in my life that I’m not proud of, and for which you should definitely judge me. I have nothing else to write about right now, so this is just meaningless ‘content’.

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We’re all fucked

It’s just over a week since the General Election result cemented our darkest fears, which saw unkempt pathological liar Boris™ returned to Downing Street as the country’s Supreme Leader. A whole week since I drove to work in oppressive silence, unable to bear the sound of gloating Tory Brexiters congaing through the Today programme’s studio.

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It’s the not knowing

I’ve never really had many hobbies. As a young boy in the early 80s, I tended to adopt pastimes that had the potential to permanently enshrine my virginity. For instance, I collected matchbox covers for a short while, which I arranged in a scrapbook according to their country of origin. I also collected beer mats, which my grandad used to pick up for me from the local Legion. It was oddly exciting to be presented with a pristine Babycham mat, or a slightly damp and dog-eared one featuring Hofmeister’s George the Bear, scooped off a pub table through a puddle of spilled bitter and Cinzano. By the time my interest in beer mats waned, I probably had enough for an exhibition at the V&A.

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A tweed-cloaked vampire

A couple of months ago, Campaign magazine featured frog-faced demagogue Nigel Farage on the front cover of their ‘Love & Hate’ issue. They used Charlie Clift’s portrait of the Brexit Party dictator, which shows the smirking scourge of ‘the elite’ in a pinstripe suit, sporting £200 cufflinks, drawing on a £20 Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial Cigar. That Farage has managed to portray himself as a non-elite – fighting for “good, ordinary, decent folk” – is a unique ‘brand’ of deception in itself.

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From Bing to the Black Death

I have various recollections of being genuinely scared by things when I was a child. After seeing Jaws on TV in 1981, I remember leaping from the bedroom door to the safety of my bed – pronking like a springbok – because in my seven-year-old mind, the blue carpet was ‘the sea’. (And Quint’s gruesome death has always stayed with me.)

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