Saturday, September 29, 2007

Where Everybody Knows Your Name.

I am outside a university library. It is more years ago than I care to remember. I'm 20.

I am sharing a cigarette in a world-weary-student-with-the-weight-of-the-world-on-his-shoulders-goodness-me-it's-a-hard-life-all-this-studying-cultural-theory-AND-'real'-books-at-the-same-time manner with Best Friend. (He remained Best Friend even after drunkenly informing me that if he absolutely had to fuck a man, I would be his first choice. We pretended he hadn't said anything.)

Best Friend: You know 'Cheers'?

Me: Mmm.

BF: You know the song at the start?

Me: Has a sort of world-weary charm but is otherwise shit.

BF: Yeah. But. That bit. 'Sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name'?

Me: Ok.

BF: Fuck me can you think of anything worse?

Me: Em.

BF: Honestly. Where EVERYONE knows you.

I think for a bit, and try to ignore the fact that Best Friend always leaves an unneccesaryly large amount of saliva on the cigarette-butt when he hands it back to me.

I love the city we live in. And the best thing is that, it being a city, you can conduct your day unmolested by people you vaguely know asking after 'Dave' when you have no idea who 'Dave' is. Anonymity is a powerful friend. He's quite right. EVERYBODY knowing you is DREADFUL.

Me: Ok.

BF: Like Sartre said-

Me: Oh for FUCK'S SAKE.

BF: 'Hell is other people.'

Me: Why am I even mates with you?

BF: Christ. We are SUCH students.

Me: I know. Lets get out of here and hang about in absurdly rough pubs.

BF: Ok. Look, that thing I said the other night-

Me: Rough pub. Now. And let's not get almost killed this time because you insist upon quoting Kierkegaard to strangers. Christ. I wish I'd learnt a trade.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

House Move.

It’s a pain isn’t it?

I remember once.

I was 21. My lease had run out and, being 21, I hadn’t arranged anything else.


A guy at work was called Vaughn. But insisted upon spelling it ‘Voign’.

Bit odd. Whatever.

‘I’ve got a spare room at my place.’ He cheerfully said.

Perfect. Somewhere to live, not much money. Great.

We later discovered -at work- that according to his National Insurance details his name was Gary.

Again. Whatever.

I go to see his house. And his spare room.

‘I must warn you,’ he says, before he opens the door of the spare room, ‘I’ve been doing some extra work from home so it won’t look like this when you move in.’

He opens the door.

I am faced with a very large poster.


Who appears to have shares in Baby Oil due to the amount on him.


That seems to be the focal point of this portrait.

I can only assume that he was in a very warm location when the photograph was taken. Or that he was one of God’s favourite boys.

I am slightly taken aback.

Glancing around, I notice many other posters. There seems to be a common theme.

From what I can see, not only were these other photographs taken in a very WARM environment, they were also taken in a very stimulating one.

Me: Em.

V: What do you think about the room then?

I’m still trying to figure this out.

There are lots of scented candles around. And a little shelf with lots of bottles on it. They appear to be oils of some sort.

Me: Em.

I was a young man. That was a lot of big cocks – many of which were angry – to be confronting a gentleman of my tender years with.

V: Oh. Yeah. You know. I do a bit of ‘massage’ in the evenings. To make ends meet. You know. In here. But not when you’re around of course. If you moved in.

Me: Em.

V: So what do you think.

Me: Seriously?

V: Well. Yes.

Me: I’ve got some other places to look at. I’ll let you know.

He was fired the next week.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Love You As Much As……

The odd thing about American drama series is that any scene set in a gentleman’s lavatory – usually in a place of work – involves an unfeasibly attractive gentleman walking into the lavatory purely to wash his hands. What is this? Or, in times of extreme stress, to splash some water on his face. It seems that Americans do not urinate. Or say ‘goodbye’ before hanging-up a telephone.


I walk into the gentleman’s lavatory of my place of work.

I need to wash my hands.

Whilst yanking paper-towels from the dispenser in a hugely devil-may-care masculine manner like that bloke who looked like a darts player in NYPD Blue, I notice that a conversation is taking place. In the Gents.

I look around. I am the only person here, save for an apparent occupant of one of the stalls, the door of which is shut.

Fuck me. He’s got another fella in there. They’re having a chat.

No. It quickly becomes apparent that the conversation is one-sided.

Unknown Gentleman: Yeah yeah I hear you but it’s all so deadline-sensitive I CAN’T just leave it. You know? It’s now or the whole thing’s blown.

I am astounded. Mobile-phone conversations are frowned-upon within the confines of the office (this is England after all, where we have perfectly good phones with wires, and if you want to talk on a phone that doesn’t have wires – like some sort of degenerate - then maybe this isn’t the place for you. Well. That seems to be the policy at my company. I’m not sure I disagree) but he could have gone outside. No need to lock yourself in a toilet cubicle.

There is the unmistakeable rattle of a toilet-roll in its industrial-quality dispenser.

Oh. Oh dear. He’s not just having a conversation.

UG: Thing is, cut-off point is today. That’s it. Or it doesn’t happen. You know how it is.

There is an additional rustle. Not of tissue. This sounds more heavy-weight.

He’s reading a fucking newspaper.

And they say men can’t multi-task.

Whilst admiring this man’s time-management skills (and whilst lurking in a public lavatory without legitimate reason) I am slightly appalled. Surely this was not the ubermensch Nietzsche had in mind?

UG: Sweetheart I know. I KNOW. But he’s just teething. HE IS. No. I’m not saying this is more important than our son. But you know he’s getting a sore tum and a temp because … ok OK. I’ll be home on time. Well. Maybe seven-ish. NO, what I do for a living is not more important. I mean, it IS important, what I do IS important and ……. Right. RIGHT. Look, I’m not arguing……

I decide to leave. I’ve been drying my hands for more time is necessary and I also feel as if I am now intruding on a family dispute. In an office lavatory. Which is a first.

The gist of the whole conversation seemed to be:

‘Sweetheart, I love you and our family. It’s all as equally important to me as reading the paper.’

‘In fact, a conversation with the mother of my children is as important to me as having a shit.’

Sunday, September 02, 2007


It’s not a great word is it? Even ‘nigger’ has been appropriated by the recipient and turned against the aggressor, but this one still languishes in the hands of Dire Straits circa whenever with a mention in Money For Nothing. That no-one has yet to take offensive to.

‘Queer’ is fine because there are real academic textbooks on the subject and that. They happily use the word. It has been sanitised by universities and a guest appearance by Keith Chegwin on an underwhelming sitcom.

So this is an odd one.

I am outside my place of work. It is quarter to nine in the morning.

Present are Very Dry Colleague and Lovely But Stupid Colleague.

VDC: What do you make of that then?

He nods toward one of those huge Jeep things. Whilst my office building houses 1000 employees, we have no parking and are located on an exciting city-centre back-street where you will be killed of a Friday night. (This is true. It happened last week. No-one I knew so fuck them.)

I look at the Jeep, surprised that it is not the usual Aston Martin that is parked there. Whatever. A very large, very well-muscled man (he does own a Jeep after all) is loading some things into it.

Me: Mmmm.

LBSC: Look at the licence plate!

Ah. It is personalised. This used to be an indication of untold riches, but when you see people driving fucking fifteen-year-old Fiats with such plates it stops being a big deal and just makes you a wanker.

But this one is a thinker.


We’ve a few minutes before we have to work. We discuss the various scenarios.


Guy walks into License Plate Emporium.

Employee: What can I do you for?

Guy: Well. All my friends say I’m a really cool dude. Do you have one that says COOL DUD3 or something?

Employee: No. We’ve got one that spells ‘faggot’.

Guy: That’ll do. Wrap it up.


Guy walks into License Plate Emporium.

Employee: What can I do you for?

Guy: I am such a faggot.

Employee: Erm?

Guy: Yeah. You know? I’ve got loads of money despite being not too sharp, and all my clever friends tell me that being a ‘faggot’ is just the absolute best. Sort me out.

Employee: Cash or card?


Guy walks into Licence Plate Emporium.

Employee: What can I do you for?

Guy: I fucking love it up the arse. What’ve you got?


Guy walks into Licence Plate Emporium.

Employee: What can I do you for?

Guy: They’re all fucking faggots.

Employee: Erm. Who?

Guy: Everyone on the road but me. I am so heterosexual in my driving technique it is unbelievable, and I want everyone else to know how homosexual their driving skills are in comparison. I am all Man. See my driving if you have any doubts. Really aggressive. Totally manly. That thing with Dominic in high-school was just a phase. Bit of an experiment. He was into it, I wasn’t. There’s nothing FUNNY about me. But there’ll all queers. Bunch of faggots. All looking at me like I’m some sort of Homo. I’ve a good mind to shove my cock up their arses just to teach them a lesson.

Anyway. Some sort of plate telling people they’re faggots. Compared with my brilliant manly driving. You know. ‘Cos I’m the driver usually. I mean. Not like that. I hate men. They’re all gay. They can suck me off.

Employee: Just buy it.

Anyway. We run out of ideas.

Lovely But Stupid Colleague
: The funny thing is, he doesn’t even look very gay.

Me: What do you mean?

LBSC: Well. He doesn’t look like you.

Me: Fuck off. What do you mean?

LBSC: Well. He’s really big. And muscled and that. Really big. He doesn’t look gay. He’s BIG.

Very Dry Colleague: I’m not an expert on the subject, but I don’t think the Registrar of Homosexuality has an upper-body size limit.

Lovely But Stupid Colleague: So you don’t think he’s gay then? Really? What would this Registry say about his plate? Is that not wrong?

Me: Fuck me.

VDC: I have to get to work.

Me: Me too. Christ.
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