Monday, 28 February 2011

Both Feet in Hell.

I'm cocky now. Conquering the sea has turned me into an even bigger egomaniac than I already was. I am scared of the sea yet I went for a swim, but worrying about Jaws getting me isn't my only phobia. I can't bear the thought of anyone ever seeing my feet and I'm too selfconcious to display my torso in public. My feet basically look like they have been shot dead and my body is...different. Unique. Fucking horrible. But since the day I dipped my dead and bloodied toe into the Andaman Sea I've decided that anything goes. The fact that I look like a big mess is your eyes problem not mine. Children may scream but I have every right to wear flip-flops if I fancy it. Grown men might die from shitting out their internal organs but if I want to walk around shirtless, like so many dicks before me, then I shall. I'm bringing sickly back.

Walking barechested around the Patong Beach area of Phuket was actually easy. Despite my many deformities I was still one of the prettiest there. When I think of Phuket I think of lush mountains and bright blue waters. Patong isn't really like that. It's more like Satan's crotch. After a wank. That he refuses to clean up. Everywhere you go there is someone trying to sell you something: Cheap food, cheap booze, cheap sex. You can't walk two feet without being hastled and even my grumpy face and accursed body didn't stop them. Not that I blame them, they have to make a buck and here they are catering to The West. Is there a more depressing thought than catering to The West? No, there isn't. For every one of the thousands of local Thai people lowering their culture to fit in with ours, there is a 100 more British and German tourists doing what they do best: being a complete cunt. Big fat bastards (some of them are deluded enough to think they're muscley, they are wrong) wandering around with their awful vests and pathetic tattoos and punchable faces, just dragging their knuckles and grinning because they've taken their tiny, tiny cocks on a much needed holiday. Yes, they'll pretend that they're here for the weather but as the weather doesn't have breasts and a penis they really have no interest in it. They just want something that they can put their cock in or watch a ping pong ball come out of.

And that's how The West is catered for here. That's what The West wants, that's what The West gets. Stupid West. Of course fucking a well hung schoolgirl is more of a night time thing. During the day it's drinking and at the world's most insanely named bars. One bar was called U2 Tribute, another is Vegas Thai Boxing Stadium but my favourite is a pub called Margarita Retro King of Pop Michael Jackson. I think it's a Wetherspoons.

But walking around all this bedlam is very stressful so how does one survive Patong? Simple. You do what I did. Get booked at a gig that puts you up in a very quiet and very lovely resort with fancy pool bars and in-room electric 5-speed duvets, get a fancy millionaire to take you out on his £1,000,000 boat or, if you somehow can't do either of those things, go for a massage.

Not that sort of massage, although there's plenty of that in Patong if you really need it. All 5 of us went to Let's Relax and got the "Dream Package" of an hour and a half massage of the neck, shoulders, hands and....FEET! Brilliant. Not only do I get to show my feet in public but some poor cunt has to actually touch them. This might be the greatest day of my life. I barged in first and sat down grinning in front of the masseuse. Her face suggested that she had seen my feet before. Maybe in her nightmares. She didn't look happy. But I took my shoes off in front of her and, like some trained professional in her field, she didn't vomit for 34 hours straight. Instead she washed my feet. Washing my feet meant touching them. Oh, yes. No using a mop with a 4-foot long shaft for her. Pern was a professional (her name was Pern) and she touched my feet like there was nothing wrong with them despite her face commiting suicide with every second. Of course, the thing about being scared of anyone ever seeing my feet means that no one has touched my feet. I learned something about me that day. I'm ticklish.

I spent the whole massage laughing, just lying there and taking tickles is a lot harder than it seems but it was amazingly good fun. My feet were finally giving me joy. Pern tried her best to dig her fingers in and wring out any pain but the alien touch of another human being on my feet just made me laugh. I even laughed when she started punching my feet. Pern really did punch my feet. A lot. And for ages. I'm glad she enjoyed herself.

If you can't go to Let's Relax then simply do a gig at the Holiday Inn Resort in Patong. You'll really enjoy that and the best part of doing the gig is you'll see Pete Harris, the promoter. He helped start my "career" so complain to him if you must. I know I do. He is a very lovely man and I thank him a lot.

But if there is just one thing that I can recommend you do in Patong, it's this: Go out late at night and avoid the bars. The bars are full of people you won't like and the music is too loud and lacking in quality. Instead, find someone selling booze from a big polystyrene box and offer to help them. That's what Muki, Josh and I did and it might be the highlight of the whole trip. We stayed there with the owner of the booze box drumming up business until 3.30am. We met lots of people, we started a little party in the street and we sold lots of booze although admittedly we did buy a lot ourselves. Josh found it tricky at the beginning. He DID sell a Bacardi Breezer to a passing Ladyboy but he ended up paying for it himself, so that doesn't count. Still, it was nice when a very jolly Swedish man bought us all booze and then promised to rape Josh. I have heard of people threatening rape but happily promising it is a new one for me. Ah, memories.

THIS IS IMPORTANT! Los Quattros Cvnts performs this Wednesday 2nd March at The Phoenix, Cavendish Square, London. Our guests are Al Murray and Joanna Neary. Tickets are bought on the door on the night so get there early to make sure you get a seat. It will be great. Here's the Facebook invitation, see you there!:

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Ocean Man (or The Old Man and The Sea).

Carpe Diem. That has always been my motto. It's a latin phrase meaning "stay in bed". When life has me pinned against the wall or when the chips are down or even when I realise I have a gig in Leicester in 11 hours time I just say to myself "Michael, carpe diem: stay in bed". It's certainly got me out of a few scrapes. When there's a knock on the door: carpe diem. When I realise I have to go to Lewisham Shopping Centre: carpe diem. When I look on Twitter and a complete cunt tells me that James Corden is returning to Doctor Who: carpe diem. It's my motto, my mantra and my plan for life. Carpe diem: stay in bed. Even when it's a case of ego postulo laboro. I'll let you figure that out yourself.

We left Hong Kong on Sunday for Phuket and three days off. It was going to be sun, sea and sand until gig-day on Wednesday. Brilliant. I love the sun. I might be the whitest man on this planet but I love blazing hot sunshine. The hotter the better. And, despite me being the colour of very pale snow, I never burn. My skin is jet white and therefore relects the sun back on itself and somehow it's me that ends up burning the sun. I know that one day I will end up being the chief reason why the sun gets skin cancer. I also quite like sand mainly because I laugh at how irrationally angry it makes other people. "Bloody sand! It gets EVERYWHERE!!!" No, it doesn't. YOU take it everywhere. Sand would just stay on the beach if it had a choice. And that's my choice too. Lying on the sand and making the sun sick. Lovely. Oh, but the sea.

The sea. That's not for me at all. I like looking at it but I couldn't bear to touch it. I very much treat the sea in the complete opposite way to how I treat myself. I don't hate the sea, of course, I'm just scared of it and for very good reason. When I was 6 my parents took me to see Jaws.


The evil bastards. It was 1975 and the Legge family were holidaying in a caravan in Ireland during the summer and after the film I was utterly traumatised. On the drive back to the caravan I talked constantly about how I wasn't scared of Jaws at all, despite hiding my face in my Dad's jumper during the two-holes-in-the-sunken-boat scene. I bragged a lot about how if Jaws was here I would beat him up with my bare hands yet later that night I was scared to ask for a glass of water in case a Great White Shark came out of the tap. After that I got obsessed with sharks. I only read shark books from the library and tried to learn the names of all the deadliest sharks that terrified me: the blue shark, shortfin mako, the tiger shark, Bruce. They all terrified me and I couldn't stop looking at them. I asked my parents to take me to see Jaws again and once again I was shit scared of it. I paddled about in the sea any chance I could after that but I was always worried that Jaws would get me. Not any shark mind, it was definitely Jaws. A few shark obsessed years went by and Jaws 2 came out. And that was it. The SAME beach got attacked by the SAME kind of shark and was destroyed by the SAME MAN? This was too much of a coincidence. I never got into the sea again.

That's the rationale that my mind used when I was a child and still uses to this very day. When people say that it's safe to swim "here" I just think well, that's what happened on Amity Island, isn't it? That was "safe". Yet TWO Great White Sharks, the deadliest animal known to man, hunted and killed there. I mean, are you really telling me that sharks can't get lost? Not even one of them can go off course and end up here in Rhyl? I think not, matey. And then they roll their stupid eyes and say "Well, just paddle in the water for a bit. You'll like it". IDIOTS! A shark can attack and kill in 1mm of water and just because it definitely can't doesn't mean I'm wrong. Plus there are other animals in the sea. Jelly fish, crabs and seaweed. Alright, seaweed isn't technically an animal but evil fish could be hiding in it and, anyway, it feels all funny on my leg. I don't like it.

You might think I'm being completely stupid but this is how I have thought since 1975. I've had a 35 year old phobia of the sea and I definitely haven't been in the sea since I was about 10. Sometime in the '90's, I went on holiday to Majorca with my then girlfriend who was hell bent on curing me of my phobia. She loved swimming in the sea and wanted me to love it too. The dick. She worked hard on persuading me to get in the sea and eventually I compromised and agreed to get into a pedalo shaped like a rubber duck. We went 8 feet out into the sea when I started gasping for air. She smiled at me and told me that if I relaxed I'd enjoy it. I must have shouted bitch a thousand times that day. I say day, I lasted about two minutes before she steered the pedalo back to dry land. It was nice that she cared but obviously she wasn't prepared to be called a cunt by a fully grown man in a yellow rubber duckie. Not that she gave up. The next year we went to Florida and I accidentally ended up in a tiny row boat (it's a long story but I was definitely tricked). I was uncomfortable in the boat but she assured me that these were safe waters. That's when I saw the dorsal fin appear.


It was the pedalo all over again although this time I had a reason to be shouting at her. A shark was about 20 feet from us and I was about to die. She explained that it was a dolphin and that dolphins were harmless. What a stupid bastard she was. What? ALL dolphins are harmless? There's no chance that ONE of them will go "Fuck this" and just attack? What? I suppose all dolphins are the same to you, eh? Racist.

We split up soon after that. I think she still sees the dolphin. Weirdly, although I'm scared of the sea, I love big boats. Not keen on dinghies but give me a yacht or a big catamaran any day. And in Phuket that's just what happened. We got an invitation by a very rich man to go island hopping on his million pound catamaran. YES! This is a proper holiday now. We can sunbathe on the deck, drink beer and keep singing Rio in our heads. It's going to be brilliant.

But when I got on board that's when carpe diem hit me. Stay in bed. Why hadn't I just stayed in bed? EVERYONE is going to get off this boat at some stage and I'll just be on my own with them all thinking I'm a weirdo. Why is a 42 year old man scared of a film he saw when he was 6? Why won't he listen to us explaining how safe the water is? Why won't he just get over it and get in? The answer is very simple: JAWS. Jaws will get me the second I dip my big toe in there. It WILL happen. This isn't a guess, it WILL happen. Then we anchored off a very secluded beach that just looked like everyone's idea of paradise perfection. I'm surrounded by utter beauty on a glorious day on a beach in the middle of nowhere. If I don't get in the sea now I never will.

Of course, I had no intentions of actually getting in the sea. I'm not mental. I'll never be back here again and to say I swam in this sea would be a huge personal achievement but my phobia controls me and, anyway, everyone had been talking about the deadly sea snakes that are found in this part of the Andaman Sea and...HOLY FUCK, I'M IN THE SEA! I'M FUCKING SWIMMING IN THE SEA. I'M SWIMMING IN THE SEA. CAN YOU SEE ME, MUM? I'M IN THE SEA SWIMMING ALL BY MYSELF!!!

Not only did I swim in the sea but when I got back on the catamaran I quickly got back in the sea. This might seem like nothing to you but it feels like I just knocked a wall down. It would have been nice to say that I walked on a pretty deserted beach on an island off the coast of Thailand but to say I swam there just makes me feel like a very proud child you got a B+ in his exams. I did pretty good.

I didn't think too much about swimming in the sea that day. I only thought about NOT swimming in the sea. For hours. But it was beautiful and it was right there and it never would be again. It was now. I had to sieze the day. I'd like to see the latin phrase for that.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

This Bath Is Too Hot.

Completely decadent luxury and I get on really well. Sadly, like me and that guy I met once, we rarely meet. But on Tuesday at Heathrow Airport, luxury and I practically 69’d.

This week I’ve been lucky enough to get booked as some sort of stand-up comedian man in Hong Kong, Phuket, Hua Hin (no, me neither) and Bangkok. After checking in for the flight to Hong Kong, as Virgin Atlantic were sponsoring the gigs, I was allowed into the hallowed and holy Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Lounge. It looked like the fucking USS Enterprise and within its walls I was allowed anything I wanted. Champagne, fine dining, seats made of diamonds, a fire engine made of cocaine. If I could imagine it, I was allowed it. Everywhere I looked I saw something I wanted. A luxurious cocktail bar where all the drinks are FREE, a masseuse who will grope all your stress away for FREE and a barber who will cut my hair, for FREE, just before I get on a flight so I will look the loveliest on my plane. THIS IS FUCKING AWFUL! One day I will have to leave this place and return to a boring, ugly, thick normal life just like you. Why the hell did anyone let me in here? I wish I was dead. Just look at what I have sampled and within an hour of this life, THIS LIFE THAT I SHOULD LEAD, I’m just pushed back into the dung to forage for gruel and mingle with cunts like you. Yes, luxury would be the making of me, I thought as I sipped my cocktail with my feet up on a Rolls Royce and Kylie just shut up and kissed my winkie.


Hong Kong has been great fun. Really lovely gigs, nice hotel, excellent company. I’m here with Muki and the comedians Josh Howie and Nick Doody plus London Comedy Improv’s Kirsty Newton. Lovely. It’s such a big deal doing gigs abroad and China is definitely somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. But it just didn’t feel like I was in a foreign country. Everything just looked too familiar and I really never got that excited feeling that I was somewhere else. Especially somewhere as brilliantly mad as China has always appeared in my head. Mind you, on our first night we went to an English pub because we are dickheads. The next day I slept for 16 hours and saw nothing of Hong Kong. On the third day we went to a beach and market in the exotically named area of Stanley. Nice but just not Chinese enough for me.

Maybe it’s hard to feel foreign now. Hong Kong is an impressive, and very tall, looking city and it’s easily the most cosmopolitan place I’ve ever been to but with so many British over there I just felt like I was in a more impressive, and much taller, UK. Well, that was until yesterday when proper China finally turned up. Late but very welcome. We travelled up the longest escalator in the world. See, that's how I want my China. Mad enough to build an escalator to go up a mountain. It was incredible. It wasn’t really one big escalator, it was about 50 regular ones that took you through amazing, tiny streets filled with insane shop signs and rammed-right-in-there real Chinese life. Billions of people living right on top of one another in buildings that are three feet wide and 8 miles high. There was also one embarrassing English pub called Yorkshire Pudding that confusingly had a London Underground symbol as its logo. We didn’t go in that one. We’d learned our lesson.

The longest escalator only went halfway up the mountain (lazy) so when we got to the end of it we went for a stroll where we saw Hong Kong’s gravity defying motorway system. We seemed to only see roads from an angle where the cars looked like they were driving upside down. Then it was our planned highlight of the day. I was really looking forward to this. We planned to take a venicular tram the rest of the way to the top of the mountain then go up the 12 floors of The Peak Tower, a building that boasts the highest point in Hong Kong and therefore spectacular views. Spectacular views if it isn’t Solid Cloud Day. We paid extra to get to the very top of The Peak Tower just so we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces. The Peak Tower itself is basically a jumble sale on a hill and standing outside at the very top was depressing. It was like the background to life had been deleted. Still, there was one more thing to actually see up there and that was The Big Buddha, the world’s largest outdoor statue of Buddha. Imagine my delight when we found out we were in the wrong place. I may have said cunt a few times.

But fuck it. It was the journey that mattered not the grey fuck up they call a tourist trap. Plus, later in the day I got quite excited when it finally dawned on me. I just went up a mountain and spent an hour in a cloud. That is the China I was looking forward to. Monkey Magic!

It really should be the journey that matters at all times anyway. I doubt that any of us will reminisce, or even recall, our day spent in Stanley but NONE OF US will ever forget Muki puking her guts out on the bus on the way there. Especially when some people who were wearing surgical masks moved away to avoid the smell. And especially especially when the bus went downhill and the vomit chased after the people who had just moved. I love holidays.

The gigs have been great and we’ve been well looked after by Abi and John at the venue which is an Indian/Italian restaurant. Obviously. I’m utterly impressed and a bit jealous of Josh and Nick’s talent. They do different material for each gig and they’ve been excellent all three nights. We’re off to Phuket now where hopefully they will both die on their arses and I can feel a bit better about myself. The cunts.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Shop of Fools.

Even though I am President of Polite Club, a very civil organisation with only one member, I find it incredibly difficult to keep politeness while under pressure. Admittedly, it doesn't even have to take much pressure to make me snap. 10 seconds ago I shouted cunt at my laptop because an email looked a bit funny. That's not the work of a man in charge of overseeing Britain's, no, THE WORLD'S biggest club for people who believe in the constant use of good manners (membership: still just one). Of course, Polite Club isn't really about showing good manners, it's about standing up against bad manners. But there are times, dear reader, so many times when I think to myself "Are bad manners really that bad, dickface?" Surely there is something far worse than bad manners. By that I mean over-friendliness. Creepy, unnecessary, ice-cold friendliness.

Most of my living nightmares happen in Lewisham Shopping Centre. It is pretty much my Hellmouth but at least it has a Holland & Barratt. Try to get fucking vegan food in Hades, mate, that's all I'm saying. I walked through the God awful shopping centre on Saturday and decided, like an idiot, to buy something. It was a sort of a jumper thing. Yeah, that's the best way to describe it. It was stripey, you know, the way I like things. I saw it in the window of Next and actually thought it wouldn't be a horrible, uncomfortably stressful thing to just go in and buy it. What a fucking idiot. I should be shot dead for thinking of thinking that never mind actually thinking that.

I picked out the jumper from the rack, had another look at it and took it to Happy Hitler, the man who worked behind the counter. Happy Hitler just takes his big, bastard smile and shoves it down your throat. YAY! Happy Hitler's smile says. IT'S SATURDAY AFTERNOON, IT'S RAINING OUTSIDE AND I WORK IN NEXT IN LEWISHAM SHOPPING CENTRE! ISN'T EVERYTHING JUST FUCKING BRILLIANT. WHOOOOOO!!!!

I would gladly have knocked every one of Happy Hitler's teeth out one by one with the butt of a revolver when he smiled at me. It was too big, overbearing and icky. No man should be that happy no matter what the occassion. I am buying a jumper in his shop and he is high on fucking life. If he ever won the lottery he would just spontaneously combust. (Note to self: always buy Happy Hitler a lottery ticket) After I reluctantly gave my pathetic and scared half-smile back he jumped at the opportunity to talk. He took me recognising him as a living being on this planet as interest. He was wrong. "I like this", he said, meaning the jumper and not the quality time we were spending together. "It's really nice, isn't it? Really lovely. A nice top. Really like it. It's nice, isn't it?"

LOOK, DICK. I'm already buying your fucking jumper. I can't buy it anymore than I'm already buying it. You don't need to sell it to me. I'M BUYING IT! STOP FUCKING SMILING!

He basically then started groping my jumper. He's groping my jumper! How can I pick up an innocent seagull in this filthy rag now? He caressed it and stroked it and made me sick. His hands all over my jumper but his eyes never once moving away from my face and his neon grin burning into my soul. Then he decided to prove to me that he was useful: "It has a pocket, you know?"

I did know. I knew because I had seen the jumper before I decided to buy it. It's my system when it comes to jumpers. Of course I know there's a fucking pocket. I LOOKED AT IT. This is a jumper, not a Russian bride. He continued: "Yes. Yes, there it is".

He then pointed to the pocket. Sure enough, there was the pocket, that I had already seen, sitting completely camoufalged right on the front of the jumper. THANKS. I NEVER FUCKING WOULD HAVE FOUND THAT. "You can put something in there if you like". AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!! Shut up. Just shut up, you smiling pointless bastard. I'm buying a jumper. I've bought jumper's before. I know how to do it. I don't need anyone to show me where a jumper keeps it's pocket and I definitely don't need some cheery cunt telling me how a pocket actually works. My heart started to thump it's way up my throat and out of my mouth. Even my internal organs wanted to punch this evil and friendly dick. I took the jumper and left as steam poured out of my ears. This probably explains me mishearing what he said as I left. "See you again". No. He can't have just said that. It would be the worst thing that could possibly happen. PLEASE don't let him see me again. PLEASE.

Halfway through writing this blog I left the house because a fitness instructor somehow found his way into my living room. Don't ask. I walked down to Lewisham Shopping Centre. When I got in there I started thinking about Happy Hitler. Maybe I was too hard on him. He was a happy and friendly man who just got too excited about the geography and abilities of a pocket. Surely happy smiley people are better than misery guts.

Then a smiley man came up to me and spoke. I had to take my earphones out to hear him. Earphones mean go away but not everyone understands that and this was a friendly, smiley man who looked very pleasant. I had already condemned one of his kind today already and I feel bad about it. Let's give this guy a chance.

"I'm from the Free Missionary Church", he said.

I really don't know why I fucking bother. Right. I'm off to China.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Mind The Gap Between My Ears.

There's very little that can make you feel more uncomfortable than a conspiracy theorist. I have met people who believe in Governments hiding intergalactic aliens, cancer being cured but pharmaceutical companies are refusing to admit it and Jesus. Comedian Ray Peacock genuinely believes that the moon landings are fake and never happened. Ray Peacock isn't even that loon's fucking real name. Who's the real liar, "Ray"? I don't believe in any nutty conspiracy theory, no matter how funny they are, but I'm starting to get suspicious of tube stations. I think tube stations don't like me. I think tube stations are trying to kill me.

First things first: this blog is definitely NOTHING to do with me aging and getting much stupider as I get older. No way. It's about the London Underground using mind manipulation and brainwashing and my fondness for booze to confuse me, upset me and make my murder look like an accident.

It's been going on for about two weeks, dear reader. I get on the tube, confident of where I'm going, and within seconds (actually, about half an hour), I realise that I've somehow ended up on the wrong tube going the wrong way. For ages. Not only that, I have completely forgotten where I was supposed to be going in the first place. This first began on the 2nd February just before noon. I was on my way to meet The Trap to have a LQC rehearsal and really should easily have met them about 12.30. I turned up about 1.40. AN HOUR AND 10 MINUTES LATER. I entered the tube station at Charing Cross at 11.58am (have the 24 timer noise in your head) and walked to the Northern Line to journey north to Golders Green. I would have got to the Northern Line Northbound platform at 12.01. The wait for the train would have been approximately 2-5 minutes. The journey: 20 minutes. With the 3 minute walk from Golders Green to Paul Litchfield's flat that brings us up to approx 12.30. SO HOW THE HELL DID I END UP ON THE BAKERLOO LINE AND ONLY REALISE I WAS GOING IN THE COMPLETELY WRONG DIRECTION WHEN I GOT TO MARYLEBONE?

I knew I was on the wrong train so got off immediately. That's when my second problem began. Although I knew that I wasn't supposed to be on the Bakerloo Line, I had completely forgotten where I was supposed to be going or what I was doing. I would like to say that this only lasted a second until I instantly remembered what to do but no. I stood there like a gaping mouthed idiot for ages. Well over the normal amount of time you're allowed to not know where you are or what you're doing. I'll be honest, I fucking freaked out. Not because it was scary but because it was exciting and funny. I found myself on a Bakerloo platform with no clue what I was supposed to be doing and I started laughing. At least laughing because you're lost isn't the first sign of madness. Talking to yourself is, I said to myself. For about 20 seconds I was free. I didn't know what I was doing so ANYTHING could happen. I might be off to a party or a speedboat race or YES! A SPEEDBOAT PARTY! I would drink fine champagne and laugh at Donald Trump's jokes and then Famke Janssen and I would finally get off with each That's right. I'm going to Paul's to meet The Trap. Balls.

This happened again the next day. THE NEXT FUCKING DAY. I got on the Northern Line and, after one stop, I got off again. I wasn't supposed to but I did. What the fuck is going on? I realised after I got off and walked towards the exit. I ran back just in time for the doors to close and the train moved away letting all the people in the carriage have a good look at my lack of dignity. Idiot.

Pretty much every time I've been on a tube since has been confusing and paranoid but yesterday was the worst of it. I'd had a meeting with my agent and, OK, yes, I'd had a couple of pints BUT ONLY A COUPLE. I should be able to think and walk properly. But NO. That's what these secret little bastards on London Underground want to take away from me. They are using secret poisonous gasses to destroy my thinking and they are putting some sort of slippy liquid (rain water?) under my shoes to make it treacherous for me to get around. I got on the escalator and just as the bottom was getting close...I fell. It was the stupidest, cack-handed, helpless old man fall I've ever experienced. It took a really long time, for starters. I tried to balance. That was my mistake. If I'd only just let my carcass hit the moving stairs straight away it would have been fine but instead I decided to fight against the London Underground and it's evil ways. My arms flapped, my legs flew and my voice squealed. I neared the ground but I could just grab the handrail and then I could pull myself up. DAMN! It was too late. I was now so near the bottom that when I went to grab the handrail it just moved further away from me and I hit the ground. I looked in front of me and my eyes widened as I saw my feet getting nearer and nearer to the scary, evil, toothy mouth that Tim Burton used to draw on all his schoolbooks. I was doomed.

Luckily, a member of Polite Club quickly picked me up. I had never actually met another member of Polite Club before. I was embarrassed and elated (mainly embarrassed). He was a really friendly and helpful guy and I was happy to be his Gary while he took care of me. That was luck but when will the London Underground strike next. Or I could just take the bus, eh?

By the way, I haven't checked on Gary yet because I'm too scared. Think I should? Now. Where was I?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Gullible Me.

I've written a few blogs about how helping others is the most pointless and thankless thing you will ever do. This is almost another one. I hate helping. It takes ages, it's boring and I don't want to do it. Those are all valid reasons to never help another living being ever again. But, stupidly, I have done it again and this blog might be in danger of being a bit feel-good. That said, it will feature me telling old people to go away and shouting at teenagers. So, business as usual.

Like all good blogs, this story begins in the park. I don't normally walk Jerk as late as 4.45pm and I don't really know why. It's a good time for dog walks. No other dog walkers are around and the nutters have got all tired from a full days shouting at trees. It's peaceful. A bit I-Might-Get-Stabbed-And-Killedy but definitely peaceful. If you put the darkness and fear just to one side, it's almost relaxing. Calm. Tranquil. And it's always at those times when BANG!, a seagull falls out of a tree.

It fell right out of the tree and landed about 12 feet in front of me. I've only started to get into the beauty of bird spotting and although I don't know the names of all the birds I see in the park this was definitely a British seagull because when it fell from the tree it looked embarrassed and tried to act like it meant to fall. One second after falling it immediately tucked it's legs under it's body and sat down. You know, that normal way of falling 12 feet to settle down for the evening. He could act as nonchalant as he wanted but there was no doubt about it, Gary (I called him Gary) was in pain. So, what to do?

I didn't want to touch him because if he's hurt, I might make it worse. That and EEEUUURRGGGGHHH! IT'S A FUCKING SEAGULL!!! EEEEUUUUUURRRRRGGGGGHHHH!! So I got on my phone and tried to find the number for Lewisham Council's Animal Welfare which was easily found inside Lord Lucan's hand in The Lost Ark buried underneath Atlantis. It took a while is what I'm saying. I called and it went straight to answering machine. "Animal Welfare is closed. Our office hours are between 8.30am and 5pm". True to their word, it was 4.48.


For the next five long minutes I stood right by a cawing broken bird while holding Jerk on a tugging lead with one hand and a frustratingly informationless iPhone in the other. I tried to get in contact with the RSPB, the nearest Vet and even the local Dog Warden (really) but got nothing from any of them. By now I was attracting the attention of other people. Other people who could CLEARLY see me struggling with a phone, a dog and Gary. Did they help? FUCK, NO. They were too busy doing what the human race does best: standing there open mouthed and doing fuck all. I mean, for Christ's sake. Why would ANYONE want to stand around WATCHING someone try to look up appropriate phone numbers? Surely the stupid cunts guessed what I was doing? The wailing seagull must have been a bit of a clue. But no. They just stood there watching and watching and watching and watching and doing fuck all. It SHOULD go without saying that I cracked. I eventually turned to an old woman and said "WHAT?" really loudly. "Is it hurt?", the stupid fucking cunt said. Sadly, this was nowhere near the stupidest question I would be asked during this pain in the arse moment of my life. I explained what had happened and she and the git I assume was her husband just nodded while I wrestled with a bastard iPhone and a bored dog. "What are you doing?", I said fully aware how rude I was being. "Just helping", she said. WHAT? Jesus Christ. "It's fine. You can go away". It was the nicest that I could be. But they stood there like cunts and insisted on "helping" with their staring and their nothing. That's when the teenagers walked by.

The teenagers spotted Gary who, although he still hadn't budged an inch, was looking around and wailing. The teenagers looked at the noisy bird and....

Well, just put yourself in my place. I was being stared at by idiots, I couldn't find anyone to help me on the phone and Jerk was trying to pull my arm out of my socket. So don't jusdge when you hear my reaction to the teenagers, OK?

The teenagers looked at the noisy bird and one said "Is it alive?"

"FUCK OFF", I shouted. Completely justifiably.

This pretty much got rid of all onlookers, although the old couple still took a while to go. While they finally shuffled away I got hold of the RSPCA who asked a billion questions and promised that they would send someone to pick up Gary sometime in the next billion years. That meant me and Jerk waiting with Gary. For ages. Ages? HE MIGHT DIE IN AGES! Fuck fuckitty fuck. It was time to man up, if saving a seagull can ever be an example of manning up. There was no way I could wait on the RSPCA, I HAD to get it to the vets. But how? It would be too icky in my hands and I had nothing to carry Gary in. I looked around for a good receptacle but there was nothing. There was no way I could safely hold a seagull in a leaf. I was going to have to carry him in my clothes. I was wearing my favourite jumper, the one I just had dry cleaned last week. Balls. I took off my coat and my favourite jumper revealing my inspiring Chicks Dig vegans t-shirt and carefully bundled Gary into it.

This was actually brilliant. I was doing something really brilliant. I was saving a fucking seagull. I have never saved a seagull or met someone who saved a seagull or even heard or someone who saved a seagull. Finally, I was an individual. I was going to get Gary to the vet and the vet would save him. I was not going to lose Gary. I've already lost one Gary this week so calling him Gary was the only sensible thing to do. NO ONE has ever lost two Gary's in one week so, by law of probability, this seagull is saved! It's the motherfucking feelgood story of all fucking time. I will walk into the vets a hero. They will take Gary, thank me and give me a little crown. I. Am. Great.

The first thing the vet said was "Do you want your jumper back?"

It's the best jumper in the world, mate. It looks great AND it's saved the life of a seagull. Show the jumper some respect. It turns out that Gary's wing is broken and it should be fine. I realise this isn't a guarantee that Gary isn't going to be put down but at least I took the chance. And I'm glad I did. I've spent so few moments of my life nursing a seagull in my jumper that it made me think what have I really been doing with my life? Hanging out with a seagull is just such a rush. There is not one single solitary second that you spend hanging out with a seagull where you don't think "Wow. I'm hanging out with a seagull". Plus, I was doing it for Gary's welfare and nothing else. I guess during the hour that I knew Gary we became comfortable. Close. Friends. I liked Gary and I like to think that when I held him in my hands he was knew he was loved.

"By the way", said the vet just before I left. "You have an oustanding bill of £81 from last August".

You BASTARD, Gary! You fucking tricked me. You went this far just to make sure I paid a bill? I did it for love, GARY! You did it for money. Sniff...

That part of the story has made me laugh since it happened. I helped, it felt good, I got slammed with a bill. Life in a nutshell.

The totally best part of all was Jerk. Jerk was off lead when Gary dropped in to our lives and she immediately darted towards him. Jerk is a dog bred to kill small animals. It's in her DNA to see Gary, shake him to death and then bring him to me as a present. But when I said "Leave" she stopped in her tracks and sat down. She reigned it all in even though it might be the one and only time she'll see a completely defenceless animal to attack. I'm just saying, she's great. Let's spare a thought for Gary tonight, friends. Hope he's OK. Jerk is on the sofa being fussed.

Monday, 7 February 2011


The Text The Station subject for Saturday's 6 Music show was Lies You Have Told To Improve Your Social Standing. I told a story of how when I was 17 I was threatened with a beating from a very drunk man and, as I was cornered and had to think fast, I told him that I was Scottish and was a close personal friend of Simple Minds. Somehow this stopped me from getting beaten up. I could have just as easily told the story of when I was 18 and lied to improve my social standing at a bus stop. I was in Alameda, an island town just outside San Francisco, and when a man pointed to my Gary Moore t-shirt and asked "Is that you?" I said "Yes". The man was impressed that I was famous enough to have my own face on a t-shirt despite my own face looking nothing like the face I was wearing. It was a lie but, at least for a little while, I was the coolest person at a bus stop.

Fact is, he wasn't the only one to be impressed with my Gary Moore t-shirt in Alameda. I remember going in to a record shop and some long haired Poison t-shirted "dude" got very excited by it. I met Metallica on that trip. I knew James Hetfield liked my t-shirt because he said so and I knew Lars Ulrich coveted my t-shirt because he refused to speak to me. Gary Moore t-shirts are pretty rare in America.

I hadn't thought much about Gary Moore since 1989 until last week when I found a Thin Lizzy Tribute concert archived on BT Vision. It was completely fantastic. The songs were great but that wasn't what was particularly appealing, it was Gary Moore's utter beaming enjoyment of playing the songs. He looked like the happiest man on Earth. That was never my memory of Gary.

Although his albums were the kind of over-the-top, fat riffed, rock splendours that I loved at the time, I got the feeling that Gary wasn't that keen on it himself. He was one of the very, very best rock guitarists of his generation but with that came interviews, press shots, album cover photos and videos. He looked like a sad little boy who's parents made him wear a dress to school every day. It just wasn't him. And when he had a minor hit, his record company wanted a proper hit. When he got a proper hit, the record company wanted more proper hits. It was this stuff that I loved. I'm not saying that Gary hated it but the very fact that he turned his back on radio friendly rock at his peak and returned to his beloved blues says a lot. He got thousands of people to love him and then revealed what he truly wanted to do, something I assume Michael McIntyre has been planning all along also. All those times I saw him in concert, all those times I saw him in videos, he never smiled once. I decided to let Gary go off on his own went he turned to the blues. It felt good that he'd outgrown me and I was happy for him to try something he loved without the safety net of me buying his records and wearing his t-shirts. I was happy for him. I couldn't join him on his blues journey because the blues is not for me. But I do regret not peeking in just once to see how he was doing, just like Victoria Wood at the end of Eric & Ernie. I'm sure during those blues gigs he would have been grinning just like he was at the Thin Lizzy Tribute. Happy because he's a man doing something that he loves and he's doing it well. Imagine that. Smiling like I had never seen him smile.

I say that. I saw Gary Moore smile once. It was at Welcome To The Garden Party, a rock festival in Milton Keynes on the 28th June 1986, the same day as Wham!: The Final. I remember that because on the coach journey to the gig our coach egged the Wham! fans coach. I wasn't vegan then. It was so exciting that Gary Moore was on the bill and I remember screaming the news at my Mum. "MUM! GARY MOORE'S GOING TO BE AT WELCOME TO THE GARDEN PARTY!!!" My Mum did her best. "Are you going with him?", she said. The Line-up was Jethro Tull, Mama's Boys (also from Northern Ireland), Gary Moore, Magnum and headliners Marillion and it was very much Marillion's audience Gary was in front of. The beginning of Victims Of The Future is all acoustic guitar for a minute and then heartfelt singing to follow. At the end of the acoustic guitar part Gary didn't sing. He just cupped his ear to the crowd and let them sing back to him. Sadly, no-one knew the song and Gary was greeted to utter silence that made him burst out laughing, go red and say "Oh. I thought some of you might know this one". He did a rock pose and it backfired. Of course it did. All that posing was for popstars, not Gary.

Yesterday, when I found out Gary Moore had died I actually stopped in my tracks. Not Gary. At least it was my childhood friend and co-Gary fan, Dotes, that told me via Twitter but, of course, that made it all the more track-stoppable. I felt like someone had sat on my chest (better than what happened at 6 Music the day before, I suppose). That's a part of my youth gone. I know Gary Moore isn't as glamorous as Bowie or as clever as Morrissey or as iconic as Kurt Cobain but he was a talented boy from Northern Ireland doing well and therefore a better thing to attach yourself to than most other things covered by the media about my home. There was definitely something gripping about turning on Top Of The Pops and seeing a white Ulsterman singing an anti-war song with a black Dubliner. Put it this way, when I found out that Gary Moore was dead I bought Out In The Fields: The Very Best of Gary Moore. When I found out Kurt Cobain died I remember going to the shop and buying Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes. That proves Gary is best.

If you are going to buy a Gary album let me recommend Corridors of Power or Victims Of The Future. My favourite though is Rockin' Every Night: Live In Japan because it sounds massive and it came with aJjapanese lyric sheet. Cool.

Well, that got a bit serious, didn't it? Here's my favourite Gary song, Military Man featuring Phil Lynott on vocals:

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Pocket Billiards On The Radio.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. There are a lot of jobs that I have wanted but almost none of them will I ever be qualified to do. Film director, vet, Time Lord. I've dreamt of doing these jobs since I was a child but I would be the worst possible candidate to fill any of these posts despite me having a very long scarf. The film would make Michael Bay look good, the animals would die and every episode in my era would be Delta And The Bannermen. But there is a job that I always thought I'd love to do and, who knows, maybe I'd be good at it. Being a DJ/radio presenter just seems like a dream job to me. You play records and entertain yourself for a few hours while having a laugh. What a way to make a living. In a way, it sounds easy. Too good to be true. And that's exactly how it is. It's too good to be true. I should know because yesterday I was given the privilege of hosting a three hour 6 Music show with Andrew Collins and the second we went on air... NOT A MINUTE BEFORE OR A MINUTE AFTER... the SECOND we went on air I tried to get comfy in my seat and in doing so I sat on myself.

I don't know how many three hour radio shows you've co-hosted while trying to nurse your aching balls but I do know that it is stressful, upsetting and fucking agonising. Every 20 seconds or so I was lifting myself off my seat to adjust. It made no difference because there is no comfy position for balls that have just been sat on. You can rest them gently in a pool of calamine lotion on a bed of silk clouds but they'll still be shouting at you because you sat on them, the very thing you don't do to your own balls.

What I found baffling about shifting in my seat and rearranging by battered blobs every 20 seconds was that none of the three people in the studio batted an eye lid. I mean I'm reading out listener's texts, telling stories of when I used to pretend that I knew Jim Kerr and answering listener's questions about The Young Ones while red-faced and squirming yet these people said NOTHING.

OF COURSE THEY SAID NOTHING. They are professionals. Broadcasters are always sitting on their balls, these people see it every day, it means nothing to them. They've worked with some of the most popular ball-sitters in radio entertainment, so seeing me simply doing what any other broadcaster working at the BBC does shouldn't interest them at all. I'm paid to do a job so get in the studio, sit down and then shuffle around in your seat for a few hours. That's why so many shitty DJs these days stand up to present their shows. Some people just don't have what it takes to do the job properly. Seated, cheery voiced and sweating with pain.

That said, Andrew Collins never squirmed or adjusted himself once. Is he ball-less? He's been broadcasting for quite a while now, do testicles acquire calluses after years of spinning tunes to the nation?

I had a lovely time sitting in for Richard Herring on his and Andrew's fine show yesterday, despite the tears. I was made to feel very welcome by everyone there. I didn't even mind the website calling me Michael Legg or my BBC pass saying Micheal Legg or being referred to three times by Jo Good as Richard Legg (I'm assuming she dropped the "e" when saying my "name"). It was a great fun show.

You can listen to it, and try to spot the times I'm in the most pain, on iPlayer for the next week:

That was my first blog in over two weeks. I'm just not that inspired at the moment so it was nice to have a bit of fun at 6 Music to put me in a good mood to write. I just haven't wanted to blog because everything is the same. I'm standing up against rudeness still (are you?), my foot is continuing to be big and the comedy world is now too depressing to write about. Episodes is a TV series that never should have been made , David fucking Walliams is in Doctor Who and I know some people in Fast and Loose so I shouldn't laugh at it. That said, I have a few stories in my head that should be blogs so I should dish up a few more this week.

Thanks to Andrew for yesterday, thanks to Martin and Danielle and everyone who came to see Gutted on Monday (that was fun) and huge thanks to everyone who came to see Los Quattros Cvnts on Wednesday. You are all lovely.