Monthly Archives: January 2016

Cheeky Bonus!

I knew today was going to be great. Had a feeling deep down in my bones right from the get-go…Alarm went off at bastard o’clock, leapt out of bed like I was in a musical and launched into my solo number ‘Who needs sleep when you’ve got work?’ My walking cane tapped out a jaunty tune as I skipped down the stairs – munched down my cornflakes like they were cocaine (just the three bowls – they’re so moreish!) and was out the door into a beautiful (albeit drizzly) morning.

My journey to the station took me alongside a dual-carriageway lined with hotels and B&Bs. From one such establishment loomed an incredibly tall, incredibly overweight man who walked straight into me.

‘Hey! Watch where you’re going,’ I said somewhat feebly.

Saddened by some poor life choices (It was 7am and he appeared to be eating a kebab) his response was somewhat colourful (lots of confectionary terms – ‘Fudge’,  ‘Muddy-funster’ and the like).

I wasn’t about to get into an altercation with a man who looked like he could snap me like a twig so I let the matter rest, but now we were walking in the same direction and at roughly the same pace – #awks (what have I become?)

For the remainder of this account imagine bullet-time as can be found in the film The Matrix. I shall revert to the present tense…

I spot a giant puddle stretching all the way along our side of the road. It is long and deep. The road is empty. I turn and see that the traffic is being held at a red light. The light changes to green. The traffic is 200 yards away, enough distance to get up to a respectable 35-40 miles an hour by the time it reached us. There is no way I can get past the puddle before they arrive and nowhere to seek cover…

Except there is…

Timing is everything…

At the last minute my pace quickens. The large man flinches. He turns to face me, clearly thinking my intentions to be hostile. I am not looking at his face. I am looking at his shoulders, making sure that we line up. I crouch slightly and brace for impact.

He realised that all is not well to his rear. He begins to turn back. He is a clown rotating to receive his pie more fully in the face. His timing is impeccable.

I don’t see the monstrous arc of water that annihilates him, but I hear it!

The traffic passes. I look down – not a drop of water on me.

‘Bonus!’ I definitely say out loud.

More confectionary terms come thick and fast. I give him the ‘I’m-only-this-dry-cos-you’re-that-fat look’ (A highly nuanced expression I’ll grant you). When this prompts abuse I shift gears and favour the ‘I-did-this-to-you-and-yet-I-did-nothing-at-all’ smile (Goddamn I’m good).

I get on the train – A man taps me on the shoulder as he passes and mutters ‘Very much enjoyed operation human shield – keep up the good work.’

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My Tuba Shame…

In 1989 I rocked a stone-cold mullet and whenever I walked into a room heavily coiffured heads would turn. I was thirteen years old and the world was my oyster / toilet. I had no mobile phone (they existed, but were the size of microwaves, cost a gajillion pounds and were only used by YUPPIES (Young Urban Professional (Take that you acronym obsessed Millennials – LOL))). In the evenings I generally pootled around on my Grifter bike, taped music off the radio, or wrote actual letters to my actual girlfriend with an actual pen (steamy smut about how I wanted to ‘hold her hand’ and other such filth). At weekends I’d rifle through LPs in a second-hand record shop, sit waiting for blocky games to load on my Spectrum 48k or hang around with an annoying kid whose dad owned a sizeable cache of video nasties and porn – the hiding places of which weren’t fooling anyone. I made things, played the clarinet, knew the location of dens…

Then one day it all changed, or rather – it didn’t.

In the 80’s it was compulsory for all Catholic schools to have comedy names. Ours was called Blessed William Howard (or ‘Blessed Bills’ to the initiated). One Autumnal morning me, my mullet and my fellow hilariously dressed classmates were shepherded into the ALF  or ‘Active Learning Facility’ (Couple of tables with some state-of-the-art ‘personal computers’) to be introduced to something called ‘The Information Super-Highway.’

Our teacher – “Mr quotey-fingers” proceeded thus:  ‘The “Information Super-Highway” or “World-Wide’Web” will “revolutionise” the way in which we view and share “bits and bytes” of “data.” Instead of seeing this computer as a single machine, try imagining it as a “node” on a “network.”‘

He turned on the screen and (once it had warmed up) a pre-Google / Lycos / Ask Jeeves white DOS-prompt flashed before our eyes.

We were asked to type in a phrase or “keyword” and see what came up.

I went first – ‘Boobs’ – nothing! (Can you even IMAGINE? (the horror)). A couple of guys followed suit – ‘Willies’ (nothing), ‘Kylie Minogue’ (nothing), ‘fart-face’ (nothing). Something said ‘try just fart‘ (nothing) etc. The kid next to me had tried ‘nipples’ and ‘poo’ all to no avail.

‘Try typing The Gross Domestic Product of China,’ the teacher encouraged.

We duly obliged and were rewarded with a string of text (no pictures) and links to incredibly stodgy academic papers.

‘I hope this demonstration shows you how the world as we know it has irevocably changed forever,’ he concluded.

‘What was that bullshit?’ someone shouted as we filed out (earning themselves a detention and 400 Hail Mary’s (Protestant kids these days don’t know they’re born!))

One thing was for certain – It would never catch on.

Anyway, I told this story to a grad last week and it was like I was talking about my hardships during The Great War.

My tuba shame‘Computers used to operate with less memory than is found in today’s lowest resolution photo,’ I proudly divulged like a luddite neanderthal banging on about the glory days before wheels and fire. ‘And data used to be stores on flimsy five-and-a-half-inch floppy discs.’

‘How did they fit in the USB socket?’ I was (genuinely) asked.

‘We used to roll them up and wedge them in,’ I replied.

Later that evening, tormented by the ridiculous notion that I might be old, I perused through a few photo albums and found that a good twenty-percent of my childhood pictures were in black and white…and that I was wearing flares in all of them!

Twenty years from now someone will be explaining cloud-computing and reality TV to a young person born in 2016 and they will be laughing their arse off at how quaint it all was back in the day…

…but enough reminiscing for now – granddad needs his nap…

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