I’ve uploaded a new Cororan tune to Soundcloud – A laid-back Sunday song – Sounds a lot like southern baptism (damn you catholic upbringing).
Have a listen ole bean…
I’ve uploaded a new Cororan tune to Soundcloud – A laid-back Sunday song – Sounds a lot like southern baptism (damn you catholic upbringing).
Have a listen ole bean…
‘Good luck in court tomorrow,’ my colleague deliberately shouted as he stepped out of the train.
I met the gaze of a fellow tube traveller; an enormous mountain of a man. He immediately averted his eyes.
You’re damn right I’m a murderer, I thought. Don’t you be looking at me boy!
There’s a tactic I’ll be utilising again in future!
So today rolled around and found me driving through the drizzle to Oxford Magistrates Court and to the concluding part of my epic fight for freedom (challenging a speeding fine).
As with my previous court appearance the greatest challenge involved getting into the building. I checked my reflection in the mirror (‘Good, not covered in blood like last time’: A Few Good Men). Now just the small matter of negotiating a metal detector. Despite emptying my pockets I set off the machine twice. With a queue forming behind me I identified the cause – a small tube with the words ANTI-IMFLAMMATORY emblazoned along the side. In the heat of the moment I could only conjure humiliating reasons why I would need said cream and where it would need to be applied. (To be clear, it’s for my finger. FINE! DON’T believe me!) I shamefully gathered up my things whilst holding up belt less trousers and scurried to the reception.
‘How do you plead?’ asked the receptionist.
‘Really? Are you sure? When presented with the evidence most people tend to change their plea. Would you like to change your plea, and would you like to fill in a means form?’
‘No I wouldn’t and what’s a means form?’
‘If you don’t wish to change your plea then don’t worry about the form.’
Now I was worried (Thank God I had that cream!)
To recap: It wasn’t the speeding ticket I was challenging, it was that the only letter I ever received about it was a huge fine for ignoring the previous letter(s). My defence (such as it was) was that I live at number 11, that on my street there is 11, 11a, 11 flat a, and flat b as well as another 11 on an identically named street across town, and that post is going missing all the time.
I was trying to work out whether or not to broach the fact that the other number 11 is a hairdressers without appearing facetious (‘Imagine that…me…a bald man…getting sent bottles of peroxide…for hair…when I haven’t even…is this mike on?’)
My ultimate fallback position was that, in this Post-fact Trump era, I judge my speed by an alternative metric, but if it got to that point I fully recognised that I was in deep shit!
I stood up.
…A different surname.
I sat down again; my nerves shredded.
(Note: I started writing this bit whilst inside the waiting area, but stopped because A. I thought it might end badly, and B. I kept accidentally turning on the speech functionality on my phone and had horrific visions of standing in the dock and having a metallic voice blurt out of my pocket GUILTY – AS – SIN!)
‘MARTIN KAH…MARTIN KOH…’
Jeez, every friction day! ‘CORORAN,’ I replied and rose to my feet.
I walked into a split level room with two magistrates on a raised platform above me. It was all over in a flash.
‘How do you plead?’
‘Just to be clear, I’m pleading not guilty to not identifying myself as the driver (Double-negative – the vernacular of the criminal fraternity), but as previously stated, I’m sure it was me driving the car.’
‘In that case we’ll forego this charge (6 points / £800) and go with the original speeding charge (3 points / £100). How do you plead?’
‘Thank you. The court official will show you out.’
I was a little dismayed at not having had the opportunity to trot out my flimsy defence, but mostly I was relieved. Emerging into the reception and meeting the gazes of the other be-track-suited defendants who (let’s face it) ALL did it, I gave serious consideration to punching the air and jubilantly shouting ‘GUILTEEEEEEEEEEEY!’
I can only imagine how many driving offences I committed on the way home…
Hijo de puta! Walking around Reading – minding my own business when – boom! Nana Grande of Peruvian ‘gang’ fame (El Stake-out) appeared right on my six – A plastic bag on each hip (presumably full of guns and cocaine) – moving like stink – little moccasins tearing up the pavement – three and a half feet of raw terror. I got in a cheeky reverse photo before veering off through a car park and into Homebase…
Todo es bueno…pero no! Nana Grande was in there too, loitering in the weapons department (rakes and hoes). She looked up and there was a sly expression of recognition.
We stood side by side at the check-out, like the world’s slowest car(t) chase. Ahead of me an old biddy made small-talk, unaware of the life and death struggle taking place behind. To my right NG took the lead and placed her items of torture (pegs and hoover bags) on the counter.
I know this looks like one of those grainy photos you see of Loch Ness or Big Foot, but the one she took of me as I was standing at the check-out (whilst possibly planted some kind of nano tracker) was crystal clear – The cojones on this woman!
As I write she’s probably in a knitted treehouse relaying the day’s events to Rosa, El Colonel and Big Mike, planning some garish pan-pipe / blow-dart related demise. My cards are marked people…
‘Why are my hands adhering to the steering wheel? This is deeply unpleasant.’
I peel my palms from the upholstery and sniff the offending digits – honey – the remnants of a squeezy bottle placed in the bin on the way out the door. By my reckoning it’ll be 15-20 minutes before I’m near a sink – No, I am an overly pampered westerner and cannot possibly wait that long. It’s early morning and there’s dew on the ground. Sweet Mother Nature has provided the means of my cleansing. I run both hands through a wet hedge and a giant spiderweb clings to the honey and creates a gloopy gossamer membrane. This is way worse! No matter – I’m passing a row of cars – windscreens glistening with moisture. Again – both hands. Apparently there’s more dirt than water. My webbed appendages now resemble the fur of a badly stuffed animal. A car alarm goes off. I make good my escape…
…At the station I realise that my ticket has expired. So now I’m at the counter, trying to fish a wallet out of my pocket with my wolf hands and the cashier’s judging me and I’m thinking of clever things to say (‘Full moon last night’ or ‘you should see my sheets,) but not saying any of them…
…OK…on the train…good…only not good! The loo is semi-occupied by a large man, door ajar, his head angled so as to hold a phone against his neck and both hands working furiously to scrub food from his tie, carriage too packed to seek alternative means of hiding my shame.
‘My password?’ he bellows. ‘Sure. Are you listening carefully? it’s Asswipe123…Yes! I thought so too…I was gonna use Fu…Oh shit! I dropped my phone down the toilet!…Hello? Can you still hear we Jerry? Nope, he’s gone.’
He retrieves his phone from the U-bend, dries it as best he can on the septic rag that Great Western were kind enough to provide and places it in his pocket whereupon further bog water seeps into his crotch and midriff like a burst colostomy bag.
I go into the now vacated loo to find that Asswipe123 has used up all the water. So we stand side by side on our journey to London – a man who’s soiled himself and a man with terrible hygiene.
‘Were it not for social conventions,’ I think ‘I could put my hands down his pants where there’s moisture aplenty’…
…I tell the woman who now hates me. We should be on my leaving lunch, but instead we’re sitting on the floor of a tiny lift waiting for the emergency services to arrive. An hour previous she asked me to put into words what it felt like to leave the company. I jumped up and down in elation, the breaks kicked in and you’re all caught up.
‘Do you have enough air?’ a facilities guy shouts down the lift shaft.
‘What are you going to do if we don’t?’ my colleague replies…
…Thank God that’s over I’m thinking later in the check-out queue.
‘Planning on murdering someone?’ the cashier asks.
I look down at my shopping basket: penknife, bleach, bolt-cutters, gloves, plastic container, washing up liquid.
I consider the truth (‘I only came in for the washing up liquid,’) quirky (‘What was it that gave me away?’) and unhelpful (‘Imagine how much more incriminating this would be if I still had honey, web and dirt all over me!’) before opting for ‘You realize I cannot allow you to live?’
The starting point is a pug-dog with two broken back legs. The legs are strapped up behind him like he’s a superhero in flight and his butt languishes in a leather harness that sports two mini-bicycle wheels. Never the less he seems happy enough as I walk by every morning, and well he should, for dangling between his wheels, just shy of the ground, are a set of disproportionately huge, pendulous testicles. I don’t mean to make it weird for his owner (a sweet looking, short woman), but the logistical questions alone are worthy of pondering. How did he keep them off the ground before the wheels? And is this why he broke his legs?
The park in which his owner walks him is by the River Thames. Ducks cross our path ferrying their young into the water. The pug chases and frolics, but never bites or savages them.
Then, one day (yesterday), the dog is there, and the wheels, but the cojones are gone.
It’s not like I make a habit of staring between his legs, but the change is so obvious that if you were presented with a spot-the-difference picture you’d shout ‘FOUND IT,’ within a nanosecond.
Man it caused me consternation, watching him wheeling around in a circle, all sad and confused. How much womanising (or bitching – he is a dog after all) could he have been doing? (Unless his wheels jack up and down like a low-rider).
Later that day I’m listening to a motivational speaker and thinking about murder when it occurs to me – If someone had the courage (or permission) to lop off this guys balls (or break both his legs and convert him into a wheelbarrow (or both)), I wouldn’t have to think about solutionizing the future. Sure he’d be a little wistful and forever after infused with melancholy, but I wouldn’t have made-up nonsensical words floating around my head. He would have been de-douchified. There would also be fewer kids (Douchina and Douchopher) roaming the earth, spreading their douche ways and gravitating inevitably towards hedge fund management.
I saw the pug again this morning on the way in – Hey little buddy! Nothing – His joy intrinsically linked to his nuts. His owner seemed chipper enough (which is pretty insensitive) prompting images of pet revenge…so now we’re pumping her full of testosterone (that sounds way ruder than was intended) and she wakes up on a gurney with a beard and a receding hairline and wheels for hands, and she’s (or he’s) like ‘WHHHHHHYYYYY?’ and I’m like, ‘Holy shit this got away from me,’ and the dog’s just staring at me like he wasn’t the catalyst for everything, and the man-woman starts with the bargaining: ‘If you let me go I’m never tell,’ and I know she can never keep that promise so I’m forced to abscond into the forest and we all end up in a cave for years and years until we turn feral and I lose my grip on the English language and start talking like a motivational speaker…
Wow, I’m surprisingly angry about the whole thing…
Maybe someone should sneak up behi…
Google the phrase ‘Things to do before you’re thirty,’ and all manner of wondrous suggestions cascade like an invitation to dream the impossible – jump from a plane, eat caviar on top of a mountain, grope a woman way out of your league whilst wearing high-performance running shoes etc.
Google the phrase ‘Things to do before you’re forty,’ and the dream has been somewhat curtailed – do a sit-up, try to remain relatively stationary, make up with an enemy (presumably before you feel death’s icy fingers around your embittered heart?)
I resent the idea that I am (we are), at every moment, running out of time to do stuff. I therefore present ten doors that open (rather than close) as you get older:
TEN THINGS TO DO AFTER YOU’RE 40…
1. Go to Topshop and complain about why they no longer sell boot-cut jeans. ‘Yes, I know I should have stopped coming in here ten to fifteen years ago, but what’s with all this skinny crap and court-appearance-suits, and why do you keep glancing down at your phone? How else am I am going to (continue to) look like a Top Gear presenter you little shit?’
2. Go somewhere uber-hip. Know with a certainty that it isn’t you – It’s everyone else. Relax in the surety that you will never ever be hip again (if you ever were). Wear what you like. Resist the urge to beat up metro-sexuals. Lament the decline of masculinity. Revert to northern stereotypes when confronted with pretentiousness, safe in the knowledge that your adversaries will do anything to avoid conflict as their hair will get un-ironically messy: ‘These chips appear to be made of beetroot. Bring me potato before I turn feral.’
3. Gaze in amazement and horror at teenagers who’ve never heard of Gandhi, Thatcher or Hitler (I lived with teachers – this happened).
4. Leave mortgage statements lying around for young people to find (or hen’s teeth / unicorn’s horn). Talk openly about being in the market for a second house (cash buyer obviously).
5. Rejoice in the fact that interest rates really are interesting. Why else would you talk of nothing else?
6. Harness the power of forgetfulness and never worry about anything ever again (or at least forget that you were worried in the first place).
6. Have I already talked about not worrying? Where am I? Why am I still in my pyjamas?
7. Congratulate yourself on not having one of those voices? That goes up like a question? But isn’t? Slavishly take people who do at face value e.g.
‘I went out at the weekend?’
‘Well, I don’t know. You tell me.
‘It was amazing?’
‘Again, only you can be the judge of that.’ etc.
8. Get asked by a bald, diminutive, comb-over-sporting Indian man if you’d like to come with him to Bangalore for ‘Buy-one-get-the-second-half-price- follicle-replacement-surgery.’ Reply: ‘I don’t think you need it. What are you, 46?’
Work with him under increasingly tense circumstances for a further six months.
9. Genuinely remember when all this was fields. Realise that people have started consulting you on how we used to live.
10. Get laughed at for owning Level 42 and Gloria Estefan albums on cassette (plus workable analog devices for playing them on). Smugly know that they’re coming back in fashion any day now…
Well, I’ve had a very productive commute! My gifts to the world include…
Rate My Troll (.com) The pitch: Why feel morally superior to people who post anonymous racist, misogynistic rants by tackling their indefensible comments with more enlightened points of view when you can feel morally superior by criticising them on their poor use of grammar? For example: ‘A womans’ place is in the kitchen?’ – I think you’ll find it woman’s – Get your possessive nouns right pleb. Or did you mean a collection of individual women? In which case it’s still wrong and a paradox – douchebag(‘s)!
This is how we end all malice. I think I’ve stumbled onto something here. Either that or the abuse gets more eloquent (which is a victory of sorts).
Shoredicks: Like Michelin stars, but for A-holes. I went to a hipster cafe. The barista had a tattoo of a chemical equation on his arm. I inquired after its meaning. He told me it was the chemical formula for love. I wanted to punch him in the face. If there’d been two Shoredicks in the window I’d have known not to go in!
Shat-Nav: The William Shatner-themed-satellite-navigation system, complete with strange pauses in conversation that make you miss your stop and sudden forays into spoken-word renditions of popular tunes. Either that or one that allows you to record your own voice so that you feel like a driving Adonis (‘Check me out – I know where everything is.’ or ‘Why thank you Martin, I will take the next left.’)
Informiaowshon Super Highway: Make it illegal for people to post cat pictures anywhere other than on the dark web – that supposed part of the internet reserved for ultra-violent and morally bankrupt material. We’ll obviously still have to hunt them down and punish them for their crimes (I’m still talking about the cat people).
Light Web: A saccharine-sweet cyber world in which no one says anything nasty ever. Anyone writing a trolly comment has their IP address instantly blocked for life leaving people free to post things like ‘I’ve just bought a new fridge’ or ‘Look, I’ve made a casserole nyom nyom’ or whatever, and other people can reply with ‘Ooh, I made a casserole once. Did you use beef?’ and the first person can say ‘Yes – LOL’ or whatever (but no cat pictures). At the end of each month a list is compiled of everyone who has used the light web. They are then rounded up and killed, and the rest of us normal people can get back to being miserable without bothersome interruptions.
Inadvertently Curing All Prejudice: Advocate one day a week when it’s acceptable to use all of the really great insults you harnessed as a child before finding out what they really meant and subsequently losing the right to use them. It would be awkward at first, but once we’ve all got over ourselves we can crack on with establishing utopia. I’ve come up with two amazing names for this day, but am too afraid to post either of them!
Los Lobotomy: ‘You know what this crowded tube train needs?’ I thought, ‘a mariachi band!’ and etc…
The man sitting next to me is on a date. I know this by the way he answers his phone. He has that higher-pitched air of non-threatening concern so essential in the initial wooing process (You know, the one that gets abandoned forever after a few weeks)…
‘That’s alright. I was a little late myself…No, it’s the independent one next to Starbucks… OK, see you in a few minutes.’
His date arrives and greets him with a warm smile. The man, eager to impress, steps up to the plate and unleashes the conversational mother-load: ‘Sorry for the terrible directions. Maybe we should have just met at Starbucks…but…I like to drink in places where they pay their tax.’
Even the delivery is a little strange – Kind of passive aggressive – Like: Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
‘Oh,’ the woman replies, a little taken-aback. ‘Well, it’s a nice choice.’
‘Yeah…lots of companies seeking to avoid…tax…at the moment…there’s…’
He glances around the room in desperation. Our eyes lock and we share a telepathic moment.
Help me brother!
Hey man – You did this to you – Pull your shit together.
‘I think maybe some of the banks,’ his date tries to assist.
‘Yes, probably – good…good‘
I hate to see brethren stumble, but what am I supposed to do? Lean across and say: Tell her she looks great you douche? And besides, my date has just arrives and so I’m like: Watch and learn my young apprentice. Listen to the Surgical Sensei work his lyrical mastery…
…And within less than a minute we’re talking about Supply-Chain-Management.
How the hell did this happen?
I fall back on my training. It tells my to show interest and ask questions, so I dredge up: ‘What’s the best supply chain you’ve ever managed?’ Her face relays so many complex messages – a mixture of I’m sorry for bringing this up / Stop asking questions / You’re only making it worse, whilst also answering the question (Multi-tasking! Women are amazing!)
Over on the next table the other guy’s date is performing the coup de grace. ‘I think maybe Google don’t pay tax as well?’ They leave soon afterwards. I appreciate their honesty (put it down to experience and move on).
But I’m still there, trapped in a rictus. I don’t think it’s the women’s fault or mine – Nothing in common – that’s all. Time and time again I’m bottling lightning and laughing at my own jokes (always a good sign), but no amount of electricity can reanimate a corpse.
Forty minutes in fate cocks the weapon and places it against my temple.
A comment about TV prompts her to say ‘I’ve just finished watching the Nordic crime drama – ‘The Killing.”
‘What a coincidence – I also enjoy killing…’
…Or ‘My Expletive and Dwarf-laden journey home…’ (Certain words have been substituted to give this a PG-13(ish) rating).
Aldgate station, London 17:45, usually quiet, on this particular occasion – rammed to the gills: ‘We apologise for the congestion,’ droned the tannoy, ‘This was caused by a fight on a train and subsequent cancellations.’
A cursory glance at the board told me that I wasn’t getting home via the conventional route. I took the next available train going west and changed at Baker Street. As I reached the start of the escalator an incredibly short man cut in front and tripped over my feet. Temper-wise he went from zero to a zillion within the space of a nanosecond – peppering me with a barrage of C-bombs and spectacularly overreacting.
‘Charming,’ I replied like an imbecile. Further C-bombs abounded.
In addition to the man’s height deficiency he was also three rungs below me. As such my genitals bore the brunt of his fury; an overarching thought throughout: I am perfectly positioned to kick you right in the face…but I’m not going to do that. Sure, you look like a midget with a Napoleon complex, but you might be a ninja. I can’t go out like that. It would be like choking on a marshmallow or getting run over by a segue.
A voice from behind came to my aid: ‘Mate, calm down, I saw – It was an accident – you pushed in.’ I turned. The voice belonged to a man in a three-piece suit
‘Well you can funf yourself as well,’ screamed the ninja.
Napoleon stormed off leaving me a little shaken.
‘Don’t worry about it mate,’ reassured Three-piece, ‘guy’s a douche – you handled it well.’
‘I would’ve hit him!’
Far below Napoleon had clearly decided our encounter wasn’t over and was waiting for me at the bottom of the escalator.
‘If you ever deliberately trip me again I will slit your throat you C-bomb.’
‘Mate, it’s been a long day – I’m not doing this.’
‘You’ll do what I funfing well tell you you’ve doing.’
‘OK…’ I went to the right side of the platform, as did Three-piece. Napoleon followed.
Together we tried to placate the little man whilst he continued threatening and bombarding us with abuse. Eventually he lost interest and started to walk away.
‘Jeez,’ sighed Three-piece. ‘I bet you wished you’d pushed him down the escalator.’
‘What did you funfing say?’
‘Oh c’mon! No one can be this angry!’
The train arrived, packed to the rafters. No one got on board. It pulled away leaving us on the platform.
‘Yeah,’ snarled Napoleon, ‘you thought you’d escaped, but now you’re stuck with me.’
Three-piece made a strange noise. I looked to him and saw that he was laughing his ass off. He set me off.
‘This isn’t funfing funny!’ Napoleon declared.
‘It’s quite funny,’ Three-piece responded.
‘This is ridiculous,’ I added. ‘You’re ridiculous. Why are you so aggressive?’
‘If you don’t stop laughing…’
Before I knew what I was saying I’d stepped up to him. ‘I tell you what – Throw down or f*&% off.’
‘Oh, you want we to throw down? I’ll funfing throw down. I’ll throw you off the funfing earth.’
I am living proof that it is possible to find something hilarious whilst also fearing for your wellbeing. ‘No, I don’t want you to throw down. I want you to go away.’
Another train arrived. The three of us got into the same carriage and stood staring at one another for the next ten minutes . It was the closest I’ve ever come to an out of body experience in that I could sense how smug I must look, but was powerful to wipe the provocation from my lips. Three-Piece was clearly having the same issue.
At Paddington the two normal-sized people alighted.
‘Bye C-BOMBS!’ Napoleon yelled.
If I was going to smack him I’d left it a little late. I looked at Three-piece. He gave me a cheeky wink.
‘BYYYEEE,’ we both waved euphorically.
Someone has labelled everything in the park. A tree has a piece of paper attached to its bow with the word ‘tree’ written on it, the ground is labelled ‘ground;’ a lamppost ‘lamppost.’ Not everything is so literal. One of the bushes is christened ‘Bean Head,’ and a bench sports ‘No Thugs.’
All in all there are close to forty such signs. It’s like something out of Alice in Wonderland (‘Drink me.’)
What would prompt someone to do something like that?
My initial ideas (in the order they arrived): Prank / Peruvians / Some kind of protest / Epic breakdown / Insane.
It’s not in Spanish so it can’t be my Peruvian stalkers, (unless they’re deliberately using another language to throw me off the scent – Los Rapscallianos!) See previous post: Digame!
If insane then just imagine what a treasure trove their home must be – all the nouns assigned a little sticker – knives labelled ‘stabby friends’ or ‘she will be mine.’
‘I’m just going down to the ‘Green-play’ (park), but first I shall put on my ‘cloth skin’ (coat) and ‘fruit-bowl’ (pants).’
I want to engage with you fellow human. What are you?
I got to the train station without being accosted by a white rabbit (shame). I have a long commute each day. On occasion it grinds me down. Yesterday, wedged against some guy’s ass-crack, having miraculously secured a seat, I thought ‘You know what would spruce this journey up? A Mariachi band! I could hire one and get them to follow me around for the day. Sure, it would compound the overcrowding, but think of the joy it would bring, to you and your fellow commuters. I dismissed the idea as fanciful, but later found myself researching the matter thoroughly and ascertained that I could employ said musicians for the grand sum of £300 (el etiquette Trabajo de Mexicanes es muy bueno!) Were it not for the prohibitive train fares I may well have proceeded (£50 a head for a day return! (plus the guy who plays the bass is normally as fat as a house / sports a coffee-table sized sombrero – he’d need two tickets)) – Maybe if I booked in advance I could get some kind of super saver, but then I’d need to travel off peak…
…the point being – it would be amazing, but people would think I was unhinged…
Perhaps the phantom labeller was attempting something equally uplifting. Who can say? Unless they leap naked from behind the bins one morning, a half-dead pigeon twitching between their teeth, and screech a heroin-fuelled explanation into my face we’ll never know. I apologise crazy person. Our failure to communicate is 50% my fault…
But it’s not all misfire. I know a guy with a Filipino wife thirty-two years his junior who speaks no English. They communicate exclusively through Google Translate (and presumably blowjob morse code – one speculates), and they seem to get along just fine!