Thursday, March 31


Above: Don't mess with him. He'll tear your head off.

I want to be a sleuth. I want to be on a sleeper train solving murders. I'll have a gimmick, the white trousers, and I won't wash them so that potential suspects are intimidated by my stains.

I'll have an assistant as well. A retard, like the admin assistant in LA Law, Benny. He'll smack suspects around with his enormous physical strength, and will be on hand should the murderer try anything funny, like say, sending a mad chimp into our cabin to bump us off as our investigation nears a conclusion.

I won't mess around with my line of questioning either. "It was you, you little cunt, you did it. You shot him even though there is no way you had access to a pistol."

Then someone will point out that the person I'm accusing of murder is a small Spanish cleaner who was seen at her cleaning job in the Belgravia area at the time the murder took place. I'll apologise for Benny slapping her around, pointing a finger to the side of my head as I do.

"He's not well, but his filing is second to none. Now pinch your nose and tilt your head'll be the way, are your papers in order?"

The cleaner and I will start chatting about the old country, and she'll tell me how I can make the perfect Spanish omelette.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Remember the winkle?

Remember my blog about reviving the use of the word winkle a couple of weeks back?

Well, today I'm stepping things up. The time of the winkle draws nearer and I'm sending out random winkle mailshots, kind of like messages in a bottle, and I'll keep you posted as to where they turn up.

It could be you.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Wednesday, March 30

Hail Toni

What is it with so many male hairdressers being called Toni? Are they really called Toni [with an 'i'] or does the whole thing work on similar lines as roman emperors and the way they assume the title Caesar when they come to power?

And who decided they should be called Toni? We know the system of Caesars came into being after Julius, but how did this Toni thing start? Was there a legendary Toni who could cut a step like no other male hairdresser?

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Is Andi Peters Sarpong's mentor?

I don't think I could take it if I heard that Sarpong regards Andi Peters as being her mentor.

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Hell's Bells, More Mentors

Crikey. It's more serious and widespread than I thought.

Someone pass me the sick-bag. Meanwhile, take a look at these heavily-influenced people...
October 2004

The research proposal for my research is due this month. I'm a little
anxious about it because I am still formulating the scope and ideals of the
research in my mind. Doing the proposal and talking it over with my mentor,however, seems to help consolidate the different ideas I have and is helping me understand more what I am actually doing. I'm enjoying the McNair workshops so much; I'm always the first one there waiting for everyone else
to come. I've also talked to my mentor about more universities I could apply to and some of the different opportunities that I can take advantage of.

and again!

November 2004

I am pretty much done with seconday sources. I am moving on primary sources.
I discovered thousands of British Parliament papers in the library, but they
are on microcard. The microcard format, an ancestor of microfiche, makes the
reading difficult and slow going because the print is small and degraded in
places. Preparing to wirte my review and finding it to be difficult, will
seek mentor's help. Teddy, my mentor, informed me that History scholars don't write literature reviews, they write bibliographic essays. Great, just
great. He deemed that I wasn't ready to write one of those yet and just
helped me with the review. This project is just getting better and better.
Hope next month will be as fun as this one.

a...I think and write and think and write before finally my proposal gets some
b.. I'm happy to realise that I can relate it to my PhD, so I can make it
part of my work and get help of my mentor
Day 1:
The new hire orientation started at 9:00 AM. I arrived early and got a head
start on the paperwork. I had already read the most important information
by the time orientation started so it was mostly review. The orientation
finished around 2:30 and I proceeded to my building. I met my manager and
mentor. I unpacked my computer and gave myself a nasty paper cut, no joke,this one was a gusher! I worked with my mentor until 7 PM when I realized
my group is a late crew.

Ben S
Local Dallas web designer with an EXCELLENT PORTFOLIO including Flash games and objects drawn in PhotoShop & Fireworks. He is my mentor and a super genius.
I bought lots of things yesterday, I had a very exciting afternoon of
shopping and then I went out for lunch with my wonderful and inspiring
business mentor.
I started playing tournament and league chess in Belfast, and again lost
frequently. Over time I got better, and got to the point where even in these
circles I could be considered 'good'. But I lost the drive to get better. I
used to think it was down to the fact that I had finally beaten both my
mentors after years of trying, and had no immediate achievable goals left., I have a weaving plan. I am going to wind, warp, and weave ten or
twelve short warps (nothing longer than 4 yards and most of them 2.5 or 3),
just to ingrain this warping method in my head. As my mentors tell me,nothing improves a skill like practice, and you don't get better at weaving
by thinking about it.
I searched through my own librarian experiences and talked with other
librarians. I could not find any in-depth discussion about this noun called
greed. For the past ten years I have belonged to the librarian profession
and have been taught the pros and cons of librarianship by many mentors and

Thursday, August 5th, 2004 at 11:17am...

I was on a conference call with one of my mentors and teachers and he made a statement that literally blew my socks off. A guy like him, after billions
of dollars in sales, saying something like that!

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Quick, smash the windows - they've got a Mentor

Above: Girl with mentor gets fried by a dalek.

Not sure what's going on in this picture. I think this girl's been shot in the arse by a Dalek in a nineteen-seventies episode of Doctor Who.

Perhaps she's been shot because she mentions having a mentor in an earlier blog. What is it with people and mentors? It's a very American idea and I do hope it stays over there.

I was in a pub last year with some friends, and this media type turned up at the next table, and he and this other girl in his trendy group, from what transpired, shared a mutual friend. When the guy was asked how he knew this other person, he replied, straight-faced, "Oh, he's my mentor." Well of course, that was it. Me and my table had to get up and leave, making our escape by smashing the windows with hurled bottles so that we could breathe, and crawling across the floor as the air grew thick with the whiff of pretentiousness.

So no more mentors. You don't need a mentor. Mentors are bollocks.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

No to the CPR

When you lose both your parents to heart attacks, it stands to reason that you're going to be a bit paranoid about your chances of making it to old age. As much as I'd like to be a jug-eared old man who pulls his trousers up to his neck and scares the grand children, I don't reckon I'll get there. Every twinge I feel now sees me racing off to the nearest A & E, though to be fair, the doctors, once I give them a brief, potted famly history [usually consisting of, "Yeah, my mum, heart attack, my dad, heart..."] are quite understanding.

The girlfriend, I have to say, wasn't too impressed when I took the liberty of booking her onto a day-long CPR course last autumn. I ddn't see the problem. On the contrary, in trying to surround myself with people who could potentially save my life, I thought I was showing a great deal of initiative.

"You are joking," I remember her saying incredulously.
"What's the matter? Don't you want to save my life?" I replied.
"If you think I'm going to spend my Saturday giving mouth to mouth to a doll, then you're very much mistaken."
"Cool your boots, girl," I said, trying to calm her down.
"It's all right for you," she screamed. "You're not the one who's going to miss an episode of Charmed."
"Think of where this could go," I said, still speaking in measured tones. "You save my life, we're talking your picture in the local paper, you might be allowed to play yourself on that 999 programme, and we could probably sort you out with a medal."
"If you're so convinced you're gonna die young," she continued, "just tell me and I'll go find myself a healthier boyfriend."

Soon as she said that I felt a pain shoot down my left arm. I then got a bag together, not to walk out, but just in case I had to admit myself into hospital.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.


Don't back the bid.

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Elton, have you rung Gary yet?

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Monday, March 28

Butt offering

Above: ET's director was threatened with bumming.

I remember the rather worrying case of Jonathan Norman, an oddball who was obsessed with the film director Steven Spielberg and claimed to be his son. Norman was arrested in the summer of '97 after he was caught driving up to Spielberg's home several times, and a subsequent search of his vehicle turned up duct tape, handcuffs and a box cutter.

Norman was sexually obsessed with the director and was determined to carry out his sexual fantasies, which included the very specific intention of buggering the man behind ET. How Spielberg held up during all this, I have no idea. I think his films are overly sentimental and mawkish, and I tend to steer clear of them, but the fact that he came through all this earned him some points with me.

I would have fallen apart if I'd been in his shoes. The threat of being rogered would have been too big a burden for me to carry. I don't think I could have carried on with my life without stalking the stalker as it were. I would have tracked Norman down, proffered my butt, and let him do what he needed to so that I could get on with my life.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Close the Gate

Above: The model in my dream didn't have glasses. Neither did she have such a pronounced rib cage.

I dreamt I was a male model last night. It wasn't, I have to say, a bad dream actually. I turned up for the shoot eating a hot dog and being quite blasé about the whole thing.

I then posed with this beautiful blonde girl in a park. We sat on a bench and she kept on telling me to "close the gate", the kind of line that usually makes sense in a dream but sounds like bollocks in the real world.

We were briefed on what was wanted from us. We had to pretend we were a couple and as they lined up the shots they wanted, we got talking. I really enjoyed myself and think it's a good job I'm not a model because I think it would turn my head and I'd turn into a bigger arsehole than I already am.

I caught sight of mum in the background. I'm not sure if she realised that I'd spotted her. Perhaps she was there to make sure no camp fashion designers tried to corrupt me. As for the blonde, she never said goodbye. No one ever does.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Miss Clever

Everyone has regrets. I’m no different. For some people, their biggest regret may be that they didn’t take up a particular job opportunity, or that they never pursued a particular girl for fear of being rejected.

Being someone who walked out of or was sacked from over a hundred jobs, indeed I’m proud to say I’ve never stuck around for a leaving present, any regrets I have were always bound to be tied to a girl.

It’s coming up to about three summers now since I embarked upon the ill-fated boning tour of 2002-03. My confidence with the ladies was at an all-time high, as was my rogueish behaviour. I suppose that this pattern of behaviour had been kick-started by losing my mum and ditching a long-term girlfriend not long after so that I could grieve on my own without pressure from anyone. By the summer of 2000, the grieving had been punctuated by many an evening spent seeing various girls as I sought to forget everything, and get out of the old family home in which I was now on my own.

Father Tom, a lovely Irish priest, was keen to see me immerse myself in God and the church, and I did find my visits to him of huge benefit. I did find the something else he said I needed to find in life, but unfortunately for him, I immersed myself in women as opposed to the bible, and I don’t think he ever saw me set foot in St Francis’ again.

Around this time, the prozac had started kicking in, and a flurry of attempts to hold down a job had ended in predictable disgrace. But I was feeling unnaturally high. I’d taken a fortnight’s break in Spain that Easter which had done me a world of good, and while the writing had dried up within weeks of going on the medication, I was buzzing.

The downside of anti-depressants was they could affect your libido. This I know because I read it in the information that came with my tablets. Within weeks of junior starting to fail on me in the middle of making the beast with two backs, I was at my doctor’s. He claimed I was a unique case, and that despite my pointing out the ‘can affect libido’ paragraph to him in the leaflet, he had never come across this. I had always wanted to be unique, but not in this way.

So with no help forthcoming from the medical profession, me and my faltering equipment stepped into the void and entered perhaps the most prolific period I’ve ever had with the ladies, and the one girl that stood out in that time shall be referred to as ‘Miss Clever’, ‘cos basically, she was fucking clever. And I loved it. I’ve always loved clever girls. But this girl had long left clever behind. She would talk to me about fossils and shit like that, and she collected old books, and I didn’t have a clue what she was going on about half the time. She was involved with an older man at the time,so dating someone her own age was something of a departure for her, and perhaps a little on the exotic side.

Anyway, I had known her vaguely for something like eight years and remembered always being slightly disappointed that a mate of mine had never fixed me up with her when I’d first seen her back in my early twenties. I had felt some mutual chemistry back then, and all of a sudden, years later, it had been re-ignited as her relationship entered its death throes.

I didn’t really know what I was doing at this stage of my life. I was seeking thrills because there was nothing else, and at any other time, I would probably have realised that this girl could have been the one, but it was a case of right girl, wrong time.

Anyway, we agreed to meet in Brighton on the night of 14th of August. I remember this because I believe that was the last day I had communication with my dad. We’d had a big argument that day, possibly the biggest we’d ever had, over what, perhaps I’ll leave for a future blog, but within three days Dad would go missing. So my memory over the events of these long, hot August days is quite vivid.

Anyway, back to Brighton. Miss Clever had, astutely, sensed I was trying to pull out of the agreed rendezvous. By now I was becoming paranoid about not keeping my end up so to speak, a problem I can honestly say I’d never had before. I spoke with mates who’d experienced it, and they said it was a mental thing with them, that once they’d had a taste of it, they were always paranoid it would return to haunt them. But I think mine, initially at least, was a genuine physical problem brought about within weeks of going on the prozac. Still, by that afternoon, I had determined that if I went down [unnecessary pun], I would go down in disgrace. By God, Miss Clever would remember me and the disappointment I wreaked on her life. Better to be the biggest let down she’d ever had than just be another shag for her. I talked as good a fight as Mohammed Ali at his peak, but my peformances bore more of a resemblance to the Ali who was still fighting in the early eighties, long past his heyday and a pale shadow of his former self.

I think I arrived in Brighton around ten, and there she was. Very pretty, very sexy, and by God, very clever. At this point I’d like to dress the story up and say she had a pen behind the ear, a chess set and a crossword book. But she didn’t. Instead she wore a multi-coloured cardigan more commonly associated with older women, one that belied the beauty that was hidden underneath.

Miss Clever had already booked the hotel and it was quite swanky. That’s about as good as the night would get for me though. By midnight, I was there in bed with a gorgeous girl, with a terrific body, and it wasn’t so much a case of the equipment failing on me again, because on this occasion I don’t even think it had turned up.

Miss Clever had also warned me that she could be hard work in the sack in terms of satisfying, and she wasn’t wrong. I summoned up all my crib notes that night, and then some, and they were to no avail. I even rang some of the world's greatest lovers in the midst of performing, urgently seeking advice. At one point, I even put her on the phone so this guy in Rio [ranked 5 in the World's Greatest Lovers list] could talk dirty to her, but even that failed to help. Not long after, we decided, much to my relief, to take a stroll down the pier.

Poor Miss Clever. She deserved to have me at my best. It was the least I could have done after she’d gone to the trouble of booking the accommodation, and my kind offer to buy her a bag of chips on our stroll came to nothing when it emerged that I had left my wallet back in the hotel. She wasn't impressed with that. To think, a bag of chips could have made this all better.

I'm not saying she's my biggest regret, but she's certainly up there. We could, with better timing, have made a go of things. We had a great deal in common, not something I can say of all the girlfriends I've had.

I do remember talking to her about my dad, and the argument we’d had, which is why I’m convinced that bust up had happened on the day of my trip to Brighton. I’m not sure what she made of it. The prozac did make me very hyper and in those days I did tend to dominate any conversation. Had I not been on anti-depressants, I might have questioned her on the cardigan. It’s a big what if.

We spent much of the following day together, though by then my focus was on trying to [successfully] locate a slush puppy outlet after spotting a man drinking one on the pier. I sensed here was a chance to end eleven long years without tasting that Cola or Black Cherry, and the very real threat of drinking something so cold that your brain felt like it was going to explode.

We met once more after that, enjoying a nice day out in central London. I think the cardigan was still there, but despite my sub-standard seaside performance, one I would emulate later that night, we were by now quite relaxed in each other's company. The next morning she even ironed one of my work shirts [I stayed in the job for an hour before walking out]. To see such an incredibly intelligent girl ironing a shirt gave me something of a buzz, I'll admit. Later that morning, we parted at Victoria Station and I would never see her again.

The prozac would continue to provide me with many an uncomfortable bedroom moment for as long as I took it, but the funny thing is, despite being robbed of the two things I was good at, writing and shagging, I did have a good and eventful time during this period, and many of the situations I landed myself in were funny. I became shameless. Even disgracing myself like that was preferable to sitting in my room as I’d done for much of the previous two years, going over things in my mind and thinking about mum and what happened that day. But Miss Clever deserved better than that.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Channel 4, The Friends Channel

Surprise surprise, Channel 4 have been showing countless episodes of Friends today. It's like The Monkees when I was a kid, perhaps worse. Not very imaginative programming, Four.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Sunday, March 27

Camp Danger of Living with Women

Above: Richard O' Sullivan, the Man About the House. Notice his somewhat camp demeanour.

When I was a kid, I always wanted to live in a flat share with women, just like my earliest comedy hero Richard O' Sullivan in Thames Television's seventies comedy, Man About the House.

I finally got my wish a couple of years ago, spending the summer with a couple of girls and generally having a nice time. But living with women did, I think, make me a bit camp. And I started gossiping a lot.

Happy to report that I am far more manly these days.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Magnificent sideburn

Above: My right sideburn *.
Trimmed my sideburns this morning. The right one looks magnificent. Have checked it out at several angles using a couple of mirrors, and am very happy with it. Feeling more confident. Defiant. Life can throw anything my way. I'll deal with it. So long as it's not knob-related.

I'd hate to be in and out of hospital, whipping junior out for the quack and his team of nurses. You know full well when you leave, they'll be laughing and cracking gags. And it won't stop there. They'll tell their friends outside of work. That's how it goes.

* This outstanding picture of my burner would not have been possible without the technical aid of Miss Jane.

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Easter Disappoinment

When I was a kid, I was somewhat confused by Easter. Mum told me Jesus had died on the cross and then risen on the third day to save us. The us part confused me. I sought further clarification. "What, us - us?"
"Yes," mum replied.

All of a sudden, as Easter approached, I was filled with renewed hope that we would be rescued. Jesus would turn up at our flat and save us from our hell. No more curtain screens, no more tents, my sister and I would each get our own room, though I wondered if this would be by the evening [I figured Jesus might need at least till Bank Holiday Monday to come through with this].

I worried about how I would address him. Did I call him Jesus, or Lord? Would he be worked up into a real temper when he saw how we were living? Would it be better if I left him alone to get on with sorting things out? Would he bring new appliances with him? Would we go and live with him while he spoke to the council about gettingus a new place?

Convinced that the saviour would turn up at our place come Easter Sunday, I spat on our landlord's door as I walked past his house on the Easter Saturday. I was nine-years-old and hopelessly complacent. I didn't care if he saw me.

I had visions of Jesus turning up with a big stick and smashing up our dodgy fire, like when he threw the moneylenders' tables in the temple forecourt in the New Testament. I could picture him breaking up our dodgy oven and then throwing a haymaker right into Sobranski's big ugly face.

You can imagine my confusion and deep disappointment when I went to bed on the Bank Holiday Evening with my sister on the top bunk, and my mum and dad still to my left, and no sign of Jesus.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Saturday, March 26

Shane Richie and the Brother of Jesus

Women, don't you just love them? There's my bookshelf, crammed full of theology, history and football books, and what do I see this morning? I see the girlfriend's one book, Shane Richie's from Rags to Richie - a magnificent tale, I'm sure - has taken residence on my shelf, and now stands next to Robert Eisenman's James, Brother of Jesus.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Friday, March 25

West Egg Swingers

If you type in 'Disappointed of West Egg' into google [UK search], these guys turn up. What a wierd thing the net is.

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A Promise Kept

Above: 2nd Spetember 1989. History being made.

At the start of the sixties, JFK promised the American people America would have a man on the moon by the end of the decade. That promise was met. Just. At the start of the eighties, our seventy-something Polish Jew landlord, Ted Sobranski, promised all his tenants they'd have hot water by the beginning of the nineties, and they did. But unlike JFK, Sobranski was around to see his prophecy realised. Like the moon landings however, there remained a doubt as to the authenticity of this hot water.

2nd of September, 1989. Maltese Joe, wiping the sweat from his brow, cautiously lit the ascot water heater pilot with a match. Joe, having removed his denim body warmer during what had been a difficult installation of the heater above our kitchen sink, now stepped back. There was a loud bang. Joe turned round and gave us a nervous smile. Then he approached the heater again, its pilot now lit, and turned the hot tap on.

Behind him, at least a dozen of Sobranski's tenants, my mum and I included, gathered to watch. Sobranski, using a small child to shield himself from any potential explosion, told the other tenants they should feel honoured that they had been invited to watch history being made. For Cape Canaveral, read Stockwell.

Twenty minutes later, Joe excitedly told us that the water was [finally] "getting warm", upon which point an equally excited Sobranski proclaimed that now that the installation's success was beyond doubt, he would install an ascot water heater in all of his properties [He chose not to tell us that this was would mean another rent rise].

And he was true to his word.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

How much longer?

How much longer will we let these animals rule the oceans? Join me in ridding the globe of these monsters.

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T4 are in San Francisco today

T4 are in San Francisco today, though Sarpong doesn’t seem to be with them. She’s probably still basking in the glory of 'Tony and June', her recent programme with Tony Blair, and decided she’s too big for this trip now.

However, why are T4 in the States? What reason could they possibly have for being there? Noel Edmonds and his Swap Shop team never had to go to San Francisco just to introduce 'Hong Kong Phoeey'. What is this fascination this country has with the States? Why is yoof TV so wanky?

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Thursday, March 24

Starbucks and Facking Cants

I’ve taken to taking long walks this week, like some old man trying to stave off ill health. I've always wanted to write professionally, ever since I was a kid, and having finally cracked it in the last few years, I've come to realise it's not the healthiest job in the world. You sit at your desk all day, nibbling on food here and there, drinking too much coffee, and one day you realise you're not really getting any exercise.

So today, I take my third hour-long walk of the week, and I thought at the end of it, I’d stop off at Starbucks for a well-deserved cappuccino and a read of my paper. Yeah, Starbucks are shite, but of all the big American coffee chains that have invaded the UK over the last decade, they are the least offensive.

So anyway, I place my order but I can’t get a seat because there’s a group of about twenty well-spoken kids who’ve taken all the sofas, and they’re sipping their frapaccinos and talking about daddy’s latest car, and I was so fucked off because there’s all these little cunts right in front of me thinking they’re like something out of ‘Friends’. So I had to switch my order and get one to takeaway.

That’s what I hate about these coffee chains. It’s all done for the wrong reasons. It’s not about drinking coffee because you like coffee, or because like me, you need coffee. It’s about being seen to be drinking coffee. And being seen to be drinking it in the right place. And that really fucks me off.

I do feel positive about using the word cunts tonight though. It’s certainly a horrible word, and if said wrong, you sound as big a cunt as that ultimate mockney geezer, Sean Pertwee, in those awful British gangster films of the late nineties. “You facking cant.” But yeah, cunt. There. I’ve said it again. In fact, I’m saying it a lot these days. Stress I think.

I even say it to myself when I can’t find, say, a pen, or a book. “Fucking cunt,” at the top of my voice. And I say it with real venom.

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Brass Balls

Above: A disastrous attempt to look cool.

The sheer audacity of this man. Not only is his beard shite, but look at his poor, half-hearted attempt to fold his legs like a ponce as he sips his coffee . And look at the little finger on his right hand [your left]. What's going on there? It's more than a little camp. In fact, it's such a disgraceful effort, I almost admire the man.

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Patriotic Nonsense

Above: Weighed down by their huge salaries, the England team struggle to get across the pitch.

This need to incorporate the national flag into the strip both disturbs and disappoints me.

I'd just like to add that I think the kit is rubbish. Lose the red. Bobby Moore and company didn't need any of this St. George's flag nonsense on their strip when they were busy winning the World Cup.

P.S - The number '1' on David James' top was a nice comical touch.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Hat Thinking

Above: A llano weave fedora complete with hat band.

What do you think? Considering one of these for my summer look, though not sure it'll go down too well with the locals when I try to buy a loaf of bread at my local Costcutters next to Stockwell Station.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Put Your Feet Away Jo

Message to Jo Whiley. I don't want your bare feet on view again this summer as the festival season gets underway. It's not cool. You're not cool. You're not even cool in a cheesy way. In fact, you're as far removed from cool as cool can be. You're in your late thirties, so start acting like it.

By all means, curl up on the sofa, make yourself comfortable - though I really don't understand why the BBC thinks it's necessary to have wanky self-satisfied Radio 1 presenters doing links for their Glastonbury coverage when I'm sure people just want to see the bands - but keep your shoes on girl.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Flip Flops Warning

Above: A Pair of flip flops.

Can I just say, as we stand on the brink of finer weather, any man who takes to the street wearing a pair of flip flops is a complete wanker.

If you are one of those, know that in the wanker heirarchy you surpass those arseholes who wear their bluetooth headsets out of the car [these men are usually fat and balding], you even manage to out do students who think it's cool to sit on the floor, you outstrip those chuggers on the street trying to stop you so that you can give all your money to the NSPCC, and you leave those that are multi-pierced way behind. You will be the wanker.

So put them away. Now.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

White Glove Delivery

Above: White gloves in self-defence mode.

I want to order something big that requires a white glove delivery. Something so precious and difficult to assemble that I get to watch burly men arriving at the flat wearing camp white gloves. Forced to wear such unmanly gloves, would they indulge in their usual Neanderthal conversation of football, banging women and boozing, or would they start talking about a really nice rioja they've recently had the pleasure of tasting?

Just surfing the net now. As things stands, I'm either ordering myself a big Steinway piano [though I'm scared that buying a piano will mean the return of the scary, blind midget piano tuner from my old school days] or a Herculean Home Improver gym.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Lounge Player

I want to play a grand piano like this. I want to be a lounge player. I want to be wearing a white suit and an open necked shirt, my eyes struggling to see the keys through the smokey atmosphere of Smolensky's on the Strand.

I want a large empty brandy glass sitting on the top of my piano, diners dropping twenty pound notes in there after the end of every tune I play. I want to play airport lounges. I want to play the piano they've got in the central hall at St. Thomas' hospital, infirm patients demanding the orderlies stop for a moment so they can have a listen before they get wheeled off into the operating theatre. I want to play hotel lobbies and get discovered like Oleta Adams was by Tears For Fears.

I want.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Wednesday, March 23

Get Your Nose Fixed, Hamilton

Above: From yesterday's Standard, yet more damning evidence that Neil Hamilton can't breathe through his nose.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Tuesday, March 22

Empty Handed like a Seagull Stranded

Above: Though my family lost, Teenwolf, played by Michael J. Fox, led his Beavers team to victory.

I caught Teenwolf again on Sunday. I've seen it so many times, but it never ceases to inspire me. While most people saw the film as being about the need to be true to yourself, my family and I drew hope from the basketball sequence at the end where Michael J. Fox decides to leave the Wolf behind and play as himself.

One night, just after our Ascot Water heater had once again blown, this time parting Dad from his eyebrows, we sat down to watch Teenwolf and listened intently to Mark Safan's Win In the End song which plays over the basketball sequence finale.

"We are the stranded seagulls," Dad Said. "But we will win in the end," at which point my sister came in to say that our flat roof was again leaking. "You've got to be fucking joking me," replied Dad, leaping out of his chair.
"Leave the roof until after Teenwolf," said mum.
"Fuck Teenwolf," said Dad. "You've seen where he fucking lives. What would he know about what we're enduring here?"
"He's got his own problems," said my sister. "He's afflicted with a werewolf curse."
By now, dad had lost it. "Affliction? That's not an affliction. That's a condition. This-this house, the way we live, that's a fucking affliction. What does Teenwolf have to be unhappy about? He's brilliant at basketball and his dad's garage is bigger than our fucking front room...I blame your mother. If it wasn't for her, I'd never have set foot in this country."

Nevertheless, we continued to believe that just as Micahel J. Fox led the Beavers to victory over the Dragons, we would eventually triumph over Sobranski, our mean-spirited Polish landlord.

That victory never came, but I still enjoy listening to the song, and I've decided to print the lyrics for you. If you have a problem you feel can't be overcome, read these words. They may prove the difference between winning and losing.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Mark Safan - Win In the End

From the album "Teen Wolf Soundtrack "
I was down to zero
Still an unsung hero
Waiting for my ship to come to shore

I stood empty handed
Like a seagull stranded
Watching all the other seagulls soar

I was slowly losing hope
Twisting frayed ends of the rope
In a suicidal fantasy

I was going to extremes
Losing sight of all my dreams again
I never thought I'd win

[Guitar solo]

I was blinded by the pain
Running wild through the rain
In a parody of extacy

I was inches from the edge
Fingers clinging to the ledge again
I never thought I'd win

Win in the end
I'm gonna win in the end
Win in the end
I'm gonna win in the end

Got to keep my cool
I am not the fool
Everyone expects to play me for

I could change the pattern
Steal a ring from Saturn
Forge myself into a man-of-war

I am equal to the task
I won't hide behind the mask
What you see is what you'll get from me

I am stronger than they think
They can force me to the brink again
But now I know I'll win


I will steal the thunder
Rolling out from under
Every cloud that's clashing(?) in the sky

Like a true defender
I will not surrender
Why should I lie down for them and die?

I am equal to the task
I won't hide behind the mask
What you see is what you'll get from me

I am stronger than they think
They can force me to the brink again
But now I know I'll win



Above: With all the cleaners over here, the streets of Madrid are overrun with rubbish.

Mum was a cleaner. She worked in the Belgravia area for 22 years, starting at Chester Sqaure, Belgravia, which I hope to tell you about some day. I think every Mediterranean woman is a cleaner when they come over here, working for the rich who are too lazy to do their own cleaning. Apparently, there aren't any cleaners left over in Spain. That's because they're all over here.

I'd like to be wealthy enough to afford a cleaner, preferably one with work permit problems so that as her patron, I can really get on my high horse and write to the Home Office saying, "This is scandalous. Dolores' hoovering is second to none and despite her husband currently being in prison, she and her family are good, decent people who deserve the chance to earn a living in this great country of ours."

I want to pay her cash on the quiet, and every now and then I'll short change her, and when she complains her money's short of a fiver, I hand her a fifty and say, "Now get out of my sight you small woman." I want to help her and her family squeeze every single benefit they can out of this country. I want to give her Christmas bonuses and a cheese board selection from Tescos. I want to ask her about her kids and how they're getting on at school when I know full well they have learning difficulties. I want to be so comfortable with her that I can just throw my pants on the floor knowing she's going to pick them up before they've even hit the ground. I want a life where I don't even know if I have a laundry basket in the house. I want to feel the buzz of carrying out an inventory every few months - and I'll make sure I've taxied over Dolores and her extended family to watch me do it - so I can suss out what she's been stealing from me over a period of time.

Yes, I think having a cleaner would fill a gap in my life.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Monday, March 21

Trainers without music

What is it with r 'n' b and hip hop music being piped into these big sports outlets? Is this type of music essential to the purchase of a pair of trainers? Without it, will JD Sports and its rivals collapse like a house of cards?

When I was a kid buying my adidas samba in Frank Johnson's in Brixton's Ferndale Road, there was none of this silly music playing as I tried my new footwear on, and I was never served by morons with headsets, their conversations punctuated with "you get me" and "innit", talking about how they were going to get a treble cheeseburger for their lunch.

Thumbs Down for the Mockney One's Crusade

"Come on you, make your mind up, will it be the mash or the fries?"

There's lots of stuff in the news today re. Jamie Oliver's School Dinners crusade, with even Number Ten climbing on the bandwagon and vowing to back the fat tongued mockney one's campaign. Well, I'm sorry. If I had to endure rock hard mash potatoe and parsnips that tasted so bad I didn't eat them again until 1999, I want today's kids to suffer in the same way.

I'm not for one minute claiming that God-awful school dinners made me the man I am today; indeed, I'm not even claiming to be a man [In the Dandy heirarchy I stand somewhere between Andre 3000 and Brideshead's Charles Ryder], I just want them to suffer like my generation did.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

6th August 2000

My mortal enemy, the lady in my local shop, once again manages to raise my hackles. I'm in there every day to get my paper, and being self-employed, I need a receipt for everything. And she knows I like a receipt, yet every morning, she still makes me ask for it. What's more, I think she enjoys making me ask for it, especially if there's a long queue.

So this morning, I get my Guardian [for the poncy Media section] and with a queue as long as your arm, I'm made to ask for a receipt for this one item. And the receipt says 6th August 2000, so I always have to write the correct date on any receipts anyway. This is not the kind of life I envisaged leading at my age.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Sunday, March 20

King of the Celebrity Liggers

Above: Mandela at another concert

Is it me or has it just been an endless round of concerts/benefit gigs for Nelson Mandela since he got out of prison fifteen years ago? I'm not even interested in knowing what this one was for.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

More Nasal Problems

Above: Finn Greentree-Keane, the original Toby Mangel in Neighbours. Note the open mouth.

Like Neil Hamilton and myself, the young Australian actor Finn Greentree-Keane also suffered from nasal problems. Greentree-Keane left Neighbours in the early nineties to concentrate on his studies. Research has failed to shed any light on whether he finally got his nose fixed.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Hamilton should go private

Above: Neil Hamilton breathing through his open mouth

Neil Hamilton has a nose problem. I know this because as someone who's had his nose broken three times, I have too. I recognise the open mouth he's always pictured with as he tries desperately to breathe. I can tell that, like me, his nose is no good.

Since the last break in September 2001 - a girl's elbow connected with my nose in the midst of a particularly ambitious and fraught lovemaking position - I have been on the waiting list for my third op. Surely though, Hamilton, with all the money he makes from making an arse of himself in public these days, can afford to go private?

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Baby Monitors

Above: Baby Monitor Nonsense

Why would you want to know if the baby's crying in the next room? Why put yourself through the unnecessary stress of wondering if you just heard something on the monitor? You know you're not going to be able to relax watching the football because you're going to have one eye on the monitor in the corner of the room.

Dad, like all Mediterranean men, had no time for these 'new man' gizmos. "Fuck all that nonsense," he'd say. Just pile the whole family into one room, like he did, and that way, not only do you always know what the baby's up to, but you also save money and can relax and watch your game.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Fucking Hell

It's Sunday morning...fucking hell.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Saturday, March 19

Pointing to the heavens

Above: Watch out, the hand's going up. High note is on its way.

Why must these r & b singers, r 'n' b, or however the fuck it's spelt this week, keep pointing skywards every time they hit a high note? What's up there? Is there something they want us to see? This needs to stop. I'm going to get myself a ticket for the next Destiny's Child concert and I'm going to jump on stage, tape their arms up and say, 'Do me a favour girls, keep your hands down. Just sing, okay?'

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

No More Sharks

Above: The last thing you want to see if you're a plane crash survivor

I've been thinking lately, if mankind can drop bombs on innocent people
from great heights, then with the technology we have, surely it is
within our grasp to kill every single shark that exists and thus make
the oceans safer for swimmers, surfers and plane crash survivors [as if it's not enough that you've crash landed in the ocean, you then have to contend with sharks]. How difficult could it be?

I have made my own enquiries in recent weeks, and there is a great
deal of support for the idea. I spoke the other day, via webcam, to
several pearl divers of Mikimoto Pearl Island, just off the Japanese
coast. They, as I'm sure you're aware, are able to hold their breath
under water for up to 12 hours at a time and told me that if I was able to equip
them with rifles, they would be able and willing to go after some

Also, a friend of mine, presently unemployed and with time on his
hands, has spoken of his enthusiasm for my idea. He can't swim - I'm
sure we could get round this - but he does have past experience of
animal combat having once had a tear-up with an enraged chimpanzee at
Dallas zoo [my friend had - rather wittily - attempted to plonk a
stetson on the chimp's head]. As well as monkey fighting, my friend
regularly kicks his German shepherd for no good reason, despite its
ferocity, and I think being part of this shark hunting team would really help him grow as a person.

Without wishing to sound too optimistic, I really believe that with
the right people on board, we could rid this planet of all
sharks within 6 weeks.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Almost as Good as Football - No 1: Piss Ball

Above: A latrine, essential to the game of piss ball.

September 1981; Charles and Di had just married, the late great Bill Shankly was living out his last days, the Pope and Ronald Reagan had both survived assassination attempts, but most importantly for a group of boys teetering on the edge of puberty, a young, bubble permed blonde teacher, Miss Moverley arrived at a Roman Catholic Primary school for boys in Clapham, south London. For a class expecting to be taught by the fierce sixty-something Miss Turner who normally took the third years, this came as unbridled joy and relief in equal measure.

But soon after arriving, Miss Moverly was privately wondering whether in her third year class, she had inherited the smelliest group of boys she was ever likely to teach.

Unaware to the blonde bombshell from Doncaster, her class of thirty nine to ten-year-old boys didn't have a hygiene problem. They were instead in the grip of a new game they had stumbled upon. One of the filthiest games ever played in history. A game that would, for a year, terrorise and scar their young minds forever, not to mention leave a stench on their school uniforms.

The school, then over a hundred years old, stood behind Clapham's roman catholic church of the same name, which had been built some thirty years earlier, in the 1850s.

With only a hundred and twenty boys, the school was lacking in the facilities available to the girl's school of the same name just around the corner in Crescent Lane, and had seen better days.

Each year were allocated their own playground for the next twelve months, with the first years, for instance, starting off with the smallest playground round by the back of the school - backing onto the church gardens, before moving onto the next size up when they became second years. Ultimately, for the fourth and final year, the biggest and best playground by the school gates awaited them.

The third year playground was though a strange thing; a narrow stretch of uneven concrete, no more than 60 yards by 10. Disillusioned third years found their football suffered and argued, with some justification, that the second year playground was if not longer, wider, and more suited to playing football. And at the very end of this playground lurked the toilets. It was perhaps because of its proximity to the urinals that 'Piss Ball', as it would come to be known, didn't come into being until our class moved into its new playground in the late summer of '81.

There is some dispute as to the game's beginnings. Some say the much-maligned 'Reilly', constantly picked on for, well, just for being 'Reilly', was fundamental to the game's creation.

Reilly, the son of an Irish publican and a hapless want to be footballer who said 'tirty-tree' instead of 'thirty-three', wore loose trousers that regularly exposed his crack, and was therefore, if you excuse the pun, the butt of many pranks.

Subjected to regular beatings by the various school bullies, and come to think of it, those who weren't even regarded as bullies (he didn't help himself by wearing the girl's school tie claiming he had heard that it would soon become the standard tie for our school - it didn't!), it was one of Reilly's typical wayward shots that flew over the low wooden gates and into the school's ill-kept toilets, the ball finishing up floating in the overflowing latrines.

Whilst Reilly's shot was greeted with a flurry of punches and kicks from his tormentors, a party of three or four boys, another kid, 'Tompson', ran straight into the urinals to retrieve the ball. With the ball found floating in the latrine, one of the party was splashed as he attempted to retrieve the ball. When another classmate laughed, he found himself struck with the ball by the splash victim, and thus 'piss ball' was born.

The other version, and the one widely held to be the more accurate and less convoluted, is not dissimilar to the famous story of how the game of rugby was created in 1823, where William Webb Ellis picks the ball up in his hands and starts running with it.

In this second version, Thompson, one of Reilly's chief tormentors, takes Reilly's punctured orange ball (even his ball was crap - but the punctured ball seemed to become the regulation piss ball for some unknown reason), and in an act of unsurpassed maliciousness, rolls the ball into the latrine watched by a group of classmates both horrified and fascinated.

Witnesses recall that first out of the toilets came the group of boys screaming as they scattered, fear etched deep into their expressions as they ran for their lives. Then came Thompson, 'piss ball' at his feet, looking for targets to hit.

Legend has it that the skies darkened as Thompson emerged and moments later, Reilly was hit full in the face by his own piss-covered ball, but this has never been verified. What isn't in doubt however is that the ball, despite its puncture, packed a heavy punch when weighed down with the urine of a hundred and twenty boys, and that those who witnessed Reilly's brutal encounter with his own defiled ball would forever be haunted by what they had witnessed.

Whilst Webb Ellis' spontaneous creation was immediately adopted and popularised by Cambridge University who created rules that still stand today, no such thing was done with Piss Ball. It remained a secret known to only 30 boys. Even the on-duty lunchtime monitors were blissfully unaware of the terrifying game.

Piss Ball soon caught on, with Thompson widely acknowledged as its finest exponent. It was an extreme sport 15 years before the term was coined, offering thrills that football in the narrow, Highbury-like confines of the third year playground couldn't.

The only rules were that there were no rules. You ran fast and so that you didn't become an easy target, never in a straight line. In one savage incident, one boy undid his flies and urinated on the ball in the middle of a Piss Ball game to take things up a level, just in case any innocent boy had doubted that the ball had indeed been rolled into the urinals.

By the beginning of the fourth year, we had finally graduated to our new playground, the top playground in the whole school. When we returned to school that September, taller and tanned, braced for a difficult year with Miss Turner, we came with no memories of that terrible game. No one, perpetrators and victims, ever spoke of it again. It was as if we all felt sullied by our involvement in it. The fourth year playground with its wide open expanse restored football to the top of the tree

At a party many years later, I ran into an older guy who it turned out had been to the same school, but a good few years earlier. Through the course of our conversation, it emerged that in his third year at, a strange game had evolved. As he described, it I realised it sounded like a cruder, earlier version of Piss Ball, where anything went.

When Channel 4 briefly picked up the peculiar game of Kabbadi in the early nineties, I thought briefly about sending in a proposal for Piss Ball. Maybe if I had, the game would have taken off, perhaps even become an Olympic sport.

Webb Ellis was famously honoured with a statue outside Rugby school for creating the game of rugby. As far as I know, Thompson has yet to be honoured with a statue of him, piss ball at his feet, outside the gates of this Clapham school.

Did you play a little-known game that briefly rivalled football in your life? If so, send your story to:

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Friday, March 18

Bed not visible from the door

I think my current flat could well be the first place I've lived in where I can't see the bed from the front door.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Misbehaving for a good reason

Dad once blamed me for the break up of his and mum's marriage. My problems at school put too much stress on their marriage, he said.

The suspensions brought shame on the family and Dad lost one or two jobs because of having to take time off to go down to the school to see the head and cut deals to keep me in the school.

But I had good reason to misbehave. His and mum's regular visits to the school were the only times he ever took her out. I thought some quality time together might give their faltering marriage a second wind.

He'd be pacing up and down at home, tapping his watch impatiently as the latest meeting loomed, "Come on, we need to get going now," while mum would be looking in the mirror putting her lippy on.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Disorientating the ladies

I had a mate in east London - he's now living abroad - who was dynamite with the ladies. His level of deception in order to make the beast with two backs knew no bounds. He'd arrange to pick them up from his local station which was only five minutes from his flat, and then proceeded to drive them around for fifteen minutes, taking all manner of back streets, turning here and there and back again, so as to disorientate the girls and ensure that they never remembered where he lived.

Not that there was anything dodgy about him. He just couldn't risk having them turning up at his flat unannounced, not when his girlfriend was around anyway.

So as to further decrease the girls' chances of knowing where he lived, he also happened upon the fantastic idea of driving into his road from the opposite end to where he lived because the road sign at that end had long been defaced with graffiti.

I conferred legendary scoundrel status upon him before he left these shores back in the spring of 2003. A few of us chipped in and got a medal struck for him with an engraving of a man driving around, cool as a cucumber, and a topless woman in the passenger seat.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

New jacket, wrong reasons

I bought a jacket yesterday. I wasn't sure it was the right shade of green that I was looking for, but having visited this specialist stockist several times in the last week and severely tested the owner's patience, I bought it because I guessed the owner wouldn't welcome me back to his store for another session of trying on various jackets and further extensive analysis of the stitching.

So I handed over my card. Not that happy with my purchase, but I wanted this owner out of my life as much as he wanted rid of me, and I knew so long as I didn't buy it, I wouldn't have been able to help myself going back in there.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Once I had a proper wall

My mate Chris drew this for me back in the spring of '99. I'd just moved away from home for the first time and he used to draw funny little sketches that I could stick on the wall of my study. It was a strange feeling being able to stick pictures onto a proper wall as opposed to a curtain screen. [See 'The Curtain Screen' 11th March 2005].

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Giant Sun-Deflecting Hand

Last night I dreamt that someone had invented a giant hand the size of the earth that just sits there, palm facing upwards, and that each finger on this giant hand deflected the sun's rays to colder parts of the, I didn't find it that interesting either.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Thursday, March 17


The beard went earlier today. Just stubble now. Feel more aerodynamic and shaved near enough three minutes off my walk to the station.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Crap conversations I wish I hadn't had #223

Above: The way it could have gone.

"Sounds like you're in Heathrow."

"Sounds like I'm in Heathrow?" I repeated the sentence to myself. His opening line wasn't giving me much to work with. I'd been looking forward to making this call. This publisher had given me work in the past and there was a possibility of more work,which is why he'd emailed asking me to call him, but our small talk was threatening to blow my work prospects out of the water.

There I was, sitting in Starbucks, the usual Van Morrison nonsense these American chains lean towards playing in the background. "Sounds like you're in Heathrow".... "souuuuuuuuuunds liiiiike yooooooouuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrreeeeeeee iiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnn Heaaaaaaaaaaaaaaathroooooooow"... The words were bouncing off the inside of my head in slow motion.

Where the fuck could I go with this line? Was it deliberate on his part? What? Had I ever checked out his wife in an unsavoury fashion? Had he ever caught me smirking at his dress sense? The answer to both of these was a "no". So what had I done to deserve him throwing me a line like this? In the history of mankind, had a conversation ever begun with that line? Was he trying to be a pioneer? I could have lied. I could have said yes. Yes I'm at Heathrow. I'm off to do such and such a piece abroad, and then all I've had to do was make a note of my lie and hope he wasn't perusing publications looking out for my piece.

"Almost, I finally replied. Starbucks. A bit samey, yes."

Dear reader, look at my reply again. What on earth was I thinking? What kind of reply was that? "Starbucks. A bit 'samey', yes." "A bit samey." What? Why? How? Was I actually trying to say anything?

He laughed a forced laugh, and did it well. I suspect he usually opens all dialogue with prospective employees with the same line to undermine their confidence. Tonight, as I sit here, poring over this most horrific of conversations, he's probably sat in his big Buckinghamshire home, finishing off the last slice of Brie from his cheese board, wondering what the hell I was on about when he hit me with the 'Heathrow' line.

And now I've just realised he didn't offer me any work either.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Maltese Joe: Forty-year-old teenage nurses

"I don't make the bother with them. They make you naked, then all they do is look at the fingernails and tell you to go home. 18-year-old nurses talk to you like they are forty and they look at your body like a machine. And when you are gone, they laugh about your penis with their friends in the canteen. Do I need that?"

Maltese Joe on hospitals.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Maltese Joe

Staying on the subject of balding men, let me tell you about Maltese Joe, another face from my past. He lived about a dozen or so doors down from us. Fifty-something, with a strong Mediterranean accent, Maltese Joe was part philosopher, part hair transplant. He was part property owner, part handyman, buying a house one minute, and sticking his hands down someone's toilet the next in his role as our landlord's handyman. Both fearless and shameless, Joe was a legend.

Though he shaved every day, he'd always miss the same spots on his face, and sometimes I'd wonder if he was trying to cultivate an unusual goatee on his cheek. Back in the early eighties, he'd had an unsuccessful hair transplant that left him with a tuft of doll's hair at the front, and the local kids nicknamed him 'Tiny Tears'. He was understandably self-conscious about his hair [to his credit, he never wore hats]and Dad always drilled into me the importance of not looking at Joe's hairline whenever I ran into him.

"Always pick something else to focus on," he advised.

Regardless of the season, Joe would be out there talking to anyone who would care to give him the time of day, kitted out in short sleeves, and his trademark cutaway denim body warmer, with an unlit roll up permanently attached to his bottom lip. Though he'd given up smoking years earlier, he still needed the roll up there. I guess it was his own nicotine patch if you like.

Before he hurt me, we got on well, having got to know one another on his increasingly frequent visits to the flat, which often involved repairing the ascot water heaters that British Gas had deemed unsafe. The repair jobs often consisted of peeling off the 'Do Not Use' stickers that British Gas had stuck on the heaters, but Joe always diverted our attention away from the fact our lives were threatened by these appliance by going into one about how the sticker had sullied our previously flawless heater.

"Ah, look what they do. Why? They know these stickers never come off properly. I hate them. British Gas. They are bastards."

Towards the end of my 28 years living there, Joe and I would often bump into one another in the street as he walked Harry, his pet chihuaha, and stop to chew the fat. Harry was the light of Joe's life. A childless marriage meant that the dog, if you could call it that, was spoilt rotten by Joe and his wife, who was also Maltese.

On one occasion, Dad and I were invited round for tea, and Harry was sat at the dinner table. As Joe and his wife prepared the tea in the kitchen, Dad told me not to focus on the dog. Between not looking at Joe's hairline or Harry, I was at a complete loss as to what to do.

Joe wouldn't let Harry foul our street. As soon as the dog had done its business, Joe had picked up the mess, this in the years before it had become the done thing. Admirable. Problem was, Joe could talk forever and he could get pretty passionate, often punching the air to emphasise certain words and phrases. I remember having to weave and duck out of the way of his stool-holding hand on a number of occasions as he got on his soap box. Sometimes it was as if I'd enrolled in a gladiator school.

But that's not to overlook his pearls of wisdom. And today, I'm going to share one or two of them with you.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Wednesday, March 16

Cello Tape Cure

Above: A cure for baldness.

Guys like Rocket Man Reg and the skinny, gaunt-looking guy from the Bee Gees have spent fortunes on trying to overcome their baldness when all the while a cheap cure was probably sitting right under their noses, shut away in some draw inside their respective mansions.

Yes people, I'm talking cello tape. Now don't laugh, just hear me out. You know what it's like. You're taping up that parcel and the cello tape's picking up all manner of hair and fluff, and before you've finished with the parcel, it's wearing a wig.

I'm telling you, bald people should just cover their exposed scalps in cellotape, sticky side up. Give it a week, I guarantee you these erstwhile follically-challenged guys will be starring in own shampoo ads.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Doing a Caruso at the Local

Above: "So do you have the South London Press or you gonna keep dicking me around, lady?"

The lady in my local shop doesn't like me. I don't know why. But it's been like this since I first went in there some six months ago. Soon as I step inside, her eyes never leave me and I know that buying a 40-watt bayonet bulb and a copy of Razzle shouldn't feel that uncomfortable.

Despite regularly spending money in there, she seems to regard me as potential thief material. Maybe I should steal something, you know, just to justify her suspicions.

Been wondering how David Caruso might handle this situation. I doubt he'd have let it go this far. Thinking of popping over there shortly, hands on hips, just like Caruso, giving it his [Humphrey] Bogie grimace and whispering to her [Caruso always whispers] "I'm thinking we got ourselves a situation here...You wanna talk about this?...You wanna talk about this?" [He likes to repeat things.] Maybe this face off is long overdue.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Spare a thought for Gary

Above: A downbeat Gary waits for Elton to ring.

Poor old Gary Barlow. Touted a decade ago as Elton John's natural successor as the torchbearer of limp-wristed ballads - indeed, he was even patronised by the bewigged queen - it is unlikely that ruthless Elton even remembers Gary now.

Elton was a champion of Gary's a decade ago, and when the fat one [Gary that is] picked up an Ivor Novello award for his song writing, it did seem the world was his oyster. If anyone was likely to have a successful career after Take That, it was going to be him.

But it's highly likely that the failure of both 'Stronger' and 'For all that you want' to break into the top ten resulted in Elton throwing Gary's digits in the bin. There was no way he could be associated with failure. Elton, you see, needs to be seen with the most happening people.

The tantrum-thrower formerly known as Reg Dwight had of course, back in the eighties, championed George Michael in a similar way, as Michael sought to break free from the constraints of being in a boy band.

If they're young and hip, rest assured, Elton will be there at their side, much like he is with the Beckham's now, much like he was with Robbie Williams in the late nineties, and Blue not so long ago.

Reg, if you're reading this, put the phone down. The florists doesn't shut till 6. Just give Gary a call. He's waiting.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Lama Action

I hate working. I always have. What I need is a cushy number. I need some Buddhists to turn up at my door and proclaim me as the 8th reincarnation of some Lama or other and whisk me off to Dharamsala City where every now and then I have to fuck off the Chinese by issuing hard-hitting statements, beginning perhaps with something on the ridiculous hair their men have, and we all get to pretend that the Chinese are going to leave Tibet some day.

To be a Lama would also mean I get to hang out with celebrity Buddhists Richard Gere and Patrick Duffy, and benefit concerts are held in my honour. I really think I could do this Lama thing, though I'm less sure about the walking around in a tunic and sandals part.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Tuesday, March 15

In Less Than Five Days

...In just under five days, she'll be on TV again. I wonder what she's done today. I bet it's involved interviewing some prick from 'The OC'.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Goatee Crisis

This morning I am facing a crisis. Something that is likely to affect me for the rest of my life. I'm paying a heavy price for some extra goatee sculpting over this last week.

I have recently grown a full goatee, as sported by Ricky Gervais in 'The Office, and derided by many straight men, including myself it has to be said, as a beard largely favoured by the homosexual community. The full goatee fell from favour around the mid-nineties, and since, straight guys like myself have ensured that any facial hair worn does not see the moustache and the beard join up.

Recently however, I felt I had come to the end of the line with the 'split' goatee. I had taken it as far as I could. I'd come to a goatee cul-de-sac and it was time to hand over the torch to a younger man whose enthusiasm has yet to be dimmed by life and who didn't fear being a ponce. It was then that I decided to throw caution to the wind and I've been pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I've felt with the full goatee. We're like old friends getting to know one another again.

But to maintain that definition, I have taken a razor to it every few days to tidy it up [rather than having a full shave, this just means a touch up job] and all was going swimmingly until last night, when I noticed a stand alone stray hair right in the middle of my chin. [See Fig. 1.1] What on earth am I supposed to do with this?

This is it. It's there for life now. Every time I have a shave, or touch up my goatee, I have to go out of my way to deal with this, and it's not an easy part of the chin to reach with a razor, being 10mm or so away from the right-hand corner of my bottom lip.

I'm deeply disillusioned by this turn of events. The beard was the one good thing in my life [okay, so I can't grow a full one, but in the world of goatees I was a prince]. I now need to decide what my next move is. Will I continue to shave this little hair, knowing full well that to run the razor anywhere but over that hair could lead to more new hairs emerging, or do I pluck? What a quandary. At this age, I expected to be dealing with mortgage applications, kids nappies, having to talk my partner into letting me watch porn without feeling ashamed, but instead I now find myself embroiled in a beard nightmare.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Monday, March 14

Skylight Envy

Our mediterranean skylight was the envy of all our neighbours.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Stan Smith's Supermarket Trip Aborted

Aborted a trip to the supermarket with my Stan Smith after feeling a few little specks of rain on exiting my building. Pity. They were all ready for a second outing [See 'Stan Smith Test Walk'] and this time, they were backed up by odour absorbent insoles. Returned inside to change my footwear immediately.

Perhaps the weather will be better tomorrow.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Long Night of the Z-Bed

* “Your mum’s going to die soon.”

This wasn’t quite what I was expecting from my Friday night. It was mid-September 1989 and I was on a high having started a course at the London Cartoon Centre earlier that evening. At the time I was the youngest student to attend the prestigious centre as I sought to pursue my goal of a career in writing comics and I was quite simply buzzing.

Things were really starting to happen for me. Earlier that summer I was allowed to start sleeping on my own in the front room after a lengthy spell sharing a double with my dad, whilst my mum and sister took the bunks. But dad always had a way of bringing me back down to earth if he felt I was getting too big for my boots.

“What do you mean?”
”She’s dying,” he replied without flinching.
I could feel the colour draining from my face. Like most seventeen-year-olds, the thought of life without my mum wasn’t something I had ever considered. I shifted on my recently purchased z-bed, which as usual, mum had made up for me that evening, and summoned up the courage to ask my next question.
“Has she been to the doctor’s?”
“Right…” I was scratching around, trying to figure out my next question.
“So she hasn’t been to the doctors?”
“She hasn’t been to the doctor’s,” he confirmed with a shake of the head.
"So how do you know this?”
“I’ve got books,” he motioned nonchalantly to a pile of medical books he had in the corner bookshelf. “And even without those, you only have to look at her,” he replied. “She’s unhappy. Very unhappy.”
“Well, isn’t that your fault?” I ventured.
“How the hell’s it my fault? I gave a lot up to be with your mum.”
There was a long pause.
“So, mum dying, this is your diagnosis?” I asked.
He paused. “You can see it in her face.”
“But just to clarify, this is your diagnosis?”
“Son, you don’t even know how to fry an egg.”

…So there we had it. At the age of seventeen I was poised to lose my mum because I didn’t know how to fry an egg. Come to think of it, I remembered coming across this phenomenon in a recent edition of the British Medical Journal.

“You’re quite useless,” he continued matter-of-factly. “You don’t know how to do anything for yourself.”

I wasn’t going to dispute that, but I wanted to take him back to this bit about me losing my mum. Granted, mum looked withdrawn and distant. She was working long hours, rising early at 5, while dad had brought his working life to a close so he could pursue his love of marbling.

“Forget about my shortcomings,” I said, “how about you getting out there and bringing some money in as well.”

Dad reached behind the sofa and brought out his latest marble design to fend off my cutting remark. “You think I have any say in whether I do this or not?” he said beating his breast. “This,” he said pointing to his work and then heavenwards, “this comes from up there,son…you, you can learn how to make an egg. You can learn how to wash your clothes and polish your shoes..."

"She washes your clothes too," I said.
"You think I have time to do all that stuff when I'm being pulled in this direction now?"

I was learning alot tonight, not least that the Gods took a keen interest in the world of marbling. I had visions of them sitting by a cloudy pool, playing around with tiny clay models of a poor mediterranean family, laughing at the happiness I felt in having my own fold-up bed, and pissing themselves at my dad's early marbling efforts.

I suddenly recalled one of my earliest memories. I couldn’t have been more than 3, and we were still living in our old bedsit across the road. I was in my sofa-bed, my sister in her cot behind me, and dad was doing up an ugly polka-dot tie in the mirror as he got himself ready to go to his daytime English Language course.

“I’m going to die soon,” he told us gravely that day. Some fourteen years later, here he was, still with us, now telling me I was about to lose my mum.
Dad exited the front room, leaving me to spend my fifteenth consecutive night in my own room. But the headiness of that exciting summer had all but gone now.

I wondered how I would feel when mum was gone. Alone, I cried my eyes out that night, hardly getting any sleep. What would happen to me, never mind anyone else, if mum was gone? For a start, there was no way I could do that whole launderette thing. I was too self-conscious for that. No, I'd have to take my washing to my aunt's.

I visualised myself visitng her grave. I went over and over how I would tell any future girlfriends about the tragedy that had hit me before I was out of my teens, realising that it would supercede any difficulty I was already experiencing in the real world when it came to telling people my dad was now a mature student.

Whatever feelings I summoned up that night though were no grounding for when the real thing happened just over a decade later. Yet I now realise that because of dad’s words, I’d been expecting to lose mum for a long time. That night did change alot of things. He was right. She was slipping away, albeit slowly. At some point over that following decade though, I did learn how to make an egg.

* Translated from Spanish.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

To Sit Like This

Above: Crossed legs.

I like to sit like this, indeed I often do when I'm sipping a latte in one of London's few decent cafes, while perusing a broadsheet like the fop I am, but I do worry this style of sitting may be construed as camp.

I often catch the waiters whispering to each other, as they glance in my direction with barely disguised disdain. On the odd occasion, I have even caught them touching their ear lobes, mediterranean code for 'camp', and an insider revealed to me that straws are drawn to see who gets to serve me.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

The Double Urine Infection of '85

In June '85 I purchased a rather dubious-looking love potion sachet at a fairground on Clapham Common, and on getting home, secretly administered a couple of spoonfuls into my dad's coffee. It looked like itching powder, and how he necked his beverage back I'll never know.

Within two days, dad was at the doctor's. A urine infection apparently. Off course, I never told him about the potion. Hell, I was just a 13-year-old kid trying to save his parents' marriage. How he was supposed to get amorous with mum in a one-bedroomed flat, well, I hadn't quite worked that one out. And I'm not sure what I expected the potion to do? Would dad's shirt start ripping like the Hulk? Would he start roaring and beating his chest? Would we all have to flee the flat? Apparently so, according to the fairground worker who'd sold it to me.

I wasn't entirely sure that the potion had been responsible for dad's infection either, so a fortnight later, with dad having recovered, I slipped another couple of spoonfuls into another coffee. Another visit to the GP followed shortly after, and following that, bereft of ideas, I finally accepted that if my parents' marriage was to be saved, it wasn't going to be by me.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Pocket Sized Vaseline Nightmare

Why are these little tubs of Vaseline such a bastard to open? I'm going to have to revert to carrying the bigger, more familiar tub because this little runt's giving me a breakdown. Five attempts and I still can't prise the blasted lid off. Am taking deep breaths and thinking positive thoughts. "I will get that lid off, I will." ... Sixth attempt. Nothing...Just threw it down the stairs. Feel a lot better. Smiling even.

Note to self: Contact the Norwegian makers and seek urgent answers.

Just noticed there's a customer care number on the larger tub for people who might have any questions or comments, but nothing on its smaller-sized sibling. Did they not foresee any problems? Were they that confident that the pocket sized vaseline was the perfect product?

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Sunday, March 13

Stan Smith test walk

Above: A pair of Adidas Stan Smith.

I took my brand new pair of Adidas Stan Smith for a trial walk this afternoon. I've had them for a couple of weeks, but with the awful weather we've been having, I haven't had a chance to wear them. However, after hearing on the radio that today would be rain free, I quickly got on the road to a mate and within the hour, we were in his car searching for a nice, hospitable area for me to try out my 'white & ivy' coloured velcro-strapped babies.

Two hours later, we had found just that in deepest Buckinghamshire. I'm happy to report my 15-minute test walk went off without a hitch, though before handing a London debut to these babies [they certainly won't be walking through Atherfold Road - see 'Atherfold' post], I'm considering fitting them out with some insoles. I'll keep you posted.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Beard Yearning

A magnificent beard.

I wish I could grow a beard. Liam Gallagher's been wearing full beards on and off since his early twenties. I'm in my early thirties now and I still can't even hope to match this. Soul destroying.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

This Woman

Above: That woman.

I can't stand this woman. I can't even bring myself to say her name. I can only tell you that my dislike for her has surpassed the beefs I've had - and continue to have -with Elton John [has done nothing of note for thirty years and a man with a big drugs habit had no place in football, plus he has a ridiculous hairpiece] and Susan Tully [she was always eating in Eastenders].

T4 is bad enough as it is [without this woman]. Why do we need it? No one's ever taken me by the hand, sat me down and explained the reasons to me. I didn't need some trendy lip-glossed **** with this "ooohhh, I'm sooo tired from attending this awards ceremony last night that I can hardly be bothered to get these words out of my giant shiny gob" telling me I was about to watch Beverley Hills 90210 or Hong Kong Phooey when I was younger. Message to Channel 4: "Just show me the fucking programme. It doesn't matter how bad the programme is, put it on, I'll make my own mind up".

Try as hard as I can to avoid Andi - with an 'I' - Peters' protégé, I can't. I know she's there. I know she's on television every Sunday morning, God only knows how or why, but the fact is I can't stay in bed and sleep through it. I can't switch on another channel. I can't go out and do something else. I have to suffer her. I must beat myself up every weekend and remind myself just how bloody awful she is. I dislike her that much that I feel compelled to watch her. There are hundreds of crap people on TV, but none quite match the lip-glossed one.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.

Dreams Never End

I had a rather depressing dream last night. I'd gone back to my old flat where I spent 24 long, cold years, and it felt so empty without my parents. I was overwhelmed by this acute feeling of loss that has become a familiar sensation in recent years, one which I feel I have more often than not managed to keep a lid on.

Seeing these empty rooms and empty chairs where once these people had sat, wasn't good. Yet I could still hear their voices bouncing off the walls, the arguments, the occasional laughter, me and my younger sister having another scrap. I could hear it all. Soundbites. Brief yet enough to make me feel sad.

I'm glad I left that flat in the summer of 2000. I think it was the best decision I ever made. Sometimes you have to run away from these things. You know those events will always cast a long shadow over your life that resurfaces to bite you on the arse every now and then, but I can live with that. It's not a bad deal considering where I was 5 years ago.

So there I was, revisiting the past. Thankfully I wasn't alone and had a younger friend with me. We left my old flat and made our way to my favourite Portuguese cafe on the South Lambeth Road, running into an old class mate on the way who I haven't seen for years. 'Penfold' was so known because he was mixed race and always wore thick spectacles that made him look like Dangermouse's trusty sidekick. In my dream he was a lot warmer than I remember him being towards the end of our time in Secondary. I think he may have had a bike with him, and with his hand behind the saddle, he pushed it all the way to the cafe.

I still couldn't put aside how low I felt, and the journey to the cafe seemed to take forever. Once we got there, we decided to sit outside, by which time I think I was sporting a horrific, dyed blonde goatee. I tried to get served inside, but the counter had grown in size, either that or aswell as dying my goatee, I'd shrunk.

I returned outside, finally, with our orders, to find Puff Daddy chatting my friend up, his limo parked on a double yellow outside the cafe. As I sipped my latte, not once did this man acknowledge me. Showing complete disregard for the Nigerian traffic wardens hovering nearby, the King of Bling left my starstruck friend his digits, but within moments she had lost them, much to her horror.

I returned inside to pay for our order, again struggling to get the attention of the waiter. The cafe was by now packed and the waiters couldn't see me. Through the crowd, I got a glimpse of an old friend, a local, who was sitting chatting to some hooded, achingly hip media guy. As much as I wanted to say "hello", I didn't, and after finally paying for the order [the bastards short-changed me] I returned outside and left with my friends, to go who knows where.

It's amazing how a good dream can give you a lift for the rest of the day, while a bad one leaves you troubled. I've often placed a lot of stock on dreams, even knowing when certain people were coming back into my life [situtations I add that I couldn't control, not simply a case of, 'oh, I've dreamt of them and I'll pick up the phone and ring them ' - often they are people I've not known how to find].

Like the girl that disappeared on me in '94. She haunted my dreams for years. Come to think of it, she hanuted me in real life as well, to the extent I had to give her another name [just for myself as my friends never even knew about her]. Don't ask me why, I just did, and it worked.The problem was I kept on calling later girlfriends by her 'real' name.

The dreams of '94 - 97 would always see me arriving somewhere she'd just been, and I could feel her presence, but we never ran into each other. Finally, after three years of nocturnal torture, we finally ran into one another in a dream and exchanged words, albeit briefly. I can't remember what they were now, but I awoke with a deep conviction that she would soon be back in my life and I wasn't surprised at all when she called me shortly afterwards to say she was back in London.

She asked if I would like to meet up so that we could move onto the next tortuous phase in our largely epistolary relationship. She'd called one Sunday afternoon while I was eating spaghetti bolognese on my own, and I remember going from having a big appetite after getting in from playing football, to not being able to touch my dinner again after the call.

On this first opportunity to try and work out what happened in '94, the reunion never came off, and it would be some years yet before we destroyed one another's lives.

The pain of '94, and my subsequent haunting, seems to me to have been a preparation for the whirlwind events to come, an apprenticeship if you like. By the time things went wrong, I was already disappointed with adult hood and suffering from what I would later learn was depression. Without '94, I don't know how I would have dealt with what was to come.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2005. Do not reproduce without permission.