Friday, October 02, 2015

Deadpan Conversations

Scene: standing at a pedestrian crossing, while traffic crawls past.  A limo containing Richard Branson inches down the road, his leonine beard sparkling in the morning light.
Man Standing Next to Me: Did you see that?  That was Russell Brand.
Me: No, that was Richard Branson. They both have beards and the same initials.
MSNM: Small world, man.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Deadpan Conversations with Market Stallholders, part 1

Scene: A busy market.

Me: Three Eccles cakes, please.
Stallholder: Three Eccles cakes.
Me: Could I have them in two bags please?
S: Two in one, one in the other?
Me: Unless you can think of a better way.
S: It's been a long day. I've sold a lot of pastry.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Deadpan Conversations with Shop Assistants vol. n+1

Me: Hi. Would you mind just checking how much this lightbulb is for me please?
Shop Assistant: Ok. Oh, that's quite expensive, isn't it?
Me: Hmm.
SA: Do you still want it?
Me: Yes, please.
SA: Mind you, they do last for ages, these new ones, don't they? Twenty-five, thirty years, some of them, so I guess it's good value, isn't it?
Me: I want to have something to hand on to my children.
SA: Ok.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Queen and I: A Comparative Study

Who's more in tune with the traditions of our fine country, me or the queen?

The queen, who commands a flotilla of ships to bob past while celebrating the 60th anniversary of the death of her dad, OR me, who as my ancestors have done before me, and I am powerless to prevent myself similarly doing, spent a damp bank holiday in Ikea, getting angrier and angrier at the food queues and the people with their gobs agape at some toilet-roll holders and my failing to consider whether any of the crap we've just bought would fit in the car (it did - just - although we had to remove Frank's car seat and just have him crawl around on the flat-pack boxes, with a stern warning that if we were to crash, he was not allowed to hit our car seats with the force of an elephant like in those adverts glamourising car crashes) and hitting the most tedious road works on the most tedious motorway (M1 - it is) from the most tedious town (I'm too much of a gent to name it, but it begins with Milton, and remember, I'm from Stevenage, so I KNOW roundabouts)?

Answer - it's me. I'm the one who keeps up empty and unenjoyable rites handed down through the ages in order to cement my place in society (the lower middle classes - I don't want the queen to think that I'm a threat to her on any other fronts).

Monday, May 28, 2012

My London to Brighton Night Ride

Cycling down to the start, the evening started off on a bizarre note, as while stopped at some lights on Whitehall, I was spotted by a group of early-20s Frenchmen, wearing white t-shirts and red neckerchiefs (overgrown scouts? cult members? some traditional French costume for a night out?), who on seeing me shouted 'allez!' and 'sportif!', and possibly other, possibly ruder, things that I'm too monolingual to have understood. I gave nods and shrugs as appropriate, and they 'helpfully' gave me a push-start to speed me on my way, like in the Tour de France. It's a bit of a bugger when you're riding fixed gear, and aren't clipped in, but my legs did catch up with the pedals, and on I went.

Set off around 12.30, and was immediately faced with the first hazard of the evening: a bit of apple stuck in my teeth. Honestly, it niggled me all through the ride. I set off a bit too fast, and the field soon thinned out through the numerous South London suburbs, but enough of us to cause bemusement to the drunks of Mitcham etc.

Into the country we went, and after a while it got very quiet, with very few cars or other riders about. It's quite difficult to tell whether you're going uphill or downhill at night. My legs would generally give me a clue, but it was a weird feeling. There were lots of hills (either up or down - no-one can be sure), and this led to the second but no less serious hazard: cramp. A direct result of going too fast early on, and not having done enough cycling before today, but all I could think at the time was: ow. In order to get myself off the bike, I had to use the spring in my cramp stiffened legs to fling me off my bike and onto the verge, while simultaneously catching my bike, and taking care of the serious business of saying 'ow'.

Made it in to Brighton to be greeted by the rubbish of the evening before littering the streets; by rubbish, I mean late-night punters making their way home. Further stereotypes witnessed were: man opening door of car to vomit onto road, people who had lost various items of clothing wobbling along the sea front, abusive drunks waving their fists and yelling, and seagulls the size of humans dressed in top hats singing the works of Stephen Sondheim. I was quite tired by this stage, and doubt exists over some of these sightings.

And then, back to London on the coach, waking occasionally to try and avoid sleeping on the shoulder of the guy next to me. I hadn't been introduced, and thought it would be a fairly serious breach of etiquette.

Thanks again to everyone who sponsored me. Cheers!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Importance of Proof-reading

No-one should ever have to worry about giving the Cross a good bum. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I've just bought these contraceptives, I mean, lightweight bicycle innertubes. If the front of the pack isn't enough, I ask you to read the back of the pack.

Wait - what? Performing maintenance? What? This is sexually INexplicit. I'd hate to think what the Italian or French translations read like.

I'm just glad these arrived mail order, in discreet packaging and that no-one was looking over my shoulder when I opened it up.