Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Take a Strip Down Memory Lane...

The whole world is turning into one big, depressing place. You turn on the news, open a newspaper, flick through the internet and its all war, pestilence and famine.

The biggest stories seem to involve this new threat, the IS (Islamic State militants). To most people they have popped up out of nowhere to ruin people’s lives and bring on the next global terror threat. However, it’s not new to me. The Islamic fundamentalists ruined my life some time ago…

Growing up there are key moments in a boy’s life that stand out, maybe made a difference, changed who you are or formed an opinion that has stayed with you for the rest of your life.

There are also moments that stand the test of time that you remember forever. This is especially true when it comes to sex, women and various other taboo subjects like finding your Dad’s porn collection (on VHS, all grainy from the 70s) and making sure you rewind to the exact spot you started it on!

The times as a teen where you are too old to play kiss catch, but too young to go sample the fruits of a local pub with real women is a time of much frustration. So sneaking into pubs at 15 was always an adventure. And it was easier and much more relaxed back then than it is now.

People with fake pub IDs ("You sure you’re called Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, born 22nd May 1859?!?!") and landlords who would turn a blind eye as long as their quiet pub was taking in some cold, hard cash…

One such occasion when I was 15, on the cusp of 16, and I’d snuck to the pub as usual on a Friday night ("Mum, am sleeping at my mate’s house…. See ya tomorrow") with my mates, only to be greeted by my Dad and his mate! Busted…

Or maybe not…

As it turns out and am sure everyone has heard this, I was doing nothing he didn’t do when he was a young man. And as long as I was sensible about it and kept out of trouble where was the harm.

It was that same evening, feeling like a young adult, that my Dad and his mate took us to a small strip club in the town centre known as Belle Vue… It was like a rite of passage, father passing on the torch to his eldest.

So along with two mates I went along to this new experience. Excited and nervous, but trying to keep a cool persona about me…

I was about to see ladies take their clothes off, FOR REAL!!!

As I stood waiting to get in, bricking it in case they didn’t believe I was Arthur, I could hear cheers and music playing. Then it was our go to be ushered in after paying a whopping 70p! What can you get for 70p nowadays really? Back in the 90’s it got you naked women!!

We went to the bar ("Pint of ale please, good bartender…"), then took our seats stage side as the lights dimmed (They switched the big light off!)…

Obviously back then these young women were the stuff a teenage boy dreams of, but thinking back now I’m not sure all of them were even born women! (I jest, honest!).

The fantasy of it at the time was this gentleman’s club, a classy joint, the kind you see in gangster films. You know the type, sharp suits drinking posh cocktails and sultry looking women performing exotic dances in a romantic haze of cigar smoke… The truth of it though was you stuck to the floor (god I hope that’s just alcohol!), in a run down pub that served real ale for £1.20 a pint, pork pie and gravy for another £1.10 and you were surrounded by dirty old pervs in 3 day old clothes, dribbling from their toothless mouths at these women who just pitied their audience in order to make some money.

Regardless of the surroundings and the peeling 70’s d├ęcor, that night will be one of those that you always remember, a snapshot in your life. Although I don’t think that last blonde on stage that night was really christened Portia…

The group I was in kept going for the next few months, it became our Friday night ritual. People in school would hear of our adventures and for a brief time people seemed in awe (mainly the lads of course). Again, maybe that’s just the whole hazy fantasy of teenage-hood glossing over the actual look of scorn we got.

We became part of the furniture for a brief time, always sitting at the same table, getting to know the owner and the DJ very well, as well as a few of the locals. We even played pool in between dances, with the strippers and their boyfriends!

Then as quickly as this adventure started it came to an abrupt end…

The usual Friday night, local pub then taxi to Belle Vue, was on the cards. All dressed up and smelling good to hit the town… well, new Reebok jumper and the now sickening smell of Joop that is (a must for all 90’s teenage boys).

Then our small insignificant world came crashing down around us…

70p in hand I walked the steps all cock sure, a million miles away from that first time I entered the building. I strode in expecting to be greeted by the owner and the bar staff only to be faced by 20 Muslims praying together!!

Where was the DJ? Where was Portia?? Why didn’t I stick to the floor anymore?!?!?
We were ushered out quickly and brought to a sign on the door that stated our Belle Vue, our beloved venue of Friday night fodder, was now an Islamic Fundamental Centre!!!

That was the moment when I should have realised the threat now apparent in the present day, was a clear and present danger back then! First the Belle Vue… next stop… The World!!!

I feel that was the first time my little heart experienced anything like heart break. The relationship between young man and strip bar had come to a sudden and dramatic end. It was time to move on.

And as all teenage boys do, we did move on, we moved onto the next adventure, but nothing ever captured that initial wonder of those early Belle Vue days… Innocence was long gone.

Suddenly, watching the news these days, the cold realisation of what I saw all those years back, the early impending signs, the visions of desperation and horror going on… The great threat hanging over us, no in fact the promise that was very much real, was that I will never, ever get into a strip club again for only 70p!!

Oh and the threat of IS. Twats!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I put the 'I' in narcissist... Twice!!!

The blog has been put on hold for a few months. Not for any specific reason, but I just haven’t had the inclination, the ideas or the interesting topic.

Since the last post, back in January, I tried quitting cigarettes. But seeing as I am no quitter (well, I just couldn’t hack it ok!), I decided to just cut down instead. So I have become one of those awful people who smoke socially and tap cigarettes off others when and if the moment arises.
And people give up their cigarettes for me because they enjoy my company… surely.
I have this front about me, this side of me that is cock-sure and confident. People who do not know me see this extrovert side to me, they see this arrogance, this confidence, this showmanship and think either ‘check him out’ or ‘what a complete nob’. 
The fact of it is that those who do know me know that it is just bravado, it is part of the act and really I am sensitive soul who is looking for appreciation, endearment and adulation.

For this reason I do like to be the joker of the pack, I do like to make people laugh – not that everyone finds me funny mind – and I do like to act a certain way.
And as a result I get labelled. And this week I was called a narcissist!!
I was in a pub. Having a drink! Having a few drinks in fact whilst telling a story to a mate and I was called a narcissist as a result of the embellished, cocky story I was imparting on my captive audience (of one).
The definition of the word is…


1. a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.

2. Psychoanalysis a person who suffers from narcissism, deriving erotic gratification from admiration of his or her own physical or mental attributes.

Some of you that know me will think spot on! But I think you are wrong… or maybe you’re right too!

And besides, who doesn’t derive erotic gratification?!?! Single guy people, single guy!

When I read into this more and found a breakdown of character traits, it struck me that I am indeed a narcissist, BUT so are countless other people, in fact so are all people! OR everyone has a bit of narcissism in them… and if they don’t would you like some???

How many narcissists does it take to change a light bulb?
(a) Just one -- but he has to wait for the whole world to revolve around him.
(b) None at all -- he hires menials for work that's beneath him.

What I did find interesting about that joke is the fact the person in question is male and it turns out that there are more male narcissists than women. I am not entirely sure why this is as I have met some very self obsessed, vain, selfish women in my time that have these traits more so than any bloke I’ve met.
So the traits of a narcissist are as follows – which I will score in a football style:

1. Believing that you're better than others

What is wrong with believing in your own capabilities? So yes, I have this trait. Some people are total idiots. I could write a book on the antics of some people and their stupid opinions, just not today. But I also have the opposite and often think I am not good enough! So I shall dismiss this one. One nil to me!

2. Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
I never really fantasize about anything other than shagging Kate Beckinsale to be honest, BUT in that fantasy she finds me the hottest guy on the planet and wants to involve Liz Hurley too. So I am successful and in control too… Oh, and Mila Kunis has now heard about me and wants to join!! Damn, an early equaliser there!!

3. Exaggerating your achievements or talents
Now I do embellish and I do exaggerate and I add to stories to make them funnier or more interesting, but doesn’t everyone? Generally I am terrible about ‘bigging’ myself up, especially when it comes to appraisal time at work, so I reckon this one is null and void because everyone has to exaggerate sometimes, even if in jest. There’s a joke about inches here too… So score is still tied at 1-1.

4. Expecting constant praise and admiration
Now I reckon the important word here is ‘expecting’. I never expect praise or admiration as I do not get it that often. However, I like to be praised and admired of course. All season I can think I have played football brilliantly, but every week I have the piss taken out of me, but then at the end of the season I am rewarded with Player of the Season, which means I was praised and admired after all. So I never expect it, but when it comes along I really milk it. So due to the wording, that’s 2-1 to me!

5. Believing that you're special and acting accordingly
I act like I am special, I have that bravado I mentioned earlier. I am a shocking flirt and act like the women are lucky I am entertaining them, but secretly I don’t believe that. In fact I am quite insecure about many things. So just for that insecurity alone it makes it 3-1 to me.

6. Failing to recognise other people's emotions and feelings
And without even going into this I am giving myself a 4th point. I have a very caring side and can appreciate when someone needs something, a shoulder to cry on, cheering up or just someone to listen. Some of my closest friends come to me for advice. They don’t take that advice, they do the opposite, but I still recognise how they are feeling and adapt to that. 4-1 bitches!

7. Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
I want to do what I want to do and so if I make plans or arrange then I expect them to come to fruition. I am a moody bastard if I have something planned and it doesn’t work out. Yeah, I am admitting a fault here for sure… 4-2 then, fine!

8. Taking advantage of others
I wouldn’t say I ever take advantage, in fact I would say I am often taken advantage of due to me being a nice guy. I often do favours or go above and beyond. Actually I think I know one person who would disagree with this, but their opinion doesn’t count, they should toughen up, bloody loser… So taking their pathetic reasoning out, which we shall never ask for as it’s worthless, I would say that’s 5-2 to me...

9. Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
Fuck!! 5-3….

10. Being jealous of others
The one trait that I do think I have above all others is this and boy do I wish I could drill it out of me. This especially comes into play with women who have very close male friends. It is something I cannot compute with me and do not understand all that well. IF a bloke is hanging round with a woman it’s surely because either something happened in the past or they want something to happen in the future. I admit defeat on this one. 5-4.

11. Trouble keeping healthy relationships
This one made me laugh… its those bloody women with close male friends that’s the issue, not me!! Ok, ok, ok… seeing as I am single then there’s the late equaliser with time running out…

12. Being easily hurt and rejected
Nah, no one hurts me, hard as nails me. I have a thick layer of skin that is impenetrable. I had my tear ducts taken out as crying is a sign of weakness. I have a heart of stone, a swinging brick and things slide off me like water off a ducks back. I am like the terminator, emotionless, uncaring, cold and calculated. No woman has ever rejected me… cough, couch, splutter!! So fuck you all, I don’t care, I make that 6-5 to me!

13. Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional
Oh man, this is playing tricks with me… I can’t breathe, am welling up! Maybe I am a narcissistic man! We’ll call it a draw and leave it there. I need some time alone…

So the final result seems to be a draw, which probably indicates I am not a narcissist as my friend suggested, but more that I have some narcissistic tendencies. Or some personal issues… Or I am just not the person I thought I was... Really I am a complete liar!! 
But I dare you to go through this list and not pick out any traits that could be considered narcissistic! Surely I am not the only one?? Please, I don’t want to be the only one…
You do still love me right?? You will still continue to love me yeah? Please don’t go… We can work it out… surely??? You will come back and read more won't you?
Bollocks to ya then, I don’t care, I don’t need you… I am amazing!! So deal with it!!


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Going Cold Turkey

As I write this I have 5 cigarettes left… 5!!! Then I am going cold turkey. Enough is enough. This isn’t a New Year resolution either, it’s a financial choice.

I am not one of those people who make a promise at this time of year and then, a month later, are left with an expensive gym pass and a fridge full of good-for-you food that tastes of cardboard - neither of which will get used!

I am 33 in March and have smoked since being a teenager, bar the 6 months I stopped when my second son was born. That is a lot of cigs…

Packs of cigs have gone up and up with each passing year. Say an average pack costs £6 and I roughly buy 4 packs a week, which means I have spent somewhere in the region of £20,000…

£20,000 to effectively kill myself – rope would have been cheaper and quicker. So that’s £20,000 I could have spent on all sorts.

4 left now…

20k would have got me a decent, brand new car or even a top of the range second hand car!! Several in fact over the years. It would also be a substantial amount to have put a deposit down with many years ago, instead of getting a stupid 98% mortgage during the boom or bust years – am regretting that now I tell ya!

I could have travelled the world and visited all four corners, taking in the sights, meeting new people and having a different woman in each port!! Although with that comes its own unique pain!!

I could have bought a small zoo with only one dog in it and called it a Shiatsu!! (Old joke, sorry!)

Or invested in Google or Dyson in the early years; maybe created Facebook myself!

I could have visited the Antarctic and retraced the footsteps of famous explorers or thrown the biggest house parties ever at the Play Boy mansion!! If your name’s not down you’re not coming in!! 

Hell, 20k would have got me a training session for a few hours with Messi!!

I could have even designed, created, invented and built a female android that listens to what I say, pleasures me when I need, leaves stuff where I left it, have my tea ready for when I walk in, let me watch what I want to watch and never answer back or judge me…

Instead, I am staring at my last pack of cigs, with a tear in my eye, giving up this long relationship we’ve had…obviously not with this particular pack, but with my friends Marlboro, Lambert and Butler…

3 to go until D-Day…

We’ve had some good times like the time I was on a school trip, hanging out the window of a mountain side hotel in Milan having a crafty cig so the teachers wouldn’t see or smell, and the window giving way in my hands and totally coming off its hinges. Or the time I went to Blackpool to watch the footy as a teenager and it was baking hot, so I took my footy shirt off with the cig in my mouth and burnt a massive hole in it!!

Am not going to pretend this will be easy either. I mean I am known for been moody as it is and so without these little stress relievers can you imagine how much of a mardy arse I will be?!?! I have a feeling I will be very lonely as no one will want to knock about with me. I’ll also get huge too as I will comfort eat no doubt – but at least I’ll have money to spend on food!!

Every cloud eh…

I imagine it will be like that scene in Trainspotting where Ewan McGregor’s character goes cold turkey locked in his room and goes slightly mental as he just needs “one more fucking hit!”

Seems about right to have another… 2 left.

One thing I will not be doing is “smoking” one of those stupid electric cigs you see people using. They all look like they are chewing on the end of a BIC pen!!

Electronic cigs are the equivalent of Quorn – if you want the meat taste, eat fucking meat…

I have to say though that the outlook is not bright to be honest. I do not have the best track record of ending relationships and sticking to it. I imagine I will have lapses and, like other relationships, it will be frowned upon!!

My Dad did it though - not end it with my Mum - give up the cigs I mean. And he is now the worst ex smoker ever…

“Jesus that stinks!! You had a smoke? Filthy habit...”

And with that sentence I light my penultimate cigarette.

I have never had the inclination to quit before but January is a notoriously tight month in the wallet section and so something had to give. It was either that or alcohol, and I am not ready to end that relationship let me tell you now!

So, the plan is to quit smoking and be a slightly over weight happy person who looks younger than his current facial features suggest and who can run around with the kids in the back garden without breathing out my arse!

I may not be fitter, but at least I’ll be healthier…

And as I finish this piece I am now down to my last cig…shall I keep it as a reminder of a mistress I once dearly loved? A mistress that was always there when needed? The one relationship that has lasted well over a decade?

Fuck it, I’ll smoke it…

Wish me luck!!