If you ever see me in the street, which I do hope you don't, you'll notice just by looking at my face that I have had happier days.

It's not because I am walking around under a permanent cloud like a Flump or Morrissey, I'm not.

It's not because I have one of those faces that when it's in it's relaxed state invites complete strangers to pass comment on how I should "cheer up", or reassure me that "it might not happen" or inform me of the curious biological fact that "it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile".

As Bill Hicks once observed "You know it takes more energy to point that out than it does to leave me alone?"

NB: This happens to me a LOT. It always has. 
In fact, I remember when asked what she would like to see before she died, my Great Aunt Ada once said it was to see me smile.

What?? I was about six years old and perfectly fucking happy playing with my Lego, thank you very much! Sheesh!

Anyway, it's none of that. The reason that you'd notice I've been a bit of a grumpychumps is because I have grown a beard.

A bald man with a beard.
What a cliché.

I look forward to all the hilarious comments about having my head on upside down or how my fringe has slipped over my fucking nose. Go on, knock yourselves out.

Beards are usually an indicator of some kind of sadness or loss. Not always, but usually...

There's the dishevelled five o'clock shadow, sported by the likes of former Sun journalist Paul McMullen and former Snappy Snaps customer George Michael, which indicates a reluctance or inability to remember details like bribing, hacking, parking, sleeping or shaving.

There's the goatee - as sported by Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski - which shows a certain level of competence and attention to detail coupled with a feeling of "ahhh, fuck it - that'll do.."

The goatee is not only popular with bald men and hippies, but also big fat knackers like Keith from The Office as it gives the illusion of a chin.

In any fashion (for want of a better word) there are always those that abuse the notion of the subgroup to which they belong - in his case they are the Hipsters.

Hipsters like to spout facial hair ironically, either waxing the tips of their moustaches or growing Amos Brierly-style muttonchops, all in the name of jazz-cool irony.

Ironically, the only thing ironic about how these uber-cool douches sport their face-sproutings is that in an effort to appear counter-culture and beyond convention, they have adopted the precise fashions of their parents - as this fabulous website shows.


But then there are the Big Guns.

The David Bellamies.
The Buster Merryfields.
The Brian Blesseds.

Proper men with proper beards.

Beards that could could pull a ship.

Beards that could beat out a fire.

Beards start from the eyes and spread like wild brambles, sometimes having to be stuffed into clothing like a duvet into it's cover in order to stop it whipping passers-by off their bikes in high winds or confusing birds looking for a safe place to nest.

But be warned. You could be minding your own business when that freak wind pushes you over and before you know where you are you are trapped in Brian Blessed's beard for years... and no-one would ever hear your muffled cries. Apart from that confused entangled chaffinch who is now your lifelong neighbour...

I'm quite envious of the Big Guns. I don't think I could ever grow a beard quite so impressive. Although my beautiful tiny ex-girlfriend's beautiful tiny daughter has a different view. She drew this the other day - it's what I will look like at the age of 54 (randomly enough) if I don't shave my face.

I was also informed that  look like Count Olaf from Lemony Snickett's A Series Of Unfortunate Events...   I think it is safe to assume she's not a fan of the beard.

In fact I'd say most kids aren't. They look at you as if something has gone wrong with your face, which it has to a certain extent, and then after giggling behind their hands at the dead weasel balancing on your chin they begin to get a bit unnerved.

"Why is it still there?" they think, "This joke isn't funny any more... TAKE IT OFF!!"

That's when I have to explain that unlike most people I don't have the luxury of choosing a new haircut every couple of months, so I have to shave, sculpt and cultivate my face-forest. And then buy them some sweets to stop them crying.

NB: Always make sure the child has stopped crying when you go to the shops. 
A beardy man buying a crying child sweets is NOT  a good look.

I went to visit my youngest brother the other week and his four year old twin boys had plenty to say on the subject of their Uncle's facial topiary.

My favourite nephew thought it was "Just yuk..." whereas his twin brother's considered opinion was that I was now "Too bristly for kissing".

Out of the mouths of babes!
Absolutely spot on there, young whatever-you're-called... Twin Two.

You see, growing a beard is a completely selfish action. It's a shield. A guard. A hirsute barrier that less-than-subtly tells people to keep the fuck away. "I'm not feeling cuddly and kissable", it says, "I don't particularly want to be hugged right now, so please jog on."

I mean, ladies. Would you want a snog off any of that lot??

And look at all the bad guys in history, you'll see facial hair in all it's various incarnations.

Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Ayatollah Khomeini, Noel Edmonds, Charles Manson, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Emperor Ming, Hulk Hogan in Rocky III, Robert Mugabe, Judas Iscariot, Blackbeard the Pirate, Mr T in Rocky III, The Master off Doctor Who, Rasputin, ZZ Top, Henry VIII, Jeremy Beadle, The Yorkshire Ripper, Bill Oddie - all fans of facial hair.

All "too bristly for kissing" and all evil, I think we can all agree.

In fact, according to Uncyclopedia I am not the first to have noticed this:

"The Evil Beard Theory, brainchild of George Orwell, states that a man's beard is directly proportionate to his evilness (man + lengthofbeard = evilness:cleanshaven / goodness). 

Thus every man who has a beard of any length is at least 1% eviler than his non-bearded counterpart. 

It was originally thought that no bearded man could exceed 100% more evilness than non-bearded man." 

Or, as the pixie-shoed pop-philosopher Marc Bolan once said, "I've got stars in my beard and I feel real weird..."

Ooh, I almost forgot Simon Cowell.

Oh yes. Simon Cowell has a beard.

He loves a 'beard'. He has loads of 'beards'.
Oh yes. Loads. Look at his many, many 'beards'.....

NB: I'm using 'beard' as a slang term here.

But back to hairy faces, an it is a well known fact that men look scarier with a beard (and I'm not talking about Sinitta)....

Every man, that is, apart from Matthew "Stars With Eyes" Kelly, who was all lovely with a beard and became much more sinister and scarier after a glide with the old Wilkinson's Sword.

However there is one type of beard that is the exception that proves the rule. One that is neither threatening, nor sinister, nor evil. Just a bit silly.

I refer you to - THE CRAIG DAVID:

The Craig David is a pathetic magna-doodle of folicle folly that turns the otherwise masculine man mane into a fuzzy chinstrap. It's one step-up from drawing a moustache on your face with your mum's eye-liner. It's the dot-to-dot beard equivalent of borrowing your Dad's suit and lowering your voice to try and get served in a pub. It's a rumour of a beard that craves attention, and therefore deserves none.


So there you have it. My Beard Theory.

I think you'll find that as a theory that it's as watertight as an otter's pocket. If you see a man with a beard or a moustache he just wants to be left alone, he doesn't want a hug, he may be a despot or a soft soul sap, but one thing is assured - The Hairy-Faced Man doesn't want you to talk to him.

Well, apart from Santa.

And Papa Smurf.

And Magnum P.I.

Oh, and Jesus....

Back to the drawing board...

If you click on this you 
can follow me on Twitter
or you can join my FB group 

(Don't worry. This lot aren't there!)



I'm not a religious person, as I think I may have mentioned before, but this year I am observing a religious ritual.

Don't worry, it's nothing painful, you can uncross your legs.

And it's nothing too binding, so I won't be bequeathing my comics and toys to Tom Cruise's mates.

No, I'm observing Lent.

Am I being Lent on?

Nah, I'm doing it of my own accord!!

Ha! Suit yerselves...

Over the past month or so I've been under-eating, over-eating, drinking like Ollie Reed on a brewery trip and smoking like an ash tray in Chernobyl... it's no good. No matter how much your heart is broken, it's probably not a great idea to speed up the process of making it stop altogether by downing a bottle of mid-price plonk and inhaling a 10-pack of cancersticks before bed.

So, I've decided to give my lungs and liver a rest for a bit... and also to lay off the tea.

Yes, tea.

Now, stopping drinking tea may not seem much of a wrench to you, but I've been on between eight and fifteen cups of tea a day for the past thirty-odd years, and to be honest it's been the most difficult thing to give up by a fucking country mile.

Those bastard Tetley Tea folks and PG chimps - they lure you in with their cutesy characters and free playing cards/tea-towels/key-rings/cuddly monkeys and before you know it, thirty-odd years later, you're hooked!!

The Gaffer's worse than Bobby Brown.

Now this is going to make weekend's a bit more of a challenge.

Without the distraction of my beautiful tiny ex-girlfriend's beautiful tiny daughter to entertain, or an all day boozy session to take part in, or to frequent one of those coffee bean emporiums whose windows those laptop-prodding gits like to decorate as they pretend to write their great novels, without all that, I'm unsure what to do with myself.

Perhaps ride that bike I bought last year and have barely sat on?

Maybe take all those CDs and books that I never listen to or read, down to the charity shops?

Do some odd jobs around my elderly Nan's house?

I'm sure I'll think of something to pass the time.

But I think it's good to have a period of abstinence and purging, and it make much more sense to do it now rather than as a New Year's resolution. There's a futility to trying to cut out comforting fatty foods and rich drink when you're snowed in.... and as if you can be arsed going to a freezing cold changing room when the radiators on full whack in your living room? Balls to that!

No, it makes more sense to have a go at Lent. The days are brighter, the air is lighter and people are in a far more genial mood. Spring is around the corner and it's a time of rebirth.

Yeah, it seems alright does Lent. In fact, thinking more about the subject (which I am) I think others should do it:


Andrew Lansley should give up ignoring health professionals, doctors, nurses, midwives, denists, vets and anyone else that's ever wore a white coat, and shelve his ill-thought out NHS privatis reforms.


The British tabloids could stop running the picture of Adele flipping the bird and pretending to be outraged that she did THAT GESTURE at 10pm (when any child can see the pic on front of their tawdry rags at any time of the day - or read the opinions of Melanie Philips...)


The US Military could give up suspecting the Koran as a "terrorist handbook" and treat it like any other religious book (ie, a work of fiction). 
And they should definitely stop setting fire to them. 



Tesco's could use Lent, and some of their billions of pounds of fucking profit, to actually pay some of their staff some wages instead of JSA & bus-tokens?

And Rupert Murdoch.... GIVE UP POLISHING THAT TURD!!

Ah, Rupert Murdoch.

Well, he could use Lent to stop pretending that his new newspaper is anything other than the News Of The World with botox and that his staff are anything other than lying, bullying criminals.

But he won't. So, what I suggest is that everybody gives something up for Lent that they haven't even tried before.

I suggest that we give up on The Sun On Sunday before the first one is off the presses.

Don't reward Rupert Murdoch for bribery and hacking. 

Not even out of curiosity. Forget the Novelty Value and remember the atrocious acts that forced them to close the NOTW (a few weeks after they had registered The Sun On Sunday as a domain name).

In fact, don't buy The Sun ANY day.

You're smart, why would you want News that's three days old? 
Why would you want Friday's sport & celebrity lies, conjecture & gossip on a Sunday?

If you agree, here's a link to hit News International where it hurts. In the pocket. Help suggest that advertisers think twice before giving their money to a tainted organisation that bribes, bullies and belittles - CLICK HERE.

I'm sorry to go all preachy on you, but I cannot believe the brass neck of News International and News Corporation. They must think we're all stupid. They re-brand their shit-smeared rag, re-hire some of the same staff, and pretend that it's a new product.

It isn't. It stinks.

One of the bravest journalists of recent times, Marie Colvin, has been rightly lauded for trying to report on Syria despite reporting restrictions and an outright broadcasting ban. She worked for The Times, part of of News International, and believed in the power of journalism to such an extent that she paid for that belief with her life.

Yet, in The Sun her story barely makes it ahead of some bollocks about Dawn French having a fucking walk.


It's not as if they can't invest in a decent newspaper and credit their audience with some intelligence, they just choose not to.

Ahhh, sorry, I've started ranting... did I tell you I'd quit smoking and drinking?

Hopefully this piousness will wear off after Lent. I mean it's only a few days isn't i....



Anyone got a light?

If you click on this you can follow me on Twitter

or you can join my FB group 



The more eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that I haven't posted anything for a few weeks. That is because I have been absolutely miserable.

Not in "teeth-gnashing-rail against society" way but in a very real, raw, numbing kind of way.

Not to put too finer point on it, I suddenly became single again.
Pretty much against my will.

I won't go into too many details about it, but I'll just say that I have coped with the break-up in the time-honoured tradition by sobbing, not eating, not sleeping, sobbing, drinking far too much, smoking far too much, sobbing, comfort-eating anything that looks like it has never been near a basic foodstuff, sobbing, watching TV in the dark and staying in bed until twilight.

And then a little more light-sobbing before bed.

I have not been great company recently, or at least I wouldn't have been great company had I answered any of the lovely calls & texts & emails asking about my well-being. They were all massively appreciated, but each one would come at a random time & set me off again. Hence not replying...

It would appear that because I am now alone I want to be left-alone.
At least for the time-being.

I've tried to be cheery, but the things that once brought me joy now seem to fire deep shards of pain into me as they go about their business of obliviously reminding me of happier times.

Photos, songs, shows, places, pictures, foods, shops, restaurants, anything and everything could trigger me off and so I shut down and resigned from the world and dug out old moody classics that won't remind me of them.

So far, so clichéd. 

But this is exactlly why people play The Smiths or Joy Division when they're upset.

You don't want to hear Happy Songs because they remind you of Happy Times, which have now become very Sad Times.

You want music about grief and pain and loss and hurt, because that is how you are feeling.

... it's also one of the reasons that you don't hear "Atmosphere" played at many funfairs. Well, not the Joy Division version.

Maybe the Russ Abbott one...


The music thing reminded me of my Uncle's funeral. He and my Aunt liked to go dancing and they loved the Sting song "Fields Of Gold". At his funeral they played the Eva Cassidy version, because neither of them cared for that version at all.

I thought it was a strange thing to do, to play a terrible version of a song you loved at your loved-one's funeral, but my Aunt explained to me that had she picked the Sting version then whenever she heard it in shops, on the radio, on TV or wherever, it would only remind her of the funeral and not of the times they went dancing.

Now she had another reason not to like or listen to the Eva Cassidy version.

You cannot argue with that logic.


Apart from the binge-eating & drinking I have tried to distract myself with TV.

My God it is terrible.

David Jason wiping out a 50 year career of comic brilliance with 30 minutes of pained mugging and gurning, a seemingly tireless, tiresome stream of How I Met Your Mother, Room 101 succumbing to the panel show format and acting as a grumbly waiting room for the same carousel of faces itching to get on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Would I Lie To You, and The 10 O' Clock Show meandering back on screen like a four-way bickering dinner party where the conversation is about nothing but is frequently interrupted by Jimmy Carr's music-hall interpretation of current affairs.

Top Gear and it's endlessly unfunny boorish & cowardly men in fast cars talking like Murray Walker with a stroke. Loose Women with it's fractured coven of glass-eyed victims pontificating without authority or knowledge, Question Time with it's knackered pantomime of policy wonks, right wing columnists and left-wing comics, and The Jonathon Ross Show which has gone from being a late night guilty pleasure of questionable taste to a toothless hour-long commercial for other ITV shows.

I mean, thirty fucking minutes talking to Paddy McGuinness?? 

I bet his own fucking mother would struggle with talking to that charmless berk for that long!

Emma Thompson would have been completely justified in being introduced, walking out in front of the audience, taking the applause and then kicking Wossy in the plums and walking straight off the fucking set.

Fuck's sake.

And so I turn to current affairs, which isn't news.

These days the News is full of football, or the politics of football, or the homophobia in football, or the racism in football, or the riots and deaths at football matches, or the football managers resigning, or the football managers in court cases, or the sad & sorry inquests into the suicide of former footballers...

Meanwhile Syria burns and is on straight after a report that says it has unexpectedly snowed in February.

A hapless reporter in a North Face jacket (with the logo clumsily gaffa-taped-out) stands by the side of the M1 in a blizzard to tell us wih a deadpan face "not to take risks or make any unnecessary journeys."

Cheers for that.

Two snowmen are in a field...

One turns to the other and says "Can you smell 24hr TV News crews?"

In desperation I watched a series I hadn't seen before called The Late & Live Guide To Comedy. You may not have seen it because it's one of those shows from BBC Scotland that you find when desperately scrolling through the On Demand section trying to find something that isn't a soap, a fly on the wall hospital series, something about Property or a repeat of Come Dine With Me.

From the blurb on the On-Demand selection it looked quite good, a series about a supposedly legendary comedy gig featuring Bill Bailey, Ross Noble (doesn't everything these days?), Johnny Vegas and many others.

"Good", I thought, "I could do with a laugh."

If you've not seen it, here's what it is.

A bunch of comics watch archive footage of themselves on a monitor, performing comedy at around 2am in a theatre in Scotland and comment on what they are seeing.

Many of them cannot remember even being there as they were so drunk. Some of them get naked, some crowd-surf, some start fights, all of them swear and not one of them are remotely funny.

It is the single most depressing entertainment show I've ever seen.
Depressing, boorish crap.

Each scene is dissected by the comedian (who seem to be watching something else) as they describe their approach to the art of anti-social behaviour as if they are George Martin discussing how he produced The White Album.

When one of the highlights is Jared Christmas proudly talking about how he physically fought an Australian member of the crowd over the origin of the pavlova (accompanied by footage of that fight) you know you're in trouble.

In fact, when one of the highlights is Jared fucking Christmas you should know it's going to be shit.

The Grand Finale was awful. It featured Scott Capurro, a comic I greatly admire, who was trying his best to entertain an unsympathetic and aggressive crowd of drunks. Some noticed a jumper had been thrown on stage.

They started yelling at him to piss on it.

At first he seemed incredulous that this is what people would want, then, knowing he couldn't control the crowd any more, he simply shrugged and pissed on the jumper.

He then left he stage as everyone cheered & Jimmy Carr came on and mopped up.

That's how the show ended.

A man was forced to piss on a jumper by an angry mob.

This wasn't live, this was filmed, archived and resurrected as a highlight of a comedian's career.

The highlight of this club night's history.

Unlike most of the other talking-heads, he wasn't proud of himself. He looked as embarrassed then as he did today. The audience had deserted and bullied him and he reluctantly gave them what they want.

I genuinely felt sorry for Scott Capurro.

And after watching the parade of idiot after idiot that had preceded him for half an hour I suddenly didn't feel all that sorry for myself any more. They say that somewhere there is someone who is worse off than you? I'd just watched a half-hour programme covering fifteen years of people who were worse off than me. No matter how low I go I won't EVER be in the audience of Late n Live, let alone on the stage.

I just simply don't understand how we got to the point where people are entertained by soiled knitwear?

So, enough with the moping (and the mopping!) it's time to redress the balance. It's been nearly three weeks since I posted anything on here, I simply cannot leave you with a wee-soaked woolly garment as a final thought.

Here is A Classic Moment of Pure Joy.


I won't leave it as long next time...

If you click on this you can follow me on Twitter

or you can join my FB group