TWO HEARTS - A Valentine's Day Gift To You


"Waiter! There's a hair in my soup!"
"No there isn't."
"Excuse me?!"
"There isn't a hair in your soup."
"I beg your pardon?!"
"You're not in a restaurant."
"You're not in a restaurant. You're still at home."


"And that's not soup. It's cold tea. In a casserole dish. Because you haven't washed up for three weeks."
"Now, look here..."
"Three weeks. You've been sat there, in the dark, for three weeks. Ever since she left you."

"Ha. Um... Waiter!"

"And I'm not a waiter. In fact, there's no-one here."



"Should I put some trousers on then?"

"I'd be obliged, sir."



"Well, I didn't really want a Big Do, so a church wedding was out."
"No flowers. Except the bouquet. I could get a Taxi to the Registry. And I might as well just hire the dress rather than buy it."
"I mean, there's no point in throwing good money after bad, as my Dad kept on saying.."
"...And the Reception would've been small too..."
"... so that's when I thought 'ELOPE!' Just elope!"
"Elope! Just do it. People do. They just do."
"They do do it... They run away."


"So, which is your car?"
"Um. Sorry?"
"You've been here three hours, love. It's a garage. Which is your car?"
"Oh. None of them. I can't drive. 

It was raining. Sorry."


"Here careful! Watch your train, love! There's oil there!"
"It's OK."

"Well. Um... You might not get your deposit back."

"It's OK.
They know me." 




Tonight I bought a tramp a sandwich.

But not this one....

Now, before you start ringing up Buckingham Palace to nominate me for the New Year's Honour's List I have to confess... at first, I ignored him.


By the way, is it wrong to call them tramps?
We always called the homeless tramps when I was a kid, but then that seems a bit "Knight Of The Road"- or even a bit Disney....

Whatever you call them, homeless, destitute, socially-deprived, or if you're a Tory "plebs", I ignored a man without a home tonight as if it was second-nature.

A homeless man, sat in a busy street, held out his hand and asked for my help and yet I walked on, pretending to listen to a podcast that had finished about three minutes earlier.

Because the podcast had finished, and because the earphones were still in their designed location, I simply went to my Pavlovian response of "No change, mate. Sorry."

But he hadn't asked for change.

He hadn't even asked for a fag.

He didn't do that thing where he "really needs to get to Doncaster cos his sister's having a baby and just needs 43p"..

He wanted a sandwich.

Something to eat.

He was sitting by the cashpoint of a major supermarket in a busy city street as various Saturday Nighters went by in their drunken fancy dress, hoping that someone would listen to him. And just like me they feigned phone calls, i-pods, selective hearing and many, many other ruses to ignore the fact that he was simply hungry.

I felt deeply ashamed.

I went into said supermarket and got him a sandwich.

But even then I considered getting him a Value egg n' cress!

"What the fuck?" I thought, almost aloud.

The man is hungry. He's not trying to buy White Lightning or crack, although I wouldn't blame him if he was.

Get the man a proper sandwich!!

So I did.

Over the past week we have seen many news reports about flooding and torrential downpours and people bucketing rainwater out of their cellars. Some have been hit by the unseasonal weather a number of times (and had their efforts undermined by cartoonish, background umbrella swordfights in news reports - 54 seconds in..)

But some have NO homes.
Through no fault of their own.
They live amongst us and we pretend not to see them.

We're busy.
We're late for work.
Have no loose change.
Only pay by card.
Got a call.
Listening to disembodied voices or songs while the reality is at our feet just asking for a sandwich.

I'd given up on this Blog.

I couldn't be arsed, to be honest, I've been feeling very, very low for about eight months, since my break-up with the tiny beautiful ex-girlfriend, but I'm sat in a house with the radiators on and the doors shielding me from the cold, writing this bollocks and thinking of a man in a doorway who only wanted a sandwich.

It's Saturday Night.
Most people are out drinking and having a good time.

Proportionately, they will come into contact with a homeless person.

They'll drop their money.
They'll start a fight in a takeaway.
They'll argue with a cab driver.

If you're one of them - Fuck getting a kebab.

Buy a tramp a fucking sandwich.



The Lympics are here!


And we've all got Lympic Fever!!

Nothing can diminish our indomitable Lympic Spirit - not the financial meltdown, the Syrian uprising, not phone-hacking, not the massive power failure in India affecting 300million people....

The Alternative Olympic Logo by Pete McKee

None of that matters because it is now the Lympics - and just to make sure that no-one is distracted by any of that lot, the News people have decided to cram all of that other stuff in a three second micro-cast blasted out of a vuvuzela into your brain, just before the weatherman tells us that everything is going to be nice and dry for the kayaking.

Because nothing else matters apart from the Lympic Games.

And EVERYONE is ecstatic!!!

Everywhere you look there are people dressing up as Wenlock, doing press-ups and squats, ignoring the News and fighting like Spartans to get their hands on tickets for the Aristocratic Horse Dancing or Indoor Pyjama Scuffling.

Even celebrated miseryguts Billy Bragg has got into the Lympic spirit...

You're welcome, Lord Coe!

It's an astonishing time to be British.

The sense of wonder and unbridled joy at being give the prestigious honour of paying ten times the original estimate to host the biggest gathering of aggressive corporate sponsors (and their appointed prancey, runny, dancey, jumpy, throwy puppets) is hard to put into words.

And no-one could be more grateful than the servicemen and women of these green and pleasant lands.

In the lead-up to the Opening Ceremony, the one's who have lost their limbs took a day off from fighting the Government for adequate compensation to carry a large Zippo through the streets - highlighting not only their sense of patriotism and sacrifice, but also that so bloody many of them have been violently maimed in very questionable conflicts.

As for those uninjured in Afghanistan and Iraq, well they have been deployed at the various stadia to make sure that nobody tries to sneak a packet of Pickled Onion Monster Munch and a can of Vimto inside, or they have been stationed at the children's gymnastics to make it look popular.

The Government and LOCOG (the incorrectly-spelt acronym for the London Organising Committee Of The Olympic And Paralympic Games) have faced criticism about the way tickets were designated, sold and distributed, leaving many areas looking distinctly like no-one gives a brass-shit about some of the more fruity events.

However, Lord Coe has insisted that the stadia are absolutely choc-full and that many of those seemingly empty seats are in fact occupied by the students of Hogwarts (wrapped up against the unseasonably chilly summer with their Invisibility Cloaks) or are probably a delegation of The Silence off Doctor Who.

It's early days yet, but I can confidently predict that the Games are a complete triumph.

The Opening Ceremony, which came two days after the Ladies Football (aka 'the Sport Of Kings') kicked off, was particularly marvellous.

It started so wonderfully with a bunch of smug, middle-class cricketers, bumpkins and shepherdesses being evicted from their 'unrealistic grassy knoll' as Blackadder watched on.

As Sir Willy Wallander's Toxic Factory came thrusting out of the ground, and was eventually flattened to make way for a Tesco Metro, Shouty Rascal and the Kaiser Monkeys sang "Smalltown Boy"...

Daniel Craig was then thrown out of a helicopter by Pierce Brosnan with the words YOU WILL NEVER BE JAMES BOND written on his head in marker pen, the Queen joined in a rousing chorus of the Sex Pistols "Who Killed Bambi?", Lord Voldermort destroyed the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital as fireworks spelt-out the message IT'S NOW SIR DANNY BOYLE, GET IT, EWAN? - and the whole evening climaxed with Sir Paul "Lonesome" McCartney forgetting something he wrote himself and has sung every day for forty fucking years, getting packed back into his little crate and returned to the Galapagos. Islands.

I think.

I'd been to the pub, to be honest and watched it at about 2am through a fug of Pinot Groggio.

Anyway, my point is that it was very good.

And yet here were still some people who were unimpressed by all of this.

The Conservative MP Aiden Burley tweeted that it was 'leftie multicultural crap' and that it was more communistic than China's efforts in 2008. Admittedly, there was a complete absence of elected officials attending Nazi-themed stag do's and saluting the Third Reich, but then you can't have everything.

Aiden Burley MP and his friends.

For instance, the team behind the holographic Tupac Shakur at Coachella earlier this year, were supposed to have conjured up a duet between Frank Butcher & The Queen Mother singing Chas n' Dave's evergreen classic 'Gertcha' but ran into technical difficulties the night before, and the rock band Muse were banned from playing their preposterously loud Lympic Anthem "SURVIVE" with a choir of PG Tips chimps in Yeoman of the Guard outfits after concerns from the RSPCA...

It just goes to prove that you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Let's just be thankful of what we HAVE got.

Twenty Seven channels of Sport.
Boris Johnson as the inevitable next leader of the Conservative Party.
A vast range of Olympic Torches on ebay.
Some cheap property in the East End of London for the Qatari Royal Family.
The promise that Gary Linekar is to be banned from eating crisps for a month.

And finally, the stone-cold fact that even if, at the time of writing, we are officially less athletic than Kazakhstan - the Borat theme is gonna be played out any day now.


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The other week I saw a sad & distressing appeal on television that made me realise just how lucky I am.

It was absolutely heartbreaking.

I had no idea of the suffering that Liv Tyler's hair goes through each week...

You see, on Monday it's straight. Yeah? But by Wednesday it's curly.

Curly. On a Wednesday.


Half-day closing. That's total madness.

Who's going to see it?

Curly on a Monday (as the Ronettes would probably sing) then yes, I can understand that. You go to work or school and everyone says "Oh, you had your hair done all curly over the weekend? Nice. It suits you..", etc.

But curly on Wednesday? Well, my heart stood still.

That's just insane.

And look how lifeless and limp it has left Liv. She can barely stand she is so bereft of hope. Her voice has no joy. Her eyes are all big and sad. Where is the vibrant Liv we all know and love from that last Hulk film, or the pop video for her Dad's band, or ...er... One Night At McCool's?

Oh, and that really long pixie film?

She's exhausted. Spent. A glossy-haired husk.

Ben Affleck wouldn't go space-mining for her in the state she's in now. He'd probably hold a pillow over her face, like the big Indian lad in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, as an act of kindness - all the while her Dad sang a tortured ballad in the background, about the dangers of home-perming.

As a bald man I can only guess at he trauma of having curly hair on a Wednesday when two days previously it was straight. I can only imagine the inner-turmoil of having to select a shampoo to remedy this act of hairy vandalism - although, coincidentally enough, a drunk woman on crutches staggered into my local yesterday and did try to sell me some "L'Oreal shampoo (with conditioner) only a pound a bottle..."

(This is absolutely true!)

There was a long pause as I waited for that particular penny to drop until eventually, and silently, I pointed to my sun-dappled bonce and waited until she finally shuffled off.

But enough about me, what about the star of Cookie's Fortune and ... those other two films about pixies and dwarves? Well, thankfully someone at the charity or something (I was too busy trying to wipe the tears from my eyes at this point) had put her in touch with people at a laboratoire who make just the right shampoo for her predicament.

It was amazing, she was like a completely different woman - albeit with the same lifeless monotone and big sad eyes, but then we can't expect miracles overnight. It's still early days.

I'm hoping she makes a full recovery and is able to start work again on the brand-new pixie/fairy/gnome films that they are making in New Zealand.... 

Back to her glory days!

I was feeling all happy for Liv and about to switch off when the next advert came on and made me sick to my stomach.

It was about this dog that reckons it was abused and left in a bin.... yet he can fucking talk!!

Oh, and this talking dog (that would obviously be a millionaire) reckons he will send you letters & a Christmas card.... if you send him a couple of quid a month!!

Now, I'm no expert but if a dog that faffs about badly to a Charleston can win Britain's Got Talent  and then gets invited to prance about in front of the Queen, then one who can do voice-over work and write his own letters doesn't need a quid from me.

Cheeky blackmailing little fucker.

I'm sick of being seen as a soft touch by these types of ads. It's not that long back there was one of this African bloke who wanted a fish.

Fine. I don't mind buying you a fish. What type would you like?

But then, oh no, he doesn't just want a fish - he wants the means to get his own fish!

He wants me to fork out good money so he can go fishing!!

I ask you! Taking the piss or what?

So I'm sorry, African Robson Green and Bob the talking Dog, or whatever you're called, but you're on your own. This quid's for poor recovering Liv Tyler and the hundreds of other supermodel Hollywood actresses with rock star Dad's who need our help washing and brushing their own hair an' that.

Find some other mug.

Even as we speak Jade Jagger needs a brace.

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Where was I?

Oh yeah. I remember...

Eagle-eyed followers will have noticed I've not posted anything in the past month (the even more eagle-eyed of you will have noticed that I've not posted anything funny since the whole cat-thing a few months back...) and the reason is this:

I am sick of people.


Seventy year old song-strangler, Barbara Streisand, once said that "People who need people are the luckiest people of all" - at least I think that's what she said.

I don't know for sure.

"Memories... like the corners of my miiiind..."

I had my fingers in my ears.

And over my eyes.

But, anyway, she's talking rot.

It's very easy to subscribe to that view of people when you are fleecing them out of a couple of grand a pop to see you warble your way around some bloody awful showtunes, but Barbara Streisand doesn't have to get on a bus full of stabby little schoolkids and their bloody Rhianna ringtones, does she?

I don't need these people.

These people are idiots.

People with small suitcases on trolleys. People who fight outside pubs. People who argue about whether Britain's Got Talent or The Voice have the greater claim to validity. People who walk four-abreast on pavements and tut if you deem to walk towards them.

Apologists who cannot comprehend that annoying, twirling, chirruping, squeakbox and fashion template for Lord Voldermort, Michael Jackson, was anything but a social deviant living out a Scooby Doo villain's existence (ie, skulking around an abandoned fairground trying to trap kids, while all the time sporting an unrealistic rubber face...)

"You're how old??? Forget it then..."

People who ask "Ya get me?" when they they mean "Can you understand what I am saying?" - thus negating their previous inquiry.

People who claim the boat-race was ruined.

People who watched the chuffing boat-race.

People who claim to be bringing down the elitist nature of the boat-race but are happily walking around being called Trenton.

People who say "This is my jam" instead of "I am listening to this song".

The ELEVEN MILLION people who followed Nicki Minaj on Twitter and unofficially made her"The Queen of Hip-Hop", despite her being incapable of rapping or singing, and who dances with all the grace and elegance of a string-bag of beachballs hung outside a seaside Post Office on a windy day.....

(...still, she has come on a long way since those Police Academy films, I suppose.)

People who cannot flush toilets on trains.

People who sat by and watched the NHS be destroyed.

People who defend celebrity rapists on Twitter.

People who accept that James Murdoch resigned a second job (that his father gave him) through no knowledge of illegal phone-hacking.

People who panic-bought petrol and pasties and jerry-cans and First-Class stamps.

Also people who still watch Eastenders, despite every single episode being exactly the same (usually about someone setting up a small business with their family, shouting about how important family is, having a fight in a pub with their family, getting 'mugged off' by their family, having a family full of rubbish gangsters, or - if it's Christmas - killing a member of their family).

Opportunist politicians of all parties, here and abroad, pointlessly point-scoring against one another rather than concentrating on a solution to a pressing global problem.

People who forget that the elected MP and co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, Peter Crudas, offered private access to the Prime Minister for a quarter of a million pounds, just because a dimwit called Samantha Brick blocked the internet by pretending to be pretty.

People who believe Ed Milliband can master an Opposition Party when he clearly cannot master a cup of tea.

People who bankrolled US Presidential candidate Rick Santorum - and will now never see that money again.

Or those listened to Newt Gingrich and thought "Yeah, I hate social welfare too - but I'd also like to see billions pumped into a sustainable moon-base city..."

People who think it is more important for a multi-millionaire to see how fast he can drive a car around Bahrain than the democratic rights of the people who live there.

Sportswear companies championing the human spirit in a series of adverts for running shoes that are made by someone in a sweatshop whose human spirit is being crushed, daily.

Every day I would try to think of something that wasn't as ludicrous as what the news would show me. Every day I failed.

So I stopped bothering. I can't invent things that are more ridiculous than what's actually happening.

I can't conjure up anything more fucking ridiculous than people sitting in boats, in period costumes, in a swimming pool, with dry ice and polystyrene 'icebergs', watching James Cameron's bloated boatfest "Titanic" - and think that that is an appropriate way of marking the centenary of a massive maritime disaster.

"Are you coming to the Concordia after-party?"
I just cannot do it.

The news and real life are making a mockery of trying to make a mockery of news and real life.

I can only imagine what the waste-bin of Armando Iannucci and the writers of The Thick Of It looks like.
"Ahhh great. George Galloway has been elected. 
That's a morning's work up the chuffer..."

The German philosopher Frederich Nietchze once said:
"It's fine, honestly. Don't worry about it. Everyone spells it differently. I'm used to it. I once went to a book-signing and I thought they'd spelt my name wrong there. Turns out I'm at the wrong gig. It actually was for Mr Nice. 
Still, I got to meet Howard Marks and he's really cool..."

But I digress, he also said somehing more pertinent to my observations.

He said:
"Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule."

Or, to paraphrase Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black....

People are idiots.

Not a person.
You for instance, reading this, you're alright.

You're better than alright, you're bloody great.

But once you get in a crowd, a mob, it's a whole different kettle of cod...

So, I've kept my distance.

I've carried on people-watching from afar, on FB and Twitter - and on one occasion on Google+!!

(Although that was like standing in the middle of a massive room where the next human being is a microdot at the opposite end...)

I've observed but not felt like interacting all that much.

I'm lucky. I like my own company. I can sit and read and wait until all this nonsense about elected mayors, Olympic countdowns, the Dutch government spitting it's dummy out, internet trolls threatening Alan Davies life for no good reason, the financial markets panicking like a cheerleader in a log cabin on Friday 13th... I'll just take a deep breath and ignore everything until people are ready to be sensible again and our leaders  show some backbone and lead.

Well, that's what I thought. I'd happily written off the majority of the human race as faulty, gibbering idiots who need a kick up the pants and to stop acting like destructive babies.

Then something restored my faith in people.
I saw the reaction to the death of Claire Squires.

Claire Squires, like thousands of other people, got up early on Sunday morning, while I slept off a hangover, and put on her running shoes to help raise money for the Samaritans for no other reason than "because they continually help others".

She never completed the London Marathon - she died later that morning.

The response to this news has been amazing.

Go and take a look at her Just Giving page.

Hundreds of strangers, thousands of people have been moved by the death of this one person and for once have acted in an exemplary manner and completely smashed her initial target of just £500.

At the last look the total raised was over five hundred thousand pounds.

And then I remembered Sport Relief, how thousands of people raised millions and millions of pounds for people they would never meet. How everyone, from children to pensioners delved into their own piddling cash reserves in the midst of a massive recession to make sure that someone else would not go without.

So, I stand corrected.

Sometimes people can be brilliant.

Sometimes people can be amazing.

We should remember that more often.

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I seem to have misplaced my Mojo.

I'm sure it was around here somewhere. I had it not that long ago, but I turned my back for a second and it seems to have disappeared. I'm not sure who'd want to take my Mojo (I can't really see that it would be of any use to them) but it's definitely gone.

Well, to be honest I hadn't used it for quite a while. Maybe it just withered and fell off.

I only really noticed this weekend, you see I had been invited to a Stag Night.....


Those of you that have read previous posts will know that I don't really DO manly, macho, blokey-chap stuff. I'm not a fan of football, I champion Goths, I prefer reading comic books to lads' mags, I cannot drive (more on that later), I find Top Gear really annoying and would much rather walk around an art gallery than visit a lapdancing place.

So the idea of a Stag Night with a bunch of men (proper ones too, manly men) filled me with dread.

It's also not that long since that I split from my beautiful ex-girlfriend, so the idea of cheering on someone else's far-more sucessful relationship filled me with unwarranted resentment towards happy couples.

It's not an attractive admission, but it's honest.

I'm sure we've all days where we think "Oh well-fucking-done you. Bra-vo..." even though our friends are just trying to help.

Anyway, I saw the intinerary. The morning was to be spent doing archery with longbows - well, that's not too bad. A bit chappy-man-bokey but at least it's not 5-A-Side footie or touch-rugby or something.

After that, they had booked some off-road driving in a bunch of 4x4's. Well, that's me out then.

I have never sat in the right-hand front seat of a vehicle since my Dad took a picture of me as a chubby baby in his old Morris Traveller. In fact, the only vehicle I've ever operated, apart from my bicycle, is a dodgem car. I don't know much about off-road 4x4 driving but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want me spinning the steering wheel all the way round so that it all drives in reverse?

I had visions of that scene in Father Ted where Father Dougal does a funeral...

Good luck getting your deposit back after that, lads!

So, instead I chose to meet the fellas later on, when we would go out for a meal & drinks.

The restuarant was about as blokey a place as I have ever seen. It had broken pallets on the wall, a full cow's hide on another wall, the room was like an old vault and the massive table seated all 13 of us facing in on one another.

The menu also consisted of meat. Almost exclusively meat. Ribs, steaks, chicken, shredded beef, etc...

(I think there was some coleslaw on the side, but it remained untouched...)

All we needed were goblets and Viking hats and we'd have been set!

But, thankfully, this wasn't one of those Stag Nights where everyone gets dressed up.

Well, not everyone....

Just him.

As the beer flowed the fellas told me about their archery prowess (firing their arrows with terrifying accuracy at face-masks of the groom-to-be), their strange driving instructor ("he lost his hand in a wine-making accident..." ?!?) and playfully argued about who was the Best Best Man...

It turned-out that all of us (bar two) had been someone's Best Man - but only one of them had been a Best Man four times. Four times!

And they were all still together.

That's four-for-four.

Best Best Man ever!

This wasn't too bad. They were all blokes, manly-men an' all that, but I guess as we're all of a certain age that desire to act like an idiot on too much shandy has largely abated.

The bill came and as we debated leaving the Stag to pay the bill (it would be easy to ditch him, I pointed out, "he can't catch us he's a Gingerbread Man..." ) we planned the next couple of places to visit - the oldest pub in Leeds and then somewhere to watch a six-foot biscuit get his groove on.

This is when I realised I had lost my Mojo.

Maybe it's the booze, maybe it's my age, maybe it's the combination of the booze at my age but I've started dancing like my Dad. All finger-pointing-in the air and rocking-back-and-forth from one foot to the other.... it was awful.

I used to love dancing, you couldn't get me off the floor, pogo-ing, headbanging, breakdancing, soft soul-shuffles I could turn my hand to any of them. You know that saying "dance like no-one's watching"?

Well, that's exactly what I would do.
Lost in music. Caught in a trap.
No turning back.

Lost in music.

But now it's much more difficult as everyone IS watching. I was watching.

In a crowded bar, with my new friends, swigging pints and getting rounds I started watching this clumsy, fat, unco-ordinated idiot for about 5minutes - "What an embarrassing prick" I thought. "He should be at home with his cocoa & slippers..."

Then it hit me.

I was looking in a mirror.


Maybe I always did. You see, in my head I think I danced like this:

 Whereas I have photographic evidence that I actually danced like this....

Good God.
Maybe it's not such a bad thing I got rid of my vinyl?




This has to stop.

No more boddypopping, no hand-jiving, no robot-dancing, and absolutely no big-fish-little-fish-cardboard-box. None of it.

In the words of Genesis...  I can't dance.
Or, as Nat King Cole would probably tell me, let's the face the music and stop dancing!


Or perhaps just a little bit after the Reception....?

There's bound to be a disco...

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I have just given away every scrap of vinyl I have ever owned.

All of it.

Hundreds of seven inches, 12 inches, remixes, white-labels, albums, gate-fold sleeves, picture discs, coloured discs, 3-D coloured picture discs, limited editions, Oxfam bargains, student radio promos, stuff I nicked from my time at hospital radio, bargain-bin purchases, birthday & Christmas presents - the LOT!

There were about a dozen carrier bags-full. And one of those little seven-inch record carrier boxes in a fetching burgundy-with-diagonal-fractured-grey-and-black stripes.

Oh yes, ladies. I am THAT cool.

Form an orderly queue.

Included was the first album I ever bought (Complete Madness), a Hanoi Rocks 3-D picture disc I won from the Daily Star (seriously, I did. Read that sentence back and wonder how far we have evolved), the best 12 inch tune in the world , and the first record I ever bought... more later.

The story of my vinyl is quite an interesting one. Not the accumulation of it, that's standard, no the fact that I had already thought I had lost it forever.

A few years ago I was at my mate Sweary Soo's house and we were marvelling at my new i-pod. It was tiny, had 64gb of memory and could fit every tune I had ever heard in my life & it would fit in my pocket. This was the stuff of fantasy, like hover-boots and a Sunday-lunch in a pill. We drunkenly blathered about all the times we had bought records in record shops and what those records meant to us.

There was a reflective pause after I said "I don't even know where my vinyl is anymore..."

You see, I had moved around a lot. I'd packed up cars and been to new homes in Manchester & London, as well as various and many homes in Leeds. I have spent most of my adult life like Robert DeNiro in the overly-praised piss-poor action film "Heat" - always have everything you need to move at a moment's notice.

Or summat.

To be honest I lost interest when the cuban-heeled, Grecian 2000-loving shouty midget Al Pacino took out Henry fucking Rollins in a fistfight.

Al Pacignome??
Beat Henry Rollins???

In a fight??

Rollins could burp Pacino into a fucking coma.

That stupid little fuck has made a career of pissing away his legacy. Not convinced? Try watching Dog Day Afternoon with the knowledge that the same wonderful protagonastist now fancies a trans-gendered Adam Sandler.


But I digress, back to Sweary Soo's.

"It's next door." She said, referring to my lost vinyl.
"You left it here when you sold me that record cabinet".

It's true. I did sell her a record cabinet when I was between homes and stayed with her for a little while. It was my Mum & Dad's. Not that they were big vinyl fans.

But they had a cabinet.

Mum was a big fan of Roxy Music and Bowie (I definitely inherited that) and she had that Beatles single when they look like they've been at the bus-station Photo-Booth.

There were also comedy records by Billy Conolly, Rowan Atkinson & the very first Amnesty International "Secret Policeman's Ball" album - which, as children WE WERE NEVER ALLOWED TO LISTEN TO.

Which we did. Every time their backs were turned.

I can still recite, word-for-word Alexei Sayle's "What's On In Stoke Newington"

Oddly, despite him being a scooter-riding old Mod, I can't remember my Dad having any records at all.

But this was their cabinet. Full of Abba, Boney M, Roxy and other, quite frankly, more boring stuff.... although it did have Barry Ryan's version of "Eloise" - which was a fucking treat and a half.

Anyway,  I had sold it to Sweary Soo.
Contents intact.
My stuff as well as theirs.

I was ridiculously happy when she dropped it all back at my house - but then I realised: I don't want it anymore.

Who needs vinyl? Who needs the big dusty idiots? I've got every tune I need in my pocket. They're not, as some would suggest, beautiful items. They're big, stupid, black flat space-consuming nonsense, It's like keeping betamax copies of "Countdown". Historically accurate snapshots - but who cares?

Vinyl is dead.
Dead as a Dido remix.

I'm not gonna play any of this stuff.

My beautiful tiny ex-girlfriend got me one of those turntables that converts vinyl into MP3's and you can then download them to fit back in your pocket. But once that's done... why keep the vinyl?

Or the turntable?

And so it goes - as the genius Tony Wilson used to say (who also produced the Duruti Column's ill-thought-out sandpaper record sleeve - but unfortunately, I don't have that one.)

I am now vinyl-free. For the first time in thirty years.

And I don't feel sad.

As I bagged up the songs, poems and beautiful orchestrations that have been the soundtrack to my life I felt absolutely no remorse. I'm happy they are out of my life. They're stupid, big, dusty and, for the most part, balls.

And what did I buy?? Loads of 90's indie bobbins (airhead? l7? menswear? lush? curve? carter usm? cud? eddie grant??  hang on... when did I buy eddie grant...??)

So I've passed it on to my old mate Pete, a giant of a man who can turn from the cuddliest man you ever saw to a wall of hairy fury in the blink of an eye. He loves his music but is furiously judgemental about anything that is "bad" music, and so it was a condition of mine that he could have my vinyl - but only if he he took ALL of it.

Because amidst the clear vinyl Bowie "Sound & Vision", the limited edition 7" box set of Paul Weller's "Stanley Road", the Stevie Wonder collector's edition of "Songs In The Key Of Life", the interchangeable covers of Pulp's "Common People", the white vinyl version of Radiohead's "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", Johnny Cash Live At San Quentin and an original Scott 4... there's some right old tat!

The obscure soundtracks.

The spookily decorated classical albums.

Now That's What I Call Music Volume 4.

He had to take everything.

All of it.

That was the deal.

And I can honestly say that I have never seen him happier than when we loaded up the boot of his car. We stood around for about five minutes after loading up because he could barely keep still, he was jittery with excitement.

Pete loves music. He loves records. He adores vinyl.

This is his Disneyland.

So, I have got rid of clutter and made my best friend happier that he's been since the birth of his beautiful tiny daughter.

I consider that a good weekend.

(That said, his partner Clare texted me later on and called me a "fucker" for adding to their houseful of tat and nonsense!!)

Anyway, it's not like I haven't been through this before. About three months ago I gave away a box of old cassette tapes to my old college friend Mark. I have nothing to play cassettes on and he wanted some old tapes. I had no idea why but it seemed like a good deal. He popped around with a bottle of rum & skipped away with an old tomato-box full of TDK 90's.

If you are ever in Leeds, check out his bar - WAX.

And while you are enjoying your boozes take a moment to have a look at the lampshades.

Yeah. They're my old cassettes.

I love that.

So, I mentioned the first record I ever bought. Yeah?

Let me pre-warn you, NOTHING in the next paragraph can ever be considered cool.

I'll just say it how it was:

In 1982 I was on a scout jamboree in Norfolk and tried to impress some Venture Scouts with my recent purchase of "High Fidelity" by The Kids From Fame.... I even sang the B-Side.

The Kids From Fame's musical version of "Othello".

They 80's-popped Shakespeare.

Boy scout.
Trying to impress Venture Scouts.
Singing a Shakespeare interpretation.
By The Kids From Fame.


In fucking Norfolk....

So, brace yourselves:

Good riddance, vinyl.

I loved you, but I had to leave you.

Now just wait until I get round to sorting the fucking CDs.

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