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A Chilean red hangover August 26, 2010

Posted by normanmonkey in Blogging and social media, Friends, In the news.
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I’m well versed in the tribulations of the hangover, but this one, quite frankly, takes the biscuit. More so because I didn’t see it coming. Then again, it’s been a week in which thirty-three Chilean miners stuck underground until Christmas was swiftly replaced on the news agenda by a cat in Coventry stuck in a wheelie bin overnight and neither the miners nor Lola the tabby saw that coming either.

Granted there had been personal training  just prior and the body had been twitchy after being abused at the hands of James Daly, personal trainer to the stars and Vernon Kay, plus the matter there hadn’t been a drop of alcohol in any shape for over a week (unlike the British Medical Council, I refuse to count the drinking of anything less than two large glasses of wine as alcohol consumption) There had been a Bloody Mary in the bar before dinner, a bottle of white, then a red. Now that’s a schoolboy error. Then espresso Martinis after dinner. Then back to mine for a nightcap with my dining companion. Come to think of it, that’s a perfect storm given those circumstances and that companion. It may’ve taken two hours of planning to lift the pillow from over my head, but I’m lucky to be alive and the house still standing.

All this has been made possible courtesy of a week off where the plan was to make positive strides toward fitness and rejuvenation. Things had been progressing nicely and this sudden burst of exercise during a week off work  is in no way related to being informed by a barmaid that Abbey Clancey is a regular at my Weybridge gym during the daytime.

There had been idealised plans of exchanging sweaty glances with Abbey and the promise to take her away from a gangly, unfaithful beau who earns £65,000 a week (spot which one of those three conditions is keeping Miss Clancey with Peter Crouch instead of a man with a QPR season ticket and hangover). Instead of skipping around with her, this morning’s torpor was my own Chilean mineshaft of misery, made only more tolerable that at least I was alone and not with thirty-three seriously pissed off miners.

Being stranded in a mineshaft until Christmas is certainly no laughing matter, but still infinitely preferable to  being stranded overground for five minutes in Coventry (ask the cat) or being stuck in a room with 33  iPad aficionados . Jesus, could you imagine being stranded with them until Christmas? It’d be bad enough being stranded in Las Vegas with them, let alone two kilometres underground. Especially as they wouldn’t be able to get reception. Living hell for all concerned.

Can an iPad get rid of my headache,  secure three points for the Rangers away on Saturday or permit me an introduction to Abbey Clancey? If not, I’m not interested so bugger off with your ‘future is now’. (An iPad can’t change my life, but sorting any of those three out would, even if only temporarily).

Perhaps we can arrange an exchange programme when the miners surface and let the public decide who from the UK should take their place. It;s exactly the sort of thing we need to give us a boost during ‘the current economic climate’ and would go down a storm with Channel Four.

With the iPad brigade, lets kick off members and fans of the bands The Young Knives or Scouting for Girls, Bob Crow, men who wear long trousers and sandals, anyone who gets excited when ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ is played, people who call radio stations to ‘make a point’, Andy Gray and Richard Keys, those who say ‘moving forwards’ in any context whatsoever unless they actually are physically moving forwards and there is a reason we need to be informed of this (such as ‘I am in a car on the edge of a cliff and it is still moving forwards. Help’), anyone who calls themselves a ‘guru’ in their field (until recently gurus were restricted to Indians who simply spoke a load of mystic shit and drank their own piss, now everyone’s at it), football bores who talk about tactics and team selection who would like to be Andy Gray and Richard Keys, ‘fans’ of the Big Four who’ve never seen their team play (see how inter-related it all is – actually lets add in most football fans…), most football fans and all of those whom support Chelsea, Foursqaure users, people who ask loudly in restaurants ‘Is it organic?’, most of the PR industry, Jamie Oliver, Islamic fundamentalists, Christian fundamentalists, organic fundamentalists, fundamentalists full stop, Clapham public school rahs, anyone who has complained about the gazpacho soup being cold or been associated with those fucking Halifax ads, Englishmen in baseball caps, private members club members, users of unnecessary or multiple exclamation marks in punctuation, my hangover, xenophobes, obese people in sportswear, anyone in sportswear who isn’t in a gym, X-Factor hopefuls and anyone who has ever, ever referred to an experience as ‘a journey’ .

That’s just to kick-off and already that’s the majority of the UK population. Perhaps we should just bury the country two kilometres underground and be done with it. It’ll just be us left. I hope we remember the Anadin.


Saturday Night Fever August 21, 2010

Posted by normanmonkey in Friends, Single London.
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If there’s any natural justice in the world, having spent the working week looking like an extra from Schindler’s List, I’d have got something approaching a lie in today. Instead, in a bold departure away from the alarm clock I was awoken from a deep slumber by an  attack of cramp in my achilles heel (and I have more than two of those) at 6am so painful I was convinced I was being mauled by a polar bear. Welcome to the weekend.

Tonight is one of self-imposed exile in the kitchen, venturing out only to see QPR pick up three points and for a session in the gym. the latter was only made possible after finding myself alone watching the X Factor. A text from a colleague Robbie, the rather wonderful gay Welshman from the Valleys of Swansea, watching the same programme summed up one act perfectly: ‘That gay Indian boy is terrible. There will be a honour killing when he gets home’.  Being gay they may be able to forgive, but not his full frontal molestation of a Black Eyed Peas song before the gawping eyes of the nation.

There was a late intervention by my publican friend, Lee Blewett to go over to his for a lock-in tonight. After the hangover I endured from the previous weekend (in which Lee was very much critical to my demise) he might as well invited me over to eat a dead dog for the reaction it provoked.

Lee tried turning on the guilt factor by saying ‘I thought you’d come over. I stocked up on booze!’. As far as heartstrings go, none of mine were pulled. Incredulity perhaps, but heartstrings no. Although far from being an expert on the licensed trade, I would expect him to not be short of a bottle or two even at the worst of times rather than just getting some ales in on my account.

Actually there’s nothing more I’d like to be doing right now than in the Bramley Inn having a knees-up but as one gets older the burden gets harder to bear come Monday morning. It’s different for him. I have to commute from West Byfleet to London and back to go to work. He has to go downstairs and all safe in the knowledge he won’t have to sit through a two hour Powerpoint presentation on search engine optimisation.

Besides, there’s health and vitality to think about. With every Sunday lunch for one in The Running Mare it’s becoming more abundantly clear there’s an absence of a woman in my life. Maybe we should blame Germaine Greer or Naomi Wolf, but the modern woman isn’t exactly forming a queue to clamber hotly over the limp body of the twitching Sunday afternoon mess with red wine lips. Call it intuition or a sharp understanding of the opposite sex, but another boozy night of playing Wii until 4am with a mate who has an eye tattooed on each buttock isn’t going to put me in peak condition as far as Cameron Diaz is concerned.

In Chechnya they have a traditional route to dealing with this whole issue. No staying in and trying to keep trim and clear headed for them. If a man sees an unmarried woman he would like to be with he has two options. The first is to introduce himself and ask if she is available for courtship. The second is much more straightforward: he kidnaps her with the aid of his mates and takes her back to his village where she is held by his family. The latter often follows as a result as a failure of the former. The more direct Chechen man just goes straight for number two.

Once kidnapped his family asks the girl’s family to accept the offer of marriage. In Chechnya it brings shame on the family if they refuse the proposal from the person holding the daughter. Dishonour on the family, that sort of thing. So they always say yes. About a fifth of marriages are a result of this process. This may go some way to explaining why a eHarmony has so far not taken off there.

Hoops, They Did It Again August 10, 2010

Posted by normanmonkey in Friends, In the news, QPR.
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The cup run was good while it lasted. It peaked around the chocolate tart and cheese and biscuits but juddered to a halt not long after kick off.

So, normal service has resumed at Queens Park Rangers. Ungraciously thumped to the point of humiliation by a Port Vale side two divisions below them, pissing down with rain in August, collective gloom, the occasional erupting psychopath, missed my train home by a split second and not a single positive to be drawn from the evening .

My major regret is that I didn’t drink anywhere near enough wine during the pre-match meal to have made the football on show hazy. Instead I had DT and Wilcock with me. They went on a scoffing mission at the dinner like two Dickensian waifs dragged into the W12 Club out the gutter. DT looked at my expression at a latter stage of the match and quite rightly said ‘If it hadn’t have been for that dinner, I’d be pissed off n’all’.

Others chipped in from afar: ‘A teabag stays longer in the cup than we do’, said a philosophical and suicidal Blewett via text. Poor sod, always gripped by an irrational sense of optimism. He always thinks it’s  going to be ‘Our Year’. I bet that’s what someone said in the Polish  cavalry in 1939.

I’ve just checked the calendar and there’s nine more months of this. More of a worry, it is supposed to be a primary form of entertainment, but anyone else whom willingly chooses to spend a cold Tuesday evening sitting in the rain in Shepherds Bush over any other form of location or recreation is either plastered, a lunatic or both which leads me to fear the worst for my level of aspiration and mental wellbeing.

No one is exactly holding their hopes out for a run in the FA Cup either. QPR has gone 14 matches without a win in that particular competition. Four draws, ten defeats – taking in the likes of Vauxhall Motors (yes, that is a football team and was news to us at the time as well) and a 4-0 defeat to a Swansea side at the time languishing 92nd in the league without a win for months. The last FA Cup victory was in extra-time against Luton in 2000. For us, there’s about as much romance in the cup as a date at Nandos with Fred West.

I need a plan, a diversion: Russia seems an interesting to go. Especially after those pictures of that spy Anna Chapman caught my attention. We have Cheryl Cole, ‘Proof’ as my friend Lucie says ‘That you can polish a turd’, while they’ve got international women of mystery, speaking multiple languages including that of seduction.

There was a story in one tabloid about how she had a fling with a student from Southampton. He said she was wild in bed, evasive, emotionally cold, avoided being photographed and he did think at the time it slightly unusual that she conducted her business on six mobile phones.

To most I suppose the clues were there, but I began to wonder if I’d been out with her myself. It came as no surprise to read subsequently that she lived in Weybridge for a time.  There’s the possibility Russia could be the ruin of me, especially if I can get all that kind of thing in Surrey.

And you know what? I bet she supports Port Vale.

Mother knows best August 8, 2010

Posted by normanmonkey in Friends, QPR, West Byfleet.

The album cover - DT, Lou, me

If I ever declare again that I am going to have a quiet weekend, shoot me, bundle me in a taxi to Stringfellows, but whatever you do don’t let me spend a weekend alone in West Byfleet with my thoughts. There’s nothing wrong with West Byfleet, it’s my thoughts that are cause for concern. They cover the broad existential canvas of life, death, Jimmy Hill, will the milk be off and the eternal question of who put the fag butt in my jar of English mustard?

Recently I’ve boarded a train at 6am at Waterloo only to have woken up back at Waterloo at 10am having gone to Woking and back several times, but its not as bad as getting up at 6am to go to BBC Television Centre to oversee an interview on the news for a client and be home at 10am wondering what to do with the rest of the day that doesn’t involve me sitting in the kitchen with the remote control or dodging bird droppings in the garden as I brave an attempt to read the papers al fresco.

This afternoon I drove past a field of cows and their calves in a field not too distant from my home. I decided that it may be invigorating to go for a walk, look at the cows, embrace my environment and engage with nature. By the time I got there the cows had moved to a faraway field meaning I was reduced to staring at a vacant field full of cow dung. How’s that for perspective?

Even the warm glow of 4-0 win for Queens Park Rangers and a sublime performance from Adel Taarabt, the Zidane of Shepherds Bush, couldn’t lift me after trekking a fair distance to stare at stationary little piles of shit on a field (though that’s what one had been accustomed to with QPR for the past 15 years).

A winning day at the Rangers had been a welcome distraction. Half-time entertainment was supplied in the W12 Club by the waitress who had decided to whip away Blewett’s bottle of Magners when it was still two-thirds full. His facial expression at seeing a cleared table was worthy of an action replay and analysis as much as anything on the pitch.

This quiet weekend all seemed like a good idea after a night out with colleagues at a leaving do for Koala, a dear Australian friend and colleague, who has been hitherto known as Fiona. When anyone leaves Cow PR, it’s emotional, but with our first ever marsupial hire returning to claw bark in Melbourne, it was like a death in the family. These farewells are emotional, involving a small of introspection, reminiscence and justified sentimentality, but mostly a vat of Jaegerbombs, wearing shades indoors at first sight of a camera or whatever else will make you look like a tit in the cold light of day and staggering in the Shoreditch nightclub, Mother at 4am. Without sounding overtly Oedipal it always ends in Mother, is certainly tragic in the Classical sense and and if she knows best, we certainly do not.

Alternatively, I could and should have been in Ibiza for a week for a friend’s 30th. At my fragile age, the possibility of a succession of hectic late nights combined with my weak character traits, it all seemed unwise. After a couple of days I’d have needed to crawl under a rock somewhere with a book and a Bach soundtrack to soothe the shattered system.

Robbie in the office went and in preparation decided a session under a sunbed would do him the world of good. The self-proclaimed ‘Robsta Da Limehouse Gangsta’ came into work the next day as the Limehouse Lobsta and, getting more raw with the passing of every hour, had to have the subsequent day off with sunstroke. Pale gay boys from the valleys must not be left unsupervised when on a sunbed or the consequences are disastrous.

This is not to say there wasn’t further drama on his day of departure. I overheard Robbie talking gravely on the phone with his hand stroking his red raw brow in despair. Tentatively, sensitively I approached him some minutes later to inquire if everything was ok, fully expecting to hear the villa had burned down or there had been a death in the family. ‘Oh no, babe’, he replied ‘My sailor outfit hasn’t arrived! I don’t know what I’m going to wear now on Thursday’.

Perhaps, just perhaps, I’m better off here after all. Even though this particular Sunday has been a trial of the will it was all over too soon. Hello Monday.