Friday, 29 April 2011

Royal Rage

Somewhere in the depths of my Facebook page there is an embarrassing photograph doing the rounds. In fact there are several.

I can't say I'm all that proud of the one in which I am wearing a black curly wig, with someone's finger (I think it's actually my boss' but I can't be sure) pressing a false moustache above my top lip. Then there's the one in which my face is far too close up to the camera and I'm looking straight down the lens in the manner of Verne Troyer trying to scare some small children. Quite honestly I look demented.

That's possibly because I am. But anyway I'm not as disgusted by either of these as I am by the one of me sat freezing with my old school friends, frowning fiercely as Princess Anne walks by. She's barely regarding the poor disabled children, and the scowl on my face shows that actually I'd rather be anywhere else in the world than right there, right then at that moment.

I don't know if this brief and underwhelming experience of Royalty has any part to play here, but the point of all this is that I'm by turns confused and frankly apalled at the behaviour of Great Britain today, the day that Prince William finally got hitched to Kate 'who gives a fuck?' Middleton. Our great country came to an absolute standstill as a reported 2 billion people worldwide tuned in to see this alleged 'historical event'.

It's not that I'd rather be working but, I'D RATHER BE FECKING WORKING!!!! My mother told me that nobody is any better than me (nor any worse) yet here we are as a nation doffing our collective cap to some buck-toothed slap-head and his bit of posh totty. It actually beggers belief that we defer to these unelected toffs who have zero talent, and have earned precisely NONE of the riches and priveleges which routinely fall into their laps on a daily basis. If we're going to have Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses (and we wouldn't if I had any say in it), let them be people who have got where they are by talent and hard work.

And it's not just that we have to put up with this bullshit on the day either. The build-up has been an experience similar to the one I had when I had an absess drained from my mouth when I was around seven;

"But don't you want to see how beautiful she looks in her dress?" someone seriously asked me the other day. No, I friggity frigging don't. She's not my Princess. Ok, so she's half way attractive, but so were at least five of the women I saw hanging round Bar 44 in town last Sunday night. Will I get a day off work for their weddings if I promise to put up bunting and generally lick their arses?


"Oh but William is so handsome, isn't he?" I've heard.

No. He isn't. As discussed he is a buck-toothed slap-head, the son of an adulterer (a crime for which I would be publicly flogged and hung on the corner of Dorothy Street) and an all around useless git. This boy is no Johnny Depp or David Beckham. For handsome, read rich, prestigious and powerful. Women seem to get those things muddled up somehow. Wasn't it Peter Crouch who, when asked what he would be if he were not a footballer, replied 'a virgin'? I think that makes the point beautifully.

Other arguements I have heard as to why I should have been glued to my television today drinking Pimms are equally knuckle-headed. Someone argued with me earlier in the week that we should celebrate the Royal Family because they are a part of our history and tradition.

So is slavery.

Not everything that is traditional is a good thing. There is such thing as change for the better. The Royal Family have a history of bloody violence and serial philandering. That we should look upon them as somehow the very definition of our Englishness strikes me as bordering on the deeply tragic. I'm all for celebrating our Englishness. Political correctness has gone berserk in it's attempts to stop us from doing so, but don't let our nationalism manifest itself like this. We're better than that, aren't we?

I am. My mum said. Despite some photographic evidence to the contrary.

Friday, 15 April 2011


We were in Bristol last weekend. Emma's brother lives there with his wife and their 6-month old daughter.

Since crashing through their front door at 2 in the morning while the baby sleeps upstairs doesn't seem the done thing, we stayed in a hotel for the first of our two-night stay. That meant we could go out and have a few drinks with our meal, and generally behave in a loutish manner without upsetting anyone. Well, not anyone we knew, anyway.

Before we left for the restaurant we asked the man at reception whether there were any pubs in the area. We never asked if there were any nice pubs, just pubs. Nevertheless he seemed concerned for our safety straight away. He thought about it for far longer than you would think necessary before finally offering;

"It's not that great for pubs around here." Keep in mind that this is in Bristol city centre. We were a little surprised to say the least. Usually the one thing you can be sure of finding in city centres is pubs.

"They're all a bit iffy." he added.

I wondered if he knew where we had come from. It's a stretch to believe that there is any pub in Bristol that is more 'iffy' than say, The Vine, or The Elephant in Thatto Heath. Maybe it was because Emma asked. She sounds like she comes from somewhere civilised whereas I sound like I come from Thatto Heath. Maybe he'd listened to her accent and raised the bar just that little bit too high in terms of our expectations.

"It's just round the corner." he said finally.

"You can try it if you want."

Well thanks. So we did. We had gone past the signpost marked tipsy by the time we left the restaurant. Red wine will do that to you. Well, it will do it to me and Emma. She doesn't drink that often, and although I tend to go to the pub more I don't sit with my mates in the Springy drinking red wine. If ever you were to find justification for beating up a disabled person, that might be it. A man drinking red wine in the Springy is a man whose favourite film is Dirty Dancing and who has tickets to see JLS.

So back to the pub, and Dennis, one of our main protagonists in this wearisome tale. The pub was a kind of mock-tudor building called the Stag and Hound, which surprised us because our friend the receptionist had told us that it was Brazilian themed. Amusingly, Emma and I missed the fact that there was a short cut on a bend near a roundabout, and so wasted at least five minutes waiting patiently at several pedestrian crossings, one of which was broken. It was like Frogger on the ZX Spectrum for anyone old enough to put that into any kind of context.

We approached the bar and find Dennis stood there with his wife and little dog Misty. At first he didn't pay much attention to us but as soon as we sat down he decided to get himself acquainted. I shall spare Emma the trauma of re-living the event fully but for a warm-up he made several comments about her which might otherwise be deemed inappropriate. He thought he was being complimentary, clearly, but it was just kind of embarrassing. It wasn't quite the stuff of Keys and Gray but clearly Dennis had not wooed his wife by means of chivalry and romanticism.

And then he told her a joke about buggery. There, I said it. Buggery. Neither myself nor Emma would consider ourselves prudish but I think I can put my hand on my heart and say that I have never gone up to a strange couple in a pub and told the lady a joke about buggery. I mean, it's just never been the gentlemanly thing to do, has it? When did it become ok to tell women you have never seen before jokes about buggery? And did you hear the one about the............. No, we're not going there. I actually can't remember the joke now, which is a pity because it might have made for good copy for some of you.

Now, we're too polite to have said anything to Dennis about his rather forward approach to pub comedy, so he probably never even got even a mere whiff of the idea that we might have been offended. He bought the next round, in fact, which in my book goes some of the way to repairing the damage.

And Misty was a lovely dog..............