Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cracked ceilings and fractured patience

It's one of those beautiful, clear, cold, winter days today.

Perfect for getting your tar stained boots on, hooking up your safety harness and climbing onto my roof and bloody well fixing the damn thing!

Yesterday was a similarly nice day. I would have liked to go for a walk or maybe meet my mum in Kensington for tea and cake. She's here for the masters tennis in the Albert Hall and to see me, of course.

I didn't meet her, not because I am a crap son, I'm not, really. I stayed in all day waiting for Andrei the builder! At least I think he's a builder, I have yet to see him do any building. At the moment I think he's more of a bullshitter than a builder.

Why do I need the dubious services of the elusive Andrei?

I came home from college on Wednesday with the intention of getting the house ready for my mum's arrival on Thursday. I didn't have much to do, it was pretty clean, the dishes were all done and the recycling, about a million empty wine bottles and beer cans, was concealed in it's special blue bin outside.

All I had to do was strip the bed covers off the bed in my flatmate's room and wash them. Luckily, she's away on holiday so I was intending to sleep on the spare mattress in her room.

But I can't sleep in her room because, as I discovered when I went up to her nice attic conversion room, the ceiling had cracked open, like a hazel nut, and water was pouring in like the world's least tranquil waterfall.

Poor Fumie's bed was directly under the flood and was soaked right through the duvet, the mattress, the base and onto the floor!

I stayed, calm, moved her bed, washed and dried the covers set the mattress and duvet near the radiator to dry, turned the heat up and phoned the landlord, who ignored my call.

And continued to ignore me until midday the next day, despite the increasingly frantic messages I was leaving on both her work and mobile phones.

I convinced her that the ceiling caving in was, in fact, an emergency and she called Andrei to the rescue.

He turned up with a mate at about 5pm, swore for a couple of minutes in, I think, an eastern European language, poked at the ceiling, climbed out the window and onto the roof.

After this expert assessment he came back in and promised he would be back tomorrow, provided it wasn't raining, to start the 'big job' of fixing the roof.

He didn't come.

Eventually he promised me he would be here this morning between 8 and 9am. I called him at 10am to see where he was. My man will be there in half an hour said he.

It's now 11.15am, still no sign.

Now I am faced with the decision. Do I keep badgering him relentlessly? This is not in my nature, I am rubbish at complaining and am always unfailingly polite when I should be shouting and raving.

Or do I just accept that there is nothing I can do, go into town, meet my mum and take her to Leicester square to see the Xmas lights?

The property management company in charge of my place are called Hi-Dra, I think.

Their contact, Abi, will definitely not be working this weekend so if Andrei messes me around all day again, like he did yesterday, I can't even complain until Monday.

Not that it would do any good anyway.

We had no hot water for an entire week not so long ago and Andrei was in charge of organising someone to fix that too.

Absolutely gutted! There was, just now, a van parked outside with Slavek General Building services written on the side. Listing roofing and loft conversion as two areas of expertise. They're here!

But alas, they were only running into the corner shop next door to buy cans of coke and Mars bars to sustain them as they work, probably efficiently and speedily on someone else' house.

It's now 11.30.

I called Andrei again, just now.

I am starting to crack just a bit, my computer is in front of the window and I have been checking every couple of minutes for any signs of roofer's vans.

He claimed 'his man' had been waiting outside for 7 minutes, 7 minutes! And had buggered off!!

I lost my famous cool, my voice rose and octave or two, making me sound like an angry baboon and he has now claimed he will be here 'straight away'.

I am going to have a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit and regain my composure.

The sun sets, this time in December, at approximately 3.45pm.

Time is ticking.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Shaving the Mo tonight.

I'll miss the added sex appeal but not the paranoia of always thinking there's food stuck in it.

Don't think I am really cut out for Moustache wearing. Today I was wearing my ultra-fashionable pink jeans and Mike C said I looked like Freddie Mercury.

I thanked him.

'Not a compliment' said he.

So a question?

Is it better to look like a legendary, gay, rock icon? Or like a normal, everyday bloke, albeit in a pair of pink jeans?

Maybe I will keep the Mo...oooh the agonised indecision.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Moustache update and perfidy in Paris

I was trying to trim the sticky-out bits off my moustache this morning but I started thinking about football, as you do when you are naked in the bathroom, and my hands started to shake with rage.

I nearly lost a nostril.

My mind had taken a turn down the dark, sinister, alley where thoughts about FIFA, the cheating, world cup fixing, disgraceful scum-bags lurk in shadowy recesses.

First they change the rules in the middle of the tournament to help out France and Portugal. Then they let the French get away with blatantly cheating the Irish out of their place in The World Cup!

Some people are all for seeding and I am not really arguing with them. If it was clear in the rules from the beginning then fair enough. But it wasn't, the rules were altered half way through!!

Remember playing football in the park, jumpers for goalposts, teams picked to be as even as possible.

Your team would be winning, first to 10 and 7-3 up, then you'd see the kid walking across the park who can dribble the ball like Maradona.

Handbags would be drawn, accusations would start, friendships would begin to falter and the poor skilful kid just would end up being told he can't play until the next game.

He'd have to do keepy uppies at the side of the pitch until the game was finished.

Why? Because children are taught by their parents to believe in fair play. You can't just change the rules in the middle of a game.

But what do FIFA teach your children? What does football in general teach them?

The modern game's philosophy is get away with whatever you can. It doesn't matter if you cheat, just as long as you win son, that's all that matters.

For example, changing the rules of the biggest sporting event in the world to help out your mates!!

Then, in a game that was already a fix, Thierry Henry cheats a nation out of their chance to go to the world cup by handling the ball. Listen kids, I got away with it so that makes it OK, his sly smile proclaimed.

And to make it worse, Damien Duff, one of the star players on the losing side, says he doesn't blame Henry and would have done the same thing himself if he had the opportunity at the other end.

So what you are saying there Damien is that you are cheat too?

It wasn't the ref's fault, he just didn't see it, he's made a mistake. Maybe he's a bit crap but really that's irrelevant. Thierry Henry, the dishonourable, cheating, French unpublishable is the one to blame!

I love football. I love the world cup, the drama, the passion and sometimes the controversy.

I hate the footballers who bring disgrace on the game, diving, shirt pulling, deliberately getting your 'friend' sent off in a world cup quarter final and winking at your team mates.

I hate the fascist politics and underhandedness of FIFA and organisations like the premiership.

Whatever happened to sportsmanship? Was it the money that did it? Power corrupts and all that?

Whatever it was, football is a now a hive of cheating, lies and corruption.

Anything to get the win, get the money, get the fame. Fans? Who cares about them, the stupid mugs'll keep handing over their money. They are stupid enough to believe in things like loyalty and commitment.

Do you want your kids to grow up to be honourable, honest, upstanding members of the community?

Yes? Then stop them watching football immediately!

And now back to charity and moustaches. Have a look at my progress on facebook and at how much my team, of two, has raised here

Oh and if you feel like it... MAKE A DONATION it goes towards helping men with prostate cancer. THANKS!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Scientific study proves moustaches make men more attractive

The moustache has been in and out of fashion since the ancient Egyptians.

The pinnacle of it's popularity was just after the 1977 release of 'Smoky and the Bandit' in which Burt Reynolds sports, what is arguably 'the best moustache of all time'.

Although other respectable studies have shown it to be Tom Selleck's in Magnum P.I.

Sadly in recent times moustaches have dropped out of fashion.

Despite the efforts of a few die-hard fans, such as David Beckham, Johnny Depp and Hulk Hogan, tache wearing is currently at an all time low.

I decided to find out once and for all if a good moustache really does make a man more attractive.

Daly Thompson certainly thinks so. He told charity Movember recently: “Who wouldn’t want to grow a Mo? Mine has been great to me over the years and I wouldn’t have achieved the success I did without it. Having a Mo does wonders for your confidence."

I held a discussion forum which may have included, men's grooming experts, woman's fashion magazine editors and evolutionary biologists.

After several gruelling hours of debate in 'The Prince of Wales' it was decided to survey the public using four, fabulously insightful, questions.

One hundred people were surveyed, mostly women but to keep it fair, as approximately 10% of the population is gay, 10% of my interviewees were men.

I used 6 photographs of cultural icons with impressive moustaches, or not so impressive in the case of Fiddy Cent. The others were David Beckham, Aussie cricket legend Merve Hughes, Chia Hui Liu as Pei Mei in Kill Bill, Burt Reynolds and Willie Chevalier.

For each mo-adorned Adonis we asked:

On a scale of 1-5 how attractive is this man?

On a scale of -3 to 3 how much does his moustache enhance his appearance? (Minus numbers mean it takes away from his natural beauty and positive for how much it improves him)

Should he shave it off?

And the most important: If your boyfriend/husband/lover were to grow this moustache for charity, would you be happy?

The results were resoundingly in favour of the moustache.

Consider the first question. Attractiveness. Beckham was the winner here with 65% of respondents giving him full marks 5/5 and the other 45% giving him 4/5.

The really interesting statistic about Beckham is that 91% said the moustache makes him look better and the same 91% were against him shaving it off! Massive victory for the Mo there I think.

One Mo enthusiast even gave 4 out of 3 for the level of improvement the Mo makes to Dave's already enviable good looks.

The average, over all the photos, for looks enhancement was 1/3. Taking into account the scale was from -3 to 3 this is comprehensive proof that most people think Mo's improve looks.

32% gave the facial hair 3/3. But only 9% got the dreaded -3/3.

Since collating the results my self-confidence has rocketed, especially since my effort is currently not unlike Mr Beckham's. Well that's what I think anyway and anyone who says otherwise can just shut up, so there.

So, should the guys shave it off or not? The average over the 6 pictures was 70% in fouvour of keeping them! Another massive victory for moustache lovers. We asked the respondents to consider only the ascetic effects of shaving but it was difficult not to let a little emotion creep in.

Obviously the psychological effects of shaving off a much loved body decoration can be very great, traumatic even. Not to mention that some of the moustaches are integral to the wearers public image and personal success.
Scientists have proven that as a moustache grows, so does a man's emotional attachment to it.

This can be so strong that men will put their facial hair before their wife/girlfriend/boyfriend. Many a previously perfect relationship has been broken by a misguided girlfriend insisting on Mo removal.

And usually for the utterly selfish reason that it, tickles/scratches when kissing.

Consider Willie Chevalier, world champion, in the partial beard freestyle category at the World Beard and Moustache championships 5 years in a row.

What would he do without his moustaches?

In the survey 100% said not to shave it off. People even made extra comments in the margin emphasising how strongly they felt about it.

One person wrote: "He should never, never shave it off!"

And I agree. He's an ambassador for facial hair growers all over the world and a hero to his fellow Germans.

Not all mo's are as well loved as Mr Chevalier's. Fiddy cent's frankly half-hearted effort scored only 27% positively in the enhancement category and overall he scored the lowest in attractiveness.

65% of people said he should shave it off.

In a strange anomaly 81% said they would let their boyfriend/husband grow this one even though it was voted the least attractive!

The survey will, undoubtedly, be controversial but as it was conducted in a highly scientific and accurate manner it's results cannot be disputed.

Moustaches make men more attractive. It's a fact. I am just glad I do not work for the British government most of whom are cleanly shaven.

We know what happens to scientists whose studies do not agree with the government's arbitrarily held opinions.

I am of course referring to Professor David Nutt who was sacked recently for telling the truth.

I was going to put in pictures of the other two men I used in my survey but I am running out of time and waffling on a bit now.

I'm sure a quick look at google images can sort out my oversight.

Right I am off now to carefully shave around my upper lip, spray on some old spice and squeeze into some tight jeans.

Check out my progress and Movember fund raising success at

Friday, October 30, 2009

The coppers wont talk

I have been trying to speak to a representative of London's Merton Borough Police today.

My efforts have been thwarted at every turn.

First, I called the main switchboard and asked for Merton Borough's press officer.

I was immediately put through to an answer phone with the helpful message:

"This is Officer Fictitious' phone, please do not leave a message on this answer machine, my new number is 00000."

I don't think it really matters, for sake of this blog, what the real names and numbers are but the message is pretty much word for word.

So I called the new number and got a message saying 'this number is no longer in use'. what?

I called the switchboard back, explained, and they put me through to the same answer phone again...and again.

I tried asking for different people but, as soon as I said press or journalist, the big red button was pushed and my call was sucked into the telecommunications equivalent of the basement at the bottom of the dark stairs, where only cobwebs and skittering things abide.

Eventually someone at the national press office actually spoke to me and gave me the number of the South London press officer, who, you guessed it, was unavailable.

At least I was able to leave a message on her answer machine. What do you think the chances of her getting back to me are?

So I am going to try again, and probably again and again to get a comment from anyone in the police.

And I am not even asking about anything controversial or detrimental to the Police's reputation.

Gotta love the boys in blue, so helpful, open and approachable.

Oh well, back to the phone-calls. Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Movember is almost upon us

26th of October 2009: Day 1.

As you can see I am already sporting some ice-cold designer stubble. I will be shaving the rest off tomorrow and just leaving the Mo.

I know I am a massive cheater. The rules say you are supposed to start growing the mo at the start of November.

The organisers, I think, failed take into account those of us who have the pathetically sparse facial hair of a 13-year-old choir boy. A month is nowhere near long enough for us.

Those hairless patches on my face are not, as you might have thought, the result of careful grooming. They are, and always will be, follicularly challenged.

If my face was a hair-growing field it would be about as fertile as the Gobi Desert. So I am cheating just a tiny bit and it's for charity and the end justifies the means, so there.

I am going to have to buy myself a pair of those little Mo trimming scissors so I can sculpt it into a dashing design.

If left to grow wild my facial hair goes sort of frizzy and curly and looks a lot like the hair from another part of my body, not my head.

This is what foiled my attempt, last year, to grow a pirate beard while travelling around south-east Asia. Oh, how my girlfriend hated the pirate beard!

I, however, was gutted when I was forced to shave it off on my return home. I had to get a job and who'd hire me looking like a deranged hermit who'd stumbled accidentally back into civilisation?

I do have a nice memento of it. I had to renew my driving licence and it makes me smile every time I'm asked for I.D.

We'll see how my moustache growing goes but if it's as spectacularly bad as my pirate beard I'm going to look pretty silly very soon.

All I have to do now is get some people to sponsor me or maybe even join me in the good fight. It would be awesome if I had a team of moustachiod men marching alongside me.

There are full details on my Movember page which will hopefully get a bit more interesting as I add things to it. And of course you can make a donation too if you feel like it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Who wants to hear what I have to say anyway?

Today I join the world of blogging and I'm worried I may have waited too long.

I might not get to write too many of these before I'm bound, gagged and shipped off back to where I came from, Northern Ireland in my case. The days when a free Briton could stand up and say whatever he likes are under threat.

Where does this threat come from, the BNP? Terrorists? Margaret Thatcher? No it comes from do gooder, interfering, tree hugging, self-righteous, liberals.

Yesterday's guest on BBC's question time, Nick Griffin. The man they tried to silence. The man so many people wanted to keep out of the public eye is now centre stage and representing the rights of the oppressed.

He has become a symbol for the right of freedom of expression.

Perhaps I don't have much of a sense of irony but I think there may be a little bit lurking in this situation somewhere.

Ask the same people who are trying to silence Griffin if they believe in free speech and after some self-justification, spluttering and contradicting themselves they might admit that they are all for it.

So how do advocates of equality, diversity and freedom of thought justify the attempted censorship of a British citizen, an elected representative of the country?

Well, because he disagrees with them of course. I will not pretend to understand exactly what his beliefs are but I think it's fair to say they probably do not include a belief in the same free society that his potential censors are trying to protect.

If they had managed to stop Griffin appearing on Question Time then what next? Ban his party entirely? Move on to it's supporters? Have them rounded up and their tongues cut out?

Maybe we should extend our gagging powers to everyone who doesn't think the same way we do? Let's go tape up Prince Philip's mouth, no wait, that might not be such a bad idea.

If you have taken the time to read on this far you may have noticed that I can string a fairly coherent sentence together without mentioning Islam is evil or death to all non-whites. This might lead you to the conclusion that I am not a member of the BNP.

Good deduction on your part, well done.

So why have I written a blog not so subtly defending Nick Griffin's right to speak?

I think for the same, fairly obvious, reason that the BBC invited him on the controversial programme in the first place.

To deny anyone the right the speak is to deny the right of free speech.

The people who, so passionately, supported the Guardian when they were muzzled by the super-injunction are the very same people who now want to take away the BNP's rights.

If a BNP member incites a riot, harasses an immigrant shop owner or beats up a gay person we have laws that will deal with that.

If all they are doing is talking then they have a fundamental human right to do so. Just like the Guardian, the anti-fascists and the bloggers of the world including, as of today, me.