toxicsoup

Well, not toxic, exactly... maybe just a little bit rank. But in a nice way. With a garnish.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

dance yer tits off

I've decided to join the 21st century and stick some downloadable mp3s on my site (see right-hand bar).

The bands featured at the moment are punky/electronica/weirdy-dancy Cardiff bands;

Sicknote
Bomb Culture
Staedler&Waldorf

Enjoy :)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

impressions

I am at the recycling place!

I back my van up to the giant skip, park alongside two other cars and jump out.

I am bringing a vast pile of collapsed cardboard boxes from work to be recycled. I am aware that most of the boxes bear the legend ‘1mm Monosyringe’ or ‘Durex Extra’, but this is no cause for alarm as they are all stacked neatly and flatly and unreadably. Confidently I begin to unload.

A woman clad almost entirely in wool smiles woolily at me and I give her my best wholesome beam back.
Luckily, although I am the world’s most grumpy person, the sun is shining and this makes it somehow easier to do pretend smiles.

Her husband (or man posing as her husband) nods through his beard and I conclude that they must be Christians. I check for sandals and hairy toes, but their feet are hidden behind their Volvo Estate.

Now I begin the hurling of cardboard.

I particularly like hurling cardboard as it gives me an opportunity to use my Gardening Growl.
Obviously, if it was a tiny skip then I would look silly and wouldn’t dream of grunting and growling while throwing cardboard boxes, but this skip is about 3 feet taller than me (it is enormously tall) so I get to do a kind of jump and a growl, like a Neanderthal doing ballet.

I can see the Christians are very impressed at how hard I am working, so I wipe my brow theatrically and climb into the back of the van for some more cardboard.

A bloke in a Hi Vis jacket who has to guard the Scrap Metal skip yells something across at me. I can't hear what he is saying but I can tell that he too is in awe at my hard-workingness.

This is fun! I get to jump and grunt and chuck stuff and get paid for it!

I get to my last box all too quickly. That’s a shame.

Checking for my audience, I do an extra-energetic leap and, elegantly, in mid-air, the box flips and empties its contents of How-To-Put-A-Condom-On leaflets all over me.

The unwanted leaflets that no one bothered to tell me were in the box.


All.Four.Hundred.Of.Them.

Like confetti.

With pictures of erect penises on the front.

Face hot enough to heat a small town, I hurriedly gather them all up. I can feel a shocked crowd of stares boring their way into the back of my bowed head.

Leaping into the van, I screech off, hurtling on two wheels around the bloke in Hi-Vis at the gate and disappearing at top speed to find a lay-by to sob in.

Monday, September 25, 2006

beating about the bush

I firmly hold the willy.

This is something I generally try to avoid, let me make this clear.

"Now! After checking it is the right way up, squeeze the air from the top of the condom and, in one movement, slide the condom to the base of the penis", the trainer explains.

I struggle gruntingly with my plastic willy. The condom is slimey and it keeps rolling back up! It's a good job I don't have to do this in the dark.

Paul, my partner in this exercise, squints a bit and I could swear I see his eyes water.

"Any good?", I enquire (accusingly).

"Yes!" he shrills, from the safe distance of behind-a-chair away.

I am now an expert on condoms and if ever I should be called upon in a sheath application emergency, I can refuse to do it from a position of smugness.

By 4:30 I will be a fully qualified Assessor in condom application. My CV is getting very surreal.

We check to see how the other groups are doing.

A femidom catapults past.

Maybe I should join the Dental Dam group? I quibble. This is not a choice I have to make very often. I quibble again.

We embark finally, on the more interesting task of licking each of the flavoured condoms* as a quality control measure.

I hope the buffet arrives soon, I'm starving.



*Vanilla is best

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

0.7 miles

I am going to the bike shop with one and a half bikes!

I have never been to this bike shop before but it is called Cyclopaedia and the geniusness of the name makes me want to visit it. Just thinking about it makes me happy.
In fact, I might give them the keys to my house and offer to have their children, if they are nice to me, although I would have to clear that with Imp, first.

My normal bike needs a grip shift and my unicycle needs a doojit-thingy and, Google Maps informs me that the hilariously-named-bike-shop is 0.7 miles away.

I consider my options. It could take a while to get there, pushing one and a half bikes.

While Imp and I were in Amsterdam we saw people carrying all manner of things on their bikes… my favourite being the bloke with a 2-seater settee.
Not to be outdone, I climb aboard my bike and, hanging onto the unicycle, I launch merrily off.

This is not as easy at is sounds. Especially the ‘merry’ bit, which wears off remarkably fast.

There are pedals protruding everywhere.
I wobble precariously, steering with my left hand and hanging on to the very pedally unicycle with my right.

It pokes me in my shin and I swerve a bit, leaning to the left to avoid it.

Now the unicycle wheel decides to start turning. Bastard!
This is a bit like carrying a strange torture device that takes random jabs at my side. Maybe the Romans should have done this to Jesus instead of crucifixion. There’s no way he would have forgiven them for that.

I swear in a ladylike way and it stabs at me again, just to prove it can.

A bus farts its way past me, leaving me gasping in a cloud of hot exhaust fumes. This is a popular move with the passengers who stare at me, wide-eyed, through the murky windows in a line of face-pressing delight.

Naturally I am a talented cyclist and were it not for the hill, and the pedals that keep taking swipes at my kidneys, and the buses…. oh! and the broken grip shift, I would be fine! I struggle hillwards, swearing eloquently.

My gears move.
This is what happens when you have a broken grip shift and no sense of humour left.

I can’t do a thing about it, what with hanging on to the unicycle for dear life and everything.

The Laws of Sod dictate that the gears should move upwards, thus making it more difficult to cycle. They adhere strictly to the rule and my eyes begin to bulge.

I invent some more swear words and battle miserably on, my cheerful mood a thing of the distant past.

Friday, September 15, 2006

hob-nobbing

I am standing next to a politician!

I have no idea who she is, but I still turn into a mute, with wild, staring eyes, as is required of all mortals meeting someone famous.

“So you designed these leaflets?” she asks, in a politician-like way.

“Yes,” I say.

There is a silence. Mostly it’s in my head, but I rush to fill it, before she notices.

“On the computer,” I expand, helpfully.

She nods and I can tell that she is bowled over by my wit and repartee. (Actually I have no idea what a ‘repartee’ is, but I think it’s clever and funny, a bit like an Oxford Graduate dressed in a giant tampon costume.)

We both stare at the display board and I hope that someone will rescue me or choke on a butterfly cake, soon.

“So what inspired you to design them in this way?”

A journalist is scribbling in Arabic into a notebook, which is very rude, given that he is supposed to be writing about the leaflet-launch. I suppose he is doing a night class and needs to practice but, honestly, there’s a time and a place.

I think about her question. I could get a pay-rise out of this! This is my opportunity to get in with the Big Boys… Tony might hear about me and nip by and buy me a company car!!

I frantically try to remember why I designed the leaflet.

“Erm, well I did it like this because my boss liked it,” I explain.

Bugger.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday Game

A couple of years ago I bought the Polyphonic Spree album "The Beginning Stages of...." for my friend, Witty, because she likes the French Horn.... and because I thought they looked funny.

She ripped the paper off, looked at the album cover (trying to disguise her horror) and clearly thought I'd bought her a Christian Cult Album of Cringeworthy Choruses. Which of course, is the real reason I bought it. I'm a git at heart.
How we laughed....

Two albums later they're still as weird as ever but I'm not complaining, especially since I found this equally weird game.

The artwork is spectacular and if you crank the sound up you'll be accompanied / plagued by something that sounds like a cross between Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev.

The game is a Click-And-Wait-To-See-What-Happens type puzzle. Sounds a bit like sex, come to think of it.

The mission; to get three lost, robed, band members back to the main group who have somehow got separated, possibly on the way back from the bathroom.
It does say.. but I couldn't be bothered to read it.

Anyhow, it's worth it, just for the animation.

Click

Saturday, September 09, 2006

quiet evening

We are watching the telly!

This isn’t something that happens very much to me, as I don’t have a TV. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it is a highlight, but it is certainly an event.

We have scanned through all 900 channels available and there is nothing on.
This is incredible! You would imagine that there would at least be an old episode of The Equaliser, so that I could stand in front of the mirror and practice looking menacing.

I scan again.

We lie on the sofa, snuggling down and watch a programme about weaving.

There is an unwritten law that if you have a TV with hundreds of channels, you must watch one of them, even if it is crap. I think you could be hunted down and forced to go to local prayer meetings, or sentenced to death or something, if you do not comply.

Luckily when you are snuggling, weaving can be very interesting. Soon I shall be a Loom expert and people from far and wide will come to me for Loom Facts.

Imp is clearly feeling romantic because she is burying her face into my hoodie.

“Hey!” she whispers.

I shift my attention from a particularly intricate fly-shuttle. “Yes?”

I expect she will snog me now and we may have to close the curtains.

“You smell like a charity shop”.

“…What? No I don’t!” I protest.

My counter-argument delivered skilfully, we continue watching the TV while I worry about my clothes.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

lift-off

We are in a plane!

This always excites me because it’s a bit like being in space, but lower and you can breathe.

We take off and I lean over Imp, staring at the landscape and looking for our hotel. I have been lead to believe (by Google maps) that there will be a little red arrow over it, emblazoned with the letter ‘A’, but I can’t see it. That’s very disappointing.

I look over at the other passengers. They are being very grown up and reading. I am still very excited about the fact that we are still leaning back, climbing upwards (like a spaceship) and that I can see almost the whole of the world (apart from Australia) laid out below us, through the tiny window next to Imp.

I pretend not to be excited and get my book out.

I pretend to read for nearly ten seconds.

“Look!” I say to Imp, in my pretending-not-to-be-excited voice.

“Look, there’s a road!”

She looks up from her book and agrees.

We both get back to reading/pretending to read.

holland from above

“Look! That must be Breugerbreuger-Van-thingy!” I point at a town.
This is what it must be like to be Digby, The World’s Biggest Dog. I manage not to say that out loud.

Imp agrees, this time without looking up.

“Look! There’s a boat!”

She grunts.

“Look! We can’t see anything now apart from the top of the clouds!”

She grunts.

I get my book out again and resume pretending to read.

Monday, September 04, 2006

sights to see

Celia-The-Guide powers on ahead, waving her black-and-white brolly around manically.

All 85 of us stumble along behind her, occasionally catching our breath for long enough to comment on the quaintness of the back yard we are walking through, if we get the time to look sideways without crashing into the person in front.

“This is someone’s back garden!” Imp wheezes, as we all power-walk like a giant, blurry, overgrown pre-school crocodile. It's a shame we're not all wearing lycra because that would look (even more) hilarious, although judging by the size of some of the thighs in front of me, might be a fire-hazard.
I decide not to suggest this when we get back.

It’s unbelievable!

Our ‘gentle stroll’ through the traditional Dutch village of Volendam is actually a brisk tour through the back alleys and gardens of the villages poor residents who, doubtless, close their curtains and hide, quivering in the kitchen, every day at 1:30 sharp. We see no one. Not a soul.


The Italians look as baffled as we feel. Maybe this is for the benefit of the Americans, who might not have seen houses smaller than Southfork before. They make excited american noises whenever we pass something smaller or quainter than the Albert Hall.

Nobody dares tell Celia-The-Guide that the rest of us would rather walk around the front, in case she shouts at us. We all remain silent. She barks orders in English, Spanish and Italian and we obey, unquestioningly.

“You must buy your food at the café where I tell you to buy”, she commands.

85 grown adults nod.

The Boring Ancient American Bloke peers into someone’s living room and Imp and I speed up, embarrassed beyond our wildest Saga nightmares.

The black-and-white brolly disappears around a corner and we power on, terrified of making her wait and, tragically missing the finer details of some ornaments on a back window sill.

By now we are giggling and snorting like naughty school children.

The Boring Ancient American Bloke starts chatting up Celia-The-Guide and we listen, fascinated and appalled at the same time. This is arse-licking at its most blatant. This is what it must be like to be old and American! I must remind myself to remain at all times on this side of the Atlantic.

“…..and then we’ll be visiting Norway,” he drawls tediously, his knee-length socks succumbing to the coma-inducing boringness of it all and slowly sliding down towards his ankles.

Celia-the-guide nods, eyes glazed. She walks faster.

“Do you have any children?” he pipes up and we snort again in stereo. Some snot lands on my chin.

We are passing some underpants hanging to dry on a washing-line and I wonder whether Celia-The-Guide will slow down enough for me to take a photograph of them.

Imp laughs harder and we both walk in a sideways crab-skip so as not to wet ourselves.

I clutch my dinner money, waiting to be ordered to spend it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Game

Back in the long and distant past, long before television had been invented and we had to make our own entertainment, I used to spend hours standing in Woolworths playing Tetris on the Gameboy stand.

Hours and hours and hours and hours.

Somehow that open-mouthed fascination still hasn't gone away (even though I am now officially 'Grown Up').

Luckily There is this:

Even more fortunately, it isn't on a stand in Woolworths... which means I can drink coffee and talk to myself and sometimes even fart* without worrying about disgracing myself.

My highest score is 30, 985 and IT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO GET ON THE LEADERBOARD. Oh, the shame.

If you know how to score high, let me know pleeeeasee.

Click

*In a ladylike way, of course

Friday, September 01, 2006

cheese safari

I can’t believe it has come to this!

Not only have I reached the grand old age of thirty-four but now I have also turned into one of those people who goes on coach tours.

I have always sniggered at people who go on coach trips. Clearly they are either too old to read a map, or they are too scared to drive faster than 30mph.
I have also observed that usually they have a gammy leg or a blue rinse.

Imp and I climb onto the coach.
I notice that Imp’s purple hair glints regally in the bright morning sunlight as I limp up the stairs. We grab our seats and whisper about the other people on the coach.

We are going to be dispatched at a specially constructed clog factory in the middle of a giant coach car park, in the middle of nowhere, where we will be unleashed to take furious photos of anything that moves and spend lots of money.
We will then be herded back onto the coach and onward, to a cheese farm, before there is even the slimmest chance that we see any real Dutch people. This is what the brochure says.

I am a bit worried that the cheese might be unlike British cheese.

As far as I know, cheese in Britland would be made in a cheese factory, whereas here it seems it procreates. In a farm. This is quite alarming.

I hope that we can watch the cheeses gambolling from behind the safety of the reinforced glass of our coach windows.

We arrange our travel blanket over our knees and patiently wait for the coach to move off..