Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Here is a story about learning to drive and stuff. Like most of these tales, Tracy (my ex-wife) is involved at the beginning. Sorry it's not very well structured.

Tracy learned to drive when she was seventeen, and she's among the best drivers I know. I think she must have got fed up with driving me around because the day before my 27th (not sure about this) birthday there was a knock at our front door. She told me to go and answer the door, because she thought it was for me.

I had two quite independent thoughts at this point. The first was disappointment, because a three hour Simpsons omnibus was just about to start on the TV. The second was excitement, but only because I thought the person at the front door might be a stripper.

She also told me to put my shoes on. Which I did. NB It's easier to drive with footwear.

I opened the front door:

Me: Hello.
Him: Hello, my name's Lawrence...
Me: Excellent. I'm pleased for you.
Him: ...and I'm your driving instructor.

The good thing about my first driving lesson being a surprise was that I didn't have time to worry about it. Fear of learning to drive was probably always at the forefront of my mind before I could drive, or, more likely, fear of failure. I always thought that I would have to be as good a driver as, say, Tracy, or my Dad, to be able to pass my driving test. My Dad, incidentally, is and was the best driver I have ever known, and he passed third time.

The first time he took his test there had been a lot of press about Driving Examiners accepting bribes, so he tried to bribe them. The second time he threatened the Examiner with violence.

So I had my lesson. Which was fine, and it was booked as a block of eight, although the eight lessons I had were spread over about three months - due to holidays and broken bones (different story). The key to success is putting in the hours. In November of that year (my birthday is 15th August, btw) Tracy had a car accident, so I had to drive nearly everywhere when we went out together. When I was learning Tracy and I went to a wedding in Tunbridge Wells. She was ill but I couldn't drive on the motorway so we went as far as the North Circular (we were staying at my sister's in Walthamstow) where we stopped and I took over. It was a bit of a baptism of fire, and we ended up in Tottenham, but it was all experience.

Before I passed my test I rarely looked forward to driving anywhere. I enjoyed driving while I was doing it, it was the knowledge that I would have to drive somewhere that I didn't like. This is probably about confidence. And confidence is something that you can normally only accrue over time, unless you're a "natural".

I'd never had to drive before. There were always lifts to be cadged or public transport or shoe leather. But learning to drive is the most singularly useful skill I have ever been taught (apart from this thing this woman showed me, but I don't get to use that every day). And I failed my first test - statistically the safest drivers do. Apparently.

Driving Examiner: Thank you for that Mr Herbert, I'm sorry to have to tell you that you haven't passed. But what a lovely drive.

The way I see it, when you're 17 the previous three years of your life have been spent wondering how quickly your parents can get you to places. You're not bothered about risk perception or road etiquette. But by the time I got around to learning to drive I think I was a little bit more road savvy than the average 17 year old.

Now I love driving. And not only do I love driving, my life couldn't possibly function without being able to drive. It's something I regret not having done sooner.

The point is that you don't have to be as good a driver as the best driver you know to pass your driving test. You just have to be able to pass your driving test. Then, once you've passed, you can spend 50% of your driving time wondering how other drivers managed to do what you have done.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Crime Story

Imagine meeting yourself when you were younger. What would you notice first? How fat or thin you were? How short you were? How you hadn't really changed that much? Do you still wet your bed?

Slipping through holes in the string vest of time.

Once it was a theory.

Now it was a reality.

The invention that Travel Agents everywhere had been crying out for. People were bored of brain implants. The memories of virtual holidays did fade. Virtual holidays seemed like a good idea at the time until an outbreak of virtual Legionnaire's Disease wiped out an entire virtual hotel of virtual holidaymakers. After that there was a return to the old school. Real holidays. Go to the real seaside, get really wet, get really ripped off by local market traders, get real sand in your real sandwiches.

Have a gippy tummy.

It took everyone about three years to realise, again, why real holidays were so crap in the first place. Seven years for people who went on Club 18-30 Holidays.

Time was the key. Time Travel®. Not that there weren't any teething troubles. When Time Travel® was in its infancy, travel agents (or vacation brokers as they were known) were taken to the cleaners by everyone, including the elderly and the infirm. Granted they're not the sort of people who usually top the world's most wanted lists. The papers aren't normally filled with those sorts of headlines.


I don't think so.

That was the beauty of it.

But pre-meditated crime isn't about ability. It's not about whether you can do it, it's about whether you can do it and get away with it. That's why anyone does it. No-one commits these days believing that they'll be caught. Anyone who says the reason the crime rate is increasing is because of a fall in family values, poor education, lack of job prospects etc is, quite metaphorically, talking out of the top of their head. Which is as strange a place as any to find someone's arse. The reason the crime rate is going up is because more people believe that they won't be caught.

Anyway, people with incurable diseases, everyone at death's door, they all started queuing up to buy time travel holidays.

Ironically, no-one saw it coming.

Put yourself in their position. You've been given six months to live. What are you going to do? Wrap yourself up in a blanket and sit tight until your number's up? No way. You're going out with a bang. For two months you live it up. Soft drugs, hard drugs, drinking binges, orgies, wife swapping, husband swapping, house swapping parties. You try casual sex, formal sex, cybersex, phonesex, textsex, faxsex. Everything goes on credit. Then, when you've not so much burnt the candle at both ends but are about to turn into a puddle of wick and wax, you do a bank job or a post office job. Next you head to your nearest vacation broker to book a holiday back to the time of your conception and prevent your own birth.

Try including that one in the latest crime figures. As soon as you prevent your conception you disappear from the future. How can you get caught if you no longer exist?

Bloody marvellous.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Spam Story

Imagine a graph. The X axis displays age (in years), the Y axis quantifies an individual's interest, displayed as a percentage, in the size of things.

At age one your interest in the size of things is limited to between one and two percent. You only really care about who is going to change your nappy and where your next meal is coming from. As you get older your interest in the size of things duly increases. By the time you're thirty you'll be about 43% interested. How far is it to Coventry and if a bag of shopping weighs ten pounds, and if the average weekly cost of a family's shopping is fifty pounds.

The optimum interest level of any one person in the size of things cannot exceed 50%, otherwise the individual concerned would care more about the size of things than they didn't care about the size of things (the result of which is a size-related-fixated death). Maximum interest in the size of things is achieved at the age of 45, thereafter begins the descent into a non-size-fixated old age. Interest in the size of things decreases towards the individual's childhood levels until, at the age of 90, interest in the size of things is the same as the day you were born. And you're left wondering who is going to change your nappy and where is your next meal coming from?

This graph is depicted by the equation Y = 100(cosX sinX)

Something that I've always found hard to come to terms with is infinity. It's like the biggest thing you could possibly imagine but unimaginably bigger. I think it's the boundlessness and immeasureableness of infinity that leaves me stumped. I can't picture it.

Tell me something is as high as a cow, tell me it's as big as a mouse, tell me it's as small as a car. These are things that have a size to them. I'm a man. I know how high or big or small things are. But tell me that something is infinite and I'll either reach for the aspirin or just tut. It's no coincidence that infinite and irritate both start with an 'I' and end in 'TE'.

But I do have a fascination with the size of things. I'm about 38% interested.

When you're small more things are big. The classic example of this is Wagon Wheels. They used to be massive. You'd be hard pushed to finish them in one sitting. Now I'm older, Wagon Wheels are small, they don't block out the sun like they used to (and I'm sure they always used to have jam in them). A mile used to be a long way. There was no concept of the distance that light travels in a year. Anything more than a mile away was just miles away. As you get older things are far too specific.

Of course, not everything changes. There are things, laws, which will never change. Like being able to eat two school dinner spam fritters in one sitting. Of all the most bizarre and wondrous properties that the universe has (all those discovered, as yet undiscovered, and, if there is such a word, undiscoverable) the fact that it is, no matter how hungry you think you are, impossible to eat two school dinner spam fritters one after the other must be the most grotesque.

Some people say that in an infinite universe, anything is possible. They risk being lynched by an Anadin crazed mob, but they still say it. I would maintain that eating two school dinner spam fritters one after the other is the only thing that actually is impossible.

If you had an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters... are you saying that Shakespeare was a monkey?

Outside now.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

So Hit Me

I added a hit counter to my blog yesterday. A friend I've never met helped me because I'm not much cop with computers, and he is. I wasn't going to tell anyone why I got it, on face value it's pretty obvious why, isn't it? But when I chose it the site I picked it from asked me an odd question: it asked me what I wanted my starting count to be.

I'm rarely shocked but sometimes surprised, especially by odd questions.

The premise behind a hit counter is recognition, or faint praise, or popularity, right? The idea that someone else wants to read your mind and that they're interested in what someone else has to say. I mean I don't care what time of day or night someone visits my blog, after all, like Douglas Adams wrote, "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so."

I'm not interested in whether you're male or female, not at the moment anyway. I don't need to know your blood group or about your first experience in a submarine or whether you'd buy a red or a blue car or the last time you saw a snake. I don't mind if you've simply stumbled across me - although your gender may be more relevant then. I imagine that the same people might come back to read, or maybe they won't. And maybe they tell someone else about it, or maybe they don't. I know that's what I do. Maybe they, good lord above, bookmark you.

Just imagine.

So the hit counter trundles along, rising steadily like an arithmetic progression where the number of days equals x and the number of hits the previous day equals y and I hope, beyond hope, that the result of this blog's equation is never zzzzz...

I appreciate that articles on/in a blog about the blog itself aren't exactly pivotal in the province of excitement. I'm not daft. But it is content. It's something to fill a space. Something that might make you think, or laugh, or cry, or feel horny, or prompt you to remember something. Because anything can be responsible for anything else. Like word association or Chinese whispers. "We" don't know what a ridiculously high percentage of the brain actually does so I won't blame you if, right now, you're thinking about the fact that you need to take a shower, or eat, or buy toilet rolls when you next go shopping. And that's what you are thinking, right now. Even if you don't need them, you're thinking that you might.

It isn't my job to alleviate boredom, although I know I could try if someone paid me.

I think more people are bored than used to be bored, just like more people complain about things. It's not that anything is getting any worse, it's just that people are more inclined to complain about things. And the world isn't getting any more boring. There are more things to occupy minds in 2006 than there have ever been. So why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why do "people" always tell "me" that they're "bored"?

It might just be semantics or a state of mind, but boredom, to me, is just an easy way out. It's the escape route for those challenged by their potentially unlimited vocabulary. Confuse boredom with apathy or lack of opportunity or the inability to generate options. Just call it something else.


This blog is a child, a baby, born a matter of days ago. Unlike a baby in that it can speak and move, but like a baby in that it can't really do anything for itself, or recognise its own hands, or understand. This blog doesn't understand. It doesn't know what it wants to be any more than I know what it wants to be, or what I want to be come to that. I just want less than half of the hits to be created by me.

Anyway. Back to the question, "What do you want your starting count to be?" I could have chosen any integer, literally, but I chose zero.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

JFK Story

What were you doing when you heard the news? JFK. Everyone asks that question. Everyone's been asked that question. Lee isn't it? Lee Oswald? What were you doing when you heard the news? English speaking dyslexics the world over still maintain that Oswald was a pasty. To the rest of us he was simply done up like a kipper.

So if it wasn't Oswald who fired the fatal shot then who did? Someone, somewhere knew it was them. What did they say when they were asked the same question? They lied. They had too. They were making an omelette, walking the dog, or trimming their nose hairs. Whatever they were doing it definitely wasn't in Dallas and, even if it was, they were nowhere near the grassy knoll.

This is the story of three other liars. Three people who, when asked what they were doing when they heard the news, had to lie.


When I say that in the sixties some people dropped a lot of acid I'm not talking about a lot of clumsy people who worked in the chemical industry. Coke was no longer just a fizzy drink, free base wasn't just a phrase you might hear during a baseball game, and smoking grass ceased to be uniquely associated with crop rotation.


I've thought of this story. It's a story about three people who are conspiring to kill the president at the same time as they hear he has been assassinated.

It could work.

The problem is that I don't really know anything about the sixties. I wasn't alive. I get them confused with the seventies - and I was alive then. If the sixties were swinging what were the seventies? When did flower power start? What's a hippy? Or a hippie? When did all the promiscuity start? Hasn't it always been going on?

My story is a shambles: a start without a middle, never mind an end.

I've got the start of roughly a million stories in my head. One about mass hypnotic suggestion, one about the lottery, three about a herd of scrapie infected sheep. A million starts and no ends.

"Write about something you know." My Mum said.
"Make sure it's got plenty of sympathy." My Mum's friend said.
"Why not start at the end?" This bloke I met on the bus the other day said.


Three people died and one was born that day. One was a millionaire, one gutted fish for a living, and the other two were the South-West's Cribbage Mixed Pairs Champions. Two of them knew each other. One had never met two of them. One of them would never meet any of them ever. It wasn't anyone's fault. It was the purest of accidents. How it all happened is the story and it started in the ninetieth minute of a football match between Yeovil and Stalybridge. Typical.

In the ninetieth minute of a football match between Yeovil and Stalybridge, Yeovil equalised to make the score one all. At their home in Taunton, Barry and Maureen Love leapt. The late equaliser meant that they had won the football pools. Maureen's leap caused her to go into a premature labour - she was eight and a half months pregnant. Barry, who had been prosecuted for drink driving the week before, after celebrating the couple's win in the South-West Cribbage Mixed Pairs Championship Final, phoned for a taxi. The taxi driver, John Wild, had been forced to take up part-time mini cabbing after injuring his hand gutting fish - his qualified profession.

John didn't see the skip at the side of the road.

Only baby Alice survived.

The richest orphan in the world.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Poets Anonymous

I'm not ashamed of myself. When I got married I wrote a poem for my (now ex) wife. I read it out at the wedding. Should video footage of the event ever leak onto anywhere I'll edit this entry, but in the absence of such a circumstance I can tell you that I struggled. I had to stop half way through, so choked was I. Because I'm romantic like that. I remember someone writing in our "Wedding Book":

"This will go down in history as the wedding where all the adults cried and none of the children did."

Tonight, over six years later, I'm taking this poem to an Instant Anthology Night as part of Bristol's Poetry Festival. The premise is that anyone who wants to read a poem, can, as long as they bring fifty copies of it. The copies of each of the poems are then turned into and instant anthology for all those reading to take home.



I'll write what means the most to me,
My health, my soul, my sanity.
But if I lost them I'd be fine
Because I've found a love worth mine.

I'll whisper words, but nothing sweet,
From somewhere underneath my feet
And when, through lips, they must depart
They will have travelled through my heart.

I'll say the things inside my head
But one thing will remain unsaid
Because the truth I've come to see
Is without her I'm only me.

I'll shout at volumes unsurpassed
About my triumph, love at last,
And pity those who'll never win,
Their jealousy, my heroine.

I'll sing the notes for all to hear,
Let tunes transcend the deafest ear,
A love like this has now found me
And what is now will ever be.

I'll sit in silence where I bask
In questions I don't need to ask,
Because the answer's never new
I love her and she loves me too.


I write poetry.....I'm a poet.....It's been two weeks since my last poem.

Not ashamed.
Not me.
Not ashamed at all.
No Siree.

Umbrella Story

I remember when it was dead hot recently. Horrible sticky heat. Hot as in over twenty degrees. People piss me off. I'm a Winter person. I like wearing lots of clothes. If wearing too many layers of clothes was a hanging offence then I'd be dead now. I'd have been hung years ago. I'd have been dead for years.


People piss me off when they complain that it's too cold. I'm not talking about your pensioner who can't afford to put the heating on because of VAT. In general they don't anyway. They're up to their armpits in shawls and blankets, up to their heads in balaclavas. They haven't got time to be bitter about the bitter weather. They're using their complaint gland to complain about VAT on fuel. The people who complain about it being too cold can generally afford another jumper. They generally own gloves. They are generally the same people who complain when the weather's too hot. The weather isn't given a chance. It's totally fucked.

It can't win.

I like extremes of temperature. When you're cold you can always wear more clothes, if you're hot and naked you have problems.

Some of the time.

I don't mind when it's hot. I still get accused of wearing too many layers of clothes, luckily I can't be formally charged. When it's hot there are hosepipe bans. When it's hot for more than two days it becomes a heatwave. Look it up if you don't believe me.

Am I the only person who misses the centigrade scale?

Anyway, it had been dead hot recently and I was on the bus when it started. I don't mind the rain but when it's quite heavy you need an umbrella, or a hat. I was wearing a coat at the time, after all, it's never too hot for a coat, but the hood on it doesn't reach my head properly and if I have to put it up my neck disappears. I'm not a big fan of hats, so I got off the bus and went to buy an umbrella. The thing was I only had a fiver on me and decent ones cost about twice as much, or at least if anyone asked me how much a decent umbrella costs I'd tell them about a tenner. Not that anyone ever has, or probably ever will.

But it's just as well to be prepared.

I went straight into Woolworths looking like the Atlantic, found an umbrella that fell within my budget, paid for it, and left.

It was only when I got outside that I realised my mistake. It was a bloody girls one! I had paid five pounds for what was, in effect, a crap parasol. My walk to work only heightened my angst. There were umbrella sales going on everywhere. Decent ones. For less than a tenner. Even in Halfords. I might as well have held a five pound note over my head for all the use my new umbrella was. To be honest it was more of a psychological crutch. In fact it probably would have made a better crutch than an umbrella because the first gust of wind that came my way turned the umbrella inside out and ripped it apart. My umbrella left as a canvasless comedy corpse, lying in a bin. Spokes akimbo.

I saw a rainbow the other day and went looking for the crock of gold.

When I found them they were complaining about VAT on fuel.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Just Say Yes

As much as I would love to announce this as the tagline to a new and controversial reverse psychology anti-drugs programme, this is just about saying yes. Specifically, it's about hearing someone say yes when you ask them to marry you. Actually, it's about knowing that someone will say yes when you propose to them.

Because, let's face it, if you don't know what the answer is going to be when you ask that "special" someone to be your future husband/bride, you shouldn't be asking them. Not yet.

Anything other than "yes" is "no". "I'm not sure" is "No". "Let me think about it" is "No". "This has come as a bit of a shock" isn't really "No", but it's as good as. It shouldn't be a shock, unless you're proposing to a complete stranger. Who the hell wants to ask someone to marry them only to find out that it's a shock?

"Listen, Carol, I know we've only been living together for fifteen years, we have three beautiful children, two dogs, a mortgage, and congenital herpes. But I thought it was about time that I made an honest woman of you. Will you marry me?"

Actually that probably would be a shock. There's probably a statistic. And anyway, unless you need to furnish a kitchen, is there any point in getting married? Because that's the thing about wedding towels. When you get married, and you ask for towels, and you get towels, because you asked for them, those towels are the best towels you've ever had. But the condition of those towels may well correlate with the condition of your marriage over time. In the beginning the towels are used by "guests". Ushered ceremoniously from the airing cupboard in a wordless ceremony. It only takes a glance. A nod. Years of evolution summarised in telepathy.

"Mmmmmm......nice towels".

Eventually you'll be using them to mop up paint and baby sick.

What makes you think that the person for you, the one, works in the same office as you, or drinks in the same pub as you, or lives in the same town, or county or country or continent or hemisphere? What even makes anyone think that there is only one person for everyone? The internet makes the world such a small place these days. And words are powerful. Weapons. Sharper than knives. The penis mightier than the sword.


I know.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Monopoly Story

Long ago, mountains were higher, water tables were lower, and the word myth was used to describe a girl by a person with a lisp.

Past, Present and Future had just finished a game of Monopoly.

It was never any fun though.

Past could only remember the game when it was over, Present only knew what it was doing at the time, but didn't know why afterwards (or before come to think of it), and Future always won, but then it knew it would. They were all round Present's house because it was the tidiest. Past was in the process of moving out of its house and Future was waiting to move in.

"Fancy a drink?" Present asked the other two. "Past?"
"No, not for me thanks. I have one too many already." The clocked chimed eleven. "Shit! Is that the time? I didn't realise. I should have left ages ago."
"I did tell you this would happen." Future smugged.
"What about you Future? One for the road?"
"Not for me either thanks, if I have another Jack Daniels I'm violently sick at two thirty in the morning."
"Like you were last night?" Past remarked.
"Was I?"

Past, Present and Future had just finished a game of Monopoly.

"It's never any fun." Said Past to Future. "You always win."
"You might win one day though." Future said.
"What are you up to tomorrow?" Future asked.
"I'm not too sure." Said Past.
"I'll have to wait and see." Added Present.
"How to you both fancy a game of Monopoly?" Asked Future.

There are few things in the world which are less boring that playing Monopoly for all eternity. Especially when the same person wins all the time. But if you put yourself in their shoes, the monotony of it all, the infinite boredom of each game, the limitless, boundless, sameness about each throw of the dice begins to make sense.

Here sits Past. Remembering everything that has gone by. Remembering every single dice roll, every single 'Get Out Of Jail Free' card, and every single game they've lost. Why do they carry on playing? Why do they continue with the endless torture? Because they think that one day they'll win. One day they'll get Park Lane. It's not the taking part that matters, it's the winning. It's the time when you remember all the times you've lost before. But this time you've won.

There sits Present. Convinced that everything they're doing at the time is right. Convinced that they are winning and that they'll always be winning, or at least in with a Chance. They have never actually had that winning feeling, and they will never have it, they will never win. But since they are oblivious to the concepts of past and future they carry on playing until they do win. But there is no sense of frustration because they don't know that they haven't ever and never will.

Future is bored. Future twiddles. It sees everything that lies ahead. There is no way out. Whereas the future to us seems the most predictable, when personified it becmes the least. Although they don't know it, Past and Present strive to change the unchangeable and alter the unalterable (even if neither word actually exists), reacting against Future, the catalyst.

All share the same life at different stages in time.

Future is bored because of the irony of everything. Its life cannot be changed. You should remember the past and live in the present because the irony of everything is that there is no point.

Love Story

Tina Turner once sang "What's love got to do, got to do with it? What's love but a second hand emotion?"

Second hand emotion?!? What's all that about then? She only sings it because she thinks it rhymes with broken, which it doesn't. You remember, "Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?"?

Who needs a heart? Obviously biology isn't one of Tina's strongest subjects.

Songs about love are an absolute minefield. Climie Fisher's "Love Changes Everything" is a classic example. It's rubbish. The Beatles are one of the few bands who ever managed to pull it off. "Love, love me do, you know I love you, I'll always be true, so ple-e-e-ease, love me, do." Awesome.

The word love is bandied about far too much in my opinion, unlike the word bandied. The problem with love is definition. From nothing in tennis to commitment and an intense feeling of deep affection (there's a group of words you've probably never seen together before), love encompasses a whole trough of meanings. However, if there's a bandwagon to be jumped on you'll probably find me bounding with the best of them. Because although the meaning of love has been dissipated throughout the years, it's quite often the best word that springs to mind. Things I love include such diverse items as beef and onion pasties.

Never let it be disputed that the organ of love is the nose. Yes, nose. The sense of smell is one of the body's most underrated. The memories that a smell conjures up unlocks a plethora of past loves. Not only the smell of a loved one but also, perhaps, the smell of trees and freshly cut grass. That first kiss. Petrol. A milky cup of sweet coffee. Days at the allotment with your Dad, unscrewing the top of the flask on a cold Winter's afternoon. I used to love that. I mean I really used to love that.

Little shoes. Have you seen them? I love them too. They're so tiny and cute with their tiny laces and cute uppers. The little foot that fits inside with its cute toes. I digress.

Money can buy you beef and onion pasties and petrol and little shoes, but money can't buy you love. Money and love aren't mutually exclusive, but if you can't get something for love or money then you're buggered.

Love, undefined, boggles the mind. It's whatever, whenever and wherever you want it to be:

Love is not a piece of food
Love can sometimes be quite rude
Love is fire that burns like coal
Love: an anagram for vole

If music be the food of love then mine's a symphonic gateau with philharmonic cream.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


It's that difficult "second post".

The first one was easy, it practically wrote itself, but the follow-up? It was always going to be difficult, unlike going on a diet for the first time.

With an inaugural diet there's that sense of the unusual, the romance, the challenge, the novelty, the build-up, the deadline, the unknown. Wobbling blindly but purposefully into a lighter future with every ounce of willpower you possess, determined to stride purposefully into the future, lighter. Inevitably each subsequent diet will fail for exactly the same reasons that the first diet was a comparative success. The familiarity, the tedium, the contempt. The only way you'll ever be a Slimmer of the Year is by being uber-obese and losing two thirds of your body weight. If this does happen to you don't forget to keep and old pair of trousers so a family can stand up in them.

This is the nature of slimming awards, and precisely the reason why the nature of slimming awards will decide the fate of the human race. Congratulating someone for losing 100lbs is like congratulating an alcoholic for staying on the wagon. And the idea that they should be rewarded for improving their life expectancy is slightly baffling. But. You know. Hey. I'm fat. Maybe I'm just bitter about the fact that I'm not fat enough to be a Slimmer of the Year. Losing 20lbs is a lot harder than losing 100lbs.

People want praise and recognition, of course. Flattery will get you almost anywhere. And and and why do we celebrate losers anyway? What's wrong with coming first? What's wrong with coming third? Are you answering these questions? And if you are, why?

This is ALL about The Originals. It's about The Original versus The Re-make. It's about the Prequel and The Sequel (whichever came first). It's about The Original versus The Cover Version. It's about James Bond and Doctor Who. It's about 'Live & Let Die'. It's about TV Series' and books being made into films. It's about our perception. Why is it that, in general, the older we get the more we prefer The Original? It's like a horoscope. Your Dr Who defines your era.

Me? I'm around the cusp of John Pertwee and Tom Baker, but I definitely show more Bakeresque tendencies.

Do me a favour, congratulate at least one person for one thing every day. Lie to them if you have to. It's not difficult. People ask you how you are and you tell them that you're not bad. This isn't any different. If everyone does this then the world will be a better place, and we'll all know for certain that it's full of liars and losers.

Give it a name...

I'd imagined that having a blog was strictly the realm of geeks. Well, maybe I'm right. And it was suggested to me anyway. And I'm not doing this because I want to, far from it. And I'm rubbish at things like this. I've never kept a diary. Okay, I have, but this isn't a diary. Diaries are for telling yourself stuff, not other people, right? When was the last time you asked someone to look at your diary?

I'm uncomfortable writing to order, I can do it, but I've rarely tested myself to such an extent. I tend to rely on external inspiration rather than creating my own. Manufacturing inspiration is a wonderful gift and I'm hoping that this "experiment" will add this string to my bow. But, reader, that doesn't mean you should think of yourself as a guinea pig. I want this to be something that helps us both grow. And when I say "reader" I'm hoping there will be more than one, and when I say "both" I mean "all". Just don't expect me to be adding my minute-by-minute thoughts on here. It's unlikely that I'll be waxing lyrical on my trip to the shops, although I might, especially if I meet any dragons there.

Don't get me wrong though. Some of it will try to be interesting.

We claim to agonise over decisions. Stuff we've thought about for years, things we've contemplated for months. But decisions are made in a heartbeat, a split second. Only the moment after the decision has been made is relevant. Who cares about the time before? Even deciding not to do something is a decision which begets another.

Often you become your name. It can affect your personality, like your date of birth, or the demographic of your family. There were similarities between naming this blog and naming a child. The ability to change it, the idea that the name defines it, the concept that it becomes the name, that it becomes a "thing". Sometimes the story behind the name is as dull as the name itself.

So I'll spare you it.