Tuesday 28 July 2015

Out damned spot

file under: Embarrassing courtship situations

A couple of weeks ago I went to a restaurant for a birthday party. I talked to a very handsome woman whom I'd never met before (she was such a screaming janner that in a short conversation about parking meters she used the phrases "geddon" and "proper job" without a hint of irony). Emboldened by rough red wine I asked her if she had a boyfriend and she said she was "pretty much seeing someone". Very shortly after I happened to see myself in a mirror and discovered that I had a huge and disgusting spot above my right eye. It was like a horizontal Vesuvius gouting bloody pus lava into my eyebrow.

I can't help but wonder whether, if my skin had been clear and healthy she might have been "pretty much single".

Richard "sebaceous cyst" B

Tuesday 21 July 2015


file under: Engineering Boasting

My Saturday didn't live up to its billing. It was supposed to incorporate "sports car repair" and "putting on a rock concert". My friend and I thought that the ineffective handbrake and grinding noise from his back brakes would be fixed by just changing the pads. We were wrong - one of the calipers has seized. After a couple of hours of taking things apart and then putting them back together the car was just as broken as it had been and I was miserable and my clothes were soaked in brake fluid.

Like in so many depressing dramas I took a long shower thinking that it was all my fault, and that I'd never feel clean again.

My part in putting on a rock concert is mainly lifting, carrying, and driving. I did however enjoy my interaction with one of the women in the audience who was clearly very familiar with bands. In a room full of about 200 people drinking, dancing, and watching the band plus barstaff and security she singled me out (dressed all in black and standing next to a stack of sound equipment looking bored) as the person most likely to have a tube of superglue. She didn't bother speaking to my face, she went directly to shouting into my ear, her conversation was clear, concise and conducted mainly in mime. The heel had broken off her boot and she wanted something to fix it. Not only did I effect a workable temporary repair with gaffer tape, but while I was at her feet holding her ankle like a demented pantomime-horse farrier I managed to avoid looking up her dress.

It was too noisy for her to thank me, instead she gave me a kiss. After that she reminded me very strongly of my ex-girlfriend who used to wear rose-scented tinted lip gloss. Mmmmmonmouthshire.

Richard "Douse yourself only in DOT4 brake fluid from a sealed container" B

Tuesday 14 July 2015


file under: Embarrassing social situations

A couple of weeks ago I was on a family holiday in Falmouth. We saw a ridiculously pretentious and sesquipedalian menu and in parody/tribute we came up with a dish called "A traditional Cornish medley of steak and root vegetables served en croute". I was so pleased with that description that I texted it to a friend of mine who is a pasty enthusiast and who dislikes showy menus.

She instantly texted back this enigmatic reply: "Monmouthshire!"

Fifteen minutes later, when she'd stopped giggling, she explained that autocorrect had rather mangled the sentiment "Mmmmm!"

In other news I hurt a pretty young woman. I rolled a heavy case of cables over her toes. I feel terrible and I apologised profusely, but in my defence – who the fuck wears flip-flops to a rock show?

Richard "Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, Mornington Crescent" B

Tuesday 7 July 2015

midlife crisis-mobile

file under: Engineering boasting

About a month ago I was walking past a children's playpark that had a fantastic slide. I'd have liked to go down it, but I had neither the nerve nor the energy to scale the fence. It was at that moment that the creeping realisation that I'm never going to be young again started to dawn (Also I split up with my girlfriend).

I used to joke about what form my midlife crisis would take because I already rode powerful motorbikes and played guitar in a rock band. It turns out to have been as clich├ęd and predictable as any. This weekend I ordered a fast uncomfortable car that I don't need. The only thing that marks me out from the crowd of disaffected forty-somethings is that I'll be assembling the car myself.

Buying a new Caterham Seven is a charming experience. The salesman was knowledgeable, helpful and attentive and applied no pressure. The test drive made me grin like a fool. One of my friends bought new base model Ford KA and was disappointed that it didn't come with central locking. At Caterham roof, doors, windscreen, paint and having the car assembled are all optional extras. I'm six foot tall and had to pay a £400 surcharge to have the floors lowered by 50mm so that I fit inside it. I wouldn't have had to be much bigger around the middle and they'd have politely led me to the other side of the showroom for the "widebody" models which are larger, heavier, and more expensive again.

The most English thing is that I haven't actually bought a car. I haven't even bought the kit of parts to make a car. I've bought a slot on the queue to have the kit of parts that make a car manufactured.

Richard "Roll on January" B