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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Every day should teach you something more about life. Today has taught me that there are few pleasures comparable to sitting in a hot bubbly bath listening to John Peel play the new Morrissey record.

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I feel I should point out that the reason I've been commissioned to write the "cheat a diet" feature is purely down to my abilities as a journalist and nothing whatsoever to do with my own experiences. I've never cheated a diet. I've never not cheated a diet. Diets and me - we're strangers to each other. Our paths have not crossed. We wouldn't recognise each other in an empty room.

It's like the time I was sent to Yorkshire to interview the cast of Fat Friends. It was a bit harsh on the actors, I thought, sending someone like me to ask them about what it's like to be a fatty. Every time I nodded sympathetically at their tales of fat-related prejudice I fully expected them to lean over and clout me: "what would you know about it you skinny bastard?".

Of course they didn't. They just gave me that sad fat-look which means they know I could make all the sympathetic noises I liked but I'd still never understand. Or maybe they just wanted to eat me.

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Things I Should Do Today But Really Can't Be Arsed To:

1. Start on the "cheating a diet" feature.
2. Tidy the flat (or at least throw the hoover round the front room).
3. Do the washing up sometime before I need the pans to cook tonight's dinner.
4. At least try to fix the kitchen tap.
5. Take the Big Bag of CDs to Reckless and get some money for them.
6. Work on the novel.
7. Think of more work ideas to pitch.
8. Print out and post off some invoices.
9. Put some washing in.
10. Sort and tidy my records from Saturday night.

Things I Will Actually End Up Doing Today:

1. Worry vaguely about work, novel etc.
2. Watch my friend S on TV this afternoon (no, really).
3. Smoke fags.
4. Play records.
5. Eat the last of the Easter Eggs.

It's raining outside, yesterday's thunderstorm spectacular has heralded nothing more exciting than typically dank London April skies, and frankly (to misquote Shakespeare) I have of late, wherefore I know not, lost all my energy. Looks like it's another day of aimless lounging around and fantasising about the Channel 5 weathergirl then.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Err... what is "trackback" anyway? And why do I have it?

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We've just had the best thunderstorm. It was fully one of those wrath of God, look upon my works and despair! type deals - all CRASH! and CRACK!, forked lightning, power cuts, howling wind and hammering rain... exactly the sort, in fact, you only ever see on holiday. The sky grew dark as midnight for half an hour and all the car alarms screamed along with the rain and the wind and the booms of thunder.

To get such a thing in North London, I can assure you, is a rare and beautiful treat.

I love thunderstorms. I don't understand people who don't. It's not even like I love being all warm and cosy inside as all hell breaks loose on the other side of the centrally heated walls - when there's a proper thunderstorm I have to fight the urge to run out and dance about in it all. In this respect I guess I'm very much a candidate for a lightning strike: I'd be the dickhead on the golf course, playing through the 14th with pitching wedge in hand, frazzled on my backswing; I'd be the fool on top of the mountain with the telephoto lens, fried as I caught the perfect shot; I'd be the klutz in the open-air swimming pool, boiled alive as I whooped and dived...

Still. You gotta admit - it would be a hell of a rush. And if you actually have been the unwitting victim of a lightning strike and consider all of the above offensive... as you're clearly stupid enough to have been out playing golf or swimming or whatever during a storm, I'm afraid I shan't take your objections to my little reverie terribly seriously.

Sorry, does that sound arrogant? Didn't I tell you I'm arrogant? Oh well!

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I've just thought: what's the only thing better than freelancing in the summer?
Freelancing in a summer dominated by a major football tournament! Hurrah!

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Monday, April 26, 2004

Sorry for the brevity and erratic frequency of my postings recently - what with all the nonsense going on out in the real world I've hardly had time for you. Once again, this is another quick one - been out today returning lights to the hire shop and morning suits to the gentleman's outfitters... and now it's a quick shower and shave before I schlepp off to The One's for dinner and a DVD. (Or rather, video: she doesn't actually own a DVD.)

Oh - and last night's wind-down pint of Guinness metarmophosed into drinking whisky until two this morning. Still, what can you do?

Anyway, with the returns completed, the wedding business is now officially OVER. Thank god. Now I can make a start on all the work I put on hold until today (well, tomorrow now). And what with the sun shining and the temperatures breaking the 70F mark, I can get back to the proper business of enjoying being a freelancer in the summer. (For which, read: sitting in the park checking out the skirt and mentally playing "young mum or au pair?" with every twentysomething girl with toddler in tow.)

Actually, I have to interview an alcoholic at some stage this week or next. Should be easy!

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Sunday, April 25, 2004

Boys and girls, I rocked the fucking house.
More later - I have to eat something before going to the pub for the essential pint or two of post-traumatic Guinness. Just thought you'd like to know.

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Friday, April 23, 2004

'Twas the night before the wedding and all through my house
No one is drinking, not even... um, like, me.

As I write, the groom, both Best Men (Best Mans?) and the other Usher are all dining in London's swanky Mayfair. Their plan is to gorge themselves on the finest foods and wines and generally eat, drink and make so merry (for tomorrow we...) in the restaurant that the natural inclination to go on clubbing will be somewhat curbed and they can all get an early night in preparation for the Big Day ahead. Yeah, right, and I'm Denis Bergkamp. (I'm not Denis Bergkamp.) My money's on a 3am finish, minimum.

Meanwhile, gentle reader, I remain the very soul of temperance. I sit here with a litre and a half of Coke (the drinking kind), half a pack of Marlboro and American sitcoms on the box. I sit here surrounded by the neatly stacked and stored equipment ready for tomorrow; amongst the speakers and cables, the amps and decks and vinyl records, the stands and mixers and lighting rigs, I sit... sober as the preverbial Judge. (But not Judge Jules.)

In short - I am having a quiet night. Bath at 10-30, bed by eleven. That's my plan. Tomorrow I'm up at 7-30, I'm hauling the above equipment down the stairs an hour later, and all being well, me and the gear are on the road to the reception by nine. Then it's a blur of unpacking and setting up and quick changing into the Morning Suit and off to the church for midday. One wedding, dinner, speeches and throwing of the bouquet later and the work really begins. At 8pm (according to The Schedule) I play the First Dance. At 1am I play the last. At 1:05 I shall relax.

Exciting, huh? And guess what? I've not even mentioned the fact it's St George's Day! Or Shakespeare's Birthday! Or Shakespeare's Death Day! (It is - you can check.) Such self-obsession!

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Well, tonight I'm simple-mindedly but good-naturedly drunk on £5 a bottle Australian Chardonnay. It's not much, kids, but it's home.

Took the day off work amidst panic about saturday and subsequently spent most of the day working anyway. (The early evening was spent honing the last hour of Saturday's playlist - God knows what my neighbours must make of it... 6pm is a touch early for Come On Eileen, S Club 7, Abba and the like. I'll lay good odds that they think I'm gay. Or a borderline agarophobic. Or, more likely, a borderline gay agoraphobic. Or should that be agoraphobe? If any agoraphobes/agoraphobics could let me know - perhaps you could pop out to the library and check? - I'd be grateful.)

Anyway, suffice to say the evening should end like this: I Got You Babe, It's Not Unusual, Can't Take My Eyes Off You. You want cheese? Baby I got cheese like you ain't never heard of before!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

So what went wrong at Book Club last night?
Everything was going fine - all super and 30-something middle-class media darlingness (in a good way). The pitta bread and dips were very tasty, the wine was red and plentiful, the music was grooving away in the background, and we even talked about the book for a while. Keats was mentioned; and not in a "who's Keats?" way either. I was even thinking how I was going to have to up my drinking a bit else I might not get pleasantly shitfaced enough.

And then someone rolls a J and within minutes everything collapses. M (Female) heads straight for the sofa and doesn't say another word, M (Male) goes to the toilet and falls asleep for 20 minutes, S and N start talking about something or other at about 1,000,000 miles an hour, C tells nobody in particular about these obscure bands he's got on his iPod... and I just sit there thinking "Jeeeez I'm wasted!"

Don't really remember the tube journey home... but I came to my senses at 1-30am or so, sitting in front of my computer surrounded by toast crumbs and with my Minidisc on full volume. I'm still wasted today.


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My Top Five Songs I Want As My First Dance At My Wedding

1. Soldier Girl - Polyphonic Spree
2. Beyond The Sea - Bobby Darin
3. Ten Storey Love Song - Stone Roses
4. Smokebelch II (Flute Mix) - Sabres Of Paradise
5. Don't Stop Movin' - S Club 7

And I'm serious about the last one too. Brings a tear to my eye every time.
(Sorry, I am a wee bit fucked. Book club is more rock 'n' roll than I thought.)

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Book club tonight. Get this - I'm blowing out the Monaco v Chelsea Champions League Semi Final First Leg for Book Club. It gets worse. I'm also blowing out interviewing Slipknot - scary masks and (presumably) dead crows in jars and all - for Book Club. Could there be a better metaphor for my increasing lack of rock 'n' rollness? (And am I only using words like "metaphor" in preparation for Book Club?)

Although having said that, the "related searches" bit at the top of this page was reading "mop" today - a week ago it was "tequila". 'Nuff said.

In a vain attempt to claw back some vestige of youth and danger from the dreariness of my days, I spent the afternoon putting together the first half of my playlist for K's wedding on Saturday. DJing - it's not just a case of turning up and whacking a bit of Boney M on, you know. Well - not when you're DJing from 8pm till 1am, anyway. The thinking behind writing down some kind of tracklist now is that come 9pm Saturday I'm going to be too drunk to think clearly anyway - may as well make things as easy for myself as possible, eh?

To be honest, I'm half excited about DJing the wedding - and half dreading it. Sure, it will be brilliant when everyone's dancing away... but there's so many things that can go wrong, so tight a schedule to keep to, and so much that isn't in my hands (taxis, electrical equipment, etc) that the potential for ruining the Best Day Of Their Lives is frankly terrifying. Anyway, I'm touching wood like a bastard. And not in a rude way, either.

Anyway - must go: have to cook myself some spag bol before setting off!

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You know how sometimes before a film on TV, the announcer warns you that it "contains nudity, graphic violence and very strong language from the start"? Am I the only person who considers that a ringing endorsement of its quality?

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Monday, April 19, 2004

So, as I said, the parents have been down since last Tuesday; and if their visit was heralded round these parts by a frenzy of flat-cleaning, vegetable buying and evidence of girlfriend-shagging removing, then their actual stay was an equally stressful week of, well, looking after them. You know how it is when Mum and Dad are retired - they stop giving a shit. They want to be cooked for, cleaned up after, shown where to go and what to do. When they get the escalator on the tube they stand on the left, or stop at the bottom. They forget directions.

(None of this is to imply that I don't love them, or that I'm not glad to have them stay... I do, and I am - it's just quite hard work, that's all.)

Anyway, the prime motive behind their week chez moi was to watch my brother run the marathon on Sunday... but an added bonus was a Friday evening family dinner - with The One in attendance. She's met the Siblings before and that was all good; but of course parents are a different and more difficult kettle of fish altogether. Was she nervous? Do flies fly? Do bees be? Yes, she was nervous.

But of course everything was beautiful. She and my Mum bonded over a shared admiration for George Harrison's son (don't ask); she and my Dad bonded over a little table talk concerning the early years of Stephen Hawking (I SAID don't ask!). The One was worried beforehand that she might get too drunk - my Mum, a brother, a sister and myself saw to it that she was only ever going to be an also-ran in the Who's The Drunkest? competition.

At the end of the night, she went to the loo. My parents made a beeline for me. She was, they agreed, lovely. My mum's only concern was whether The One was as smitten with me as I clearly am with her. Oh yes, I said, don't worry about that. She adores me.

One postscript, however. Don't go drinking in Chelsea too much. The words "fucking hooray Cityboy inherited wealth wankers" do tend to spring to mind.

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Boys and girls, it's been a while.
Apologies for the extended absence - I've had my parents staying for a week, and what with all the cleaning, cooking, entertaining and general keeping up of the myth that their second-youngest is a good boy, I've not had time for literary self-pleasuring like this.

Rest assured, you were always on my mind. You were always on my mind.

So then.Where to start? Expect future posts on:
1. The One and my parents meeting over dinner in London's swanky Chelsea.
2. Something awful my mother said in the pub on Saturday night.
3. The thrills, spills and general standing-in-the-rain-shouting-ness of the London Marathon and how my brother did in it.
4. The problems and anxieties inherent in my forthcoming DJ set at K's wedding next Saturday.
5. Pot Plants And How Not To Repot Them - a morning spent swearing at a Yucca.

Come on, admit it. You missed me. Yes you did. You missed me, you filthy little so-and-sos...

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Well, I've finally found my epigraph:
Foied vinom pipafo, ca carefo
Enjoy the wine today, tomorrow there will be none.

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Talk about Spring Cleaning.
My parents arrive tomorrow... and will stay till next Monday. Now whilst this is obviously on one level all very lovely... on another few, far shallower and less spiritually, morally or psychologically important levels (but hey, this is where I operate, this is my manor, my 'hood) it's all a bit of a chore.
In layman's terms, it all adds up to sleeping on the floor for a week, no funny business with The One for a while and a general lack of run-of-the-mill slobbing out. Oh - and of course a full day today with the duster and mop, the hoover and dustpan, the J cloth and scourer, the Ajax, Dettol, Bleach and Mr Muscle Kitchen Spray.
The advantages? Six days full of the warmth and comfort that only one's parents can provide... and of course the cleanest, spickest and spannest damn flat in North London. Oh - and I dare say I'll get an Easter Egg out of it, too.

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Continuing the "Things Said After Sex" theme...
The One, this morning: "Mmm. Make us a cup of tea, love."

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Saturday, April 10, 2004

I'm having one of those nights where I have to keep smoking cigarettes in order to stay awake long enough to finish my bottle of wine. Does this make me:
(a) Some kind of sad dipsomaniac?
(b) Actually, rather strong-willed and a definite see-things-through type?

On another subject, I've remembered something important about last night. The barmaid in the pub where P and I played pool had the best technique EVER for giving you back your change after buying a drink. She would place one hand under, and one hand over your outstretched paw, thereby sandwiching your hand in hers... it sounds mundane, but believe me, the frisson of cold money and warm human contact was almost too much excitement to take. People (well, men) were practically queuing up to buy things - just to get change from her. I tell you - that chick, she's got a great future in the barmaid business.

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Ohhhhh god. Ma pauvre tete.
Currently lying on the sofa in t-shirt and shorts, surrounded by the detritus of fried chicken and the cheeky vodka I fixed last night after returning from the pub... the television is making my eyes hurt but without it the roar of blood in my head is just too much to bear. Welcome, gentle reader, to my hangover.

It all started so well yesterday. Woke up - it's a beautiful morning! - at The One's, warm and tingly in the knowledge that as a Bank Holiday Friday there was quite literally nothing to do until Tuesday. (The only social engagement of the four-day break being a long and boozy Sunday lunch at my sister's to come.) There followed an hour or two of delicious snoozing in the arms of the one I love, with the radio tinkling along in the background and the mid-morning sunshine dappling through the curtains... what could be sweeter?

A leisurely trip to Covent Garden followed, and a Full English breakfast (no black pudding, but extra sausage, make the eggs fried ourkid and the bacon crispy. Oh - and do us a favour and bring us some more coffee and orange juice, eh?) before The One repaired to the office and I texted P to see if he fancied a game of pool and perhaps a pint or two of the Black Stuff. It was a bank holiday, after all.

Entered the pub at 3-30pm. The final score at pool was 14-13 to him. Left the pub at approx 11pm. At some stage fried chicken was procured, though not sure I remember it. My Get Home Autopilot - that innate security system that always ensures you wake up in your own bed, no matter how mullered you are, or how incapable of speech, thought or even simple motor skills - obviously now includes the purchase of fast food. I remember sorting out a vodka and orange for the long night ahead, and texting The One to tell her the pool score... and then it was this morning and the blizzard of pain behind my eyes. I also seem to have done my hamstring, though God knows how. Obviously my pool technique has become considerably more energetic.

It could be worse. At least P wasn't asleep on my sofa or anything. Time was when I would have woken to a front room full of people demanding coffee and bacon and whatnot. Perhaps I should take this as a sign of maturity.

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Friday, April 09, 2004

Oh dear, I'm verrrry drunk... in that particular way only a boy on a bank holiday Friday can be (why do they call it "good" Friday? What exactly was so good about it? I'm no huge theologist or anything, but surely crucifying God is a bad thing?). Anyway, can't be arsed telling you all the exciting things that have been happening to me... you probably wouldn't comment anyway, yer vultures, yer. Apart from T & A, but that's only cos they dig my accent.

ps - mad Christians - I was only joking about the good friday thing. please - leave it alone, eh?

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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I think I may be developing a dependancy on Lemsip: you know, the way Michael J or whoever it was became addicted to tranquilisers. I just can't get enough of that hot sweet lemony shit. The Persian Cat Flu (so coined after The One's cat's habit of sleeping on my head when I'm round there - I'm sure it's a jealousy thing, a territory thing... I'm just surprised it hasn't pissed on me yet as some feline sign of dominance, of "I was here first, back off asshole" mastery) still has me bad and I'm currently on five little sachets of Lemsip a day.

It's not the taste - it's the hit. (One last hit, for the long sore throat ahead.) But it's getting so the initial rush (whooooof!) of Paracetomol and Vitamin C just isn't what it used to be... I need more Lemsip, more often. I've been eyeing the sachets differently, dipping a finger in to taste the powder before boiling the kettle.

How long before I start chopping it into lines and nosing it up?

(Point of Interest: I knew someone at University who tried snorting coffee - not yer fine-ground cafetiere stuff either, but the instant kind, the coarse stuff. Goddamn rocks of coffee. I've never seen anything like it - his nose almost literally exploded, great gobbetts of blood and snot and what looked awfully like bone spewing out. His screams could be heard all the way to Casualty.)

Anyway, the real question is, for how long after I've recovered from the worst of this flu will I keep the habit up? How many times, clear of chest and sound of nose and throat, will I queue up at the Chemist to score? And just how embarassing would it be to stand up and admit: "I'm a Lemsip Junkie. Help me, for pity's sake, help me"?

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I've realised that this is beginning to get a bit listy and statisticy, in a rather typical boy's styleee. Sorry about that - I shall endeavour to return to my flowing free-prose style of yore...
Besides, you know how they say all boys are obsessed with statistics? That's nonsense. I'd say only - ooh, about seventy per cent are? Or at most three-quarters...

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Hmm. Given the as-beautiful-as-Tamara (probably) Allie's comment below, I may well compile an All Time Top 10 Worst Things To Say After Sex That Have Actually Been Said By Or To People I Know list.
I'll start you off with three said to, um, like, a friend of mine...

1. "Thankyou."
2. "That was much better than I thought it would be."
3. "That wasn't as good as I thought it would be."

All further suggestions welcome...

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I'm loving this - the bar at the top just had "related searches" to this as...

• massive attack lyrics • tequila • tricky • jose cuervo

rock 'n' roll!

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Bleurgh! The evil flu has me. My head is fuzzy, my throat is raw, my body feels battered.
Not helped, I suspect, by:
1. Spending much of Saturday afternoon standing in the rain and bitter cold at the races.
2. Spending much of Saturday night getting mullered.
3. Sleeping at The One's last night with a cat on my head (don't ask).

Many things I'm supposed to be writing too. One due in tomorrow, two more early next week. And yet, the sofa looks so warm, the TV so comforting...

Just told The One I can't come out for our anniversaire this evening too. She did that small voice thing that makes me feel like the crappest boyfriend ever. God, mi vida shambolica.

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Monday, April 05, 2004

So I'm not going to bang on too much about the weekend... but let me tell you about the Worst Nightclub In The World.

So we arrive at the Bristol Bier**ller at about 11-30 and are treated to fully 10 minutes (in the rain) of a "humorous" bouncer instructing us not to fight. Okay, mate, we got it. He then went on to explain that there were "some really tasty pieces inside" but that round these parts sexual harrassment was generally frowned upon. Fair enough, can we come inside now please? That'll be a £5 "good behaviour bond" on the door. If we behave ourselves, we get our money back. (Five quid is obviously a lot of money in these parts.)

Inside was what can only be described as a Carnival of Nastiness. A live band was playing We Will Rock You (followed by You'll Never Walk Alone and Robbie Williams' Angels) as every single punter in the place stood on the trestle tables and sang along, waving litre steins of lager. It was literally dumbfounding.

Reader, we sought refuge in tequila slammers and irony.

After a while the band stopped and the "disco" started. Determined to dance, come hell, high water or violence (screw the five quid), we duly had our gay dancing competition, stopping only (ironically) when YMCA came on and everyone else became as camp as we had been.

The tragedy is, there were people there who obviously go every week - and who consider it to be the best night out that Bristol has to offer. This is the town, remember, that spawned trip-hop.

Me: This is the town that spawned trip hop. How the hell did that happen?
Friend N: Exactly because of places like this. What are you going to do if you're Massive Attack, Tricky, or Portishead? You sure as hell ain't coming here; you're staying at home and making your own music...

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Too tired to think properly (that'll be the restorative bottle of wine I've drunk tonight to take the edge off the general feeling of impending death brought about by the excesses of the weekend), so just a few points before bed (as I know you're all quite literally aching to know how things went):
1. Nobody got beaten up.
2. Nobody (to the best of my knowledge) threw up.
3. Still lost on the horses.
4. Man United beat Arsenal.
5. Local inbred lapdancing girls were more amused than offended by "you love it you dirty cow" style bon mots.
6. So much so that two of them agreed to spank the stag onstage for money.
7. At least one minibar emptied in its entirety - down to the jar of jellybabies. But it wasn't my minibar so that's ok.
8. The "who can dance the gayest to an oompah band" competition in the Bristol Bierkeller was not as suicidal an idea as it seemed at the time... as evinced by point 1.
9. I didn't win that competition.
10. Despite all this, still had a good time.

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Friday, April 02, 2004

So prepare yourselves for a few nights of incommunicado... for Friday afternoon I'm off on a stag weekend. Sunny Bristol beckons! City of cheap lapdancing and cheaper German theme bars! Western metropolis of inbred yokels and smalltown attitudes! By Bristol Central Station I shall sit down and weep...

Here's the plan - make of it what you will.

Friday
2pm: Meet in the bar at Paddington Station, London. Cheerily drink beer and anticipate the manifold pleasures awaiting.
2-30pm: Despatch someone to buy champagne for the train. Ignore weak protestations about "having a quiet one tonight".
3pm: Board train to Hereford. Aquiesce to the upgrade someone will no doubt suggest and pay the extra £15 to annoy first class passengers.
3-05 - 5pm: Annoy first class passengers.
5pm - midnight: Check in to hotel, shower, go down nearest pub. Antagonise yokels. Narrowly avoid fight with local squaddies.

Saturday
10am: Meet for breakfast. Eat Full English (sausages, egg, beans, bacon etc). Throw up.
11am: Leave for Hereford racecourse
11-45am: Secure seat for Arsenal v Manchester United FA Cup Semi Final. Order beer. Nearly throw up again.
12 - 2pm: Watch footy. Drink. Get too drunk before point of stag do (ie racing) has even begun.
2pm - 6pm: Keep drinking. Lose footing at least once and get mud on nice trousers. Lose a lot of money on horses. Order extravagant amounts of champagne after single paltry win of the day, failing to realise that actually on balance at least £100 down.
7pm: Board minibus for Bristol. Throw up.
8pm: Eat dinner. Drink more.
9-30pm: Enter lapdancing bar. Enjoy first almost-fight of the night (second of the weekend including squaddies in Hereford). Pay local inbred girls to take their clothes off. Secretly murmur to self that they love it, the dirty cows.
9-45pm: Tell semi-naked local inbred girl that she loves it and she's a dirty cow. Third almost-fight of the weekend.
10-30pm: Leave lapdancing club and head for Bierkeller. Throw up.
10-45pm: Fourth almost-fight of the weekend at door of Bierkeller. Assure bouncers that "only messing".
10-50pm: Order foamy German lager-bier. Drink in comedy manner. Dance to oompah band and inadvertantly knock over someone whilst attempting to slap thigh in traditional Bavarian style.
11pm: Get beaten to a pulp by nasty inbred Bristolians. Throw up.
1-30am: Wake up in hotel room. Have no idea how, when or why you got here. Notice that at least one of arms/legs isn't working properly and that someone has written LONDON TWAT on forehead in indelible ink.

Sunday
10am: Meet for breakfast. Eat Full English (sausages, egg, beans, bacon etc). Throw up.
11-30am: Board train for London. Nod weakly when someone suggests "one last bottle of champagne". Throw up.
2pm: Arrive in London Paddington. Agree it has been a fantastic weekend.
3pm: Get home. Throw up.

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