'funny, and not a little bit strange' - the guardian; 'an offbeat treat' - web user
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
"To become, by this date next year, a millionaire." I have achieved this hands-down. Just not in sterling, that's all. I'll get back to you later with this year's efforts.
Monday, December 30, 2002
Audiville classified ads
Baby’s balti cookset. Used once. Also terribly ill baby. Free to good home. £13 or more to bad one.
Cat belonging to Mrs McTextiles of 3a Sedative Crescent, Nunchurch, Audiville. Available for sale to Mrs McTextiles, £300 ono, meet behind church, bring used notes.
Audiville TV/video removal, no call-out charge, low cost, guaranteed theft, swift exit. Established 24 hrs. 7 days, hours of darkness.
Man with abacus for hire. Addition, subtraction, distance no object, 24-hr callout, business/pleasure. Also alphabets, English, Chinese, etc. Please call. Also van.
Coriander removal. For all your troublesome coriander needs. Other small herbs considered.
Dog parasols and canopies. Hundreds available. Also interesting business franchise, urgent and immediate sale required.
Sunday, December 29, 2002
Let’s just pop into Starbucks while we wait for the film to start
Some say that the worst financial decision a person can make is to invest in Marconi shares. Others say it’s to put your cash into krugerrands. They’re all wrong. The worst financial decision a man can make is to walk into a Starbucks coffee bar. But you do. And you believe in the product, because everything is coffee. Even the seat covers are beige. You believe in The Coffee. You are at one with The Coffee. You become The Coffee. And you believe, you truly believe, that it is worth parting with a full month’s salary for a thimbleful of fortified napalm.
Saturday, December 28, 2002
New series: lower-league football match reports
The iron gates of hell
Some say that Antartica is the coldest place on Earth; others believe it’s the physics laboratory at Leiden. I, however, know for a fact that it is Irongate, home of Bamber Bridge Football Club, on a Saturday afternoon late in December. During the course of the 2-0 defeat by Alfreton, seven men perished from severe cardiovascular problems, while the lucky ones were simply turned into plasma or liquid nitrogen. Mind you, the fact that half the crowd of 300 was composed of polar bears and research scientists from Vostok should have told us to stay the hell away.
On an unrelated note: when women leave the toilet seat down, why do they never get any flak from men?
Thursday, December 26, 2002
In loving memory
Of three lovely children, possibly more, who passed away peacefully and quickly, with a Goodmans karaoke machine through the head. No flowers, please, but donations to the Society for the Preservation of Silence, Cape Wrath, Scotland.
Audi man says Goodbye to past
Early archives (April to mid-August 2002) have gone. Blogger being Blogger, this will take around three weeks to become effective. For new readers, there is nothing that you can gain from the archives that isn't contained here (in 40,000 fewer words):
1 I'm 39, and live in a hilly part of Lancashire, England.
2 I'm married to Sarah. We have three kids. Sam, Hannah and Tibbie.
3 I work as an editor, and am formerly a copywriter and journalist.
3 I dislike savoury snacks.
3 I play far too much tennis, and am a coach.
5 I am organising a revolution to overthrow the PC-obsessed, refugee-obsessed government.
11 I have never been able to number lists accurately enough to make a living out of it.
Tuesday, December 24, 2002
Think of Yorkshire this Christmas
In Africa, people are enduring the worst famine in two decades. In parts of Doncaster, scurvy breaks out every time they drop their trousers. In Batley, there is a desperate need for adult literacy. And, in Huddersfield, a giant, 90-ft winged centipede with fangs the size of ancient oaks is terrorising the pygmy population. Well, maybe.
Against this background, new changing rooms for Tarleton Rugby Union Club seemed a pretty poor charity to donate to on Christmas Eve. But thanks for packing my bags, anyway, small scrum half.
"Nigel, what the hell are you doing?"
"I'm regripping my tennis rackets."
"It's Christmas Eve, we've got 24 people coming for lunch tomorrow, I've got a house to clean, kids to organise...and you're regripping your rackets."
"Well, someone has to do it, and you've never shown the slightest interest in looking after my tennis gear. And here we are on Christmas Eve, my rackets need sorting out, and what are you doing? Messing about with turkey!"
"Oh, for God's sake. Help me out. Do something with the giblets."
"The Giblets? They're not coming too, are they? That's 26!"
Incidentally, I've read that no serial killer has ever struck on Christmas Day. Is this an act of goodwill?
Monday, December 23, 2002
The electric plane incident
Colin (see Comments below) thinks the world needs to know about this incident. When you're on your front drive, using an electric plane on a wooden door, it's rarely a good idea to wear tracksuit trousers with long tie-up cords. What tends to happen is that the cords find their way into the rotating drum inside the body of the plane. This, in turn, tends to remove the front of your trousers in a very spectacular way and, only by hitting the 'Off' button very, very smartly, can you stop the whole shebang from whipping out your genitals, spleen, liver and kidneys. What also tends to happen is widespread mirth and confusion among the watching neighbours.
"Mummy, Mummy, why's that man got no front on his trousers?"
"That's the man who advised me to buy Marconi shares at £12.50. Keep away, darling, he's clearly an idiot."
Sunday, December 22, 2002
A word to the wise
Don't buy cars with blacked-out windscreens and twin exhausts. I've noticed they are far more prone to crashing than other vehicles.
Oh, and unless I receive any serious objections by e-mail by this time tomorrow evening, I intend to delete the archives from April to the end of July. Explanation to follow tomorrow.
Saturday, December 21, 2002
New series: learn from the master
Yes, especially for Christmas, we're introducing a new series, Learn from the master. That's me.
Over the next week, we'll teach you how to:
Put £125 on a horse after an odds-fixing enterprise and then watch it die at the third fence.
Live in London as the Northern property market soars; live up North while the London property market rockets.
Advise your father to 'get in quick' while Marconi's shares are a bargain £10.
Buy a new car and then have some goon take the back end off it as you drive it home from the garage.
Bump into your boss 254 miles from work while you're on a sickie and dressed in your interview suit.
Remove the front of your trousers with an electric plane in full view of the neighbours.
Things it's best not to do
When IT declare an amnesty on Internet use on the last working day before Christmas, spend eight hours on www.jobs.co.uk.
Finally, I am no longer fully behind the professional maxim that if you want a carpet fitting, get a carpet fitter to do it, and if you want some plumbing doing, get a plumber in. I think it was that bloody burglar alarm that did it.
Friday, December 20, 2002
As a rule, I think that, if you’re going to introduce your weblog (link withheld for legal reasons) with a quote from Jean-Paul Sartre, it’s probably best not to follow it up with (punctuation withheld):
yay me! i have another job assignment starting Monday. stuffing envelopes of all things. who cares? at least it's a paycheck
silver hair and acne just don't go together. i'm a freak of nature, i tell you.
and i done told you..i don't know nothing about no naked sims, especially kids you sick, perverted f#@ks.
Thursday, December 19, 2002
Audi man in cunning fish-care partypooper scam
Tonight is the work Christmas bash, which takes a Stars in their eyes theme. There’ll be karaoke and live performances by staff dressed as Elvis, the Weather Girls, Kylie and so on. What a shame, then, that I've found some fish with runny noses, all of whom need round-the-clock surveillance.
“Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be… somewhere else.”
Oh, and it seems Sarah’s not pregnant. As we already have too many mouths to feed (especially with the fish), if a baby had materialised, we were going to keep it, but not feed it.
Olympics links record
Thanks to Stuart Kitchentable, the Olympics is now linked in at least four places around the web. We believe this to be a post-war record for a website called The Audi Olympics operating from the bedroom of an underpaid editor with only one nipple in central Lancashire.
(Nobody say: Which part of Lancashire's your other nipple in, then? This would require a comma after the word 'editor'. I may be thick, but I'm not stupid.)
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
I've discovered that, if you stick some bits of wire into cocktail sausages, you can get £250 apiece by passing them off as miniature, pedigree, wire-haired German Schnauser puppies. To idiots.
"How do you cope with your long trip to work?"
"I have to pretend I'm going on holiday. I put loads of sticky travel sweets in the car and play a tape of my children saying 'Are we there yet, Daddy?"
Speaking of children... two little angels have died on my route to work. Their mother survived. A dollar to a dime the kids weren't strapped in. If you don't put your kids' belts on, you should be done for attempted murder. I feel pretty strongly about this one.
If you're Jewish and you're contemptuous of Peter Schmeichel's goalkeeping skills, what do you call him?
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Terror from another dimension
It’s late. You’re headed back to Audiville across the lonely moorland road that takes in Dibley Pewtock and Bugger's Drift. Stunning by day, chilling by night. You’ve made the trip many times, worried about how you’d feel if the car broke down. But you dismiss it as unlikely. And then it happens. The Galaxy’s spluttering and the engine dies. You’re in the middle of the road. You’re in the middle of f#@king nowhere. It’s dark as hell. It’s a deep, sinister, silent blackness. Then you see her. She walks from the forest, towards the car, with silent sobs, and you’re fumbling with the lock. She has an open wound across her forehead. Why is she dressed in Victorian clothes? This is terror from another dimension.
Bloody lucky, then, that none of that happened.
Monday, December 16, 2002
Some advice for the neighbours immediately opposite
When you have spectacular chaser lights constantly zipping around your property, a flashing, pot-bellied, skating penguin on the front of your house, a stroboscopic angel of death in your bedroom window and an 85-foot solartechnic snowman continuously singing Santa Claus is coming to town in your front garden, switching off the electricity when you go to bed at night could be seen as the sociable thing to do. Particularly as the ludicrous number of lights around the estate is beginning to confuse the pilots coming in to Ringway.
“Daddy, Daddy, why’s there a Jumbo Jet in the back garden? Is it Father Christmas?”
Two hours remains a long time to spend driving to work.
“How’s things going, Nigel? Any problems?”
“Only with the building.”
“Oh, yes. What’s the problem with the building?”
“It’s 50 bloody miles away from my house.”
Saturday, December 14, 2002
I once had a terrible medical condition. For years, I was clinically unable to end office conversations. As anyone knows, the key is to throw in a jocular nugget, like Happy days, eh? or C’est la vie, to wrap things up. The problems arise when you’ve shot your Happy days bolt and your colleague carries on rambling. Lacking certain social skills and, in a blind panic, I have been known to throw a punch or spontaneously take up breakdancing in these circumstances.
Fortunately, Lotto has cured all this. No one will ever win it, but it does provide a whole smorgasbord of chat-terminating possibilities, along the lines of:
Ah, but none of that will matter when those six little numbers come up tonight.
As an alternative, simply not talking to my colleagues gets around the problem nicely.
Friday, December 13, 2002
Nipple begins to regrow
Phee Farrer Jones
Dear Mr Phee
I think you should sack Mr Jones and replace him with Mr Fofum for the duration of the festive season. I think this would be funny.
PS do you have any savage, easily provoked, practically unemployable Forces personnel on your books?
Oh, and the irrelevant headline is an editorial experiment that flies in the face of 300 years of good publishing practice.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Making plans with Nigel
Your Prized McDeity
Thank you for making my contract permanent. As you know, I have ambitious plans, not just for myself, but for the corporation.
Whilst the company has, to date, focused on the pharmaceutical industry, gaining an enviable reputation in medical communications, I believe there are opportunities for diversification. A company of around 400 personnel could make a reasonable fighting unit and, with the right training, could develop munitions in the spare warehouse.
I believe there are people in the design studio and the post room with army experience. These are men who have not taken a human life in over 40 years. Believe me, they are itching to draw blood.
Several of our staff – members of the Territorial Army – meet every Friday at 12 in the Woodcutter’s Lunchbox. They have vast experience of parachute drops, armed combat, assassination, karaoke (black belt; 3rd dan) and making emergency glue from body fluids.
Donald, there are forces at work in this country that must be countered. We are the ones to do it. We must unite or die.
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Revolution backed by the Board
You will be pleased to learn that you have completed your six-month probationary period and have been accepted on a permanent contract.
This acceptance does, however, carry certain conditions. You should disband the reactionary land army that you have formed and return our canteen to us in its former state, with all political prisoners released immediately. You must observe the company dress code more closely - 'smart casual' does not encompass combat gear, and the beret worn at a jaunty, revolutionary angle is out of the question. You must return the Financial Director, Mr Bernard Squattles, to us – unscathed, and with his trousers still on – forthwith. Please also return the cash advance you claimed was for an unexpectedly expensive hotel stay in Maidenhead, but which our evidence suggests was used for other purposes. It’s damn hard to hide a 35-ton Sherman tank.
I hope you appreciate that your appointment was a controversial one, involving a split decision across the board of directors. Half of them were merely violently opposed to your appointment, while half wanted you incarcerated in a maximum-security prison. Mine was the casting vote. I look forward to working with you on overthrowing this lefty govern… sorry, on driving the company forward to new heights.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
More things I struggle to grasp
When you’re 16 and you get married, what you toast the occasion with. Sunny D?
How aeroplanes stay up.
Why, when you’re on a serious fitness regime, of which running forms a major part (a la Rocky), you have to get up at 5am to do it.
Why celebrities who drink too much are always described as ‘hellraisers’.
Why I’ve always worked with someone who finishes off your sentences for you. Mind you, I’ve always found this a useful warning of impending insanity. I’m there, talking, maybe, footy:
Me: Anyway, I always think we play best with five across the middle, with the wide boys tracking back. I remember, in the Cup semi-final…
Jim: …prophylactic aubergine.
Me: What the hell was I about to say?
Monday, December 09, 2002
Loud young men in loud shirts who believe they are the still point of the turning world.
Attractive, stupid young women who agree.
'Things you did when you were drunk' stories on a Monday morning. Oh, did you drop your trousers? Ha ha. Gosh, that always makes me laugh. Don't tell me - you pulled your cheeks apart, too? Well, you comic genius. Move aside, Woody Allen.
Having professional skills that nobody understands or appreciates.
Oh, and taking my car for its annual portrait by Mr Gatso yesterday. Thirty-five in a 30 limit. Dual carriageway. Crash barriers on the pavement. No prospect of harm to any living creature. I'm going to make those bastards jump through some mighty big hoops before they get a single penny out of me. Let's see. Hmm. Well, I'll need photographic evidence. I'll probably forget who was driving at the time. I'll obviously need to go to the High Court. When I get there, I will be an Afghan asylum seeker with no language skills, appalling body odour and an annoying lisp.
Sunday, December 08, 2002
Scenes from a ball
Colleague: Hello, Nigel. Why aren’t you dancing?
Me: It’s my wife - she can't dance. She has a terrible medical problem.
Colleague: Oh dear. What’s that?
Me: She's had a pioneering operation on her feet. It's her last chance.
Colleague: Oh God. I’m sorry to hear that. What was the operation?
Me: Collagen implants. It's early days, but we think it's all gone horribly wrong.
Wife: Nigel, what did you say to that man?
Me: I said what a brilliant dancer you are, but how you won’t go near the dancefloor with me.
Wife: Oh my God! Nigel, why have you got blood all over the left side of your white shirt?
Things to note when running the catering at an enormously posh do organised by an enormously wealthy and influential company
Always try to employ staff who don’t work in pairs to distract you while they whip everything that isn’t nailed down from the table. Have you finished with your handbag, yet, madam?
Things to note when attending an enormously posh do organised by your employer
When the invitation says black ties or lounge suits, always invest in a dinner jacket and black tie for the occasion, as being the sole wearer of a lounge suit at an enormously posh occasion can be embarrassing, or construed as stingy by some.
Also, don’t mix the two. A black tie teamed with a lounge suit can appear distasteful, or just plain stupid.
Saturday, December 07, 2002
It’s the big company Xmas bash/20-years-in-business celebration tonight at this pile. The office girls have been excited all week.
OG 1: And she couldn't get a thing to fit her. I mean, she's so tall and slim.
OG 2: Don't you just hate 'em?
OG 1: Well, anyway, I went to Arabella.
OG 3: Ooooh.
OG 1: Yes, I know, but they had the 50% racks out. I mean, I know I had something from Marks, but you know, it just wasn’t dressy, and what with the do on Saturday. You know, I think it was the long sleeves. Anyway, I found some black trousers – smart, like – and a sort of silky blouse, not fitted, you know, sort of loose – and short-sleeved.
Me: (sotto voce) Shut up.
OG 3: So, anyway, my sister was round last night. The swelling's gone down now, and she’s just started to get out more. And she brought this glitzy top… Do you think a feather boa would look right?
Me: (quietish) No, you'd look like a frickin' emu. Now, shut up...
OG 1: So, anyway, what are you wearing on Saturday?
OG 3: Well, I’ve been in Next and I’ve been round the outlet place and, you know, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? Why can’t they have the January sales in December? Anyway, I can’t find anything for love nor money, so like I say, I’ve borrowed my sister’s black spangly thing. I mean, she’s a 16 and I’m a 12, but the comfort fit’s back in, isn’t it? Anyway, enough of that, did you watch that natural health thing?
OG 2: Ooh, yes. I didn't know there was so much variation. I thought they were all the same. But did you see that fat bloke?
OG 1: All bent and small, like a deformed gerbil?
Me: (very loud) If you don’t shut up, I'm going to have to burn you.
Things it's best not to do before a major, formal black-tie dinner hosted by your employer
Shave your left nipple off.
Thursday, December 05, 2002
Audi man applauds government spending
This may appear churlish. Far be it from me to question the government's spending decisions, when they have just provided £2,000 to a struggling artist to paint words on the fleeces of 15 sheep in the hope that they will move around and create random poetry. However, well-intentioned though that was, had the money been spent on, say, just as an example, gritting the roads around Macclesfield, then I might not have hit a patch of black ice today, gone into a lethal four-wheel spin, careered violently into a grass bank, and almost turned my car on its roof. I'm only surmising, of course. That may still have happened. But it's unlikely. But, then, the sheep would have missed out big-style. So, no, I'm not bitter. In fact, long may these laudable spending patterns continue.
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
Yet more things it’s best not to do
When pulling up outside the supermarket in your Macclesfield Borough Council van clearly marked with the legend ‘Community Support Unit (Mental Health Services)’, jump out of your vehicle and shout across the packed car park, “Hi, Bill! How you diddlin'? Have things picked up yet?”
Editing note: ‘healthy forearm skin’ really can’t be shortened to what I shortened it to. There’s editing and there’s just mucking around.
Irritating speech patterns: people really have got to stop saying things like ‘the words pot and kettle spring to mind’. The words bloody, overused and cliché spring to my mind.
Equally irritating is the word ‘fine’ when delivered as follows by an overconfident office girl: “Well, the scan on the vulvic membranes was clear, which means they don’t know what the problem is. But the baby’s fiiiiiiiine.”
Tuesday, December 03, 2002
Forward propulsion and musical youth
At the Young voices show at the MEN Arena last night, young Declan Galbraith belted out Robbie’s Angels with the lights down and 8,000 flashlights fizzing like fireflies in the massive auditorium. Ten years old, and floodlit in front of 15,000 screamers, he will never know fear. Nor ever want for bubblegum again.
Despite this obviously great thing, and despite the bizarre Magnet, who couldn’t afford musical instruments but had a go anyway, and despite the fact that Hannah was part of a stunning 8,000-strong choir and despite...despite all these good things, I simply had to have a doner kebab. Leaping from my seat, I fled the arena, only applying the brakes when I reached Zorba’s on Deansgate.
“Nigel, where the hell have you been? And why are your lips so red and swollen?”
Trudging to the Arena last night in the lashing rain, I invented the Duobrella. I discovered that forward propulsion is considerably easier and improbably fast when using two umbrellas as ski sticks, although your head gets wet. I intend to market this idea at ExpoWalk in Geneva.
Monday, December 02, 2002
Things to note
When you’ve decorated your little girl’s bedroom on Sunday, before you make an appearance in the office the next day, it’s best to get the pink paint off your nails.
A four-mile run, six hours’ painting and two hours’ tennis in one day may be considered a little excessive by some.
Two hours is a long time to spend merely driving to work.
Threatening strike action unless the company pledges £200m ‘to fight the asylum menace’ may be a poor way to begin the week in which your six-month probationary period is up.
Sunday, December 01, 2002
Don't call me a jogger
Finally free of the things that have held me back (illness, injury, beer, pizza, the settee, lethargy), I've been pounding the roads again this weekend. Some observations about running:
When you're an old lady pootling round in your little car, and you come across a runner attempting to maintain a rhythm, don't stop, wind down your window and attempt to ask directions, as the retort "Piss off, you old trout," is likely to offend.
When you're a jogger in your shiny new tracksuit and all-purpose trainers, and you pass me, don't wave a cheery "Morning!" as if you are some kind of kindred spirit. Mind you, the speed I was moving today...
You know you are unfit when you're trying to shake your laces loose, just so you have an excuse to stop.
Truth is, I will never emulate my Uncle John (see TAO, 24/7/02) - a man who used to come off a 13-miler over the rain-sodden moors on a Sunday morning caked in mud and half-blind with the effort. Strangely, I always wished I had the enthusiasm, guts and energy to be like that. But I haven't. Few people have.