Saturday, 5 November 2011

Too late to teach an old dog new tweecks…..

I maybe old enough to remember when a Sony cassette Walkman (or in my case a £15 knock off version from Charlotte Street market) was the must have gadget (ah the happy time spent rewinding the tape by hand using a pen to save on the battery to listen to Whitesnake’s ‘Still of the night’ one more time….”oh baby, neeeeed you closer…”) and was the height of technological advancement, but I have not let the technological grass grow under my feet. As many of my flesh and blood friends will tell you, I’m kinda in love with my iPhone (if only that earphone socket were bigger) and it is rarely out of my sight, or out of my hand, and I am a big user of Facebook, taking the micky out of my virtual friends, or indeed those that are actually sat next to me in the pub.

However, for a long, long time I have resisted the lure of Twitter, until now…..

I finally gave in after Facebook changed it’s format for what seemed the tenth time in a month, and the grumpy 40 year old man in me (that’s me by the way, there isn’t an actual 40 year old man in me, not that I’m judging) screamed, enough, and I decided to give Twitter a go.

At first I didn’t get it, lot’s of people commenting on their own lives, rather than actually living them, and I also didn’t understand how it worked. However, thanks to a friend, I shall call her Twoda “tweet you must” I got to grips with the software, and slowly began ‘following’ people, and being ‘followed’ myself (legalised stalking really, which isn’t as much fun as the illegal kind).

People that know me, will tell you I am a very cynical, and often grumpy, piss taking bastard, and I can easily take the piss out of myself for using this narcissistic medium, and see the foolishness of using Twitter, but I have to confess, I’m enjoying it (which speaks volumes). There’s a lot of would be writers that use Twitter, with great tips on writing, and I get up to the minute news updates, sport gossip, and most cool of all Mr Barlow sends me pictures of himself before he goes on stage for X-Factor…..really he does. Also as a non-medic working in public health (reckon I would have made a great doctor, maybe with gynaecology as my specialty, you know, something I’d really enjoy getting into) there are a lot of public health doctors out there that I admire, discussing (albeit in summarised form) really important issues that concern my work.

But if I’m honest, Twitter is also another way of me having fun and making an arse of myself, especially on the train home, after an ale or two. Twelve years ago, there was only the drunken text to get me into trouble “I really do love you, leave your husband” or “I’m so horny for you now my nipples hurt” (you know who you are) but now I have Facebook and Twitter to add to the list of ways I can make myself sound like a complete numpty, ain’t technology great?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Cast of Deep Throat

The flying black sausage is back! The blog came to a bit of a natural halt when I hit the big 4-0 but, if I’m truly honest being a lazy git has an awful lot to do with it! My first few months of being 40 seem to have slipped by unnoticed, and I seem to have hit the pause button on my ambitions and interests. In fact the only hobby that seems to be unaffected by my turning 40, is my appreciation of a good pint, or two. Even my cycling has suffered, and the lack of cycling combined with the occasion ale on the way home from work, means I’m presently more of a lumbering family size pack of hot dogs, than a flying sausage. But I intend in getting back in the saddle, literally, next week, by cycling to work again, and have even (hangover permitting) promised my better half that I will go with her to a spin class next Saturday morning. So I’ll be a static family size pack of hot dogs, drenched in my own beer laden sweat, red faced, and sounding like punctured bagpipes, ah, I paint a pretty picture, easy ladies, there’s more than enough to go round….   

I have managed to do some of the turning 40 targets, I made it to Glastonbury, which was fantastic, and I will tell you more about that at later date. I have a season ticket for the Harlequins rugby (although if I’m honest that has more to do with the beer and social aspects than the sport itself), and I am seeing a lot more of my family, celebrating my mother’s 60th which saw all the family get together. My mum is an identical twin and it was as freaking as it was heart warming to see them both cutting their birthday cake together.

But for the most part, I have been quietly (or not so quietly my girlfriend would say) considering my life, and the changes to it now I have reached 40.

I’ve had to buy a ear and nose hair trimmer, you know the phrase, you have spiders legs hanging out of your nostril, well I appear to have a 1970’s porn stars muff hair hanging from mine. I have been told that what is even more amusing than me having to buy a trimmer, is how long it took me to pick the one I wanted, standing in Boots, Remington in one hand Phillips in the other (back to 70’s porn there) deciding which had the best attachments, this also involved a price comparison between Boots and Argos, with the Phillips winning, by a nose (ho, ho!). When paying at the check out, I considered saying “Not for me of course, gift for my granddad” by seeing as I had the cast of Deep Throat hanging out my nose, and sticking out my ears, I realized this would be folly.

I recently went to a 90th birthday party, which was wonderful, and life affirming, although there was a guy standing at the bar, in black robes, who got very excited every time one of the elderly guests coughed….. I got chatting to one 94 year old lady, who could have given Father Christmas a run for his money in the beard stakes, who was hilarious, sharp as a tack, and made me think that maybe getting older isn’t so bad after all….although I wouldn’t put money on me reaching my 90’s!  

Monday, 14 March 2011

Time and Tide

Time and tide wait for no man, but when that man is sipping Prosecco for breakfast, he’s happy to let time jog on ahead, and has never had a problem with getting his feet wet.
Yes the day has finally arrived, today is my birthday, and I am forty.
But I have decided to embrace this day, embrace it like an elderly great aunt, with a hairy top lip who is trying to give you a slobbery kiss, firmly with both hands, as it can’t be avoided, has to be done, and secretly you are actually quite fond of her, as she was a bit of looker when she was younger.
So as of today the faultysomething project officially begins, and I write now before the fizzy wine kicks in, as writing this blog whilst tipsy, would be like giving a five year old a loaded gun, only with slightly more humorous results. I intend on enjoying today, and heartfelt thanks to those who have wished me well today – methinks the words tomorrow and well, will not be used in the same sentence!
The streets of London will be ‘sausage’ free, as there will be no cycling today, instead I’m being taken for a meal at a Jamie Oliver restaurant for lunch (maybe he’ll offer me a job in his new school, teaching the kids how to get served underage in Threasher’s), then off to the theatre , so no danger I can get myself into any trouble.......ah, who am I kidding, I could get into trouble locked in a nunnery with a box of wine gums!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Too Cool for Kew?

Is enjoying Kew Gardens a sign of accepting the fact that I’m getting old? Shouldn’t I be flicking through tattoo magazines, torn between the flaming skull and the Celtic symbols to cover my right shoulder? Or thinking about which Harley to buy, as I do yet another line of coke of the flat stomach of beautiful and expensive hooker, to sate my mini mid-life, instead I find myself saying “Hmmm, I didn’t realise rose bushes could grow this big....” and take yet another picture of a plant. Years ago all I would have been thinking, when looking at a plant was whether I could smoke it or not, mind you, I have always been fond of bushes.......
But I do Kew a disservice, I wasn’t dragged there kicking and screaming this weekend, and I genuinely enjoyed it. It’s a beautiful, calm place, and I had a youthful chuckle whilst taking a photo of cacti that looked like a bunch of green penises, but I’m easily pleased, by silly photos, not green penises.
It was afterwards sat in a lovely chilled out pub in Richmond, having an ale, that it struck me that there was a time when a day out in Kew would had been the last thing I would have wanted to do on a Saturday, unless I was trying to come across all mature and cultured in order to get a pretty girl naked. Have I given up the ghost, slipped into the dark night of middle age without a fight?
I have also noticed certain signs that I’m getting older. I need to put on my glasses to read the scales, I tried squatting down to look, but it just makes the wheel spin round so it appears I’m even heavier, and me squatting naked on scales, hairy belly sticking out, squinting at the reading, swearing and saying “that can’t be right!” isn’t a good’re imagining it now aren’t you.
And my eyebrows! They seem to have a life of their own, I wake up with tousled eyebrows, crazy eyebrows, eyebrows you can run your fingers through, that have to be cut and beaten down, to stop me looking like David Hemmings from Last Orders!
At a recent doctor’s appointment I mentioned that the circle of lies that is my BMI calculator, showed I was overweight, he helpfully said muscle is heavier than fat which could give a false reading, but when I mentioned I hadn’t really exercised for six weeks, he said that the chances of a false reading were slim, unlike me.
All these self pitiful thoughts and observations could of course be because of the fact that am I only days away from hitting the big 4-0.
On a positive note, I am still cycling to work, and my times are improving, and as I stride manfully and sweating, in my cycling gear, through the office, I like to think the girls in the office are thinking, “Hey, he’s in good shape for his age” or “When did George Clooney start working in our building” and not “Blimey our bike courier service has really gone down hill......”

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I don't look good in leggings.....

There’s no easy or gentle way to say it, I do not look good in leggings, in fact when discussing how I look in my black lycra winter cycling gear, the term big black sausage was used, but used to describe my entire body shape, and not anything flattering about how my black cycling shorts fit me. Yet, despite my appearance, and the fact that it was pouring with rain, this Saturday morning, I set off for a full 5 mile circuit of my local park.
Part of this eagerness (or craziness) was that I awoke Saturday morning completely hangover free. Friday had been the end of a long, hard week at work, I was knackered, my poor girlfriend was at home with a bad cold, so I decided, for a change, I would head straight home, instead of the usual ‘quick five’ with mates, which normally ends in sambuca and a dirty kebab on the way home.
Well I say straight home, once I got to the train station I did find myself with 20 minutes to kill so I did venture into the Wetherspoons at Victoria, for a quick ale, it was Friday after all. Ah, the Wetherspoons at Victoria, not so much a pub, more a huge drinking trough for the great unwashed, where a man in suit is as rare as an ethnic face in a Abercrombie and Fitch magazine ad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no pub snob, and have had many a welcome pint at this Wetherspoons, whilst waiting for the arrival of many a delayed train (or in some cases phantom delayed trains, but don’t tell the girlfriend) , they keep a good pint of IPA, and at under £3 a pint, it’s also most rude not to, but it’s not really somewhere I’d arrange to meet friends, well except the ones who like the smell of piss, you know who you are.
One pint does not a hangover make (don’t worry though I went shopping for one Saturday afternoon watching rugby, which was duly delivered Sunday morning) and my short and wet bike ride put me in mood to cycle into work this week, and begin my quest for fitness, and say goodbye to the Clarkson belt buckle overhang. 
I failed to do so Monday, these things can’t be rushed, but today, Tuesday, I managed it, a full 20 mile round trip, from leafy Surrey to mean streets of London. Up until Christmas I was cycling to work 3 or 4 days out of 5, and although I clearly haven’t lost my ability to swear loudly at my fellow road users, I found it hard going, but thoroughly enjoyable. I covered my modesty with a pair of baggy combat shorts, with the lyrca leggings underneath, which while comfortable and warm, did make me look like a bike courier that should have hung up his bicycle clips years ago. If you can imagine the old bike courier that no ones wants to use, he wears Iron Maiden t-shirts but not in a ironic way, tries to talk to the younger courier’s about fix wheel bikes, but the don’t like talking to him, so depressed, he leaves and forms his own bike courier company called, ‘Slow but Steady’, well that’s what I look like.  
I’m no Lance Armstrong, and the only way I’ll be sporty yellow on my bike is when my liver finally gives up the ghost, but I made the trips in a decent time, which I hope to improve on, and don’t seem to be aching too much this evening. I’ll cycle to work again tomorrow, and combine the evening journey with a trip to the gym....mind you, I did spot a bike rack near Wetherspoons......

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Life begins at faulty

I wake. My pants are still on, meaning I probably wasn’t a sexual athlete last night – but I’ve taken the trouble of removing my socks, which suggests I may have tried to be one. As is usual for a Saturday morning, I wake with a slight hangover (weekend drinking will be a common theme in my posts, as sadly, so will hangovers), but it’s not a mind-numbingly bad one, and I’m confident a shower and strong coffee will shake it off. My long suffering, lycra covered girlfriend is bounding about our bedroom, preparing for her aerobics class, supplying me with further evidence that I clearly wasn’t a wild stallion last night, leaving her bereft of energy or  the ability to walk. 
I squint at my image in the large mirror at the foot of our bed, and to follow Roy Walker’s instructions, I would say I see a man who could certainly lose a few pounds (say 14), with greying hair, and way too much body hair, a kind of hairy not so attractive George Clooney who has really let himself go, or to put it in a Catchphrase  for Roy ‘Monkey Clooney-Wannabe’.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely out of shape, but have done virtually no exercise since before Christmas, whilst continuing to eat and drink like I have been. The cruel, taunting, hurtful cardboard disk that is my BMI calculator, tells me I’m in the overweight zone, and need to lose around a stone to get me back into the healthy weight category.  But if I’m honest (which I intend to be in this Blog) my concern is one of vanity rather than not being a healthy weight, as I approach the big 4-0, I’d like to try and make myself look better (yes, younger) and only having one chin might go some way towards achieving that. Of course, a nice side effect of losing weight, is that it will make me healthier, so everyone wins (my major organs do a little Mexican wave).
Which kinda brings me to the purpose of this Blog. I will be forty in less than a month, which has put me in a very reflective frame of mind, on what I have and haven’t achieved. My intention is to log how I will improve myself during my first year as a fortysomething, or in my case, a faultysomething (see what I did there). I am out of shape, have unfulfilled ambitions, am a cynical commitment phobe (I am unmarried without children or property of my own), drink more than is probably good for me, suffer from time-to-time with depression,  and am not always the greatest son/brother/boyfriend/friend to those I care about. I sometimes feel I am living my life as if I were still 25, which that mirror at the foot of my bed is clearly telling me, I am not.
I realise I’m sounding a little glass half empty here, I have many positive things, and achievements in my life, and am generally a happy person. I managed to graduate from university, move to London and get a job that I love and am proud of, and I am very lucky to have a wonderful supporting, understanding girlfriend, who manages to put up with living with my moods and grumpy old man/emotional teenager style of living, and who I’d be quite lost without.  I am blessed with good friends, who always put a smile on my face, and a loving family.
But improvements can be made, so I plan to get back into the exercise habit (even managed the gym after work and before the pub last night, which I am paying for now!) and have enrolled myself onto a creative writing course.
So dear readers (not that I have any yet) I pledge to keep you up to date on my progress, promise to be honest, share my thoughts, and maybe give you something to smile about (probably at my own expense)as I document the first year of, as I keep getting told, when my life begins, whilst trying not to sound like I’m having a mid-life crisis (although I am thinking about getting a tattoo).