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» Fancy Dress

Vikings, tadgers and real nurses
Back in my days as a student at Plymouth uni dressing up was a regular event. So much so that most people would own several different outfits and many lads actually had a goodly collection of make-up and whores perfume (pound shops can supply all these cosmetic items, at just a pound each!). I think it was either my 19th or 20th birthday and we had settled on a theme of Vikings. Many lectures were missed scouring local charity and toy shops for pointy helmets, plastic swords/axes and kilts. A lad I lived with called Skip was unable to find a kilt so had to settle for a second-hand Marks and Spencers plaid mini-skirt.

Come 1100 on the big day and myself and Skip set out for a pub (The James Street Vaults for those in the know) next to the uni campus. We lived about a 20min walk which must have taken as least 40min that day due to the regular stops for pillaging and sword fights.

As we arrived on campus a couple of bus loads of spotty high school kids had also just arrived for a look around this esteemed school of learning. Of course we waded right through the middle of them swords and axes flailing wildly. I’ve always wonder whether we encouraged more or less of those kids to apply for Plymouth, probably more I reckon.

Flip forward a few hours and things are getting decidedly more blurry. Several bloody wounds are in evidence thanks to one lad who had bought a plastic axe which provided weighty enough to de some serious damage. Many other Vikings have arrived and we had started a drinking competition which was something along the lines of drink 5 pints, 4 bottles of lager, 3 doubles, 2 alcopops and a Jack Daniels with anyone finishing sans-chunder winning a T-shirt.

Skip was feeling the effects of many guinesses’ before starting the race and was having trouble performing everyday tasks. A non-Viking came up to me and explained that Skip had fallen on the way to the toilets and was lying on his back in the middle of the packed pub with his M&S mini-skirt over his stomach and his tadger in full view. After checking he was ok, and taking a photo, we left him too it as he still had hold of a beer, his drinking arm was free, nobody seemed to mind stepping over him and the bar staff were fellow students didn’t seem like they were going to throw him out.

Some time later Skip has picked himself up and now the majority of blokes are also sitting around with kilts tucked up to show that they too have come commando.

More beer later and once again im told that Skip has fallen down. This time its outside and much blood is involved. So out I go and find out that after finding a big queue for the toilets he had gone for a slash outside. Whilst half way through the deed he had lost his balance and toppled backwards. For reasons that the couldn’t explain, instead of putting out his hands to break his fall he had keep a firm, double-handed grip on his old man and instead had slowed his fall with his own head. Fool.

One trip in an ambulance later and we are in hospital. Skip has passed out on the hospital bed, the top half of which was now soaked in a combined mixture of blood and vomit [Head wounds bleed a LOT]. Unfortunately he woke up mid way through his X-ray’s and as he was a bit confused wouldn’t lie still. After several failed X-rays the nurses ask me if I can try to get him to stay still. Sure, I answered, stepping forwards, punching him in the stomach and getting him in a head lock. Their reaction make it quite clear that this wasn’t what they intended and they even got quite stroppy with me. Well what the f#ck do they expect, I’m not exactly a trained health-care professional. Ungrateful bunch of slags trying to get me to do they job for them. No wonder they get paid so little if they have to get assistance from drunken bystanders for the simplest procedure*

We are then taken through to the ward for Skip to get stitched up by one very cute female trainee doctor and a matron-type evil nurse. Now, it’s a well known fact that blokes are at their most charming whilst pi#sed and splattered in vomit. Me and the doctor are soon bonding, and she has let me have a go at using the razor to cut away the hair surrounding Skips head wound [maybe I too should have become a doctor?]. Evil nurse** is not happy and TELLS the doctor that im not allowed to have a go at the stitching. Oh well, I guess its the medical professions loss rather than mine.

Stitching done and we are left alone in the ward whilst they find somewhere for him to stay for the night. Im drunk and bored, and so go for a wander. In an adjoining empty room I found a blood pressure machine on one of those three-wheeled type things that trail behind really ill people carrying plasma and stuff. I wheeled this back into his room, wrapped the collar-thingy around his arm and began pumping.

I had got it well inside the red zone before he woke up and began to squeal like a girl. Kept me amused for a few minutes though.

Nurse comes back, takes him off to a proper ward and I am given a pair of NHS trousers to go home with (Since leaving the pub all I have been wearing is a kilt and horned helmet with most of the rest of me smeared in Skips blood).

For anybody who hasn’t worn NHS trousers they are like pyjamas except the groinal area is open with no zip or buttons. I accidentally exposed myself to many, many people whilst trying to find a taxi that night.

*Most nurses do a very difficult job and should be paid much more than they do. Just not these ones.
**Or this one

If you didn’t like the length you would have stopped long ago.
(Sat 14th Jan 2006, 14:22, More)

» God

Ah, religion, always a good subject to bring out the nutters and ranters…

Now I’ve got no problem with religion as a concept, and other than being confused as to why so many seemly intelligent people believe in it then I’m pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. That said, those weirdy-beardy types who think that because other people who they’ve never seen, spoken to, or even met believe in something ever so slightly different to themselves, then they should blow themselves up on public transport and seriously inconvenience my commute into work, aren’t top of the list of people I would want to have a swift half with.

It does seem that the vast majority of religious people are such because:
a) they were brain-washed into it as children, or
b) they have had to face their own mortality and can’t deal with the thought of nothingness,
neither of which they are responsible for.

[I know brain-washed is a pretty strong phrase, but what else would you call believing in something that you have absolutely no proof of, which defies the laws of biology, logic and plain commonsense just because your parents did?]

Clearly I’m not a fan of the god.

However, the science thing doesn’t explain everything to me either. Somebody with a much better way with words than me (perhaps that should be ‘I’???) once wrote: First there was nothing, which exploded…
(Pratchett according to google).

Furthermore life has been evolving on this plant for the last few billion years, and possibly a lot longer if the original spark came from elsewhere. Therefore, at the risk of sounding somewhat species-bigheaded, we are the end product of literally billions of years of design improvements, upgrades and patches. We’re quite literally the frogs willy of life. The bestest ever. We’re so advanced we use a whole range of specially designed tools to move food from plate to mouth. This is simply fact.

Which unfortunately leads us to the impossible question:

As I am a super-being at the cutting edge of creation, why the F’ are my sideburns ginger?
(Thu 19th Mar 2009, 18:36, More)

» My Greatest Regrets

shut your mouth
Life is about collecting ‘tick in the boxes’.
Each box is a unique experience (good or bad), and can be classed bronze, silver, gold or, the absolute pinnacle, platinum.
Bronze – doubling the speed limit
Silver – being arrested
Gold – swimming with sharks
Platinum – twins.

Anyway, this is the story of my biggest regret, the one chance that I had to complete a particular platinum tick… and I missed it.

I was sitting outside a pub in London Bridge one summer lunchtime with a couple of senior colleagues, one is the classic ex-public school boy, youngest ever fellow of the institute of engineers etc, the other is a working class boy done good, and me, the office youngster.

Across the road I noticed a 6ft+ black man walking down the road wearing a knee length red leather coat, big sunglasses, overly patterned shirt and a mini afro.

He looks just like Shaft says I.

The public school-boy type looks over and said, completely innocently as only the posh and overly wealthy can be: “who’s Shaft?”

I panicked and spluttered into my pint.

Working class lad calm as you like answers “He’s a baaaaad mother”

I almost cried.
(Tue 10th Oct 2006, 22:28, More)

» Fire!

Not a fire, but bloody hot
As I write this I currently have a bad back from being unable to stand-up properly, am holding my arm protectively across my stomach and am feeling slightly light headed due to being recently being unable to remember what the time was when I last took an antibiotic/paracetamol/ibuprofen and deciding it must be time for some more.

And no im not pregnant (bloody hope not anyway, mainly because im a bloke), rather I have an almost perfect shape of an iron imprinted on my chest. The reason I say almost, rather than exactly, perfect is that most of it is an open, bloody, puss-oozing wound.

The moral of this tale is that irons get fucking hot. And, more importantly, on no account should you EVER f#ck around with them, even after consuming a crate of carling export first. Perhaps especially after consuming a crate of carling. But failing this, you should never, ever, ever hit someone with an iron that has been plugged in long enough to get up to its normal sun-like operating temperature, because
1- this is not a nice thing to do, and
2- if they then get hold of the iron your in trouble.

Still I can see the funny side now, the doctor tells me it is probably going to scar and I will have a ‘Morphy Richards 40700 Comfigrip professional’ brand for the rest of my life... bugger

And to add insult to injury, not only is my ‘friends’ burn almost completely healed but the doctors at A&E asked him if he would like to make a complaint to the police about me, and the melon-headed, nob-jockey actually considered it.

[add own ironing board stomach joke here, ive heard them all already and none of them are funny]
(Sun 6th Nov 2005, 19:25, More)

» This book changed my life

This QOTW is made for me
I bloody love books.

Mild warning - this answer contains no jokes, no witty word plays and doesn’t strictly stick to the question as no single book actually changed my life (although several probably saved it whilst being used as spider defence shields).

Anybody who doesnt like books is just thicky scum. This is perhaps slightly on the harsh side but who cares? Books open up whole new worlds; with a bit of imagination and a good book you can explore deserts, hunt down pablo escobar, learn that the orangey bit in jaffa cakes is actually made from apricots and personally win the battle of Britain. But no, you cannot be a speccy baby wizard at boarding school unless you're under the age of 15. – ITS FOR KIDS.

Again in contradiction of the instructions, here is my list:

Horror books
Stephen King is overrated. The true master is Dean Koontz. I challenge anyone to read Watchers, at home, alone, at night and not want their mum.

Travel books
A great genre. The most popular authors - Bryson et al. are good but for the best reads go for the one off authors who have done something special: spent a year digging for gold, completed the south korean riot police 1 year martial arts course, become a professional poker player etc. The point is that these books are largely written by one-book authors with something amazing to talk about. Some are poor (Jupiters travels), many are great. Go find 'em

Huh, what is it good for? Books.
A couple of my favourites are Steven Pressfield, Tides of War (the book 300 is based on), Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down (masterful). War books about real incidents, or based on real facts with the story added on top tend to be the best.

Politic thrillers
Tom Clancy. He wrote about a suicide pilot flying a 747 into the white house MANY years before 2001. Realistic, very well researched and deeply immersing.

'Scientific' books
Jared Diamond - 'Collapse' and 'Guns, germs and steel' should be in everyone’s library. Other valuable reads include: In bear country, Dont run whatever you do, call of the wild (not about the dog) and the undercover economist, but there are many others.

Other great authors everyone should try include: Terry Pratchett for his observations on life, Douglas Adams - the biscuit sketch in the hitchhikers guide is genuinely laugh out loud funny, Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe kicks some French derriere in true swashbuckling style and Romeo Dallaire's account of when he was in charge of the UN forces in Rwanda will move most people close to tears.

1) Hitchhikers guide
2) Doug Standon, In Harms way. The US cruiser that delivered the bomb, as told in Jaws.
3) One of many by Wilbur Smith

Go read people.

Oh, and avoid anything described as a classic. Dappled autumnal leaves glowing golden in the early morning sun…. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Books are not about poncy literature. And please, just because 10 trillion pounds has been spent on the marketing of a book it does not make that book good. You arguing that it is, actually, good tends just to highlight your media whoreishness: Dan Brown, Rowling, the bible etc
(Sat 17th May 2008, 9:28, More)
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