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» It's Not What It Looks Like!

The case of the Bleeding Gash
My mate Simon used to be an illustrator, often working late into the night at home. One night he was mounting some work when he sliced a bit of his finger off with a scalpel -- really badly. He couldn't stop the flow so, panicked, he went to wake up his flatmate in the hope that she'd be able to help him staunch the bleeding.

She opens her door, takes one look at his finger pumping claret, and promptly falls to the floor in a dead faint. A few seconds later she comes to, apologising for being a wuss, and Simon helps her up, smearing blood all over her in the process. She helps him get to the bathroom in order to wash his finger, only to faint once again at the sight of the bleeding gash.

As she falls, her nightshirt rides up and -- whoops -- she's naked underneath. Intent on protecting his friend's modesty, Simon goes to grab her nightshirt to pull it down, which is when his other flatmate arrives home and opens up the bathroom door: to find Simon poised over the unconscious, bloody body of their friend, hands dripping gore, apparently attempting to strip her naked....
(Tue 14th Dec 2010, 0:11, More)

» Foot in Mouth Syndrome II

I was young and I meant well.
That's my defence for one of the more excruciating experiences of my life. I was in a supermarket queue, being served by a young man with apparent learning difficulties and boss-eyes - 'one eye looking at you, one eye looking for you', as my nan used to say.

Being young and well-meaning, I was extremely conscious of not treating this young man any differently because of his crossed eyes, slurred speech and occasional twitch. Indeed, I fairly brimmed with the over-riding need to appear friendly and approachable. So when the young man addressed me, I couldn't wait to reward him with a dazzling smile and immediate response.

'You busy today?' he asked as he scanned my goods. 'Oh no!' I said brightly, 'after this I'm going straight home to put on my dinner and sit in front of the telly!' He gave me a bit of a look through his thick glasses. I smiled sweetly. There was a pause. 'You busy today?' he asked again, this time more pointedly, his head shaking a bit. Poor lamb, I thought. 'No,' I said, more loudly and clearly, 'I'm going to cook my dinner and watch a bit of telly. Not much on tonight!' and I gave a short laugh to emphasise the general relaxed nature of the evening.

There was a longer pause, during which I thought I could detect a look of awkwardness on the young man's face. Nonetheless, I pressed on, buoyed by my goodness and generosity of spirit. "How about you?" I asked, meaningfully. "Are you busy today? You certainly look busy! Ha ha ha!' He didn't respond; he just looked in my direction, his head shaking slightly as he scanned another item of shopping,

'How's Tony?' he eventually asked, speaking rather loudly (almost desperately) for someone who was in such close proximity to me. Oh dear, I thought. They really shouldn't have put him on the till if he's not... all there. 'Oh, well, I don't know Tony', I replied slowly, still smiling, as if to a simple child. 'He's fine,' said the woman in the queue behind me, the woman this poor man had been trying to converse with for the past few minutes, the woman who was now forced, in the nicest possible way, to ignore and talk over me in order to bring a halt what I suddenly realised was an excruciating moment for all concerned.

They continued their conversation as I, head down and cheeks crimson, tried desperately to pack my bags in the most nonchalant way possible for someone who was burning with shame. The shame I feel now... Oh god, the shame...!!
(Sun 19th Aug 2012, 15:22, More)

» Little Victories

This could have gone in last week's tales of Smugness...
...but is just as appropriate as a 'little victory'. In my 20's, I was unemployed for a good few years, and for a while was feeling very down and depressed about myself. This probably wasn't helped by the fact that I spent much of my time awake smoking enormous amounts of weed. I started to feel like a bit of a loser, especially when compared to my circle of friends, who were all starting to get their acts together and make something of their lives.

One highlight of this period was that fact that one of my mates would regularly throw excellent parties, which were marred only slightly by the fact that some of those he would invite were tossers of the first order -- braying public school types who had grown dreads and were able to maintain an air of smug superiority even while spouting the rhetoric of the right-on.

It was one of these specimens, wearing suspiciously squeaky-new leather trousers beneath his unravelling trustifarian jumper, who decided to park himself next to me one particular night and proceded to badger me about the spliffs I was rolling. His mates were lapping it up, 'yuk-yuk-yuking' as he criticised my technique, the quality of the weed I was using and - more than anything else -- the amount I was putting in it. Now, as rotten as I felt about myself at this stage, there was one thing I knew I did bloody well and that was rolling and smoking spliffs. This had long ceased to be just something I did, and had become more of a dedicated occupation. So as Leather Trousers kept on with his constant goading ("Go on! Put more in it than that! Is that all you're putting in? Homegrown, is it? Weak stuff? yeah, the stuff I get, would blow your head off....") I found myself growing strangely calm.

I finished making my spliff, and, with a look I still fancy resembled that of Danny in 'Withnail and I' when he takes off his shades, took my toke and passed it to the dreadlocked dipstick. I sat back and watched as he pulled hard, held in the smoke and exhalled; I kept on watching as he took another tug, held it in his mouth and started to go a strange shade of greenish-grey; I didn't even crack a smile as he grimaced, clutched his hand to his mouth and stumbled out the room to be copiously sick in the hallway. I just sighed 'Lighweight...' and went back to my rolling. It was nothing short of glorious, made all the better by the round of applause I received from others in the room who, unbeknownst to me, had been clocking every snide comment from the little shit and were rooting for me all the while.

Shortly afterwards I packed up the smoking and got my life back on track (I'm sure the two things are connected...), and although I haven't had as much of a sniff of the dreaded weed since, I still remember this incident with a sneaking and slightly embarrassed sense of pride.... a little victory that went a long way ;)
(Sat 12th Feb 2011, 14:52, More)

» Evil Pranks

Unsettling more than evil....
A long time ago, I was at Uni in Brighton with a rather strange young man who I'll call Geoff. Nice enough guy, but a little odd (he carried a dead mouse around in his pocket at one time...) Like most students, Geoff used to frequent the local second hand shops, and one day he came back to College with an old Jim'll Fix It annual from about 10 years previous (I said he was odd). As he was looking through it he drew our attention to a section for letters from kids who had never had their 'Fix Its' granted, but who the publishers thought to include anyway; one was from a girl in Brighton with a rather distinctive last name, which Geoff commented on (I can't remember what, or what she asked for - something along the lines of driving in a limo with Kajagoogoo). No one thought any more about it. Then we found out what he had done....

He'd gone through the Brighton phonebook and found an entry for someone with the same distinctive surname; at this point I think he was just satisfying his curiosity, but something got the better of him. He rang the number, and when the woman answered he asked her if, as a young girl, she'd written into Jim'll Fix It? She said that yes, she had - Geoff then said he was ringing from the BBC. Jim'll Fix It was coming back on TV, and as part of their new series they were revisiting all the old Fix Its that never made it to air the first time round and granting the old wishes. Oh my god, said the woman, am I going to be on telly driving in a limo with Kajagoogoo? Yes, said Geoff, who could have left it at that. Instead, he formed a more complex plan.

He asked the woman if he could meet up with her to discuss her Fix It in more detail, do an interview for Look In magazine, that sort of thing, and suggested they convene at Brighton Pier the following day. She, of course, said yes. Now Geoff didn't look like your average BBC employee (dirty bleached blonde hair, lots of leather, dead mouse in pocket), so that evening he borrowed a smart suit and briefcase and the next morning cleaned himself up and toddled off to his meeting at the Pier.

The woman turned up with her mum, similarly excited; a newly-smartened Geoff, resplendent in his borrowed suit and tie, bought them both a cup of tea. He then told them that the next week, a car containing Jimmy Saville himself would be dispatched to East Sussex, complete with camera crew, to record the start of the lucky ladies' journey to the BBC studios where she would be met by Kajagoogoo or whatever, and her dream would come true. Her Fix It would be the cornerstone of the first show of the new series. She was to dress in all her finery and be ready to be picked up at 11am sharp next Tuesday. Then he took their photos (!!) and left. I still wonder what the BBC made of the phone call they inevitably got the following week, and what the woman and her mother must have thought as it slowly dawned on them what had happened...

Actually, thinking about it, that is pretty evil....
(Thu 20th Dec 2007, 11:58, More)

» Celebrities part II

Dr Legg
Many years ago I knew two extremely rough old dykes by the name of Diane and Pauline. Pauline looked like an emaciated 14 year old boy. Diane looked like Taggart. They used to stagger round Walthamstow pissed as farts and get into fights with random strangers. In short, I knew them only vaguely and was thankful for it. There is only one reason while I still think of them with anything approaching fondness (and, truthfully, it's more fascinated horror than fondness...)

They were on a train to Brighton one day when who should enter the carriage but EastEnder's erstwhile GP, Dr Harold Legg (respected thespian Leonard Fenton). He sat down opposite Diane and Pauline, who by this stage were steaming on Tennants Super. Diane retold the story thus: "'Ere," I said to Paul, "It's Dr Legg! Oi, Dr Legg! How you doing, Dr Legg? Alright? Eh? Eh, Dr Legg?" I can only imagine this elderly gentleman's dawning horror as the hour-long train journey in the company of these two pissed up, mouthy lesbians stretched ahead of him. So, apparently, he ignored them. Big mistake. Diane got offended. "Oi! Dr Legg! What, you're too good to speak to us then, eh? Well, Fuck you! Fuck you, Dr Legg!" It continued in this vein until by all accounts the poor man made his exit from the carriage, followed by Diane, screaming the legend that we still repeat to this day: "OI! DOCTOR LEGG! YOU CUUUUUUUUNNNNNTTTTT!!!"

Can't help it. Still cracks me up...
(Fri 9th Oct 2009, 23:00, More)
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