Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A night on the town

A few weeks back I regaled you with the tale of how I got a little bit tiddily for the first time in, um, MANY years. As you may recall, the only dampener on an otherwise fine evening was the fact that I was suffering from THE COUGH THAT WOULD NOT GO AWAY, and my brilliant and hilarious friends kept making me laugh, which in turn kept making me cough, which in turn probably made them laugh at my plight.

It was a vicious, vicious circle, dear reader.

Anyway, having long since recovered from the vile cough, the subject of getting me drunk was raised again recently, and like a lamb to the slaughter seeing as I'm always up for a good time I clapped my hands and a plan was made to go out for drinks in London one Saturday evening.

And then on the day I suddenly discovered that Central London was going to be the site of a mass demonstration.

"You're going up to London? Today?" Asked my Nan when I told her what my plans for the evening were. "I wouldn't bother."

But bother I did. Eventually, because like the doofus I am I missed not one but two trains while I did my hair sorted some important stuff out.

So, an hour later than scheduled I found myself in a nice subterranean bar with Glittering Lee, Skip, and the lovely Ryan, sipping a fruity cocktail while a handful of miles away the Police tussled with angry balaclava'd protestors. On the subject of drinks, yes it does seem that I have a somewhat unusual taste in alcoholic beverages for a straight man, but good lord, if you'd tried that raspberry cocktail I'm pretty sure you would've pledged to give up Diamond White and/or meths in a shot. I did not, however, sample Lee's cocktail when it was offered to me, based purely on the fact that he described it as tasting somewhat like "unwashed cock."

A short time later, and for reasons I cannot quite remember because things were spinning somewhat delightfully by this point, we decided to decamp to the lovely Drink, Shop & Do on Caledonian Road. En route, adding to his tally of beating me while I'm drunk, Skip punched me in the stomach; like the previous occasion when he punched me in the head, neither of us can recall quite why he felt inclined to lash out at me so violently, but I'm assured it was done with affection.

Drink, Shop & Do was quieter than I've ever seen it because they didn't have a 'Do' on that evening, so we just got some drinks in and got snippy with one another in an affectionate fashion. Here, I combined my love of coffee with my newfound appreciation of sophisticated cocktails by ordering an espresso martini which BLEW MY TINY MIND. Once that was knocked back, we decided to decamp once again.

Things get a smidgeon blurry around here, because all I can recall is a hurried walk around St. Pancras station in search of an open branch of Marks and Spencers where pizza and more booze were purchased, and I seriously considered buying a delightful looking chocolate Easter chick. The whole thing reminded me of that brilliant eighties film 'Adventures in Babysitting.'

A short time later we were ensconced in Skip's house watching episodes of Better off Ted, which as I've mentioned before is brilliant and you really should be watching it.

By about 23:20, however, little ol' drunken me had a dilemma: wobble my way to the tube station and zip across town to catch the last train home or … stay at Skip's. Under normal, sober circumstances I would've been, well, running it a little bit close if I'm honest - so after factoring in additional wobble-time I poked Skip in the arm (note 'POKED' not 'PUNCHED') and asked if I could steal his spare room for the night.

Which leads me to the most memorable moment of the evening when Lee and Ryan decided to call it a night and Ryan innocently asked if I was going to crash at their place. When told I was staying at Skip's he turned, looked me in the eye and said "I can't believe you're staying here - will you be alright?!" as if he genuinely feared for my life.

To which Lee replied "he'll be fine - just wedge a chair under the door."

And then they were gone.

Of course, I was fine, because Skip's a lovely chap and his spare room was awesome. I fell asleep to the distant sound of Police sirens as the Met's finest mopped up the last of the protestors.


I awoke Sunday morning surprisingly early, and somewhat amazingly with a distinct lack of a hangover (although when you're paying £7.50 per drink I think that's as it should be). Skip was already up and around and made me coffee (such a genial host), and after a couple of hours chatting I decided to make my way through town and head home.

Sunday London

It was a brilliant weekend, and it seems Ryan really didn't have anything to worry about when he and Lee left me alone in Skip's care because so far no pictures of me asleep in my pants have turned up on Facebook. BONUS.

Friday, March 18, 2011


So, in a remarkable and totally unexpected moment this evening, I taught a yoga class.

OK, so that's a *slight* exaggeration - I didn't teach the entire class, but I did teach a bit. This is how:

For those outside of the UK or just totally unaware, today was Red Nose Day, which is a charity thing started off by a load of comedians about 20 years ago that encourages people to buy red noses and do silly things to raise money, before culminating in a telethon of varying quality which, personally, I tend not to watch because I'm young and exciting and have much better things to do (like an early night), but mainly because it's actually a bit shit. But I'm up for doing my bit for charity, so when my yoga studio announced they were going to do a special Friday night class taught by one of my favourite teachers in aid of Comic Relief I thought 'yeah, I'll have a bit of that.'

The idea behind the whole thing was that for every person who wore something red the studio would donate half their class fee to charity, which when you bear in mind the studio can hold 60 people and a single class costs 14 quid, that's a pretty decent lump of cash. The only problem here, though, was that I don't own any red clothes. Well, apart from a couple of jumpers, but I wouldn't want to wear them in class because they'd get sweaty and, quite frankly, I'd probably die.

This led me to breeze into Westfield on Wednesday evening because there's a big sports shop there and I thought I could pick up a pair of cheap and crappy red shorts. Alas, no. The big sports shop is immense, rammed full of stuff, and very haphazardly laid-out. I had no idea whether I was in the men's bit, the ladies' bit, or the children's bit, and the closest I came to red shorts was a red hockey skirt which was confusingly hung up by the men's swimming trunks. I vetoed this, however, based on the fact that every time I did a forward bend in class I'd be flashing the person behind me.

So, I went home disappointed.

But I did have one other idea…

Basically, in addition to the little red noses that Comic Relief sells…

… (which quite frankly this year completely cut off any ability to breath through your nose, smell slightly toxic, and look a bit like a shrivelled-up old man's testicle) they also sell larger red noses that you can attach to the front of your car.

And so I bought one of these and using some lengths of elastic, fashioned it into a manly codpiece. Of course.

Photo taken at work, probably when I should've been working, shortly after completing work on what is quite possibly the sexiest thing I've ever worn.

And at half five I rocked up to the studio. I didn't don my amazing creation straight away because I wanted to expose it to maximum effect when the class was full, so I just hid it under my towel and waited for class to start. What made the whole thing even better, though, was the fact that I'd previously told the teacher what I had planned, and she bought two car red noses and fashioned them into a bikini. So, in effect, I was the Adam to her Eve.

So, as class started and we all jumped up, I pulled my codpiece on. And then everyone looked, and the whole room exploded with laughter. This might come as a surprise to you, but I've never had around 60 people staring at my groin and laughing before. It actually made me feel quite special (I'll leave you to guess which definition of the word you think I mean).

D'ya know what though? Aside from the first posture, where it completely destroyed my ability to perform a forward bend, and the entire belly down series for obvious reasons, codpiece was awesome. Particularly in triangle and standing head to knee I actually found it quite helpful as it kind of forced me to stand with my legs wide. I could be on to something here; I think newbies should be made to wear them so they know they're doing it right. I felt EMPOWERED.

As mentioned, wearing the codpiece in the belly-down series was nigh on impossible because it forced me to stick my arse up in the air, so I stripped out of it and wore it on my head for the rest of the class.

I'm pleased to say that it wasn't just me making a tit of myself, though. While Mandy who was teaching wore her red nose bikini, Helen, who owns the studio and was taking part in class, wore a freakishly-terrifying Simon Cowell mask. And at random points they started playing recordings of Bikram himself doing the dialogue, which was mad and brilliant. We were also made to shout "YEE-HAH!" every time we did a sit-up, but I can't remember why.

Oh, yes, and then I taught a posture.

A bit like the whole "YEE-HAH" thing, I can't actually remember how I ended up teaching a posture, but Mandy thought it would be funny, and the next thing I know I'm standing on the podium in front of 60 or so people wearing a radio mic like I'm Madonna circa 1990's Blond Ambition tour. The posture I'd been assigned to teach was head to knee pose with stretching pose, or Janushirasana with Paschimottanasana if you want to be fancy (although you try saying that with 120 expectant eyes staring back at you). The benefits of this posture are many and varied, but let's just say it's good for you ankles, knees, hips, and kidneys, and will help keep you regular.

So there I am standing in front of the class, half tempted to break into song or start voguing or something, and Mandy say "go on then - they're all yours." And I was off.

I don't mean to be big-headed, because I'm *not* a teacher, but I've been in enough classes to have heard the dialogue enough times for at least some of it to stick in my brain alongside all the Star Trek trivia, Panic! At the Disco song lyrics, and dirty jokes I've picked up over the years. There was one point where I went quiet because everyone just looked AWESOME, but then Mandy told me to say something so I started picking on Helen just to give me something to say.

In all seriousness, it was pretty amazing - and a huge responsibility - to think that everyone was relying on me to tell them what to do, and the moment when I said "change" to get everyone to swap their right leg for their left leg was just brilliant. It was like I was directing a little sweaty ballet. And then it was over, followed swiftly by the end of what was THE FUNNIEST class I've ever taken part in.

We had some photos taken in reception afterwards, where I pumped my chest up and sucked in my gut to make myself look even more amazing than usual. If you're lucky, when they're up on the studio website I'll nab copies and post them here. I'm sweaty and wearing only shorts and a codpiece - although that doesn't really sound terribly attractive, so it's probably best I don't, eh?



One barely used, slightly sweaty Comic Relief red nose engineered to act as a codpiece for the respectable gentleman around town.

One careful owner; elastic still stretchy. Guaranteed to make you look and feel immeasurably more sexy. Email usual address for details.



The yoga studio popped a photo up on their Facebook page. Warning: there's PARTIAL NUDITY from yours truly. Check it out HERE, then tell me I look sexy in the comments.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Putting the 'Tim' in 'victim'

So, in an exciting turn of events this week I was the victim of some cheeky fraudsters. Basically, someone, somehow, got hold of my debit card details and withdrew the quite frankly outrageous amount of £38.53 from my account without my permission. On the plus side, I noticed pretty quickly, which was quite remarkable because I've been trying not to look at my bank account recently for fear the amount of money I've been spending in the name of retail therapy would make me cry.

Still, I got home Tuesday evening and some nagging feeling compelled me to take a look. And that's how I discovered £38.53 had vamoosed the day before. Now, initially I dismissed this as the result of some of the aforementioned retail therapy, but the name of the company didn't ring any bells, and a quick Google of it revealed that I was just one of hundreds of people who've unwittingly treated some random to a cash bonus. That being the case, I grabbed my phone and called the bank.

At half 10 at night.

Now, if I worked at a bank call centre at half 10 at night let me tell you I'd be about as excitable as Lurch from The Addams Family, but the lady I was put through to was lovely and alert and sounded more like Bubble from Absolutely Fabulous. After we'd been through some security questions because I couldn't remember my security number (I have a security number?) she believed that I was me, and promptly killed my debit card there and then. And that's when I remembered that I only had two quid in my wallet. She nevertheless assured me that I could withdraw money at the bank using multiple forms of ID and a jaunty wink, and that the missing £38.53 would be refunded to my account.


I went to bed that night uncertain how to feel. I had, after all, been a victim of CRIME, and I felt this meant I should do something like cry in the shower or call a counselor. Instead I just read my book for a while and then went to bed as I was awfully sleepy.

So the next morning before heading into the office I swung by the bank in Hammersmith, where on Monday I'd actually felt like the little old lady queuing behind me at a cashpoint was standing inappropriately close and I'd actually been a bit like "dude, seriously, could you not back the hell up a bit?" The woman at the counter was really helpful, and gave me enough money to keep me in coffee for a few lunchtimes, but then ruined it a bit by deciding she wanted to talk to me about my mortgage and various other accounts I've got, and calling me Timothy, which I hate, particularly when it is pronounced "Timofee" as it was here.

I eventually escaped relatively unharmed with a pocketful of cash.

Unfortunately, it turns out that a pocketful of cash doesn't really go very far these days. I took 50 quid out, and two days later I was down to about seven, a handful of coppers, and the two chocolate coins I've got left over from Christmas in my kitchen cupboard - and no new bank card in sight.

So, a couple of days later I trudged back to the bank to withdraw some more. This visit wasn't nearly as easy. First of all I went at lunchtime, which was a horrific mistake because I had to queue with random civilians. Secondly, there was an obnoxious kid running around. On the plus side, at one point I thought 'God, I'd love it if he fell over,' and two seconds later he did, so I definitely think I'm nudging closer to developing those telekinetic powers I've always wanted.

When I did finally make it to the counter the lady - a different one to the one who called me "Timofee" - launched into the whole spiel about wanting to talk about my mortgage. I don't know why they're so obsessed with this; they keep talking about new products and boring crap like that, when clearly their system shows I'm not even halfway through a fixed-rate deal and if I broke it to take up a new offer I'd have to pay a shitload of money to them.

Oh… I *see.*

Anyway, I let my eyes glaze over and she eventually realised that I wasn't going to play along. She did, however, decide to make the whole 'withdrawing cash without a bank card' thing as torturous for me as possible by basically turning into Oprah-fucking-Winfrey and wanting to ask me every bloody question under the sun. I'm pretty sure she now knows my inside leg measurement, and in hindsight could actually be a suspect in the bank card fraud that led me to this point in the first place.

Anyway, eventually she paid up, and then to my surprise and delight I got home that evening to find a shiny new bankcard which I'm so excited about that I nearly posted a picture of it before I realised that would just lead to someone ripping me off again.

So anyway, being the victim of bank fraud is a funny old thing. I actually wasn't too annoyed that the money was taken because the bank, bless 'em, refunded it in an instant. What I really wanted to know - but doubtless never will - was who took it and how they got my details. But do you want to know the most annoying part of the whole stinkin' affair? You need an active bank card to download anything from the iTunes store, including free updates.

I had to wait TWO WHOLE DAYS before I could get the latest version of Angry Birds!


*adopts sheepish expression*

So, turns out today is the fifth anniversary of me firing up this inane little corner of the interwebs (which I did while waiting for an episode of The OC to start, if memory serves me correctly). I'd planned to buy a cake and stuff slices of it in jiffy bags for anyone who wanted some, but as you've just read I had some interesting financial problems this week. That being the case I'll just say heartfelt thanks to everyone who's read, commented, or mistakenly stumbled upon this blog while looking for online porn. You've made this an unexpectedly wonderful (and occasionally terrifyingly creepy) experience for me, and long may it continue.


(those are manly kisses, not an indication of anything porny)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Because kittens make everything more awesome

So, the Space Shuttle Discovery safely concluded its final mission this week which was awesome, but also very sad because, well, it was its final mission. I generally have little interest in things that fly so long as they don't drop on my head, but the shuttle is different. First of all, it's a spaceship which is a total WIN in my book, and secondly there's just something really rather incredible about this technological beast conceived in the 60s and 70s that rides into space on a gigantic plume of fire, nonchalantly flipping the bird to any notion of environmental concerns and quite probably flambéing every woodland creature in a half mile radius.

I watched Discovery's landing online the other day, which is always fascinating because it's literally a massive glider plummeting to Earth, but doubly so this time around because as it rolled to a halt its commander could be heard over the radio to say "I'd like to thank KFC," which immediately struck me as a bit weird because as marvellous as the colonel's secret recipe of herbs and spices is, I don't see how it could be of use in putting anything in space.

I eventually realised he meant Kennedy Flight Control. Oops.

Anyway, the NASA website threw up some rather lovely hi-res images to commemorate Discovery's successful final mission and, well … look. Sometimes I genuinely do wonder if someone's lacing my grande misto with LSD because my first thought was 'that could only be more awesome if there were a bunch of kittens on it.'

And so I added some kittens.

I'm so grateful you lot humour my strange little whims. The original, 100% kitten-less version can be viewed in its stunning entirety HERE.