Monday, July 31, 2006


Anthropomorphic genius

Two recent purchases I made from Amazon: My Wrongs #8245-8249 & 117 and Animalympics.

My Wrongs is a short film based on a Chris Morris monologue from the Blue Jam radio series: strange bloke finds out that he's due to be defended in court by a dog (a Dobermann, to be precise) for everything he's ever done wrong. I actually prefered the radio monologue ("leg it you, fat fuck!" he laughed) but that's included as an extra on the DVD, so not to worry.

Transcript of the original radio monologue (you have to scroll down a bit.)

Animalympics is an old Christmas favourite. Very clever in places, particularly the parodying of sports coverage.

Bolt Jenkins:
"He started life as a handbag; was told he'd never walk again..."


He read some books and he oiled his brain
He started to work and he started to train
And he knew he'd never be the same again
No more were you born to lose...

Friday, July 28, 2006


Seekers after truth

"Y' know: if you're shagging a dead body, right?"


"You're committing a crime, right?"


"So, what I want to know is: is the dead body also committing a crime?"

"Hmmm... quite the question."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Almost telepathic

Back in the Walsgrave hospital, enjoying some quality time with the Grandad. The nurses and care workers are trying to elicit a response from the old boy in the bed opposite, who isn't looking in the best of shape.

Grandad watches this pantomime over my shoulder, then mouths some words at me. What? I mouth back; lip reading is his speciality, not mine.

Grandad seizes a pen and casts about for something to write on. I pass him yesterday's Times. He jots down a few words, then swears wordlessly: evidently out of ink. I go out and procure a pen from one of the nurses.

Casting furtive glances at the melee surrounding the bed opposite, Grandad completes his note and passes the Times to me. I cast an eye over it, motion for the pen, write a note of my own and pass it back.

Grandad inspects my note, then mimes that he's going to kick me.



Joe says

I mean, saying you don't like music... that's like the- what's the word?- the most vulgar thing I can think of anyone saying. If I woke up tomorrow and there was no more music I'd blow my own brains out, personally.


I've resolved to make use of this next time any of my students claim not to like music.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Journeys in self entertainment

Legendary game for long car journeys: pub cricket.

The batting team is looking for pubs whose name indicates possession of legs. The number of legs = the number of runs scored. For example:

The Black Bull = 4 runs

The Headless Woman = 2 runs

The Fox and Hounds = about 68 runs (you may have to argue a bit)

The fielding team is looking for pubs whose name indicates no legs at all. Each one counts as a wicket against the batting side. For example:

The Rocket = wicket

The Cottage = wicket

The Dolphin = wicket

When playing I tend to rule any pub titled The something-something Arms is a dot ball (ie: no runs, no wicket.) This being because a coat of arms, whilst not having any legs of its own, commonly depicts heraldic beasts (eg: Lion, Unicorn, etc.) Dot ball just means less arguing all round.


Car, A road in Wales; Dan batting.

Dan: Ooh, looks like I've got this one sewn up...

Fin: ?

Dan: You may not have seen it, but we just went past a hostelry which bore the somewhat unlikely monicker of The Entire Human and Animal Population of Delhi.



He didn't entirely believe me.


Damage limitation

Dan striding purposefully across the pitch, Liam's Inbred Cousin from Essex (hereafter LICE) skipping behind, gibbering blithely to himself as he has been doing all weekend already.

Dan pauses. With the tricky task of negotiating a game of football against the Internazionale team who have just suffered a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat at hand, the presence of LICE does not seem particularly advantageous.

How to put this?


Dan: Oi, would you bugger off?

LICE: Guh, you name-calling bastard.

Stops frolicking and slouches off in a black temper. Dan grins widely.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


The intercontinental pain vessel

The ISB takes my ticket, looks at it, enquires:

"Is Birmingham in London, er, in British..?"

Swinging my carry-on rucksack in a blurred arc, I catch her cleanly across the temple; her head connects heavily with the desk, making a satisfying thunk sound, the chair spins and she is deposited on the floor where she lies motionless.

Without hurry, I drag her onto the conveyor belt, fill out a luggage tack and attach it to the lapel of her waistcoat. Then, seating myself at her desk, I randomly hit buttons until I find the one that operates the belt.

The staff and passengers at the adjacent desks are too preoccupied with their own matters to notice as the ISB is ferried onto the larger conveyor belt at the back and disappears from sight. Her face wears the slightly perplexed look of the sleeper whose dream has not yet determined itself to be good or bad; the luggage tag on her lapel reads "Birmingham, via Dubai."

I'll let her figure it out for herself.


I finish counting to ten and open my eyes. "The simple answer is yes," I say.


Seat 36B is an aisle seat. Seating myself, I murmur a brief prayer to the gods of international flight for a fit girl in adjoining window seat 36A.

As if summoned into existence specifically for the purpose of mocking my prayers, a bloke with an Irish accent materialises.

The gods of international flight get an ironic round of applause.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


from Dirty Harry

You'd better start singing or all your mothers are gonna die!

Thus, a movie with Andrew ushered in a new era of classroom incentives.


My new favourite student

The newbie cried. She cried and cried. She cried me a river, cried me a cadillac. She cried me a five-star hotel.

She cried so much that crying proved infectious and she set off one of my more established students: a fay, elfin child, whom I was able to calm down with some judicious hand holding and a few kind words.

But still the newbie cried. She cried me a Leopard, cried me a gazebo. She cried me out of the homes of my childhood.

The mother asked our schools Japanese staff to bring the tearful would-be evader of English into my classroom. The newbie's crying intensified as she was bundled through the door into the learning environment.

She cried, my other students yelled urusai! ("Turn down the volume!")

All to no avail: she cried me a school bus, cried me a chocolate factory. She cried the deserts dry and the moon in its celestial orbit.

She cried so hard that her prodigious snot impeded her breathing and she turned a funny colour.

She's going to blow, I thought.

Then, this pint-sized fog horn, this knee-high miracle of sadness, buckled at the waist and regurgitated a blob of mucus that could comfortably have filled both of my cupped hands onto the classroom carpet. The Japanese staff squawked in alarm and the newbie's crying abated and her eyes widened in childish wonder at what she had just delivered herself of.

I even felt relieved seeing it come out, so goodness knows how she must have felt.

The Japanese staff carried her out; she managed two more mucus blobs in the waiting area. I high-fived all of my students.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Truth is beauty; beauty is truth

Voice room, several students. Most of the burden of talking has fallen upon me and I am hungover and as sick as a dog, but, having survived the worst that the morning has to offer, I'm on a bit of a roll. Then comes The Question.

HE: Er, what's the difference between a rat and a mouse?

ME: If you hold a mouse you can make a wish.

HE: Ah, really.

Reaches for his notebook on autopilot, becomes aware of sniggers coming from other (better) students and realisation dawns.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Il behaviour

Awoke this morning to find that North Korea had been firing off missiles in the direction of my adopted homeland.

The students were a bit on edge about this, but, the "long-range" Taepodong-2 missile having landed in the Japan Sea shortly after launch, I pointed out that we'd probably be in more danger if the North Koreans just came to their Eastern shoreline and started throwing stones at us.

"What a puny missile!" I hooted. "What did they build it out of- detergent bottles?"

My students laughed nervously and glanced over their shoulders.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006



Happy stupid Independence Day you ingrates.


Death from above

Scarcely bigger than an ant; unmistakeably a cockroach. With the larger ones, speed is of the utmost importance if the feisty beast is to be squashed. This one, however, is not as wily as his older brethren. He is also unlikely to get very much older.

As the bug scurries across my windowsill, it occurs to me that he must be from out of town; he evidently hasn't heard about me and The Descending Fist Of Retribution.

The introductions are as brief and unpleasant as can be imagined.

I scrub my hand with detergent in the bathroom. Usually, there are a few twitching limbs left over. Not so this time, such was the consummate destruction of another living creature.

Perhaps his molecules were still twitching afterwards. I really couldn't say.

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