Saturday, October 31, 2009


700th post!

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Friday, October 30, 2009



Just to clue my thousands of readers in to some of the cosmetic alterations on Trashed Elbow this week: the new links on the right are people off my course.

The Unlikely Lads are Josh and Matt, who are challenging each other at all 26 Olympic disciplines (everything in the Olympics fits into one of 26 categories) and recording their efforts.

Very funny and provides revealing insight into the minds of these two disturbed individuals.

Bloggers are egomaniacs
is Glyn's effort which is currently detailing his less ambitious plan to grow a moustache for Movember.

Finally, the reason my picture on the right has disappeared is because Yahoo are a worthless shower of tossers. I shall be putting this to rights once I track down a copy of the iconic "Trashed Elbow" snap in the bedlam that is my gmail account.


Thursday, October 29, 2009



Run, Dan, run - there is cheesecake waiting for you at the finish line.

Two miles to go and profoundly little danger of the photo being blurred by my speed.

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Monday, October 26, 2009


Preparation, dai-san

The clocks went back this morning, although a combination of drunken, gregarious sister and flu-ridden yampy kids meant that I didn't exactly max out the extra hour in bed.

I'd lined up porridge for breakfast, safe in the knowledge that there were porridge oats in the cupboard.

Sadly, the oats, upon inspection, were 18 months past their use-by date.

Sadlier still, I went ahead and made myself a bowl of porridge.

I kept it down all round the course too, although it was touch and go at times.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009


Preparation, part deux

An e-mail from the half marathon tomfoolerisers advised all entrants to write their name and an emergency contact number on the reverse of our race numbers (I'm number 14.)

I scribbled in my name, the house number and Follow me on Twitter! dangmckeown to be on the safe side.

I also stuck in a Japanese proverb on the face of the number:

Daikibansei: great talents mature late

In order to be fully prepared for the rigours of taking on fluids on the run, I did a few laps of the block taking plastic cups of squash off the front wall: not a great success.

First time: I threw half the drink over Joe, who was lining them up, and lost most of the rest up my sleeve.

Second time: I managed to get 50% of the drink in my mouth and 100% in my face.

Third time: I took the cup on the run at full speed with a deft pirouette, drained the contents, then threw up as I was running down the road.

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Friday, October 23, 2009



With two days to go until the Coventry Half Marathon and 120 big ones riding on me making it round in one piece, I have finally embarked on a training programme.

Happily, it designates the last two days as rest days.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Fred goes for a duck

It was Monday morning and I wasn't really feeling it. I was cold and tired and I had a subbing exercise to complete on an article about an 84-year-old war hero widower with Parkinson's called Fred who had vanished from his nursing home three days previously.

The exercise: correct the bad English (of which there was much), get the article down to within the word count, then come up with a heading and sub heading for the article.

Our lecturers are big fans of catchy aliteration, so I went with "Parkinson's pensioner ducks out of care home" as my sub heading, scoring additional points for a punning reference to the fugitive's apparent obsession with feeding ducks.

At least, I thought I'd scored points - the morning's lecturer, a doleful walrus of a man, declared that some of us were still suffering from weekend silliness.

"You'd get a letter of complaint from the family at the very least," he said.

"I mean, this gentleman could be dead for all we know."

My eyes slid sideways to Glyn's headline on the adjacent computer: "Fred Could Be Dead."

"I think Glyn might get a firebomb," I ventured.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009


Calling time on David Wilshire, MP

Last Sunday, I got home at 4 am and awoke a few hours later to find I had the flu. Burning the candle at both ends: never wise.

I slogged through Monday's lesson, got home and went to bed at 9 o'clock.

I woke up eleven hours later to the very real possibility of being late for the Houses of Parliament trip our lecturers had planned. I burned some rubber and, 45 minutes later, found myself sniffing and coughing outside the Palace of Westminster with my school chums.

We wandered through the place guided by a rum old cove called Michael. Jim Cunningham (MP for Coventry South) came past us in the corridors of power. He didn't recognise me from last year's Earlsdon fun run, and I refrained from shouting "Vote Nellist" at him.

At the end of our tour, we had a special sit-down session with David Wilshire, MP for Spelthorne, and one Robin Knight, journalist.

Mr Wilshire, a former Tory whip and infamous champion of clause 28, keeping mention of homosexuality out of our schools, is a bit of a different political animal to myself. Little did we realise at the time that he was 48 hours away from getting his.

Robin Knight was apparently once drugged by the shady Soviets in an attempted to cause mischief. (Story here.) Having recently read the tale of Jeremy Wolfenden in Sebastian Faulks's The Fatal Englishman, I'm already quite confident that, whatever my journalistic future holds, I don't fancy the Russia desk.

Unsurprisingly, a fair few of the questions for Mr Wilshire revolved around the parliamentary expenses scandal that flared up again this week with some MPs being instructed to repay expenses claims.

Mr Wilshire had a few bon mots on this subject:

"Some of my friends are being pilloried over a packet of biscuits, or a pork pie, or a tin of dog food.

"Is it fair to drive someone perilously close to a nervous breakdown or suicide over a packet of biscuits?"

Of course, the above is small beer. Most voters couldn't really give a hoot how many biscuits or pork pies their MP goes through. Or how much dog food they eat, for that matter.

Of more account is something like Mr Wilshire's second home: why an MP whose constituency lies in the commuter belt and who attends less than half of votes in the Commons needs a London flat at the taxpayer's expense is beyond me. Gallingly, he seemed to think he was really thrifty for not claiming for the cleaning bill.

Mr Wilshire was bullish about the business of MPs being told to repay expenses, asking us how we'd feel if, at the end of working a year for £24,000 someone told us they'd worked out it should have been £20,000 and demanding we pay back some money.

"That's not the case though, is it," said one dissentious voice which, after a brief glance around the room, I was horrified to discover had come from myself.

"You're not being asked to repay your salary, you're being asked to repay your expenses. Your expenses are not the same as your salary, not in any job."

Robin Knight, journalist, suppressed a grin which my paranoia put down as amusement at my petulant outburst. It was only afterwards that I considered he might have enjoyed watching my torpedo hit the HMS Bullshit.

I was dead wrong, in any case: Mr Wilshire's expenses were the same as his salary. Two days after we met him, it emerged in the newspapers that Mr Wilshire had paid over £100,000 from his office and staffing allowance to a research company owned by him and his wife.

It was subsequently confirmed that Mr Wilshire would not be standing in the next general election.

I don't know if he was aware, while he was glibly telling us that black is white, or while I was haranguing him, that his time was running out.

I'm guessing the Spring intake of students on our course will have to sharpen their claws on someone else.

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Friday, October 09, 2009


Starbucks takes a bite out of Communism

The Guardian has a magnificent offer on Fridays - a voucher that entitles the reader to a free tall coffee at Starbucks.

I cut out the voucher last week, only to realise that in so doing, I had defaced the colourful centrefold feature on the Chinese Communist Party's 60 years in power celebrations.

Capitalism 1, Communism 0.


Thursday, October 08, 2009


Over-egged the breakfast

I awoke yesterday morning full of hope for a glorious day, full of worthwhile learning, sparkling discourse and personal triumph.

This zealous state of mind lasted approximately 30 seconds. As I went to turn on the bedroom light, I was rewarded with total inertia. The credit on my electricity token had evidently run out overnight.

My thoughts turned to the matter of my breakfast. Generally, I prepare an espresso over my camping stove and boil an egg to take with me and have when I get into college. However, the fridge was out and I had three eggs remaining, the extra two of which I was loth to waste.

So I boiled all of them and today I am left with a hitherto-undiscovered respect for chickens: while they squeeze out the eggs nineteen to the dozen, here am I struggling to rid myself of three.

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Monday, October 05, 2009


Pigeons on public transport

Sitting on the train at London Bridge, about to depart into the Saturday night for destinations which have only previously occupied my consciousness as Carter USM lyrics and the space on my mental map marked 'here be dragons'.

One of London's feral pigeons flutters through the still-open train door and waddles regally under a seat, opposite which a girl is reading.

Unwilling to share a carriage for three stops with noxious guano-spilling vermin, I grab my notepad (practising shorthand) and head over.

"Excuse me," I say in passing to the girl, who ignores me entirely.

I crouch down and flap my notepad under the seat.

"Go on, fuck off out of it you fucker. Jesus fucking Christ..."

The pigeon, discomfited by my flailing (or unimpressed with my language) leaves huffily.

"Sorry about that," I say to the girl, standing up. Her ignorance of me redoubles.

I return to my seat and my reflections. London is a foreign country.

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