Saturday, July 30, 2005

Ross Noble Gig (part 2)

(Click here to go to part 1 of this series)

After 9.30 on Saturday morning I was able to get through to a lad who took my name and number and told me that Karen, who was in charge of it, would phone me back on Monday. This is not high-tech stuff by any means. I asked how well tickets were selling. “Steadily,” he replied, going on to say that he thought it would probably be a sell out, but there were still tickets left just now.

Unfortunately as we are relatively new to the area and don’t have a group of friends or family around to baby-sit for the kids, I’ll have to go on my own. It felt a bit sad having to say that I only needed one ticket.

(Click on the numbers to go to parts 3, 4, & 5, of this series)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Ross Noble Gig (part 1)

Maggie came up to my study this afternoon and said, “You’ll never guess who’s appearing at Dalry Village Hall?” That’s St John’s Town of Dalry, which is a small village in the Galloway Hills, pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

“Obviously someone I’ve heard of,” I say

“Of course.”

So I make a few guesses, ask a few clues and it transpires that it’s Ross Noble. Now we’ve seen Ross Noble on TV, and we borrowed my stepdaughter’s DVD of a live gig once, and he must be one of the best stand up comedians about. In fact I’d rate him up there close to Eddie Izzard. So what on earth is he doing up in Dalry? Maggie said that at first she thought it was a sort of Ross Noble tribute act, like the Bootleg Beatles or No Way Sis. But no, it appears to be the real thing. She’d seen a poster for it on the Co-op notice board, next to one for the Clarebrand and Crossmichael Village Fete, and beneath one for a WI jumble sale.

By the time I’d tracked down his website ( and found the list of dates and booking contact details it was after 5pm, so when I rang the number there was no answer. There was no online booking facility and the answer machine was pretty basic: this is Glenkens Community & Arts Trust we’re talking about, not the Hammersmith Odeon.

(Click on the numbers to go to parts 2, 3, 4, & 5, of this series)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Weight Changes (part 1)

Over the past 5 months I have lost over 3 stone in weight (intentionally I should add).

I should be feeling good about myself, however there are times when it feels like I’ve never been so fat in my life. Part of the problem lies in the fact that I’ve never been so bloody obsessed about it for such a long period of time.

Where the height-weight charts are concerned, I’ve been overweight all my adult life, even though I can look back at pictures of myself in my late teens/early twenties and think how thin I am then.

However, at the moment, I have lost 3 stone since February. This is the largest amount of weight I have ever shed. But despite this loss I am still a middle-aged fat man with a beard. And if I were to lose another 3 stone, I would still be a middle-aged fat man with a beard. In fact I would have to lose a further 3 stone beyond that before I would get down to the appropriate weight for my height.

Somehow this seems ridiculous. I mean, yes, I knew I was overweight; I knew that I’d outgrown clothes that could be purchased in high-street shops, but I still functioned. I could still walk, talk, watch TV, play with the kids, get in and out of the car with ease, and run a business. It’s not like I was disabled.
And yet, after 5 months of eating healthily, and losing 3 stone, I am still a fat man. I am not just obese, or grossly obese: I am still in the morbidly obese category. So when I began my healthy eating regime (or I should say cutting out my unhealthy food regime, as I basically ate quite a good diet, with a lot of crap on top), at 19 stone and 9 pounds I must have been I-can’t-believe-you’re-still-alive obese.

(For part 2, click here)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

First Pig Suicide Bombers

Sometimes a wee bit of dyslexia can set off quite insane thoughts. Earlier today I was sitting in traffic, waiting for the lights to change when I happened to glance over at a newsstand for the Daily Record. And there was the headline:


Well, the immediate image that leapt into my head was of a pig with a belt of grenades strapped around its waist, charging down a crowded street. What could it have been thinking? “C’mon Perky, let’s show these bacon eating infidels the error of their ways!”

No this is stupid, I thought, it has to be about the recent London bombings. So the next image I was hit with was of wild-eyed Osama Bin Ladin look-alikes throwing squealing pigs, strapped with explosives onto Underground trains. A bizarre vision indeed. But no, I thought, didn’t I read somewhere about Muslims being forbidden to handle pork? Or did that only apply to eating it?

Hmm, so it’s OK to blow up pigs with a wadge of semtex, so long as you don’t try and eat any of the remains. Now completely confused, I had to look at the headline again. Actually it read:


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Hitcher

It’s not everyday, as a middle-aged fat bloke with a beard, that I get the offer of a blowjob from a complete stranger. In fact, yesterday was my first.

After dropping my son off with his older brother, I was heading to a meeting when I saw a hitchhiker. I used to hitchhike a lot when I was younger and although I won’t pick up strangers if I have a family member in the car, when I’m on my own I feel a certain obligation to help out people who are travelling by thumb power. It was the warmest day of the year so far, so I didn’t think anything of the fact that he was stripped to the waist, and the fact that he was wearing a kind of party cowboy hat made me think that he was probably on a return journey from Scotland’s major music festival “T in the Park” which was staged at the weekend less than twenty miles from where I was. So thinking that this could be my good deed for the day I pulled over.

“Where are you heading?” I asked as he climbed in.

“Glasgow” he replied. That was fine: although I wasn’t heading down to that city I could certainly give him a lift about five miles further along the road before I needed to head in a different direction. “I’ve been at T in the Park. Were you there?” he asked.

“No,” I said, feeling slightly smug that my powers of observation had been proved right, “but I can give you a lift to the edge of Stirling, then I’m heading north.” I thought I’d better let him know that this wouldn’t be his last lift of the day.

He launched into why he was hitching. “I was getting the bus back. I got off in Alva to go for a piss and when I came back the bus had gone. Bastard. He’d already taken my ticket. I tried getting the next bus that came along but he wouldn’t let me on without a ticket.” It was now that I noticed he had a can of Carling Black Label in his hand. That explains his lack of foresight, I thought, the guy’s pissed.

“Then I got chucked out of the toilets,” he continued, “because this woman complained that I shouldn’t be naked. I was having a wash and the stupid cow could see me at a slight angle through the door and started yelling at me. She was an ugly bitch, but I’d have given her one if she’d wanted.”

Bizarre conversation, I thought. “Ah well,” I said, thinking I should put a positive spin on things, “at least it makes a good story. ‘I went to T in the Park and came home again’ isn’t much of a tale to tell your pals, but losing the bus and getting kicked out of public toilet makes a better yarn.”

He took a swig from his can. “I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get a lift. Do you think the pink hat will put people off?”

Actually the can of beer is more likely to, was my reaction, but I didn’t say anything. It’s not usually a good idea to get between a drunk and his drink. Certainly I wouldn’t have pulled over if I’d noticed the can as I drove past. I hadn’t particularly noticed that his cowboy hat was pink, but now that he drew attention to it I joked, “I suppose it all depends on what kind of lift you’re trying to get!”

Just as I was beginning to think of the implications of what I’d just said, considering I had just picked him up in his pink cowboy hat, he matter-of-factly asked “Are you gay?”

“No,” I replied. I was going to say that I was a happily married man but it occurred to me that this additional information didn’t necessarily mean anything.

But before I could decide whether I needed to expand on my answer, he came out with, “Because I’d have given you a blowjob for the lift.”

Well, what does one say in this kind of situation? Each to their own, and I didn’t feel threatened but all I could blurt out with was “I appreciate the offer, but no thanks.”

For the last mile of the journey he started telling me of another music festival he was off to in a week or two, but I wasn’t really listening. My mind was whizzing around wondering whether I’d just come across as being laid back or completely stupid. I dropped him off at the roundabout, wished him well for the rest of his journey and continued with mine.

It’s not everyday, as a middle-aged fat bloke with a beard, that I get the offer of a blowjob from a complete stranger. I wonder if yesterday will be my last.