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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Funniest things on the internet part one

Oftentimes, I am struck by how intelligent and sophisticated I am. Today has not been one of those times. Today, I have sat through an inordinate amount of YouTube videos and at one point, I was in pain from laughing. Mostly, this is because I am an idiot, and YouTube provides wide opportunities to titillate and tantalise that moronic sector of my identity. People getting hit by stuff. Weird pictures. Odd songs.

The following are things which I can return to on this blogpost, and I know - without any doubt - that they will make me laugh.

Exercise Balls Being Thrown At People
The 'gimmetheloot112' Youtube channel is full of things like this.


People being scared of stuff
These are videos of people being scared at things.

Unusual and unexplainable dance videos

Friday, 3 February 2012

Dreams and Kindness on a London Street

It was the middle of the night and I was deep in sleep. Tucked up warm and secure, I was having a quite unusual dream in which I and two children from my class were trying to escape this fearful sound of shrieking and wailing by sliding up and down these gigantic ravines and slopes, which were all concrete and stone. The dream then shifted its location and I was in their house with their family and I, the two kids and their mum were standing on the landing in our pyjamas. The mum and I were moaning about the shouts and the wailing, and I recall her saying "It had to happen on a night when we can sleep in." The two kids were getting rowdy so I said I would go and have a look at the noise.
I stepped out of the house (now on my own actual street) and rounded the corner, where I found it to be the break of dawn and there was a large bumbling white guy in a thick coat staggering around the pavement, while a crowd of onlookers gazed at him, some of them filming on their phones. He was shouting, cussing and - to the 'dream me' - being frightening. I ran back into the house and locked the door, then ran upstairs and locked the kids into their rooms.

Then I woke from the dream.

The wailing and shrieking continued. I opened my eyes and it was dark outside but there were loud garbled shouts drifting up from the street outside. I laid in bed, ignoring it but listening nonetheless. Curious at how loud it was, I got up and looked out of the window.

Just outside of our house there was a man laid out in the gutter, his feet on the pavement but the rest of his body sprawled out on the road behind a parked car. It sounded like he was shouting angrily and weeping at the same time. "Fucking c**ts!!!" he bellowed. I was stood there, hovering in the darkness by the crack of the silently opened window, trying to ascertain whether he was ok. It was that very limp middle class style of caring which is equivalent only to 'keeping an eye on the situation' from afar. I went to get my glasses to work out whether it was blood swilling around beside his head on the roadside, or whether it was his shadow. Luckily, it was the latter.

I took a photo, just like the gawping unhelping bystanders in my dream; also like in the dream, I felt my heart racing, as though this was my special little voyeuristic treat.

As I was squinting out from the window, another man rounded the corner and shouted 'Oy! OY!'. The drunken passed out man groggily raised his head to look up - I thought he was looking to see whether he was in danger. This other man, quite a beefy young man, walked right up to the drunk man and squatted beside him. He asked how he was doing and spoke to him humanely.

"Why did you stop?", dribbled the streetman.
"Because you looked interesting", replied the beefy man, "and my brother lives just around the corner."

He offered the drunken man his hand, not to help him up but to shake it.
"My name is Andre", he told him.

The drunken guy started to shuffle about and his flat palm started to smack hard against the kerb. The beefy man got up and brought the drunken guy his hat and collected his belongings for him. In my cynical spectator state, I entertained the thought that maybe this whole event would be a charming robbery, or that the kind words were a Clockwork-Orange-like prelude to a violent shoeing. But no, Andre was legit.

As Andre gathered the drunk guy's stuff together, I could see what he meant by him looking interesting. The only possessions that this drunken man appeared to have were the hat on his head, an acoustic guitar and a vinyl record. The guy tried to lift himself up from the kerb, but with Bambi-like poise, he couldn't even straighten out his legs for long enough to support himself, and he barrel-rolled back to the ground.

"Come on man, again", Andre supported. He offered his arm to help the guy up, but he insisted on going it alone (with the aid of the car which he used to balance himself). With uncertain baby steps, the drunk guy was up on his feet and Andre stood by his side.

"You got somewhere warm to go? Come on this way."

Together, with their bobbing staggering shadow following them, they cut down the side street and disappeared.

Need I ask, but whose was the greater care? While I dithered over whether or not he was bleeding by having a good hard squint from up in my bedroom, Andre just powered over to him, sat himself on the kerb and, it seemed, was so supportive that the drunken guy could barely comprehend it. I wonder whether I am in the majority. I hardly think it makes me a good person for getting up and having a look.

Monday, 30 January 2012


Oh it was schadenfreude alright, and a quite sociopathic strain of it. I walked by the train station and as I did so a car rattled by on the main road beside me. Part of the machinery on the underside of the chassis had come loose and was scraping along the floor. It made a din. The driver slowed down but was forced to continue driving, which caused the damaged part of his car to come loose and lie fragile in the middle of the road.

Seconds later, a battered dirty Ford Mondeo followed it down the road and drove straight over the bit of car, causing it to crack and shatter loudly. As his car part was crushed, the driver pulled into the side of the road.

I stood outside the train station through all of this, and when the tyres destroyed his car part, I couldn't even contain the upward curl of my lips if I wanted to. It filled me with a little trickle of delight. I caught eyes with two blokey men who were also laughing at it, and as I turned and walked into the station, one of guffawed to the other 'Look at him laughin' away'.

I was. It was great.

Friday, 20 January 2012

My uneasy childbirth

After an arduous, tiring pregnancy it boomeranged within me, gritted its gums and abseiled out, clasping firmly onto the sinews which once secured it, and it tumbled into the frothy mess that lay below.

With no nurses to wipe it up and present it to me after a towel-down, the onus fell onto me to scoop the strands of myself from its shrewface and to pat it down. No nurse declared how beautiful it was, but even if she or he did, I wouldn't believe her or him. Was it worth it, I thought. Is it worth it?

Within only three short minutes, the little morsel was sitting bolt upright. Crooked it was, and its eyes were bearing down on me. Its flappy little lips pursed and unpursed whilst still it gawped. I bent forward to clean myself up when his first words boomed forth.

"Bepanthen" it declared, with a clarity of voice which cut through the stale meaty air.

I glared back, which it mistook for a lack of comprehension rather than the uncertain meagre tremors of affability.

"It's a brand of ointment" it added, blinking.

Cheeky little mite, I thought. Cheeky little thing. In my head, I committed myself to getting some Bepanthen. Mothers go and get things for their babies don't they. A bit of powder milk here. Bit of Bepanthen there.

It sat in the centre of the floor, shuffling about and peering up, toiling wistfully to dislodge a thin shard of womb from betwixt its crooked toes.

"Help then", it implored.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Half-hearted resolutions for 2012

It's the dawn of a new year. The Olympic year. It'll be the twenty-second one I've lived in, and I still haven't fully accepted that I lack that internal drive and focus which would enable me to follow through on resolutions. Every year it is the same thing; I wake up with a slight glimmer of hope. 'Maybe this will be the year things change' I think to myself, with a limp trace of uncertainty even in my internal monologues. Maybe, with a bit of gusto, I can start afresh and ditch the bad habits. Maybe, resolution will become revolution!

It is with this self-awareness that I am putting forward my resolutions for 2012 forward now, despite the fact that I have broken one of them before I have even declared it.

1) Healthy food

Boring and predictable I know. Everyone in the country groans as they squeeze themselves into the trousers post-festive season.

Anyway, I want to snap out of comfort eating. Comfort eating as a phrase has quite good connotations - comfort is reclined on a chair, kicking of your shoes and taking relaxing deep breaths as you nibble on a Galaxy.

Of course, my reality is different. In the adverts, they don't have somebody like me squatting on a VDU desk chair in front of the computer in my dressing gown, stuffing Minstrels into my gaunt face. No, comfort eating isn't comfort. It isn't comfortable and it isn't comforting. The turnover time between binge-eating and self-loathing is now so short that barely has the last morsel pot-holed down my gullet when I am crippled by bitter remorse.

First resolution, stop binge/comfort eating. To be so enamoured of chocolate is infantile. I'm not Montezuma, I'm just a weakwilled man.

2) Dress better

Complacency set in towards the end of last term in school. Somebody said to me that I ought to 'dress for the job I want, not the job you have'. If I was following that logic, the job I wanted last half-term was some strange sort of seaside entertainer. Mismatched socks were worn more often than not. Kooky ties, like a bad uncle or an odd science teacher. I want to look good and individual, sure, but maybe at times my geek chic veered too far into in-patient territory. I will dress better. I will wear shirts more often. I will wear black shoes, rather than the white, blue and purple ones I have been wearing.

This is not abandoning my sense of self. I can let my mouth do the talking, rather than using my clothing as a canvas on which I paint my mental state.

3) Write

The good thing about being a teacher is that, no matter how life-absorbing it is, it still inspires new thoughts in you. It fertilises the imagination having to answer the off-the-wall questions which emanate from the faces in the carpet. I love writing. I have always written. My friend bought me a notebook in 2002 into which I was expected to write poems. I have, for the last decade. That notebook is a chronicle of my increasing literacy, eloquence and pretension and of my decreasing optimism and modesty.

Writing is great and this year, I intend to plunge back into it. I have survived the first term: now, I want to up the ante. I want to heap pressure onto myself and force myself to actually produce something. I have written loads of stuff, but it is all just patches. 2012, I want you to be the year to provide me with the thread, so that I can sew all of those shitty patches into a big dirty tapestry of substance.

Friday, 23 December 2011

The festive benefits of being a male teacher

There are some disadvantages to being a male primary school teacher. Other staff presume you can help them with technical problems. Children are initially scared of you, which can clash with your own way of teaching. You can very easily be excluded from interaction with colleagues because you lack a propensity for eating salad. You can't dress too unusually, lest you look like a creepy man. If you raise your voice beyond a caustic whisper you get a reputation for bellowing at children, which makes more softly spoken teachers think you have lost all control over your class.

And there are some advantages too. You are expected to do lots of sport even if you aren't very physically competent, and if you take on that role you find yourself outdoors running around quite a lot, which is refreshing. You can easily gain a reputation for being funny, especially if you are. You can reach all the highest shelves and make displays that are high up the walls, because males a generally taller. Some say it is easier to climb up the greasy promotion pole.

These are mostly unjust rewards. I don't like unjust rewards, but having just experienced the end of my first term, I am willing to suspend my protestations until after Christmas.

The gifts I received were great. The teacher next door was very grateful for her gifts but my face was awash with smugness when I saw her caressing her new wrist-bangles as I lugged my carry sack full of home-made cakes and biscuits, a new aftershave and razor set, a tie and cuff-links set, some branded perfume, a Biryani and some boxes of chocolate.

I'm not sure of the point I am trying to make with this. I think I am just continuing to gloat, whilst letting you know that I know it is maybe unfair.

Reflections whilst watching BBC Look North

A city councillor has been jailed for stomping cats and kittens to death. Bradford City Council he was. Serving 6 months. They were everywhere. He did tax fraud once before. They should have seen it coming. Unimaginable cruelty and horror they say. Dreadfully dismembered kittens in his fridge. A woman who rescues cats said it was abhorrent. Robert Paine has been in the council for more than three years. He is a Conservative (obvs). The leader of the council said it is extremely sick. Not the behaviour you would expect of anybody in public life. Fair point. He is going to be banned for life from keeping pets. Cats like Rufus are happy for having a non-deathy Crimbo. Thanks.