Attempting to cure writers block

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

Attempting to cure writers block.


Attempting to cure writers block

Posted: February 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

As I’m sure that your aware, it’s been six months since the last blog; more or less. I remember that the new boy was a tiny little dude that had just been sick on my shoulder (actually I’m not that sure, but it’s a statistical probability). Since then many things have changed. I’ve started a new job in the meantime which means that there’s precious little time for committing random thoughts to a blog.

Well, that’s a bit of a lie, I’ve had time to do it, it’s just that I’ve had a case of not knowing what to write. It’s not like there’s a shortage of topics. Port Talbot is still Batshit crazy, the boy (and new boy) continue to amaze and exasperate in equal measure and life in general has gone on. But nothing jumps out. Maybe I haven’t been looking hard enough, who knows?

So what I’m going to do is just try and literally type my thoughts out as I think them. this could either be amazing or a worrying look into my psyche, either way it might be a hoot.Come to think of it, this may have been how I started the blog in the first place.

Ooh look at me I’ve come full circle.

Right then. As i write this, the Brits are on. Music scares me these days, well it doesn’t scare me as such as turn me into a boring old man who moans about it being better in his day. But it’s not just me surely? Music really is shit these days. All the usual pop stuff just sound like that auto-tuned bollocks that you hear ever since  the 50s barbie-brought-to-life Cher mangled her vocal track with it. she probably had it installed in her larynx the last time she had her cheeks rotated.
 It’s not all rubbish of course though, at the moment Adele is performing and her voice is pretty astonishing.

Well I’ve had enough of that, let’s move on…

I very recently turned thirty. I just typed that and I think that it’s only just dawned on me now. It’s viewed as something of a milestone when you hit the big old 3-0. Maybe it harks back to days of gone when it was the life expectancy.

“You’re thirty and not dead! YAY YOU!!!”

Maybe because it’s a round number. Maybe because it’s dividable by ten. Maybe even because it’s the age in Logans Run where you get killed for being too old, I don’t know.

Nuts, my brain appears to have stopped.

Well I’m sorry for wasting your time with this one, I’m just easing my way back in after a while off the scene, as it were.

But I have plans.

You may or may not know that The Apprentice is on next month and it happens to be one of my favourite programmes because there’s nothing funnier that seeing a very well educated person make a complete tit of themselves, other than seeing Piers Morgan being slapped very hard in the face.

 But as I’m yet to see that I’ve decided to start a new blog. I’m going to attempt to do a blog-along (I’m copyrighting that word so back off society..) When the episode goes out on BBC 1, I’ll be writing and posting as soon as I can after it’s finished. Not a review, more of my account of what’s happening.

There’s a fair chance I’ll not get around to it, but I’ll do my best. I bet you all can’t wait…..

Then there were two…

Posted: September 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

So, yeah.

Two weeks after his due date, we welcomed the new boy into the world. He sleeps right now, I currently have baby sick on my shoulder. I’d forgotten about the little things like that. But you don’t mind, because as long as the baby sleeps you don’t care about the various fluids that have been projected onto you like you’re the worlds most unfortunate bullseye. He’s asleep. That’s cool.

Of course, this time around there’s the added element of the original boy (aka “The Boy”). He’s doing all the things that he usually does. He runs around, he looks at things that look shiny and interesting. He turns off the internet and the phone, because apparently he’s sneaky little ninja toddler that if you take your eye off him he’ll disappear.

He’s like Batman in The Dark Knight. Just when you think that you’re talking to someone, giving vital nuggets of wisdom you turn around to find he’s run off somewhere. Except I don’t remember seeing Batman getting himself stuck between a high chair and the wall because he wanted to see if he’d fit.

But that’s not really the point. I wanted to recall (to the best of my abilities) the whole experience of welcoming a child into the world. Except that I wanted to talk about it from the Dad’s perspective and talk about it in actual terms that relate to people. not like in those rubbish little pamphlets they give to dads.

I’ve joked about it in the past, a Dad getting a small piece of paper with “go ask your mother” written on it.
You know what you get? This:

                                         I think my thumb looks weird in this picture….

I mean seriously? How insulting is this? The general consensus that dad’s will only need to know what’s on a fold out A5 piece of paper. Even more insulting is that most of it is website links.

Fuck that.

I want to talk about what I went through.

Before I continue I’m not taking anything away from what women have to go through because, frankly, I’m eternally grateful that I didn’t have to push a tiny person out of me. But there are aspects from a male perspective that are often overlooked. I want to address that. But I’ll add a humorous picture or two.

The time came when my wife was scheduled to go into hospital to be induced. At this point the baby was 12 days overdue, my wife being such a good hostess that the little guy didn’t want to come out. Thankfully, we had relatives that the boy could go to, otherwise we’d be have to take him in and try and stop him setting a record for pressing the call help buttons.

So we went in and we waited. And waited. This, I had forgotten about. The amount of time just waiting for people to come or things to happen was surreal. The wife wasn’t in labour at this point so I didn’t feel that guilty about spending a large amount of time on Twitter, busying myself with trying to be witty and taking picture of things that seemed rather odd. If you follow me you might’ve seen some of them, the best of these probably being the toilet roll holders that looked like breasts.

Don’t believe me?

Have a look:

I mean, what were they thinking? Well, I think we all know what they were thinking. How could you not look at the finished product and question why they’ve somehow designed holders that appear to lactate paper? I suppose the maternity ward is the one place where it would work, but it’s not subtle.


The first night, the baby was not forthcoming, and because of the particular hospital I was in, I couldn’t stay after 8pm, so I had to go. I got back to make sure that the boy was still sleeping and that he hadn’t driven his grandmother insane. Her sanity was intact, and I sat down.

It was weird, being in the house and the wife not being there. It reminded me of when the boy was born. The only difference was that he had already been born at the point where I had to go home. That was hard as well. Knowing my family was in the hospital and coming home to an empty house. But this time I was coming home to my first son, so I could busy my feeble brain with being there for him.But my mind always snapped back to the hospital and my eyes were never far from my phone, waiting for a call to say that I could come.

So into day two. The boy was handed over to grandparents again. I got back to the hospital and had the waiting interspersed with buying the most expensive pasties ever from the cafe (seriously, ten quid for two cups of coffee and two pasties?) and strolling past the hospital radio station that had a surprisingly good choice in music. But there was still nothing happening, so I had to leave again.

The boy was still up when I got back, and after he went to bed I got a text from my wife saying that she was officially in labour. I hit the bed and thought I’d get in some sleep while I still could. I was laying in bed, phone in hand, checking the signal and the battery to make sure it was in optimum condition. It probably wasn’t due to the fact that I was checking it every two seconds. I wondered if I would get to sleep at all that night.

Seconds later, I fell asleep.

I was awoken around one in the morning to find that my wife was phoning me. At this point I was still ninety percent asleep and my brain was telling me that she was downstairs, and questioning why she would be calling. After the conversation reality slapped my brain across the head with the dad pamphlet and I kicked into gear. Grandparents were summoned once more and I made my way to the hospital.

The car journey was the scariest one I’d ever had, mainly because it was the heaviest rain I’d ever driven in and, between Port Talbot and Bridgend, there aren’t many lights on the motorway. I got there in one piece, parked, unclenched my buttocks from the hair-raising trip and tried to figure out how to get into the now closed hospital. I got there through A&E, which was surprisingly empty considering it was a Friday night in South Wales.

I got to the birthing room and all the memories for the first time came flooding back. My wife was lying there, gas and air pipe in hand (which despite my the best efforts, they never let me try) and I sat.

It was in moments like this when I felt I could pretty much do nothing. All other times I could get things, go to the shop, let people know what was happening. But when it came to down to it, my wife was having the baby and I couldn’t help.

And then comes the weird emotional roller coaster, because even though it turned out wonderfully and we had a new baby, that time before he was born, those hours and minutes, you’re watching someone you love go through so much pain and suffering and there’s nothing you can do. So you’re excited that you’re about to meet the offspring, but you’re utterly heartbroken and distraught at seeing her having to go through this.

But then she took my hand and I felt useful again. I told her to squeeze as hard as she wanted. She could break my fingers off and shove them up my nose if it helped in any small way. If it helped, then I was happy with that. I was watching her giving birth and I fell so in love with her all over again. And again. She fucking rocked. At this point my hand had gone from being held to being bitten. I was a man, I could take it. Until she really went for it and I said (and I think this is how you spell it) MMEEAARRRH!

And he was there. The new boy, all kinda purple and crying. You will never forget or experience anything like the first time you see your child. Thinking about it now I remember the exact same feeling of shock of seeing both of them, the feeling of  “Oh my god, it’s an actual person” kinda thing.

The next part is when you just sit there and look at him, and take in the last moment of quiet normality you’re going to experience for a fair few years. This point is when the Dad file downloads in your brain. The dad file helps you get your head around the fact that you’re now a father and disables the parts of your brain that gags at the sight of poo or sick or objecting when someone urinates on you. It also alters your way of thinking and your perception of reality. It will makes you think that this child has been with you al your life.  This was version 2.0 for me, which is a refreshers course and a resigning of the agreement.

I went home again. I sneaked in a quick hour of sleep and then me and the boy went to see the other half of the family and there we were. Our family of four. That phrase still makes me smile with joy and bewilderment.
We came home and it was like there had been the four of us all along.

So to sum up, if your a man and your going to be a dad, this sort of thing will happen to you. You will travel around, you will keep family members updated. But right at the point of when you other half is actually performing this amazing miracle of nature you will feel useless. You will want to tear open the sky to find the entity that is subjecting the woman you love to the pain that she is going through. But you will be strong for her and as soon as you see the little boy or girl every emotion other than love will drain away. You will be a family.

So there you go.

Next time, stuff about Dr Who. Probably….

So it’s potentially hours to go until the birth of the new boy.

Chances are that this post will have a rather large gap between me starting it and finishing, pending on when the time comes. Nevertheless I’ll push on with it.

So, two boys. Brothers. Siblings. Cohorts. No matter what, it’s going to be interesting. Prep has been done, Wotsists and Jaffa Cakes have been bought. Special Agent Oso has been recorded. When the time comes the boy will be spoilt rotten and basically kept quiet by whoever is watching him with the aforementioned tasty treats. That is if I can keep my hands off them myself. I swear those wotsits are laced with cocaine (have I said that in a previous post? I can’t remember…). Once the new boy is in the world I’ll wrench the then orange faced toddler away from his favourite animated TV panda to come and meet his sidekick and then we come home and we are a complete set. The four of us.

Four is a number that seems to fit. The thought of us all in the house together instantly makes more sense that just the boy as it is now. The more I think the more it seems such a perfect set up. Also I’ll have the right amount of children to explain the amount of grey hair I have. Sweet.

Life is funny sometimes and most people ponder the eternal question, what is the meaning of life? I used to, but I don’t any more because I have my own answer to that (I’ll tell you later).

The things I ponder these days are stupid things. I’ve pondered that phrase about having your cake and eating it too. Is that not what a cake is for? To be eaten? Why would you just have one and not eat it, it makes no sense.

Before you starting thinking that I’ve missed the point I’m aware of the phrase and what it actually means, but fuck that I want to take it literally. And if you ever have someone say that to you, tell them that you want two identical cakes. That way you can have one and eat it too. Simple.

Anyway, enough of that. I ponder other things but I can’t think of anything other than cake right now so I’m off to go and get one.

By the way you might notice some minor Amazon related changes up top and below the blog. I’m just trying something out. If you think it’s a getting in the way or something let me know I’ll take it off. I’m here for the art dammit.

Just click on the other adverts a million times so I can buy an iPad2.

Unless inspiration hits I’ll probably post after the new boy has been born, so God only knows what time it’ll go up.

Oh yeah, the meaning of life. If someone ever asks me that, my answer?

To live. So go live it. Preferably with two identical cakes.

There are films. You know this of course, you might’ve seen one or two of them in your time.

Sometimes these films are good, sometimes bad. Sometimes they’re the most amazing pieces of visual artistry that you will ever see and they will move you to tears, and sometimes you get Battlefield Earth.

But then sometimes you get films that are so bad, you can’t help but enjoy them and like to watch them again and again just to laugh at how poor it is but you thoroughly enjoy it every time. They’re generally referred to as guilty pleasures.

Total Recall is not one of these films, mainly because it’s awesome.

An explanation might be in order here then. Total Recall has been a favourite in this house for a while now. I can’t remember where it started but I’m assuming it had something to do with large quantities of alcohol and a lack of things to watch on TV. There’s something about the combination of story, acting, the fact it was made in the eighties and Arnie (I utterly refuse to type his surname; whos got the time?) that is truly magical.

You might think it’s rubbish, you may have a point. But then I’d want to throw a piece of Austrian oak at you and see that you got the irony as it bounced off your head.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s a classic story of a man who dreams of going to Mars, but can’t afford it. He then hears that he can have a memory implant in his head that’ll make him think he’s been on a nice holiday, but he also has an optional extra that make him think he’s a spy and has a dream-like adventure. Unfortunately due to the fact that this is Arnie’s head, the implant knocks out all that was in there (which probably amounts to thoughts about guns, boobs and a monkey starching his arse) and unlocks the fact that he’s actually a spy in real life but he can’t remember anything else. So he does what anyone else would do and kicks the shit out of anyone who looks at him funny.

And that’s essentially it. From this point on the plot goes out the window and he just goes and get’s the biggest handgun I’ve ever seen and blows snooker ball sized chunks out of anonymous henchmen whilst trying to get to Mars to meet a girl and help some Jim Henson creations. Or something.

I never thought about the plot that much, it’s just waiting to get to the bits that you remember and cheering him on as he inexplicably manages to kick to people in the face at the same time whilst being held down. The film is an example of the eighties style ‘ultra violence’ that was popular in other films like Robocop and Scarface, which is so so over the top you can’t help but laugh at seeing someone getting his head blown off. Or in the case of one of Recalls most iconic scenes using a fake head to blow up other peoples heads. You know the one, right?

                                           An everyday occurrance in eighties cinema…
One of the key ingredients to making this film awesome is Michael Ironside, who plays the (almost) main bad guy Richter. I’m sure he’s a great actor, but this is one of those ‘have fun and get paid’ roles for him .

Richter is a very angry man indeed. The main problem is that he can’t seem to be able to shoot a man who is six feet wide and stands out like a giant ogre in a pub full of hobbits

                                Pulling this face for a two hour film deserves an award in itself

But it’s his pure fury (and to be honest I don’t think he even knows why he wants to kill him after an hour) that leads him to his down fall and possibly the most missed opportunity for a quip in cinema history.

Basically he get’s his arms ripped off by a lift. Arnie is left waving said arms and he says “See you at the party Richter!” This is an Arnie film. No arm quip? Seriously? This is the guy who shot a crocodile and said “You’re Luggage”


Which lead to the main attraction of Total Recall; Arnie Himself.

Lets face it, any Arnie film without him would be a straight to video affair. But eighties Arnie could do no wrong. His huge range of emotions he shows is without equal.

Actually he has two expressions, one of which is:

                                            How has this man never won an oscar?

He’s is without doubt, awful. When he’s supposed to be in pain he sound like he’s reading it straight from the script.

But that’s the charm of big dude. People didn’t want to see him act, they wanted to see him destroy things. And people. And dialogue. He was at the peak of his powers doing this film and it shows. The effects may look rubbish now, the music and script is terrible and the acting is not even phoned in. Faxed in would be more appropriate.

But it’s just perfect for what it is. You know the saying two wrongs don’t make a right? Well a shitload of wrongs apparently is what it takes it to make one of the most unforgettable and entertaining films your ever likely to see. It’s probably on ITV2 or one of the sky channels now. Go watch and enjoy.

Plus how can you not enjoy a film that gives you a moment like this;

I saw a man having the fat sucked out from behind his nipple. I’m hoping it’s the one and only time.

That was Embarrassing Fat Bodies on Channel 4. Sadly, there’s not an amazing story that culminates in me having to witness the aforementioned operation to figure out how to stop the terrorists by recreating the moves of the surgeon to disarm the nuclear bomb on the way to the White House, It was just on when I walked in the room.

At first I thought there was some sort of uncooked pizza on the TV. Then, the horror. The horror when I realised what I saw.

This is today’s entertainment. It shows how TV has changed in the last twenty-odd years. I’m not going to rant on about it being rubbish compared to TV “back in my day” because my my day there was a lot of filler as well. It was called ITV.

(It still is, by the way. ITV is fucking terrible. All that needs to be done is for the BBC to buy TV Burp, and then ITV can be shot in the head and buried at sea, like that guy was the other day. You know the one, that beardy guy?).

The embarrassing bodies series actually quite deceptive. You can look at it and think that it’s just to laugh at fat people, but if you actually watch it, it shows the full extent of issues that some people in society face. It shows surgery as well, something I can’t watch because I’m a bit squeamish.

It also shows that TV is these days quite deceptive. I only realised the other day that a few of the programmes I watch are essentially game shows in disguise.

I watch The Apprentice. (In fact next year I’m thinking of setting up a blog to run alongside the series, but that’s another thought for another day) and the appeal for me is to watch supposedly the best business minds in Britain making complete tits of themselves. But then I thought that they’re competing for a prize, complete tasks and a few get knocked out every week.
Is that not what crackerjack was all about (I think, I’m actually too young for that one…) or The Generation Game? Or Big break? Or EVERY FUCKING GAMESHOW EVER!?!?

The only difference is that it has a shiny business like veneer instead of novelty buzzer noises and the chance to see what they could’ve won. Well they know what they could’ve won, it’s 250k and Lord Canderel as a matey blokey-bloke business partner instead of a 1978 Vauxhall Astra, or a weekend away for two to Benidorm.

I love it though, Nick’s expressions alone are TV comedy gold.

Another one I watch is Four Rooms. A new one from Channel 4 shows people bringing in all sorts of stuff to try and sell to dealers who presumably flog it off for a huge profit and laugh like a manically insane bond villain whist kicking kittens through an electric fan. I assume. They may just go home and eat their tea, I’m not sure.

This one is quite compelling. Basically people want to sell their stuff. They get greedy and usually go home with nothing. Four people make them offers. These people include someone who looks like Sean Lock, someone who looks like Phil Jupitus’s Dad, the ‘Simon Cowell’ of the group who’s surname is a breed of fish I can’t remember and a woman who looks like she’s a big fan of Tim Burton’s work.

The main draw on this is the fact that you can see people go into these rooms and have a game plan and as soon as they get a whiff of an offer more than they thought you can practically see the pound sign in their eyes. But again, it’s nothing more than a game show. It’s a game show that’s a unholy hybrid of Deal or No Deal, Dragons Den & Cash in the Attic (love and hugs to my wife for this comparison) but a game show nonetheless. They go in to win a prize and they either win or lose. It should be hosted by Roy Walker, he’s a legend.

So if I think about it, I watch Sci Fi, cleverly disguised game shows, QI & American sitcoms about people who watch Sci Fi.

I still haven’t seen Werner Herzog eat his shoe yet.

Thoughts about Future boy

Posted: June 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

So there’s about six weeks until the new boy is born.

I have an apparent sense of unnatural calm. The ministry of clich├ęs tells me that it’s the calm before the storm, but I’m not sure that’s the case. It could be, I’m frequently wrong about things including, but not limited to, correct lottery numbers and government legislation.

I think my brain is going with the fact that since we have a son already that the knowledge contained is backward compatible. To an extent I think this is correct. But of course everyone is different, and the situation wont be exactly the same. For a start there’s also the fact that there’s going to be a new baby and an twenty month old toddler, so that’s different. But my boy has a good soul (and a cheeky smile that’ll get him out of any situation) so I have no worries about him reacting to the new addition to the household. He’ll probably just think it’s the norm and just carry on dancing to Chugginton.

In a practical sense the fact that we’re having another boy is good as we have several layers of baby clothing that can be used again. Looking at the tiny t-shirts and sleep suits have questioned my sanity. Did we ever have a son who was that small? Surely not, he’s a big, walking toddler now. Was he ever a little sleepy thing that can’t support his head and is discreetly sick down my back? There is lots of photographic evidence that proves me wrong, yet part of my brain states that this wasn’t the case.

There’s another part of my brain that clearly remembers him sleeping in a Moses basket next to the sofa right next to where I was sitting, whilst I was blubbing (like a marine I might add) whilst Thor was giving up his life to enable Captain Kirk and his Mother to live on another day.*

I think it’s fair to say that on occasion that my brain can’t be trusted. For God’s sake just this second I literally just stopped writing because I remembered that I wanted to watch the new Captain America trailer and watched that instead of finishing my sentence.

I’m sure I had a point when I started writing this, but it’s gone. So I’ll leave with this.

I love my family. For all the irrational fears I may have about what’s to come I can’t wait to meet the new guy and welcome him into the world.

Then the consensus between me and my wife is that we’ll be investing in large amounts of contraception and Googling: “vasectomy procedures”.

*In plain English I was watching Star Trek.