Friday, July 28, 2006

Caroline Goes To The Supermarket

She’d had a bitch of a day and needed a gin and tonic more than she needed to navigate her way around Tesco.
She parked in the closest space to the supermarket she could find and started pushing a trolley into the supermarket.

It was the smells that resonated when she was in the supermarket, the smell of the rotisserie counter, the bakery counter – she even considered that Tesco pump smells through the air conditioning system to encourage people to buy more of their products.

“Idiots” she thought as she pushed her laden trolley towards the checkout.

Idly glancing into other trolleys in the queue, she noticed that other peoples shopping was often much more interesting than hers, items in the trolley that she hadn’t even known about, let alone considered buying.

Although occasionally she felt a wave of relief as she saw trolleys loaded with no-frills items – on this occasion she saw a woman at the next checkout was loading a pack of no-frills sanitary towels onto the trolley.

“Poor cow. Has she no shame?” she thought.

Pushing a fully loaded trolley in kitten heels was a challenge, although the car, thankfully wasn’t far away.

No sooner than she had opened the boot she heard a man’s voice.

“You can’t park there”

“Are you an employee of the supermarket?”

“No, but it’s parent and child parking only” The man said smugly.

“So? I’ve got a parent, and I was once a child”

“Don’t be so flippant. There’s parents with children who need to park here”

There were as least five empty parent and child spaces.

“Well so do I”

“Parents with children need to park here more than you”

“Why should they”? She looked up and down at the man who was desperately thinking of something to say. “I have as much right to park here as anyone else”

“It’s not fair on parents with children, they will have to walk further with prams and pushchairs”

“So what? They shouldn’t be bringing their fucking children to a supermarket anyway, they’re nothing but a bloody nuisance – so I’ll park where I want to, sir”

“You shouldn’t swear, it’s unladylike, and besides, there may be children about”

Caroline lugged the remaining bags into her boot, got into her car and leaned out of the window. “Go fuck yourself you old cunt” and sped off in the direction of home.

Some people. She thought. Turning up the radio she was finally able to laugh about that sanctimonious middle aged man in the car park.

© 2006

Thursday, July 20, 2006

From Watford Gap to Bourgas

I have only been back in England for two days, and despite only being away for ten days, I have firmly come back down to earth with a bang..

My second visit to Bulgaria has been a lengthier and more diverse one, taking in more of the country this time than before – my first visit leaving me hungry to return.

The premise for my first visit was to help my partner with the clean up of a house which was recently purchased over there – my only previous experience of Eastern Europe was whilst I was at college when I went to Prague with college, taking the overland route from Grimsby to Prague via Calais, Oostende, Frankfurt, and Nürnberg.

The culmination of this long and arduous 36 hour journey was hallucinations and a desire to get as pissed as possible.

Back in the January of 1996, Prague was somewhere which wasn’t a regular weekend destination – Amsterdam was about is risqué as it got, and no-one I had ever known had been to Prague before. My own Mother thought I was going to Russia.

I could talk lengthily about the magnificent grandeur of the landscape and architecture, but at 17 my opinions on Prague were based on two things:

How cheap the alcohol was
How cheap the cigarettes were

On both these counts Prague didn’t disappoint me, and I can clearly remember staying in a hotel by what I took to be the Prague Western Bypass, and buying an obscene amount of vodka and cigarettes.

I felt like a proper schoolboy smuggler – 200 cigarettes and a bottle of spirits was (or still is) the limit, and I made my way back through Europe with one of those plastic canvas stripy bags – similar to those you see the African refugees carry ion the news, although theirs, I imagine wasn’t full to bursting with vodka and cigarettes.

So almost ten years later I return to the Eastern Bloc in search of good times and enough cigarettes and alcohol to provide a wake for George Best; although this time, instead of an arduous bus journey from Lincolnshire, we flew to Sofia from Manchester - eating sandwiches and sausages and drinking lager courtesy of Lufthansa all the way.

My recentmost visit to Bulgaria was slightly more full on than the last.
Cheap flights were booked by my other half – “There’s a little snag, though” I was told.

The “little snag” turned out to be that the flights were from Luton. Considering that I live in Manchester, this wasn’t ideal – although I’ve never flown from Luton before, and I thought “sod it, it’ll be an adventure.

Airport parking, however is a cost neither of us factored in – parking at Luton Airport for ten days is more expensive than a week self catering in Benidorm.

Resourceful to the end, I got in touch with the parking services department of Luton Borough council and managed to purchase a two week permit for one of their municipal car parks, close to the station.

My experience of the South East of England is relatively limited – London and Essex are the only two areas I am vaguely familiar with, and thought Luton would be similar to Chigwell, or possibly Romford.

The town itself was much smaller than I imagined and the poverty and deprivation one saw driving in was stark.

I would be tempted to describe the area as “multicultural” although there was no evidence of other cultures other than Asian, and the place reminded me of ghettos of Oldham or Bradford, where tensions rose and rose a few years ago. Driving through this area I felt as conspicuous as a pork chop at a Bar Mitzvah, so we made our way to the train station (tatty) and onto Luton Airport via an admittedly good train link.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Tomorrow sees me going on holiday – I did have an idea in my head watching England take part in the World Cup Final sitting in a beach bar watching their UK TV.

Sadly it was not to be – four years ago I recall watching not only the England matches abroad, but also to my shame, Big Brother.

I had been looking forward to both these big events to see me through the summer, now unfortunately I am no longer going to see Paul Robinson on as near a regular basis as I’d like, nor am I going to be entertained by Lea for much longer in the Big Brother house.

Endemol must surely now be clutching at straws when both the actual and “secret” house know the strategy.

The opportunity to bring in five fresh new housemates has so far proved to be an opportunity wasted, Endemol choosing to bring in stereotypes as opposed to regular contestants, although Jennie appears to be the most normal from the five, possibly only because she’s a girl from Liverpool who hasn’t been involved in the world of promotions in London and hasn’t been shagged by Calum Best. To my knowledge anyway.

Ronaldo's Apology To Rooney

Special Needs

Having chopped and changed my mind about who I want to win this year’s Big brother, I have been able to categorically state who I don’t want to win, and that’s Pete – who entered the house like Jim Carrey on speed, and has slowed down enough to show his true colours.

He likes to tease the kitty but he doesn’t like to touch it

The most intriguing thing for me regarding this is how staunchly he is defended. I almost want to claim that this generation of teenagers and students are affected by a new morality – and are defending him using the most politically correct language I have possibly ever heard.

Endemol decided that after 6 series of Big Brother, and contestants as diverse from a Scouse builder to a Portuguese transsexual – they decided to whip up some controversy and include a housemate with Tourettes Syndrome.

Previously, shows such as Tourettes Camp or any similar documentaries have been generally viewed primarily for titillation as opposed to education.

A housemate in Big Brother unable to rein in a torrent of profanity whilst Davina McCall addresses the house pleading for no-one to swear is almost a parody of several of Leigh Francis’ Bo’Selecta characters including Davina herself (who incidentally discovered Francis) and the Tourettes Boy he plays, based on a documentary from the 90s about a boy who peppered every conversation with profane language.

However, the twist in the tail is that the Tourettes Character in Big Brother has entered the house with a gameplan.

By being, using the words of Mel B, a minge teasing bastard he has led on the females of the house and in doing so, precipitate a culture of pandering to him.

He is with no doubt someone who has been told many times that he is special, and in doing so has become as insolent as the artists’ model, causing him to believe his own hype.

Having entered the house in a blaze of energy, he has proved this was fake and unsustainable – his time in the house has been spent in either indolent silence or being “zany” when a camera pans past him.

His lack of backbone has infuriated me from the start, and it’s clear to see this is someone who revels in the attention and the sympathy of women.

Supporters of him will claim a million and one reasons for their support, primarily “Aww, he’s special” – and claim he should have preferential treatment because of this.

I firmly believe all housemates on Big Brother should be treated equally – if special rights are demanded, then an uneven playing field is indicated.

A worthy winner of Big Brother? I personally think definitely not.

A suggestion to Endemol would be to follow the style of We Are The Champions, presented by Ron Pickering where there used to be one show out of the series of disabled and handicapped kids all participating in sporting activities, although the only part I clearly remember is the splashing around in the swimming pool at the end.
Your Personality Is Like Cocaine
You're dynamic, brilliant, and alluring to those who don't know you. Hyper and full of energy, you're usually the last one to leave a party. Sometimes your sharp mind gets the better of you... you're a bit paranoid!
What Drug Is Your Personality Like?