Idle Eye 43 : The Priory Priority

Interesting stuff. Yesterday evening threw up one of them family parties which involved myself, Da Mudda & Ursula all pitching up at Idle HQ to accompany Nibs in a cab that shot us all off to Esher, where we celebrated not one but four (count ‘em) birthdays in some way connected to The Firm. Most of this I have scant recollection of due to usual suspects, but what I did note before succumbing to the ensuing jollities was that legendary sleb hospital, The Priory, was but two minutes away from the Idle Hour itself. Now, I know my brother reasonably well, and when it comes to business I’m afraid to report, gentle reader, he leaves me in the starting blocks. So this salient fact is unlikely to be a mere accident, no siree. And my suspicions were further raised when I did a little, er, research earlier this afternoon. Let me elucidate:

As we all know, what goes on in the Priory is supposed to stay in there, but, human nature being what it is, this is rarely the case. Perennial reoffenders, such as tubby Take That favourite Blobby Williams, fall over themselves to break out of those forbiddingly high perimeter walls, blurt out their respective misdemeanours to whichever red top will shell out a few bob, only to check themselves back in there a few weeks later, steeped in remorse and seeking the kind of meaningful salvation only prohibitively priced clinics can administer. This being the case, we need to get inside the mind of the fugitive patient to fully understand why Nibs chose Railway Side to be his bedrock:

Once out, he/she will almost certainly be on the sniff for somewhere to unwind. Now, according to google maps, the only logical route to achieve this would be to head north.

‘Why north?’ I hear you cry.

Well, listen up: As they hit the Upper Richmond Road, they will invariably come across a hostelry called the Halfway House. This will resonate with the afflicted in a way we cannot begin to comprehend, and will simultaneously spur them on to seek out their real nirvana. And as they stumble towards the railway crossing like Paul towards Damascus, they will find another sure sign that they are on the right track: the Vine Road Recreation Ground. From there it is but a hop and a step to the Vegas that is Idle Hour.

But don’t for one minute think that this is one way traffic: Nibs is far too smart for that. When the seasoned drinker reaches saturation and the bosom of his/her esteemed family can no longer tolerate the inevitable, redemption can be found by simply retracing ones’ steps and heading south, where it is highly unlikely all that personal info will yet have been scrubbed from the database. It’s a narcotic Pushmi-Pullyu situation, in which the hapless addict bounces from one haven to the other.

Bro: Respect is due.

Idle Eye 42 : The End of the Affair

So, how y’all coping then? Spent? Deflated? Blaming the Met Office for the traditional wet patch that came just after? Thought so. And to be fair, it is kind of strange right now if you happen to be a Lahndan resident riding out the aftermath of a cultural event that was, against all odds, rather, er… good, actually. Let’s forget about the bill, Boris and the Bonkers song for a bit (and the right royal slagging I gave ‘em a couple of weeks ago), the London 2012 Olympics (can I say that now, LOGOG?) were quite a hoot, no? And despite not having made it to one single event, I managed to bask in the shared vibe a little and, God forbid, I even allowed a tad of sport to beam through the idiot’s lantern indoors: Now that’s progress.

I’m not going to sound off too hard with football comparisons as I’ve done it elsewhere (as has every columnist in the land, it seems), but I do sincerely hope the overpaid muddied oafs learn a few lessons from the last couple of weeks. Excellence, commitment and humility in both defeat and victory, for example. And when it came to the old in-out in-out, apparently rife in the Village, we were spared the potato-faced Neanderthals grovelling publicly to their equally vile WAGS having been caught in flagrante delicto with a couple of headline-hungry models up to their eyeballs in Class A. No, they did it all with style and it felt okay to be patriotic for the first time since God knows when, I don’t recall.

I even managed to coax young Nibs and his good lady out from his warren for the first time in eons for the closing ceremony thing. Not the one in the stadium, mind, that would have been vulgar beyond language and we would have had to watch Brian May and the Spice Girls being shite. No, we caught Blur, the Specials, New Order and the magnificent Bombay Bicycle Club in the throne contender that was Hyde Park, and they delivered. Admittedly, I was six sheets to the wind on corporate lager (£5 a pop) but sometimes you just have to bin your politics and get on with it. And if anyone cares to question the fact that three out of the four fall neatly under DadRock, I would ask you to just try ‘em and see. The Specials in particular: An inspired choice, reflecting all that is good right now (and then) about multicultural Britain and the perfect musical mirror to what was happening further east. I never thought I’d say this but BT, I salute you.

But now the lights are out and curtains closed as the capital wakes to a new dawn of massive forthcoming rail hikes, euro uncertainty and George Osborne. No, the horrors never went away, kids, they just hid for a bit under the rings: Bummer…

 

Idle Eye 41 : The Face-Off

Anyone who has ever attempted the dark art of writing to a 500 word count will implicitly understand what a taut organ it has to be. One sentence, a word even, can throw the balance of the piece so completely off-kilter it has to be dramatically re-approached, and punctuation (don’t get me started on punctuation) must ripple through the paragraphs like miniscule unseen roadsigns, steering the reader towards the inevitable. So imagine my dismay when I got the call from Idle HQ after I had mentally constructed an hilarious appraisal of our countryside:

Nibs : I know you’ve already done this, but I’m gonna need a big up on Britain’s Favourite Burger this week. Keeps it fresh in their minds.

Me : But I’m doing the country. It’s a corker, trust me.

Nibs : Fine, do the country by all means but just stick in a few words about the burger thing. Why not say I got a bronze? It’s topical & you can put that in the keywords if LOGOG will let you.

Me : You don’t get it. I can’t just bung in stuff about burgers. It doesn’t work.

Nibs : Well, make it work then. Cows come from the country, right? There, you can have that one on me.

Me : It’s not that simple, bro. You can’t just stick in a few words. Writing this blog isn’t just bunging in stuff about burgers. It’s a craft! I think about how it all fits together for days and when I know it’s right, I get it all down. I wouldn’t tell you how to cook one of your specials, would I? Yeah, just bung in a few bits & bobs from the fridge? Jesus H!!! I have my art and you have yours. Now let me get on with it.

Nibs : Stop being a dick. I just want you to say I came third in the burger competition. Bloody hell, get over yourself!

Me : It compromises the whole thing, man! Every piece I write is linear, right? There’s a start, I piddle about with it in the middle and then go in for the kill at the end. And it works like that every week which is why people like it. The comfort of familiarity via comedy of repetition. It’s a tried and tested formula that you can’t screw about with. So if I suddenly bring in burgers it loses its entire thrust. Something would have to give and there’s no fat to fry.

Nibs : You just said it, right there. No fat to fry! Now stick that in the blog & stop being so bloody precious! Jeez, anyone would think I was employing Coren.

Me : Ok bro, we’ll play it your way, shall we? Not a problem! Right, let’s kick off with the classic urban take on our impoverished rural cousins. Except they’re not, are they? Impoverished, that is. Down in that Chipping Norton they’re all stinking, right? Enjoying BRITAIN’S THIRD FAVOURITE BURGER while Rebekah gets her