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

Idle Eye 13 : The Resolutions

I’d like to start off 2012 with an apology and then we’ll get down to business. It seems that one or two of you were deeply affronted by the insinuation made on the Cast & Crew page that Nibs’ and my own dear mother is somehow affiliated with the Nazi party. On reflection, I have come to the conclusion that this may not be the case (despite some damning evidence to the contrary I am legally bound not to disclose) and I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused. So much so that I spent the week after Christmas tracking down the only surviving member of the Waffen-SS, one Herr Josef Ümlaut, to make the apology in person. I am, and have always been, a gentleman.

So where were we? Ah yes, 2012. Well, we all enjoyed the fireworks (thanks, Boris) and we’ll all be working just that little bit harder to pay them off, right? But never mind that, it’s the Olympics, innit! THE OLYMPICS!!! Sponsored by health and efficiency magnates Coke and MacDonalds and mascotted by cuddly cyclopses Wenlock and Mandeville. Brilliant! I don’t know about you but I am going to be glued to my set for weeks, swilling official fizzy pop and burgers until I am fit enough to hound down one of those monocular LOCOG lackeys and lance it with a javelin. There, I said it. Now, who else can I offend this week? C’mon Seb, have a pop.

I also promised Nibs that I would make this blog more Idle Hour-centric in one of my less rational, claret-sodden moments of weakness. Well, it was New Year and I was welled up with the mucus of human kindness. So we discussed characters we could slowly introduce that, in time, you will all become familiar with, based on your favourite pubs’ staff, locals and such. It was a drawn-out process but we got there in the end. So, without any further ado, I would like to introduce you all to Timmy:

You:  Hello Timmy!

Timmy:  Meow.

You:  TimmyTimmyTimmyTimmy!

Timmy:  Meow.

Obviously, over time, Timmy’s inherent qualities will manifest themselves on the page and her (sic) antics will become increasingly unlikely and hilarious, but first I have to get to know the little gal and this far in it’s all she’s given me. However, I think you can already tell she’s got the X-factor and I’ll be exploiting this ruthlessly as you might imagine.

Lastly, but by no means leastly, I’d like to thank you all for reading this nonsense over the past few months. Perhaps if you stick with it, you will notice a maturity of style and keen wit develop as the weeks go on, and perhaps, in an ideal world, you will meet Giles Coren in a fancy restaurant he is being paid to eat in and beg him to review Nibs’ tiny but perfectly formed establishment. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Oh, and Happy New Year.