Idle Eye 102 : The All Fun Dulwich Mum Run

Adrenalin junkies. Forget Sochi, forget bungee and forget all that Cornwall freak wave surfin’ stuff. You want thrills? Well, look no further. Idle Eye has the sickest tip onna block right now, na’ameen? C’mon kids, it’s the All Fun Dulwich Mum Run and here’s how it works:

Your mission is to get from Gipsy Hill roundabout to the Majestic Wine Warehouse on Park Hill Road (a mere 0.7 miles from start to finish) between the hours of 7.00 and 9.00am. On a bicycle. Armed only with the wits you were born with and an unmitigated faith in humanity, you must arrive at your destination unscathed, alive and in full control of your vehicle. You have no special powers, no protective clothing and no armoured shield. You do, however, have an invisibility cloak known only to your adversaries. Using your skill and judgement, you must traverse your route avoiding all enemy apparatus, from Volvo Estate (6 points) to Range Rover Evoque (25 points) and anything in between.

Beware! Your foe will not lie down lightly, oh no. Its diabolical spawn will attempt to dislodge you, head on, as they leave their designated ship with the entitled opening of passenger door into your given path. Fear not. Hold your nerve. They are unspeakably ugly and will almost certainly end up as education secretary or somesuch. Sadly, they do not yet know this so steer clear if at all possible. Also they are wearing short trousers which you stopped doing in 1977. Clock it and move on.

You look like a bag of spanners, that’s a given. But your Dulwich Mum spends more time than you’ve had hot dinners on her ‘dropping the kids off’ weekday casual look. Remember this when you’re smarting from that ‘turd in my teacake’ withering glance you will almost certainly receive as you slalom yourself out of danger.

It is, of course, possible to run this particular gauntlet by car, milk float or mobility scooter. But it is the bicycle that attracts maximum scorn and is therefore considered by our panel to be most suitable for the challenge. “To be truly hated is to be truly understood”, as someone once said. And no-one is more hated than a cyclist on the All Fun Dulwich Mum Run. Which makes you the perfect candidate. Feels good, right?

You like Hunters wellies? You like Barbour jackets? Of course you don’t. So why not unleash your pent-up fury with that arsenal of oomska you’ve been accumulating for weeks like all good cyclists do and hurl it into the next static vehicle you pass? Don’t worry, they will be expecting this and it looks good on your CV.

The Idle Eye in no way endorses the Majestic Wine Warehouse as an incentive for you to achieve your objective. It just happens to be there at the end of Alleyn Park. And look at the time. Enjoy responsibly

Nearest A&E: Kings College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9RS

© EyeGames 2014


Idle Eye 88 : The Indignity of Labour

Every year at around this time, I am thrown into a state of physical and mental inertia by a small metal box that lives on my desk. Any freelancers reading this will inherently understand what I’m on about here because, if they’re honest, so are they. I’m talking, of course, about doing the annual accounts. It is a vile task that cannot be ignored, cannot be sexed up and involves the same kind of soulless, repetitive labour previously employed in the Soviet gulags. It throws up a brutal mirror to the fact that your year wasn’t exactly peppered with exotic pursuits and devil-may-care decision making, and the foolscap brown envelope brimful with countless train tickets to the same destination never fails to rub salt into the wound.

Accountants are no fools: They know what you’re like, which is why they give you that October deadline when everyone knows the suits don’t want your meagre offerings until the end of January. So, eventually, you cover your living room floor (immaculately vacuumed several times previous as a diversion tactic) in tatty slivers of paper, pouring over them with increasingly powerful reading glasses for the date that rubbed off months ago in your wallet. And when you’ve finally got the little bastards into some kind of shape and downed a conciliatory bottle of NZ Marlborough Pinot Noir, you remember that the worst is yet to come and you are now in no fit state to take it on: The spreadsheet.

No-one in their right mind likes spreadsheets. They are the embodiment of every value you ever despised (and made you go into that badly paid but wildly creative job you somehow manage to hold down) in the first place. Spreadsheets suck the will to live from every orifice you have that still works. And they were almost certainly invented by Amon Goeth to drag mankind down into a well of despair and hopelessness. So, you are now caught in a classic Catch-22: In order to tackle the final hurdle it is imperative that you unscrew another bottle but the minute you do, that mañana moment will be upon you and you will see, with perfect clarity, the futility of your intended endeavour and that all those receipts from Oddbins & Majestic that you shredded yesterday could probably have been seen as a legitimate business expense. Oh the irony!

As I write this, I am painfully aware that we are already halfway through October. It will take me approximately three full days to complete it all and approximately half a case of wine. I could have done it last week when I had a couple of days off but I did hoovering instead. And cleaned the hob. These are the depths of depravity one is prepared to trawl when faced with a more appalling alternative, and it says something profound about the human condition and the indignity of labour. Although I’m not quite sure what…

Idle Eye 3 : The Gift

Readers, I need help. Last weekend I bought a bottle cutter off that eBay and made a vase. A vase, for God’s sake! A sure sign that I’m heading at breakneck speed towards the final countdown. Whatever next? Carpet dye? Comfortable shoes? In my defense, it was an attempt to stem the tide of neighbourhood wrath every fortnight when a pantechnicon with my address embossed on the side appears at 5.45am and minimally reduces the glass mountain engulfing the street it has just woken up. Frighteningly, I’m getting the hang of it too, thanks to the glossy 35-page brochure exquisitely realised by Terrence Picone and Sydney St James from Wyckoff, NJ. Apparently, when I get really good, I can make a Gold Votive Candle Holder from an Orangina bottle, or a magnificent Fish Decanter with just a Pescevino white wine bottle and cork. And some liquorice paint. But this giddy level of excellence does not come quick, oh no! According to Tel’n’Syd :

“During your learning phase you should successfully cut about 80% of the projects you start. And once you have practiced a little, 95%. Practice, practice, practice!”

No time like the present then, so I took the Triumph Herald to Majestic and loaded her up with a suspension-busting cargo of practice items, including some challenging top flight shaped ones for when I get better. And I really don’t have long to master my craft. It’s the Idle Hour 10th anniversary this month, you see, and my thinking runs somewhere along the lines of making Nibs something special to mark the occasion. Something he can look at on a busy night when he’s clearing the tables of lesser bottles and feel a warm Ready Brek glow of pride that we are from the same womb. He also mentioned that there was a bit of a ’10’ theme going on, 10% off booze, 10% off food, 10 years lopped off the tail end of your life etc..etc.. Which is nice. But anyway, first things first. I’ve got 2.5 cases to get through before I can start and there’s a potentially lethal cutting tool involved. These are the kinds of impossible odds young David faced in the Valley of Elah as the mighty Goliath waved his sword about and pointed at his wet patch. But, like the warrior I have become, in times of peril I shall overcome.

Footnote from Kings College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5

I must say I can’t see what all the fuss is about the NHS. Over-stretched/underpaid and most of them absolutely shattered but always time for a smile and a chat. Bless them all. Nurse Rached has been particularly sweet and set me up in Physio with my cutter as there’s really not long at all until this anniversary thing kicks off. And most understanding about the mess. Turns out T’n’S were wildly optimistic with their percentages but there again they are American: Perhaps I should sue.