Idle Eye 57 : The Eyes Have It

Ever since I was knee high to a grasshopper I’ve been monstrously short-sighted. Of course, when it first happens you are blissfully ignorant of nature’s slight until such time as your mother clocks you barging into furniture or, in my case, not spotting her entering the room when under a chaise longue with a stolen hoard of the stepfather’s Playboys. (Yes, we had a chaise longue. Get over it.) Anyway, shortly afterwards I was given a confidence-busting pair of Elvis Costello’s courtesy of the NHS at the exact same time as things began to drop downstairs. This was obviously unacceptable to a young adult drenched in Hi Karate as it severely compromised my chances with Farrah Fawcett-Majors and made it almost impossible to wear headphones in bed: Something had to give.

Five years later, I was given an appointment with Dr Richards at Guildford Road. And, thanks to the wonders of modern ocular technology, I was eventually able to discard those ridiculous billboards of inadequacy for something far more suitable. Sexy, even. From that moment on no-one would ever know that I couldn’t read the body copy of a cornflakes packet less than a metre from my own face. I had contact lenses, for Christ’s sake! Now I was carnally available. Any time. Anywhere. But sadly, this was not to be. Even Nibs, with whom I shared a bedroom, barely registered acknowledgement and he certainly was not my target market.

Fast forward another thirty years and you discover a man who has not moved on. Those two tiny slivers of translucent plastic are still the vehicle through which I decipher the world, and now they are scratched, world weary and begging for change. So, finally, I have decided to listen. On 2nd March of this the year 2013, some bloke called Mr Patel in Shaftesbury Avenue is going to digitally zap the fuck out of my vile jellies and I shall have my road to Damascus moment at last. Unless he buggers it up, of course, in which case you are reading the fifth last post here. Needless to say, one of my main concerns was how this would compromise my bohemian lifestyle in both the short & long term, but according to the Trevithick Laboratory, it turns out that the sustained intake of New Zealand Marlborough Pinot Noir (2008-2011) appears to protect the mitochondria cells which stop you getting cataracts. Who’d have thunk it?

There is, however, a small bridge between now and then, and we do have the Idle Hour Burns Night ahead of us. Now, I don’t wish to appear presumptuous, but if you do happen to come across someone looking like an outpatient from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, may I ask you to have a small word with Nibs and convince him I’ll be needing a complimentary tipple for medicinal purposes. And if he balks, maybe mention that I’ll be getting a room of my own soon.

 

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.