Wednesday, 30 June 2010

All In The Wrist

That Natalie Dee knows what she's talking about

Flatmate still texts me.

From time to time, usually last thing at night, I will get a ‘Hello monkey how’s it going? x’, or a ‘Shush you! x’ or even a ‘Miaow!’ (with or without a kiss) out of the blue.

I haven’t seen him for about a month now. We arranged to meet in the coffee shop so he could give me some mail of mine that went to his address.

I was there before him, ensconced with a latte and a book, and I watched him carefully as he climbed the stairs.

I was shocked by how haggard he looked, and by the pained expression that flitted across his face when he saw me.

As usual, he resisted all attempts to talk about anything other than chess, although he was happy to expand on his reasons for being really pissed off with life at the moment.

Every sentence started with “I hate…”. It boiled down to this:

I hate the people who get in your way in the supermarket. I hate the noise and the traffic and the fumes. I hate the immigrants, the litter, the people who shout instead of talk, people who use their mobile phones in the street, all the noise pollution. I hate buses, lorries, motorbikes and sirens. I hate people who park wherever they want and block the road. I hate those bloody boom-boom-boom cars that go by driven by idiot alpha males playing that awful bloody music. I hate people who walk around listening to music on earphones. I hate people who walk behind me. I hate people who walk in front of me, crowding the pavement. I hate computers. I hate CCTV. I hate people who take photos all the time. I hate the moronic attitude of the general populous. I hate work. I hate having to pretend I’m looking for a job when I actually never want to work again. I hate being deeply in debt, and I hate the banks for putting me in this situation. I hate all the hassle. I hate not being able to just get on with what I want to do, which is play chess and be left alone. I hate people being in my face bothering me and asking me questions all the time. In fact, I hate people. I can't wait to go and live with my mum in France in September and just drop out for a year.

It was quite a monologue. I just listened. As usual, he apologised afterwards, blaming the fact he didn't talk to anyone these days so it all got bottled up.

Here is one unhappy soul, I thought.

Later, I fired off an email to BK:

Your brother is not in a good way. I'm worried about him. I think he’s depressed – even more negative than usual, really paranoid, looking like shit, completely withdrawn and apparently unable to handle normal life anymore. He's blaming the whole world for everything and denying his problems have anything to do with him. He also mentioned he’s been feeling down and not sleeping but wouldn’t expand. I think being made redundant last year hit him harder than he cares to admit. He's not the same person I knew in 2008. He’s made it plain he doesn’t want to see me so I can’t do anything. Please could you do the brotherly thing and stay in contact - discreetly - so he’s not totally isolated?

(I didn't tell him Flatmate had started to smoke dope again, as Flatmate had specifically asked me not to. It was one of the things that caused our row.

"I don't want BK to know because he'll tell Ma and Ma will worry unneccessarily," he'd said.

"I'm not quibbling about telling BK, I'm quibbling your use of the word unneccessarily," I'd snapped. Turned out he didn't like being talked to that way.)

BK wrote back: forget it, he’s always been like that, leave him to it.

And now weeks have slipped by. I think about Flatmate sometimes, but thankfully without the anguish of before. What I feel for him now is mostly worry, with flashes of frustration that he has chosen to mould himself into this impenetrable fortress, and occasionally anger at his utter denial that what he and I once shared actually meant something.

And sometimes I don’t think about him at all.

BK rings.

“What about Flatmate's accident then!” he says.

I gasp.

“What accident? What happened? Is he all right?”

“He hurt his wrist. He got knocked off his bike by a car or something. I don’t know, I got this secondhand from Ma, I haven’t spoken to him.”

“He’s been texting me, but he hasn’t mentioned it," I say. "I can’t believe he hasn’t mentioned it. I totally, totally give up. Your brother is an idiot."

All the same, I remain concerned for his mental, spiritual and now his physical state.

But a small and very evil part of me hopes the wrist that sustained the damage was the one he favours for wanking.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Kindly Desist With The Racism

Read this.

Oops. I herewith unreservedly withdraw my anti-English remark in the previous post.

It was insensitive and provocative.

It was not schadenfreude, it was not mere light-hearted mockery - it was dangerous and sinister and certain to incite racial hatred.

I applaud the Campaign for an English Parliament's diligence in stamping out this sort of racist filth. Thank goodness someone is looking out for ethnic slurs of this kind. No longer should sensitive, downtrodden Anglo-Saxons have to tolerate such abuse. Four reported attacks in four years is a serious matter. A slogan on a T-shirt can and will prompt any normal citizen to become a demented psychopath. Just because nobody likes the English - including most English - it doesn't make anti-English sentiment acceptable.

But the racism doesn't stop there. Its creeping tendrils of hate are flourishing too in the southern hemisphere. I condemn YOU, all 4,368,124 New Zealanders, of flagrant racism towards your nearest neighbours over on the West Island. I have seen your T shirts and I know. They are even available on the internet.

Stop it, stop your petty tribalism now.

Update: FFS, it's supposed to be fun, people.
Another update: Dear Marcus, English people do this because they are afraid of foreign people and anything that threatens their worldview that they are the bestest most supreme country in the whole world.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

God Of Nations (At Thy Feet)

oh superman

There is some soccer tournament going on at the moment, apparently.

I am following it as best I can on my shonky, 'borrowed' internet connection. Thank heavens for BBC Radio 5 Live, say I.

Thank heavens too I stopped supporting England the moment I chose to become a citizen of Godzone. You Poms aren't having a very good time of it, are you? Oh dear (hehe).

Anyway it transpired last week there was a modicum of jumping up and down and jubilant air-punching chez Weasel when New Zealand equalised against Slovakia in the 93rd minute.

At full time in today's NZ v Italy game there was all of that, plus some squeaking, and tears - real tears. I felt so proud it was almost as if I was an actual Kiwi and not just some four-eyed Pommie slapper who lived there (as I was once memorably described by Steve from Wainuiomata. He was my boss at the time).

"Heroes!" screamed 5 Live guest commentator Robbie Savage. "I know I should be being impartial and all that but they're heroes! They're fantastic! Come on New Zealand!"

Quite. Keeper Mark Paston was world class, not once missing what looked like a comfortable take to let the ball slip through his hands and roll agonisingly over the line. Shane Smeltz was only a teeny bit offside, and his goal was ace. Andy Barron, who came on as a sub in the final minutes, has a full time job at Westpac Bank in Wellington for chrissakes! An amateur! Playing for the national team of a country so indifferent to football it refers to it as soccer! Holding the world champions - the world champions! - to a draw! Frankly, that's just taking the piss.

Transcript of the text I sent to BK sent at 16:51 BST:


Succinctly put, I felt, although perhaps lacking objective match analysis.

I wasn't the only one moved to strong emotion after the whistle went.

"The New Zealanders have taken their shirts off!" screamed Mr Savage, noticing some post-match celebrations pitch-side. "There are people down there who've taken their shirts off! Women! There are women in their BRAs and that's fantastic!"

Go Kiwis.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

This Must Be The Place

I have decided to stay on for another month in my flat, because it's cheap and, well, I've run out of better ideas.

All the other people have now moved out, so I am in the process of making the place a little more homely (homely as in "MINE, mwahahahahahahahhh.")

This involves buying houseplants, moving furniture, persuading the landlord to provide a functioning hoover, and a lot more cleaning. When I moved in I did just enough cleaning to make the communal areas useable (useable as in "now I can clean my teeth, use the toilet, have a shower, prepare food, and walk across the carpet without risking typhoid, cholera, polio, tetanus, dysentery, etc") but not so much to imply I thought my cohabitees were filthy disgusting germdogs. A delicate balance.

But now the filthy disgusting germdogs are gone and I can really go to town with the bleach. Wa-hey!

I love the smell of sodium hypochlorite in the mornings.

For fun, I have also been getting to grips with the "back garden".

At 11.45am last Sunday, it looked like this (except not so pixellated):

By 1.45pm it looked like this:

And by 3.45pm it looked like this, and as you can see from the carefully placed towel I had already road-tested the deck chair (this being the whole point of the exercise):

It was a tough job clearing the weeds but once I'd perfected my removing-dandelions-from-gravel technique I was laughing (you know, that kind of laughter you do when your back is crippled from constantly bending over and there are prickles in your shoes and blisters on your hands and you wish you'd put on sunscreen).

I could walk again by Tuesday.

Now all I've got to do is work out how to get the telly in the lounge to work and I'll feel thoroughly at home.

Until I get a new lot of germdog housemates, anyway.

Friday, 11 June 2010


I've admired you from afar for so long, and when we finally got together on Wednesday I knew I'd found true love at last.

You towered over me, pale and rough and a bit grubby, and I could barely get my arm around you. No words were necessary - the butterflies in my stomach said it all.

We spent an hour together. It wasn't long enough. You knocked me off my feet; I fell head over heels. I wanted more and more: you were mesmerising, addictive. You made me very wet.

And now the thought of you fills my every waking moment. I can't wait to taste your salty kisses again.

Here is a photo of Downstairs Monkey with my new amour:

Oh yes.

Let's all thank our lucky stars for the fabulosity that is Porthcawl.