An Intermediate Little Something

Photo by Hubi Farago on Pexels.com

On the very first day of Lockdown I lost a chunk of tooth.  What was left of the errant molar then continued to shed lumps of itself at random intervals right up until the present day.  Each time I found myself spitting out chunks of dentine, I phoned the dentist, only to be told that she wouldn’t see me unless I was in unbearable pain, unable to sleep, or could not eat.  I will not lie, and none of the above options applied, so I chomped on to the best of my abilities.

Yesterday, the dentist rang me to say that they would see me in one weeks time.  Great news?  Should be, but you know how these things go.  Today, my tooth aches.  I cannot chew on it.  I will not be able to sleep for the next seven days.  Psychosomatic?  I presume so.  I can live with it.  What’s of most concern is that six days from now I have to submit an online form to certify that I do not have any Covid symptoms – and I can feel the countdown ticking in my head as I type…

Round and round and round…

 

dictaphone

Some years ago I wrote a monologue – which centred, to my recollection, on the Queen’s toilet roll – by shouting into a Dictaphone as I went about my daily business. Well today, having a blog to write, a ceiling to paint and a water feature to de-slime, I thought I’d try it again. You never know, technology having moved on, as it does, I might even just to be able to play the recording back straight into the laptop so that it can transcribe it into my blog for me. I’ll let you know…

So, the one thing I have discovered during the lockdown is… Is this working? How can you tell? I’ll have to run it back and see if… Yes, yes, it’s fine. I should have known – you can see the little wheels turning on the cassette. I wonder if you can still buy these titchy little tapes? I guess not. All digital now I bet. Anyway. Now, where was I? Oh yes, I remember, late night T.V… Now, I’ve happened to catch Gogglebox these last few nights and… Do people really watch T.V. like that? I… No, it’s me. No, I’m not on the phone, I’m talking into my Dictaphone. Yes, I did keep it. I know you put it in the charity box. Yes, I’m sure – I can see the little wheels turning. It has one of those titchy little tapes. I know… Have you seen Gogglebox by the way? I know, that’s what I was just saying. Nobody watches TV like that. They have to be actors don’t they? People just don’t react in unison unless they’re directed. I wonder if they need scripts? I’m sure I could… Shit! Did you move the paint tray? Oh bugger. Quick, get the turps and some cloths. I’ll take my shoes off and you check the insurance details. Just a minute while I turn the bloody tape off…

…OK, now, where was I? Oh yes, late night T.V. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that Gogglebox is just a repeat of an early evening programme, but let’s face it, nobody ever looks at Channel 4 during normal hours do they? Just in the middle of the night when the only competition is Live Casinos, Shopping for Crap and Gordon Ramsay shouting at somebody who would punch his lights out under any other circumstances. Oh yes, and Come Dine With Me. Presumably the production companies have a special department dedicated to searching out the obnoxious. I… Is that my phone ringing? Hang on, I’ll just have to turn you off a minute while I look for it…

… Oh, of course, I didn’t turn you back on, did I? Didn’t think to check if the little wheels were turning. So, where was I? Ah yes, late night T.V. Well, let’s face it, they wouldn’t show those programmes at any other time of day would they? I think… Ah yes, good afternoon neighbour. No, I am clearing the green slime from the bottom of the water feature. No, no need to call the police. I am not having an illegal gathering. I do not, since you ask, have ‘a group of nobbish friends round infecting the whole bloody neighbourhood’. I am talking into this little tape gizmo thing – you can see the little wheels turning… No, there’s no need to call the intervention team. I am not having a lockdown induced breakdown. I am carrying out one of my mundane tasks whilst attempting to write an entertaining blog. No, blog. No, not a huge number, no. Yes, I suppose it could be a little sad, if you chose to look at it in that way; although, I’m not certain how that automatically makes me ‘a sad old tosser’. By the way, I’ve got a bag for you here. No, not a parcel left by the postman, no, it is many, many parcels left in my garden by your bloody cat…

…No, it’s just a bruise. I had no idea that the bloody maniac had put a gate in the fence. Community police officer decided against charging him, pointing to the cat crap I had dropped on his hat. She locked the gate and wedged it. She also fished the little tape recorder out of the water feature. Wonder if it’s insured. What? Oh really? So they are. Amazing this old technology – you just can’t stop those tiny wheels from spinning. It’s no wonder they caught Nixon. No, Nixon. The American president. He… oh, never mind, it’s not important. No, I’m just going to go inside and finish the blog. I won’t bleed on the sheepskin. It’s stopped now. I don’t know, I won’t be long. No, I have no intention of talking all night. My blog. It is for my blog. No, that is not why I have taken to sitting up half the night. I never even knew those channels existed. I have been watching a group of everyday people watching the television. No, on the television, it’s… oh, never mind. Look, the titchy little tape has almost run out. Must be a blog in there by now. What time does Naked Attraction start?…

…Well, that seemed to go ok, didn’t it?…

There’s a hole in my neighbourhood down which of late I cannot help but fall… Guy Garvey (Elbow – Grounds for Divorce)

The Commercial Vision of a Happily Hirsute Man

 

haircut

OK, given the manifold possibilities associated with coronavirus: serious illness, death, bankruptcy, starvation, fewer episodes of Eastenders, it came as something as a surprise to me to discover that many people considered that not being able to go to the hairdresser was the worst problem they could imagine. Now, I realise that it matters so little to me because I am by nature a scruffy bugger, but I can’t for the life of me imagine why it does matter quite so much to anybody else. None-the-less, times being what they are, and philanthropy being the order of the day, I felt that I might be able to help. I remembered, in the years of my sallow youth, that it was possible to buy a DIY hair trimmer, which resembled a Stanley knife blade fixed to a comb, although I could not remember what it was called. Like everybody at the moment, I have time on my hands, so I found myself a comb, a Stanley knife blade and some Sellotape, and I improvised. To my utter astonishment, my little construction worked in exactly the same way as its predecessor of some fifty years ago: it took a huge jagged hank out of my hair and left me with a laceration to my scalp that a couple of weeks ago would have required stitching, but now, a liberal application of super-glue and a hat. But it set my brain whirring.

You see, I was young during the great days of K-Tel and Ronco, when new products, similar to the hair trimmer (Was it the Trim-o-Matic?) appeared upon our TV screens almost daily in a branded nuclear arms race of tat. All of these products had a number of features in common:
1. They were made from the kind of plastic that shattered into a thousand tiny razor-blades if dropped, shook or stared at in an inappropriate manner
2. They were always designed to do something you never knew needed doing
3. They never did what they were designed to do
4. They always broke the first time they didn’t do it.
It struck me that now could be the time for the return of the great days of built-in obsolescence and in my own modest way, I would like to offer the following suggestions. (In my days of yore, somebody would have paid for an illustrator at this point, but I am afraid that you will have to use your imagination. If you don’t have one, do not despair, you may be a chartered surveyor.) I have almost certainly copyrighted these designs, so don’t even think about it…

Self-removing gloves – you all know the problem. You wear the gloves so that you don’t have to touch infected stuff, and then you have to touch the infected gloves in order to get them off. Well, now you can relax. These little beauties are made from an incredible new material, invented by NASA specifically for Russian underwear manufacturers, that falls apart after – or in times of stress during – the first wear. Simply use the gloves for whatever sordid task you have planned and then sit around for an hour or two without touching anything whilst they slowly decompose with the kind of must usually associated with field-latrines. Guaranteed to leave an unsightly stain on all types of flooring that cannot be removed with any generally available cleaning product.

Self-removing glove stain remover – will stubbornly refuse to remove the stain for which it was designed, whilst effortlessly lifting the surface from the floor, the sole from your shoes and the skin from your hands. Please note: this product is in no way similar to oven cleaner and anyone suggesting that it is merely an over-labelled bottle of Mr Muscle will find themselves tight-up against the iron fist of British Justice (or Big Geoff, as we call him).

All-over body wrap – a giant roll of cling film designed to shroud the full body and thus completely protect from the coronavirus. In reality you will be completely unable to find the start of the roll and will eventually shred the whole thing in a huge explosion of impotent rage.

Telescopic ‘shaking’ hand – a slightly soiled and shop-worn mannequin’s hand crudely gaffer-taped to the end of a two meter garden cane which enables you to safely shake hands with people you meet. The hand will fall off the stick during its first use, which is just as well, as it may be diseased and in need of incineration. The soiled hand can subsequently be retrieved with my cunningly designed Clamp-o-Crap – an over-sized pair of plastic scissors from which one blade will shear on initial ‘snap’ and take the crotch out of your trousers, at which point you will almost certainly stop worrying about the tatty plastic hand in the gutter.

The socially-distancing hat – a construction-site hard-hat with a javelin stuck through it. Defy anyone to infringe upon your personal space from front or rear. Perfect for family gatherings and camping holidays

To purchase any of these products, simply email me your bank account details, National Insurance number and a list of dates when your house will be empty.

So now you know what happens when I’m stuck at home on a diet of red wine and peanuts…

‘Homer, lighten up. You’re making ‘Happy Hour’ bitterly ironic.’ – Marge Simpson

Preparing for Lockdown – Kinda…

white toilet paper

Rather like James (James Proclaims), I am doing my bit whilst working from work during the crisis, but, unlike James (and I seriously believe that all teachers are superheroes), there is no worthy motive to my sacrifice.  I can find no excuse for donning leotard and tights.  (I’m not certain that came out right – sorry James.)  Unless Marvel introduce a character called SuperSchlep, I can have no pretentions.  I wait in vain for Super Waste-of-Time Man to meander onto the scene.  I read the other day, that they are now considering the possibility that Covid-19 originated with Pangolins: Pangolin Man does sound pretty cool, although I’m not at all certain what his super power would be. Not terribly effective, whatever it is, if he can’t save himself from being sliced up on some Chinese market stall.  Mind you, he who laughs last and all that…

I have been at home today, but only because it is my day off.  Tomorrow I will be back at the coal-face, smiling benignly, whilst each happy shopper berates the government for not imposing lockdown sooner, but, ‘Hey!  As long as they haven’t, I’m perfectly at liberty to come in here and give you everything I’ve got – by the way, have you got somewhere to put this tissue?’  It is an unwritten rule that every sick person must tell the shop assistant, at great length, how ill they are, whilst coughing copiously on their fringe.

Ok, so I realise that I have started to sound bitter, but truly, I am not.  These are extraordinary times and, somehow, we just have to find a way through them.  Of course we will, but just at the minute I’m wondering, can anybody actually see the end game?  Is it eighteen months and a vaccine away, or is it three months, when most of us have caught it?  If it’s the former, I most certainly am gonna need a whole heap more loo roll, although judging by the TV reports, I might settle for slicing up newspapers instead, whilst those with the time can fight over the last Andrex in the city.  I will grow lettuce in my back garden – something with a nice, soft leaf – and perhaps turn my greenhouse over to Durum Wheat….

Incidentally, throughout my various tasks today, I have been playing the new Wishbone Ash album (Yes, there really is one) in the background, whilst it has slowly eroded my doubts and gradually enticed me into bouncing around the house playing twin-air-guitars.  I also took five minutes with a cup of coffee watching a BEAUTIFUL song thrush search my lawn for food – for those scant few minutes (except for the odd worm or snail) the world was at peace.  In the end, normal service will be resumed…

But I don’t suppose anybody really cares, there’s too many people
nowadays just want to wipe their ass of the whole affair  – ‘Bog Roll Blues’ – Groundhogs (Tony T.S. McPhee)