Monday, July 31, 2006


So, let me be the last person on the interweb to bid a fond farewell to Top Of The Pops.

One of my earliest memories is of watching TOTP at the age of around three. That was it: my life was ruined. I was going to be obsessed with pop music forever to the detriment of everything else.

Even at the age of a hundred and forty seven, I still love pop music. I ought to take up interests that would leave me with a dignity more suitable for my age - knitting, home brewing, watching the X-Factor, dragging my screaming grandchildren around Sainsbury's looking tired, talking about life insurance policies or leaving bitchy comments about Liz Jones' column in the Daily Mail on their website, perhaps ...

Instead, I have watched TOTP from the age of three until the final show last night (give or take a few years' intermittent watching due to being a music snob and having a young person's social life).

Good to see one of my favourite clips - Arsenal wonderboy Peter Marinello judging a dancing competition and having a stilted conversation with a girl wearing outlandish false eyelashes - ending up on the final show.

For a number of years it provided a useful marker for the Generation Gap, with parents likely to complain that "you can't tell if they're a boy or a girl - they've all got long hair and the women don't wear any make up" (late 1960's) or "you can't tell if they're a boy or a girl - they've all got short hair and they all wear too much make up, even the men" (1970's).

My dad would find it all a bit ridiculous, but his ultimate insult, for an act that was beyond the pale, would be the comment "it's a shame". I worked out that this usually applied to men singing in high whiney voices. Neil Young performing Heart Of Gold was probably the epitomy of the unfortunates in this category.

Still, we old gits don't like to think there is a generation gap anymore. All the people on TOTP look so nice nowadays, don't they? That big chinned boy from McFly would probably merit an "it's a shame" from my dad on his looks alone, but even the rockers are hardly likely to have you quaking in your boots. The Feeling! Keane! The Kooks! Piss off grandad, this is better than all that tuneless bollocks with the shouting! And we've got a ten year plan which keeps the record company happy!

Anyway, as a final tribute to the show, a My Dad Sed top five:

1. "It's a shame" - Neil Young

2. "She's riddled with pox" - Madonna

3. "She's what is known as a distasteful woman" - Kate Bush

4. "It's a shame" - Jim Diamond

5. "That singer is about two hundred years old, isn't he?" - Ian Curtis of Joy Division

Goodbye, Top. It's a shame.

Friday, July 28, 2006


I can now say that, for reasons I won't go into here, the last week has been completely horrible :D

Even better, I can predict that the next week is going to be even worse :D

Never mind, we are orff to Nottingham tomorrow to meet up with some friends, which means getting stuck in traffic jams in the arid heat for half of Saturday and Sunday :D

I should be grateful for small mercies: at least I don't have to attend a fucking wedding this summer :D

* * * * * * *

UPDATE: Ah, there was one ray of light in a dark, dark week. A hard youth leaned out of a car window as I was walking along the street and shouted out "GOOD TITS!"

Obviously I am violently opposed to the objectifying of women.

However, I'm very old now and the few compliments I receive, however coarse they may be, are gratefully accepted.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Here we go - time for the results of the nineteen opening song lines competition from last year. I knew you couldn't hold on much longer. These were the songs that no one could guess. There were less than I expected, actually.

2. The way your hair hangs down it hides away your face. From Like A Daydream by Ride.
I was born in Stratford in 1934. From I Love The East End, written and sung by him.
7. Garlands evergreen, forget-me-not leaves. From Garlands by The Cocteau Twins.
8. Robin Hood, Robin Hood, here we are again. From Hersham Boys by Sham 69.
12. Can we 'ave it a bit louder in the cans? Nice one ... From The Realisation by Shack.
14. Early this morning I drove in the rain, out to the airport to get on the plane ... From Happy Hawaii by Abba.
16. The only real friend he had was his dog ... Arrow. From Me And My Arrow by Nilsson.
17. All you preachers who delight in panning the dancing teachers, let me tell you there are a lot of features of the dance that carry you through the gates of Heaven. From I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise by George Gershwin, as performed by, erm, a lot of people.

The winner is Mike with 3 correct answers. He will be receiving the unpleasant postcard from Weston Super Mare.

With one correct answer apiece are Homo Escapeons , Kek-W , Telepathy , Del, Surly Girl, Richard and Interpreter Pavlov . All will be receiving a copy of Will Mellor's funny yet touching autobiography Two Pints Of Lager? ... And Now For The Real Me.

Thanks for all that took part, congratulations to the victors and commiserations to the losers, standing small.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


am I right or am I right?
Regular readers, i.e., me, and I'm more inclined to read my Statcounter than my own blog, will be disgruntled to learn that the Sky Plus box has wiped all our recordings again, to coincide with Film Four becoming a free service. We'd got Lost In Translation and some Marx Brothers films on there along with a couple of films from ages ago which I never got around to seeing.

It's our own fault for never watching anything in real time before. Seriously though, how am I supposed to sit through a film that's on at two in the morning?

Anyway, one of the programmes we recorded and did see was Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe. This is a new series after some pilot shows which we watched a few months ago.

I like Charlie Brooker's writing in the Grauniad. It is like a bucket of icy cold water thrown over all the other nonsense in the broadsheets. You know, the silly recipes, the "ironic" stuff about Tom Cruise's baby, the advice to buy a second home in Romania, the ten page articles by women going through a personal crisis because they have to leave Max and India with that clueless little East European nanny when they go to their fifteen hours a day, 200K salary job ... what ARE Max and India going to learn from a clueless little East European girl when I could offer them so much more? ... but I LOVE my job ... but there's no time to bond with Max and India ... and I feel guilty about thinking the East European nanny is clueless, even though she is ... and I've got this ten page long article to finish ... yadda yadda.

I'm still not sure if Charlie boy adapts to television very well, and when I first started watching him there was something naggingly familiar which I couldn't pinpoint.

After a few weeks, it dawned on me. He has stolen all of his mannerisms from Michael Gambon playing Philip Marlow in The Singing Detective.

I still love The Singing Detective more than anything I've seen on television, being a middlebrow nerd. Once I watched the whole series three times in a row over the course of a month. I think I may have been having some sort of emotional breakdown at the time.

Anyway, Charlie Brooker must have studied it and has now taken on the persona of Philip Marlow: the bitterness; the put-on silly child's voice that Philip used to use in his interviews with Doctor Gibbon; the eyes moving about from side to side. It's uncanny. I hope he doesn't suffer from psoriasis as well.

Unless he is just acting for the cameras. In real life, he may be more like Keith Chegwin.

Just to disturb you even more, he also goes one further than Steve Davis, and looks like Steve Davis morphing into Mark Smith morphing into Jerry Sadowitz.

And he started this series watching the Fr*sties B*y advert - surely proof that S*rly G*rl is taking over the world ...

"Oh, great. This is never on" he deadpanned.

I hope that's enough colour and insight for you all.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Well, I was going to write a long and insightful critique of that light entertainment thing that was on the telly at the weekend, but someone else has beaten me to it. Oh, monkey's nuts.

Still, this is a good thing, as I'm usually progressing into a state of drunken idiocy when I'm watching television on a Saturday night, and I tend to miss out on loads of details.

A few things to emerge from the drunken smog from this week's programme about comedy duos:

1. Looking back to my childhood, I would've probably liked Eric Morecambe to be my dad instead of the curmudgeonly old git I was landed with as a father.

2. There are a disturbing number of comedians who I had (... still have ...) a crush on. I still can't form an opinion on whether or not Peter Cooke was the funniest man of all time because I'm always distracted by how rakishly handsome he was. I even had a thing about the young Vic Reeves, because he looked like a butcher trying to be Bryan Ferry. Hasn't aged that well, but that may be down to the fact that he dyes his hair ginger instead of black now. As for Rob Newman, I'm sure he has such effective pheremones that they crackle through the television screen and leave me in a state of helplessness, even though I think that History Today thing was funny for about a minute at the most. I should imagine that all of them are cads of the worst sort though, what?

3. I wonder when Canon and Ball BOTH found God, if it happened at exactly the same moment.

4. Who died first - Bernie Winters or Schnorbitz the dog? Or is Schnorbitz still alive?

I will be posting a long and insightful critique of that Charlie Brooker thing soon.


The nineteen opening song lines competition still isn't dead in the water just yet. There's still a chance to win a super prize if you get one right - a postcard with a picture of an unpleasant, ruddy-faced yokel on it alongside the words "LERVERLY LERVERLY ZOIDER! OO ARRR!! You're assured of a warm West Country welcome at WESTON SUPER MARE!!!"

So get yer thinking hats on. Tracey Wiggins from Wigan has been barred from taking part in this one, after all.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


The main article in this week's Guardian Weekend supplement was about only children, and was of course written by an only child.

The only thing that all only children have in common is that they are keen to deny that they have the typical character traits of only children. No, they are definitely NOT spoilt, selfish, bossy, and they DON'T think the world revolves around them.

Well, they would say that, wouldn't they? I'm an only child, and it's something I've done myself.

My parents delayed starting a family until they could "afford" to - not easy, being lowpaid factory workers who had gone against type by lumbering themselves with a mortgage. My mother miscarried, and by the time she had me was a (then) ancient 36. She told me that giving birth was so excruciating that there was NO WAY that she would go through the experience again. So that was that. Another spoilt, selfish, bossy only child in the world.

I'm an introvert, so having brothers or sisters wouldn't have suited me at all - all that sharing and having people around you at all hours of the day. Very troublesome. I still view people who always crave company with suspicion. What are they running away from?

I've encountered only children who are extroverts, people who have siblings who are bossy and think the world revolves around them and shy, introverted people from big families.

The only thing I do think would have affected their personalities would have been if they had had parents like the children featured in the Guardian article. Most of them would have a mountain of hang ups by the time they reached adulthood.

One of the daughters has to attend a variety of out of school activities in the evenings, and is "allowed" Sundays off. Her mother says that she likes to think the daughter is not "silly". Blimey, childhood, best days of your life, eh? Another mum describes her daughter as "wonderful company" and one couple forbade their daughter to use baby talk at an early age. She has now been taught that she is an "equal" with negotiating powers.

I didn't really get much insight into what makes only children unique (if, indeed, that was the purpose of the article at all?) but I do realise that there are middle class professionals whose parenting methods are freakish, controlling or slightly MAD.

Which makes me look back to my common as muck upbringing and realise that I had a lucky escape.

Friday, July 21, 2006


There is now enough clear blue water under the bridge. Everyone has done the Twenty Five Opening Lines Meme and you are all sick to the back teeth of it.

So, inevitably, it's my turn.

I don't have an iPod, so I had to select some songs at random from my memory, and the batteries have been running low on that since about 1966.

I could only think of nineteen songs which is already probably too much. Some of the opening lines are words spoken at the start of the song, so they won't appear on Google lyrics, but they're opening lines as far as I'M concerned. Heh heh! I know you're not supposed to have any of the title in the opening lines, but I couldn't be arsed to live by YOUR rules, being an anarcho-syndicalist.

So go ahead and have a guess. A word of warning - you won't be able to find lyrics by Sufjan Stevens or whoever else is the choice of the middle class middle youthers this month, because I haven't heard anything by him/them. I have the music taste of someone who rants at the traffic, lives in a hedge and drinks diesel fuel.

Have fun, but don't Google the lyrics, unless you want me to post my toenail clippings to you.

1. I'm bigger and bolder and rougher and tougher, in other words sucker there is no other. Dominator - Human Resource. Mike

2. The way your hair hangs down it hides away your face.

3. It was a hot afternoon, last day of June, and the sun was a demon. Summer (The First Time) - Bobby Goldsboro. Gert

4. SEXEE! Woman ... Rock Your Baby - George McCrae. Homo Escapeons

5. I cried to my daddy on the telephone, how long now? The Saints Are Comin' - The Skids. Mike

6. I was born in Stratford in 1934.

7. Garlands evergreen, forget-me-not leaves.

8. Robin Hood, Robin Hood, here we are again.

9. Yeah, check this next track aht, you've heard Asterix In Space, watch yer bass bins I'm tellin' yer. Infiltrate 202 - Altern8. Kek-W

10. I really love you and I mean you the star above you, crystal blue. Terrapin - Syd Barrett, RIP. Telepathy

11. I've got lerve on my mind, ain't no use in me wasting time. Love On My Mind - Freemasons. Del

12. Can we 'ave it a bit louder in the cans? Nice one ...

13. C'mon ... LOVE my girl ... she look GOOOD ... Five To One - The Doors. Surly Girl

14. Early this morning I drove in the rain, out to the airport to get on the plane ...

15. Jailhouse rocker, roots straight outta Memphis. King Rocker - Generation X. Mike

16. The only real friend he had was his dog ... Arrow.

17. All you preachers who delight in panning the dancing teachers, let me tell you there are a lot of features of the dance that carry you through the gates of Heaven.

18. Hey, Mr Jim, I can see the shape you're in. spanish Stroll - Mink DeVille. Richard

19. I like coffee, I like tea. Java Jive - The Inkspots, Manhattan Transfer and, hem hem, many others. Interpreter Pavlov

I will announce the results in 2009, if I can remember to.

Monday, July 17, 2006


The best thing about blogging is the opportunity for anonymity (well, the next best thing about blogging is communicating with people you'll never meet, but I'll save that for another post).

Of course, some bloggers are brave enough to post their picture up - Mark or Vicus, for instance.

This naturally leads us to imagine what other bloggers look like, so, hey, I'm going to share a few of my "imagines" with you ...

Interpreter Pavlov - Basil Rathbone
Krusty The Baker - Archie Gemmill
First Nations - Shelley Winters
Tom 909 - Howard Marks or Ernest Hemingway, I can't decide
Kek W - either his avatar picture, or that bloke out of the Stereo MC's, but about a foot taller
Patroclus - Doris Day
Doppelganger - Terry Waite
Lucien De La Peste - the handsome one from Kasabian
John Effay - Terry Butcher
Robert Swipe - Carlos The Jackal
Angry Chimp - even though he's published pictures of himself, he'll still always be Prince Harry
Wyndham The Triffid - Punt out of Punt And Dennis
JonnyB - Grant Mitchell
Geoff - Ben Elton

If anyone feels left out because I haven't mentioned them, it's probably because I can't form a clear picture of what you look like. Besides, think of it positively: you've had a lucky escape.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


I think I have a very "exclusive" readership of about a dozen readers if I sift through all the visitors looking for pictures of Sara Beeny's jugs, Heather Mills jokes, mature women in suspenders or Claire Nazir spelt wrong. Therefore it would be foolish of me to put off that small readership by doing a post on a subject in which they don't have any interest, a subject which I keep going back to because I have nothing else to discuss.

So here's another music related post, (one comment, probably from Richard).

BBC4 had a short season on the Birmingham music scene from days of yore. Well, very short: an Electric Light Orchestra Wembley Arena concert from 1978 and a repeat of the Birmingham Rock Family Trees show from around ten years ago.

Whenever I hear a West Midlands accent - even a Brummie accent, for f*ck's sake, I start to yearn for the homeland, so I had to watch the latter programme through a veil of tears.

Reading Mike's post where he referred to ELO inspired me to drag out the Light Years compilation that I had to get so that I could finally accept that I was in denial for several years and that I actually really like Evil Woman ("Ooo, such an evil woman!"), Twilight, Strange Magic and 10538 Overture ... at the very least.

The Wembley concert opened with an introduction by Tony Curtis, resplendent in a black velvet suit, slightly thinning hair and the usual disconcerting amount of face paint. He acknowledged the ladies, the gentlemen, the children and the "disabled" children, which led me to believe that this was a charidee concert.

The band emerged from what I think was described at the time as a giant space age hamburger. I told the husband that drummer Bev Bevan was going to rise up out of the top of it at his kit, spinning around slowly like the clown that appears from the music box at the beginning of the children's programme Camberwick Green.

Disappointingly, I was lying.

All of the lasers and the light show were designed to detract from the fact that ELO were a pretty uncharismatic bunch of thirtysomething permed session musicians in satin threads. Fair enough. Remember, these were the days of wild, unhinged, exciting new wave frontmen like Richard "Barely Comprehensible" Jobson or "Bob" Geldorrff (before he became Sir Lord Bob Geldorrff OBE, honorary Englishman).

Bev Bevan climbed down from his drumkit to thank the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester for something or other. I was quite drunk by then, and wasn't concentrating. Sorry.

There was some pretty ropy camerawork.

I wouldn't mind a scaled down version of the neon ELO logo behind the band to put up in the bedroom. Hmm, might have a look on eBay ...

Does Jeff Lynne still look exactly the same as he was in 1973, with those graduated tinted Foster Grant-style shades? I do hope so.

The Brum Rock Family Trees programme I'd seen before, but it was still quite entertaining.

A few guffaws were raised by Denny Laine in all seriousness claiming that he felt that he should have been acknowledged as being in a more even partnership with Wings' frontman (Paul McCartney).

... and by the progressive rock band formed by Trevor Burton getting it together in the country.

The band was called Balls.

John Peel noted that "Balls decamped to the New Forest".

I only wrote this long and sprawling review so that I could get to the line "Balls decamped to the New Forest".

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Anyone who reads Infomaniac will probably be aware that MJ has a thing about Italian footballers. In a recent post featuring topless (and indeed bottomless) Italians, I made a throwaway comment about how she should post pictures up of snooker totty. After all, there are so many delectable snooker players out there! Not all of us are taken with Italian footballers, with their toffee coloured wavy hair, dreamy green eyes, olive complexions and perfect muscle definition. Indeed, we set our sights lower and can appreciate a man who has something of the ghoul about him (as so many snooker players do) or who have infinite love handles, chronic acne or the sort of waxy colouring only achieved by men who have never encountered daylight, having spent every day since the age of seven in a snooker hall drinking and smoking.

As it is, MJ threw the ball back into my court (sorry. Mixed sporting analogy) as this is a British blog, and people in Britain are more likely to appreciate snooker than Canadians. I couldn't find many (um, any) topless pictures of snooker players, but it could be a blessing in disguise. I wouldn't want you to get all hot and bothered in the office.

I haven't included any of the new sexy, dynamic players like Ronnie O'Sullivan, because I don't see snooker much these days, but the old 'uns are always the best, aren't they?

Ray Reardon. A ghoul's best friend.

Steve "Jazz Funk" Davis morphing into Mark Smith

Steve's grandad Joe: have pomade, will travel

Stephen Hendry. Handsome is as handsome does.

The late, great Bill Webernuik. I do like a forty pints a day man.

"Willie Thorne, his hair's all gorne and his mates just take the rise" (trad. arr.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


... shine on.

Monday, July 10, 2006


The first thing I saw when I switched the television on this morning was some dimwitted harpy telling female viewers what they should be wearing this summer.

"Skinny jeans tucked into boots - this look is so over. Besides, if you're any bigger than Kate Moss YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN WEARING THEM ANYWAY!!!!!"

Calm down dear.

"Wide belts are everywhere this summer. Remember, however, unless You Are Slim (i.e., under a size eight I would guess) DON'T wear them around the waist. Over the hips is the way to go".

"Sixties style shift dresses are everywhere this summer, which is great if You Are Slim and Have Small Breasts. However, if you have large hips or thick legs, a fifties style fitted sundress would suit you better. The diagonal stripes on this one are perfect because they detract from your huge, flabby, repulsive arse and rugby player's legs".

"Alternatively, if you're over eight stone you could just wear a drab Hattie Jacques style smock dress to disguise all the rolls of fat. Best not to leave the house unless under cover of darkness. Still, it's all your own fault you sweaty old hag. Self denial is so now".

My response:

1. Would you ever trust someone who uses expressions like "this look is so over" or "I'm loving the shoes"? Jesus.

2. Do these people see everything around them in CinemaScope, or is it me that's got a distorted view of the world? Is every woman I see on the high street actually six foot two and seven and a half stone?

Calm down dear.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


A poor, oppressed kiddy.  Boo hoo.
I'm a resident of South London, whether I like it or not, so it is my duty to pass on some information which will benefit those around me.

As you're aware, England has now left the World Cup tournament, but it's not the last we've heard of the team - or at least the WAGs (wives and girlfriends).

You see, the WAGS are now to record a charity single in aid of Help A Saarff Laaahndan Kiddy.

A little more detail from a press release passed on to me from the charity's chairman, Daz Twigge of Erith ...

"Contrary to public opinion, not all Saarff Laaahndan kiddies have dads who are rolling in it because of the money they make as self employed builders, fitters or decorators. Shocking as it may seem, consider the following facts:

* Some kiddies' parents can't even afford to hire a BAAAHNCEY castle for their big, fuck-off "look how much money WE can afford to throw away" kiddy birthday party, let alone hire a real Spanish castle, some knights to re-enact a battle, catering, champagne for the parents, furry animal costumes for the kiddies or invite five hundred guests.

* Some kiddies face real humiliation on the school run. Imagine - all the other kids' mums have turned up, double parking up the street by the school in their people carriers or massive 4WD's ... and YOUR mum turns up in a Nissan Micra. You would be an obvious bullying target.

* Some babies' mums can't afford to buy one of those pushchairs which is the size of a JCB digger to clutter up the pavements or shops and run over the feet of innocent passers by. That's a terrible start in life, don't you think?

* Even worse, they can't afford to kit their little 'uns and themselves out in coordinating Moschino outfits. "

So, bearing in mind these heartwrenching facts, I would encourage you to donate as much money as possible.

The single will be a new version of Michael Jackson's Ben (a touching song about a rat).

Obviously Poshbecks, Cheryl "Ah Fanceeee A Naiyt On Tha Toooooon" Tweedy or Colleen McLoughlin will not be singing on the record as they are too rich and famous, but other player's wives and girlfriends are in the studio at present. Apparently.

"Steven Gerrard's partner, Alex Curran, has a well soulful, Beverley Knight-type voice" says Daz Twigge, owner of Twigge Recording Studios, 3A, Locke Road, Erith. "She is what is known in the business as a blue eyed soul singer. I can imagine her going on to be the new Josh Stone or Janis Jopling or summink."

All I can do is urge you to pre-order this single and send it rocketing up the charts. It might even go on to be judged as a classic charity song, like that Ferry Aid Stock Aitken And Waterman version of Let It Be.

Or you could make a donation to Help A Saarff Laaahndan Kiddy c/o Daz Twigge, 3A, Locke Road, Erith.

Hey, I KNOW both my readers are warm, generous people. Let's do what Marvin Gaye encouraged us to - let's save the babies!

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Ben, the two of us need look no more

I know that some of you will possibly still be feeling a bit deflated after England's deflated performance in the *soccer* yesterday, but I hope you can summon up the strength to forget it all and join me today in a virtual toast because it is my birthday, I love you all more than life itself and I have been on this planet for ninety seven years as woman, man, boy and girl. There may not be much time left, what with one thing or another.

The drinks are on me. Not that this would happen in real life of course: I'm so stingy that people know me as Led Wallet.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Those of you who are not interested in the football or relaxing in the sun or other stuff might want instead to attend this weekend's annual Danson Park Festival. I've never been there, but this year promises to be even more exciting than the 2004 festival, when that Welsh girl who used to be in Steps headed the bill, miming to some songs for fifteen minutes until the crowds went giddy.

The local newspaper, the Bexley Times, encourages us this year to "Go Insania With All The Stars".

"All The Stars" are ...

Emptyheaded drippy f*ckwit Peter Andre, whose song Insania crashed into the charts at number 32 a couple of years ago, and was previously a top five rave hit in 1991 when it was known as Insania (I'm Rushing) and was performed by DJ Bowel Irrigation featuring Tracey.

Oh, and Rowetta, former Happy Mondays singer, X-Factor finalist and owner of the electric kettle empire.

I can't confirm whether or not Bez will turn up trying to flog his "Nice One! All The Top Dadchester Tunes! IN THEE 'OUSE!!! Northside IN THEE 'OUSE!! The Mock Turtles IN THEE 'OUSE!!" album. It might be worth turning up just to see all the expensive cosmetic dental work he's had done since winning Big Brother ...

So many stars it's scary.


Scolari, oh oh
England v Portugal today.

In my opinion, Luiz Felipe "BIG PHIL" Scolari, Portugal's coach, looks like the kind of bloke you would see in a cab office in Spain or Portugal when you are in the middle of nowhere and you have missed the last (only?) train of the day back to your destination.

You would approach the desk nervously and ask timidly "er, excuse me ... do you speak English?"

BIG PHIL would shrug his shoulders.

Then you would fumble about for your phrase book and say something unconvincing and badly pronounced.

At which point BIG PHIL would shrug his shoulders again and go back to reading his newspaper and smoking his cigar.

About three minutes later you would leave the office feeling as if you are about to cry.

Then you would have to walk the ten miles back to the hotel under a burning sky, getting lost a couple of times, bursting into tears, stumbling over rubble, spraining your ankle and having to limp for a couple of miles right on the edge of a motorway, with an endless procession of cars bibbing you and drivers telling you to "get out of the f*cking way, you f*ckwit" in Spanish or Portuguese.

You get back to the hotel at four o'clock in the morning, filthy, bloody and aching.


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