Box of Meat

In Memory of Dr. Robert C. Atkins

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Friday, September 17, 2004

Live and Direct from the House of Humb and Closing

The box of meat is soggy with animal fat. To spare myself dripping it on my leg, I am going to cast it aside. Loyal Reader - the party is over. Get your beer-sodden jacket from behind the speaker stacks. Avert your eyes from your fellow revellers because they look like zombies. No scratch that - they are zombies. Put on a face for the cab-ride home. Brace yourself for the gloom. After discussion with a man who knows about such things, I have decided to regroup and concentrate exclusively on what I know best - weight loss and dating. For the future I can promise my reader new moods and new sensations, and new territories as yet untackled by literature.

I will stick up a new location at such time as I get one. Here is a picture of the 97.2kg Humb bidding you adieu


Thursday, September 16, 2004


This past week I've had nothing to say.

When I began, the blog was meant to be a spiritual exercise, a devotion, as regular as lunch but it is too taxing to make the daily observation.

I remember the words of Mr S advising on cross country runs,
'if you stop running then walk'.
(Mr S, a PE teaching psychopath ...., I was going to 'of the Old School' but he was 'of the Old School', so let it stand, of the Old School, went deaf due to the acoustics of the New Sports Hall, which had been built solely to provide him with a suitable theatre for his basketball team. Once deaf Mr S retired, pursued his alcoholism and finally killed himself driving a minibus off Land's End.)

So here are a few notes.

1) I have nothing to say to a man whose underwear I can see. If the garment is white, so much the worse. I fear catching sight of a skidmark.

I know the story of the low-rider - US crims deprived of their belt developed the look in that country's penitenaries. But to be calling it 'a look' would be to be making a virtue of a necessity. I wager that even these immensely hard men can still hear the shame-inducing voice of Mummy, 'pull your trousers up, you can see your underpants.'

It is difficult to predict what will make us cringe 10/5 years down the line, or better what will be packaged for comment by D-list celebrities. I think however, we can be pretty sure that the style of wearing your trousers around your ankles, with optional keychain, is set to induce squeals of disgust.

2) A cat now sits atop the shed outside the Jacaranda Palace with that usual smug-bastard look of the cat. 'Mr Tiddles, Master of the Known Universe'.

3) Parliament - 'Eh-eh', I thought, watching the News, 'I've seen these types before.'

The toffs always get a special dispensation, even in incendiary acts of insurrection. Reports say that they were aided and abetted by an insider. A member of the upper chamber, I warrant.
The first floppy-haired one seemed to have a moment of doubt as he entered stage left, but then he recovered his confidence to take up his 'natural' position next to a Member of The Tory Opposition who was then speaking. The Toff made a few jabs of the finger and then was joined by his chums.
These boys have clearly been on a diet of 'Another Country' and 'If...' this past Michaelmas term. Otis Ferry must be a source of great pride to his Dad so I expect that he'll spring the lot of them and they'll be back for Rag Week. Awful to think that they will dine out on it for the rest of their lives.
'Uncle Otis was involved in the Evenements that surrounded the ban on fox-hunting.'
'Oooo Uncle Otis'.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


P and I went to Starbucks for coffee.

It took a long time to bring down McDonalds. That's if they have been brought low. I am hoping that their 'I'm loving it!' ad-chirp will prove their death knell. Surely some damp lettuce and a leg of battery farmed chicken cannot be a way back from the commercial dead.

Starbucks is the new monster. You can't have a small coffee. You can't have a medium or a large coffee. It's a tall, grande and a venti. Whenever I arrive at the counter, I feel the rage. I won't say 'tall'. I want the smallest unit on offer.

Polly and I enter.
'Small, please'
'Yes, small'.
Confused the barista pluck a couple of cup off the inverted stacks and waves them at me so that I can point at them.
'Small', I say pointing at the smaller one.

Suffering from the weekend, I thought I'd have some cake, with which I might recover. I had a pear pastry covered in a a chocolate lattice. It was rank.

P bought her frappucino. I asked for my Americano. Once the sizing issue had been addressed, the barman, a slight, campish Frenchman asked which variety I would prefer - Gazpacho or Freetrade. I exchanged a glance with P, who would move to the delivery area.

Freetrade is my favourite bean, only because it seems so unlikely that a freetrade bean can hold up the global impoverishment of the poor.

'I'll go freetrade, please'.
'Ah zee freetrade, it iz duzty, it tastz of ze earth.' He made a scratching gesture to his chin. 'You have zis feeling.' He made the scratching gesture to his chin again. 'On your tongue'. He stuck out his tongue to convey his meaning.
He turned to the coffee and inspected the delivery barrel.
'Unfortunately it iz off. Ze Freetrade. No more'.
'I'll have the Gazpacho then, please'.
'Ze Gazpacho is very nice. Ze freetrade is very nice too. But it is off. Ze Gapacho is from Africa. It is dark. It tastes of ze earth'.
Give me the coffee, I thought
'It tastes of ze earth and it is very dark'.
Give me the coffee.
The barrista moved to dispense the Gazpacho.
'It is oily, dark' he muttered.

Give me the fucking coffee SHOPBOY!

96.4 - the dream lives on.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Not a date

While we're at it, I'll share with you lucky few an experience I have had at the weekend.

On Saturday I went to a wedding celebration. The wedding proper had taken place in Sydney, Australia, however the groom's mother wanted to have a English 'do' too. It took place at Maidenhead rowing club. The bride and groom were set to arrive on a ferry from the Hotel where they were staying, across on the other side of the river. As they were spotted coming downstrean, we all assembled on the balcony, ready to welcome them onto the other bank. Halfway across the river they started to drift. The groom looked to consult with the boat's captain. He shouted that they had run out of petrol.

The current took them and the company went back to the bar to wait.

They landed a way downstream and came back in full regalia on foot.

Then it was more drinks, buffet, speeches and then dancing. The Groom briefly came and sat next to me and we watched the flailing around that was going on on the floor. I thought it a good time to 'get my Hugh Grant on'. I asked whether amongst the girls there were any possibles.

He warmed to the thought. He told me that he had been tee-ing me up with a sister of a friend. He pointed her out - a female form doing a frighteningly vigorous dance just in front of us. She looked out of my league so despite the Groom protesting his approach work, I demurred. I am acutely attuned to the whiff of the snub.

By the end of the evenign I had managed to mess myself up, somewhat.

The next day at the celebration's Post-Mortem was a barbeque around at the Groom's Mum's house. When we arrived there was much consternation that the rest of the party were so broken that they weren't going to show.

'Very rude', opined the (my) mother.

For me the lunchtime wine had a reviving effect. I settled into listening to the low drone of the elderly relatives.

Suddenly a calvacade approached. Amongst the newcomers there was the dancing lady of the night previous. On seeing her arrival and shielding the gesture in his lap, the Groom gave me a double thumbs up.

The afternoon drew on and I thought I ought at least to have a go by chatting to the Target. I muscled in on a conversation she was having about yoga. She was a part-time instructor.

'It is all about acceptance, patience and what's the other one? Erm .. It's all about acceptance, patience and the other one. That is what I tell my students. You can't expect to do it without that'.

She put out her arm and made a gesture like that of a magician pulling a card out of thin air. I watched as her hand fanned open and then closed. She finished the movement with a click of her fingers.

'At the beginning it is physical but then it becomes something else', she added.
'Spiritual?' I hazarded.
'Spiritual. That's it. I am off to see the Saddus in India.'
She made another snakey hand gesture, this time without the click.

I decided the time had come to shoot myself in the foot. Aim and ....

'I can't get on with it,' I said, 'I can't even sit cross-legged. My body is too long and my legs are too short. With that and the muscle bulk, there's not much hope'.

As her attention waned, I limped off.

As it came around to home time, I was standing with the Bride and Groom. The Sort approached. There was a flurry of 'lovely time's. Then to take her leave she double mwah-ed the Bride and doubled mwah-ed the Groom. And then she turned to me.

I don't think my moving forward for a mwah was that noticeable. I mean, I pulled back almost as soon as I saw her hand shoot out. I got my own hand out in reasonable time but the ensuing handshake was no better than improvised. This over, she moved back so fast that she ended up making a semi-curtsey.

The Groom bellowed with laughter.

'But I don't even know him', protested the Sort.

More laughter.

'Don't worry', I said cryptically ... as if she were worried at all, 'I didn't know what to do either'.

She smiled weakly, thinly, and then left.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


On Sunday I went on a date. We had arranged to meet in a pub. I arrived at the pub first. As I approached the door I looked through the window, into the pub It was full of groovy duders, drunk or getting drunk. More or less immediately,I also noticed a colleague from work. She and I have had cordial relations but she is a marketeer and the historic tensions between the techies and the 'flower arrangers' have often turned violent. I sometimes have wondered if she views me as the enemy. Or whether I view her as such for that matter.

I was not disarmed. I decided the best solution would be, short of coming face-to-face with her, to ignore that she was there. I bought a beer, took it to a table and waited for my date.

My date turns up.

She is the spit of the colleague.

I buy her a drink and we start talking. My colleague is rich, jewish and lives in Golders Green. Ditto the date.

At this point I was grateful of the post against which the date was leaning. Also I hadn't spotted the colleague for a some while. I wondered if she had left. But as I got up, to go to the gents, and walked around the post, I saw that the colleague was leaning against the other side.

As the exchanges with the date came to more and more remind me of exchanges that I had had with the colleague, and as I tried to drop my voice lower and lower, although it was probably completely inaudible at a standard volume, against the roar of the pub, I felt the evening deflate wetly onto the floor.

It was a blessing it was a Sunday. The pub shut at 10.30.

The date offered me a lift back to the tube.

'Drop me a line,' I said, and then added brilliantly, 'or I'll drop you one'. How is that for noncomittal?I have now have a keenly honed get-out line.

96.8 - we're back in the hunt. If I can limit my binge drinking to one weekend night, who knows what can be achieved?

Monday, August 30, 2004

Are squirrels the new rats?

'So I found myself asking "are squirrels the new rats?"'

On the way to the Shop, I noticed a grubby brush emerging from the bins. Looking closer I could see its owner perching on the rim, eating some indescribable footstuff. Noticing my interest, the squirrel scaled down the bin and as brazen as a pigeon approached me. I effected a lack of in interest and continued to walk. Unperturbed, the beastie took up a position in the middle in the (none-too-busy) thoroughfare of Jacaranda Grove.

I always remember squirrel as being great skirters of edges and not so much occupiers of areas. I presume that they feared death from the air - hawks and suchlike. Or the maniacal sadistic cats.

I eyed the squirrel and the squirrel eyed me. This critter was no Squirrel Nutkins. he looked distinctly peaky, suspisciously like a vector of disease. He'd probably be knocking in a few lady squirrels. The explosion in the population suggested that he and his confrere had been.

He got the better of me and I moved on.

Unmanned by the imagined virility of a squirrel .. these reflections are those of the Dry Bonk Holiday. I noticed an ad in the Lonely Hearts Columns titled 'my mind is my errogenous zone' . The woman said that she wanted someone who was intellectual in a 'Sunday Papers' kind-of-way. Yes, if you like pulling off over the lingerie section of a mail-order catalogue. I am trying to think of who she could be reading for this kind of stimulation. W.F. Deedes, Peter Hitchens? Worse, Barbara Ellen, Decca Aitkenhead? Worst, Richard Littlejohn, Gary Bushell? I think she best leave the mind for drifting. She should probe the secrets of her being further in order to find errogenous zones better adapted for the ecstasy she finds in the columnists.