Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Everything Needs Rearranging is One Year Old!

Happy First Birthday to Everything Needs Rearranging! I feel it has developed a little since birth and its initial baby steps have matured into slightly more grown up steps. Not yet adult strides but there's plenty of time for that yet.

I still sometimes find myself struggling for ideas when sitting down to write entries here. Occasionally there'll be a news story that jumps out but, most of the time, I'm writing about my own life. This is all very well since I think my life is interesting enough to ensure that I have plenty to write about but I find that so much of it is unsuitable for publication (One pleasing development in this blog is that I'm not nearly as afraid as I was to regard my life as interesting enough to document. When I started I was writing almost solely about events as I observed them rather than events that I participated in). I don't want to embarrass or offend anyone (which is why I started another blog a while back although this has been mothballed for the time being). I'm very uncomfortable about writing things that might make me appear immodest. And I'm very wary of mentioning any romantic encounters. That's not to say that I have a massive catalogue of dalliances that I've kept secret. I haven't.

It is nice, though, to actually have something to do with my abundant spare time. I don't have kids or anything else that might take up a significant amount of this. It's something to put in the "Interests" section of my CV as well, along with reading and playing football and all those other interests that people always put. My sister puts "Bonsai" and "Scuba Diving" in hers which makes me quite jealous. I've also had some really pleasing feedback lately about my writing which is something I really need. So thanks for that, you know who you are.

I wish I had a funny birthday anecdote to put here but I don't. In the absence of a story, here is some other stuff:

- Christmas is on the horizon and I've just bought a couple of t-shirts for friends from my new favourite website. I might be spending Christmas on my own or just with my sister and her partner since my parents are miles away and I have no car.

- I am almost a full-time smoker again but haven't had a cigarette for two days now and I might try to continue not to have any. In fact that's what I'll definitely do.

- I received two of my best ever compliments last Friday night from two beautiful Polish girls who work in the mail room. I am "a really good looking guy" and also the possessor of "a really great arse" that they enjoy checking out whenever I'm around. I was so proud! No-one's ever told me I have a nice arse before! I know this seems to fall within the boundaries of stuff I don't write about as it may be construed as immodest but I can use it for two reasons - It's not my opinion and, more importantly, it really needs to be documented as it could be the pivotal point when my self-esteem took a turn for the better. It should also be understood just how good looking these girls are. One of them is probably the most beautiful girl I've ever been acquainted with. I literally went weak at the knees when she told me I was really good looking. I had to sit down for a minute to recover.

So there's not a great deal going on in my life right now but I hope that might change in the early months of next year as I plan to relocate and finally sort my career out. It's all rather daunting but has to be done as soon as possible before my brain turns to mush through under use. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Trolley Cases, Drug of the Nation

I was introduced to my latest pet hate by my friend Alex but I’m being honest when I say I’d been feeling it on a subconscious level for a while. Alex just brought it into my consciousness and articulated it for me. I don’t feel guilty for appropriating his revulsion because I genuinely feel it myself. And so will anyone who has ever had to walk behind a particular type of person at a railway station or airport whilst hoping to move slightly more rapidly than a soporific Koala.

On Friday evening we were standing outside that pub that’s next to the platforms in Kings Cross Station when he pointed it out. Around every tenth person was pulling a suitcase behind them. A fine innovation in the field of hand luggage was the addition of wheels to a suitcase. Suitcases are often heavy and so this facility can be invaluable. These suitcases came first with a strap with which to pull them but the next innovation made the pulling easier and this was the retractable rigid handle.

The suitcases we saw at Kings Cross station were suitcases in form, sure, but they were mainly tiny. I've since discovered that they're called trolley cases and they're not a million miles removed from those bags that you see old women pulling behind them in the poorer parts of town, often decorated with a tartan of some description. The old women quite often smell of urine but that's neither here nor there right now. We’re talking about vessels that would struggle to house more than a couple of loaves of bread without having to really squeeze them and render them useless for sandwich making. They were generally smaller than the fairly dainty bag I was carrying on my shoulder, I swear people were pulling laptop-bag sized suitcases around behind them. Now I’m a live-and-let-live kinda guy and I believe people should be able to wear or carry whatever they please regardless of how stupid or pointless the accoutrement might be. It was only the next day, returning home after an enjoyable drunken night out, that I realised that these suitcases are an evil part of today’s society.

I disembarked from the underground train at Paddington Station and began the walk to the mainline train that would take me home. Ahead of me was a woman carrying, sorry, pulling a very small suitcase behind her. She headed towards the stairs. I followed and this is what happened:

She stopped at the foot of the stairs and pushed the retractable handle into the suitcase. She then picked up her suitcase and carried it up the stairs. At the top of the stairs she stopped, put her bag down, pulled out the handle and continued along the footbridge. At the end of the footbridge is the set of stairs that takes you back down to the other side of the platform. Before it she stopped, pushed the handle back in to the suitcase, picked the suitcase up and walked down the stairs towards the little horizontal walkway that comes before the stairs continue downwards. She went through the same sequence of actions a couple more times and each time she stopped the rage inside me built up a little further until I almost had to tell her at high volume and very close to her face exactly how anti-social her behaviour was. Which would have been ironic, I know.

I realised that this was something that had been making me angry for a few years but I was just putting it down to the bad mood that crowds of people in stations generally put you in. But it can all be avoided. What is wrong with us? Are we so lazy and pathetic and generally fucking useless that for many of us the effort of carrying a small bag is too great? And is it just a coincidence that many of these people are so self-absorbed that they don't even notice that they are getting in the way of other people going about their day? For me, these small suitcases are symptomatic of plenty that is wrong with modern life. They demonstrate that we are a bunch of lazy, selfish bastards.

It's at this point that I'd normally qualify my above statements by saying that I understand why people need to do this and sorry if I've offended anyone 'cos I'm a nice guy yadda yadda yadda, but this time I won't. I suggest that anyone reading this should take a few moments to consider whether they've ever held anyone up at the bottom of an escalator to pull the retractable handle from their tiny suitcase. If you have then could you please take stock of your life and your place on this planet?


I actually had a fantastic weekend, believe it or not! I saw Delays on Thursday and the mighty Arcade Fire on Saturday with a Friday night of drunkenness and fun with friends thrown in as well. Delays, I've decided, are the best guitar pop band in the country. Every song is a proper pop gem without any of the pretensions that indie pop bands generally have, such as a baffling preoccupation with haircuts and shoes and Oasis and Paul Weller. Delays are aware that how cool your musical and fashion influences are is irrelevant, it's only the song that matters. It helps that the singer sounds fantastic.

Of the four times I've seen Arcade Fire this year this was my least favourite but this is no fault of the band. I was too far from the stage and was tired and had probably not calmed down from trolley case rage earlier in the day. Most importantly this wasn't a landmark gig for me - it wasn't the first time I'd seen them and it wasn't somewhere exotic like New York or, erm, Glastonbury. They were still magnificent. It's just a shame that it's now going to be two years before I get to see them again but absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that...

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Man Rides Bike

A man was put on three months probation in Scotland yesterday having admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace after being caught fucking a bike. Well guys, if you're anything like me you're probably thinking "there but for the grace of God go I". Who among us has not found ourselves looking with lusty loin at a bike, probably dressed provocatively and asking for it, parked up against a wall, its handle bars splayed in a pleasing symmetry, the saddle almost whispering "Sit on me you bitch, I want to feel your arse all over me!"? The strong willed just walk on by but poor old Robert Stewart, 51, didn't. He'd had a few drinks and, well, you know the rest.....

So far, so ha-ha. But this raises a serious point or two. Stewart was in his bedroom in an Ayr hostel. He had the door shut and locked and if there hadn't been cleaners with a master key that wanted to enter the room then no-one would have known and no-one would have been hurt. Isn't what one does in the privacy of one's own room their business and no-one else's unless they harm someone or something? (You could say the same thing about drug use, I know, but behind a drug use conviction is the argument that the user is supporting an illegal trade. There was no illegal trade here. Unless Stewart bought the bike from someone who pimped bikes. If you pimp bikes does that mean you peddle their wares? Sorry.) If the cleaners had entered the room and discovered Stewart with a woman you can be sure that they would have apologised and left them to it. For some reason, if a man gets his kicks in an unusual but harmless way then it's suddenly a matter for the Police.

Stewart will now be on the Sex Offender's Register for three years. This is just a mockery. The register is there for people who are a danger to the public. This man got up to something pretty strange, sure, but it was in his own room and he was harming no-one. Let's face it: if the Police were to start bursting into people's bedroom's they'd soon have most of the country on the register. Poor old Robert Stewart could now find himself getting beaten up just because he has a penchant for mounting bikes.

I reckon he would have a case should he wish to appeal. His privacy has been breached and he's been labelled a sex-offender when he's done nothing wrong; surely the judgement would be overturned. On the other hand he might just want to dig a big hole and crawl into it and hope everyone and everything goes away and forgets about him for ever.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Fantasy Football

Today I became the proud part-owner and manager of a football club. A real football club. - Ebbsfleet United of the Blue Square Premier division. Naturally I'm over the moon with my new purchase. I'm gonna give 110% and hope that the boys can show the same levels of energy and commitment out on the pitch. Obviously, all they can do is take it one game at a time but as long as they can concentrate for 90 minutes, week-in week-out, then I won't be feeling as sick as a parrot. Etc etc etc etc........................

It's all true though, and it all happened through this website. 20000 of us have paid £35 each to have not just a share of the club but also a say in playing personnel and transfers. Quite how this will work, or even if it will work at all, I have no idea. It will be fun though. There are plenty of sceptics in the media and particularly among those who spend their days posting on football message boards. They think I'm being conned or that it will end in disaster and I understand this but I think they're missing the point which is that we don't know how these things will unravel until someone takes the plunge and finds out. It's only going to cost me £35 a year anyway which is comfortably less than it costs to buy a football shirt that's been produced for a fraction of the price. Who's the mug?

My motives for doing this stem from a dissatisfaction with the club I support, Fulham. I wasn't born a Fulham fan (but dad tried to get me to support Spurs or Brentford. It just didn't take. I don't know why), instead I chose them. I realised that supporting Liverpool whilst residing in London was wrong and, besides, Kenny Dalglish, the entire reason I started supporting Liverpool, retired in about 1985. So I needed a new team and my mate Steve's enthusiasm led me to Fulham. Who knows, if my dad had shown the same enthusiasm I could be a miserable Spurs fan like him.

I first realised I was a Fulham fan at some point in the mid 90s when I found myself showing enthusiasm for attending a home match against Cardiff City in the middle of winter when we hadn't won in about 14 matches and were second from bottom of the entire football league. We were shit. I mean really shit. But, for some reason, I found myself drawn to this hopeless band of cloggers. It rained hard that night on me and about 2000 other fans but Fulham won handsomely and that was it, I was hooked. There was something about the team's crapness that I found alluring. I think it may have been to do with the (wildly mistaken) belief that I could probably do as well as those on the pitch. They were like you and me. They made mistakes. Frequently. I liked the crapness and I liked the picturesque stadium by the Thames and I liked the fact that I could stand where I wanted and knew all the faces on my terrace.

Things have changed since then. We have a sugar-daddy who has paid for our route to the Premiership and one result of this is that I longer go to matches. It doesn't feel like the same club I started supporting. I love the fact that we're on TV all the time but that is also why I'm less interested. It used to feel like my little team and now I have to share it with millions of armchair fans, and newspaper and TV pundits. There are other factors, such as the vastly increased prices and having to sit where I would once stand but it all boils down to one thing: I no longer feel any great connection with the club. It's not as much fun any more.

I was thrilled, then, when this morning when I received an email saying that mine and everyone else's £35 had been invested in Ebbsfleet United. I'd never even heard of the club but spent a while on its website learning about the players and history and I'm now looking forward to attending matches. I haven't really looked forward to attending a match in years. There'll be loads of other people like me there, new supporters excited about doing something new and interesting which I hope will engender a real community spirit and that's what it comes down to for me. It will be fun again.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


I'm really tired and I ache. I'm getting too old for all this. I've got by on very little sleep for two days and today really hurts. I've not been misbehaving though. I think I'm probably reacting to the exertions of the these last two days in a fairly normal way for someone my age. Let's see.

On Monday I played football. Or soccer, depending on your viewpoint. I'm not one of these English people who get all precious when others, normally Americans, refer to our beautiful game as soccer. I know we invented it but most of the rest of the world call it soccer and they're better than us at it so just deal with it. Anyway, I played two games in one night which would be enough to exhaust me at any time but when I've only just started playing again after a year out and am a long way from anything approaching match-fitness then it's gonna hurt more than usual. What also hurt was hitting the deck far too often as a result of A) flat-footed defenders hacking me down after being bamboozled by my fleet-footed ball trickery and B) tripping over myself. As a result I'm afflicted with a variety of grazes, bruises, bumps and strains.

Monday's matches were notable for the appearance in one of the opposition teams of a girl. A girl. This was a source of apprehension in our team, particularly among the younger members who started to giggle like schoolboys who had just discovered the lingerie section in their mum's catalogue. They all apologised in advance for any injuries they might cause or parts they might inadvertently grab during the match, as if this were some delicate flower they were dealing with. I knew better than that and suspected that this girl was probably a world beater, someone who could make fools of us all, and I was nearly right. She was good. We survived any real embarrassment though by each of us suddenly taking the game very seriously when she was on the ball. Being nutmegged by a girl would be impossible to live down and we all survived unscathed.

I returned home exhausted and looked forward to a night of deep sleep, my first in a while. I was to be disappointed. All through the night every subtle movement caused me to wake up in pain as if being prodded by a snooker cue. I didn't sleep well.

This fatigue endangered my plans for last night which was to go see my mate Jody's band, High Priests. The decision to go was made easier by my flatmate's declaration that he would drive me into London in his dad's Porsche. It's a fair bit better, and quicker, than the other option which involves getting a bus and two trains. I'm really glad I went, not just because High Priests are excellent but because Jody's a lovely man and I hadn't seen him for a few years. They released their debut album on Monday after years of hard work (My mate's for sale on Amazon!) and I felt really proud in that strange way that you can feel pride in something over which you had absolutely no influence. I also saw a few other people I hadn't seen for ages and was very glad I went.

I didn't get home until gone 1am and was again looking forward to a deep, if somewhat abbreviated, sleep. Once again though I was woken throughout the night pretty much every time I did so much as move a muscle. I could barely open my eyes in this morning.

So here I am. It's early afternoon and I don't feel too bad but I'm certainly tired. Am I getting too old for football one night and a night in London the next during the working week? I don't really care and it really doesn't matter. The point is that it's cool for me to still be playing football (and not letting myself down!) and it's even cooler to have a friend whose face is on the cover of an album that's for sale in all good online music stockists. And probably some rubbish ones too.