Wednesday, 26 August 2015

It's all Tripe!

Some of you might remember that back in April (2015) I had the great fortune to win in the Alternative Blog Awards – I think I might have mentioned it in passing once, maybe twice tops?

I didn’t win the entire thing, obviously, but I did win in one of the categories that I was nominated in (Which yet again, is something that I don’t have in common with Leonardo Dicaprio) – It seems that you lot, or at least those of you who felt empowered enough to vote, thought I was the ‘Wordiest Blogger’ in the whole wide… Actually, I’m not sure if it was a global competition… It may have just been country-wide – Or perhaps just in my own fevered imagination – But for now, I’m going to go with World-wide, because you lot can’t prove otherwise, and my version of the truth is pretty much anything that you can’t disprove without some effort (Something I do have in common with the Conservative Party).

A lot of people asked what I had won, apart from the undying love of many, many loyal fans and the respect of my peers.  Those same people looked at me a little oddly when I told them that I’d received lifetime membership of ‘The Tripe Club’ – Which is sort of the fun, social-media savvy, young and sexy arm of the UK based Tripe Marketing Board.

(If a board can, in fact, have young and sexy arms)

What is tripe? I hear you ask, somewhat tentatively – With a screwed up nose, because you think you already know.  Well, it’s the stomach lining of an animal, most often a cow, that’s been removed (obviously) then bleached and part-cooked, before being sold to you, the consumer to... erm… cook again, and then consume, often with boiled onions, white sauce and mashed potato (which makes it look more like the 1950’s as you are actually eating a meal in black and white), or just pepper and vinegar possibly – I don’t know, you’re a funny old lot when it comes down to it. 

I must admit that I thought, when I first won the award (Did you know I won an award? – I’m an award-winner you know, Like Michael Winner and/or Stephen Fry – For those interested in plaudits, I once briefly but simultaneously held the top three places in Amazon’s Best-seller list with my three books, in the humour essays subdivision anyways. So, award-winning, best-seller would probably be a better epithet for me methinks.) that it was all a bit Framley Examiner, a bit The Onion – After all, it’s patron is David “Bumble” Lloyd, Ex-England Cricketer and fellow left-hander, and the Honorary President is the hugely famous Opera Singer and BBC Radio personality Martin McEvoy (I am sadly unsure as to his handedness)

It’s Chairman? For as you know every Board requires a Chairman, is none other than LA Times Interviewee and friend of the downtrodden, Sir Norman Wrassle. He’s a stern but fair Chairman who bears a passing resemblance to a dead Swedish Politician in a certain light, with a following wind.  And he follows me on Twitter, because he is the epitome of class and good sense…

Obviously, I am now convinced that this salubrious institution is completely serious and above-board and you should all immediately become members.  Membership is available via Their website, or by contacting them on Twitter, or for you Londoners, you can attend the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on the Evening of 7th September and join them in person – I am in two minds whether to go to this no-doubt fabulous and star-studded affair, as it’s a bit expensive to get a train down to the Smoke, and it’s a long time until payday.

Sadly, the membership number you will be issued will be higher than mine… Do you know why?


If you would like any more information, or if you have been effected by any of the issues discussed in this blog, please leave a message in the comments and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can… I’d have thought

As the Tripe Marketing Board say themselves – 


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

So let's make the buggers useful then

There was a thing on local radio this morning... It was about beggars being fined £250 for begging then being sent to the Pokey for up to three months when they can't pay. 

Seems a bit arbitrary to me, but allegedly this isn't a negotiable figure, the courts have their hands tied to an extent. It's probably all to do with the 1824 Vagrancy Act, which I will detail in the below paragraph - Feel free to skip it, you'd be missing out thought, the wording is seriously sublime...


Persons committing certain offences to be deemed rogues and vagabonds.

Every person committing any of the offences herein-before mentioned, after having been convicted as an idle and disorderly person; every person pretending or professing to tell fortunes, or using any subtle craft, means, or device, by palmistry or otherwise, to deceive and impose on any of his Majesty’s subjects; every person wandering abroad and lodging in any barn or outhouse, or in any deserted or unoccupied building, or in the open air, or under a tent, or in any cart or waggon, not having any visible means of subsistence and not giving a good account of himself or herself; every person wilfully exposing to view, in any street, road, highway, or public place, any obscene print, picture, or other indecent exhibition]; every person wilfully openly, lewdly, and obscenely exposing his person in any street, road, or public highway, or in the view thereof, or in any place of public resort, with intent to insult any female; every person wandering abroad, and endeavouring by the exposure of wounds or deformities to obtain or gather alms; every person going about as a gatherer or collector of alms, or endeavouring to procure charitable contributions of any nature or kind, under any false or fraudulent pretence... every person being found in or upon any dwelling house, warehouse, coach-house, stable, or outhouse, or in any inclosed yard, garden, or area, for any unlawful purpose; every suspected person or reputed thief, frequenting any river, canal, or navigable stream, dock, or basin, or any quay, wharf, or warehouse near or adjoining thereto, or any street, highway, or avenue leading thereto, or any place of public resort, or any avenue leading thereto, or any street, or any highway or any place adjacent to a street or highway; with intent to commit an arrestable offence; and every person apprehended as an idle and disorderly person, and violently resisting any constable, or other peace officer so apprehending him or her, and being subsequently convicted of the offence for which he or she shall have been so apprehended; shall be deemed a rogue and vagabond, within the true intent and meaning of this Act;and, subject to section 70 of The Criminal Justice Act 1982, it shall be lawful for any justice of the peace to commit such offender (being thereof convicted before him by the confession of such offender, or by the evidence on oath of one or more credible witness or witnesses,) to the house of correction... for any time not exceeding three calendar months.


There was a lot of talk about how stupid it was to fine a person just because they had no money, and how much it costs the Government to arrest and detain someone (it's like, a billion pounds per person per day or something, because it's been outsourced to a private security company)

Which, even with my rudimentary knowledge of finance, seems like a raw-deal for everyone who's actually paying... i.e. you and me or 'Bloody Muggins' as we're colloquially known in the press.

Then you get the other side of the coin where shop-owners are having to step over people who are asleep and covered in carboard boxes, to unlock their emporia in the morning.  There are many reports of them being followed inside and being pestered for money from the till then having threats and verbal abuse thrown at them when they say that they couldn't help themselves to the float.

There are 'bad' beggars and there are 'good' beggars.

There are 'real' beggars and there are people who are just looking to supplement their income by sitting outside Greggs with a dog on a string and their palms outstretched.

But all they really need is a purpose, to feel wanted... And possibly security, warmth and shelter from the elements.  So I've had a couple of ideas - The first one is a bit radical, but stick with it. And the second one might be a little expensive in the short term, but in the long run it would pay for itself.

1) Outsource the entirely of the process to Greggs, the high-street bakers.  I'm sure that they would be cheaper than using someone like G4S as they wouldn't have any of their 'accomodation' overheads.  The only proviso is that we would have to be even less interested in what was in their 'Sausage' rolls than we are now

2) Secure large plots of rural land, with scenic views and ample, if not exactly regular, transport links.  Somewhere that housing estate builders are not traditionally interested in... Possibly near old mine workings or swampland.  Then build a large 'Country House' style building that fits in sympathetically with the local area... Something like this one in Southwell, Nottinghamshire:

Or this one in Croydon - Just to prove that their stark majesty can work in urban areas:

Then set up the upper floors as a selection of common and/or private bedrooms and kitchens, and the lower floors as commercail units where things could be laundered or mailbags could be sewn or other things that could be done by people with few, or no marketable skills.

You could give all the homeless people some Work

And you could also give them a House

Some Work... A House... Work... House...

Hang on, I've just thought of a brilliant name for these places

Friday, 14 August 2015

And they were all wearing stockings

I was thinking of going out tonight, with the family, maybe to a chain-restaurant of some kind.  Maybe a Pizza place or an Italian – You know the sort of thing?  I was even going to go to the extent of searching GroupOn for a voucher, so that I can look all ‘Devil may care’ and extravagant in front of my family.

But then I thought, “Maybe not…”  You know why I thought that?  Well, yes, a lot of it had to do with the fact that I am as tight as a Moorhen’s special private area.  Mostly though it was be because they’ll all probably be full of people who’ve just received their ‘A’ level results.  I’m not going to discriminate between those who’ve passed or failed… I find people who’ve been given their first slurp of Asti Spumanti (and being told it’s Champagne) because they’ve got the results they need to go on and Study Marine Biology at Sheffield just as annoying as those that randomly cry into their Sloppy Giuseppe’s because their “Three Fs and a U” won’t get them into Norwich to do ‘Gender tropes in Black and White adverts from the 1970s and their impact on the theories of crop rotation.’

I’m not saying that having aspirations is bad, I’m not saying that the years and frankly obscene amounts of money that you will spend at University are a waste… They’re a valuable and enjoyable part of becoming a useful member of the human race.  If you want to be a scientist or a doctor or a teacher or… erm… something else academic that I can’t be bothered to think of at the moment, you won’t be able to do that with at least one Degree in some pertinent subject.  My dear Brother is a product of the British Higher Educational system, and he has now retired early and abandoned England to set up home inside a hollowed-out volcano in the middle of the Mediterranean (So maybe that wasn’t a 100% great example, but you get the drift)

“But Dandy,” I hear you shout, “I’m reliably informed that you have a degree, and that makes you a hypocrite!” – Well, yes I have, but I didn’t get it straight out of school. I went away and had a bit of a life, gained a little experience and decided what would really be of use to me at a later date.  Turns out that I was completely wrong and it didn’t do me any real good that I could put my finger on.  It might have done I suppose, if things had turned out differently – But you know, they didn’t… My life turned out like my life… Your life will probably turn out like your life – I’m so sure of that, that I’ll buy you a pony if it doesn’t.

I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that, to my knowledge, no-one has ever died because they haven’t gone to the University that they wanted to (I guess some people might have died because they didn’t get into the Universities their parents wanted them to get into – But probably only in the more medieval themed Asian countries)  You’re just as likely to have a great life if you go straight from Sixth Form to a job in retail or *gulp* service industries and then sort yourself out later – No-one needs to know the ins and outs of the mating cycle of a nudibranch to be happy (Unless their surname is Cousteau)

You don’t need to get all of your ‘Learnin’ done in one big splat – (Please note, I’m not advocating a gap year… If you take a gap year, one of three things will happen:)

1: You will spend it on the sofa, in your pants, watching Spongebob
2: You will become a social pariah, known by all around you as the one who starts every story with “Oh, yah! When I was on my gap year in Bali, we…”
3: You will be murdered – I Sh*t you not, read the news – it happens more than you think.  You will be alone, and frightened and no-one can help you… Just don’t do it kids

So, none of this is important enough for you to lock yourself in your room and cry over, none of it is important enough for you to have to issue ‘A cry for help’ over (If you know what I mean) – Everything’s going to be OK, really, believe me, I’ve lived through it.


And as I used to do, I’ll illustrate this point with a story from the good old days.  It’s about the part of my life that took place after I left school and didn’t go to University.

This was me in the mid-1980s – I know, I looked like the bastard son of Queen’s Brian May and a pipe-cleaner.  But I’d found myself a girlfriend who I just assumed was a bad judge of character at the time – She wised up a few years later though…

We’d gone on a pub-crawl – Now, I’m guessing every town has a ‘Golden Mile’, a row of pubs of indeterminate length that are close enough to each other to enable you to move from one to the other without getting tired if you’re young and not used to wearing high-heels, and that’s where we were. I’d arranged to meet her in the first pub, because I had no transport and we lived at opposite ends of the town (Plus we were still pretty much at the awkwardly holding hands stage) – So, when she walked through the door with two of her seventeen year old friends (Please note, I was also seventeen, this isn’t my ‘Oh yes, I was a paedophile’ story – Wait, no! – I don’t actually have an ‘Oh yes, I was a paedophile’ story - Have you ever wished you hadn’t started something?)

Anywho… So, we’ve got several, very slightly underage people in a pub, in the days before people started demanding ID, who were all clustered around a table thinking how sophisticated we were for drinking half-pints of imported lager.  The teenage boys were having impure thoughts about the teenage girls – The teenage girls were… Well, if I’m honest… I’m not sure what the teenage girls were thinking – Still don’t as it happens.  The night progressed pretty much as you’d expect – there was giggling and a few pretty half-hearted slaps as hands were suddenly found to be in inappropriate places.  Until the young ladies decided that it was time that they made their way home.  I offered to accompany them (to the other side of town remember) because I was a gentleman, and not because there were many dark alleys between where we were and where we needed to be.

There were two incidents during the trip that stick in my mind. (Well, there were three, but I’m only going to tell you about two of them)  

The first was when we were walking down the street.  I had done my best to put my arms simultaneously around all three young ladies, with varying degrees of success, when I noticed a couple coming towards us – Being a gentleman, I reluctantly broke up our ‘menage a’ quatre’ so that they could get past…

The gentleman remarked to his girlfriend, ‘Why has he got three and I’ve only got you?’
Her reply was a slap across the face so resounding that I very briefly saw his face do a complete circuit of his head before he started to sob uncontrollably and apologise.

The second involved a bridge spanning a dual-carriageway, and explains the title of this post (Which is the only reason that you’re reading this right? Be honest) – My seventeen year old then-girlfriend leant over and whispered ‘I’m wearing stockings and suspenders.’ to me. Of course, I responded in the only way open to someone who had received such a revelation, 
‘Prove it,’ I said, not believing her for a second.
So, she raised the hem of her skirt to her chin and did just that.
Her two friends turned around at this time and witnessed the act just perpetrated… Then fuelled by strong lager and a lack of passers-by, proceeded to prove that they were similarly equipped themselves – It is here that the 70’s guitar music would have started if this had been a fuzzy VHS video that you’d found in your Dad’s sock drawer.

What happened instead is that we climbed the steps up to the top of the bridge (I stayed ten or so steps behind the girls, because I was still seventeen myself and full of hormones) and I watched the three teenage girls flash their underwear at passing trucks and taxis for a (very) good five minutes.

Then we went for a Chinese at my girlfriend’s house and I got a taxi home, where I couldn’t sleep on my front for about an hour. (The walls at my Dad’s house were very thin.)

That’s the sort of thing you’d miss if you went straight to University.