Wednesday, 11 October 2017

My girl's mad at me (I think)

Hey Dandettes! (Yeah, that one didn't work either - Godsdammit, I wish I could think of a group noun for you people - It's a major inclusivity issue... Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments below.) Long time no see, I've been sick!

You know I did a thing last year about how every other day is International Day of the something or other? The cat maybe, or the landmine, or the wombat, or the potato that looks like someone from Jersey Shore (Which is like every potato, AmIRiteKids?)

Well, today is the International Day of the Girl. It's the day where we all should 'highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face' It struck me that I know a girl or two, a few on Twitter, a few on Facebook, and even a few in real life! (I know, no-one's more surprised than me) But when it comes down to it there's only one girl that I feel qualified to really talk about... My own daughter.

This is her, her name's Dorla and she's beautiful isn't she?
I guess I should write this pretty fast as she's not going to be a girl for much longer (No, don't worry she's not dying, this isn't the X-Factor) It's just that a week today... She becomes A WOMAN!, no, not like that... I assume she's been 'a woman' in several other physical ways for a while now, I'm not an idiot.  I mean, she's gonna turn 18.

My daughter, an adult... Christ that makes me feel old. Which is fair, because I am old, and fat, and bald, and my handwriting's barely legible... I am such a catch! - It's a good job I'm rich innit?

Dorla and I had what I think I'm right in saying is the classic Daddy/Daughter relationship - She thought I was the best thing since thick sliced bees knees and that I could do anything, and I thought she was the single most fragile flower in the world and it was my job to protect her from anything that the world tried to throw at her for the rest of her life.

Which went about as well as you can expect, certainly if you've read any of my stuff before... I mean, I even taught her how to play golf - kinda

From R to L: Me, Dorla, My No.1 son Malachi & his friend, Reece.

And I fostered (if that's the right word) her interest in Photography, which she is bloody good at...

And Game of Thrones it would seem.

And Tattooing (She's looking for an apprenticeship, or she was at least)...

We went through all her changes of style...

Jebus this picture scares me - Looks like a 25year old's Tinder

Even that 35 seconds when she wanted to shave part of her head and become a Viking...

Actually I may have got over-involved with that one as I think about it now...

I've never seen anyone look more pleased with anything, ever.

I guess all I'm trying to say is that I wished this was still how our relationship was, but it really isn't. Something happened last year. I probably did something or said something, I'm still not 100% sure of exactly what it was.  But I'm guessing it was pretty bad, something that couldn't be talked over, some misunderstanding that couldn't be sorted out with a simple explanation (Yeah, let you imagination run riot, mine has pretty much every day since) - And she ran away from home in the middle of the night.

She's not living on the street (Told you - Not X-Factor) although maybe I'd find that easier to handle, there'd always be the feint hope that I could entice her back home with the promise of 'cheesy-chips' or expensive coffee. But she moved in with her boyfriend's family and she seems happy enough. They've got an extended family and have a lot of parties, which I would probably have loved when I was 17... Which is when I looked like this:

Yes, I know - The weight came on as the hair went off

I wish that I could have been a better Dad and stopped this from ever happening, I wish I could have done more... Or even just enough, to make her feel that she was able to stay. But it seems I couldn't.

Because no matter how old and independent she grows, this is who I see when I look at her.

Cradling her brother the day after he was born.

And I just miss what we had so much, but it can never be the same as it was. Maybe I'm just selfish?

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Laziness is its own reward

You’ve seen WALL-E right? The Disney/Pixar film about a time when we’ve crapped on Mother Nature for so long that we’ve actually had to go into space to enable us to keep doing it from above.  I mean it’s a lovely, heartwarming story about a trash recycling robot cannibalizing the corpses of his dead compatriots to lengthen his own, worthless, existence. At least, we assume that this is how he gets his spare parts – I mean, he could hide behind piles of rubbish that he’s personally collected and hi-jack other WALL-E units when they come to clear it up and tear them to pieces with a pound-shop tin-opener that he came across one day.  But anyway… Remember the last third of the film where he finds his way onto the BnL liner Axiom and all the humans are obese and swan around in floaty chairs and have all their needs catered for by a central computer (and presumably a lot of hidden vacuum tubes)?

All rights reserved Disney/Pixar - Whoever

Did you feel a pang of guilt the first time you watched that? Did you look down at yourself and think, “Am I really supposed to be able to balance a ready-meal for four hungry adults on my stomach? Even when I'm crying heavy tears of self-loathing onto myself?” before fumbling around to grab the remote control that’s just about to slide down between the sofa cushion and the arm and you remember that last time you had to use the app on your phone to claim on your house insurance because it got caught up in the auto-reclining mechanism and you had to tell them that next door’s dog broke in and ate it?

No? Really? Are you sure? Because I’ve seen naked pictures of you and… To be honest… It’s gonna take more than a seaweed wrap and a quinoa & kale smoothie to sort either of us out.  But it’s not our fault is it? Not really, when you think about it.

It’s technology’s fault… The modern world is changing how we interact with everyday life.

Science, certainly every major scientific discovery of the past hundred years or so, has been to make our life easier.  Everything now is remote controlled, or heuristic, or there’s an app for it, or a prophylactic against it, or it’s more difficult to die from, or easier to insert into an orifice, or you don’t need to actually stand up to do it, or lie down, or squat precariously over a drain.  You get the picture right? You don’t have to actually ‘do’ anything anymore. If you snap your toilet seat in half, you can just tell your phone (or your broadband connected personal assistant presence) to order you a new one. If you do this before 6:00pm, the chances are that it’ll be dropped off later that same day by drone.

If you want to watch virtually any film that’s ever been produced ever, you can find it online, you can watch it on your 60” Smart TV without suffering the ignominy of walking down to Blockbuster… Or even getting up from your chair. You can have your shopping delivered directly to your front door with alternatives provided where those items have proved too popular (but not where you’ve made unhealthy food choices) You can change electricity supplier, entertainment supplier, sexual partner and/or pet with the touch of a virtual button.

When was the last time any of us hunted or gathered?  Have you ever chased down an Impala on the boundless plains of the Serengeti?  Have you ever even eaten a fish that you’ve caught yourself? Or opened a tin of ravioli with a hammer and chisel because you’ve broken the tin opener and can’t be bothered to go to the corner shop for a new one?

Have you ever looked at your monthly outgoings and shook your head because half of your outgoings are spent on labour saving devices and the other half is your gym membership?

Is it that we’re lazy? Is it because it’s how we display our dominance nowadays?

‘Look at how much I don’t have to do’ – ‘I’m so important that I don’t even have to actually exist anymore’ – ‘look at me fading away until there’s nothing left except the recurring reminder on Outlook activating the voice synthesizer on my phone telling my Google Home to buy more parrot food every three weeks.’, 'Look at the skeleton of my parrot.'

Maybe it’s time for us all to go off-grid and start afresh?

Just let me Google where the best place for me to do that would be. Should just take a minute.


Monday, 12 June 2017

Forever Girl (a deeply unapologetic advert)

Some of you will know that as well as writing, I also write… Wait... I mean, I write books as well as these memory-dump things I occasionally inflict upon you here – I think I may have mentioned it before on a couple of separate occasions.

This is what Forever Girl looks like so you aren't confused

My most recent book, Forever Girl, was a collection of unconnected short stories that I wrote over the past year or so.  There were ‘Flash’ pieces, like what I used to write back in the day. (Stories with 500 words or less) There were stories from my Edward Teach universe (More on this later) and then there are just stories based on random thoughts that I had on the bus, or on the tube, or on the toilet, or whilst someone was talking to me and I was just nodding at them and making ‘pew-pew’ noises in my head that drowned out what they were saying.

Does that ever happen to you? You’re nodding away and suddenly the person stops talking and says, “Do you agree?” and your anal sphincter tightens up and your mouth goes dry and you reply, “Erm…” and you look across to your mate who’s making the ‘Careful what you say next, you imbecile!’ face and frowning so heavily that it looks like someone’s just injected malt vinegar into his eyes with an icing syringe. So, because you have to say something, you say, “Yes?” Then he looks all gleeful and goose-steps out of Woolworths while your mate informs you that you’ve just agreed with someone who started their conversation with “Did you know that Hitler was just Ron Mael out of the band ‘Sparks’ wearing a jaunty sun-hat and I’ve got a mongoose in the front pocket of my cargo shorts?”


Just me then?

Oh… Right you are.

Anywho, back to the subject in hand, and the question I was about to ask… I’ll be blunt… Have you bought a copy? No? Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do as a special favour – I’ll let you know what the included 28 stories are all about to whet your appetite. Then you can get it (from Amazon, I don’t just sell my stuff out of a shoebox by the side of the road you know)

  • The train now standing – The first story I ever read out loud at an event. About the passengers in a railway waiting room, on a rainy night in December.
  • A walk in the woods – A story set in my ‘Edward Teach’ airship Universe, Where our long-suffering first officer, Mr. Britt, takes a long tumble into danger – on his birthday.
  • Born from an egg? – Another Mr. Britt birthday story. This time explaining the plot of his favourite TV program… In detail - You might learn something.
  • Nexus 7 – More Edward Teachery, this time a story about my own daughter and her general disregard for authority.
  • A nautical gentleman – More birthdays, on airships, this time for Lee’Sahr, a crewman (crew-woman?) who has suffered a great personal ignominy.
  • It’s a setup! – A 495 word flash story, the entirety of which is really just a carrier for a groan-inducing final line.
  • Virtuality – An Artificial Intelligence (who swears that he most definitely isn’t) discovers that he’s more human than a lot of real humans are.
  • A Goswick railwayman – Why do I write so many stories about trains? I don’t even like trains that much. Here Death take things into his own anthropomorphised hands to correct a seventy year old mistake.
  • A breath of fresh air – One of the few stories where readers have taken the time to contact me and say that it left an impression on them. A young boy wishes that he’d done no more than been a better son.  A bit like myself.
  • A frozen image – Have you ever seen one of those ‘Snails do the funniest things’ clip-shows? Have you ever paused it at the very moment the baseball hit the camera? I wonder what you’d see.
  • Horner of the G.A.A. – Horner was an experiment, to see if I could over-describe everything, like Dan Brown does. He might actually star in his own deeply confusing novella one day.
  • Nowhere – My shortest story, at 150 words. About the last few seconds of a motorcyclists life.
  • I remember when this was all fields – My one and only try at a western/cowboy story. I discovered I was no good at them, so from now on I’m just going to stick to what I know.
  • Warning! – My first piece of flash, which despite being about a delivery driver and a bit rubbish – I’m still quite proud of.
  • I believe in a thing called love – A Doctor in the far future (If 500 years makes it the far future) discovers the love of his life is not who she seems to be.
  • Then: More fire – Our wonderful Doctor once more, finds that fire has become a permanent, and very uncomfortable, part of his love-life.
  • It’s been a long time – A birthday story for a good friend of mine. One who, at the time of writing, had been dead some 700 years.
  • Forever Girl – Our eponymous story about a normal everyday girl, who happens to work at Oxford University and may have a pet time machine.
  • The Baroness’ Birthday – An introduction to the Matriarch of the central family of the ‘Edward Teach’ stories and her ‘no nonsense’ attitude.
  • An Inconvenience – Another story about the Baroness, this one taking place both directly after, and also one year later than the previous one. A story of revenge denied.
  • The Rescuer – As most of the ‘Edward Teach’ based action takes place in the sky, I thought a story set on the seabed might make a nice change of pace.
  • Dale and Samuelson, Solicitors – Steven is a nobody, a worker in a London based solicitor’s office, whose only distinguishing feature is that his trainers are always wet.
  • The deluxe model – Mike Tanaka reports from the 2056 Tokyo toy fair. Where attitudes towards gender have changed. But manufacturing methods have not.
  • Mirror – A descriptive section about one man’s last, long day of employment in a dusty dystopia.
  • And there are no more – Have you ever been on a very long journey where people lay on entertainment to pass the time faster? Our unlikely hero, Archimedes has. (Includes a free song you can sing at home)
  • Guns! – A short-short story that I don’t actually remember writing. It’s about a man who overcomes his embarrassment to save his friends lives during the war.
  • The good old days – A flash story about a boy and his unusual friends – And how peer pressure doesn’t always end well.
  • BEK – The story of a very particular kind of monster, with a very particular set of skills. (I read this at an event in a bookshop last year, and it made at least one of the audience go very pale indeed)

So there you go, almost 30 stories for £7.99 – that’s about 26p each or something – And that’s for the paperback… How can you afford not to buy it?

(Yes, I know that doesn’t technically make sense – Just go with it - I'm a struggling writer, not a using English words properly type person)

You can get it in paperback HERE
You can get it for your Kindle (or Kindle compatible device) HERE

Either way, you short-term satisfaction is guaranteed – Although I’m not going to be refunding your money just because you say you didn’t like it.  You strike me as particularly untrustworthy, Have you actually met you? And it goes against all sorts of Amazon rules probably too, I’d have thought.

Oh! I was going to give you some news too wasn’t I?  Well, Over the next few weeks, I shall be publishing the novel that started off this Edward Teach tomfoolery.  It’s 300+ pages of futuristic, airship heavy, swashbuckling, there’s a female main protagonist that passes the Bechdel test (well, most of it at least) and it’s rip-roaring fun of the old-school type… And there may be a talking horse in it too.

Keep your eyes peeled for further updates… soonish.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Unpaid review: Evyltyde, by Evyltyde

OK, let's get one thing out of the way first... This isn't a restaurant review, I know that I've done restaurant reviews in the past but this isn't one of them. This is a music review, of an album, by a band. A 'Heavy Metal/Melodic Hard Rock' band (So, all you Bieberites should probably hang up now - You're really not going to like this - But you should probably know that no-one really gives a crap what it is you actually like and you're wasting your lives)

(Hey, remember that time I didn'y get death-threats from Bieber fans?)

And I should probably make it known that I knew a couple of people in the band, before I knew they were in a band (I met them at a party and thought that they were splendid types) - This happens to me literally all the time, one of my other friends for instance - Known him for years, suddenly dropped 'I'm on BBC Radio 2 tomorrow.' into a discussion about what we were having from the bar... I don't mean he just stood up and said it like Steve Carell's character in 'Anchorman' might do - He kind of worked it into the flow, but it still totally happened.

So, I've known these people for about a year, and about a year before that, they released their first and most eponymous album. And you know what? It's really quite good. Let's first introduce the band, well, at least the lineup at the time the album was released.

In photographic order:

Isaac Marques - Drums
Paul James - Bass
Hannah Delaney - Vocals
Danny Merton - Guitar and shouting

This is their lineup now(ish)

Heckmodswyke, my faithful manservant, loaded their CD into the walnut frontaged Blohm und Voss CD player in the Dandymobile many hours before I awoke so that I may listen to it during my long commute to work this morning - Let me tell you about what I heard:

Please note: I have included official videos for the songs where such things exist on YouTube.  There are loads of videos of the band playing the other tracks from this album live.  But most of them were taken by sweaty rockers on their phones - And being an ex live sound engineer - Most of them make my bloody teeth itch. (no offence intended to the camerapeople - I'm sure you're all lovely)

(Rights to all songs, videos and images are owned by Evyltyde and their assorted agents and agencies)

Track 1 - Intro 
I know - An intro!, it's like I'm back in the 70s, a decade that I'm significantly more comfortable with than I am this current one - It's a minute and a half of crashing waves, torrential rain, ghostly choral voices and disembodied laughter - I likes it, although I did feel like I needed a wee halfway through. There is also a light smattering of creaky ships timbers towards the second half, which made me shiver (see what I did there?) - All in all, by far the best nautical-themed intro I have heard on a track since Islander, by Nightwish (and that has flutes).

Track 2 - Down below
Continuing the nautical theme, Hannah, sings a sirenesque story about condemning sailors to the briny deep. This is where you start to hear the vocal range that she's capable of, The high notes made my ears bleed and the low ones made me think a wheel had come off... But that may have something to do with the volume I was playing it at - Not sure what volume it was, as the CD player isn't so gauche that it tells you things like that, but it did keep flashing up, 'Explosionsgefahr' So, that's nice... Probably. I don't know, I don't speak German.

Track 3 - Kick you down
A dirty-great guitar riff starts the song, and the processing gives it the feel of being listened to on the radio in a car by the guy it was written about... and I was listening to it in the car, but, look... You'd probably need to hear it to understand what I mean... A lot of the songs on the album can safely be described as 'Old School' or 'Old Skool' or however the kids are spelling it nowadays - And this is a good thing, because I am old. and I went to school.

Track 4 - What have we become
Oh! a choral start, we like those! I've got loads of Sisters of Mercy albums - Then it all goes a bit 'Number of the Beast/Run to the Hills - Iron Maiden' Twiddly-speed guitars. Then the drummer goes nuts - There is literally nothing not to like. There's an over-arching 'Egyptian' feel to this track - But that could just be me remembering listening to the Powerslave album back in the 80's - The lyrics are pretty dystopic if you listen to them (or read them off the sleeve notes like I did) - But that's cool, I like that kinda thing.

Track 5 - Your darkest fears
Now IMHO, this is one of the most accessible songs on the album. This is also a good time to remind you that this is a totally subjective review, personally I'd have released this as a single - But that's just me, and I'm just a bald, fat bloke with questionable morals, not a record company executive... Can you imagine!? - If someone were to put a knife to my throat, and you really needed a reference, I'd say this is probably most reminiscent of Lacuna Coil

Track 6 - Disappear
Yay! The first one with an official video... Something of a Sunday Morning acoustic kind of song - Oh, and if any of you have ever wondered what 'disdain' looks like on a girl's face - It's the expression that Hannah has in this video whenever she's not looking like she's about to actively rip your nuts off.

Track 7 - Chastity
Another video... Which means I don't have to write anything yeah? Maybe? OK, yes, it sound's Def Leppardey - But when did that start being a bad thing? I like Def Leppard, I used to wear white baseball boots and double denim back when it was fashionable - and I got all the chicks.  Now, we've talked about strippers many times on The Chimping Dandy before. So I'm not going to go deep into that subject again (f'nar) - Whilst I understand what the constant change of pace is trying to portray, I admit to finding it a bit jarring. I don't mean it's not a good song, I'm just saying it's not my favourite one on the album. 

Track 8 - Living to die
Proper headbanger is this one - Even a nice instrumental break at about 2:40 so that you can get your breath back and everything.  Other bands might have resorted to shouting out the lyrics to this one. There are some shouty bits in the background and a couple of gravel voiced Death-Metal style grumbles (Presumably from Mr Merton) but it's all clarity of projection and what's called public school received pronunciation now - Although it was just 'How you spoke' when I were a lad - I'd characterize this as a track played by the DJ at the start of the last quarter of the night - Where the sober people are just drunk enough to dance uninhibitedly, and the drunks are still sober enough to remain verticalish..

Track 9 - Guilty
This is Dio... This is so Dio... Bloody love Dio, I do - You could probably sing the lyrics to 'Holy Diver' over this and it'd be cock-on - This is an epic lost Dio song as performed by Barracuda era Heart at the top of their game - Bloody love Dio, bloody love this track. Bloody brilliant.

Track 10 - Avenge the fallen
No, I have no idea why this was filmed in a field, I'll be sure to ask them next time I see them - A classic hard-rock song, repetitive (yes that's a good thing in this particular instance) Grinding guitars and plunging decolletage (sorry Hannah, but it's difficult to ignore, and it drags the hairy palms into the gigs... Well, it/they... whichever) - See what you think. Also, see if you can place Danny's accent...
Claim to fame... I may have spilled beer down the back of the jacket that Danny's wearing, but I don't think he noticed, so everything should be fine... *cough*

Track 11 - Fly away
The intro starts a bit 'Crash Test Dummies' - But we like them too, so that's good. Then it goes old Metallica, until Hannah starts to sing. then it really goes full on Black Album 90s Metallica (even the drumming, but the drumming is better because it's not being done by Lars Ulrich who might be Danish, but he's still a massive git) Great track.

Now if you're a modern type, and you've streamed the album from Amazon or *spit* iTunes *spit* - This is where your journey ends - But... If you really believe in supporting independent music, and independent bands, and Kickstarter and shizzle. You will have bought the CD from the band's website for a tenner (with free P+P) and will have four bonus tracks - Well, three tracks, and an acoustic version of one of those three tracks as well as the... Look, you know what I mean...

Track 12, or Bonus Track 1, depending how you look at it - Killer
Another video, don't worry, the flashing is intentional, And yes, it sends my eyes funny too... But it's really catchy - In fact I'm humming it now. (and, keep your comments to yourself... then wash your hands)

Track 13 - Fight to be free
This is a really anthemic track, you can imagine it being belted out at venues - The accompanying video isn't an official video - It's more a sort of official bootleg, featuring just Hannah & Danny. Originally released back in 2013 with all profits going towards helping victims of the war in Syria and around the world

Track 14 - Skin deep
I think this was the only track that I'd describe as an 'Album Track' on the entire album - On another band's album it would be the next to last song... Not filler by a long way, because it's still a good song in its own right... It's as if... You know when a pub covers band says 'And here's one that we wrote ourselves' - It's not one you know, so you'll go and get a beer and then sit and listen and hear the second half and wish you'd heard it all the way through - Pretty abrupt ending though, I was expecting a fadeout for some reason. It'll take me a few more listens to get into it I think.

Track 15 - Fight to be free (acoustic)
This is probably my favourite track on the entire album, even though it's just a version of track 13.  It fits Hannah's voice perfectly - It's soulful, it's haunting, It'd make a great closing theme for a TV show - The sort of thing that would be a featured track on Sons of Anarchy. I'm going to play it again once I've published this.

Evyltyde can be found on Facebook:
And they have their own website: Where you can see their tour-dates and buy T-Shirts and the Albums with the bonus tracks - Yeah, they have a fanclub too, you should totally join that, you get free/cheap merch and get to go backstage and stuff (But not like that time I told you about with RockBitch)

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

So, am I evil?

Well, Derrrr.... For obvs I am, you've all known me for years and you all know that I am.

But I noticed something yesterday that made me think that I might be evil in a totally new (to me) previously undiscovered way... Something I'd never previously considered as even capable of being the reason that I'd have been tarred and feathered and thrown out of the badly maintained Wacky Warehouse that I like to call 'life'.

Pretty much every day nowadays is some kind of 'Day' - I don't mean Thursday or Tuesday (Although those are most definitely both days) I mean things like these, that the UN/UNESCO ask us to casually observe:

11th. Feb - International Day of Women & Girls in Science
23rd. March - International Meteorological Day
24th. March - International Tuberculosis Day (Which can be quite noisy if the 23rd. was damp and foggy)

It continues like this all the way through the year with us having

15th. Oct - World Handwashing Day, followed by
16th. Oct - Global Food Day

And ending up with:

20th. December - International Human Solidarity Day

Then you've got 'Days' specific to your particular Country or Deity of choice, There's Saints days and other High days - Days made up by retailers just to sell stock - Appropriated Pagan days - Yearly (or bi-yearly or quad yearly) sporting events that have their own 'Day'

Not to mention things that have their own 'Week' Like 'Shark Week' for instance... And... Erm... Probably others too.

But, the one I'm talking about in this instance is a global holiday that bounces around the calendar like a frog in a machine used for polishing old ball-bearings...


It's celebrated all around the world, on the Second Sunday in February, or the 3rd, 8th, 21st or 25th of March, the 4th Sunday in Lent (In the UK), the 7th of April, 8th, 10th, 15th, 19th, 26th, 30th, or the 1st, 2nd or Last Sunday of May, 1st of June, 2nd Sunday of June, 1st. Monday of July, 12th & 15th August, 2nd Monday or 3rd. Sunday of October, 14th. October, 3rd. or 16th. November, and the 8th & 22nd of December...

There are also a couple of countries that celebrate it on non-Gregorian dates using their own wibbly-wobbly date system that I'm not willing to explain. I mean, the last paragraph kind of got away from me a little - And I'll wager a £5 note against a bag of freshly collected donkey eyelids that you skipped a lot of those dates, and who'd blame you? We've all got better things to do haven't we?

But let's get back to me, and how I'm evil and so full of wrongissitude that all my toes are due to pop off my feet and into the stratosphere at any given moment.

Here are some facts that you probably already know if you've read the blog for more than a couple of decades...

  • I have been happily married to the long-suffering Mrs. Dandy for almost twenty years (Yes, I'm old, I know, I've gotten over it and so should you.)
  • We have two children together. Lovely, wonderful children who never give us a moment's trouble 
  • My Mother, whom I may have mentioned a couple of times before whilst she was both dead and alive... Is currently dead... But this hasn't stopped her being quite a vocal part of our lives.

So, on Monday (Which happened to be the day after the 4th Sunday of Lent) - I was greeted by several, if not many, posts from people who I previously considered friends - Waxing lyrical about gifts that they had bought their WIVES for MOTHER'S Day...

Do you see my issue? My Wife is Not My Mother (Because it would make things really awkward when I did that thing she likes with the egg-whisk) and My Mother is dead, which if nothing else makes it difficult for her to open cards and things that I'd bought hastily from the petrol station and wrapped in second-hand paper that I'd saved from Christmas.

So I didn't buy my WIFE a present... You see where I'm going with this don't you? - I'm going to neither confirm nor deny that I financially assisted in the purchase of the presents/cards that one or more of my Children bought for THEIR MOTHER (MY WIFE)

When I told these fairweather friends that I have never bought anyone other than MY MOTHER a MOTHER'S DAY present, well... I can only imagine that there was a quite literal intake of breath on their part. They expressed their shock via the medium of the strongly worded reply to my admission and a couple of them wondered how I ever got allowed to use an egg-whisk in the first place with a stingy attitude like that.

But, My Faithful Bloggerites (remind me never to use that word again) what do you think? I'm interested in answers from all people in all situations, Mothers, Fathers, Kids, Male, Female, Non-CIS, CIS, NCIS, SVU, Super-Intelligent Shades of the colour Blue.

What did you do?

And much more importantly, What should I do next year? (Especially if I want to employ another piece of kitchen equipment for a use for which it wasn't originally designed?)

And to carry on the theme... Here's a nice picture about love and stuff... There's a rock shaped like a heart and everything.

Toodles! - Don't forget to leave your opinion in the space provide below...

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Cook you a steak and do what job?

You know what really grinds my gears? Well, initially it's people who use the phrase "You know what really grinds my gears?" and don't expect me to think of them as Peter Griffin from that moment on. But let's leave that to one side for the time being...

Man-Babies are one things that grind my gears - Now this would be such an easy thing to do the day after International Women's Day... And obviously, that's why I'm doing it. (Did you know, IWD was started back in 1909 by the Socialist Party of America - One wonders if it would be as big a global celebration if it was started by the National Socialist Party of Germany in the late 1930s - But I digress)

Wait, where were we?

Ah yes, Man-Babies.  You know what a man-baby is don't you? It's a man, who acts, out of his own volition, like a whining opinionated baby - Which is pretty much all men (Am I Rite Ladies? High-five! - Wooo! - Don't leave me hanging... OK [Looks at palm of my hand][sees unusually crusty peeling stain][understands completely]

Now I don't mean the men who employ the paid services of professional ladies who look after them whilst they toddle around wearing nappies and rattling their... Um... 'rattles' in people's faces and wearing comfortable bootees and happily having their nappies changed and suchlike.  Each to their own I say where sexual perversion's concerned - Especially in society's upper echelons, what-what?

And I don't mean card-carrying misogynists - They're a whole different breed entirely and we've talked about them before.

I mean the ones who genuinely believe that the only important things are things that apply directly to them and other men, who they claim some kind of shaky brotherhood with - like the urgent, Gods-given need for Government-sponsored erectile dysfunction medicine and free at the point of delivery hair replacement therapy, I mean the lightbulb shaped headed ones wearing last season's football shirts who bleated all over social media yesterday "When's International Men's Day?" - The same ones who went oddly quiet when I (and several other people - I'm not claiming any singular Godhood here) replied, "It's the 19th November you massive Twonk, the day before Universal Children's Day. If you're going to cry like a bitch about some perceived slight against your gender, at least have the common decency to get your facts straight."

And don't think I'm some kind of white-knight feminist defender myself either. I'm really not... If you're female and wearing a low-cut top (for whatever reason) I will look at your cleavage and/or boobs - You can check with Mrs Dandy - we can't go anywhere without her tutting, shaking her head and having to repeat herself at least a dozen times. I won't stand in front of you with my coat open shielding you from the ogling stares of other neanderthal men. I'm a firm believer that boobs are great, and if you want to have a proportion of yours on show - You should feel completely free to do so - But you're gonna get looks from the weak willed.

But what really gets me, specifically, every bloody year hasn't really even started yet.  Next week, Facebook & Twitter will be full of it.  On Monday it'll be wall-to-wall schoolboy sniggering for the preamble. On Tuesday it'll be "when I get home tonight from a hard day at the coalface/office/clinic, guess what I'm getting?!?!!?'

You've worked it out right?

March 14th? a month after Valentines Day?

Well, it's another one of those gender specific made-up strictly for profit holidays. Whereas Valentine's Day is a holiday for women, with non-generic petrol station flowers, high cocoa content chocolates, and things wrapped in red and pink reflective paper. Steak and a Blowjob Day (for it is that of which I am speaking) is for men... because men like red meat and getting their dicks wet whilst their eyes roll back into their heads (and if that doesn't happen, someone's doing something wrong).

I don't get why you need to announce it to your 63 Facebook friends (half of which are probably friends with your significant other too who will laugh when she post "Not bloody likely Sunshine, you can spend 30 seconds on Pornhub once the kids have gone to bed like you do every Saturday night instead of playing FIFA."

And it's so boringly contrived and binary - I mean, I love chocolate - And Mrs Dandy gets excited by the thought of a decent mouthful of steak (well, she did before she decide to go pescatarian - feel free to insert your own jokes there.

But men... (Lower-case used intentionally) Just like there's no specific date for you to tell your partner that you love them or to buy them flowers, as long as you're prepared for every one of her female friends to ask her what you've done. And there's no date when it's more or less right to buy decent chocolate for your partner or even yourself. There's no specific day when you can't buy and cook a nice, thick steak, or go to a nice restaurant and order steak if you you don't 'do' washing up, because you're too manly. And, believe it or not if you have a decent cleanliness routine, it's not out of the realms of possibility that a lady that you personally quite like will, without any kind of struggle or Gaffer Tape being involved, put your love-python in where her shouting at you usually comes out of.

Providing you're both equally up for it that is... And that you've eaten quite a lot of pineapple beforehand.  Enjoy.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Listen to the wind blow, watch the sun rise

Have you noticed that life, by its very nature, is linear.  There are some that say that it's more 'wibbley-wobbley' than that - But those people are often certifiable and you should shun them.   

But life, for the vast majority of us, bimbles from one thing to another like a heavily pregnant hamster, banging into things and generally biting jagged chunks out of the furniture with rodenty abandon.  You can look backwards sometimes and think "That was lucky" if... Erm... if you're lucky, but ninety-nine times out of a hundred, it's pretty much 'Yesterday I went to the shops.', 'Today my dog stole all the Camembert out of my artisanally made and ethically sourced sourdough sandwich.'

But there are a few times, a few beautiful gems hidden amongst the razor-edged broken glass strewn highway of my daily life that shine like the very lighthouse of home port to an overworked and mimsy-hungry seaman (easy now)

Here is one such relatable saga, it ends the day before yesterday... But it started some weeks ago, during a bout of Norovirus-induced generic stomach-flu like illness. I had it for a week and I didn't eat during that entire time - I drank weak orange squash made with boiled water. I tried to eat a boiled sweet once, but that triggered a bout of 'stomach upset' that would have caused a Haddock to embrace Buddhism. It was awful - I lost a stone in weight (you need to remember this, it's important later on).

Another thing you need to bear in mind is that it's not my payday until next Friday... Very important, almost as important as the previous fact, in fact.

Ok, so knowing these facts, we can fast-forward to last week. The Dandymobile, my faultless steed, my surreptitious breeder of Marmosets, has a 'tell' to let you know that her battery will require replacement in the near future.  It's a buzzing noise that happens between turning on the ignition and starting the engine, something like a pump, or a fan under the bonnet somewhere probably, I know not what it is - This is where the more mechanically minded of my loyal readership should feel free to jump in with suggestions as to what this might be, and how they would like to mend it for me for free. But, for the time being, we should just agree that this is a 'thing' with a purpose - It's purpose in this case is to remind me to buy a new battery in the near future.  I had planned to buy a battery once I had been paid. I think you can follow my reasoning, right?

On Saturday I drove the Current Mrs. Dandy to the Post-Office to claim a package that required a signature, or was too wide for the letterbox or some-such tomfoolery.  Upon our return to the car, it refused to start, I figured that I'd touched one of the footpedals during the starting procedure (this sometimes causes the car to refuse to start for half an hour or so if the battery is in bad shape) so I walked the 500 yards to the nearest branch of a popular tyre and battery replacement company that are known for being 'Quite expensive'. They very cheerfully said that they would be more than happy to replace my battery for £100. (remember, it's not payday until next week and I still need to buy food and fuel).  I tried the motor factors across the road (the same motor factors as detailed in this story) and they quote me £70 just to supply the battery.  So, I figured that I'd go back to the car, wait for it to successfully start and drive it to get its battery replaced.

But it didn't start, not even after I'd waited for another hour... 

I'd suggested to Mrs Dandy that she get the bus home, as she had things to do, and that I would get the Dandymobile sorted 'somehow' on my own. She left and I sat there and thought, and thought, and thought. My first thought was that the car would magically just start if I closed my eyes and turned the key whilst asking it nicely... It didn't.  Then I thought that the only thing for it was to push the car, on my own, the 500 yards to get the battery replaced. But then I remembered that I would need both hands to push the Dandymobile - and, (this is where your memory gets tested) I realised that that would be problematic because I needed one hand to hold my trousers up - Remember that sickness bug and all the weight I lost? - Well, my belt was on the last hole and I couldn't get it tight enough to stop my trousers falling down whilst I was pushing the car... I was going to buy a new, smaller, belt once I'd been paid. This issue was compounded because, as you all know, I don't wear underwear of any kind, ever. Not even when I'm kilted.

So, my third and final thought was to phone the garage that normally does my MOTs and suchlike, to get them to recover me and replace the battery. So I called them and spoke to the owner, who's a great guy, and explained my problem. He said that the recovery truck was out currently, but I'd be their next call as I was such a good customer.  We've heard of this garage before too... It's where THE QUATTRO is usually tethered.

It was an hour before the truck arrived and on its arrival, the recovery driver suggested that he should use his special clip-on battery thing to see if he could scare the Dandymobile into life.  But it didn't work, so then he offered to bump her around the corner using the starter motor (you know how a car lurches forward if you start it in gear? that.) and winch her onto the back of the truck. The car jumped forward a couple of feet every time he turned the key and on the second such attempt, the engine started as if nothing had been wrong in the first place.

"I don't understand what happened there," He said. Well, I say 'he said' - he kind of buzzed, because he had some sort of electrolarynx because my life is on average 500% weirder in most ways than yours. Then he asked me if I'd like him to follow me to the garage just in case. but I said no, and that he was very kind, but as the Dandymobile started, she should be OK now. In hindsight, that strikes even me as foolish bravado now.

However, I drove to the garage without incident, parked up and turned off the ignition without thinking.  The owner was standing in the open doorway of the workshop and favoured me with a sliding facepalm with added headshaking finish, such as one you would give to an Ice-dancer who had performed a routine worthy of six perfect 10.0s before setting his tights on fire as a protest of some kind and sinking through the surface of the rink without a trace.

I opened the bonnet, and he looked at the battery. A confused scowl crossed his face... "Is this one of ours?" he asked. 

"Of course, you exclusively do all the work on all my cars." I lied in reply. He held up his index finger to silence my tirade of falsehood and rang his battery supplier.

"Well, it seems you're in luck - The battery is still just under warranty, so we'll replace it free of charge for you.  All I'd ask is that you make a cash donation to the 'We helped you out of a tight spot, so I'll contribute towards the cost of your Christmas Party benevolent fund.'" - So I gave him the cash I'd got out to pay the driver for recovering me. and an hour later, I was on my way.

Effectively, I saved a potload of money, the week before payday, because I'd been sick as a dog weeks earlier, and that meant I couldn't push my car to the garage for fear of my trousers falling down...

What are the chances?

Well, with me, probably 50/50 as it goes.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Spiky, Shape-changing Pinecones of Death

Tomorrow, Saturday the 18th of February, is the third Saturday in February - and we all know what that means.

It means that it’s Enzo Ferrari’s birthday… And Yoko Ono’s… And John Travolta’s…  It’s also the feast-day of St. Colmán of Lindisfarne who probably invented mustard or something (I didn’t really look into it that closely if I’m being completely honest – I’m trying to do like 300 things at once today) amongst other things.

But the real reason that we’re interested here at The Chimping Dandy – and therefore, the reason that you’re interested is that it’s World Pangolin Day. Pangolins – They’re literally the greatest thing ever. They have all the intrinsic parts required to be the best, cutest, most heart-warmingly twee bundles of keratin scaled, acid-pooping ant-eating machinery that has ever walked this, or any other, Earth.

But, you don’t need me to tell you that, right? We’ve covered pangolins in the past to the point where they’re not a complete mystery… We have, we did that here… Didn’t we? I thought we had. Remember, I told you that Neil-Patrick Harris had read the blog? Look, just read that post – You’ll be glad you did. I’ll wait here.

OK? Are we all up to speed now? Scaled anteaters, of the order Pholidota, no teeth, long tongue, and four legged but walks on two… Generally considered to be one of the most internationally trafficked animals that currently still exists (but only just) because, you know, They’re pretty tasty and some people, in some parts of the world think tearing them to pieces, grinding up their scales and swallowing them will sure cancer, or magically make your milk ‘come in’ if you’ve just had a baby.

(For the record, it won’t. And you’re a backwards imbecile if you think it will. In fact, just go the whole hog and shoot yourself repeatedly in the face if you believe that it will – All you’re doing is making this amazing animal even more endangered)

As of today, six of the eight species of Pangolin are classed as ‘Threatened to extinction’ whilst the other two are ‘Critically endangered’

So, what should you do on World Pangolin day? How should you celebrate it? Well, a good start would be not eating a pangolin – But I’m guessing that’s going to be pretty easy for most of us (And yes, I understand that they’re a valid staple of people who share a biome with them – But I’m not sure that those people read the blog as such) Then you could ‘Like’ the World Pangolin Day page on Facebook. Maybe draw some pictures of Pangolins? Bake biscuits and/or cookies? (In the shape of Pangolins, but not using pangolin as an active ingredient) Write a poem? Express the very idea of pangolinicity though the medium of interpretive dance? You could look at videos of them doing cute stuff of YouTube (other video sharing sites are probably available) and try not to 'Squeeee' too much.

You could go to your local museum if they have a pangolin on display and have an impromptu party, or you could take an outline of a pangolin with you and have a tasteful and well behaved vigil around it if they don’t have one of their own. Remember – Be courteous to your local museum, they’re generally great people – I know the people who work in the Nature Gallery in my local Museum (In Derby, in the UK) certainly are. Maybe your local Zoo has an animal adoption scheme and you could put some money towards a pangolin’s upkeep? Although, now that I come to think about it – They don’t do very well in captivity – Maybe you could adopt an Aardvark or something and just tell people it’s a pangolin – I don’t know, I’m not an expert. Just an excitable amateur.

But the main thing, the best thing you can do is think. Realise that there’s yet another animal out there that’s losing its grip on life because of our stupidity. And it’s a cute animal, so you’ve got no excuse not to help it – I could understand if it was some flesh eating worm or something, who gives a crap about them, right?

But it’s not… look…

Bloody brilliant aren't they?