Saturday, 24 September 2011


Around the start of April I had someone new move in.

It was early one morning and I stumbled half asleep into my bathroom to take a shower. As I stood there with the water hitting my face, muttering, “You can do this” and trying not to fall back asleep under the soothing warm flow, I turned around with shampoo in my hair to see a tiny spider building a web in my open bathroom window.

Now my normal reaction when seeing any spider is to let out a non-manly scream, run around for a bit with flapping hands, and then find the nearest rolled up magazine to twat the little bastard into oblivion, and this was the exact same reaction I had when I saw my new housemate for the first time. So as I stood there with a bottle of Lynx shower gel in my hand, ready to unleash furious, yet great smelling, vengeance on the home intruder, something magical happened that made me stop and actually watch him.

The effort that this tiny creature was making in creating a new home for himself was phenomenal. His little body was contorting left and right as he spun little threads from himself, hooking others with his legs and connecting them up, building something beautiful right in front of my eyes. I must have lost myself for at least five minutes in just watching this amazing feat of nature taking place before me, until the sudden realisation hit me that I was in fact standing soapy and stark bollock naked in from of my window for all my neighbours to see, and quickly ducked down out of sight before they called the police.

As I dried myself off, the spider was still building and I just simply didn’t have the heart to destroy it and the new home it was making. The almost superspider effort that it took to even get the basics of the web up and running was almost too pure and good for my stupid and ignorant hands to tear down. So after wishing it: good luck, I got ready for work and forgot all about it.

When I returned home, the web was complete and the small spider was sitting proudly in the centre, tiny legs splayed out around it to detect the stirring of anything stupid enough to fly into its strands. The web swayed gently in the Spring air, a monument to hard work, unwavering self belief, and the heart rending beauty of the natural world.

There was no way I was getting rid of it. What right did I have? When had I ever creating anything half as beautiful as this?

“I shall call you......... Stephen,” I said with awe in my voice, feeling as if we were going to live together, he might as well have a name.

So Stephen he was.

Stephen and I began cohabiting in an almost serene sense of bonhomie. Every morning I would jump into my shower after wishing Stephen a “Good morning” and upon seeing me he would bounce up and down in his web, shaking his miniature body into a blur of motion. Now those of you armed with “facts” will tell me that spiders do this in their natural habitat to warn off predators when they get too near their webs. This is false. Stephen did it because he was pleased to see me every morning. That’s what it was, yeah? Deal with it.

As I showered every morning, Stephen would dodge steam, flying droplets, and the sight of my naked body (easy ladies). He began to see me at all stages of my daily routine. When I was half asleep in the morning, just before I went to bed sleepily at night, getting ready to go out, coming in tired from work, coming home drunk, he saw it all. And he never judged, nor passed comment like others would. He either hung there, getting fat from all the insects that passed near the open window, or would retreat to the tiny crack between the window and wall, where he would sleep, the only evidence of him being tiny legs just sitting on the threads of his home.

He also became part of my home.

I had never formed a friendship with an insect before (there was one time when I got close to a woodlouse, but in many ways, neither of us really want to talk about that much anymore), but this arachnid became a regular staple of my daily life. He was something constant, always there in the background, and it surprised me how OK I was with this and how quickly I accepted it.

And then yesterday, something happened.

I got into my shower and did my morning ritual of turning to see how Stephen was.

He wasn’t good.

H e was moving sluggishly in the centre of his web, fumbling to latch onto the different strands with weak legs. It was obvious something was wrong, but there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t help him; all I could do was watch.

After giving him one final glance, I left for work. When I returned home, the web was empty. I peered into his little home in the gap by the window, but could see any evidence of him.

Stephen was gone.

When I got into my shower this morning, Stephen was back. He hung silently in the centre of his web; body a tiny husk, devoid of any life. I stopped and blinked for a few moments. I actually felt a bit, sad? I’d seen this tiny creature grow and mature over the last few months and now I was privy to his death, it didn’t feel right. It felt stupid to be sad over an insect, but it was such a short life for any creature.

I opened the window wider, pulling apart his ever familiar web, and a gentle morning Autumn breeze caught his frail body and carried it away like a dead leaf as I watched it tumble away.

Having such a close proximity to something that would normally exist far outside my life has taught me two things.

1) That all life, no matter how small or insignificant, plays out in exactly the same way. You’re born, you struggle to make a home for yourself, and then you try and survive the best you can before you die. So it’s up to you to try and make the best of every single opportunity that takes place throughout that journey. No one else will do it for you; it won’t be handed on a plate. Stephen taught me that.

2) I really need to get out a bit more and talk to real people. I made friends with a spider.

Stephen, it was far too short, but it was an experience knowing you.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

What's All This Ear Then?………..

Ever since I was born I have always suffered from problems with my ears.

Now, when I say problems, I don’t mean with the actual ears themselves. They aren’t deformed or grotesque or anything like that. In fact they are quite cute. Tiny little things with pointy up ends, they look like elf ears. Maybe not so hot for the ladies, but if I ever decided to join up with those weirdo's who like to decamp to the nearest forest and re-enact the complete works of Tolkien, then I have a fairly good idea whose side I would be forced to go on.

No, my problems stems from what goes on inside the actual ears themselves. I’m a bit deaf you see.

I was born with a perforated eardrum in my left ear. Now when you normally get a hole in your eardrum it slowly closes over time. Sadly, mine wouldn’t, which resulted in a fair bit of hearing loss and an almost pathological fear of getting water in it, as it hurt like a bastard afterwards.

Being deaf sucks.

I lead a normal life, don’t need a hearing aid or anything like that. My hearing borders just on a level where I can function perfectly with what I have. But it does mean though that I miss out on certain things that go on around me. Certain environments are a nightmare to circumnavigate as I quite often won’t have a clue as to what's being said. I struggle with certain pitches, more so with female voices than male, and I definitely struggle with large groups, as it is sometimes hard to pinpoint certain voices over others.

One of the worst places for me to be is nightclubs. I realised that when I attempted to be a weapon of mass seduction in my teens, the art of seduction is virtually impossible when you have absolutely no idea as to what is going on.

“So, are you going to buy me a drink then?”


“I said, are you going to buy me a drink?”


“No, drink!”


Nightclubs weren’t the best place for meeting the ladies really.

Even now I still get myself into awkward social situations, quite simply because I can’t hear what's being said to me. I get fed up with saying “Pardon” all the time as it makes me feel like a complete tool, so my normal method to try and get myself out of these situations is to try and bluff my way through of them. This normally takes the form of either of these scenarios.

1) I just stare blankly at the person who has just spoken to me, inwardly praying that I can process some of the words that did actually penetrate my brain and form them into some basis for a coherent sentence. This normally results in me just looking a tad retarded, and the other person swiftly moving away to talk to someone else.

2) This one is more common and usually gets me into a whole area of new, fresh trouble. If someone has been speaking to me for a long while and I haven’t understood a single word that they have said, I will normally scrunch my face up into what I believe is a really interested expression and then say something which hopefully might fit in with what they are saying. This is normally something like “Really?” or “Yeah?” As you can guess, it doesn’t really work most of the time as quite often I would be so far off the mark it was unreal.

“Dan, I can’t live with how closed off you are, the way that you never talk about your feelings or problems. You’re like a closed book, and that's really something you can’t base a relationship on. I’m leaving you Dan.”

It always used to take me about three days to figure out that I had been dumped. It would be brilliant if relationships came with subtitles.

I’ve had a few operations during my younger years to try and fix the inside of my useless ear. These took the form of skin grafts that would be placed over the eardrum to make it whole again. The first took place when I was about 11, but sadly didn’t work. But I did have the satisfaction of when I came out of the operation, still heavily under the influence of the anaesthetic, I apparently tore my surgical gown off and laid on top of my bed, stark bollock naked, causing the nurse attending to me to exclaim, “He’s a big boy for his age, isn’t he?” to my shocked family.

It a strange feeling to be absolutely shamed, and yet strangely proud of something at the same time.

Still, even heavily sedated, always a playa.

The second operation I had when I was 14, there was no exposing my genitals to nurses this time round, and the operation was considered a success. So for a time I had good hearing and felt a bit normal again. But over the years scarring has built up on the eardrum and the hearing is getting worse.
I went to the hospital a few weeks ago and was given the choice. Get fitted out for a hearing aid, if I really wanted one (which I don’t), or we can go in for surgery again as apparently things have moved on a tad since I was a kid and they can do some more things within this area. The only downside is that if the operation goes wrong, I will lose all the hearing in my left ear completely.

Was a bit of a tough choice, but I have decided to go with the operation. I’m tired of always feeling like I’m five seconds behind everyone else. If it goes wrong, I virtually feel deaf in the left ear anyway.

But it won’t go wrong. I know it won’t.

And I might get stark bullock naked again.

There’s always that.

Friday, 22 April 2011


Hi. How are you?

Shhhhhhhhh, don’t spoil this. Its been too long. Let me just look at you, just to see if you’re how I remember. Yes, its exactly how I remember you. The dreamy eyes, the hair, the fire behind your expression, the sloping forehead. I’ve missed you. Its good to be back. Just hold me.

Look, I have a valid excuse for being away for so long.

Now when I say that this excuse is valid, I am being genuinely honest with you. But I’m also being honest when I say my reason can also be considered a bit retarded as well. If you want me to be more precise, I’d say its around 25% valid, 75% retarded.  But lets not quibble over facts. I’m back. Deal with it, yeah?

So, why have a been away? Well, numbnuts here forgot his password to log on to Blogger.

Yeah, lame or what, huh? But I swear its true. About a month ago I had a blog post to write that was so amazing it would have made your underpants explode. I went to log on with literally shaking hands due to the excitement of birthing this literary concoction of awesomeness out into the world, but yet when it came to entering in my password, my mind went blank and I ended up staring at the screen like a geriatric looking at the microwave and wondering why the news hadn’t come on yet.

I flicked through my minds database, past all the useless information that I have stored in there, searching desperately for the correct combination of words and numbers that would enable me to write, but all I kept coming up with was the year that Jaws 2 was directed in and the memory of my sixth birthday party when my parents hired an entertainer for me whose breath smelt like whiskey and who has now consequently made me have a phobia of balloon animals. But no  password.

I honestly think that the last few weeks I have tried every known configuration of words and numbers known to man. I have probably inadvertently stumbled onto the mystery behind quantum physics with some of the equations that I came up with, but none of them actually allowed me to access my emails or Blogger, and since my amazing brain thought it would be a fantastic idea to set up my password reminder email under a default account, I was really up shit creek on a canoe made of shit which was passing under a bridge where even more people were shitting over the sides on me.

So I gave it one last try a few nights ago. I sat at my computer and emptied my mind. This took quite some time as I couldn’t shake off the thought of: Do ants feel happiness? which troubled me for at least 20 minutes until I decided that they probably could, and then I finally reached an almost Zen like state where I was nothing and nothing was me, and I just typed a password in on my computer without even thinking what it was.

I was in!

The first thing that I could see was that I have now hit 160 followers. Party time. Welcome to anyone new by the way. Its very nice to have you here. You look very nice by the way. Respectable. My kind of people. The kind of people who I would like to sit down and have a nice meal with. Can I come round for dinner? Whens good for you? I can’t do Tuesday as I have my salsa classes. Wednesdays good. I’ll bring a bottle.

So, you may not care, but I will give you some updates anyway.

Few things happening in my personal life, which obviously I am not going to talk about on here. But there is also the strong chance that I may be made redundant from my job, which is something that I found out about last Monday. This is happened to me so many times now that I’m starting to take it personally. I’m really pissed off to be honest, but there is not much I can do about it. Although its not a guarantee, I have more chance of keeping my job if I go to work in Essex in either Grays or Basildon, which as a choice is kind of like being asked if you would like a warm bucket of piss or liquid shit poured over your head. But as I love my job its probably going to be something I have to seriously look at.

But in the midst of all this depression and grimness, at least there is one beautiful and amazing thing that is coming up on the horizon that will whisk away all my blues like a breeze cooling your sweat on a warm summers day. I am of course talking about the upcoming marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, or as every single fucking paper here in the UK insists on calling them, The Happy Couple.

Honestly, they are everywhere. On every front page, on magazines, on mugs, t-shirts, pizzas, happy meals and in my nightmarish feverish dreams. Its got so bad that I have now developed a Pavlovian response of yelling out “STOP SMILING AT ME!”every time I see their gormless, rich faces staring back at me from whatever thing is proclaiming their glorious union.

One good thing has come out of their upcoming nuptials though, and that's the fact that we get a day off for the wedding. Its their wedding present to the nation, and like most weddings, I am going to spend the day rowing with those close to me before falling into a drunken heap under a mound of sausage rolls and cucumber sandwiches.

I feels its what they would have wanted.

So anyway, that was me. Now over to you. Is everything OK? Is there anything that you want to talk about? You know I’m always here for you, don’t you? If you don’t want to talk about it now, we can always chat when I come round on Wednesday.

I like chicken by the way.

Just saying.