Saturday, March 31, 2007


As you can tell, I’m not here today. Actually, I'm here but I’ve been enjoying a day off after wowing the ladies with my routine last night.

The Green Dragon Tavern was a riot and it was as though the Chipster hadn't been away. The only thing to go wrong was that one lady got so excited that she wrote her phone number on my thigh. She used one of those permanent markers and now the number won't come off. I tried using a scouring pad but I couldn't get past the dial code before the pain became too much.

I also need to make a request:

Could whoever it was that caught my thong last night please contact me. I left the spare front door key in the secret pocket stitched into the crotch and I really don't want to change the lock.

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Sweaty Friday

I’ll be brief. I think that’s what you want and I need after my mammoth post yesterday. I’m really sorry it was so long as I'm sure nobody read it.

To be honest, I don’t have much time right now to write a long essay. I’m dripping with sweat after a gruelling workout since I’m trying to get myself in condition for tonight when I’m making an early return to the stripping circuit.

I’ll be at the Green Dragon Tavern at ten, performing my new routine, which I’m calling ‘Gunboat Diplomacy’. It’s a topical routine, even though I say it myself. It ends with the last bit from the 1812 overture as the canons roar and my thong goes sailing out into the crowd. It’s as close as I get to making an overt political gestures in my act but I’ve had enough of this country being made to look foolish by these Iranians who are, let me remind you, a nation very hostile to the thong and thongdom.

At these times of heightened international tensions, I think all we can ever do is to thong on and never look back.

See you all tonight at the Green Dragon Tavern. And remember: when I shout ‘take aim’, the first person to cry ‘Fire!’ gets the thong.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Fox In The Chicken Coop

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes
Henry David Thoreau

I only began to suspect that I’d been misled by the local representative of the poultry industry after I’d arrived at the allotments. There had been little time to give much thought to why I was needed there and my eagerness to see where I’d be staying for the night meant that I when I finally found Gabby’s shed, I hardly expected it to be set in a scene of such utter tranquillity.

Cool yet bright, it was one of those perfect spring evenings. The shed was painted green to blend in with high ivy-covered walls that surrounded it on two sides, while standing beside it, a brand new chicken coop gleamed yellow in the last rays of sunlight. The acrid smell of the weatherproofing had come to rest in the yard and now mixed with those aromas of the fresh oil, still damply oozing on the coop’s clean timbers. Ominously, there was no sign of the hens but for the occasional irritated cluck that came from behind the little door that shut them off against the world. For the first time, I wondered why exactly I was spending the night protecting them when a fox had about as much chance of getting into the coop as I had of getting a good night’s sleep among the shed’s fertilizer and forks.

I put my doubts aside as I dumped my kit in the shed and set to clearing a space for myself in one corner, as far from Gabby’s old still as possible. As you’re probably aware, the processes involved in the manufacture of potato gin leave behind a smell somewhat like a muddy field and petroleum; which are oddly enough, two of the key ingredients of potato gin.

I laid my bed out across the back of the shed with a headboard snugly made up of piled bags of John Innes No. 2 compost before I decided to make a circuit of the yard before closing the shed for the night. As the last of the daylight steamed in through the shed’s door, I checked my emergency torch a final time before I went out to patrol my small protectorate.

There really wasn’t much to see. A wheelbarrow with a squeaky wheel was the cultural highlight of my tour, followed by a patch of ground which hadn’t been turned over since the last potato harvest. The evening was also developing the sort of chill that does nobody any good, least of all a man in a thong, so I was really quite happy to get back in the shed and slide the bolt across the door.

Adapting to life in the shed was surprisingly easy. There’s a comfort to be found away from luxuries. I remembered a quote by Thoreau, who famously went to live amongst the raccoons and squirrels in his local woods: ‘a man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone’. Well, I felt rich enough. I’d abandoned every luxury of the modern world except for a thermal thong, which as I’m sure you’re beginning to realise is one of life’s essentials.

I then thought of another quote by Thoreau: ‘men have become the tools of their tools’. I confess, this had me thinking for quite a while, and by the time I’d finished working it out, a total darkness had descended. Perhaps I too had become a tool of my tools. Or, I suppose, more specifically for a man in my line of work I had become a tool of my tool. I lit my torch and scribbled the aphorism down on the flap of a box of weedkiller in case I forgot it in the morning.

Men have become the tools of their tool.
Chip Dale

Only an hour into my retreat from the modern world and I’d already hit a rich vein of wisdom. Soon, I had another little chunk of the wise stuff ready to note down:

All of life’s answers can be found in a potting shed.
Chip Dale

I really was quite pleased with myself and I reflected on how this break was so clearly what I’d needed. A night away from the TV, the internet, this blog… I was instead happy to listen to nature as it prepared to nest down for the night. My supper amounted to a few cheese crackers and a can of Tango, which felt oddly out of place in such a rustic setting. Sometime around nine thirty, some large creature visited the allotments and relieved itself noisily in the darkness before sauntering off singing Phil Collins’ ‘You Can Feel It’. My torch lit up for the briefest of moments, just long enough to write out:

Phil Collins makes wise men of drunks.
Chip Dale

With all this mental exercise, I was beginning to feel extraordinarily tired and I decided it was time to get ready for bed. The absence of light drains a man in a more natural way than I would have expected. My mind drifting on the smell of potato gin and linseed oil as I slipped down into the bottom of my sleeping bag. I drifted off to the occasional cluck of the chickens next door.

A noise like a rusted gate opening woke me some time later.

I grabbed my glasses and checked my watch. It was still only three thirty.

I blinked back my sleep and the dream I’d been having about Felicity Kendal. It had been some inspired nightmare about ‘The Good Life’ and I’d been Tom Good, trying to milk a zebra in the in Margot’s shrubbery. I damned my cheese crackers and swung myself out of bed. My torch lay beneath my hand but I stopped myself from turning it on. I was sure there was something moving around outside the shed.

I looked around in the darkness, seeking out something I could fashion into a crude weapon. I then damned myself for not sleeping in my clothes. It hadn’t occurred to me that I might actually have to act and if it was a fox, I didn’t think it wise to chase it dressed only in my underwear.

That worry retreated as I realised that the thing out there was bigger than a fox and with a tread louder than the noise of my heart, hammering inside my skull. Thoughts of foxes retreated even more once the door began to rattle and an anxious voice whispered: ‘Anybody in there?’

‘Who is it?’ I said, now holding the torch like a club, half expecting the bolt to give way.

‘Is that you Mr. Dale?’ said the voice. The anxiety had disappeared and had been replaced with a gruff humour. ‘Aren’t you going to let me in?’

I stood up and turned on my flashlight before I slid back the bolt.

Standing there in the dim moonlight was the figure of a man; the same man who had sold Gabby her hens that morning.

‘I figured you might try to sleep on duty,’ said Mr. Green, gesturing towards my thong. He held up a thermos flask. ‘Thought you might be cold and wouldn’t mind some company.’

‘It’s nearly three in the morning,’ I told him, now a little calmer but considerably more confused.

‘The time all us sensible country folk get up,’ he assured me as he gestured me back into the shed. He followed me in and closed the door. ‘I’ve been wondering if you’ve had any problems with the hens. And then I thought about a man like you, not used to the rough life… I thought you wouldn’t mind a bit of company.’ He looked down at my thong and experience that odd sensation I so rarely feel: I suddenly felt terribly naked.

I was tempted to reach for my pen and write out the new aphorism that had suddenly struck me.

Never strip down to your underwear in a shed.
Chip Dale

‘You know, it gets cold this early in the year,’ he carried on. ‘So I thought you might just like a bit of company. A bit of company to keep you warm?’

And that’s when he winked.

Beware of men bearing thermos flasks in the night.
Chip Dale

I grabbed my pants and had one leg in them when Mr. Green put his hand on my arm.

‘What are you doing?’ he asked.

‘Not what you think I’m about to do,’ I told him and quickly had my shirt on as well.

‘Didn’t I just explain why I’m here? I thought you’d appreciate a bit of company.’

‘So, this is you’ve come for, Mr. Green?’ I asked as I foolishly bent down for my shoes.

‘Well if you put it like that…’ he said and I felt a hand on my leg.

Things had suddenly gone beyond aphorisms.

‘You’ve got a damn cheek,’ I said.

‘You have two.’

‘I came here for the good of my girlfriend’s chickens.’

‘You seen any foxes, then?’ he laughed.

‘Just the one. And I feel really sort for it.’

‘No need to feel sorry,’ he protested. ‘This is Campbell’s soup. Only the best for you, Chip.’

‘Don’t call me Chip,’ I said.

He stepped across to the door and slid the bolt across.

‘At least have some soup,’ he said. ‘Then I’ll be going.’

‘I don’t want any soup.’

‘It’s tomato.’

Tomato happens to be my favourite but I remembered an aphorism of my uncle’s.

A man is weakened by his weaknesses.
Arthur Dale

Which is much more profound than you probably think it is. I had a terrible suspicion that this tomato soup had something more than tomatoes in it.

‘Why not try some yourself?’ I asked, seeing how he’d react.

His eyes widened momentarily before he adopted a look of hurt.

‘I don’t like tomatoes,’ he said. ‘And I brought if for you.’

‘Then you can keep your soup,’ I replied. ‘I’m off.’

‘Please stay, Chip,’ he said, a note of desperation now in his voice. ‘I get so lonely with my poultry. Farming is a sad and miserable life. I don’t have any friends. Nobody really cool and exciting to be around. Nobody like you, Chip.’

‘I thought a man can’t be lonely when he’s got chickens,’ I said. ‘I read it somewhere.’

He backed towards the door. ‘I’m not going to let you leave,’ he said. ‘You can’t leave!’

I had a flashback to a similar scene in coffee shop earlier in the week.

‘You don’t know a girl who looks like Amy Winehouse, do you?’ I asked.

He looked puzzled and I could see that he’d left his guard down as he pondered my question.

‘You mean the singer?’

It was too late. Quicker than he could react, I grabbed the box of weedkiller and threw it in his face before I threw him to one side and grabbed the door.

I blessed the darkness as I ran. The allotment had woken up to our argument but by the time I finally emerged onto the main road, the sound of frightened chickens had faded to silence and I had only the sound of a man, cursing his naïvety in all matters fowl, to follow me home.

This morning, I rang Gabby and told her the full story, as I’ve just told it you. Her immediate concern was for the condition of her chickens.

‘They sensitive,’ she said. ‘They need peace. They need quiet. You should have eaten soup!’

‘But this wasn’t about soup,’ I told her, but she wasn’t for listening to reason.

‘Soup good for you, Chip,’ she said and hung up.

‘And I suppose it’s good for the chickens too…’ I mumbled over the ominous sound of the dial tone.

I Smell of Poultry

Just got back from the allotments and my night spent protected Gabby's chickens. I have lots of things to tell you but need to get a bath and something to eat. I've just checked my email too and thanks for the all the words of support. I really do appreciate it. If I had all your names and addresses, you'd be receiving a signed thong in tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's Only Us Chickens

And into the unpublished pile goes the page I’ve just written about why I’m not feeling funny today… You see, somebody sent me a pretty abusive email this morning and it made me begin to wonder why I bother blogging at all. But at least it made me angry. Angry enough to tell you that I carry on because a Romanian girlfriend who thinks she’s a pop star based on a number seven hit with the ‘Hokey Cokey’ is about as funny as life gets. Surely her’s is a tale that needs telling, especially when she comes home with a cockerel she bought from a man she met at her pilates class.

Gabby is mixing with the more unusual side of Bangor society these days and her cockerel is pecking around my ankles as I type. It’s not a totally disagreeable sensation, though having a cock at my ankles is perhaps symbolic of how far my spirits have drooped this week.

‘You like Chippy?’ she had asked the bird as she nuzzled it over my breakfast table. The bird had said nothing but fixed me with its bead of an eye. Fowl are not known for their appreciation of the finer things in life and certainly have little or no regard for a Welshman in a thong at ten thirty in the morning.

‘And where do you intend to keep our guest?’ I asked as I spooned another load of Alpen into my mouth.

‘Guest?’ laughed Gabby. ‘What guest? Only you, me, and bird. Bird is no guest. Bird is family now.’

‘Well Bird must be on your side of the family,’ I told her. ‘No Dale I know of has only three toes.’

‘There’s your uncle Jimmy,’ she reminded me.

‘Industrial accidents are hardly genetic,’ I replied. ‘Or at least they’re not unless you’re from Liverpool…’

‘You’re trying to be funny,’ she said as the cockerel made a noise in its throat. ‘See! Only Bird laughs. I don’t.’

And with that, I accepted Bird as part of the family. I knew, that way, at least one member of the household would find me a little bit amusing in the morning.

Gabby’s reasons for buying the cockerel are actually quite good. She’s going to set up a small business breeding chickens. She claims that she used to do this back in the old country and has been encouraged to start again after reading about Bernard Matthews who started out with only a couple of turkeys. She has ambitions of owning old aircraft hangers, full to the struts with chickens. The enterprise is to begin at the allotments, which is where she’s been fermenting her potato gin these last few months. She has sheds down there and has become something of a pin up for the gardening fraternity. The chickens will have a free run of the ground where she’s been growing potatoes.

At eleven, the doorbell rang. Gabby was in the bath with her cockerel so I answered it.

‘Ah, I wonder if I might have a word with the lady of the house?’ asked a man in blue overalls. He was in his fifties, grey hair had ebbed to leave behind a pale pink tidemark of skin. He also had that style of thin moustache that went out in the fifties. ‘You are Mr. Dale?’ he asked.

‘I am,’ I replied, gesturing down to my personalised thong which reads ‘Chip Dale’ in a hardly discreet font.

‘Of course you are,’ smiled the man, his eyes flicking briefly southwards. ‘May I have a word with your wife, Mr. Dale?’

‘I’m not married,’ I said and again gestured to my thong as though it’s the answer to everything. Which, of course, it is.

‘Oh, but I was told Mrs Gabby Dale lives here…’

I shook my head. It’s not the first time that Gabby has been using my surname. She claims it gives her a cloak of anonymity in her business deals but I think she gets tired of trying to spell her surname.

‘She’s in the bath,’ I explained. ‘But she’s not my wife. She’s my Romanian girlfriend.’

‘In which case,’ said the man. ‘I’ll wait.’ And with no more ado, he brushed me aside and entered the flat.

No sooner had the man seated himself on the sofa than Gabby came out of the bathroom, walked straight through the flat, heading to the bedroom. The bird followed her, as did the man’s eyes. He’d clearly never seen a naked Romanian followed by a cockerel before.

‘With you in moment, birdman,’ said Gabby. ‘Chip make you drink. Chip make drink for birdman.’

‘Whisky if you’ve got any,’ said the man, looking a little flushed.

‘Can’t say I don’t blame you,’ I replied, going to fill two glasses.

‘I’m here about the hens,’ explained the man. ‘My name is Green. Graham Green.’

‘Ah, like the writer,’ I said, ready to tell him about my FE classes in English Literature.

‘Without the terminating e,’ he explained and then added. ‘I’m not a writer. I’m in the poultry business. The young lady is interested in buying hens to compliment her cockerel.’

‘A cockerel like that probably needs a lot of complimenting,’ I pointed out.

‘Oh, aren’t all men the same, Mr. Dale?’

I again gestured to my thong. He nodded his head in agreement.

After that, business was concluded quite quickly. Gabby returned and agreed to buy twenty three hens, to be delivered to the allotments that afternoon. I kept pretty quiet until the end when we were showing Mr. Green out.

‘One thing,’ he said, pausing in the doorway. ‘I suggest you don’t leave these hens alone for a night or two.’

‘Surely we shouldn’t bother them on their wedding night,’ I observed. Gabby elbowed my in my ribs but I felt the pain in my thong.

‘You should be around until you’ve tested your defences,’ explained Green. ‘A fox could kill them all in an evening.’

And that’s where Gabby is now: arranging to have a double wire fence put around the allotment and buried to a foot below ground to stop any foxes from tunneling under. The hens are to be delivered this afternoon and I’m to expect a phone call anytime now to tell me to take the cockerel to its new lodgings.

The most significant thing about the whole episode is that it turns out that Gabby has to travel to Glasgow this evening, and since the birds can’t be left alone, I’ll be guarding them for the next couple of days. I’ve got myself a sleeping bag, a camp bed, a torch, and more potato gin than is totally sensible to give a man when he’s feeling a bit down.

So, tonight, as you sit blogging by the fire, spare a thought for me and the chickens.


I was a bit curmudgeonly last night, for which I’m sorry. I finished reading The Mysterious Island yesterday afternoon and I didn’t realise how much it had affected me. Not only had one of the reviewers at Amazon ruined a big surprise in the ending, but I’d really begun to rely on the book to cheer me up. It wasn’t a book that changes lives but it was a book that reaffirmed something about life, and for that reason it was so much more welcome.

I have little planned today but I'll try to be more optimistic and try to remember that ever thong has a silken lining. Or something like that...

A Sulk Before Bedtime

I’m sulking and I don’t feel like coming out to play tonight.

Well, okay… If you insist, but I’m telling you that there’s a glint in the The Chipster’s eye tonight. You really don’t want to cross him.

I’m moody. I guess you know that about me by now. Some nights I feel like telling you a story about my day and then other times I get all serious and thoughtful. Nobody reads those pieces, no matter how much I work at them. And I then feel yay high to a daisy. That’s when I begin to brood.

Today has been one of those days when the world seems to have gone out of its way to rile me. So, in the hope that it will lead to some psychological cleansing, I’ve made a list of the things that have led me to this moment, sitting with a bottle of whisky at my elbow and growling menacing threats at the TV.

Things That Have Really Got On The Chipster’s Nerves Today

1. Getting very few emails from real people. I like emails from real people. I hate newsletters. I hate sale information. And I hate SPAM. Today I received an unbelievable amount of SPAM. Hence…

2. Spammers. How many deposed Presidents of the Congo are there and why do their widows always write to me to ask to use my bank account? It’s this kind of irritating behaviour which probably got them deposed in the first place. I’m beginning to think exile was too good for them.

3. The news that Vic Reeves has landed a book deal for his short stories. Do you know how much of a market there is for short stories? None. That’s why people don’t tend to write them. They don’t sell as books. Unless, I suppose, they’re written by a celebrity. Which makes it all right. Pass me the whisky…

4. Professionalism. I’m surrounded by it and it’s ruining blogging. I hate these people who run blogs full of ‘professional advice’. These are the same vacuous fools who go on ‘The Apprentice’ but have no idea about how to do a job. They are the people who take their CVs more seriously than their qualifications or their ability to do a job. I am so much more than my CV.

5. Spamming professionals. People who leave comments on blogs that are tangentially related to the subject of the blog they’ve created full of tedious ‘life advice’. You mention something about CVs and along they come, with their holier than thou attitudes.
6. I hated staring at Steve McLaren look out at me from the TV screen all day. It was like looking at a death spasm. I really needed the whisky.

7. The most beautiful weather of the day but stuck listening to next door’s gardener playing his music too loud and occasionally shouting the length of the garden to announce that he’s dug up the skeleton of yet another of their daughter’s previous pets.

8. The woman in Tesco asking me if I wanted help packing my bags. I’m beginning to think I should just say ‘yes’.

9. Will Farrell has made another lousy movie. Anchorman was terribly unfunny. Yet I forgive him so much because of the ‘More Cowbells’ sketch he did on Saturday Night Live. The whisky makes me do crazy things…

10. My back has been aching again but if I don’t perform on Saturday night, I'll have no money for next week.

11. The prospect of having to get a job. The prospect of giving up my blog. The prospect of working in Tesco, asking people if they want me to pack their Will Ferrell DVDs in their shopping bags, before spending an afternoon discussing my professional career profile with somebody in management who longs for nothing more than to get on The Apprentice or marrying a rich SPAM King from the Congo.

I’m now going to bed sober but I’m sure to have a hangover in the morning.

Night night.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This is what I do and I'm doing it

I thought this morning’s lesson went rather well. I submitted my homework (which I’ll post here as soon as I’m done with this) and we read some more poems, some of which even rhymed. I was really delighted by the whole episode.

During a chance conversation during our break, Mrs. Rust mentioned that any of us with a ‘yen to write for a living’ must buy either The Writer’s Handbook or The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. And like the conscientious student I’m so desperately trying to be, I immediately nipped out to my local Waterstones and bought myself a copy of each. I’ve been locked up in my den since then, giving them a full and proper examination.

And my conclusion?

What a crock it all is!

Let’s be clear on this. There’s nothing I enjoy doing more in this world than writing. There’s nothing I’ve love more than to earn a living by making people laugh with my vaguely incompetent mutterings. But let’s also be clear: I’m not a man to be treated like a petulant child. I don’t want to be mocked, mimicked, patronised, or consoled. I don’t want somebody to take my dreams and package them between two bright yellow covers and tell me that all my ambitions can be realised if I unlock this prize with a £15 donation to the cause.

In other words: I’m pretty sure if there’s a certain way to become a writer, this isn’t it.

And, besides, what does it mean to be a writer? I've been thinking about this quite a bit recently. Reading other blogs have helped me come to the conclusion that I am already a writer. I write every day, sometimes for hours on end. I would like money for my pains, but the whole reason I do this is because I love putting words on the page. I like the way they sound, the ways they sometimes jar. I love the patterns I can make. I like how they sound on the ear, sometimes sad and sometimes funny. I don't know what it is to be a writer beyond doing this. This is what I do and I’m doing it.

So, perhaps what people mean when they say they dream of being a writer is that they dream of the writer’s life. Which, I might add, is probably all that it is: a dream. The considerable number of people I know who claim they want to write, find an amazing number of reasons why they don’t. They realise, I suppose, that the reality of writing involves hard work at some point in their day. And who wants to be stuck alone for hours on end, many of which are spent reflecting on your own inabilities to do your job well?

The solution to hard work is to buy a book that solves your problems. These books placate us all by making the path to publication sound so reasonable. The delusions begin with their descriptions of agents. Yet reading between the lines, it’s a matter of ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’. Agents attract bad writers like gadflies are attracted to... Well, perhaps the simile doesn’t quite work. My point is this: is there any way to get an agent to notice you other than stripping off and parading up and down outside their offices? No, I mean it. Is there any other way? When I tried the stripping off route (on seven different occasions with five different agents) I was arrested three times, groped twice, and in every other instance told that ‘we only deal with established writers’. This is the only reason I can see that 'Chip Dale's Guide To Thongdom' has still not made it to the shelves of hardbacks.

Yet I hardly blame them. I don't blame agents and I don't blame publishers. I blame The Writer’s Handbook. I blame The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. I blame every creative writing workshop. I blame the industry that has formed around the many millions of people who found that their PCs came with a keyboard. I blame the people who confuse typing with writing.

And I suppose in the end I also blame myself for thinking that I’m any different.

As Mrs Rust said to me at the end of this morning’s coffee break: ‘You know, Chip. It would probably be better for you if you stayed as a stripper.’

I nearly told her that this is what I love to do and I really don't want to stop doing it

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Brief Late Update

I’m sure it comes as something of a surprise to all of you who think my every day is a packed thong of worldly delight, but I had a very quiet Monday. The only thing to happen of any great note was Gabby announcing that she has been thinking of getting a tattoo of Lembit Opik riding a snake. I naturally talked her out of the whole silly business and I also sorted out yesterday’s disagreement.

One incidental note: I had a phone call today from Mike who runs the Green Dragon Tavern. He asked about my back and I’ve agreed to dance this weekend. He was also wondering why I’d ignored him today in the town centre. I explained I hadn’t been in the town centre, to which he sounded quite surprised as he swore that he’d spotted a pair of maroon hot pants. He laughed it off and said he was probably mistaken as it was hard to see them beneath the black raincoat the man was wearing.

I didn’t say a word but I clearly now have to ask the obvious question: has Reverend Hope taken to wearing my discarded hot pants?

Tomorrow I have my weekly FE lesson. I'll post details as soon as I get home.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Christian Charity

On most days, if you managed to grab me when I’m out about town, you’d find that when it comes to making charitable donations, I’m as generous as my thongs are unfeasibly large in the crotch. I might run a mile when it comes to Comic Relief (and, I should add, that's an unsponsored mile) but I’m always happy to do my bit for the lesser known charities.

You might remember that I was one of the founding members of the Erotic Dancers For Donkeys appeal. I’m proud to say that we saved one of Rhyl’s oldest creatures from the knacker’s yard and he can still be found painfully carrying sticky children for mile after mile up the sands here in North Wales. I also once did a sponsored nineteen hour thong marathon to buy the minibus which the local scout master subsequently used to ram raid the local off-licence during a drunken night out on the town. You might say that I helped him get his ‘criminal damage’ badge.

So, Charity is The Chipster's lifeblood, which is why, during an idle few minutes last week, I sorted through some of my old costumes. Even when I retire an outfit, they tend to be still as good as new. There may be a little bit of spoilage from all the body oil but not so much that they’re not wearable for everyday use. And since they’re all ex-stripper stock, every idem of clothing has the added advantage of having elasticated seams, easy to put on and even easier to take off.

Every six months or so, I’ll donate a few costumes to the local church, who are always quick to pop around and take them off my hands. I like to think that it’s the church’s way of saying that it has finally abandoned its outdated opposition to Lyrca, and between you and me, these charity donations have done the mischievous side of my nature no end of good, especially seeing the good Reverend Hope wearing my old black raincoat around town. It once use to feature in my 'Secret Agent' routine – the one involving the camera with the telescopic lens – so whenever I see him on a rainy day, I’m tickled in most unusual and slightly heretical ways. I don’t think it could amuse me any more, even if I thought of him wearing a dog collar and thong.

Today, the vicar’s wife came around before the evening service to pick up the bags of clothes I’d decided to donate. We’d gone to look at them in the spare bedroom where we got to discussing the price the church might ask for a pair of bright magenta hot pants I’ve worn only once. That’s when Gabby burst into the room and accused Mrs Hope of being Amy Winehouse.

Yes, I thought that a little odd, too, but clearly the poor girl had been reading yesterday's entry in this blog and due to her poor grasp of the English language, had assumed I was having an affair with a heavily tattooed singer.

‘You raven haired temptress!’ spat Gabby, impressing me with a couple of new words of English and the poetic use to which she put them. ‘You come steal Chippy. You not get away! You tattooed bãşinar!’

And if you learn nothing else today, you can at least assure yourself that you now know the Romanian word for ‘farthead’.

‘I beg your pardon?’ said Mrs. Hope, full of that crispy Christian confidence you get when you know you’ve got full holiday insurance for the afterlife. ‘Who exactly are you?’

‘Me?’ asked Gabby, stabbing herself with a finger. ‘I am Gabby. Pretty Girl. Singer of hokey cokey!’

Mrs. Hope laughed. ‘And what, pray tell, is hokey cokey?’

Well, Gabby wasn’t taking such as insult sitting down. Nor was she for taking it standing up either. She took it flying through the air, grabbing Mrs. Hope by her throat before swinging her to the bed.

It was a truly terrible scene to watch from the safe distance of my hiding place behind the wardrobe. A fight developed between the vicar’s wife and my Romanian and, in its ferocity, it rivalled those battling gypsies in From Russia With Love. If I’d still had my secret agent costume, I might have taken the James Bond role and leap in to protect Mrs. Hope. But I didn’t, so I couldn’t. Besides, I noticed that Mrs. Hope was holding her own – technically holding a good chunk of Gabby’s hair – so I was tempted to see how it developed. In a way, it was a battle between rival theologies and I was interested to see which one God would favour this time.

Indeed, I wouldn’t have got involved at all if Gabby hadn’t managed to pull off one of those moves she’s learned from all the Jackie Chan films she watches late at night. She ran up the wall and did a back flip over Mrs. Hope who crumpled beneath the weight of our favourite Romanian export. That’s when things got out of control. Now with the upper hand, Grabby attempted to rip the poor woman’s blouse off, demanding see a tattoo of Lembit Opik riding a snake.

My mind went cramp with the fear that Gabby might actually win and that I might also be stuck with a pair of maroon hot pants. I knew I had to act. Even Oxfam won't take maroon hot pants.

I grabbed my Romanian buttercup by her left leg and dragged her from the room and straight into the bathroom where I deposited her in the bath and turned the cold water tap on full. The room immediately began to fill with steam. I quickly nipped out and strapped the door shut with my belt wrapped around the handle and tied to the radiator.

Mrs. Hope was easier to calm down. She was still in the spare room, clutching a sponge-sized piece of Gabby’s hair.

‘So sorry about that. It was a case of mistaken identity,’ I said, holding up my now beltless pants with one hand. ‘I don't suppose you've heard of Amy Winehouse?’

She hadn’t, and if I’m honest about it, didn’t seem to care to learn a thing about her.

In the end, I managed to placate Mrs. Hope with a few extra items of clothing. These Christians are very forgiving, but I warn you to never believe a word that they tell you.

Anybody can be bought off with a couple of fur lined thongs.

Apparently, I'm Very English

I don't know if they do one of these in Welsh, but there's an English Test you try which will tell you how English you are. (Hat tip: The Daily Referendum)

I managed to score 96% -- I got only one wrong by not knowing Charles Dickens' middle names -- which can't be bad for somebody still recovering from an hour less in bed. Does that make me an honorary Welshman or an honorary Englishman? I really don't know.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


So now I’m sitting at the computers in my local library on a Saturday afternoon here in Bangor. But if you’re wondering why I’m wearing a raincoat and glasses, it’s a bit of long story. Let’s just say that I needed to make contact with you but I had to wear a disguise if I wanted to get here unmolested.

I guess I had an inkling that it was going to be a funny day when I had to sneak out of the house. It makes me feel even more like Michael Caine in one of those Harry Palmer films. I believe we’re now meant to have some innocuous exchange where I ask: ‘When do Bulgarian hamsters eat cheese?’ To which you must respond with: ‘I don’t know but have a ham sandwich instead.’

Since you're probably wondering, I’ve still not found my laptop's power supply , though Gabby now swears that she hasn’t hid it. That means I’ve left it somewhere and I go cold at that possibility.

You see, last night, instead of staying in, I went to my local coffee shop where I spent an hour writing this week’s assignment for my English course. Mrs. Rust has asked us to write about some skill we lack. I’d contemplated writing a piece about Ray ‘Truncheon’ Peter’s reverse thong heel flip, which has always been something of a mystery to me, but in the end I wrote something much more thoughtful. I intended to post it here before I hand it in, but since it’s on the laptop, I’ll need to find juice before I can upload it and you can give me my marks.

And that brings me back to the power supply. At the moment, it's all of my worries. I think I might have left it at the coffee shop. The same coffee shop where, last night, I had a rather odd experience.

The trouble began when somebody recognized me.

I was happily typing away when I was approached by a young woman with stunning black hair. She was the type of young willowy beauty heavily into the Gothic and bearing more than a passing resemblance to Amy Winehouse. Her eye liner as thick as her lips which were like two ripe purple slugs, though I confess that this probably doesn’t do her any justice. She would undoubtedly appeal to the undead. I just felt not a little afraid.

‘Aren’t you Chip Dale?’ she asked.

I said I was and she clapped her hands together like some well-trained sea lion. I felt an urge to throw her some fish. Dead, of course.

‘I thought you were,’ she said. ‘I saw you in the paper and I’ve been reading you blog. I think you’re wonderful.’

‘Do you? Oh... well... I’m really delighted,’ I said. I’ve never had a fan who hasn’t seen me naked, so I was taken back by this enthusiastic approach. Somebody who likes me for more than my thong. It’s a rare thing.

‘I know this will make you laugh,’ she carried on, ‘but I was just amazed by how much you resemble Lembit Opik.’

I should have known there was a catch. ‘Did you,’ I said, rather naively. I still didn’t expect the catch to be as big as the one that was about to come.

‘Oh, I did,’ replied the girl. ‘When the judge told me that I couldn’t follow him around any more, I didn’t know what to do. Until I saw you. You were the answer to my prayers.’

It was one of those sentences that I could spend an hour examining and still find more things about it which disturb me. I finally settled on just one.

‘The judge?’ I repeated.

She barked a loud abrasive laugh and pulled up a chair before sitting herself down beside me and casually grabbing my leg.

‘What you writing?’ she asked, squeezing my knee.

‘Work,’ I whispered, my voice achieving what my body couldn't: disappearing in a flash. ‘You were telling me about the judge.’

Again with the laugh. Her hand moved north.

‘Oh, that was a while ago,’ she said. ‘I’ve not breached that restraining once. I mean, how good am I?’ She smiled at me again and took the opportunity of brushing a few invisible crumbs from my shirt to handle my nipples. ‘You’re cute,’ she added and rolled up a sleeve to reveal a tattoo of the honourable MP for Montgomeryshire riding what looked like a large snake.

‘Am I?’ I asked as I tried to decipher the tattoo.

‘Nearly as cute as Lembit but you’ve got prospects.’

‘Have I?’

‘You have,’ she said

‘Such as?’ I know I shouldn't have encouraged her.

She giggled. ‘The prospect that you’re going to take off your clothes for me.’

I gave a slight scream and snapped shut the lid of my laptop.

‘I have to go,’ I said. ‘I’ve got pancakes in the oven.’

‘Oh, don’t leave,’ cried my fan. ‘I won’t let you go until you tell me when I can come and see you perform.’

I pulled my leg from her grip and ran from the shop.

The last thing I heard was her sweet voice above the sound of the coffee grinders.

‘I’ll be saving all my five pound notes for you. I want to slip them down your thong!’

Which is why I’m in disguise and why I think I’ll have to go and find a shop to sell me a new power supply. I’ve suddenly gone right off coffee and girls who look like Amy Winehouse.

Give Me Power

An example of Romanian wit is to hide a man's power supply to his laptop. I've spent the morning looking for it and my battery is down to 10%. I'll post once I attach more mains power to this machine.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Lovely Gabby

If you heard tortured screams of dread anguish during the night, I don’t want you to worry. It was only me.

A Romanian uprising took place late last night and the flames of have only recently died down. It all began when Gabby decided that she wanted to start posting things on my blog.

I was sitting watching ‘Oh Lucky Man’ on Sky Cinema, when an arm suddenly appeared under my nose. As you can probably imagine, my upper lip is not usually the place to find arms, so to say I was a little taken aback is something of an understatement. However, I was less surprised to find a hand attached to the arm and that’s when I recognised the half dozen rings decorating the fingers. It was Gabby’s hand and it was holding a piece of paper that looked suspiciously like the flyleaf from my new copy of Auden’s poems.

I swallowed the large sob that had somehow developed in my throat.

‘Chippy, read,’ she said, or, more accurately, demanded. ‘Chippy: read!’ is more like it, I suppose. The colon is so very Romanian.

So, I read aloud from the piece of paper with the emblem of Faber & Faber still visible at the bottom of the page.

‘Hiya lovelinks! My name’s Gabby and I’m Romanian songbird and I sing songs in a band with my gorgeous sister and we make gorgeous pop music for the people in London who sell our records until we get to number seven in the pop charts doing the hokey cokey for the lovely ladies and gentlemen of the UK of England…’

There was some more about recording contracts, double decker buses, animal mutilations, but I think you get the picture. The point is: I knew at once that I had to save you. I had to take a bullet for each person who comes by this blog and expects to read undiluted Welshman. Which I did without hesitation.

I suggested that she get her own blog. I told her that she should get her own website, where she could put audio clips of her singing. I told her that she could sell tshirts with her picture on. And then I told her that people come here for thong news and they might not even like the hokey cokey. That really wasn’t the wisest thing to say. My lips kissed ring but it certainly wasn’t papal. There was then a row, then tears, and then some brooding stand-off near the knife draw.

Eventually, around one o’clock, I thought the danger had passed so I went to bed, nursing my thick lip, and leaving Gabby sitting under the kitchen table and knocking back her potato moonshine.

The sound of snipping woke me around four in the morning.

It was Gabby sitting in the bedroom cupboard and cutting up my thongs with a large pair of paper shears. Naturally, I screamed. That’s probably the noise you heard if you live anywhere on the 53rd parallel. Gabby screamed back and threw the shears at me. Luckily, I ducked and they passed straight through the plasterboard wall.

She then threw a thong at me but I had already got to her before she could do any real damage. A dozen pairs of summer thongs were ruined but that’s really nothing to a man who owns thousands. I was more concerned with what she could have done and I’ve vowed to keep my collection under lock and key from now on.

This morning she was as bright as marmalade, fully of apologies, and blamed a bad brew of
spud shine. She also announced that she didn’t think she needed a website as her career’s already better than mine.

‘Keep your bloody blog, Chippy,’ she said with one of those wide honest warm hearted Romanian smiles. ‘You keep your bloody blog and I keep BBC Top of the Pops.’

I hadn’t the heart to tell her that they cancelled Top of the Pops six months ago and that it was widely rumoured that she was one of the reasons.

Everything was neatly wrapped up when the neighbour came around a delivered a pair of paper shears he said he’d found sticking in his kitchen door this morning. He’d noticed my name on them and wondered if they belonged to me. I explained the whole thing and I should imagine the smile he had as he walked away was not a little feeling of being blessed.

Which is also how I hope you feel on this fine March morning.

Thong on.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Press Cutting

I’ve just got back after a day hogging the limelight here in Bangor. This morning, The Bangor Post finally ran an interview I did with them a few months ago. I knew nothing about it until this morning when the neighbour came knocking on the door and asked that I autograph his copy. Since them, I've signed hundreds of papers as I casually loitered in the town centre.

The story isn't exactly front page stuff (instead, they've led with Brown's budget and its impact on the town) but it is, nevertheless, a nice profile.

Anyway, I’ve scanned it and posted for you all to admire (click it to read it in full). Gabby says I look a bit menacing in the photo they've used and though I have to agree that I don’t exactly look my best, I think you can tell I was at a physical peak when it was taken. It also manages to hide my flowing locks.

You might also wonder about the lack of a thong in the photo. I'm disappointed too. They refused to photograph me wearing one on account of it being a family newspaper. I think you can see that I had to wrap a towel around my lower half. Not that I was going to complain too much. It was a cold day when they took that photo and I don't mind admitting that there was plenty of slack in my thong.

Finally, I'd ask you to ignore all the talk about my going in politics. This was interview was done some months ago and I went cold on the idea once the last Lib Dem conference rejected the thong motion I'd been supporting. If another party could adopt it, I might reconsider my position. Until then, I'm afraid to say that politics is not for The Chipster.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Max Bygrave's Blue Tit

‘How big is a blue tit?’

I really don’t know but somebody came by this website today to find out. Why am I telling you this, you might ask? Well, you might say that I’m just a little bored tonight. I should really be off out soon, performing at the Green Dragon. Instead, I’m here in the flat perusing my web statistics.

I’m not normally a man to go on about his visitor numbers but today’s have been appalling. Has the world been too busy watching the budget to care about the state of Welsh thongdom? I’m beginning to wonder if it’s something I’ve said. Is it these Auden poems I’ve been quoting lately? Whatever it is, it seems to be turning people away.

Not for the first time, it's made me consider giving up blogging and taking up some other hobby. I could have made myself a fine spice rack if I’d taken carpentry at night school…

Bored, bored, bored, and ignored by all…

Which is why I’ve decided that I’m going to get myself a theme song. It's something I've been missing for a while. I want a tuneful tune that makes you think of the nation’s top thongster whenever you hear it played. I’d like to automatically start playing whenever you come and visit this blog, though I’ve been told that’s not possible and is considered poor net etiquette. Instead, I’ll simply have to adopt it as the official Chipster anthem to be used only on ceremonial occasions.

As to the music, ‘The Stripper’ is too obvious Ideally it would a song with the word ‘thong’ in the title but I don’t know any. I’m quite tempted to adopt the following tune, ‘Florida Fantasy’ from Midnight Cowboy.

I could have gone for ‘Everybody’s Talkin’’ but that’s too well known and my favourite track from the film is the theme song itself. The only reason stopping me confirming this song here and now is that I’m not sure I want to be associated with a film about a New York hustler. Then again, what are my alternatives?

‘Thongs For The Memories’ by Bob Hope?
‘The Munchkin Thong’ from Wizard of Oz?
‘Thong You Very Much…’ by The Scaffold?
‘Thong Sung Blue’ by Neil Diamond?

Or perhaps just ‘G Strings from Amsterdam’ by Max Bygraves…

Romanians Love Dimbleby

Budget day is a much revered time in the Dale household. It’s why I’ve locked myself away in the bedroom. Gabby is out there right now, watching the BBC’s coverage and lusting over David Dimbleby. She has certain feelings towards that man which aren’t totally legal. You might scoff but she keeps a picture of him in her handbag and I swear I’ve overheard conversations she’s had with her cousins where they discuss mini vans, electrical tape, and bottles of chloroform. They usually end with her advising them to rewatch The King of Comedy.

To be honest, I can’t see the appeal. In the budget, that is... not David Dimbleby. Heaven knows the man’s a magnet irrespective of your gender. However, stripping hasn’t provided me much of a mind for figures. If I’m totally honest, my interest in politics is somewhat limited. I read very few political blogs and none that deal with local politics. Belisha beacons outside Bangor’s high school and the date of this year’s church raffle aren’t things that interest me. I’m damn sure they aren’t going to fill you with the good feelings either, so I spare you the details here at Chipster Central. If it isn’t thong related, I try to spare you the details.

The same goes for economics. I care not a jot where you put the decimal point, nor how many units you carry over. Don’t speak to me of trends, of curves, of accumulated interest because my own interest will immediately decline into the red. There’s a 99% chance, + or – my not giving a damn, that I’m political eunuch. Which perhaps explains why I pin the Lib Dem colours to my door. It’s a vote for not having to vote.

Gabby is quite different. She still has that East European love with capitalism and there’s nothing she wouldn’t do to earn a few pounds. She’s still a bit touchy about the BBC rejecting her application to go on The Apprentice and has written many letters of appeal to Dimbleby.

None of this is originally what I came into the bedroom to blog about but that will have to wait for another time. Gabby’s screaming at the television in vulgar Romanian. It seems that they’ve gone over to Westminster and Dimbleby’s gone from the screen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Chipster Uncovered

In the end, I’m glad I struggled to my adult learning class this afternoon. It was one of those funny episodes that can easily cheer up an aging thongman’s week.

Mrs. Rust began the lesson by taking the register. There were twelve us in class this week and mine was the second name to be read out. When she’d finished, Mrs. Rust closed the register and the first thing she did was turn to ask me about the best way to treat a fungal toe infection. What could I say? I had no way to avoid the question and so, in my guise as a chartered manicurist, I tried to answer her the best I could.

I should never have lied last week about what I do for a living. I’m useless at pretending to be something I’m not. Which is perhaps why I nearly gave the game away when I suggested that a cure might involve, as a last remedy, the surgical removal of the infected toe.

‘You’d recommend the amputation of a toe in a case of athlete’s foot?’ she asked, shocked to the last twist of her already grey hair.

‘Oh,’ I said, loudly so the rest of the class could be sure of my authority in this matter, ‘that’s only in the rarest instances. Grown men have been known to lose legs when athlete’s foot has gone untreated for too long.’

Well, she fell silent for a few moments before she started the lesson. I thought I’d got away with my sham but I soon realised that she doubted my story when she announced that we’d be reading the Auden poem which begins ‘At least the secret is out’.

At Last the Secret is Out

At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end,
The delicious story is ripe to tell to tell to the intimate friend;
Over the tea-cups and into the square the tongues has its desire;

Still waters run deep, my dear, there's never smoke without fire.

Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind the ghost on the links,
Behind the lady who dances and the man who madly drinks,

Under the look of fatigue the attack of migraine and the sigh

There is always another story, there is more than meets the eye.

For the clear voice suddenly singing, high up in the convent wall,

The scent of the elder bushes, the sporting prints in the hall,
The croquet matches in summer, the handshake, the cough, the kiss,

There is always a wicked secret, a private reason for this.

We silently read the poem a couple of times before we went though it as a class, but it didn’t take long before Mrs. Rust began to ask me some very odd questions.

‘What kind of secret story might be “delicious”, Chip?’

‘Why do you think it’s the lady who dances and the man who drinks, Chip? Wouldn’t it have been a better secret if it were the other way around? Why might a man want to keep it a secret that he likes to dance?’

‘Do men always have a wicked secret, Chip?’

After half an hour of this, it had all became a bit embarrassing and I’m sure the rest of the class were beginning to suspect that some hidden meaning lay behind all these innuendos.

In the end I could take it no longer when she asked: ‘Do you think men keep secrets because they’re ashamed, Chip?’

‘Ashamed?’ I answered. ‘Ashamed! There’s no shame!’

And with that I jumped up on the desk.

It was quite a sight to see. Even with a bad back, I began to grind my hips as I started my world famous inverted thong strip.

‘Is there anything to feel shameful when you’ve got a body like this?’ I asked as I began my routine by revealing my magnificent torso. ‘Is there anything to be shamed about when you’re Chip Dale, Bangor’s most famous Thonglateer Extraordinaire?’ And with that I did my patented hip thrust that usually drives the ladies crazy.

Of course, I didn’t give them the full strip. There were women in that room who were there to read Jane Austen, but I was down to my underwear when Mrs. Rust brought the class to order.

‘Thank you for setting us straight, Chip,’ said Mrs. Rust with a knowing smile on her face.

The class roared their disapproval as my impromptu performance came to an end and I settled myself back in my chair, suddenly feeling like I was Mrs. Rust’s star pupil.

‘You never struck me as a man who understands toes,’ Mrs. Rust explained as she waited for the room to fall silent. ‘Not with hips are as lean as a Shakespearean sonnet and thighs with all the meaty presence of a novel by Sir Walter Scott.’ And with that she opened her book of poems. ‘Now, Chip, what can you tell me something about this poem’s rhyme scheme?’

Thoggers And Thongers

I’m just one large blogging genital tonight, so I have to ask you to forgive me. It’s late, I’m typing this in the nude, and I just don’t see why I should go and slip on a thong after office hours. And if you’re in any way ashamed of my body, then look away now. I’m about to untangle myself and you might not think it a pretty sight.

There, that’s better… Now you can look again.

Not that I don’t find this a little off putting myself. I’m lying in bed with the laptop balanced on a pillow (I’ve seen the damage that can be done so I’m not risking PC / loin contact). The TV sits at the foot of the bed and is tuned to BBC News 24 from where Baroness Amos is currently gazing up between my thighs. I imagine this is what it will be like when the government introduce cavity searches but I can’t say I care for it all that much. It doesn’t matter how many I’ve got naked in front of a crowd, I don’t think I could ever get use to Baroness Amos peering up between my naked thighs. At the very least it takes my mind of what I’m doing and at the worst I’m sure it’s unconstitutional. Besides, I’ve seen the damage that can be done so I’m not risking Amos / loin contact either.

Anyway, the reason I’m working so late is that I’ve been nominated for a Thogger.

You might want to read that again.

When I got the call, I mistakenly thought it was a ‘Thonger’, which, as you probably know, is the highest accolade in world stripping. No UK stripper has yet won a Thonger, let along a chap from Wales. I thought my life was about to change for the better and I’d become the world ambassador to the world’s exhibitionists, gyrators, lap dancers, and thonglateers. You can imagine my disappointment when Gabby pointed out that it said Thogger, not Thonger.

That’s the problem with these Romanians. They’re so perceptive.

After I’d finished crying, I reread the citation and discovered that Trixy considers that I’m a blogger who makes her think. Think about what, you probably wonder? Well I think it’s probably not a good idea to ask. I try my best, of course, but I never seem to become anything more than a man in thong. I sometimes wonder if an education will come to nothing unless I mention my private parts every hundred words. If I gave you a choice between lots of observations about my wang or something insightful about Auden, I suspect the wang would win every time. Which is typical of the British mentality. I’m also sure Auden wrote a poem about it as he had a similar problem.

So, what does this Thogger award mean? It means that I get to nominate five lucky people to whom I send this mixed blessing. Earlier this evening, I put all the candidates into a hat – or actually an old pair of Y fronts with an abnormally large crotch – and these are the winners that came out smelling slightly of oil and unction.

1. Blockhead Magazine
2. Rilly Super
3. Mutterings and Meanderings
4. Arthur Clewley
5. Mr. Joe Blogs
5b. Baroque in Hackney

Congratulations, to all five of you. You really do make me think. And hard luck to the other nominees who also make me think but who didn't have the rub of the Y fronts this time. Your turn will surely come as the electoral Y fronts are remarkably roomy and fair in its selections.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Mysterious Weekend

I took in a new delivery of thermal thongs on Saturday but I’ve not had chance to inspect them. My mind has been too busy with the practicalities of building a home on a desert island.

Perhaps I should explain...

I’ve taken a couple of days away from both blogging and baby oil. Last week you might recall that my doctor told me to rest until my back began to feel better. Since I’ve had a busy few weeks, what with my trip to America, I took my doctor’s orders as my chance to take a break from the everyday struggles of maintaining a body fit for gyrating. That's why I kept to my bed where I’ve been reading ‘The Mysterious Island’ by Jules Verne. It has been a blissful weekend.

You might remember that in Washington, I discovered Jules Verne after my encounter with 'Bill' and his naked party guests. I'd holed myself up in my hotel room with a copy of ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ which I’d found in the lobby.

I finished that book on the flight back to the UK and immediately ordered another Verne classic from Amazon. Now I think it's time I proselytized about Verne and give him my fantastic Book Thong of the Month award for March.

‘The Mysterious Island’ is the story of five men (and their dog) who get stranded on a tropical island and it describes how they turn the island into a home. It’s probably not for everybody and I’m only on page 300, but I’m loving every page where the practical application of science is gradually transforming the island into something weird and wonderful. You see, so much that happens in the book involves turning natural resources into the things we take for granted. It’s an adventure of chemistry, physics, and human ingenuity much more than it’s a story about conflict between people. If you want to read a book where somebody makes nitrogycerine out of a couple of coconut shells, this is the book for you.

Now my back is feeling a little better, I’ll have to read fifty pages here and there as I have work to do. But if you’re going to take one book recommendation from a male stripper this month, make it ‘The Mysterious Island’.

Friday, March 16, 2007

In Bed With A Pot Noodle

Can any sight give you more cause to feel pity than that of a ruined stripper with a painful lumbar region, lying in bed, having spilt a beef and tomato Pot Noodle down his front while trying so earnestly to understand the finer points of English poetry?

This sums up my Friday morning and it’s not the sort of life I ever though I’d ever blog about.

I know you’re only here for the tales of greasy thongs, the pole dancing, and my life among the aerobically sound ladies, and I can see why a few of you have dropped off, fearing that this blog has become the equivalent to a Samaritan drop in centre or those benches at the local indoor market that attract the madder kind of vagrant. Well, I’m only blogging about my life and at the moment, I’m forced to play the role of the invalid.

I still look bloody good in a thong though.

The doctor commented on as much when she came to see me this morning. She confirmed that I’ve aggravated my old injury caused last year by my lifting a nineteen stone traffic warden above my head. The good news is that she thinks that bed rest will bring about a quick recovery and she even thinks I might be dancing again in a week or two. I’m going to take it as my chance to get as much of my reading list read as I can.

Although the prognosis is good, this latest episode has only confirmed my doubts about the long term security of stripping as a career. I need another string to my bow, not least in order to earn a decent wage. I don’t see why a man with my skills can’t earn at least £100 a week, perhaps even more. It’s not much to ask for, is it?

To be honest, it was all put into perspective last night when I was watching the Comic Relief version of ‘The Apprentice’. The thought came to me again this morning when I discovered a wonderful new blog called Blockhead Magazine. Reading the Blockhead view of the show prompted me to think about my situation compared with the kind of money being flaunted by super rich celebrities.

The money being given to charity was beyond anything I have known or could imagine. A friend of Trinny Woodall’s agreed to donate £150,000 instead of the paltry £100,000 she’d originally promised them. We also saw John Terry and Ashlie Cole give something like £5000 each to see Anne Robinson put in some stocks.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and I appreciate the sentiment too, but no matter how good the cause (and can there be any better than the lynching of Anne Robinson?) the flaunting of that kind of money, implying its insignificance, is obscene. A nurse or a teacher would earn £5000 before tax in three months or more and though it does a charity some good to see wealth being distributed their way, the sense that we’re living in a country that’s gone slightly mad is all too apparent.

It leaves me here, as my painkillers begin to wear off, to quote this Auden poem I’ve been struggling over all morning:

It’s no use turning nasty
It’s no use turning good
You’re what you are and nothing you do
Will get you out of the wood
Out of a world that has had its day.

Carpe Diem


As I write, the clock says it’s ten minutes past ten. If things had gone according to plan today, I should now be about to snatch the last inch of silk string hiding my modesty and reveal myself to Bangor’s late night crowd. I was due on stage ten minutes ago.

So what am I doing, sitting here and typing on my laptop? I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I tore a muscle this afternoon.

It happened when I was reading Auden. In fact, it happened because I was reading Auden. If I’d been reading any other book, none of this would have happened. I knew this education was a bad thing. I also blame Robin Williams.

It happened like this. Gabby’s still chasing up singing work (I know what you’re thinking but you’ve got to give the girl marks for trying) so she left me at home to get to grips with my literature assignment. I sat myself down and opened my brand new copy of The English Auden. I thumbed my way trough a few pages until I found myself a shortish poem to get me going.

After struggling for half an hour, mumbling the words as I read, I began to realise I was doing something wrong. don’t know much about poetry but I was damn sure Mrs. Rust wouldn’t have me mumbling. And that’s when I thought about Dead Poet’s Society, the film. It’s a great movie and one of my favourites until the guy from Robocop blows his brains out. That’s not important, though. What is important is that I thought about the film and decided that if I really wanted to understand my literature coursework, I really needed to read the poems aloud and, preferably, while standing on a table.

The only table I could do it on was the kitchen table but I’ve never been a man to let little details sway me. I climbed up on the kitchen work surface and began to read out the poem in my best literary voice.

And, do you know that it actually helped? The words jumped from the page and I could see their every meaning. It was like I’d just been awakened into a new and beautiful world.

Almost as beautiful as the pool of tea that I slipped in just as I was about to hit the last rhyme.

I fell from the table, cracked my skull against the dishwasher and my back against the edge of the tumble dryer. The pain was excruciating at first but eventually eased into a dull throbbing pain I knew only too well. I had aggravated the injury that kept me out of stripping for much of last year.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Bit tired this morning and I've not got my typing fingers on. My brain was reeling last night after two hours of education so I didn't sleep well. Not got much planned this afternoon except take a look at this homework. Tonight I've a gig so there'll also be a good couple of hours preparation.

I'll type something meaningful when I've eaten.

Mrs. Rust

Whoever said that education is wasted on youth had clearly never met Mrs. Rust.

‘Literature is not a examinable subject,’ was the first thing she said when she strode into the classroom. ‘It’s a calling, a passion, a reason for opening your eyes in the morning and wishing to appraise the world afresh. It is, in short my people, a religion, and when you come into this classroom, I expect you to act as though you’re in church. I want you to bow your heads and put your faith in the beauty of words.’

Perhaps it was the way she descended on the room more than the words themselves, but my eyes began to well, even as I felt myself bow my head.

She had made what is known as an impression on all of us but on me in particular. There was something about this little woman that spoke to the ambitious student in me. She was probably the first woman in a long time I wanted to impress with something other than a thrust of my hips.

I know it’s an odd thing to confess. This was, after all, only my first taste of adult education, which immediately makes it sound more pornographic than it was. Mrs. Rust is short, greying, not particularly tolerant of other people and with an encyclopaedic knowledge of how to put a man in his place. She hadn’t been in the room for ten minutes before she told me off for fidgeting. I hadn’t the nerve to explain that I was trying to readjust my thong.

She then told us that she wanted us all to introduce ourselves, but before we began, she stood up herself and held up our set texts. She then proceeded to introduce each author as though they were in the room. She described their lives, their character, and their artistic struggles. It was all fascinating and made me feel not a little humble, especially as I was sat in the seat nearest her desk and it was me she asked in to continue the introductions.

How could I follow potted biographies of Auden, Dickens, Joyce, and Hemmingway and say ‘Hello, my name’s Chip and I shake my genitals for money’? It wouldn’t exactly inspire a teacher’s confidence and I’m not so sure my fellow students would want to sit next to me.

I had to say something and I seemed to take an eternity to slowly push myself to my feet. I could feel Mrs. Rust’s eyes boring into me. I felt my face flush under the scrutiny of the other students. Me, a man who has stood naked before thousands, feeling embarrassed standing fully clothed before a class of twenty.

Eventually, my knees locked and I was standing upright. I could delay my introduction no longer.

‘Hello,’ I said. ‘My name is Chip Dale and I’m… I’m… I’m…’

I hesitate now to say what I hesitated to say then. But eventually words came and the terrible confession was made.

I said: ‘Hello, my name is Chip Dale and I’m a chartered manicurist’.

I know, I know… It made about as much sense when I said it. But my mind was racing, looking for something to say instead of the truth. After that, the rest of the lesson was easy.

We spent the first hour reading poetry and the second hour discussing just one of Auden’s sonnets. The last ten minutes were taken up by Mrs. Rust instructing us on how to complete our first homework project.

My task is to write an appreciation of any poem of my choosing. I can’t say it will be fun. My temptation is to dust off my copy of the Benny Hill Big Book of Dirty Verse but Mrs. Rust doesn’t strike me as the kind of woman to appreciate Mr. Hill’s wit. I'd even go as far as to say I bet she wouldn't see the beauty of even the funniest poem, no matter how many crackers the boy on the burning deck had in his pockets.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Chipster's Out of the Office

I have to go and see a man about a dog. Actually, it's a woman and she owns the local bookshop where I'm going to buy the last few items on my reading list. This education is getting expensive. It better be worth it.

I'll post later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Romanian Compromise

I’ve just dropped in to report that Welsh / Romanian relations are as strong as ever. It’s been a morning of clearing the air and making new resolutions, at least half of which I intend to keep.

I had to promise Bangor’s chief bootlegger that I’d to try to take more of an interest in her hobbies and she agreed to go easy on the fermented spud juice. The only compromise I’ve been forced into making is to agree to go with her to one of her night courses at the local community college. That's where I've been all morning. Fighting my way through adolescents, filling in application forms, picking up my reading list. It was a world I’ve never seen before and, though it pains me to admit it, I quite enjoyed myself.

To be honest, I didn't expect to come back with a reading list. I was hoping for something a bit more manual. After a long argument where I tried to explain the benefits of learning how to become a plumber, Gabby demonstrated the very good reasons (they had knuckles) why I should join her Literature for Beginners course. I don’t mind that too much. Reading a few books can’t be that difficult and, as I’ve said in the past, we strippers tend to be a literate bunch on account of the long hours we have to wait between performances.

My only doubts now are about the books on the course. The list is longer than my arm and I’m a bit worried that there are no classics on there. There’s not a single Tom Clancy or Frederick Forsyth, for example. Not even a Stephen Leather or Jack Higgins. Instead, I’ve just been to the local bookshop where I had to spend a quite ridiculous amount of money on a copy of W.H. Auden’s poetry, which judging from a quick glance, is a bit light on terrorists, lacking in gun fights, and in fact, anything to keep a Welsh stripper interested. I mean, I have to ask you: do you think the guy even looks like a proper writer? Where's his U.S.S. George Washington baseball hat or his shooting jacket? He's not even smoking a cigar while posing with a high powered rifle.

Anyway, this afternoon we’re off to buy the rest of the books. I’ve reached the point now when I'd even settle for a Jeffrey Archer.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Welsh Thong Awards

Gabby astonishes me. She looks like your typical Romanian pop star until she’s had that one drink too many. Then she becomes their answer to a burning tanker loaded with butane driven into a primary school for the deaf.

On Saturday night, we attended the Welsh Thong awards, which is an annual event where those of us in the field of exotic entertainment get to pat each other on our slightly greasy backs for another good year of hip gyrations, wiggles, and generally giving plenty of air to our genitals. We got there early because, I'll be honest, I wanted to take in every moment of the occasion. It’s not often you get to be voted top in your profession and it might not happen again.

It would a bit of an understatement to say that I looked like a God like in my white top hat, bow tie, white tails, and formal black thong. Gabby looked good too but let’s face it, people were there to see me. Which is probably why she hit the bar as soon as we got there.

Brought up on strong vodka and whatever else they brew from potato peelings in those Romanian villages, she handles her drink better than any Welshman since the late Richard Burton. I wasn’t too concerned about her drinking, even when we began to mingle with the other guests. She was charming as ever, playfully snapping every g-string she could see, and her delightful laughter could be heard far across the hotel and out into the car park beyond.

All was going pretty well until nine o’clock when I went up on stage to accept my award. That’s when I made my speech, which was well received in almost every part of the hall.

"Fellow Thonglateers. It’s been a good year for stripping. Which makes it a genuine honour to be standing up here, fully clothed for a change, and to accept this, my second Welsh Golden Thong award. I want to thank everybody who has come to see me perform and to all those who voted for me. I want to especially say a word of thanks to Neil Kinnock. Without him, I wouldn’t be standing here. Neil, you’re an inspiration for all men who want to wave their wangs in the air!

You know, with so much war and suffering in the world, it’s good to know that oil can be put to a good use. So I accept this award for all those that had fought so hard to secure the oil fields in the Middle East. Without them, our spuds would chafe!"

Thank you and thong on!

Pretty good speech, I thought. Or I did until I went back to my table and found Gabby staring at me. Of all things, she’d taken offence at that remark I made about spuds. She thought I was making fun of her habit of hoarding potatoes. She looked livid and as people were began to congratulate me, I could see that my dear sweet Gabby was thinking of a way of ruining the moment. And when Ben ‘Wigwam’ Tailor, probably South Wales’ biggest thonglateer, came over to wish me well, she decided to act.

She jumped up from her seat and launched herself at him. For a moment I didn’t know what she was going to do, but in a flash, she’d snatched off his thong and ran up on stage.

Ben laughed it off and soon everybody was smiling as they watched Gabby begin to sing her number nineteen hit, the Hokey Cokey, whilst waving Ben’s thong in the air. I can’t be sure all the lyrics were original as she was by this point slurring her words, but I know she hit every note like a true professional. In fact, you’d have been pressed to notice that many of the lines were off colour and involved a long list of what we men of Wales can do with our potatoes.

Eventually, she calmed down and to a huge round of applause jumped off the stage and went running for the bar. That’s where I found her, rolled up in a ball behind the curtains, having succumbed to a deep alcoholic sleep.

Once he had his thong back, Ben helped me carry Gabby to the car and I managed to get her home. She slept for most of Sunday and, eventually, an extremely contrite Romanian songbird woke up about eight o’clock last night. I assured her I wasn’t angry, promised I wouldn’t mention this to any immigration officials, and promised that the whole thing will be forgotten.

So, for the sake of Welsh/Romanian relations, I want you to forget all about this unfortunate incident. Gabby’s a good girl and doesn’t deserve many of the tough breaks she’s had in life. And if you happen to bump into her in Bangor today, just be kind to her.

And, for Christ’s sake, don’t mention potatoes.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Post Do Doings

I've had a great night at the awards celemony. The Welsh Thong Awards put on a good spread. Plenty to drink and lots of my kind of people. I've got a little tipsy and Gabby has disgraced herself petty badly with people in high places. I haven't got the energy to tell you what happened or at least not now. Food was thrown and too many things said... I'll tell you all tomorrow. Or maybe Monday. I think I'll be sleeping this off all Sunday...

Friday, March 09, 2007

No Longer Pink But In The Pink

I’ve finally had the extensions put in to cover the hair missing from my pony tail and while I was there, I had it all dyed back to it’s natural colour, though perhaps it’s a tone or too darker.

The result is that I’m cutting the mustard, as the saying goes, and all is well at Chipster central. It’s actually a blessing I’ve managed to regain my form so quickly. This morning, I had some good news. It’s been confirmed by the organisers of this year’s Welsh Thong Awards that I’ve been named the Top Thong for 2007, which as you will know, is one of the biggest awards in Welsh stripping.

This is a huge honour as it’s the second time I’ve won it. This time I feel like it is a real surprise. The first time I won, I'd worked so hard to establish my name in the minds of the judges, but with my injury last year, I’d not given it a thought. I’ve not even been doing the clubs that regularly. I understand that one of the judges saw my Neil Kinnock at the World Strippers Convention in Washington the other week and that tipped the balance.

Anyway, I want to dedicate this award it to everybody who has watched me dance in the last year but also to those people who have patronised this blog. Your support makes it easy for a man as humble as myself to slip off his clothes at a moment's notice.

The award ceremony is tomorrow night and I’ll be expected to give a speech, which will take some planning. It does mean that I also have to rush to get a suit ready and find my formal dress thong. I can't wait to see what Gabby will say. She loves these posh evenings when she can demonstrate how she can down a whole bottle of bubbly without spilling a drop. What a woman!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Confession About A Mole

I recently sold a mole on eBay.

I don’t say this lightly or meaning to shock you. I say this as a matter of fact and as a way of absolving myself of a terrible episode which has blighted my conscience for many months. You might say I should have told you sooner, but I feel like we’re only just getting to know each other. I thought a thing like a mole might come between us. You might have thought the Chipster a little odd. You might have decided not to come back and visit him.

The mole actually belonged to a friend of mine and it had come into my possession after he suffered a serious grazing incident on the rowing machine at the local gym. I didn’t even know I had it until I came home and took my towel from my bag that night. We’d used the towel to help stop poor Thompson’s bleeding but, when I came to put it in the wash, I noticed that a small piece of Thompson had become stuck to the towel. Gabby wasn’t at all impressed. She’s seen worse things than a slightly bloody mole. Remember that this is a woman who wanted to slaughter a goat in our flat and she would have done so if I hadn’t come home and found her trying to hang the poor creature up by its hind legs from the shower rail. I managed to get the goat out of the flat and I led it to freedom on some fields just outside Bangor. The mole was a different story. That was something I decided to keep.

I kept it because, at the time, the news was full of crazy stories about the odd things that get good prices on eBay. I was in a particularly contrary mood so I went online and advertised it as a genuine mole as removed from Liz Hurley’s inner thigh. The fact that a few hairs were still embedded into the mole only seemed to add to the item’s authenticity to the eBay crowd. By the end of the first night, the bids had shot past two hundred pounds.

The whole thing was an unreal experience, especially when, a week later, it came to packing the mole away and taking it to the post office. moles are not easy things to wrap, and I used to much bubble wrap believing, I think, I needed to hide the real contents. You might say that guilt had a lot to do with it. The Royal Mail has probably delivered very few moles in their time and I tend to think that there’s probably a good reason for that. The postage alone came to nearly ten pounds once I’d insured the mole to the value of five hundred pounds.

It was all as a amusing as hell, and, as you can tell, profitable too, until a month later when the phone rang.

‘Is this Dale?’

‘Chip Dale,’ I said.

‘My name is Reed. You might remember you sold me a mole.’

‘Ah, yes…’ I said, my heart beginning to race. ‘Liz Hurley’s mole.’

‘Or so you claimed. Listen, I’m at Bangor railway station. I’m on my way to see you.’

‘Oh, but this really isn’t that convenient.’

‘I’ll be there in five minutes,’ he said and rang off.

What could I do? I wanted to hide, or at least not answer the door, but part of me knew I’d done a bad thing and I had to make ready for the consequences. Reed arrived in less than five minutes and he carried a little package tucked under his arm.

‘So,’ I said, prevaricating a little. ‘What can I do for you?’

‘It’s about this mole,’ he said, placing the box down on the coffee table. ‘I’m an accountant, you see, Mr. Dale. And I have friends who are accountants and one of my friends is one of the best tax accountants there are. He does all the big accounts and he recently happened to be doing Liz Hurley’s tax returns. He mixes with all the stars and he’s never awestruck. That’s probably why he got around to telling her that I’d just bought one of her old moles. Well, you can imagine my friend’s surprise when she told him that she’d never had any moles removed and that she’s never had any moles at all.’

‘Liz Hurley said that,’ I asked and let out a slight whistle.

He smiled. ‘You see, my predicament, Mr. Dale? My whole collection of Miss Hurley’s moles lost their authenticity right there and then.’

‘Did you say your whole collection?’

He gestured to the box. ‘Nineteen, to be exact. Nineteen moles in mint condition.’

‘Nineteen?’ I repeated. ‘But I only sold you the one.’

‘There are many more sellers on eBay than your good self, Mr. Dale. A man who searches hard enough can find everything he wants on eBay. Cost me a small fortune but I probably now have the world’s finest collection of Liz Hurley’s moles that money can buy. But it leads me to a rather difficult question.’

I could feel the moment coming and I was thinking about where I’d left my wallet. I could see I’d soon be making a trip to the cash machine to rob it of the five hundred pounds this man had paid me for a piece of my friend Thompson.

‘I understand,’ I sighed and stood up.

‘You do?’ he said. ‘I mean, how could you? I’ve not asked you yet.’

‘Well it’s obvious isn’t it?’

‘Mr. Dale, you’re the first person I’m going ask.’

‘Ask what?’

He stood up to look me in my eyes. The moment was suddenly loaded with meaning, as though his question meant the world to him.

‘Will you act as a witness when I take this case to court?’

‘What case?’

He sighed and shook his head. ‘Miss Hurley has made a terrible allegation about the authenticity of my collection and I intend to see the matter settled in court. She must retract her statement. My collection is too valuable to allow these gross rumour to circulate. So, I ask you again, Mr. Dale. Will you stand as a witness?’

What could I say? I argued with the man for another hour, suggesting that he allow me to buy the mole back from him but all he could do was sit there and look vaguely superior. ‘That mole is the finest one in my collection,’ he said. ‘It’s the only one with one of Liz’s hairs in it!’

I wondered about confessing all and telling him about my friend Thompson and his accident with the rowing machine. In the end, I had to settle on dissuading him from expecting testimony from me. I explained that I would prove a poor witness on account of having all my life thought moles were disgusting.

‘I’d be a hostile witness, you see?’ I said and stumbled onto the one reason that finally convinced him. ‘You see, Mr. Reed, why would I want to sell one of Liz Hurley’s moles in the first place?’

He took my point, clapping me around the shoulder in a way meant to say much about the camaraderie between mole collectors. He left me that afternoon and I’ve never seen him again. I read in the newspapers that he’d tried to approach Miss Hurley at a movie premier only to be brushed aside by her security guards. The paper also reported that he had fallen into the road, where a box he was carrying had gone under the wheels of a taxi. That, I think, is what happened to part of my friend Thompson, stuck to the wheel of a London taxi cab.

There’s a moral to this story but I’m really not so sure what it is. Probably it’s something to do with being careful about what you buy off eBay. Then again, it could be about the easy money you can make if you have a friend called Thompson who has plenty of moles.

I really don’t know which. I think I’ll let you make up your own mind.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Terribly Pink Business

Traffic was bad in Bangor town centre this morning so I’m running a little late. The roads were backed up for miles after a horse and carriage got clipped by a bus. There were guts everywhere and frightened pensioners as far as the eye could see.

I’ve been down to the gym to work myself out of the funk I found myself in yesterday. The emails I've had from you kind readers went a long way to bringing me back to my senese but it's sweat that seems to bring out the best in me. There's nothing like exercising in a sports thong for making you see all that's wonderful about the world. I can't recommend it enough.

Anyway, I’m feeling much better, though I’m slightly concerned by the looks I’ve been getting on account of my pink hair. When I said the other day that I was intending to let it grow out, that was only based on the reaction of the woman in the local off license. My visit to the gym suggests that I should rethink my plans.

I got there at nine o’clock, which is the quietest time of the day. The managerial types have finished their pre-workday workouts but it’s still to early for all the mothers who are only then finishing the school runs and wouldn’t arrive for another half hour or so. I had the machines to myself and I had worked up a good sweat by nine fifteen when the gym began to fill. And that’s when Belcher arrived.

Tony Belcher runs a dog grooming salon in town. He’s also a fanatical body builder, which makes him something of an icon in the gym. I can’t say I ever take much notice of him. I’m happy with my body as it is and don’t want the sort of muscles that take on personalities of their own, let alone require their own driving license. In turn, Belcher doesn’t often take much notice of me. He probably thinks of me as being too skinny and is perhaps a little put out by my stunning good looks. Despite his physique, the man’s got the face of a grandmother's elbow. Today, however, there was a marked change to his attitude towards me.

There’s only one word I know of that describes the moment that Belcher saw me. He ‘swooned’.

‘That’s it!’ he cried, coming over to where I was on the rowing machine. I tried to row faster but he quickly reached me. ‘That’s the colour we’ve been looking for!’

‘Is it?’ I asked.

‘It is. You’re coming with me, son,’ he said. ‘This is the most important thing you’ll ever do.’

And with that, he physically manhandled me from the rowing machine, tucked me under his arm, and carried me out in the car park. No abduction has been performed in so publicly, yet everybody stood around watching as I was strapped into the back seat of an Audi and driven away.

Five minutes later, we arrived at his grooming salon. There, the whole operation worked in reverse. I was dragged screaming from the car and into the building where he dropped me on a stool among a throng of shampoos and conditioners meant for dogs suffering bad hair days.

A minute later, he returned followed by a woman.

‘Meet Foo Foo Trixabelle Harmatidge Spandex Cherry Blossom the Third,’ he said.

I thought it all a bit much for such a hard frostbitten woman of some fifty years.

‘Do I just call you Foo Foo?’ I asked.

Belcher grumbled a laugh and lifted up the lead he was holding and directed my eyes down to his feet. That’s when I saw the stoat busily sniffing the hem of his trouser leg.

‘Is that a stoat?’ I asked.

‘A pedigree stoat,’ he replied. ‘A champion stoat. This is actually Wales's champion stoat. And your hair is the perfect match. Don’t you think so, Kathy?’

Kathy took hold a fistful of my scalp and held it up to the light.

‘Perfect,’ she said. ‘It’s just what we’ve been looking for.’

I had no say in what happened next. I was still looking at Kathy when I heard a loud ‘snip’ and felt my energy drain right away. Belcher held up a long tress of my hair which shone pink in the sunlight. I thought I could hear every beautiful strand screaming in terror.

‘You don’t know what a help you’ve been,’ Belcher said before he guided me out to the front of the shop. He paused a moment to open the till and withdrew a £20 note which he thrust into my hand. ‘A great help,’ he said and pushed me out of the shop.

It was a fifteen minute walk back to the gym, dressed in only my vest and a pair of loose exercise shorts that hid my sports thong. I was also missing a large portion of my hair, though that which remained was enough to encourage some witty remarks from the public.

The whole thing has been a horrible episode and I’ve booked into see my hairdresser this afternoon. Not only is my ponytail ruined but I fear that my hair is made a mockery by the knowledge that it’s the same shade of pink as Wales’ champion stoat.