Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dear Gabby

[As promised yesterday, the Chipster's having a day's rest and handing my blog over to Gabby. She's already had a few emails and I hope she'll give you nothing but good advice. Chip.]

Dear Gabby,

I think it's great that you can help me. You see my girlfriend doesn’t love me. She is always complaining. She says I don’t cut my toenails and won’t let me fix my motorbike in the kitchen. She also thinks that I eat too much. What should I do?

Henry P.

Gabby says:

If woman don’t like man with toenails and motorbike then she not real woman. I think toenails sexy. Back in Romania, toenails are first thing we look for on man. On a donkey too but that’s not sexy. That’s just to say how old they are. Gabby say that motorbike in kitchen is problem. You should compromise. Move it in living room, away from food. Kitchen is for cooking and rare times when you must cut toenails. Nothing else. If Gabby’s suggestions don’t work, you should get rid of woman and find somebody else. Man with good toenails sure to find sexy woman. I have Russian friend if you interested. She like man with toenails and own house.


Dear Gabby,

I’ve been reading Chip’s diary for a while now and wondering if he’s as great as he claims. He doesn’t look that good to me and I’ve been known to go out with some right ugly mutts.


Gabby Says:

You foolish woman, Sharon. Gabby says Chip is stallion. You finish your silly talk and come to Bangor and see Chip in action. Man in posing pouch is like god come down from sky to wiggle hips in face. Lovely. You see but don’t go saying bad things about Chip or I get sister to cut you with knife. You warned.


Dear Gabby

I am trying to break into the world of music with my sister. We can both sing really well and wondered if you could us some tips about reaching the top.

Heather and Lisa K.

Gabby says:

Have you good leg? Rumpy too? Like we say in old country: best beef on big bottom. That is same for singing. Don’t worry about horrible voices or if you got warty face. You get meat on bone and then let photographers do rest. We also like to wear tiny dresses. They help too if you bend over. And never turn down a job especially if it involves bending over. And any job is better than no job. So, when they say come and sing to soldiers. You go. We sang to soldiers in Iraq and they let us shoot guns from helicopters. We want to go back to do again but with less singing and more shooting. Gabby likes AK47. It her favourite.


Dear Gabby

Is it true that women prefer men with sense of humour than men with good looks? I don’t have either but I think it would be easier to learn some jokes than it would to make myself handsome.

Derek M.

Gabby says:

Rubbish. Give me boring man looks like stallion than funny funny ha ha man comedian. As we say in Romania: you can not milk mule. If you could milk mule, we have huge dairy industry. You can’t so we don’t. But you cannot milk funny man either, and that is Gabby's point. Get man with looks and good body. It like buying a strong mule. You never regret owning strong mule and people like you. People laugh at one legged chicken but it not make man happy when he eats it and nobody comes for dinner for one legged chicken. If you not look good, you get exercise. Face not important if you got good body. If you got good face and bad body, nobody notice good face. Also man with big scalaragurang is important too except on goat when it better small.


Dear Gabby,

I worry about you. Chip treats you quite horribly and says some rather cruel things about you and your sister. I’m sure you’re nothing like he says you are. Do you really shoot sparrows with a gun? Does your sister really carry knife around? Why do you stay with him? I think he’s horrible.

Michelle C.

Gabby says:

What Chip say? He say I his sexy cheeky girl and he loves me. He not say thing wrong about Gabby or sister. I not shoot sparrows, no, I shoot starlings and pigeons and crows. My sister carries knife, nine inch blade with saw on back. Like Rambo knife but sharper. But there’s nothing wrong with sister with knife. It’s legal. She licensed manicurist and it for taking off bunion. I see her take bunion of man who called her rude name. Bunion the same size as his leg, which made him need wooden bunion afterwards.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tueday's Plans

Dull news and good news.

First, the dull news.

There are times in life when you just have to cast aside your thong and go with the flow. Today was one of those days. The schools have broken up for a week so the Chipster's normal routine has been invaded by prepubescents crying about who is a 'smelly head' and what so-and-so's brother will do when he gets back from the off license. It was a nightmare and it go no better when Gabby shouted told them to clear off and they called her something obscene involving vinegar. That prompted Monica to wave her commando dagger in their general direction. Then there was screaming, calls to the police, a slight standoff involving police with guns...

The point is: I'm not putting up with it any longer.

Tuesday is my day of Further Education and this week we're reading King Lear. I won't be back until mid-afternoon so don't expect to see my thong around here before then.

Which leads me to the good news...

Since I've not had much chance to post over the last few days, I've decided to share some of the burden this week. I had thought about asking another of my stripping colleagues to help but... Well, to be honest, there's no way they could compete with me. If they can't beat me on stage, they can't beat me on the page. And that's why I've asked Gabby to post something.

I've managed to talk her out of writing about potatoes and she's agreed to act as a counciller to any of you with problems. Consider her an agony aunt, with the emphasis on the agony. If any of you have problems, email me or leave them in the comments. Gabby will get back and give you some Romanian advice. I hesitate to say 'good' advice, but it will be advice. And if you have any questions about knives, Monica's agreed to help too.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cycling, Recycling and Bus Travel

The problem with being an accident-prone 30-year-old whose interests include cycling, recycling and bus travel (cough) is that I'm often mistaken for other people. Visitors to this blog often ask me if my picture is real and not that of a friend. Well, all I can say is that I am really me. And I hope the ladies love me for my charm, my wit, and my intellect, and not for my good looks and great body.

More later...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I'm Not Here...

... I'm actually here. I know. Hay-on-Wye isn't what I expected either and it feels odd blogging from a cafe at a literary festival. At first, they wouldn't let me in unless I covered up, but since it's cold and raining I really couldn't care less. I've not had a sniff of a famous name and, to add insult to injury, a car which I swear was driven by A.A. Gill cut me off at a corner and made me drop my manuscript in a puddle. It's ruined. I suppose nobody will even think of reading 300 pages of soggy wit unless it's written by David Baddiel.

I'll be heading home this evening but I just wanted to say that the Thonglateer has not forgotten you.

I'll see you all tomorrow when it will be thongs at dawn.

Friday, May 25, 2007


The twins have gone off for the day so there’s not much ‘action’ to speak of. I didn’t venture to ask where they were going. I prefer not to know. All I can assume is that tourists in some Welsh hotspot are suffering the ‘hokey cokey blues’ today. Our thoughts should be with them.

To be honest, I welcome the break. After yesterday’s outbreak of birdy flu, we all came home and enjoyed a quiet dinner. I say ‘quiet’ but the reality was much louder than that. Glasses were shattered, headaches induced, and neighbours annoyed to the point of threats. But it does bring me nicely onto the subject of today’s post. I’ve decided to talk about my holiday plans for this year.

The Chipster doesn’t ‘do’ holidays. In fact, you could say that I rarely get beyond Bangor unless it’s work related and involves getting naked for notes of a large denomination. You might remember that I went to America earlier this year, but my experiences there should give you a good indication of why I don’t go chasing the sun. I’m also extremely careful about my skin. Though I might not be as tanned as other thonglateers, I proud to say that I have better complexion down below which is where it counts in my line of business. There’s nothing worse than a stripper with a wrinkled kneecap.

This year, I’ve been giving serious thought to spending a few days down at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival. To begin with: it’s in Wales, so I wouldn’t need any extra booster shots before going and there’d be no problems with my trying to understand foreign laws relating to the wearing of thongs in public. They’d take me as I am and there’d me no words said about it. Secondly, I might also find an agent or publisher willing to take a gamble on a man light in the loins and heavy in his verbiage.

However, I’m a bit dubious about the whole ‘literary’ scene. These bookish types don’t strike me as being my kind of people and they might not take a man and his thong seriously. My last week, when not working around birdy flu, has been spent going over the draft to Big Chip Dale’s first novel. I thought it time to see what damage I’d done to the English language, but I only got half-way before desperation set it. I just don’t know if I have it in me to get to the end of all 96,000 words. The fact that it makes me smile amounts to nothing when it comes to asking the opinion of people who judge things by themes, narratives, and depressing endings involving lakes, little girls, and a dog called ‘Scamp’.

Perhaps I’m just not confident enough to be a real writer. I look good up on stage and can handle any situation that arises. But sit me down in front of a typewriter and I become a bag of undiluted worry. Many are the times I’ve had to deal with overexcited grandmothers wanting to wipe down my sweaty buttocks with their soiled underwear, but ask me to defend my use of a semi-colon and I go to pieces.

So, if it’s not the Hay festival, it’s probably Romania for the Chipster… Romania…

Gabby wants me to go visit her family and the time’s approaching when I’ll have to admit that I’d prefer to not travel into Eastern Europe. My dislike of holidays began when I was part of a cultural exchange programme a few years ago. The Iron Curtain may have come down but male stripping didn’t go down too well with those ex-KGB types. I was warned never to return and since then I’ve vowed never to travel anywhere in the old Soviet Union. I don’t know if Romania still have me on their books but I’m not willing to risk it.

So, this is how I’m spending my afternoon. Making holiday plans and getting nowhere.

Which, when I think about it, might be as good a holiday destination as any…

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Birdy Flu Strikes North Wales

You’ll have to forgive me if I skip the pleasantries today. I had a morning that’s not to be envied unless you’re the sort of person who dreams of making animal sacrifices to the gods Fad and Fickle.

As you might know, it’s been confirmed that North Wales has been struck by avian flu. It was news that was sure to set the cat among the pigeons, or at least, one Romanian among the chickens.

The Chipster was doing a few stretching exercises in the front room and had touched his nose to his knees, fingers to his toes, when a sudden scream shattered the peace and quiet of an otherwise quite restful Bangor. I turned around, ready to make my apologies to Monica, who I had assumed had walked in on my exercising. It’s a simple fact of the world that not every appreciates the sight of two exposed, though perfectly formed, buttocks first thing in the morning.

I was wrong. It was Gabby holding the newspaper.

‘Birdy flu!’ she said. ‘Birdy flu in Wales.’

‘Are you sure?’ I asked her, taking the paper from her quivering fingers. It wouldn’t be the first time her poor grasp of English had caused her to worry unduly and before things got out of control I thought it best to check the facts.

Only, just then, the door to the spare room opened and Monica appeared. She was already dressed for the day in her black combat trousers and denim jacket but was in the process of adding a final touch by buckling a commando knife to a concealed pocket on the inside of her thigh.

‘What’s wrong?’ she asked.

‘Birdy flu!’ screeched Gabby.

‘Birdy flu?’ screeched Monica.

‘Yes, Birdy flu!’

Monica turned to me. ‘Did you hear, Chippy darling? It’s the birdy flu!’

I shrugged my naked shoulders. I mean: what else is a man meant to do when it’s birdy flu? And there it was in the paper. ‘Bird Flu in North Wales.’

Gabby snatched the paper off me and examined the page one more time, this time chewing her bottom lip in worry.

‘Well, that’s that,’ she declared, threw the paper down and looked to her sister. ‘Gabby think this job The Cheeky Girls…’

‘Oooooookaaaaaayyyyyy!’ squealed Monica as Gabby dashed off to the kitchen. She came back with my best set of kitchen knives in one hand, a rubber tube, and an empty litre-sized milk carton.

‘Come on,’ she said. ‘Birdy flu not catch Gabby unprepared.’

Well, I barely had time to throw on something sensible, but with my best green thong and a pair of sandals I followed the twins out the flat, down the back staircase, and to the garage where we all piled into the car. Ten minutes later, Gabby hit the brakes at the allotment and told us to hurry.

‘I think you’re overreacting,’ I suggested as Monica passed Gabby the knifes from the back seat.

Only the Cheeky Girls weren’t for waiting. They were soon running off down the small lane leading to the allotments, and then quickly over the fence that encloses the chicken coop.

‘I hold them and you do the cheeeeeeeck,’ shouted Gabby as she raised the door the coop. The noise she had made in the sound of her mouth and I have no idea how you’d spell it.

‘Righty!’ said Monica who had selected a large cleaver from the knife set. ‘Unless Chippy want to do the cheeeeeeeck…’ She too made the noise in the side of her mouth.

‘What exactly do you mean, cheeeeeeeeck?’ I asked.

Monica slipped the knife from her thigh and waved it in her hand. ‘You know. Cheeeeeeck,’ she said and passed the blade less than an inch from my windpipe.

I leapt a step back, which isn’t an easy thing to do when only wearing a thong and flip-flops.

‘I’m not murdering chickens,’ I said.

‘We not murder,’ said Gabby as she manhandled the first bird. ‘We save from fate.’

‘Hacking at chickens because there’s a very slight chance they’ll catch the birdy flu doesn’t seem like saving them from their fate,’ I observed.

She turned to me. ‘So, you don’t do cutting. You go and take pipe. Suck petrol from tank. Put in bottle.’

‘What do you want petrol for?’

‘Silly,’ she grinned. ‘We need to burn chickens. Stop birdy flu.’

I rubbed a hand over my face. ‘Do you know how dangerous this sounds? I’m not standing near a naked flame. I’m covered in oil. I could ignite at the drop of a thong.’

Monica turned to me, a darkly impatient look on her face. ‘Monica think Chippy coward.’

‘Chippy is a coward,’ I said. ‘In fact, he’s proud of the fact. I’m not slaughtering chickens. It’s not how we do things in this country.’

Gabby stood up, chicken in her arms. ‘What you mean?’ she asked. ‘I saw TV. I saw turkeys in trucks. Bernie Matthews and his turkey twizzlers.’

‘Well that’s where you’re wrong,’ I said. ‘In a case like this, the government sorts out the mess and then the EU come along and pay us lots of money for having lost our chickens. Bernie Matthews made a nice bit of money despite all of his troubles.’

The girls fell silent.

‘How we get money from EU?’ asked Gabby finally.

‘You just have to be a member.’

‘And is Romania in EU?’

‘From January the first,’ I replied.

She looked at the chicken. ‘So, government kill chickens? We get lots of money?’

‘That’s the way it works.’.

The sisters looked at each other and then Gabby dropped the bird.

‘The Cheeky Girls!’ they both screeched and then they began to do the hokey cokey, surrounded by some of the luckiest chickens in North Wales and a man in a thong and flip flops who, for some reason, couldn't consider himself even half as blessed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tourist Thong

As you can tell, I've been a bit distracted today. I've been out and about doing 'the tourist thing' with Gabby and her sister. They've been screeching their way around Bangor and the outlying areas, squealing with delight at every sheep they see, every cloud in the sky, every exciting little fork in the road, every large eyed child, every sign in Welsh... Need I go on? My head is splitting with pain and a handful of aspirin has done nothing to ease it.

I'd always assumed that twins already know what the other is thinking. I don't understand their need to babble on all the time, usually in high frequency Romanian. And when they're not talking, they're ordering me to pull up by the side of the road so Monica can have her picture taken with every policeman they see.

I'll have more news later... Or maybe not. I don't know if I'll be able to suffer tonight's little adventure.

Your Chipster is not a happy man.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Music To Drive Dogs Crazy

It has been a beautiful few days here in North Wales. Few places on Earth look as good when the weather is just right. When the sun catches the crests and curls of the sea and a breeze comes in off water with an invigorating aroma able to bring fresh resolve to lowest spirits, I'm happy that I made Bangor my home.

Yet it is common knowledge by now that The Chipster had a bad Monday. I think we’re all on friendly enough terms to admit that I can be a bit moody. You have probably come to expect these occasional lulls as I go to my corner and sulk about all that’s wrong with the world. You also know that they pass, eventually, and I spring back into the common herd, my thong sparkling like a beacon of goodness.

And this is when I’m usually at my weakest.

‘Chippy,’ said Gabby as I sat down at the breakfast table. She ran a finger over my neck and under my chin which totally distracted me from the Times crossword. She knows, you see, that I’m quite ticklish, and I felt weak and foolish when I gave an involuntary giggle as she touched that point of my neck where I’m most vulnerable.

‘What is it my love, my world, the reason my heart occasionally murmurs?’

‘You promise you won’t shout?’

‘And what reason would I have to shout on such a beautiful day as this?’ I asked before I spooned some Alpen into my mouth.

‘Well, you usually get annoyed when I ask you if my sister can come and stay with us for a few days…’

A raisin ricocheted off the toast rack and went flying out the window.

‘Gabby? You don’t mean…’ I gasped.

She went to tickle my chin again but this wasn’t the time for it. I parried her finger back with my spoon.

‘She’s coming up today and I said she could have the spare room.’

‘But Gabby?’ I began…

But there was nothing I could say. Looking at that face, with the old scars from the many razor fights of her youth, I couldn’t say no to my dear Gabby. Just as I couldn’t say no to you, my dear thonglateers, should you decide to come to visit North Wales’ top stripper. I could only hope, however, that if you ever did invite yourselves, you’d be good enough to leave your twin at home. Especially if your happens to be called Monica.

‘Gabby!’ she screamed as they looked at each other across the concourse of Bangor station.

‘Monica!’ screamed Gabby.

I’d slipped behind a telephone kiosk, where I’d hoped to be safe from the effects of these lethal sonic weapons fired in an enclosed space. But these were the advanced models. They seemed to transmit the coordinates of their targets by telepathy. No sooner had Monica finished kissing Gabby sister than she turned to me.

‘Chippeeeeeee!’ she screamed and came rushing at the kiosk which I swear jumped out of the way leaving me in the open.

My legs buckled as one half of a Romanian’ supergroup threw herself at me. Before I even hit the floor, my face was wet with kisses.

I could only take it in good humour and try to break free from her hold.

Back on our feet, I didn't feel like I'd just taken part in the Romanian version of WWF Raw.

‘It so good to see you!’ Monica squealed.

‘It so good to see you!’ squealed Gabby back at her.

‘I have much to tell you,’ squealed Monica.

‘I have much to tell you too,’ squealed Gabby.

'You look lovely!' squealed Monica.

'You look lovely too!' squealed Gabby.

'And doesn't Chippeeee look good!'

'Chippeeee look very good!'

That’s when I knew that no matter how much the sun might shine, this is going to be a long long week.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bouncing Back

I had one of those bad days yesterday. There's nothing worse than when a thonglateer has a bad back -- I blame helping Gabby carry a couple of goats to her allotment over the weekend -- but when added to a bad mood, there can only be tears before breakfast. It explains why I sat around in the flat wearing a pair of Y-fronts.

Listening to Patti Smith kept me sane. I can't say enough good things about Ms. Smith. So enjoy it, if New York punk is your thing, while I sit down, contemplate another odd morning, and try to put it all into words.

(Edit: I forgot to mention, you should turn your speakers on full to really appreciate this...)

Mrs. Yassar Arafat Replies!

On an otherwise dull day when I can't think of anything to write, I can at least prove all you cynics wrong. I had another email from Mrs. Yasser Arafat last night.

Smile if you want to but I’m now a confirmed fan of the dear lady. She’s so sweet that I simply couldn’t say no when she asked to deposit ten million pounds into my bank account. That’s where I’ve been this morning: to check to see if the money transfer has gone through. It hadn’t, but then again, I imagine Mrs. Yassar Arafat doesn’t keep normal working hours. She probably sleeps late on a Monday and does all her accounting in the afternoon when it’s cooler.

You might recall that she had emailed me a while ago about some spot of bother she’d found herself in. It all had to do with ten million dollars lying around in a London account and which she could only access through my bank. I’m not a financial whiz so I can’t tell you the details. All I know is that I was moved by her plight so I emailed her back to offer any assistance I could.

This is the reply that arrived at midnight last night:

Dear Mr. Chippy,

So good you reply so soon. Since Yassar die, I know not what to do with all his money. I thank you for use your bank account. I am happy to state you will be given 10% of the total once the transactions is complete. That is £1,000,000. You are a very fine man. Your family fine too. May you enjoy your money and let it bring you good fortune.

The money to be transfer in next 24 hours.

Your totally best friend,

Yassar Arafat (Mrs.)

Gabby’s not impressed but I think it’s just her natural female jealousy speaking. She doesn’t mind the ladies ogling my body but she does worry when I get on speaking terms with them.

‘Her English is bad,’ is all that she would say and: ‘What kind of woman gives million pounds away?’

It doesn’t bother me. I’ve printed out my email and hung it on the wall. This is the first letter I’ve had from a real first lady, if we don't count that note Mrs. Blair stuck down my thong that night. I say it hardly counts because it was written in lipstick.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you all the good news and when the million pounds comes through, I promise that things will change around here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Journalists Know Nothing...

Can somebody please explain this to me?


A Sunday full of possibilities and, for the Chipster at least, a few hours of peace and quiet.

Gabby is away today, cleaning out her allotment shed and checking her chickens for whatever you check chickens for. I’m going over the drafts of a book and doing little else. Given a choice, I think working on the draft is harder work but more pleasurable in the long run. The last time Gabby spent a day at the allotments, she came back as drunk on moonshine as her Romanian passport allows and crying about her chickens, which she claimed didn’t love her anymore.

So, have a good day and I’ll be back tomorrow to help you stay sane with a post light on chickens but heavy with thongs and not the odd bit of wisdom.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

At Knifepoint With Cultural Amnesia

Sorry for the slightly late in the day update, Chipettes. I’ve had to take a day’s rest and force myself to watch a pretty dull FA Cup final. Not that I’m complaining about their being a lack of excitement in the Chipster household. I had enough of that yesterday, which started with me trying to make a five pounds saving and ended at the point of a paperknife.

We’d gone over to Birmingham to see Gabby’s management team who are still working hard to come up with a hit as big as the hokey cokey. We spent the lunch hour browsing the local Borders, which is where I’d intended to buy Clive James’s new book of essays, Cultural Amnesia. I’d had a quick browse through the book, read the opening paragraphs on James’ piece of W.C. Fields, which I thought made it worth the cover price alone, and I was making my way to the counter when Gabby leapt out from the bargain books brandishing a novelty paperknife in the shape of Count Duckula.

‘What that?’ she growled.

‘What what?’ I asked, having quickly hid six hundred pages or more behind my back.

‘What you buy, Chippy?’

‘I buy nothing I said, truthfully, as I tried to slip into the aisle of murder mysteries before I was involved in one myself.

But it was too late. The great Romanian sleuth ran a finger over her waxed moustache, grabbed my wrist, and dragged the book out into the open where everybody could see my profligacy.

‘How much?’ she asked, knife waving around my loins.

‘Twenty pounds… a five pound saving off he cover price,’ my loins replied.

‘You not pay twenty pounds for this,’ she said. ‘You put it back right now.’

I might have reminded her about the copy of my English Auden which she and her cabal of free versifiers has munched their way though yesterday.

‘I won’t put it back you heathen,’ I hissed. ‘I’m buying it. He’s making an excellent case for not being so intellectually dry as to ignore every form of culture.’

‘Culture?’ she spat. ‘We save for holiday to Romania!’

‘Save away,’ I said. ‘I’m buying the Clive James.’

She raised Count Duckula menacingly.

‘Step back,’ she warned. ‘Gabby not allow Chippy to waste our money.’

‘It’s thong money,’ I said.

She stabbed at the book with the opener. ‘How much on Amazon?’

‘That’s not the point…’

‘How much on Amazon?’

‘Twelve pounds,’ I admitted.

‘Then you buy from Amazon or Gabby stick you with paper knife in shape of duck.’

And there she had me. It was a duck. And Clive James’ latest book is indeed twelve pounds on Amazon. But, then, there’s also something in buying a book and walking out with it. It’s never the same when the postman arrives with the Amazon crate.

Yet in favour of Amazon: have they ever tried to slice off your manhood with something made for envelopes? Precisely. And that’s exactly how I imagine a certain cultural critic would have responded to these most trying of times…

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Chipster Never Stops Giving...

So what do you think?

What do you mean you’re overwhelmed? Oh, wipe away those tears! It was nothing. You all deserve the occasional treat, and, today, the Chipster has not one treat but seven. Seven high quality desktops so you can admire Wales’ top tourist attraction every moment of the day. Male or female: these are the desktops for you...

I’ve been arranging this little surprise for a while but it was Clive James who convinced me to act tonight. I managed to catch an interview he did with Terry Gilliam when he said something along the lines of: ‘It’s the death of art when you can put something off and not do the thinking immediately.’

That, I thought, sums the Chipster if nothing else does. I’m always putting off tomorrow what can be done today. Except now. These pictures are very now and I’m sure you’ll agree they’re very artistic. I also figured that if Britney Spears can thank her fans by posing semi-nude, The Chipster can go one better.

Tomorrow morning, Wales’ most gratifying body attached to the most promising face will be heading into England for the day. I also hope to spend some time in a bookshop. So if you happen to be in a Border's store and see a man sitting in the coffee shop, wearing a pale cream Hawaiian shirt with green trees, drinking a large orange juice and either scribbling furiously in a notebook or reading Clive James’ newest book, don’t hesitate to pop over and have a chat. You can tell me how bloody good I look sitting on your desktop.

I have one request, though. When you download these pictures to use as a desktop, please don’t start leaving icons sitting on my nipples. They chafe terribly.

So, until later…

Thong on…

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Club Gabby

I had an odd dream last night. I was on my way to see Clive James, who for some inexplicable reason, was living the life of a mysterious recluse in a Kowloon shanty town. I had to go through some strange Daliesque doorways to reach him, which led me to a glass elevator that began to rise diagonally over a landscape of 1930s New York, sepia tinted and wholly photographic. When I reached Clive, I found him to be extremely pleasant and a very gracious host, despite living in squalor with an Argentinean housekeeper and a large Afghan hound with long blond tresses which kept attacking me whenever I clenched my fists.

That’s when I began to hear the sound of clicking.

Try as I might, I couldn’t stop thinking that it was coming from my hips. Clive thought so too. A lifetime spent doing high kicks and hip thrusts can wear a stripper’s hips away in half the time of your average Premiership footballer. It’s why so many of us have so much titanium inside us by the time we’re thirty that we're less human than a Terminator. Clive told me that it was an omen of what’s to come and a reminder to keep myself well oiled and my joints lubricated.

Only then did I wake up and realise that there was nothing wrong with my hips, which were running as silky smooth as ever. Clive had also disappeared, which was the biggest disappointment because I had so many things to ask him.

Then I heard the clicking again and realised that not all my dreams were insubstantial. Some mysterious clicking force had descended on the apartment while Clive James had been explaining the mysteries of literary punditry to me.

I looked at the clock. It was horribly late for a weekday morning, nearly half-past eleven, but then I remembered that last night I’d over indulged myself with the alcohol and a sad French film involving the innocent murder of young rabbits. Pulling on a fresh thong, I walked through the apartment, following the sound which I could now clearly tell was coming from the living room.

‘Whow!’ said a voice as I turned the corner past the bathroom. ‘Check out those buns! Rock solids at twelve o’clock!’

I turned around and found myself face to face with a young woman wearing a long black leather overcoat and a beret perched on the top of her head.

‘Who are you?’ I asked, oblivious to the fact that she was looking at my thong as though she was having a religious experience. It happens to me all the time.

When she straightened herself up she resembled a rather lascivious stick of liquorice.

‘I’m Jonjo,’ she said. ‘Who are you?’

I thought her question defied reason so I chose not to answer it. ‘And what are you doing in my apartment?’ I asked.

‘Hey! Stay cool!,’ she replied, guiltily waving her arms around like Eve juggling invisible apples. ‘Don’t get your thong in a… in a…’

‘Twist?’ I suggested.

‘Hey! Cool. Twist, yes, twist. Don’t get it in a twist.’

‘And I asked what you’re doing in my apartment? And what the hell is that clicking?’

‘We’re here to celebrate words!' she said. 'You know? How great they are… How much we enjoy using them to… you know… to express… you know... stuff…’


She waved her hands ambiguously. ‘Don’t get plural on me. I is we.’

That ‘I is we’ bit was enough for me. I turned my back on Jonjo and walked into the main room.

Sitting on the floor, around the sofa, across the chairs and some sitting on the window seat, were an assortment of the oddest people you’re ever likely to find gathered in a stripper’s apartment on a Thursday morning. They were completely oblivious to my presence as they were too busy clicking their fingers as they gazed at the figure standing at the middle of the room.

It was Gabby, holding my copy of the English Auden in one hand and a large crocus in the other.

‘The crowing of the cock’, she said – or more precisely read – ‘though it may scare the dead, call on the fire to strike, sever the yawning cloud, shall also summon up the pointed crocus top, which smelling of the mould, breathes of the underworld…’

At which point the crowd began another chorus of clicking and Gabby danced around in a circle waving the crocus over their heads as though it were a magic wand.

‘Ahem,’ said the only cock in the room qualified to crow.

Gabby turned to me and smiling hugely waved the crocus at me.

‘Morning Chippy!’ she squealed.

‘What the hell’s going on?’ I asked, in no mood to be won over by a high pitched Romanian with a crocus. My injured foot was beginning to throb and I could still feel the teeth of an imaginary Afghan hound in my arm. Even the memory of Clive’s reassuring words to his dog (‘it’s only rubber, Mildred’) could do nothing to calm my agitation.

‘Hey, is it time to get down to our undies?’ asked a woman sitting on the end of the sofa. ‘That would be so cool. So cool and Frank O'Hara...’

‘Well I’m not joining in,’ replied a gaunt man in black sitting beside her. He was giving me one of those looks as if to suggest he was in awe of the Chipster’s perfectly honed body. ‘There’s always somebody who wants to bring muscle to a gathering of minds…’

‘Who are these people?’ I asked Gabby.

‘My poetry club,’ she said and anointed them all with a wave of her crocus.


‘Oh, you’ll get to know all the names,’ she said. ‘They’re here to read poetry. Aren’t we, everybody?’

The room filled with more of that insufferable clicking.

‘Will you all stop that?’ I snapped. ‘And what’s that you’re reading?’

She held up the book. ‘Oh, I took it from your poetry shelf,’ she replied. ‘We play poem game.’

‘A poem game?’

‘Like drinking game but it involves poems.’ She looked at my face and must have recognised the look of mild curiosity. ‘We take turns,’ she began to explain.’ We each pick a poem at random and then we read it. Then we rip it out and eat it.’

‘You do what?’

‘It’s poetry, Chippy! You wouldn’t understand.’

‘You know,’ said a voice from the crowd. ‘We internalise the mystery… It's ruminatio of the word...’

‘You’ve been eating my English Auden?’ I sobbed, snatching the book from her crocus scented fingers. ‘Do you know how much this cost? It’s a Faber & Faber…’

‘And very tasty it was too,’ said a man sitting on the window seat. He was picking his teeth with his little finger. ‘I’ve just eaten the Night Mail and it went down lovely,’ he said. ‘That passage between Beattock and Glasgow went really smooth.’

‘It was all downhill,’ said some wit from the sofa. I glared at the gaunt man before I flipped through the torn edges of my ruined volume. All the shorter verse were gone and some sections of the longer poems had teeth marks where somebody had nibbled away the page, sometimes almost up to the spine.

‘You’re all heathens,’ I cried as I threw the book to the floor. And then, without another word, I turned my thong on the crowd.

‘Cool cheeks, man!’ said a voice to my rear but I gone past the point where a sane man cares anymore. Soon, my head was buried beneath the cold cotton fabric of my pillow. I was back in bed again, oblivious to the sound of the clicking fingers, which now marked the digesting of another classic of the English canon.

I consoled myself by trying to imagine what Clive James might say about the terrible age we live in.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Save Me From Boredom, Blogdom!

The wound in my foot was healing fine until Gabby insisted on swabbing it down with potato gin. Forget gauze pads and sterile environments. My little Romanian miracle worker dragged my leg up onto the coffee table, swigged back a mouthful of her latest brew, and spat it all over my foot. She promised it would kill bacteria. I only know that I can’t feel my toes and the carpet has started to turn white. It’s all worrying but Gabby tells me that’s only natural and swears she can’t remember the last time she had any feeling in her tongue.

This is how you find me, today, Wednesday, my Thonglateers. I’m Bangor’s sexist invalid, hobbling naked around my flat and trying to find something productive to do. I’m not even thinking about how much it is going to cost me to get Romania’s answer to Pam Ayres into print.

As I type this, Gabby is out haggling with Bangor’s stationers; bulk-buying notebooks ahead of her next assault on the north face of Mount Parnassus. This morning, she left me this bit of doggerel to post in her absence. I’ve only agreed to do so knowing that it’s sure to gain me your pity…

My Fun Tuesday

Gabby shot sparrow; Gabby shot a thrush,
Chippy picked gun up and shot himself in foot.
His blood was real messy and such a sight to see,
Before we all went off to Accident and Emergency.
Chippy now is crippled, like bus run over dog,
And makes groany noises like half squished frog.
I could put him out of misery, since he’s lost all sense of fun,
But Gabby must suffer because Chippy’s hidden her gun.
© Gabby, 2007.

In all honesty, can any one of you out there blame me for trying to escaping from reality?

In desperation, I picked up ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ by Jean Rhys, which is part of the reading list for my FE class. After only half an hour and ten pages, I felt like shooting myself in my other foot just to end the tedium. It was an act of restraint just throwing the book out the window. I have since spent the rest of my time browsing the day’s blogs, which is where I found some slight relief by considering the problems of blog publishing.

Clare, at the Girl Friday blog, distracted me from the pain with a link to a piece in The Guardian by ‘The Girl With A One Track Mind’ about turning blogs to books. Naturally, it attracted my attention. I’m a man with more than one unpublished novel to my name, so I know more than most what it’s like to be at the bottom of the world’s slush piles. Yet it also makes it hard to be objective about The Girl’s conclusions. She thinks that blogging is a wonderful thing, given that ‘the very act of writing online allows for quality material and this is down to one main factor - the readers' comments.’ Perhaps The Wife in the North would share the same sentiments, but I’m sure that I don’t.

For me, the fallacy of blogging is the notion that we can be discovered in a more fair or practical way than the old methods of going about such things. To take Gabby as an example: is there any coincidence in the fact that her genius is only coming to light because others see something in her poetry that I can’t? Her inarticulate nonsense is perfect for a medium which doesn’t suite any kind of thought-out writing. Writers who write literary novels can never hope to be discovered through a blog because their skill takes take time to get just right through rewriting. The same is true of thrillers, comedy novels, and whodunits. Somebody recently asked me to help them write a detective novel online, which, to my way of thinking, just couldn’t work, or at least, not as a blog containing the work in progress.

Blogs are an effective for writers who just want to put work out there, without having to worry about being accepted. Rarely is it about quality. Those that find the most success seem to find it through those same qualities that make other things successful on the web. They tend to be victories for the values of the obscene freak-show. For all its popularity and success, ‘The Girl With A One Track Mind’ represents a height of sub-literary prurience; a single joke that has probably run well beyond itself in terms of originality, but retaining readership because, given the size of the web, there are always people to whom it is new, dangerous, or (mildly) erotic. I don't know how much mileage is left in my thongs but I hope there's more to me than the contents of my posing pouch.

What can I say?

I’m in pain and it’s raining outside. My foot is beginning to ache and I’m only thankful that I can feel my toes again.

And now I can hear a key in the door. I better post this before my Romanian bard comes in and demands that I include the dozen or so poems she’s sure to have written in the space of the last hour.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Trouble With Edwina Currie

I discovered Gabby in a black mood this morning. She was sitting at the kitchen window with her air pistol, shooting at sparrows in the garden below. I made my way slowly around to the fridge, having discovered on many previous occasions that it’s dangerous to disturb a trigger-happy Romanian with a handgun.

‘So,’ I said, as I began to squeeze my morning orange, ‘are the sparrows biting today?’

Crack. The distant squawk of wildlife, though I can’t dismiss the possibility that it was the postman.

‘Edwina Currie thinks I have talent,’ said my death-dealing buttercup as simple as an accusation gets before noon.

‘And so do I,’ I replied, but inwardly steeling myself for an argument I knew I simply would have to win.

‘So why won’t you lend me money?’

‘I haven’t got a penny to spare,’ I said. ‘My financial thong is empty. And if it wasn’t, we can do better things than pay somebody to publish your poetry. Vanity publishing is just that. Vanity. When they see your genius, somebody will offer you good money to publish it.’

She frowned, fired, and a starling suffered a mortal flesh wound.

‘Edwina said…’

‘I don’t give a damn what Edwina said,’ I cried. ‘You have to still to learn some things about the British. We’re a nation who like to see people make fools of themselves.’

‘So why did she say I was good poet?’

I hadn’t the spirit to explain the rest of what the needlessly profane one-time Junior Minister for Health had to say on the matter of poetry. I merely regretted that the bad language she’d been recently displaying on my blog hadn’t been put to more use a decade ago when she should have been more vehement in explaining the dangers of under-cooked poultry. I might never have suffered the food poisoning that led to my dismal A level results, eventual rejection from university, and led me to my current low paying work as a male stripper.

These were the distracted thoughts that went through my head as I snatched the pistol from Gabby’s hand and managed to shoot myself in the foot.

‘Damn that Edwina Currie!’ I cursed, falling on the floor as blood made an early appearance over the Chipster’s slippers. Even then, I was proud of myself for not resorting to profanity, even as I felt the blood begin to seep between my toes.

‘Chippy? You okay?’ asked Gabby, rushing to my side. ‘It okay if we don’t publish poems,’ she added, cradling my head. ‘I’m not good at rhyming yet…’

‘Shot… foot,’ I gasped, feeling suddenly faint with the pain.

‘No, no, that not good rhyme,’ said Gabby, apparently oblivious to the serious nature of my injury. ‘Cut rhymes with foot. Soot rhymes with foot…’ She went silent and I believe I passed out for a few minutes. The next thing I remember was Gabby slapping my face and forcing a piece of paper into my hand.

Gabby shot a sparrow, then a thrush,
Then poor Chippy shot himself in foot.

‘Does this rhyme?’ she asked.

I was beyond caring. My foot was a congealed bloody mess the likes of which have slapped many a certificate 18 on a film. Tears ran down my cheeks and pooled on my lips. ‘Help me,’ I pleaded. ‘My foot…’

‘Pah,’ said my Romanian humanitarian looking at my yellow slippers, now completely covered with Chip Dale’s finest O positive. ‘Gabby uncle once shot foot off with shotgun. He did not stop work until he pick up every potato on field.’

‘Please…’ I begged.

‘Finish washing up,’ said Gabby, dropping my head onto the tiled floor. ‘I want to finish this poem before we go.’

An hour later, I was in Bangor’s emergency room waiting for a nurse to bandage my foot. A doctor has just pulling a lump of pellet from it, which Gabby had taken as a souvenir. ‘I think I make into earring,’ she said, holding the bloody mess up to a lobe.

‘It suits you,’ I replied over lips parched dry with suffering.

‘So, do you think Edwina Currie would read my collected poems?’ asked Gabby. Now having turned her attention to a box of scalpels she’d found in a drawer, she began to juggle three.

As I watched the razor sharp blades arc through the air, I thought of the nine hundred pages of tightly typed manuscript sitting at home, waiting to be discovered like an extra forty cantos by a Romanian Ezra Pound.

‘I’m sure she would,’ I said with a grimace or a smile. ‘I’m sure she would…’

Monday, May 14, 2007

Gabby’s Poem To The Dalai Lama

I had a busy Sunday. After I’d finished watching the football and signing an online petition to jail Paris Hilton, I wrote a long deeply spiritual letter to his Holiness, the Dalai Lama. I barely had time to finish it and post it before I had to head off to the Green Dragon Tavern where I did my randy traffic warden routine, which has become something of a crowd favourite every Sunday night.

The letter had been Gabby’s idea. Personally, I’d resent it if the Dalai Lama turned up in Bangor and tried to teach me my job. There’s little that a man in a toga can tell a man born to the thong, but even should he be enlightened in some mystical ways of the hidden pouch, I’d still question his interference. Which is why I hesitated before writing to tell him how to do his job.

There are times, however, when even the reincarnations of Avalokiteśvara needs a bit of advice from North Wales’ top stripper and, in this case, I’ve put him straight about this business of his retirement.

If you’ve slept through the weekend, you might not have noticed that the Dalai Lama has decided to quit public life. The news brought Gabby no end of disappointment, given all the charity work she does on behalf of Nepal. I try not to involve myself in her causes as she won’t help me with the charity work I do on behalf of nipples. However, Gabby thought I might be able to talk some sense in the Lama. She’d already written a letter of her own and, bless her rhymeless little heart, included a self-penned poem in it.

In your humble Chipster’s opinion, the following bit of 'poetry' is more likely to make a spiritual leader lock himself away in a monastery, but I ask that you don’t laugh. I’ve promised to post it here, though I’m sure the sceptical ones among you will think it lacks a certain poetic quality. All I can do is reprint exactly what Gabby scribbled on the flyleaf of my first edition of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land

To The Dalai Lama On The Occasion of His Announcing His Retirement

Wise old man who’s more Dalai than lhama,
Do not retire while still in your prime-a.
Wiser than Attenborough, purer than Snow,
(Both David and Dickie, Peter and Jono),
You’re balder than Richard (the Cliff and the knight),
And like Felicity Kendal, don’t enjoy a knife fight,
But when it comes down to your spiritual healing,
You’re better than Cilla, or even Jan Leeming.
You’re also eternal, like Match of the Day,
Though your next repeat is a lifetime away.
So don’t go and choose that Buddhist retreat,
When we could have two weeks together (timeshare) in Crete,
Because dressed in a toga, you’re my super hero,
With love, from Gabby, Chip, and Richard Gere-o.

© Gabby, 2007

Well, I’ve done my bit by reprinting it and I think you’ll agree that it doesn’t make much sense, especially that bit about Cliff Richard.

Everybody knows he is actually the twelfth reincarnation of the original Cliff Richard…

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Eurovison Fallout

Over for another year, Eurovision fades in my memory but weighs heavily on my digestion. I’m now ready to turn my attention to the last day of the English Premiership and the battle between West Ham, Sheffield United, and Wigan.

Gabby is in a bad mood today. She believes there was a conspiracy to keep the Romanians from winning Eurovision but I tell her that the conspiracy was much darker than that. Next year the Eurovision will come from Serbia and I think it will stay in the Balkans for decades to come. Politicians must take note. Didn’t World War I start in the Balkans because of this kind of scullduggery?

The only way we can match it is if we break up the Union. Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales could exchange votes and we’d each be certain of 30 point lead on our rivals. If we could get the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands involved too, we might have the Eurovison stitched up for the next hundred years.

The question is: are there any politicians out there brave enough to take this vital step?

Wigan are now leading Sheffield, and Tevez has scored for West Ham. This should be an exciting 45 minutes, so long as there’s no fixed results. I’ve had enough of those for one weekend.

Chip Dale's Live Eurovision Feed!

Only an hour to go before Eurovision kicks off and I’ve just checked out the BBC listings. They promise ‘flashing images’ during the show, so who knows what kind of exciting night we’ll be in for?

My big prediction: Scooch will successfully get nul points. I think, from a geopolitical perspective, we’re still in the bad books of most of Europe countries and, in their eyes, Scooch will resemble a mistake at least as big as Iraq if not quite a huge as Jemini.

So, until later... Thunderbirds are go…

(Unlike Dave at Temporama, I'm now convinced that we're looking at puppets. The one on the left clearly has somebody's finger snagged in the string that controls his lower lip, whilst the 57 year old in the middle is stuck on grin...)

Live Eurovision Feed From Chipster Central

19.53: I turn on BBC1 and I'm met by a rather large Michael Ball and his purple balls. Gabby wants him to stop breathing in but I’m not so sure it would help the situation. Might a corset be the answer? 4 20 17 3 10 and your Thunderball is… Oops missed it as I was adjusting my thong into a more comfortable position. And we’re up to the Dream Number. God look at those balls go… Only balls are now meant to be coming out and they're not. Damn this infernal machine! Lots of uncomfortable pauses… Ah, at last. 6 9 5 0 3 7 0, which also happened to be the calorie count of Michael's last meal.

19.57 It's the BIG Money balls.

19.58 Is that the other woman out of Buck's Fizz... The one who doesn't sell double glazing. She's still looking as good as she did back when the other one didn't look as good as her. That made sense, I think... Oh we're nearly there.

19.59: Ad for Dr. Who... Why do BBC special effects still look like BBC special effects?

20.00: With true European efficiency, on the stroke of 8 o'clock it's on! And here's Sir Terry...

20.01: Seen my first ghoul of the evening and he looked a hell of a lot better than Michael Ball.

20.03: Lordi's on. God I hate this song. Reminds me of Meatloaf who I also dislike when he sings. The zombies look terribly like Esther Rantzen but I don't suppose Terry's going to admit this. I'm not sure I should have.

20.04: Lordi has one hell of a large thong on him and being a professional thongman, I can tell it's full of cotton buds. This man is all show. I bet he's not even undead.

20.06: Terry is in good form tonight. He's talking over everything, which is exactly how it should be. The hosts look like they might make for good fun. The chap looks a bit like Beau Bridges. Lots of shouting and overly dramatic gestures. Loving it.

20.08: Here we go. Song Number 1. Bosnia. Won't win. Dressed like a heap of Irish turf. I expect a leprechaun to come leaping out from between her legs, which could only improve the song. I feel drowsy... Woke up by that bum note.

20.09: I must confess at this point that one of my main reasons I watch this show other than Sir Terry's comments is to admire scantily clad European women. On that score, Song Number 1 loses my vote. A chap with a mandolin does not float my thong.

20.11: The turf needed trimming. Not good. I'm scared by all the gothic types on show so far. Ah, there's a singalong on the red button. I think I have my hands full just watching. Oh my. A goth smiling. Song 2: Spain. Terrible. Is this what has happened to the nation that gave us Franco? Gabby points out that they're all wearing dog tags but she wonders if they've been in the army. Very lively but still dreadful. Won't win. I'm sure they sang that in English but can't understand a word they said. Something about love and donkeys? I give up. They'd do better joining the Spanish army. They might get to inflict less pain that way.

20.16: Belarus. The song sounds Bondish and is promising if I'm to judge by the two models with the screens. My god, this chap loves himself and with a body that's nowhere near as honed as my own. And what colour is that tan? It's less like tan and more like crackling. He seems to have a sabre tooth tiger's fang hung around his throat. I am left wishing that is was buried deep in his throat with a sabre tooth tiger still attached to it. Note to self: never trust a man who gives up fastening his shirt after only two buttons. (There seems to a very large lady hidden behind the screens. She's clearly doing the singing for the rest who are too busy tumbling).

20.20: Ireland. Wogan's better than I've heard him in many a year. Scintillating stuff and utterly cruel. Song 4 (only 4!!) sounds okay so far. A bit odd and off key, which is how I like them. Not the usual Irish song, which tend to be tedious ballads that go on longer than an Irish tall tale. Actually, this song is growing on me. My God. Am I going to be supporting an Irish song at Eurovision for the first time ever?

20.21: SCOOCH!!!!!!!!

20.22: Here they come. THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO! and are already singing wonderfully flat. Would it be so wrong of me to ask for a hostage situation to develop on their flight at this moment? If I can't have that, I wouldn't mind it the cabin suddenly depressurized instead.

20.22: Now, as bad as Scooch were, the Irish are my pick of the show so far. They were pretty good. Oh, we're up for some flashing lights now. So, if I go quiet a while, I'll have swallowed my tongue.

20.23: Scooch were as bad as I hoped and did nothing to cure me of my fear of flying. Next year we really shouldn't send senior citizens to represent us.

20.24: Finland and I'm scared again. She looks like a menopausal Elvira. Perhaps she's Lordi's mistress. Not that good. Don't really believe she's evil though Gabby has just pointed out that she has 'bingo wings', which is apparently the name for a certain flabbiness beneath the arms. We relax as she stops singing. It's an instrumental and she's gone off for a sulk... Oh hang on. She's back. And that's it. Not as good as the Irish.

20.27: The hosts are back in different clothes but the same SHOUTING. Oh dear. They've found a woman in pink. Apparently, the biggest Eurovision's biggest fan. My God! Gabby has just admitted to me that it's her half sister!

20.28: The woman in pink (Gabby's half-sister) is going to co-host the show. Next song. Macedonia. Song 6. Oh, now she's quite nice. Short skirt. Ladies and gentleman: I think we have the winner!

20.29: Perhaps not. A short skirt does not a Eurovision hit make. This is a forgettable song. Bad dancing but strong performance by her ear rings. I'm doubting if there's enough material in that dress to have the customary dress removal but we live in hope...

20.32: No dress removal. Disappointed. We're now into one of the inter-song films of the host country. Ah. Ice sculpting. I do get excited by a woman with a chainsaw.

20.33: Slovenia. I was promised a woman in leather but.. well... ladies and gentlemen: I think we have the first transvestite of the evening. Oh those high notes prove it's a transvestite who has had the full operation. Gabby notes she/he has very long arms. More proof, in my book, that what we're looking at is actually a man. She/he also has lights in her/his hand which he/she keeps using to light up his/her face in a very disturbing way as it illuminates her tonsils, which as far as I can tell, are non-gender specific. I'll dream about that tonight.

20.36: Hungary is next. Tel informs us that this will be a good one. Ah, a woman with luggage. Promising. Lots of quality props.

20.37: Not bad. Not as good as Ireland. Extra marks for incorporating a bus stop into her performance. The song's not that bad and includes plenty of hoarse shouting. I'm a fan of hoarse shouting at bus stops. Reminds me of many a night in Bangor town centre. Ah, I'm filling up. It's my nut allergy. I've eaten too many M&Ms!

20.40: Hungary was Gabby's favourite so far and my second favourite. I preferred the Irish. Song 9 is from Lithuania. I hope it's as good as last year's, which I think should have won. Ah, bit more jazz. And quite jazzy jazz at that. Woman looks like Anne Robinson before she was hit by the plastic surgery bus. Actually, I'm liking this one.

20.42: I like the use of the silhouetted band in the background. I once did something like that for a stripping act where plenty of fun was had with a cucumber and a large mallet. First guy in her band has the very same outline as the great Brian May. Actually, I'm liking this more and more. My favourites so far: Lithuania; Ireland; Hungary.

20.44: Ha ha! Greece next. Always can be relied upon, though usually to introduce very hairy women into the show.

20.45: Four ladies in bras shaking. Need I say any more? This could be a winner.

20.46: Can you believe it? This song has a line about 'Cheeky Girls'! I love this song but Gabby's moaning on about contacting her lawyers. I think this is the winner. Mark my words on it. Hate the guy but the ladies win me over. Quite easily actually. Oh my... [Gabby is giving me looks...]

20.48: Song 11 is from Georgia. I usually like these songs from East Europe. Not so keen on dancing cossacks. This is the second song to sound like a Bond theme. Hmmm... I quite like it. This could grow on me. Again, I like a bit of shouting. Odd shouting too. Did I mention that the woman is orange? This is the first orange woman of the evening. She should be sponsored by Terry's chocolate.

20.51: That last woman had a terrible crusting on her back. Perhaps I'm old fashioned by I don't like a woman with a heavily crusted back.

20.52: Half way. Song 12 from Sweden. Sweden. Oh, I think we've got the second transvestite of the evening. Sounds like Marc Bolan. Very Marc Bolan. Only he isn't dead, which, when you weigh things up, is not necessarily an advantage to those of us listening. And he's got a bit of a Dickie Davis hairdo going on. Gabby isn't impressed with his stage antics.

20.53: He's taken his jacket off and, as Gabby points out, his face is a different colour to the rest of his body. Rather a stout young man. Men like this give a bad name to stripping. Just glad he wasn't wearing a thong.

20.55: The pink psycho/Gabby's half-sister is on. Only I don't know what she's on or if it's legal. She reminds me of the fat woman who used to be in the Morecambe and Wise shows. She used to walk on at the end and take all the applause. This woman is similar but pinker and much scarier. She's now singing the Eurovision theme. This has to be a joke. Findland must get very bored during those long long days. Those crazy Finns!

20.56: The drunk guy wearing the Elvis pajamas represents England at its drunken best. Oh, we're back from the break.

20.58: Now it's France's turn and I usually like the French, though this has too much pink in it for my liking. The guy from the Crystal Maze is dancing with them. That said, I like the song. It's another of those odd songs I like for being just weird. The bald chap's putting on a good performance. I can't say this song is that strong. I liked its eccentricity but I think my vote is now: Spain, Lithuania, Ireland, Hungary.

21.00: An hour gone and it doesn't feel like it was a minute less than three.

21.05: Russia. Song 15. Wogan's still on form. Oh it's women dressed as schoolgirls. I have to be very careful what I write. Dear me. Dear me... Oh my god... Dear me. Oh.. Ah... Well...

21.06 My vote is now: RUSSIA, Spain, Lithuania, Ireland, Hungary. Did I mention the buxom supermodels in stockings?

21.07: From a musical point of view I think I have a winner in Russia. I won't mention the ladies in the long socks again but I do think it's very warm in here...

21.09: Thank God it's Germany's turn. I'll be able to cool down.

21.10: Frank Sinatra lives and he's become German! I'm sure he keeps singing 'wie gehts' a la Peter Sellers in The Return of the Pink Panther. Only he does it with a jazzy inflection. Gabby says that Germany and swing music don't go together but I say that Hitler had a certain hip cat swagger. Last year I quite enjoyed the German Country and Western song (it's still on my iPod) but this year I'll give it a miss. I'm still thinking about the Russian ladies. I can't remember the song now. Why did I like it? I must concentrate on the Germans. Did my ears deceive me? I swear that the last line of that German song was 'next year we'll rule the world'. I couldn't make this up...

21.13: Next we have Serbia. Oh...

21.14: Ronnie Corbett has a twin and she lives in Serbia. I think it's safe to say that this song is aiming for the gender-identity-crisis vote. Dreadful.

21.16: Moving quickly on, Gabby is delighted to see a Moomin make an appearance in the Finland tourist film. After the last act, I'm just glad.

21.17: Ukraine. Genius! Lots of cross-gender individuals dressed in tin foil and mirrors singing in German. He (she?) looks like Timmy Mallet on crack. Hang on. It's getting all a bit too camp for my liking... Song's catchy though. Note to self: remember the Russian ladies Chip! Still, I quite like the song. This could actually win it. It's just so much fun.

21.20: Gabby thinks the Ukraine might have a winner there. I'm just confused. Was it a man or a woman or a Moomin? I'm not sure. I'm just trying to remember the Russians. Those lovely Russians.

21.21: Latvia. Men in jeans and top hats. An odd fashion choice. This heralds my first toilet break of the evening... Actually, hold that thought. This is too funny to miss. The top hats are something special. This is possibly my second vote for nul points of the evening, though technically it's my first since I can't vote for Scooch. Gabby says if I ever try to seduce her wearing a top hat she'll open one of my veins. I'm wondering why they're wearing medals. Bravery, I imagine.

21.25: Romania! Gabby is so excited. Note to self: set sarcasm to stun.

21.26: So far it's sounding very rural. I expect to see chickens on stage soon.

21.27: The lead singer looks like the chubby member of G4. Another looks like Derek Griffiths. Now Gabby is crying as she chews on the end of her raw radish! Now she's dancing... This is getting embarrassing. It's over. Thank god. I forgot to mention that she'd pressed the red button and was singing along to that bloody song.

21.29: Now it's Bulgaria. Time for a very thin woman with a mustache. I can only describe this song as being very techno-ethic-tone-deaf. She keeps squealing and making chicken noises. Actually, this is quite good. It's Jean-Michel Jarre meats a fishwife.

21.32: 'Europe we love you' shouted the drummer at the end of that last song but enough about that. We're now at Turkey and I have two words for you: belly dancing.

21.34: The song is sung by a very small midget with very big and lithe hips. Behind him are four ladies with big hair and small waists who stand about two feet above him. I'm also noticing a theme of the evening: most of these acts have the portliest members of the band hidden in the shadows at the back of the stage. I don't know about you but I've missed chubby dancing this year. It's a staple of Eurovision fun.

21.36: Armenia is next and only two to go before I get to sit back and watch the corrupt voting begin. This has been a rather disappointing second half. Hang on. This looks bad. A rather self-pleased young man has come on stage and is looking seductively into the camera. Gabby has just says that she feels violated. I was about to say the same thing myself. It's an Armenian Tom Jones but without the voice or the green green grass of home. And now he's starting to bleed profusely from his chest! It's either an alien coming out or a bullet going in. What a great prop! Or at least I think it was a prop. Some music lover might have taken a pop at him, in which case it has to be ruled a justified homicide.

21.40: Last song is from Moldova. Terry is building this up with promises of female flesh.

21.41: Low cut leather pants and supermodel looks. Need I say any more? Can she sing? Ha! Do we care? Thought not. Ooooh... That last note killed a speaker in the TV. I think it's safe to say that next year's Eurovision won't be coming from Moldova. To her credit, I think this is the first real thong of the evening, so we have a winner in that category. Oh, another high note. My fillings are beginning to ache.

21.44: That's it. That's it? Well, I'm voting Russia. Good to see a nation going against stereotype and presenting the world with unwed supermodels looking for lonely men in the rich west. Ahem. Gabby's looking at me again. I'm nipping off until the voting is finished.

21.45: Hang on. Santa Claus has come on and very frightening he is. He's threatening to visit us all at Christmas. Better get keep the shotguns loaded this year children. The man's getting rather excited by the lady host... I can't say I blame him. I'm still happy with thoughts that the Russians are coming. But this has become disturbing. Bad Santa!

21.58: Still going through the reruns as the voting is carried out. I've voted for Russia and Gabby has voted for Romania. Was there any doubt? I defend my choice on purely prurient grounds involving phrases such as 'the one of the left' and 'if I could get away with it'. We've both agreed that if Ukraine wins, it will be a very worthy winner. On the reruns, I've also become quite smitten with the Bulgarian entry... The woman didn't have a moustache at all. It was a cruel thing to say for such a petite pretty young thing.

22.25: Scooch still has nul points but Ronnie Corbett is in the lead! You could say that it's looking good and bad, all at the same time. My only worry is that Ireland might spoil the party by giving us a point.

22.27: My sense of anarchy wants Ukraine to win but my loins want Russia. Actually, I just want one Russian and she was on the left. I also believe that Ronnie Corbett winning would pose troubling thematic/gender issues for next year.

22.29: I'm so excited. My heart is pounding. Could we get nul points? Oh the wait is killing me. Serbia have now taken the top spot again. I'm really disturbed by the lead they've developed over Russia and Ukraine. This is the fight of the night: buxom Russians, Ronnie Corbett, and the tin foil gender-bending Timmy Mallet-lookalike. Come on Russia!

22.32: Scooch and the men in top hats have still to get points. Looking promising. Very concerned by Serbia's lead. The butch Corbett is in danger of winning. Europe, you are mad!

22.34: I have to note that this year the voting is more odd than I remember it, though I think our nul points is clearly justified. Go Scooch!

22.36: I think Serbia are going to win this. A terrible result for red blooded men everywhere.

22.37: Remind me: on which map does Israel appear in Europe?

22.38: A break and we're back with the national idiot of Ukraine/Gabby's half-sister who has just dismissed Scooch with a wave of her wand and without asking them a thing. Clearly nul points doesn't impress her. DAMN HER PINK LITTLE HIDE!

22.41: Lithuanian vote and we're still the only country with nul points. I'm crying with delight. The UK has nul points!

22.43: Serbia at 148 and Ukraine at 129 and my darling Russians and their stockings at 114. This is a dark night indeed for all thong wearing men. This just cannot be won by a terrible song sung by a man.

22.47: Shit! Those damn Irish have given our Scooch seven points. Have they no ears in Ireland? This is turning into a night of many regrets at both ends of the table. I might as well go to bed now. Gabby went a while ago when it was obvious Romania wasn't going to win. Double shit! Those damn Maltese have given Scooch an additional 12 points. Are they mad? Revoke that George Cross immediately. Don't they understand what we've been trying to do all these weeks?

22.50: Is it too late for a Ukrainian fightback? Can I believe I'm sitting here at eleven o'clock at night and wanting a tin foil alien to beat Ronnie Corbett? Do I care any more? Scooch aren't going to come last. All the joy has gone from the world. Ireland are going to have that high honour.

22.51: I've had enough. I'm going to bed. This has been a huge disappointment and I can't bear to hear that Serbian song again. The Chipster is out of here...

23.00: Well, I would go to bed only I can't tear myself away from this travesty. There's no sign of my buxom Russian supermodels or their stockings, though Wogan has come up with the line of the evening. When she takes her glasses off, the Serbian winner doesn't look like Ronnie Corbett at all. She looks just like Lou Costello. YAAABBBBBOOOOTTTTTTT... Which goes to prove that every butch cloud has a silver lining.

23.01: I need a stiff drink and to go plan my first trip to Russia.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

My Japanese Name Isn’t Carlos Tevez…

Hairi Ballsishiwa

If it's not bad enough that I get 100 emails a day from Japan asking me if I'd like to upgrade my genitals to a larger model (they never mention supplying the Samsonite suitcase I’d have to carry it in), it turns out that my name when translated into Japanese is Hairi Ballsishiwa. Hattip to Ian at ‘Shades of Grey’ for directing my attention to this meme that’s doing the rounds but I think it goes to show that you can't totally believe the things you read on the web.

Is there any reason why I’d want to know what my name would have been should I have been born Japanese? More pressing is the question: is there a man now living in Japan who is struggling to live up to the name Hairi Ballsishiwa and who wonders what life would be like if he’d been smooth shaved Welshman called Chip Dale? If so, email me Hairi. We might have lots in common. Or not, as the case may be…

Yet I suppose the reason we play these games is that the web makes it easy to be somebody else, though rarely does it make it possible to be somebody better than we already are. Even when we’re trying to be somebody else, we’re really only playing ourselves. Of course some people go even further and play out the fantasy of being themselves, though a more fashionable and exiting version than their everyday life probably allows. MySpace is a seething pit of vanity and ego; barely a person on it looks to have considered why they deserve our acclaim. I know you might level the same accusations at the Chipster but there is Wales’ largest thong collection to my name, as well as two Golden Thong awards…

The MySpace Generation are a odd lot. I see them every day: lads with the Take That haircuts, the fashionably bad clothes, and the aspirations to be on X Factor while they temporarily live out the less fantastic lifestyle of the plaster and decorator in Dagenham. The girls are generally orange. They are constantly taking their own photo with their mobile phone; those head titled smiles displaying big teeth, bigger hair, and a roll or two of fashionable binge-drinking flab peering out from beneath t-shirts adorned with the fashionably pithy sayings declaring their general availability. I'm a man who takes his clothes off for a living and even I don't find 'Bitch in Heat' an attractive pitch.

Their delusions will continue well into adulthood with the inevitable breakdown at some point when, for the men, the hair gel no longer sticks their falling locks to their heads. Then it’s a life of toupees or a ‘different look’ when they decide to shave off what's left of their hair and consider themselves more in the style of Ronan Keating. For the women, the decline is more severe. At some point they will abandon the bottle of fake tan and begin to see the appeal of zip up fur lined boots, wearing woollen hats before roaring fires in the middle of summer and wearing overcoats with the less pithy promise of a 'Bitch With Central Heating' written across the front...

Identity has come to this. We play these games without really considering how important being ourselves is to our self-esteem. It seems faintly ludicrous to have to make the following statement yet it would appear that we have forgotten that we are who we are and we’re not what we’re not.

I’ve been meaning to mention Carlos Tevez for a while now. He’s the heavily scarred striker that has both saved and (possibly) condemned West Ham United from (or to) relegation. Tevez suffered an accident with boiling water when a child. It has left his terribly scarred on his face and upper body. Naturally, in such an image led culture as that which surrounds professional football, he’s been offered plastic surgery to rid him of the terrible scars. He’s refused, claiming that his scars make him who he is.

Tevez is one of the few men in professional sport who I hold up as a man of true insight. He appreciates something about the world that a man of greater literary gifts might turn into a heavyweight classic.

Which leads me to ‘The Bicycle Thieves’. I watched it for the first time. I’ve been meaning to see it for a very long time but I had been waiting for the right moment. It was as stunning as I’d hoped but in ways I didn’t expect. If you’ve not seen it, I recommend that you do so immediately. I think it would be hard not to be moved by Vittorio De Sica's film, which is full of so much warmth between the actors, both amateurs, who play the father and son searching post-war Rome for a stolen bicycle. Yet what struck me most forcibly about this example of neo-realism is that it did not pander to the delusions of fiction we delight in. This was a film about what we are and who we are. The ending hit me physically, as though a certain Romanian had gone at my kneecaps again with her lump hammer. Like Tevez and his scars, it made me despise the notion that I could by anything other than the man sitting here typing out this brief essay wearing only my thong. I won’t pander to fiction. I shall be who I am and nobody else.

All of which is a long way of saying that my Japanese name isn’t Carlos Tevez. Nor do I want to be known as Hairi Ballsishiwa.

I am Chip Dale and you are you.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Brief Pre-Update Update

Gabby has just broken down my study door to remind me to remind you to tune into the Eurovision Song Content tomorrow night.

Now I’ve done that, I can also admit that I’m a secret fan of Eurovision. It’s the only night of the year when the BBC opens its doors to sarcasm. Terry Wogan is a man after my own heart in that respect and I love nothing more than to sit here eating a large bag of crisps while providing my own commentary. I’m usually the first to vote on the oddball in the mix and last year I was sorely disappointed that Lithuania's LT United didn’t win with their rousing and deeply spiritual song, ’We Are The Winners’.

(Isn't that fantastic? And it gets better when you read about these chaps and what they did to help promote freedoms behind the Iron Curtain...)

Being Romanian, Gabby takes it all at face value. She doesn’t see anything wrong with shiny orange faces with rictus smiles. She thinks the whole thing is a celebration of European musical genius. I, on the other hand, thinks it is a fine reminder why the Good Lord put twenty two miles of good quality water between us and the rest of Europe.

May the best man dressed as a large Bulgarian tadpole win. So long as Scooch* come last.

* As I’ve pointed out elsewhere a while ago, Scooch have an unfortunate name if you check your slang dictionary. I wouldn’t like to discourage you from supporting them but I would like you to first consider what kind of message you’d be sending to the rest of Europe.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

April Figures Show A HUGE Rise

April saw the second best day ever on the blog with 15,747* unique visitors coming by to sniff my pineapple body lotion. As you know, March was a record month with 312,726 visitors, but this was eclipsed by April which rose to nearly half a million. Thong news clearly travels quickly around the blogosphere as page impressions were also up from March's rather dismal 369,308 with 940, 493 pages served in the last month.

Here are my top sites for April. All these sites referred at least 100 people here.

1. The Daily Thongerendum
2. Is There More to Life Than Thongs?
3. Baroque Thongs in Hackney
4. Dave Hill's Thongorama
5. Mutterings and Meanderthongs
6. Thonghead Magazine
7. The Chicken With A Thong
8. Thongsa
9. Amy Winehouse
10. Yates’ Wine Lodge
11. Bryan Appleyard's Thong Experiments
12. Arthur Clewley’s Photogenic Thong
13. Thong on England
14. The Thong
15. The Devil's Thong
16. Thong in the North
17. The Thong's Pact
18. Thongs of Grey
19. The Thong Blog
20. The World According to Thong

I won’t embarrass the bloggers who have failed to fulfill their minimum requirements but I’d ask them to return their Chip Dale Support Thongs and to try harder next month.

* All figures are approximate, ± 99.9%.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Long Bank Holiday 2

If you were to have told me, last week, that black masses were being held under the same roof as that which provides shelter to Wales’ largest thong collection, I would have called you delusional with latent feelings of inadequacy. You’d not be the first to feel in awe of the Chipster and I dare say you won’t be the last. After all, it’s hard not to feel somewhat inferior to a man with good looks, a perfect body, sharp wits, and inexplicable sexual chemistry.

Yet should you have made the same comment today, I’d have merely nodded my head and asked your opinion on the best to get rid of an infestation of warlocks. And midget warlocks at that...

When Mrs. Tunpipe promised that we’d have an unexpected visitor, little did I expect events to take a turn towards the cooler end of the Dulux colour card quite so quickly. Gabby had barely finished cleaning Archibald the goat in the bathtub (and in the process, using the last of my apple and tea tingle shampoo to get the congealed blood from its back), when there came a loud insistent knock on the door.

‘That must be the Dark Lord himself,’ I muttered, checking my less than humble self one last time in the mirror.

I’d decided that if a man is to argue with a Satanist, he must really look the part and take a side. Dressed in my white suit, with white tie, shirt and shoes, I looked like a respectable member of heaven’s advance guard in search of a prime time spot in BBC1’s light entertainment schedule. It might be too much to say I looked ‘angelic’ but on second thoughts, with my good looks, ‘angelic’ is much more on the nail than to simply say that I looked presentable. If there are such things as stud muffins in heaven, then I was one of those. And if there’s not, then let’s just settle on admitting that I looked in the mood to cha-cha-cha around a ballroom.

Bracing myself for the next adventure in what was becoming an increasingly odd business, I opened the door. Then I paused to examine the blank wall of the hallway across from me before I heard a cough and looked down.

It was a small man, leaning on a short wooden walking cane. He was compact in both body and features and stood no more than four feet from the tips of his jet black boots to the top of his fedora. For the whole of that, however, he was immaculate; a dark suit, somewhat antique in its style, gathered to the point below his chin where it pressed a purple cravat into a small rose of colour. Tied beneath his chin was the cord to a black cape which he wore – again with no little sense of style – as easily as I would wear something in transparent lycra. The outfit was topped off by the aforementioned hat, which he had tilted with a slant that reminded me of Alfred Lord Tennyson when he was feeling particularly malicious and in no mood of rhyming.

Facially, the man resembled a hairless dwarf, with a broad overextended nose and downcast mouth. His eyes sagged in little unpleasant pockets of flesh while his mouth was encumbered by lips whose thickness dragged them down into what I imagined was a perpetual frown. Even his chin seemed to have been relegated to become the upper part of his neck, and his neck part of his upper chest.

‘You are Dale?’ he asked with an accent which was very evidently English.

‘Chip Dale,’ I replied coolly after deciding that no matter how much I admired the man’s style, I did not like his tone. His voice was also disturbingly deep for so small a frame.

‘I believe you have taken possession of a goat?’ he said as he proceeded to remove a large purple handkerchief from his pocket and wipe his nose. ‘I believe that you have commandeered a member of the genus Capra which does not belong to you.’

I had an urge to close the door on him right there and then. I don’t take to being spoken down to – or being spoken up to, if you see what I mean…

‘And who are you?’ I asked.

He sneered, revealing small teeth that might have been filed to sharp little points.

‘My name is not important,’ he said. ‘I am merely here about the goat of which, I am led to understand, you have a current excess to the amount of one.’

‘Tell me your name or I close this door right now.’

‘Very well,’ he said, shifting the cape over his shoulder. ‘My name is Fitzfulke. Hector Fitzfulke. I am an associate of your neighbour, Ms. Tunpipe.’

‘And I suppose you’re the fiend that painted a star on poor Archibald’s back?’

‘What if I am?’ he asked, more haughtily than I can write it. ‘Is it wrong for a man to express his religion of choice in the ways dictated to him by the articles of his faith?’

‘Listen,’ I said, stretching to my highest inch. ‘It’s all well and good singing the odd hymn or organising the occasional bingo night, but I don’t hold with slapping emulsion on animals in the name of the Gods of the Underworld. Have you no shame? And where did you get that blood?’

‘I don’t see why I should tell you,’ he replied, stretching himself to the top of his own highest inch. ‘You are interfering with strong forces that lie beyond your understanding. I warn you, Mr. Dale. Do not cross swords with men who have powerful friends.’

‘Is that a threat?’

‘You can consider it a brief précis of the situation. I have come for the goat and if you refuse to hand it over…’ He traced a shape in the air with his cane. ‘Let us just say, Mr. Dale, that if you do not present me with that animal, matters shall be taken to a higher…’ Here, he laughed at some conceit. ‘Or should I say, a lower authority…’

‘Little man,’ I said, now irritated by his manner. ‘Do your worst. I’ve a good mind to report you to the RSPCA. Let’s see how they deal with your idea of faith.’

My words seemed to have no effect on him. He merely blinked once before leaning his cane against the door frame as his left hand came out from under his cape. He opened his fingers to reveal a small tin box in the centre of his palm.

‘What’s that?’ I asked.

Again, he didn’t answer but brought his other hand up and lifted the lid of the box to reveal a dark brown powder. He took a small amount in the fingers of his hand and thrust it up his nostril.

‘Snuff?’ I said, finding it odd that I’d never seen the stuff taken in all my life.

‘Special snuff,’ he said and with that and a malicious smirk pulled across his lips, blew onto his hand to send a cloud of the infernal power into my face.

‘Consider the goat,’ he said and turned on his heels before I had chance to offer a word, or, more precisely, a sneeze. My eyes were watering as I closed the door and stumbled my way back into the living room.

‘What’s that on your face?’ asked Gabby, half laughing.

‘A mysterious powder thrown into my face by a cape wearing dwarf,’ I explained before I shook the room with a violent sneeze.

‘Don’t be silly,’ she answered. ‘What is it? Really? Chip?’

But by then I’d collapsed on the floor. The goat came across and began to lick my face but to my mind, poisoned by whatever power or powder the man had used on me, the goat has become a manifestation of evil itself. It had the torso of a goat and the body of Dale Winton who was warning me in a light chatty voice about fighting a war that could not be won.

I was more than grateful when I felt the whispering silence of unconsciousness fall over me.