Friday, June 29, 2007

The Naked Cowboy

I'm afraid I only have another brief post for you today as I rush to hit a deadline to get the novel finished. Happily, I now have an end, a twist in the tale, and should be back to normal length posts next week.

I'm also glad to report that Ms. Baroque is back, gall free, and posting again and directing my attention to my cousin in America. The Naked Cowboy seems like a man after my own heart, though I can't say he's as good looking as me.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm Baroque in Hackney

Today’s the day I’m covering for Ms. Baroque while our good friend undergoes the extraction of her gall bladder. So, if you’re still in the mood for the long rambling nonsense you usually find here, then you’ll find it over there. Of course, I send her my love and Gabby's love too and wish her well in her recuperation.

To be honest, I feel a bit like a vandal, ruining somebody's blog by posting there. Gabby had intended to send Ms. Baroque a gift but I managed to stop my poor confused Romanian before she posted the freshly slaughtered chicken in the mail. She has some odd ideas of what a 'get well' present looks like.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How Very Disappointing

Online Dating

The above image of my perfectly formed behind must count for nothing these days. Perhaps I should change it to a front view?

Steaming Chip

Apologies for no update yesterday. I’ve been suffering from a horrible bug the last month which I thought I was getting rid of, only for it to flare up with what I suppose was an horrible inevitability. The Chipster, if he has any fault (and I emphasise if), is plagued by sinuses that are too fine for the job. My ears are dull with catarrh and my eyes feel heavy. I’m now determined to get rid of this grumbling cold and I’ve immersed myself in a daily ritual of steaming bowls of heavily mentholated vapours which seems to be doing the trick.

My silence is also the result of my having to get the novel finished. I’ve pretty much written it all in draft but the last 10,000 words need rewriting before I consider my work at an end.

In the meantime, enjoy this picture which RealPolitik posted on his blog and which I paste here with flagrant disregard to the laws of copyright. If you're interested, it’s part of my autumn/winter collection of light plant and machinery available through Argos.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Whither My Withered Buttocks

I'm as over-worked as Clare's memory stick. In fact, there was a moment during the early hours of Sunday morning when I thought I’d taken a break. Only, I was mistaken. I was not sitting on a tropical beach being sang to by the Sheila's Wheels nude choir. I’d fallen asleep in the armchair for a few minutes. Disgusted with myself, I rubbed some vinegar into my eyes and got back to work. I managed another forty pages before my body gave out and I fell into a thin restless sleep.

Before Ms. Baroque starts to worry that I was working on my masterpiece for her blog, that little gem was polished off earlier in the day. Instead, I was up late, going through the draft of my manuscript which Gabby finally returned to me, yesterday, full of her edits.

It took me seven hours to remove all her jokes. It was hard work, harder than the time I worked a room of female lumberjacks during the winter break in the Canadian log sawing season. I was picking pine needles from my underwear for months afterwards.

I don’t know what led me to lose faith in myself the other day, but asking Gabby to rewrite my novel with her own brand of humour wasn’t a bright move. When I reached page 50 of the redraft, I had begun realised that a Romanian sense of humour is a dangerous thing. Not only did most of it involve gloriously over-the-top mutilations of farmyard animals but most of the routines were stolen from Norman Wisdom comedies. Not that Norman ever went at a sheep with a machete, but you get the idea when I explain that the hero, in Gabby’s redraft of my novel, could barely stay on his feet for more than five minutes before tripping over and skewering a goat with a pitchfork. Oh, it was funny at first. But, by page 200 and the body count entering into triple figures, I was feeling pretty unwell. I'd happily never read another account of a sheepdog going tail first into a corn thresher.

So, today is a fresh gore-free day and I continue to work. I still worry about my buttocks (above) being to big. I wonder too if my comments will drop off as my visitors feel ashamed of visiting. I’m also concerned about those quiet visitors, who I value as much as any, who come here every day but never introduce themselves. How have they received my buttocks? I’d love to know.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wallace Stevens On Buttocks

I’ve agreed to write something about Wallace Stevens for Ms. Baroque’s blog this week, while she takes time away to have her internal organs recalibrated and tuned to racing perfection. It’s why I was working late last night and fell asleep across my keyboard.

I woke up this morning with a stiff neck and it only got worse when I walked into the kitchen and Gabby slapped me.

‘What’s that for?’ I cried, rubbing my jaw.

She slapped me again. ‘You filth!’ she said and made to hit me again.

‘Whatever is the matter, woman?’ I asked, pinning her arms back before they could unleash any more Romanian fury.

‘That,’ she said, using her nose to point to my forehead. ‘How could you be so rude?’

A quick glance into the silvered side of the egg & muffin toaster revealed that the letters ‘RTYU’ were pressed into my forehead. I didn’t understand what had happened until I figured out that Gabby was seeing it in reverse and that in the Romanian alphabet (which, as you know, is much like ours only backwards), those four letters make up the filthiest word imaginable.

Well, I explained about my falling asleep jaw to spacebar and apologies were soon as plentiful as the orange juice and Alpen. I settled down and read the papers, contemplating Bryan’s excellent article on the nature of good and evil and the chances of peace in a world in which Romanians go to war with the mistaken belief that progress can come by smacking the filthy words from off a tired man’s brow.

It hasn’t been the start to the day I’d wished for.

The only good thing to come of it was that Big Frank rang me to say that all the tinkering with the site is done. I gave him my hearty thanks and asked him about his views on the narrative of ends and the moral quandaries of modern warfare but, to be honest, I think the trouble with my buttocks has been enough for the poor man. He mumbled something about fingers and pies and hung up pretty quickly.

I can’t complain. The site look particularly fine this morning and I think my buttocks look like all buttocks should, which, in the words of Wallace Stevens, is ‘up-rising and down-falling, bares / The last largeness, bold to see’.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Space Beneath My Buttocks

It's been brought to my attention that there's too much space beneath my buttocks. Not literally , I should add, but in terms of yon large pink cheeks at the top of this page. I've just spoken to Big Frank on the phone and he assures me that he can either drop the buttocks an inch or lift the rest, though it might take some time. Buttock adjustments are not something you undertake lightly.

So far, I believe Mopsa doesn't mind the new look and Mr. Blister prefers the old design. Hardly the ringing endorsement I'd hoped for and I'm beginning to worry what Big Frank will say when he reads the comments.

What say the rest of you Thonglateers? Should I can the buttocks and Bigger Big Chip?

The New Look Diary

You might have noticed that I’ve changed the look of my blog. The alterations are subtle but in-keeping with the friendly atmosphere I like to encourage.

All I have to ask is: do you think it too much?

UPDATE: I’ve just come off the phone with Big Frank, my web designer. I told him he’s done a pretty good job, though I admit that I think he’s gone a little overboard with the size and number of buttocks at the top of the screen.

I don’t suppose I can blame the man. And I’m just grateful that he’s made the site look less derivative than it did before. I consider it the best £50 of pouch money I’ve ever spent for a customized Blogger template. It’s certainly better than the last person I paid. As you probably know, he lifted most of his ideas from a certain well known blogger which has precipitated this earlier-than-anticipated redesign.

Showbiz! Showbiz!

I’ve just got off the phone with 'Big Frank', the fellow who has taken charge of my new blog design. He promises me that it will go live at some point this weekend, so keep checking back to see what's at the cutting edge of Blogger templates.

I’ve had a look at it myself, to give it my approval, and I have to say it’s looking pretty good. I expect it will shock a few of you with its graphic portrayal of the human form, but you don’t come here for children’s stories. It is all tastefully done and will sure to bring in more punters. The only thing I have to decide about is whether to include Gabby in the top banner. I fits the colour scheme but a think an image of her blooding a sheep is too much, even for this enlightened blog.

Incidentally, speaking of my Romanian razor blade, I’ve given her the job of fixing manuscript. She has assured me that she’ll fix its mistakes and add more jokes. I’ve not decided to abandon writing completely but I’ve decided to leave the job of being funny to those more suited to the task. I can’t compete when it comes to writing jokes about pigs and farmers.

Friday, June 22, 2007

My First Reviewer

I thought it time to give you what all the best Sunday supplements would call ‘a sneak peak’ of the Chipster’s novel. It’s now 74,000 words or 341 pages as my word processor counts them. I’d tell you more but I’m afraid of what you might say.

Gabby curled up on the sofa last night with the first two chapters on her lap. I hate waiting to hear what somebody makes of my work. I paced before the fireplace, nervously fingering my thong, waiting for the first chuckle, the first hint that my manuscript might have a place in the world.

I waited forty three minutes before she made a noise. Even then, it wasn’t remotely like a laugh.

‘Chippy,’ she drawled. ‘I thought you say this comedy.’

Well, the Romanians may have had a barbaric history but surely they’ve never been as cruel.

‘It is a comedy!’ I gasped once my sobs and tears came back under control. ‘I worked hard with every line, spent months making it pleasing to the ear and well suited to the funny bone. Every single page has been rewritten a dozen times, honing it so that not a syllable sits out of place.’

‘Yes,’ she said, in that slightly patronising way she has when she finds she has the upper hand, ‘but you forget to include jokes.’

‘They’re there!’ I exclaimed. ‘There on the page. Every single line has either a guffaw or a chuckle guaranteed. There’s not a line without something to bring the wry smile to your lips.’

‘No, no,’ she said, flicking to the first page. ‘I tell you how to fix. You take this line of page 1.’

She cleared her throat and read out the opening I’d laboured hard to get just right.

Here, in the forgotten backwoods of darkest Bangor, I’m ensconced in the pungency of some Vicks VapoRub and a stewing peppermint tea; saying goodbye to a winter cold almost as if I’m saying goodbye to winter herself. Yet I’m also sitting here, amongst the coughs, sneezes, and Boots decongestants, wondering how Wales could have gone so very wrong of late.

‘This example,’ she said, ‘of where you need good joke about farmer and his pig.’

I could say nothing. She picked up a pen from the jar I keep on the coffee table and she set to work. Two minutes later she set it aside and examined the scribble that had all but obliterated my original prose.

‘There,’ she said. ‘Now let us see if this better.’

Here, in Bangor, farmer says to pig. 'Matilda, I very poor so I have to kill you for meat.' Pig looks at farmer. Farmer says. 'I know you don’t want to die but such is life'. He gets big knife and cuts pig’s throat and chops piggy up for meat. Farmer takes meat to market but nobody buys meat. He says: 'Why not you want to buy my pig meat?' People say to him: “Would you buy from man who would cut a poor piggy’s throat?'

I sat there disturbed in so many ways they were fighting for attention as Gabby rolled on the sofa, holding her stomach as laughter strained her every muscle.

‘Oh! So, so funny!’ she gasped, wiping away tear after tear. ‘What you say Chippy? Isn’t that funnier than all those words. Get down to say who man is and what man wants.’

Back in my office, I spent no more than ten minutes crying, wondering if I truly understand the world. A thong is a simple thing and you can hardly go wrong with one. If only the same were true of words.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm in Meme Hell!

I’ve been tagged to do three memes, which has thrown my day. I had planned to finish the novel, contact a publisher, sign contracts, attend book signings, and then later in the day, do some charity work and adopt a few Romanian orphans.

Instead, I'll have to answer these questions, which isn't that bad until it comes to nominating others to help spread the infection. I just hate imposing on people. And then there's all the linking to be done.

Anyway, the first two are from Steve at The Daily Referendum., which means I had to strike him from the Chipster's Christmas card list.

At this point, I'm supposed to give you instructions about how to implement the meme, but I don't do the whole rules thing. Bad for the back, don't you know? And not so good for the thong. So...

Eight Random Facts

1. I’m allergic to onions.
2. I once threw a bottle of salad cream at the fifth Doctor Who and was subsequently arrested and spent the night in prison.
3. I have no nail on the little toe of my right foot. It’s the only fault in the Chipster’s otherwise perfect body.
4. My brother has a blog but we never speak and I certainly won’t link to the bastard.
5. I was an extra in the first Muppet Movie. You can see me briefly after 1hr 37minutes. You can also see my brother but I’m not telling you where.
6. Photographs tend to make me look like a certain Lib Dem when in real life I’m much better looking.
7. I used my shaved body hair to fill pillows which I then donate to charities. They are very popular.
8. I live on less than £38 per week because I put all my thong money into the bank. I'm not a rich man.

I now tag: Mr. Baroque, RealPolitik at Alien Nation, Andrew at In Absentia, Mutterings and Meandering, and Rilly.

The second meme, I really can’t be bothered with answering sensibly. Who gives a hoot about Gordon Brown? The man not my Prime Minister. I didn't vote for him. So:

2 things Gordon Brown should be proud of:
– Opening dialogue with the Chinese.
– The legacy of the last ten years including not getting us blown up by the Chinese.

2 things he should apologise for:
– Harsh words said about the Chinese by the Prime Minister, the late Duke of Wellington.
– The BBC’s Chinese service

2 things he should do immediately when he becomes PM:
– Send the paramilitary wing of the Girl Guides deep into Chinese territory.
– Segregate Humberside and give it to the Chinese.

2 things he should do while he is PM:
– Keep one eye on those Chinese.
– Keep the other eye on the Chinese.

I'm suppose to pass this one on too, but you really wouldn't want to be tagged, would you? If you do, leave a comment and consider yourself tagged. Otherwise, let's allow the world's most boring meme to die a lonely death.

Okay, that's two done.

The final meme I should have replied to last week but circumstances meant that it completely slipped my mind. Sorry, Mutterings and Meandering.

What were you doing ten years ago?

Studying hard to become an engineer and help revitalise the British car industry.

What were you doing one year ago?

Five snacks you enjoy
Noodles, wafer biscuits, apples, bananas, anything containing sun dried tomatoes.

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics
Bridge Over Trouble Waters (Paul Simon), LA Woman (The Doors), Suzanne (Leonard Cohen), Needle and the Damage Done (Neil Young), and Jean Michel Jarre’s ‘Oxygene Part 2’

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire
Form a writing commune and not invite that bugger Rushdie.
Move to France.
Continue to write.
Visit the US and Cananda.
Meet interesting people who don’t know that I was a stripper.

Five bad habits
Yodelling, spontaneous nudity, speaking my mind, insulting fools, picking my teeth with my toes.

Five things you like doing
Writing, cycling, walking, dancing, writing.

Five things you would never wear again
Polyester, nappies, ladies clothes, an army uniform, a large luminous target.

Five favourite toys
My car, my home cinema, Buckaroo, Gabby, Gabby's crossbow,

And I have to tag five bloggers: Jan at The Devil's Pact, Ian at Shades of Grey, Mopsa, Trixy, and since that's only four, I have chance to send one of these back to Steve at The Daily Referendum. That'll teach him...

After all that, I need a coffee before I do something more productive with my time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

An Unlikely Chance...

... that you'll know the answer to this, but I remember watching a film many years ago on TV and I can’t remember its title. I’m beginning to think it doesn’t even exist. I’ve searched the Internet Movie Database for it, tried to find it via the plot, and I just can’t remember it.

All I know are these ‘facts’.

1. It was French (or at least set in France).
2. It began with a man, dark haired, coming out of prison.
3. He visits a friend, who was an artist (I think a sculptor), at his studio but (I think) was some kind of fence, involved in criminal activity. The friend was older and I seem to recollect him dressed in the smock and beret of the artist. The smock was blue.
4. Some caper (I think) was committed, and may have involved a bank.
5. The film ends on a quiet country road with the hero riding off on a moped.

I have a very dim recollection that Alain Delon might have played the hero but of this I can’t be sure. I’ve been trying to find this film for years and I just can’t remember what it’s called.

Any chance that anybody recognizes it?


Gabby and Monica arrived home late last night having spent the day in Birmingham. I thought my seclusion had come to an end but early this morning, may the saints of thongdom be praised, they announced that their singing career will be advanced if they could spend the next couple of days hounding the music press in London. They want them to take more notice of their new single, 'Cheekytime', due out next week.

You might have noticed that I don’t help promote the poor girls’ careers on this blog and you might have wondered why. Or perhaps you know why. The matter is very clear and most obvious: I’m a humanitarian. Let me not be he who casts the first stone. Or, in this case, a CD single with a booklet of printed lyrics that include the lines:

Love is the fire
Love is desire
Love is the sun
And love is the oven.
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna…
Warm you crumpets.

This little masterpiece Gabby penned herself during her poetry period. She claims to have been inspired by Plath but I say she was inspired by the bottle. There are twelve other verses along the same theme. I don’t suggest you rush out and buy it.

The upshot of all this, however, is that I have yet another quiet day to get on with the novel. It’s roaring along, thanks for asking, and I’ve taken on board all your suggestions. Unfortunately, Steve’s suggestion that I should end the novel like a bad episode of Dallas didn’t inspire me half as much as Andrew’s idea of my ending things with a huge explosion. For one thing, I look nothing like Patrick Duffy and, for a second, the idea of putting TNT under the orphanage was something I'd never considered. I suppose it will make readers shed a tear if I manage it right. All the other suggestions will appear in one guise or another but in a context involving high-explosive and burning carcasses of soft toys.

The other news I have to tell you is that I’ve decided to go for a new look, here at Chipster Central. I had an email from a company offering to do me a new Blogger theme for a reasonable price. So, if it all works out, I’ll be revealing a new look at some point, less derivative than the current one, and more fitting for a man moving away from thongs and into a world where he can keep his clothes on. I’ll be nipping out later this afternoon to have my picture taken in a black roll necked jumper and a corduroy jacket.

The Chipster is changing and black is the new pink.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Novel Update

I’m afraid that it will have to be another brief update, today, Thonglateers. Gabby and Monica are in Birmingham, opening a gardening show. Later in the day they’ll be helping a knife manufacturer launch a new range of penknives, which means that I have another 24 hours of peace to push towards the end of the novel I’ve been writing for the last twelve weeks.

Yesterday I wore my fingers down to the knuckle and proofread 207 pages, with the word count of the whole anarchic nonsense rising by two thousand words. I have another hundred pages to go and a conclusion to write, but the end is in sight and I hope to be be back to thong snapping normality within the week.

I know you’re not interested in statistics and only come here hoping to catch me doing something limber in my thong, but there’s really not much else to say except ask: does anybody know a good way to finish a novel with a twist? Writing a book is nothing like finishing a strip. There's a natural end to the latter, while a book can just go on and on. It's an everyday tale about a thong gone wrong, but I have absolutely no idea how to end it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Death to Smoochy

Big Chip Dale has been on something of a roll, over the weekend, which made it impossible to update. I'm putting the finishing touches to a novel I've been writing and is now almost complete.

Not much else to tell you except my Saturday evening was taken up by rewatching one of my favourite films, Death to Smoochy. I doubt if many (if any) of you will have heard of it. It was one of those films that most people don’t quite 'get'. It’s profane, cynical, bleak, sweet, corny, cheesy, sick, twisted, and absolutely fantastic. Robin Williams plays Rainbow Randolph, a star of children’s TV who falls from grace and is replaced by Edward Norton who plays a large pink rhino called Smoochy. The thing sounds cute beyond all plausibility but it's one of the darkest comedies you could find. Danny De Vito just has a knack of making great movies... He's very under-rated. It's also written by one of the guys behind The Larry Sanders Show, so you really can't get a better pedigree for your laughs.

I also spent some of the weekend reading T.H. White’s Once And Future King, which Disney remade as The Sword in the Stone. It’s a gentle but utterly beguiling retelling of the Arthurian legend. I can't recommend it more highly. There's a wonderful scene, early in the novel, in which Merlin introduces Wart (the young Arthur) to the ways of knightly combat. He takes the boy to see two old knights engage in a joust and then a fight. The whole thing is a comedic masterpiece as the two heavily armoured knights prove utterly incompetent as they proceed to hack at each other. It’s Monty Python without the visceral delight in gore. It really is that good.

There. It's Monday and I've already recommended a book and a film. What more could you ask for, without my having to post pictures from Friday night's performance?

Now, I have to get back to the novel. These things don't write themselves.

Friday, June 15, 2007

To Real Politik: The Real Politik of Good Music

Having a natural feel for rhythm is not what makes me an excellent judge of music. Nor is it the fact that my genitals, when given some air, swing at the natural frequency of your typical chart hit. No. What makes The Chipster the ultimate arbiter of good taste is the fact that his buttocks involuntary clench whenever they hear bad music. This has now happened to me twice within the space of a few days and I'm afraid it might happen a third. On both occasions, my buttocks went as hard as iron just after I’d just clicked on a link to Alien Nation, which some of you might know as Real Politik’s blog.

It just can't go on, and not now I’m officially the most articulate wordsmith in the blogosphere. I have certain responsibilities, such as saving Real Politik from himself.

And, quite frankly, I have to save all you from Real Politik.

But I’m not going to start telling you to go out and listen to Brahms or your Mahler, Beethoven or Bach. Well, actually I do recommend Bach but that’s a discussion for another day. I just want to put one person right on what is clearly becoming a pathological need to post bad music to his blog. Blogger must have some standards. I know the world is full of bad things: midget throwing, pushing donkeys off cathedrals, or planning for Armageddon. But we have to draw a line somewhere. I draw the line at anything with an electronic beat.

Perfect rhythm kills music. The human heartbeat is not made for it. Nor, to be perfectly honest, is the Chipster's heart made to withstand suggestions that he likes the music of James Blunt or X Factor. Records need to be set straight.

To my mind, music needs some element of failure in order to succeed. My own musical tastes begin at the odd and, oddly, ends there. But I want to make a case for Mr. Politik to go and discover musicians that continually fail to be perfect. I mean people like Patti Smith, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Waits, Sparks, Belle & Sebastian, Bob Dylan, Helium, Joni Mitchell, Kinky Friedman, Laura Veirs, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Natalie Merchant, Nick Cave, Nick Drake, Talking Heads, The Stranglers, or even William Shatner.

I could make cases for these and many more but I’ve decided that the current contents of my MP3 player are enough to give poor Real Politik a start. Every one of these fails by the standards of X Factor and Pop Idol. Which is how it should be in a perfect less-than-perfect world.

I knew I had to act right at the beginning when our poor fellow blogospherical thought Patti Smith was a man. Well, I admit that there’s something a bit manly about her, make no mistake about that, but this is where we make out first discovery about good music. Good music is not always the best music. The best singers don’t always have the best voices.

It’s the X Factor test, in which the people who make it through to the end are always bound to be the least interesting. The same is true of Eurovision. A consensus of people will never choose the best music. They will choose the average, the median, the middle-of-the-road singer who offends the least number of people. Smith will always offend plenty. She’s got the voice of a banshee who has smoked forty a day for a lifetime spent working in a factory making paint stripper. She’s the part of my mind that also likes to gorge occasionally on Lou Reed, even back in his Velvet Underground days. This music is not about getting the right note. This is punk where making the mistakes and realising that they’re better because they’re closer to real life. Listen to ‘Horses’ or ‘New York’ and dare tell me that it doesn’t have an edge that makes you feel that music really matters.

Which is why I’ve recently found Belle & Sebastian. A weak voiced man sings about commonplace things. It’s like the musical version of Philip Larkin. Which is what you might also say about Nick Drake. The poor man killed himself before he was recognised as one of the most original artists of his day, but his albums are laid back meadows of textures, where butterflies play drums and the rivers gurgle down the mouthpieces to flutes and clarinets. His voice is weak, almost pathetically so, but it fits the music. It makes the music.

These singers would never get past the first round on X Factor. Which is why their music matters. They don’t follow conventions and the Chipster is a man who loves people who don’t follow conventions.

High pitched singing is always a good way of breaking a few conventions. It keeps away the dogs and annoys the neighbours. For high pitched singing, you can’t beat the holy trinity: Joni Mitchell, Laura Veirs, and Sparks. I’ve ranked them according to frequency. If you’re a beginner to the world of high octave singing, begin with Joni. Most of her songs start out in human range and peak somewhere near that of a dentist’s drill set on cavity. Veirs starts somewhere about there and takes things up to the sound of a hummingbird’s wings. If you’re really adventurous, try Sparks. They defy logic. They can sound camp, crazy, or downright terrible. But some of their songs are offbeat gems. And Ron Mael looks like Hitler. What more could you want from a rock band?

If high pitched singing defies you to like it, low pitched singers are just coolness personified. Few men sing lower than Leonard Cohen without surgical alterations below the beltline, but by ‘singing’ I really mean growling into a coal bucket. His later music tends to be well arranged, and his last two albums have been some of his best work. The same is true of Dylan who changes like the seasons. Just when you think he’s lost that zest for the unusual, he produces an album to put his contemporaries to shame.

Music is like that. It’s often best when it comes at you from an unexpected place. One of the most unexpected places is the country and western rack in my local HMV.

Doesn’t the idea of country and western make you feel ill? Just the thought of those bright pink silk cowboy shirts with tassels, those pointy toed boots worn high over tight denims… It’s enough to turn a man off Dolly Parton. Actually, if you’ve seen Dolly lately, you might wonder if that’s a bad thing. It’s beyond human knowledge to know how such a large breasted woman could have become a gay icon… However, that’s just a means of turning your mind from the fact that I’m trying to convince you that some C&W is any good.

I’ve tried on a number of occasions to write about Kris Kristofferson without sounding middle aged. Then I realise that I don’t want to convince anybody of the man’s greatness. I discovered Johnny Cash before the rest of the world remembered him and Kristofferson is probably in need of rediscovering.

Johnny Cash symbolised something missing from music and culture: manliness. That rich voice, worn down by too many years sucking the life from a whisky bottle, and a face equally beat. I thought he looked like some kind of mythic Cherokee and only recently discovered that his family originated in Scotland. It doesn’t much matter. He can wear the Cherokee tartan for all I care. The point is that even a frail failing Cash was bigger, more present, and more worldly than a cruise liner packed to the bows with Justin Timberlakes. And since Cash died, I’ve been looking for something else which I found in Kristofferson.

You have to look beyond the album covers to find the appeal of Kristofferson. He’s damned by too much of that 70s look and feel. He’s also become too recognisable as a character actor, often adding that touch of worldliness to films where other actors preferred to take the high road of the face lift. As an actor, he turns up in roles that call for his gnarly features: Blade, Dtox… But he’s better than that too. Check out his lead role in Sam Pekinpah’s Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, one of the best westerns of the 70s. His latest album, This Old Road, feels like late Cash, with the same dusty voices, croaking out their messages. But his whole career is full of poor singing raised to art. He has some of the less memorable album covers and album titles, though ‘Jesus Was A Capricorn’ is worth remembering. Through them, there are some songs which should have been better known. Cash made ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ but Kristofferson’s version is equally as good. Then there’s the two devil songs: ‘Beat The Devil’ and ‘Shake Hands With The Devil’..

Kristofferson demonstrates the one rule you must remember when it comes to country and western. If it comes with tassles, it’s not worth the listen. That’s where Kinky Friedman comes in. Nobody listens to poor Kinky these days but his albums are classics of Jewish country and western ‘In A Mensroom in LA’, . One of the most moving spiritual songs you’ll ever hear.

Old Testaments & New Revelations is the place to start. It has some of his best songs, including the sniper-classic, ‘Ballad of Chales Whitman’. Kinky’s probably most well known for songs like ‘They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymoe’ but the highlight is the stomach turning beauty of a song like ‘Ride’em Jewboy’.

Tom Waits is what every rock star wants to be but can never match. He’s the most iconoclastic musicians around. With Neil Young, he’s one of the godfathers of grunge. You begin with the witty jazz of his early albums, which are like conceptual albums not trying to be anything so pretentious. ‘Nighthawks at the Diner’ is one of those rare albums that becomes a friend. Waits sits down in his club and entertains you for the evening, mixing wry anecdotes, hilarious stories, with some great songs. You then move through his difficult period, if you dare. ‘Raindogs’ is about as left of centre as left of centre goes. Tone poems, music where the axel has shifted and it moves in eclipses. Oddities of the fairground, freaks with trombones. Then you get to ‘Swordfishtrombones’. Another album that just challenges you to even bear it, until you realise you love it. ‘Franks Wild Years’ is an even bigger struggle, with some of Waits craziest songs. Yet you still find yourself singing along, hitting all the bum notes, and loving it. ‘I don’t know… it’s physics…’

Few songwriters have the gift of telling stories with the kind of detail achieved by the best novelists, but Waits does it continually. He’s the musical version of Raymond Carver; short stories full of small town ambitions squashed like roadkill. Move into his more recent albums, and Waits is the pioneer of the next musical trends, working in his shed. They are best described as huge canvases of noise: huge spreads of rhythms that just dwarf you with their scale. At once insane and magical, they are sound sculptures, which you circle until it’s the time to move onto the next song, where you will find Waits back at the keyboard, playing soft heart breaking ballads about some troubled love.

None of it is polished. All of it is technically a mess. But that’s the beauty of it.

Here endeth the lesson.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Chip In Space

Or in Second Life, at least. The Blog Power winner's party is supposed to be taking place in Second Life so I thought I'd have a look around, work out the quickest routes from the joint, and find the shortest way to the bar. Unfortunately, I haven't quite got the Chipster's good looks quite right and I haven't found a place to buy thongs.

However, if you happen to see a man running around wearing only a pair of shockingly pink underpants, you'll know it's me getting my first sight of this unusual world.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Daddy

I've only just got back from London so excuse this rather late and lazy post, lacking my usual verbal dexterity or, more accurately, haphazard way with words. The tiredness puts a cramp on my style and the exhilaration has put a knot in my thong.

As you're now probably aware, I won my Blog Power category. But before you go saying anything, I know I shouldn't have said 'won'. I should have used a more inclusive term that would make the other nominees feel equally worthwhile. Only, I'm such an articulate wordsmith that I just hate to misuse words. We all know that I said 'won' when I actually meant 'trounced the opposition'.

I actually heard the good news when I hit a wireless hotspot at the Great Bridgeford Service Station on the M6 at eight o'clock tonight. As you can see, I just had to capture the moment for posterity and the British Thong Society newsletter. It's the spontaneous things like this that make victory taste even sweeter, though I admit I got a few funny looks as I stripped down to my thong in the car park. The traffic cops who turned up minutes later were a bit of trouble until I mentioned that Bryan Appleyard had also won an award. Of course, my 119 votes had clearly helped him across the finish line, but to the police, the name meant corrupt voting patterns, menace at the ballot box, and the severed heads of cats left beneath the electorate's duvets. Barely had the name passed my lips before they visibly paled and stood back to let Gabby take the picture.

Speaking of Gabby, at the last minute, my sweet Romanian had appeared with the lettering you can see in the photo. She'd cut it from from the Disability Week appeal banner in the mini mart. I suppose we should have added a few lines of thanks to James for dropping out the competition at the last moment but there was no letter 'J' in 'guidedogs'. And to be perfectly honest, the police wanted to calm things down once the crowd began to gather and we were also losing the light. James of course deserves my thanks for making my victory possible. A complimentary Chipster posing pouch will be on its way to him with the morning post and I expect to see pictures of him wearing it on his blog within the month. Don't be shy, James. Just consider it another of your very many services to blogging for which you've been so rightly rewarded...

So, thanks for all who did the only rational thing and voted for me. You've made the world a better place and you should all consider yourself thongettes for life.

I now must go and plan what I'll wear for the virtual awards ceremony at Second Life. If they don't do thongs, I won't be going. But I'm sure they do, so I will. See you all there.

Sticky in Westminster

It’s been a hot day in London and I’ve not much to say… except my buttocks are very sore and I stink of honey.

As inaugurations go, The British Thong Society’s had to be one of the strangest to involve me, my underwear, and esoteric ritual. But more of that later. For the moment, I just want to say that we’re back in our hotel room, where I am now posting this via the marvels of my local wireless hotspot.

Gabby’s going slightly crazy, of course, as she’s one of the unfortunate few who can detect wireless. I understand it’s also killing all the bees, which H.G. Wells once prophesied as a sign that the world’s coming to an end. Can’t say I’ve noticed. I’ve been bothered by the damn things since midday… but, as I said, more about that in a minute. I better hurry up posting this as I won’t be able to be on the PC long. I visited The Blog Power awards a few minutes ago and Gabby tried to hit me with a miniature vodka from the mini-bar across the room.

I wouldn’t mind but yesterday began well enough. We enjoyed a quiet drive down from Bangor to London and arrived at two thirty. We left the flat in the care of Monica, who agreed to prolong her stay a few more days to keep the place safe, though what counts as safe in Monica's eyes really doesn't bear scrutiny. I left Gabby unpacking at the hotel at four and made my way into Westminster.

The British Thong Society (or the BTS as we members call it) sits on St. Anne’s Gate in an old building that you’d probably walk past assuming it’s the home of some city lawyer. I love old buildings but those that sit a little back from the street have a special appeal. They’re the sort of places that give you the impression that they’d prefer it if you didn’t visit them and respect their privacy.

I had only paused a moment outside to take a look of the place before a porter came rushing out. He had recognised me from my pictures and almost bounced down the steps to pay his respects. I helped him up as he began to kiss my feet and I told him there and then that the Chipster’s first act as president will be to cut out all the fawning. I run a friendly ship and the BTS will be just that: a comradeship of thongdom.

Inside, the place has the typical decor of a London club: plenty of woods from South America, quality carpets from the east, but a tangible air of breeding which is wholly British. In the foyer, I was met by the vice-chairman, Mr. Barnacle, who led me straight to the committee room where I had to sign some forms before the actual ceremonial began at eight. It was pretty involved, full of small legal script and long legal words. For instance, I had to sign over my image rights to the association. But I figure that my image rights won’t ever be worth a thing unless I begin to expand my boundaries. There are plenty of people in London alone that don’t know of the Chipster, and I imagine that there are even more who haven’t heard of thongs.

By the time we'd finished and had a drink and something to eat, it was nearly seven o'clock and time to put on my the ceremonial gowns. They were full of gold thread and heavy stitching. Think of a vice-chancellor at a university and you’ll have the right idea. If you also imagine that the VC isn’t wearing any pants but for a gold hand-stitched thong, then it will be like you were in the room with me.

At eight, I was led into the main hall. The place was staggeringly beautiful They'd blacked out all the windows for the occasion and the hall was lit by lines of candles. There must have been close to two hundred people in there, all dressed in white and purple gowns, and all wearing some of the oldest thongs imaginable. There were Turkish thongs of the seventeenth century, Baverian string thongs, the so-called Eagle thong with its hook nosed pouch. English thongs mixed with French thongs, and from the far East came thongs made from the finest of silk for the Chinese emperors. Any thong lover would have been at home, gazing at the variety of crotches, but I had work to do.

I was guided up to the dais at the front of the auditorium and two attendants stepped forward to take my gown from me. I might have been stripping for years but I felt oddly naked standing there. Next, a young lady walked up to me with a bucket in her hand with a large silver paint brush in the other. I didn’t understand what she was doing when she began to paint me with some sticky substance but as she began to plaster it over my face, I could taste sweet honey. When she’d finished, another young lady came up and threw a handful of raisins at me. Naturally they stuck to me. Then she emptied her other hand which was full of oats. An older man came up next and threw two handfuls of mixed nuts at me, finely chopped of course. I might have muttered to the vice-chairman a joke about my enjoying my morning Alpen but he was as solemn as anything and didn’t see the funny side of it.

Covered in oats, fruit, nuts, and honey, I was next tied up by the ankles by a large rope that hung from the ceiling. I didn’t like the look of this but it all happened so quickly, I couldn’t do a thing about it. One moment I’m wondering if it would be a bad show to eat some of the raisins and the next I’m swinging freely from the rafters, scatting honey and nuts to the crowd.

Only after the whole thing was over did I discover that the ritual symbolised the freedom of the genitals before the birth of the thong. The fruits, oaks, nuts and honey are the foods of the forest which signify the bounty of those that live life naturally and who appreciate the natural harmony to be found in wearing the thong.

Not that any of this would have made any sense to me as I was swing in midair, high above the congregation. And I could do little but bit my lip to stop myself screaming as they all began to beat me across the buttocks with switches. It wasn’t too bad after the first fifteen minutes, though I was relieved when I was suddenly wrapped in a huge canvas cloth, suspended from more roles, that appeared from nowhere.

This, I was told, was the symbolic birth of the thong and I lay snugly in the fold of an enormous pouch as they lowered me to the ground.

And that was pretty much the end of the ritual. I spent the rest of the night mixing with the members, listening to their complaints and ideas about the running of the society, and otherwise shmoozing with the upper echelons of the country’s thong wearers until every one of us were drunk to an inch of full capacity. To say I felt at home would be an understatement. I felt like I was wearing the country’s biggest posing pouch.

And that, as they say, was my evening. I got in around four o’clock this morning and have slept until two. We’ll be driving back to Bangor this evening, though I can’t say I look forward to four hours sitting on these cheeks of mine. For something that was supposed to be purely ceremonial, some of those people put too much elbow into the thrashing they gave me. However, I return to Bangor officially the President of the British Thong Society. And I hereby make all who leave comments on my blog or link to me (or at linked to in my blogroll), honorary members of the BTS.

So the next time you need to buy underwear: remember that you're a member and think of the thong.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Update From London

I'm sitting in a hot hotel room in the middle of London, exhausted after a morning and afternoon spent with the British Thong Society. Had a good time and plenty of things to tell you, but in the meantime, won't you go and make this old stripper happy and vote for him in the Blog Power awards.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mistakes One and Two

I made two mistakes this morning. The first was posting my review of Rambo 2 in the mistaken belief that I’d be heading to London to meet the people at the British Thong Society. I now discover that my inauguration is tomorrow.

My second mistake was posting the review without reminding you to keep voting for me in the Blog Power awards. And I mean keep voting. According to James who has organised the awards and appears to be winning in every category, the polls allows us to submit another vote after a few hours. So, with only two or three people behind me, I reckon I can have well over 100 votes before Wednesday's deadline.

I think this is a perfect example of how democracy should work. Those who really feel strongly about the outcome will put more effort into voting, and they should win. I always say my vote is worth more than that of unthinking men and women but this is one of the few occasions when I get to prove it.

The Chipster’s Film Review: Rambo – First Blood Part 2

‘But Chippy!' exclaimed the second Romanian in the room. 'Monica is our guest!’

And just like that, it was decided.

Back to the DVD shelf went the copy of Fellini’s 8 1/2 I thought I’d watch this weekend and into the player went Monica’s favourite film which she’d thoughtfully brought with her. I’m not saying that the Fellini would have made for a more enjoyable evening -- it probably wouldn't -- I’m just saying that I didn’t expect to be watching Rambo: First Blood Part 2.

Now if that makes me sound elitist, you must know me well enough by now to see there’s not a thong of truth in it. The Chipster has always said that the original First Blood is an excellent B movie, always sure to surprise you. It’s not what you expect: subdued for the first half, troubled, and not undone By grotesquely cartoon characters. Brian Dennehy adds some gravity to the whole thing and then there’s the fantastic use of location. On a rainy evening after a bad day, there are few better films to watch with a drink and a bag of quips.

Its sequel, however, is something else. It has more testosterone in it than the whole of the Ukrainian women’s weightlifting team and is about as subtle.

The problem is the plot, which if you want me to sum it up for you, amounts to this:

man finds a reason to take off his vest.

It’s a controversial view of the film but, if you’ll spare me a minute or two of your time, I’ll try to explain but, described pictorially, it would go something like this:

We begin in a quarry where John Rambo is hitting rocks with a large hammer. Why he doesn’t use his head is never satisfactorily explained before his old colonel from his ‘special ops’ days turns up and promises him a presidential pardon if he will go back into Vietnam and help locate missing POWs. We cut quickly to the Far East where Rambo arrives wearing a fleecy shirt of the type well loved by body builders. His sleeves are professionally rolled (top picture, above) and he’s clearly overdressed for the climate. This provides a wonderful bit of foreshadowing of what will come as Rambo spends the scene sweating like an overworked bicep. We can sense in Stallone’s performance that here is a man who needs, beyond all things, to disrobe and get down to his vest.

He next appears wearing some cooler black cottons for a parachute drop in the middle of Vietnam. At this stage of the film, Rambo is clearly suspicious about the whole situation and Stallone brilliantly conveys his doubts just through his eyes...

The key doubt clearly involves his chances of getting down to his vest but the clever plot twist here is that we’re not actually provided with a good reason for him to strip off. But like all good special forces troops, he’s soon gone 'nipple free' and the ladies in the room start a-groaning.

At this point, I ask them why they find Stallone so attractive and why a certain Welshman is being ignored. I’m told to shut up and Monica runs a thumb menacingly down her replica Rambo knife.

So, I turn my attention back to the film.

Where was I? Oh yes…

So, it doesn’t take Johnny Boy long to strip down to his vest but to get to the next stage of the plot, we need some reason a man can abandon his vest in the middle of Vietnam. Naturally, he can’t just go about throwing vest hither and thither. And this is where Steven Berkoff comes in. Rambo is captured.

This part of the film is probably the most distressing. His capture is totally unexpected, especially since it comes only a minute after him killing a dozen enemy soldiers with little more than a chicken (below).

It's a terribly unexpected turn of events. The chicken dies for nothing and Rambo is captured by a Russian general who is in Vietnam supplying weapons to somebody or other. Berkoff is being quite menacing and conveys his evil intents brilliantly by making his voice go from to mumbling to VERY VERY LOUD in a drop of a hat. Or indeed a vest. Which is more appropriate since he helpfully decides to torture Rambo and we soon see the now bare-chested hero strapped to an electrified rack with his nipples perking to the voltage.

I found the torture scene difficult to watch, involving as it does the implied cruelty towards a vest. Not only don’t we know what happened to the vest, we don't even get to see it again. I was really quite relieved when the torture came to an end and Rambo started to mow down scores of enemy soldiers, hacking his way through them in gory fashion.

Rambo then spends the rest of the film with his upper torso covered by little more than body oil and the occasional scorch marks from firing heavy callibre machine guns.

Gabby was quite taken with it and I believe Monica had some kind of semi-religious experience.

As for the Chipster: he thought it a reasonable nights entertainment if you like snuff-movies in which vests are brutalised. Stallone’s performance is worth picking out and Richard Crenna can chew lines like no other actor. No man was born to utter lines like ‘Damn it John, this is personnel’ or ‘Don't ever count me with you and your scum’ or ‘It was a lie, wasn't it? Just like the whole damn war, a lie!‘ etc. etc.

As for Berkoff, he’s in fine form and shows why he’s one of our finest actors. It all ended badly for him, of course, just like it does for him in Octopussy and Beverely Hills Cop 2. He finally comes a cropper in the third act when he gets shot through a hole in the windscreen of Rambo’s chopper which, quite symbolically, is in the same shapes as the USA. I thought it a nice touch and a very moving tribute to all the lives lost in Vietnam.

The film ends with some speech in which Rambo asks that his country loves him as much as he loves it, but to be honest, I didn’t believe a word of it. A man whose shoulders overhand his hips by such an amount shouldn’t be giving speeches about anything other than the best way to eat bananas with his feet.

Once the credits came to an end I turned up the lights and found the two girls in tears and in a mood to go cut something. I decided the best plan was to go to bed so I left them going through their clothes drawers in search of vests. I heard the front door close around midnight and I don’t believe they got home before seven.

But Rambo 2 is like that. In terms of script, performance, and direction, it’s a mess. But if you’re in the mood for a film that will inspire you to do great things in a vest, then there are none better.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I Give You: The President

Well loyal thonglateers, your friendly neighbourhood Chipster has decided to take your sagely advice and accept the high honour offered to him and become the new Chairman of The British Thong Society.

Your messages of support had me firmly convinced but my decision was hardened even more by this weekend's phone message from Fern Britton. I thought I better get in there before she tries to outdo me and promise them the earth and Philip Schofield. And to be perfectly honest about it, I began to realize that this might be the only honour coming my way in the near future; what with the Blog Power awards now slipping from my slightly oily grasp. Unless we can stage a recovery, I think James will be presenting himself with the award.

Knowing I wouldn't be able to go up and pick up a Blog Power, I turned my attention to the BTS over the weekend and was very pleasantly surprised with what I discovered. I’m to be the head honcho of one of the most well established and respected societies in London. They have some quite auspicious links. Wikipedia doesn’t throw a damn thing up about them (I'll have to see to that) but once Gabby noticed that they'd provided a web address at the top of their letter, I began to see that I was onto a winner. Did you H.G. Wells was one of the founding members?

They have a rather poor website, which I think it would be my first duty to improve, and a proper domain name might help them connect with the younger generation. However, that’s all for the future. For the moment, I just want to mention that Gabby has decided to mark the occasion by destroying a little more of the planet.

She’s bought me an air conditioning unit the size of a small fridge. Because of the orientation of the flat, the main living room and my office get intolerably warm during the day. During the summer, I can barely sit down and write for more than five minutes without getting frustrated with the heat. That's why last summer I did most of my posting from the local library, full as it was with the winos in their Bermuda shorts and wearing straw hats. Gabby says that the President of the British Thong Society needs to take more care of himself and his thong. Which is why, though the heat is splitting the concrete outside my window, the thong between my thighs is barely body temperature and as for my body temperature, it is 'oh-so-cool-thank-you-very-much’.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ned Sherrin's Busted Lip

I got in last night to find the Chipster’s answer phone producing a light show that would induce a fit in man less healthy than I, or at least, one who hasn't spent the last ten years stripping under strobes. At first, I thought it must have been a message of complaint from James Higham, asking me to stop encouraging you all to vote for me in the Blog Power Awards. We’re running neck and neck, though for a few moments last night, I pulled out into the lead for Most Articulate Wordsmith. The idea is that we can each vote once a day and if we can only keep these votes going until Wednesday, we might just steal this one. The question is: can you keep it up? The Chipster intends to push you every inch of the way.

It turns out, however, that the message wasn’t related to the Blog Power Awards. It seems I’d been too hasty in making a judgement earlier in the day. It was a pretty terse message from Fren Britton, telling me that she would be interested in becoming the new honourary president of the British Thong Society and that she’s pretty annoyed that she hadn’t been asked.

If I wasn’t convinced before, this gives me an extra reason why I should now accept the honour. The thing with Fern is that once she gets it into her mind that she wants something, nothing will stop her from getting it. The woman is like American foreign policy. It might take an eternity to decide to move, but once it’s going, it can shift continents whether continents want to be shifted or not.

I had this problem with her a year or so ago. Those of you new to Chip Dale’s Dairy probably don’t know about the run in I had with dear Fern when ‘This Morning’ came to Wales for a week during the assembly elections.

I’d been invited on the show to talk about my life as the country’s top male stripper and also explain why I was then such a huge supporter of the Lib Dem cause. At first, everything was going well. The lawyers had passed my thong for morning viewing and, so long as I didn’t turn my back to the camera, I'd be litigation free. I’d been fully made up by a make-up lady who said she hadn’t seen a tan as real as mine since the days she used to work with the late Bob Monkhouse. Of course, he wasn’t the late Bob Monkhouse back then and his tan was better than it’s been lately, which made it quite the compliment.

After that, I went out onto the studio floor where I began limber up in a corner. That's when Fern came across. Turns out that she’d taken offence at the way I’d bent over. I don’t want to get into the biological descriptions of what she claims to have seen but there was an accusation that my thong had not covered something that should have been covered and a previous evening’s meal had been on display. She mentioned 'prawns'...

You might say that her interest in thong development began at that moment because it turned into a heated argument about the right way to wear a thong. Then she told me that she didn’t want me on the show and asked me to leave the studio. Of course, having travelled all the way from Bangor to Cardiff, I wasn’t too happy and I told her as much.

I regret pretty much everything that happened from that moment on.

Old Schofield tried to act as peacemaker but the man has too kind a heart. He tried to lift Fern off me as we scrapped on the floor. He should have kept well back. He caught Fern’s leg in his mush and then he just went crazy! He was lashing out in all directions and even Fern looked frightened as he overturned a studio camera and then turned his fury on Ned Sherrin who ended up with a busted lip. Poor old Ned should learn the time and place for a wry bon mot.

In the end, it took the common sense of Shane Richie to calm things down. Fern nipped back to make up to have power put on her bruised knuckles and I was led limping from the studios, swearing that I’d never make another appearance on morning TV. And to this day, I haven’t.

I don't know why I've told you all this except by way of asking you to vote for me. But I hope you've done that already and all ready to vote for me again tomorrow.

Friday, June 08, 2007

I Need You Advice

I should really be doing other things, but instead of that, I here, now, with you, doing this. My devotion to you sometimes amazes even me. I’m sure you recognise it, as I’m also sure that you remembered to vote for me today in what is turning into a tight battle between myself and James Higham (I'm currently trailing by just a single vote). Yet I have to confess that I’m here with another motive other than a cheap appeal for your vote. I also need your advice.

You see, this morning, I received in the mail a large brown envelope. It was addressed to the Chipster and contained not one but two thongs. There was also a letter printed on high quality paper and embossed with a large silver seal. It’s not unusual for me to receive thongs in the post. In fact, it’s almost a daily occurrence. It’s rare, however, to find that they’re clean and accompanied by a letter which doesn’t involve graphic descriptions of how the thongs came to be so soiled.

Dear Mr. Dale,

I am writing to you on behalf of the membership of the BTS, which, as you might know, represents all lovers of thonglewear. The British Thong Society has been in existence for nearly seventy years now and we have established ourselves as being at the forefront of research, design, and promotion of thongs, V and G strings, and their derivatives, throughout the UK. Recently, our honourable chairman, Sir Thomas W. Jones died after a long illness unrelated to his lifetime spent wearing thongs and we are now in a position where we are looking for a new honorary chairman. Your name was mentioned.

We’ve been reading you blog for a while now and have followed your rise to the top tier of Welsh stripping with interest. We now feel both able and well justified in offering you the place at the head of our table. As honourary chairman, you will be expected to officiate at our yearly general meeting and to allow us to use your name on our stationary. There may be promotional work for which you will be suitably renumerated. The job is not salaried but, due to our close connections with the garment industry, we can provide you with complimentary thongs throughout the year. As you can see from the two pieces included with this letter, the thongs are of the highest quality and would be a credit to a man of your particular size and curvature of buttock.

I hope, Mr. Dale, you understand high honour we do you by offering you this post, and the honour you would do us should you accept. To be the symbol of British thong wearers is an honour only shared by two other men in the last century. You will be the first chairman to rise to that station in a new millennia and would be in a position to influence thong wearing for centuries to come.

If you would like to speak about this offer, please call me. We can make arrangements for a meeting and, if you could travel into London, you will find a welcome at our official club just off Shaftesbury Avenue.

I remain your most humble thong wearing servant,

Eliot P. Barnacle, Vice-Chairman

So, there you have it. I’ve been asked to become the Honorary Chairman of the British Thong Society. Do you think I should accept?

Gabby said yes, almost immediately. She thought she’d be able to call herself Lady and it took me a while to explain that I hadn’t been made a knight. Then she said I should only take the job if they could make me a knight and that just led to a more convoluted conversation explaining the role of the monarchy. I don’t think she fully understands and I swear her and Monica have nipped into town to have the word ‘Lady’ etched onto the blade of Gabby’s machete.

Personally, I’m tempted to say no, but I’m also aware that fate has made me the most well known proponent for thongs in the country. If I don’t symbolise the sheer beauty of the thread of silk clenched in a well-aired rump, then who does? Oh, I suppose there’s Fern Britton but do you really think she has the time? I'm sure she's too busy to devote herself to the kind of work the Society would require of its chairman.

I have the weekend to consider the offer. If you think I should or should not accept, I’d be grateful if you sent me an email or left a comment. I’ll take your silence as your disapproval and if there are more silences than there are comments, I’ll reject the offer and remain a humble Thonglateer.

Sometimes, one is born to greatness, while other people just have greatness thrust upon them. In my case, I believe I was born with a great thrust and what happens next is just a matter of letting you decide.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Milky Words

I’ve been plagued by words. Nasty, horrible, loathsome little things. You think you’ve mastered them, rounded them up on the page, contained them inside the fence posts of commas, semi colons, and full stops. And then they overrun you again.

But that’s the trouble with being an articulate wordsmith. The very thing you try to master always has a greater hold over you.

It began this morning when Gabby committed another gross violation against the English language. We were sitting at the breakfast table and Gabby had her foot wedged against the toast rack as she painted her nails.

‘Chippy,’ she said. ‘Monica say she stay one more weeks.’

I went cold.

‘A week not long,’ she carried on. ‘A week only six days.’

‘Stop thinking in Romanian,’ I snapped and promptly dropped my newspaper into my Alpen. ‘You’re in Europe now. A week is seven days.’

‘Well even seven days isn’t long,’ she replied as she applied another layer of Ronseal to her toe nails. She leaned back, admiring the finish.

‘Even one day is too long,’ I told her. ‘I wouldn’t mind it if she didn’t practise her knife throwing in the flat. It feels like a lifetime when you’ve got razor sharp blades whistling past your ears at all hours of the day.’

‘Every hour of the day? And what does that mean?’ sulked Gabby. ‘Six days or seven days. What difference? Only twelve hours.’

‘There you go again!’ I groaned, as I inspected my ruined paper. ‘Europe, Gabby. You’re in the EU now. A day is twenty four hours and an hour is sixty minutes.’

‘Sixty?’ She looked puzzled. ‘What happens to the other fourteen.’

In Romania, you see, each hour has seventy four minutes.

‘They go into the next hour,’ I explained as I squeezed the milk from a lactose intolerant Daniel Finkelstein.

‘So the next hour has seventy four minutes?’

‘No, the next hour has… Look,’ I said, throwing the paper to one side, ‘does it really matter?’

She shrugged. ‘I suppose not,’ she said. ‘But only so long as Monica can stay an extra week.’

‘I tell you what,’ I said. ‘How about she stays an extra month?’

‘Really? You mean that?’ She furrowed her brows. ‘Chippy mean Gabby’s sister can stay an extra 45 days?’

‘No,’ I sighed. ‘You’re in Europe, remember. And in Europe a month is four days long. I want her gone by Monday.’

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Who's The Daddy?

The Chipster is first to admit when he’s wrong but only the second to point it out.

Thanks to Steve at The Daily Referendum, I now notice that I declared my opponents the victors too early in the night. I’ve actually made it through to the next stage of the Blog Power awards. Of course, it's only one category when I hoped to get through in nineteen, but the fact that it’s for the ‘Most Articulate Wordsmith’ has not been lost on me, though I don't know what to say. I mean. Er... Cripes. Cheers...

Of course, I’m also very grateful. And I suppose I should also say congratulations to the other nominees, some of whom have the good sense to pop occasionally into Chip Dale Central and leave comments and otherwise bask in the glow of my greatness. I hope you'll all go and vote for Steve and Rilly at least once whenever to take you five minute cigarette breaks when repeatedly clicking on my name long into the evening.

It means, of course, that I’ll be pestering every single one of you to vote from now on. If you have relatives (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) I want you to pester them too. Who knows, I might be the cause of a family reunion. Of course, if you pester them enough I might be the cause of a family meltdown, but that’s really none of my concern. I mean, I’m a stripper for God’s sake! I’m not some emotional councillor…

You can also assure yourself that you won’t be the only ones voting like right wing pensioners in Florida. Gabby has already written to her Romanian clan to get them voting. I expect the pigeon to hit Romanian airspace some time tomorrow morning, so look for a sudden surge of peasant votes, smelling faintly of potato gin, around that time.

Finally, I want to make us of this late and slightly drunken post, to thank all five of you who voted for me. It really goes to show what a huge and devoted readership can do when they put their minds to a task. If you’re interested, you might like to know that I have plans in a drawer somewhere which would involve us in overthrowing old world order and creating a utopia based around the thongs. Unfortunately, my plans need nine of us, and with five of you out there, Gabby, Monica, and myself, that’s only eight. Still, in a few months time, perhaps we’ll have the numbers to make a go of it.

For now, it’s good to have been nominated.

[I'm sure there are spelling mistakes in the above and some pretty dodgy grammar too, but even we articulate wordsmiths have to rush off to watch the football occasionally...]

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Well that's it then...

Well the voting is over and though there are still votes to be counted, it looks like I placed last. Or next to last, which is as good as last for a man who has Golden Thong awards cluttering his trophy case. I don't know if I should feel proud that you followed by overly complicated instructions by not voting for me, or depressed that yet again, the world has expressed a preference for the Wife in the North rather than a stripper in the west.

I'm going to bed where I am going to cry into my pillow before I dream of miraculous shifts in election results in the morning...

This feeling of rejection makes me feel so Lib Dem...

An Evening With Jan Leeming

I think we can all agree that it’s been a frantic few days and I haven’t really had chance to explain what I did during my enforced absence. But before I do that, I’d like to direct your attention to my previous post. For some odd reason, people have failed to read between the lines and left here with the impression that I asked them not to vote for me. Of course, I did ask people not to vote for me but do you really need any greater incentive to go and throw your car keys in the Blog Power salad bowl? You might end up going home with the Chipster. What more can I say than that?

So far I seem to have nominations in the categories for ‘Most Articulate Wordsmith’ and ‘Most Consistently Entertaining Blog or Column’, so please go and add your nominations to the pile smelling of hazelnut scented buttock scrub. If I get through the nomination stage, I vow to use every contact in my little black book to help my campaign for election. And when I become king of the blogs, things will change around here… All those people who mocked me, they will become the mocked. And if you've not been with me, then you've been against me and I shall smite yea with the wrath of...


The Chipster can get a little carried away when wearing his black leather thong of world domination.

Which, by a rather odd quirk of circumstance, is what I was wearing over the weekend.

I’ve been promising to tell you about my weekend but now’s my chance. I’ll be honest and admit that all my best thongs were in the wash on Saturday when it came to attending the charity bash I’d help organise in aid of the local leper hospice. A whole galaxy of stars were on hand to see me in my black leather thong and they seem properly impressed by the scale and quality of the pouched beast as Gabby and I mingled with the likes of Jeremy Beadle, Jan Leeming, John Noakes, Mike (the barman from Only Fools and Horses)…

I can't say enough good things about the event. It was a fantastic evening of song, dance, a little animal cruelty, and lots of drunken merriment. And at the midway point, we all had ourselves a raffle and put ourselves up for sale for the evening..

And to cut a long story short, I won Jan Leeming for the night!

Well, what can I say about Jan? She's a lovely lady with many funny tales to tell about life in the BBC. Things I discovered: Nicholas Witchell is double jointed and Michael Buerk collects teabags. Gabby wasn’t too impressed, of course, when I pulled out Jan's name and neither was Alexi Sayle who drew the shortest straw in the barrel, so to speak, and walked away with my Romanian buttercup. Never have I seen a bald slight-overweight man go as pale as I did when Gabby decided to show him how to skin a dog. I grant that it all got pretty gory for a while and poor Sharon Osbourne’s shitzu will never be the same again. By the time we managed to prise it out of Gabby’s hands, the poor animal was wearing its own ears around its tail.

But I’m a big enough man to not allow such a thing to spoil my evening. Around ten o’clock, I slipped out with Jan so we could enjoy the fresh air. We got talking and it turned out that she has a great fondness for yoghurt. I also have a great love of the well cultured stuff and we nipped to a local all night delicatessen which sells the best strawberry yoghurt imaginable.

When we got back to the party, the thing had gone with a rowdy mess. Keith Chegwin can always be relied upon to ruin a good show. He was standing on the stage singing vulgar ditties about the Welsh and Pat Butcher (the one from Eastenders) had Terry Griffiths (the snooker player) on the floor and trapped behind her pink. That’s when Chrisopher Biggins came running from the crowd and snatched the tub of yoghurt out of Jan’s hands. Jan, of course, wouldn’t put with that. I couldn't stop her grabbing the nearest object – which happened to be a sink plunger – and went lurching into battle. I didn’t want to get involved. Nothing worse than celebrities fighting over scraps of food.

Instead I went and found Gabby who was alone in a corner of the room picking at an antique grand piano with her pocket knife. She wanted to slip away without anybody noticing our leaving but I had to give Jan a wave. I also promised to send her some more of the locally produced yoghurt but I don’t think she heard me. She was dragging an unconscious Christopher Biggins around the hall by the plunger which was stuck to his forehead with something pink, sticky and produced by a quality Welsh dairy.

Overall, it was a bloody good night that raised plenty of money for charity.

Corruption In Higham Places

Corruption! Scandal! Outrage! Hamsters with switchblades!

In my self-appointed role as moral guardian of the UK blogging scene, I’ve stumbled across some pretty shady operations in my time. Let’s not forget the night I sent the coast guard after that high profile blogger who we all knew to be attending illegal hamster fights on a freighter moored at the mouth of the Thames estuary. And I’m sure we all remember the photographs the police later released of the poor little creatures with knives sellotaped to their backs. Is it no wonder that certain people never mention such things in their blogs? And if you don’t believe me, go run a search and you’ll find that the same gentleman never mentions ‘hamsters duelling’. Condemned by his own words, you might say… Shameful.

Yet, no matter how great the depravity of my past discoveries, nothing could have prepared me for what I read this evening.

Tonight I found proof that The Blog Power Awards are fixed.

You heard me right. I said ‘fixed’ and I don’t mind revealing the extent of the corruption.

You see, I’ve discovered that they are nothing but a cheap popularity contest!

You ask how I know this? Well take a look for yourself. There are bloggers out there who are actively canvassing for votes.

I know what you’re thinking and I found it just as hard believe myself. To think that a man we all hold in such esteem is so desperate for approval that he’s asking his readers to email James Higham and nominate him for an award. You don’t see me asking for help, do you? And that’s despite my being nominated in two categories. All I can say is that I’ve had my illusions shattered. I’ve cancelled my order for a dozen black roll-necked sweaters and I’ll never pick up The Sunday Times again. I only worry which of my illusions is next to face a high drop onto a hard surface. Am I to discover that Clive James spends his spring days going from nest to nest in order to hit hatchlings with his tennis racquet? If so, then I only ask that he waits until I've managed to save up and by my signed copy of his Cultural Amnesia...

The simple fact is that your favourite Welsh thongman would never stoop so low as to ask you to love him. And he wouldn’t do that for one very good reason.

It’s all a matter of scale. To make a relevant analogy: when a man feels comfortable with his body, he doesn’t need to add inches the next time he measures himself against the Dear Deride column. You don’t find The Chipster including hips and navels and thumbs to his arithmetic. There is nothing but Dale in his calculations. And when people ask me why I’m a ‘Big Dale’ and not an ‘Average Dale’, I’m always honest and tell them: it’s why I don’t measure myself with a ruler but use a builder’s theodolite. Alternatively, if it happens to be noon on the day of the summer solstice, I do as the Egyptians did and measure myself by calculating how far a shadow is cast in the direction of Luxor.

You see, when it comes to blog popularity, there can be no fair winners. Every loser will have been poorly measured for simple reasons of scale. It’s another example of the big blogs succeeding where we small folk fail. And, for obvious reasons, I chose that term ‘small folk’ very carefully. Popularity can only be measured one way and that’s by visitor numbers and the small fraction who can be bothered to vote for a man in a thong.

It puts a man like me at a great disadvantage. Am I being measured by the length of my readership or the girth of the read? I like to think that my seventeen regular visitors share an experience that comes as close as possible to a night in Bangor town centre on a Saturday night. Can’t you just smell the fragrance of body oil, warmed on the Chipster’s highly toned muscles? Each comma is as calculated as a hip thrust over a tepid glass of Babycham. Each posting amounts to a tangible experience of the best that Welsh stripping has to offer and that, my good friends, is the only reward I expect and care for.

I’m sorry to have had to break this news to you. It’s made for a post full of solemn reflection. I’m a lesser man for having had my illusions shattered. As that great stripper Hugo ‘The Hosepipe’ Cooper used to tell me: leave them with a bang. Even when he was sentenced to three years for male prostitution, I never doubted his advice. Yet today I won’t leave you with a bang. I won’t seek an affirmation of your love. I won't be so cheap as to demean the wonderful thing we have together. I ask that you don’t go voting for the Chipster. No, no, please don’t.

You see, if I don’t play their games, nobody can ever say that I’m small.

Monday, June 04, 2007

And I'm Back...

So, I’ve been visited by the Gods of Blogger and they’ve passed me as SPAM free. Time to get those ads for cheap stocks and shares, viagra, and goat glands. If you don't know what's been happening, I'd been ill for a couple of days last week -- suffering with some terrible business of the inner ear -- and when I came back, Blogger had locked my blog. They say I'm SPAM, citing that:

'Blogs engaged in this behavior are called spam blogs, and can be recognized by their irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text, along with a large number of links, usually all pointing to a single site.'

It wasn't a sensible message to send when the last thing we'd posted here was Gabby's agony column. She was ready to head stateside to deal some Romanian justice.

Anyway, it’s too late to write anything of note but I’m so happy to be back. I feel cleansed in a deeply spiritual way.