Friday, August 31, 2007

Walrus Clogs

I've created my new blog ('Walrus Clogs' on account of all the good names having been taken around 2001 and never updated since)* which I've linked in my sidebar. I'm out of the house today so I won't have chance to do anything with it or add those of you who've shown an interest in reading it. I'll see if I can get working on it over the weekend.

Many thanks for those of you who've shown an interest. It should be interesting. I have to now go and catch a train in the rain.

* Why don't Blogger filter out these blogs that have a singe 'testing' post and haven't been used in six years? That way we might be able to get some decent blog titles.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chip Dale's New Blog

My first full day back between the cracks, neither employed nor claiming benefits, and I’m already thinking about opening a new blog. I know I’m crazy. My Romanian psychotherapist tells me that every morning over breakfast. I also know I don’t find time to write just one blog a day so why should a man tasked with keeping Wales’ largest thong collection clean want to give himself more work? The answer is: I won’t be doing any more work than I’m already doing. I’m just considering publishing my work in progress daily to the web.

Quitting my job has made me focus on getting something finished and I think a new blog might be the way to go about it. The difference is that I’ll be blogging it to a site that is closed off to the general public and to the causal reader. I’d only open it to those of you interested in wanting to see something unfinished, liable to change, and more than likely to end in a wall at 60,000 words. The blog would rarely (if ever) mention thongs and would be a rambling mess that just details my adventure trying to finish a book. It might fail after a week or it might just be my own private playground. I just don’t know. Anybody interested in writing, literature, books, the whole writerly thing would be welcome.

For me, I’m making this step tentatively, aware that I’d be opening up my rather haphazard writing process to the world. I’d be looking for constructive thoughts, feedback, and occasional ego massage during my regular downturns of mood. In exchange, you’d have my eternal thanks and a credit should I ever get the book finished.

What can I tell you about the book? It’s historical novel with little sense of history, darkly comic, with a very scatological theme which I hope to make filthier by the day. It has vague sense of satire and, in tone, I’m aiming for Vonnegut but I figure I’ll be lucky to reach Jilly Cooper. I’ve got 20,000 words written but I’m falling into a trap of polishing the opening chapters. I need to get the words committed to the page so I can move on to write the next 20,000 and then the 60,000 after that.

If you’re interested, leave a comment or email me. I except to get no takers. If I get any, I’ll print up official Thonglateer membership cards and then think about starting the blog.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Geoff Capes's Thighs

It was her large thighs. I couldn’t bear to look at them a moment longer. I had to quit.

For five days I’ve been watching these thighs walk the aisles in the air conditioned telesales office, just outside Bangor. They belonged to my supervisor Doris (I have to call her Doris because she’d probably sue me if I used her real name), who was a hulk of professionalism in navy polyester, cheap Bodyshop perfume, and heavily into good Karmic vibrations. She generated so much static electricity in her skin tight skirt that she crackled as she walked. You could go into cardiac arrest just by touching earthed metal whenever she was in the room. And then there was that voice…

‘Chip? Remember to smile, dear! Nobody loves a sulker!’

‘Chip, hit your quota and you go in the draw to win the dreamcatcher!’

‘Chip! If you’re feeling tired, go to the water cooler and touch the blue crystals!’

If I’m honest, I’ve been too busy obsessed about her thighs to smile or feel happy or tired. They have filled my dreams with images of Geoff Capes, circa 1978, in Britain’s Strongest Man. I swear she could carry a hod full of bricks up a ladder and still have the energy to tell me off. The way she rubbed her legs whenever she criticised the way I’d handled my customers was no idle threat. I was too afraid to make jokes about cracking walnuts.

In the end, I had no choice. This morning I only made it to ten o'clock before I decided to hand in my resignation. I chose to do so by throwing my headset through the window and declaring that ‘I’d rather be broke and happy than in this dump with your thighs’. It was a Freudian slip. I’d meant to say ‘guys’. I stormed out before Doris could catch me.

Telesales has been an experience I probably needed to endure for however short length of time I could manage, but I wasn’t going to last another minute of listening to customers wanting to talk dirty about bank charges. There are more perverts in the world than I’d ever imagined and an unhealthy number of them seemed to have Yorkshire accents. It was, as they say, an education.

I don’t know if I’ll get paid but I know I have psychological scars that time will struggle to heal. But for now, The Chipster is back. I’m looking for work but, in the meantime, I’m getting back to my writing. The only good thing to come out of these bad few days is I’ve finally come up with an excellent title for my next novel.

And you might be surprised to know that it has nothing to do with thighs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How Can I Help You?

You might have been wondering if there’s more than incarceration in the Chipster’s life lately. Well, there is. And I’ve been keeping it a bit of a secret. I don’t know what to say… I’m feeling ashamed.

I’ve had to get a job.

It gets worse. I’m had to take a job working in telesales. This is supposed to be my lunch break but I’m forcing myself to update my blog. It’s why I’ve been so quiet. I get too little time to write or do anything. I had to work over the weekend. I’m pretty miserable but there aren’t a whole lot of jobs for a man with my unique qualifications in this part of the country. If you ring up a certain bank and hear a Welsh voice on the line, it might well be me. No point in asking me anything. A monkey could do the job I’m doing. I have a computer screen in front of me and I work through problems according to that. It barely involves my brain.

The job is terrible and the pay is unacceptable. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Feeling the way I feel now, I might not last the day. I’ve quit better jobs than this before. Only the Chipster’s finances have never been so low. Tips for stripping just aren’t what they used to be and Gabby has refused to cover the hotel bill for the mini bar I raided throughout our holiday to the Lake District. I have to rush and get some lunch. My shift starts again in five minutes.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


So I’ve been keeping my head down for three days. Two of my old school friends came up to Bangor on Wednesday afternoon and insisted I go out drinking with them. Half-past two Thursday morning, my friend Ben was caught urinating on a parking meter. He protested his innocence, as all innocent men do, by urinating on a police car. In the ensuing fracas, a certain handsome man in a thong, who was only trying to calm things down, found himself pinned against a wall and being advised of his rights. He was taken into custody and spent a miserable few hours in the cells until he was liberated by Romanian paramilitaries who have since taken every opportunity of reminding about her reputation and standing in the community.

Since then, I’ve been trying to live down the shame of a police caution while trying to persuade my friends to go back home. They went last night and I’ve finally got my life back together.

There is a moral in this story about not being able to choose school friends. Any other time in a man’s life, he can decide who he wants to know. School friends are bad pennies. Every single one of them.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stuck in the Library

So sorry I’m late. This afternoon, Blogger went down and I was stuck in the local library all this morning.

By stuck, I don’t mean delayed. I actually mean stuck. I’d gone there to do some research on the book I’m writing and was down in the bowels of the place, grubbing around some old 1912 newspapers, when the walls suddenly began to close in on me. I don’t know if you’ve seen those library stacks which operate with the turn of a wheel or a push of a button. They call them 'compact shelving' and compress so that only one or two aisles are open at any one time. You’ve got to be really careful when using them, making sure that nobody is one of the open aisles when you turn the wheel and open the section you want to access.

Only somebody didn’t check. Not only didn’t they check, but they didn’t hear my scream of agony as a large oversized Oxford Dictionary of Medical Terms lodged itself in my groin. Turns out that it was a postgraduate student from the university, not much older than myself, who had gone down there to work but, thinking he was alone, had put on his MP3 player. While I was screaming in pain, he was whistling some Abba hit.

By the time the student realised why his aisle wasn’t opening fully, the mechanism had jammed. It took nearly an hour to get me out. By the time the fire brigade managed to free me, it was nearly one o’clock. I hadn’t done the research but came away with a bruise the shape of the Oxford University Press crest above my navel.

And some people have the temerity to say I don’t suffer for my art.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

That Lovely Jamie Oliver

I'm deliriously happy because I've heard that Jamie Oliver is to be turned into a cartoon. A fan, such as myself, can hardly wait to see the finished product. Just to hear his lisping chirpy Cockney chatter gives me pleasures you can't begin to imagine. I love the dishes he makes but, more importantly, I love the way he makes them. With those quick winks to camera and the way he tosses his garnish, it’s easy to see why he’s the nation’s move loved chef.

Gabby doesn’t agree. She thinks he’s an insincere creep, ambitious as hell, who is part of the endless celebritisation of this country and its culture. Long into the night we’ve argued about his laddish behaviour. I say it’s natural ebullience. Gabby just thinks it’s a sickening example of how marketing and a gift for self-promotion can get you further in the world than personality or talent.

Well, this is my blog and I say good luck to the lad. We could do with more Jamie Oliver’s in this country. We're so much better because of him.

Now With Signing For the Deaf

I've written to my MP to demand that something is done to help the deaf. Not sure if that's the right word. Is it 'deaf' or 'hard of hearing'? Or perhaps it's 'aurally impared'? I can never keep up with the latest PC terms. Not that it matters. The point I've written to my MP about has less to do with the deaf and more to do with those of us with good hearing. Now I come to think of it, it's hardly got anything to do with being deaf at all. It's really a vision problem.

I mean why are the people who provide sign language for TV programmes so ugly?

It’s hardly helped by their gurning for hours on end. Didn't their mothers warn them that it might stick like that? And can’t something now be done to help these poor people?

As the government introduce new initiatives to ensure that more of the TV output is signed, broadcasters are cramming their night time schedules with signed programes, leaving their peak hours free. It's ruining my late night TV. I’m finding that I can’t watch a program after midnight without it being spoiled by some face in an overweight blouse grimacing at me. And then they do all that pointing, holding their noses, and flapping their hands. Sometimes they stick out their tongues and make obscene shapes with their tonsils.

If you think I’m being a bit harsh, I want to emphasise that I don’t have a problem with the deaf. My problem lies with the people who do the all the signing, many of whom aren’t actually deaf. When you think about it, none of them can be deaf, otherwise how would they know what to sign? And I don’t actually understand why they have to scowl so much. The deaf can see perfectly well. Do they prefer to see facial emotions exaggerated. Aren’t they supposed to be able to see better than the rest of us?

If technology can show half a dozen courts at Wimbledon, or dozens of camera angles for football matches, why can’t it provide signing for the deaf that doesn’t spoil a film or TV programme for the majority of the viewers?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Heard the one about the critic who just wasn't bothered any more?

Why do people get paid good money for talking rubbish? I do it for free, most days of the week, though I’m beginning to think I should turn this into a lucrative money making operation. It’s remarkable the number of subjects I can talk about with little or no authority. I can write a nice line of nonsense about Icelandic fertility myths of the eighth century or even on the mating habits of Egyptian sand lizards. Give me a few minutes and I could come up with dozens of subjects I know nothing about.

In this respect, I think I need to take a leaf from Rod Liddle’s book. Whenever I open a paper, I seem to find myself reading something by Liddle. The man has opinions on everything: football, television, politics, literature, and now comedy. The man is a journalistic miracle. I’d love to know how he manages to type when he spends most of his time forming syllables with his arse cheeks.

Over my breakfast, yesterday morning, I endured Liddle's article on Woody Allen in The Sunday Times. Never have slightly moist Weetabix been chewed so fiercely. The title of his piece was: ‘Heard the one about the comedy film-maker who just wasn’t funny any more?’ It opened with this fine example of journalism.

A few weeks ago, bored one evening and with a shortage of Hitler porn to watch on the history channels, I dug out Mel Brooks’s 1968 “classic”, The Producers, and watched that instead – anything for a late-night Adolf-fix. I seemed to remember it contained only one decent laugh. But I had quite forgotten the full panoply of sheer awfulness – the painfully witless jokes telegraphed five minutes in advance; the excruciating, ham-fisted acting; the histrionic gurning and mugging of Brooks himself. And, dear Lord, Gene Wilder. It’s by no means the worst film Brooks has made: check out Spaceballs or History of the World for an evening of perfect mirthlessness. The Producers is one of his best, in fact. Imagine that.

I'll try to ignore the self-satisfied tone of the article (though the 'imagine that' makes me spit blood) in order to point out that the man clearly knows his material. Mel Brooks doesn’t appear in The Producers, though he does provide a voice for a singer in 'Springtime for Hitler'. Spaceballs is bad but the dire Robin Hood: Men in Tights is worse. Gene Wilder is rarely to blame for Brook’s failings. He tends to be the perfect foil who can make crazy seem plausible. And to dismiss the director of Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein strikes me as a bit much when it’s coming from the guy whose greatest comedy achievement is to reduce Radio 4's 'Today' show to a national joke. It’s also to misrepresent Brooks’ other contributions to filmmaking, producing David Lynch’s Elephant Man among many others. Nor is it mentioned that a young Woody Allen looked up to Brooks when they worked together writing for Sid Caesar in the 1960s. And I’m not even beginning to explore the problem of comparing Allen to Brooks, given that the two men have spent the last thirty years living at the opposite ends of the comedy spectrum.

The problem with critics is they usually compare quite meagrely to the people they decide to criticise. Roger Ebert is a fine critic but, as a screenwriter, he’s best known as the writer of a couple of Russ Myer movies. It’s why the best critics usually have an understanding of the subject they write about. One of the reasons why Martin Amis is such an excellent literary critic is that he understands the writing process from the inside.

Which is what annoyed me the most about Liddle. The most cruel (and least intelligent) accusation you make to a comedian is that they’re no longer funny. It a crass misunderstanding of comedy. Somebody who has tried to write comedy would know this. Paul Kaye made his name playing Dennis Pennis. He’d stand at the edge of red carpets and pull stunts on celebrities. He once shouted to Steve Martin, ‘Hey Steve - how come you're not funny anymore?’ He’s since gone on the record as saying he thought it a step too far and regretted it. I still remember the look of pain on Martin’s face.

The point of Liddle’s argument is to portray Brooks’ bawdy humour as the antithesis to Allen’s wit. In a roundabout way, Liddle is trying to do Allen a favour. ‘Humour need not be disposable, crass or cheap,’ he writes at the end of the article. ‘It need not be Mel Brooks.’ Only Allen doesn’t need Liddle’s backhanded compliments. And Brooks doesn't deserve Liddle's criticism. Nor do we need another lazy argument based around Brook’s poorest efforts and Allen’s later career reduced to the same old stereotypes employed by the worst critics.

‘His films, with one exception, have made little headway at the box office’.

When have Allen’s films ever done well at the box office? Outside London, it’s hard if not impossible to find a cinema showing them. I own most of his later films but only having had to import them from America on DVD. Hollywood Ending, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Small Time Crooks may be some of Allen’s minor films but they’re strong examples of the type and far superior to the average Hollywood comedy. And that’s not even to mention Deconstructing Harry, which is one of Allen’s bravest and funniest films.

But I guess none of this matters to Liddle. It’s the slow season and he’s probably paid handsomely by the word to fill pages left empty while the rest of the staff are on holiday. I also suppose they hope that nobody is actually reading this rubbish. I know I wish I hadn’t. It put me in a bad mood all Sunday.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Bit of a tough night at the club. A hen party had block booked and I performed my balloon dance. Normally there's not much to be said. I’ve done the routine a hundred times. I cover my lower half in balloons and pop them to the music, sometimes handing a member of the audience a pin to pop the last couple. Unfortunately, one of the bridesmaids burst out in tears when I picked her out for this honour. It seems I'd unfortunately chosen a poor girl whose boyfriend is currently suffering from giganticism in his loins. It was the sort of thing that pours a bucket of cold water over the whole evening.

I wouldn’t mind but I’d been having a good day. I got up at lunchtime and stayed in my dressing gown for the whole afternoon, squeezed in the armchair by the fire. I’m reading H.G. Wells’ The War in the Air and recommend it to anybody who wants a bit of well written escapist fare. It's probably what put balloons in my mind in the first place. With his reputation as a visionary and prophet of technology (a self-heating can of hot chocolate stood out in this respect) it’s easy to forget that Wells writes some wonderfully twisted prose. I do like writing that can appear florid yet controlled. It’s like a well trimmed privet hedge, a perfect embodiment of the early 20th century England. Just picking something fairly randomly,

Of all the productions of the human imagination that makes the world in which Mr. Bert Smallways lived confusingly wonderful, there was none quite so strange, so headlong and disturbing, so noisy and persuasive and dangerous, as the modernizations of patriotism produced by imperial and international politics.
I particularly like the awkward ‘confusingly wonderful’ and the repeated use of ‘and’ lodged between the commas. It’s a bit long winded but has a charm that even now, cheers me up despite the trials of my evening.

Now there you go: a man with giant testicles and an analysis of H.G. Wells’ use of the comma and comparing it to hedge trimming. How many blogs give you that on a Saturday night?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Best A Man Can Get...

There’s a new ad on TV for a moisturizing shaving system by Philips and Nivea for Men. A guy goes to the shower and finds a busty female robot waiting for him with an electric shaver embedded into her wrist. She runs her hand over his face and gives him a shave. Then she makes a move as though to kiss him, at which point the guy jumps out of the shower and walks away, rubbing his chin as if amazed by the result.

Okay. Let’s rewind that and set this in the real world with a real guy.

A guy goes to the shower and finds a busty female robot standing there with an electric shaver embedded into her wrist. And all he can think of is shaving his chin? I don’t bloody think so. What were they thinking when they made this ad? Don’t they know how the male mind works? This guy’s going to have a full body shave or my name’s not Chip Dale. I know I would. I would have grabbed hold of my ankles quicker than I could say ‘short back and dangly bits’. I’d want it to shave all the bits that I normally find hard to reach and a few more I've never dared touch. And before you tell me I’m wrong: it’s a robot. It wouldn’t care what I asked it to hold, spread, or leave hanging.

As a man who takes his personal grooming very seriously, I think it strange that companies like Philips and Braun haven’t tackled this difficult and somewhat embarrassing subject. If they can help men with hair growing from their noses and ears, why can’t they invent something for the other end? There’s nothing more disturbing than having to give yourself a 'rear trim' standing with a leg on the laundry basket, a mirror in one hand, and your girlfriend’s ladyshave in the other.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Bleeding Gums Sort of Life

Last night, I had the obligitary phone call from one half of that union that gave the Chipster life. In commonday parlance, let’s just say my father rang me up. It turns out that he’s been visiting his sister who lives out in the wilds of Norfolk. While there, my aunt drove Dad to see his nephew’s house while my cousin is away on holiday in Switzerland.

My cousin is a dentist and my aunt obviously basked in the pride of mentioning the famous people who live nearby. My cousin’s immediate neighbour is a very famous film director. Modesty forbids me from telling you more but the words ‘household’ and ‘name’ sum it up pretty well. What makes it even worse is that I’m also a huge fan of the man. I’d give canines just to shake the man by the hand.

In a different life perhaps...

I suppose in the course of their conversation, my father and my aunt must have discussed the Chipster. Comparisons would have been made, either implicity or explicity. I don’t know how my father gets around the disappointment he must face when having to explain what I’m doing with my life. Still not got a job? Still not working? Still no family? Still not married? Still living out his dreams….Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

How can I compare myself to a dentist living in a half-a-million pound house? I struggle every month just to pay the rent.

However, I’ll have a go…

I’m moderately happy.
I love my work.
I’m proud of the work I do.
I don’t spend 8 hours a day looking at bleeding gums.
People don’t consider me a social pariah.
I don't take money from people who can't afford it.
I have a heart and can also quote poetry by heart.

Do I win? I don't really care. Just so long as my father believes that I do.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Reflections On a Strange Day

Sometimes you meet odd people on the internet. A few might worry you with their political views. Others might be a bit wayward in, how shall we say, their ‘erotic preferences’. A lot more might be too intellectually uptight or never happier than when discussing Gordon Brown’s latest gaff on tax. Then there are a few others (and thankfully they make up a very small minority) who just don’t seem quite right in the head.

That’s probably not the politically correct term but these people are just madder than a plate of prune flavoured custard. I’ll say no more than that. It’s just an observation I’ve made on what has been one of the oddest days I’ve yet spent on the internet.

Results Romanian Style

What a morning! While I began to fight the Prunic War, Gabby nipped off to college. She came back at eleven, flushed with success. She's got twelve ‘A’ grades in her A level results. She claims that she came in the top 5% of the students in Chemistry, Biology, Art History, English, Pure Maths, Applied Maths, Physics, Home Economics, Chicken Farming, Psychology, Accounting, Gestalt Therapy, and Games.

I felt a little overwhelmed by her grades. I didn’t even sit the exam for my English Lit. class. In fact, you might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned by FE course in a while. I stopped attending when Mrs. Rust forced us to read Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. I couldn’t handle five hundred pages of young women repressing their emotions. It was having an impact on my dancing career. I knew I had to quit reading it when one night a woman screamed as I whipped off my thong and I told her it was no way for a young lady to behave. I even suggested that she retire to the parlour and read Bible verses.

I suppose it's only natural that Gabby’s delighted but the fact that A level results have gone up for the 25th year in a row is very troubling. It’s so bad that the government are soon to introduce A* results, so that next year’s A grades will be like a grade C from ten years ago and an A* will be like an A from this year, which is equivalent to a grade B from five years ago. There should really be a chart otherwise we'll be like the indecisive limbo dancer who has moved the bar so often that he doesn’t know if he’s being at the hips or the knees.

For the moment, I don’t want to spoil Gabby's celebrations. She’s already rang BBC News to see if they’re interested in an interview. Turns out that they’re looking to interview somebody who hasn’t got 12 A grades this year. So far they haven’t found one.

I knew I should have sat that exam!

The Prunic War

Gabby had to massage my buttocks this morning to help rid the tension I’m feeling during these difficult times. She told me that I’m big enough to rise above the insults. I told her that it’s bad enough being insulted by A list celebrities (see my many previous posts about Fern Britton) but when I’m insulted by minor celebs, I think action needs to be taken.

Madeley’s comments about ‘taffy pulling’ are racist in the extreme. I punched the last man to call me ‘Taffy’. I also find Madeley’s threat sexist too. The idea of forcing sexual relief on a Welshman is disgusting. I don’t know what these showbiz people get up to in their green rooms, but just because I wear a thong and strip for a living, it doesn’t mean I’m available to be ‘pulled’ at a moment’s notice.

I hope you’re with me in my determination not to back down. I noticed that Mopsa sent a nicely timed ‘prune juice’ into Madeley’s comments this morning and I hope others will join in the assault. I was disappointed to see Graf von Straf Hindenburg let me down, and him coming from the family that invented high level bombing. By refusing to drop a 'prune juice' in his comment, he has revealed himself to be a cad and a turncoat.

I beg the rest of you to stand firm in the face of this aggression.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Prune Juice

I’ve been getting grief from that cheeky bugger Richard Madeley who left a comment in my last post asking me (or, rather, telling me) to stop you, my dear readers, from mentioning my name when you visit his blog. It seems that it’s happened on more than one occasion and he’s getting tired of reading about my buttocks.

At first, I was shocked that any of you would lack the sense to visit his poxy blog, but then I thought about it and realised: why not? If Madeley feels threatened, then it's probably because he has neither the fame nor fortune to compete with the top male stripper in Wales. So, in the name of good bloggerly relations, I’m going to ask you to go visit his blog and not to mention my name. Instead, when you feel the urge, I’d like you to make lots of references to ‘prune juice’. I don’t want you to go looking for reasons to mention prune juice. Just mention ‘prune juice’ apropos of nothing. I’ll set the ball rolling and I hope he’ll soon learn that he can't bully those of us who believe in a free blogosphere.

If Madeley wants a blog war then I’m just the man in a thong to give him one.


To distract you from my post about my neighbour's daughter's pregnancy (below), I thought I'd give you something from the world's second greatest Welshman, John Cale, singing a song by the world's greatest Canadian.

I dedicate this to the delightful lady from Sony's Indian call centre who has just agreed to replace the power supply on my laptop and get it here by Friday.

It has been a morning of good things. Hallelujah!


Break out the champagne! It’s that time of year again. The neighbour’s daughter has been officially declared pregnant.

That’s right. In a few short months, her amniotic sac with rupture and her waters will break. First thing tomorrow morning, I’m building myself an arc. At the rate she goes and with all the rain we’ve been having recently, I don’t think the country can handle that kind of deluge.

Heed the Chipster’s warning: head to high ground!

I don’t mean to sound negative about this ‘blessed event’ but the girl takes liberties with the definition of fertility. Tribbles breed more slowly. In the neighbourhood, she’s been nicknamed Texaco, on account of her being open 24/7 like the local service station. I don’t understand the reference myself. I do know that it’s simply amazing how a womb can recover so quickly. Dunlop would be proud to invent a rubber so elastic.

I’ve yet to have the precise dates when the little bastard is due – forgive my lapsing into the technical term for a fatherless child but I believe in reporting the facts accurately – but I’m sure I’ll be blogging about the child as soon as he goes womb-free. I’ll have to. I won’t get much chance to sleep.

Have you ever tried to sleep with ear plugs? It’s torture. You can hear every beat of your own heart. That’s not fun. Try drifting off to sleep while you’re aware of your own mortality. It's like trying to sleep though X Factor. Yet the alternative is to listen to somebody else’s child screaming through the night, which is also like listening to X Factor. And the only person it seems to affect is me. Its grandparents sleep in a different room. A screetching baby doesn't seem to bother them. And the mother won’t be there. She’ll be out looking for another mate with an opposable thumb. The father, naturally, doesn't live with them. He needs his sleep in order to continue his career as a thug on the local sink estate.

There’s something sadly Darwinian about the way that these people reproduce. They are a breed apart and one doesn’t like to ask questions in case they show you pictures. Not that questions of paternity are ever raised. Discussions about ‘the father’ are politely stepped around. It’s the new politeness. The only thing I’m sure about is that it’s not mine. The only way I’d become involved is if it involved artificial insemination and I was the last fertile man on the planet. Even then, I can’t say I wouldn’t try some one-on-one action with a dairy cow first, just in case by some miracle involving an understanding God, it works and produces a human baby.

I just hope this child doesn’t look like the last. I’m not saying that her previous child was ugly but the first thing the midwife did was to slap its face and stick a dummy up its arse.

Ah, the miracle of childbirth!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nabokov And His Socks

I've picked the song that always reminds me of summer for Dave Hill's blog today but in case I'm accused of losing my taste, I'm posting this here at the same time as I'm annoying the neighbours by playing one of my favourite Bad Seeds songs at top volume... One of my few prized possessions is concert programme signed by Nick Cave but at this moment I think I'd swap it for a working laptop.

Or perhaps I should just do a Nabokov and write on index cards in my socks.

My Kingdom For A VGP-AC19V20 Power Supply

Life continues to throw me curve balls. I wouldn’t mind but I’ve never been much of a fan of baseball or its metaphors.

The latest good news from Chipster’s World is that my laptop’s power supply has failed on me. I was half-way through writing a filthy little joke when my laptop turned itself off.

The power supply is only 7 months old and it’s now making chirping noises like… well, like a 7 month old. I’ve checked my PC Performance warranty for which I inexplicably pay PC Word £9.99 a month and discovered (in the small print) that they don’t cover ‘plugs and cables’. I’ll have to see what happens when I call in tomorrow and show them my chirping power supply and demonstrate the places the adaptor will fit should they fail to replace it. I’ve also registered for support with Sony, who clearly had it in mind to design a power supply to fail the moment I got myself into a productive routine with my scatalogically impressive novel.

Breathe Right

I bought Gabby some of those Breathe Right Nasal Strips yesterday after seeing the ad on TV. I thought it might help improve the asthma she’s been suffering since she has started to spend more time hanging around with her chickens. I don’t know what they did for my little Romanian wheezer, but I had a terrible night’s sleep. I dreamt I was a double jointed and kept kicking myself between the legs. At some point my imagined pain became too much and I woke up. That’s when I discovered that Gabby had pulled off the strip during the night and it had somehow managed to bind my genitals to my right thigh. I can’t begin to describe the pain involved in pulling it off. Nor can I say my breathing improved. If anything, it made me gasp just a bit.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Get Inspired

Being urinated on by an Indian is the sort of thing I should embrace. It was dramatic, funny, symbolic, informative, and inspirational. If I had the time, I’d write it out as a short story send it to the New Yorker. Not that I believe that The New Yorker’s readership would know a good accidental micturition story if one leapt out from behind a bush outside Bangor railway station and sprayed their feet in wild and witty prose.

Which is a shame. Summer rarely inspires me. Friends go off on holiday and if I get any break, it’s never one of my own choosing. Reflecting on my five days in Grasmere, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not suited to aimless relaxation. I’m happiest when left to do my own thing, occasionally naked, often oiled, but usually quiet and meditative. The episode with the man from Delhi went straight into my notebook. It was better than five days among the daffodils.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

You Couldn't Make This Up...

So far it's been a bad day. I’ve sliced myself open, flooded a kitchen with washing power, been attacked by a dog, and a gentleman traveller from the Indian subcontinent pissed on my leg. This is the absolute truth, just not necessarily the right order.

The man was using some bushes near Bangor station to relieve himself. He must have thought he had a few minutes alone and didn’t see me approaching from the path. The bushes caught most of the stream. I caught the rest. I was untypically calm about it and the chap was very apologetic. Half an hour later, on my way back from town, I was attacked by a dog who came rushing out of somebody’s garden and tackled my right ankle. I wonder if he could smell urine on my shoes which he destroyed. My right shin is covered with fang marks.

I got home and spilled a full box of washing power over the kitchen.

The I cut my finger open trying to fix the TV aerial.

I’m not having a good day.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Gabby often tells me that I’m cursed by good looks but the reality is that I have a face that doesn’t seem to age. Chip Dale, they say, you look so youthful you must have a secret.

Well, it might come as something of a surprise to you but I’m not one of these men that buy into the culture of the ‘new man’. I don’t want to be in tune with my feminine side. I don’t buy male grooming products and I despise beauty products made for men. When I buy an aftershave, I don’t want wrinkle-free moisturiser. I want something that will give me wrinkles like Lee Marvin.

But it’s harder to be an Old Guy these days. It’s becoming almost impossible to buy a bottle of something akin to white spirit that I can slap on my face to avoid razor burn. A few years ago, Boots sold their own brand of no-nonsense aftershave with names like Freshwood. Now there’s three shelves of moisturizer, skin tonic, pre-shave lotion, and more balms than you’ll find in the Old Testament. There are anti-wrinkle creams and lubricants to make the shave easier.

It's all a scam. Under the pretence of giving me more choice, they give me less. They want to make me into a consumer when all I wanted was a simple bottle of aftershave.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Talkative Virgin

We travelled back by Virgin Trains yesterday and I’m still a nervous wreck. Not from the service, which was comfortable and on time. But from the new public address system they’ve installed across the network. I was used to the old system which would announce the arrival of a train and list the destinations. The new computerised voice can’t stop warning me about everything else in life. How I shouldn’t smoke within the station premises, how I should keep children under control and away from the edge of the platform, that my bags might be blown up at a moment’s notice, that the whole place is under constant surveillance, and that my train now has a shop, a quiet carriage, first class and second class, a hairdressers, and that is might not stop at every station and I should tell the conductor where I intend to get off.

I spent a good few minutes listening to all this and then, when it fell silent, I turned to my Romanian travelling companion to comment on how annoying it all is, only to be interrupted because the computerised voice then began to announce the very same information but for a different train leaving from the other platform. In the hour I was sat waiting at the station, I never had more then a minute without being lectured to. It’s making travelling one long lecture by a voice without a soul.

Things didn’t improve when we got on the train. ‘Thank you for travelling by Virgin Trains’ announces the same voice, still unable to seamlessly fit clauses together. This might be a clever bit of design to make sure we don’t confuse the computer voice with one that actually cares about the apologies it occasionally makes. Not that apologises happen very often. It’s more suited to issuing warnings. ‘Might we remind customers that this is a non-smoking service…’ And so it goes on and on. Before every stop, the voice announces the next station, reminds us to take personal belongings with us. And after every stop, the voice returns: ‘Thank you for travelling by Virgin Trains. Might we remind customers that this is a non-smoking service…’

I’m back in Bangor but I can still hear that voice. It will take me days to recover.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Nine Lessons

It’s an early Wednesday post as I'll be spending most of the day travelling home. It’s also a rather humble post after what has been a very sobering holiday. Over the last few days, I’ve discovered much about myself that I’m not totally happy with. Gabby has impressed on me the importance of my taking these lessons back with me to Bangor so I might start to become a better person. She's even gone so far as make me write out a list of mistakes I've made.

1. I should be more open to people who wear cagoules.
2. A man isn’t funny when he walks into the country’s biggest gingerbread shop and asks to see the red-headed manager’s ginger nuts.
3. Alfred Wainwright did not write a guidebook for naturists.
4. Intelligent people don’t find my songs about William and Dorothy Wordsworth funny.
5. I shouldn’t kick the heads off daffodils just to make a point about poetry.
6. People don’t yodel in the Lake District.
7. A sprained ankle doesn’t get better within a couple of hours unless it was an ‘imaginary’ sprained ankle.
8. Locals don’t warm to Welshmen who keep suggesting that Kendal mintcake would be tastier if it were called Felicity Kendal mintcake.
9. And finally, there’s a limit to what even the most open minded landlord will tolerate and this doesn’t include remarks about Cumbria being the UK’s incest capital.

And to think I never once had chance to make a joke about locals worrying sheep despite it being one of the rare occasions when a Welshman has this advantage over the English.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dorothy Wordworth's Thong

I should be back in Bangor tomorrow. It will something of a relief given day I had yesterday. I thought I’d found a quiet spot away from my troubles and away from the influence of Grasmere’s tourism board, which has increasingly proved over the last few days how allergic I am to the word ‘twee’. Not many things could have forced The Chipster to drag himself up a mountain but I’d had enough of the Dorothy Wordsworth pin-cushion dolls and novelty play dough poetry kits. I could taken another person spontaneously reading sonnets to me or telling me how they had spent an hour sitting among daffodils and trying to find a rhyme for rheumatism.

I just had to get away.

I chose one of the smaller hills, thinking it would attract less attention, and I soon discovered a secluded spot – I’d call it a dell but I don’t want you clever types leaving comments about fairies – where I thought I’d enjoy the heat of the rare hot afternoon.

I stretched myself out on a tuft of heather and began to enjoy the warm kiss of the sun on my naked body. I must had been lying there nearly an hour, oblivious to the world, when a party of schoolchildren suddenly appeared on the cliff above me. Turns out the spot was one of Alfred Wainright’s favourite bits of the Lake District and is well known to ramblers. There were a few screams as dozens of children began to run down the rocky slope.* The sound of scree slipping merged with the noise of camera phones snapping open. Teachers were shouting at me to get my clothes on but I was already panicking that uncopyrighted footage of my naked body would appear on YouTube. It still might. I grabbed what I could of my clothes and ran off, losing my thong in the process.

So, like I said, tomorrow I’m going home. If any of you should happen to find a bright orange thong on some remote Cumbrian fell, I’d be grateful if you could post it back to me. And if you see any footage of YouTube, I’d appreciate it if you could send me the link.

Wordsworth has a lot to answer for.

* This originally read 'rocky slop', which is clearly ridiculous. In fact, it's an oxymoron and nobody can run down an oxymoron. Thank you Mopsa for spotting this deliberate mistake. I wrote this diary entry in a state of great agitation. If you've never been chased by teenagers in search of valuable video footage for YouTube , you won't understand why I'm such a wreck today.

Monday, August 06, 2007

More Grasmere

I've discovered something to enjoy about my holiday here in Grasmere. It's the thought that, in a couple of days, I’ll be home.

Today, Monday, Gabby and her rambling friends deserted me early and I’ve spent the day browsing the village. It’s not half as bad as I expected, though I think the locals can tell that I’m a tourist. I can’t go ten minutes without being asked to buy tins of shortcrust biscuit with William Wordsworth’s head on them. I’ve tried to dress normally in the hope I might be mistaken for somebody who has a right to be here. I hate to think of myself as another burden on local resources.

The whole situation is unbearable. The Lakes deserve to be the home to locals but everywhere I look I see cottages which, I’m told, can go empty for months on end. The rich buy these places, turn them into ghost communities, or virtual towns, where nobody really lives except for short periods during the summer or bank holidays. It's a shame. A person could make a fine home here and never wish to leave.

Not me, though. Did I mention that I hate water and rocks? Uphill isn’t my favourite word and I’m allergic to rambling and waterproofs.

Two more days.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

My Helvellyn Ankle

Gabby woke me at seven to tell me that we’d be spending the day climbing Helvellyn, the third highest mountain in England. At eight, we set off with Gabby’s new friends, Harry, Barry, Felicity, Spike, and Maureen, or the 'fatuous five' as I've taken to calling them. Seeing how cheerful they are, you'd think pak-a-macs came with fixed grins.

It’s not yet one o’clock and I’m back in the hotel. Unfortunately, I 'sprained my ankle' within an couple of hours. Although there’s remarkably little sign of damage, I can assure you that it 'hurts like hell' and I’ll just have to sit myself down in the hotel lounge and watch the Charity Shield match between Manchester United and Chelsea. The rest of them carried on without me and I really don’t know how I managed to get myself back to the hotel in double quick time, what with my 'painful ankle'…

I hope I’m hiding my disappointment. There’s nothing I would have liked more than to stand on top of a hill and look at other hills instead of sitting here eating some of our landlady’s wonderful sponge cake.

I’m just praying that my ankle will be fine tomorrow, so I can hit the next peak on Gabby’s list of climbs. I just feel so bad about missing out on Helvellyn…

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Chipster's Official Portrait

I've often been asked to pose for an official portrait and many of you have emailed me to ask if I've got a calender coming out. Well, until I can raise the funds to bring Annie Liebowitz to Wales, you'll have to make do with this portrait by that renowned artist Steve at The Daily Referendum. I'm not sure about the necklace -- where's my dickie? -- but I think he's caught a certain likeness.

You should really head over there to see how he's gone about touching up other bloggers. As for me, I've got an afternoon climbing hills.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It Gets Worse


You might know about my aversion to daffodils but did I also mention gingerbread?

We've landed in Grasmere, which Gabby now informs me is where we're staying. The hotel is fine -- with an internet connection -- but I've already seen lots of water, rocks, a few daffodils, and the Grasmere Gingerbread shop.

Won't somebody please help me?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Boots

I got up to find a present sitting at the foot of my bed. It was a brand new pair of hiking boots.

My heart sank as Gabby leapt into the bedroom wearing a pair of shorts complete with braces and with a flugelhorn strapped to a backpack.

‘Holiday!’ she screamed.

I shuddered.

‘I take it you’ve been plotting?’ I remarked, unimpressed and not a little worried by the sight of Romanian brass.

She beamed like the lights of an oncoming truck.

‘I got tickets for five days in… wait for it…’

I waited. I wish I hadn’t, but I waited.

‘The Lake District!’

I hate the Lake District. It’s full of lakes. I don’t understand people’s attraction to water. And not only water but water surrounded by rocks it take half a day to climb and then, when you finally puff your way to the top of them, you only find a view of more lakes and more rocks.

Gabby wasn't listening.

'We have good time, Chippy,' she said as she tested the fingering on the old horn. 'I play tunes while we walk. It will be like old times back in Romania. We have fun. We live free and we live off land. You like to eat badger?'

The upshot of this is that I’ll be away early tomorrow morning for five days in Cumbria. Gabby’s told me I’m not to take my laptop but I have other plans. If you happen to spot a glum thong wearing man trailing behind a loud Romanian who is blowing the hokey cokey through a battered flugelhorn as she climbs the fells, then be sure to come over and introduce yourself. If you could arrange some kind of fake-kidnapping, have me whisked to a safe-house full of internet connections, clean thongs, and ground coffee, I’ll make you rich.

I’ll be in touch.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Baroque Biscuit Tins

I'm chilling beside the new biscuit tin I today bought myself for the office (picture to follow). It’s a little thing but it makes me happy.

Otherwise, I spent my afternoon sitting in a cafe in Bangor, chatting on the phone to Ms. Baroque who had emailed me with important news to do with somebody using my name in vain. She’d got herself quite agitated about the whole business and soon had me agitated too. Visiting a cafe alone is a bad enough experience when you’re calm. You have to carry bags, trays, mobile phones, and, if you’re lucky, you get a table that only wobbles along a single axis. It much worse when you’re already upset because people have accused you of stupidity that goes beyond your usual brand of lunacy… Before I knew what I had done, I had knocked a glass over. It shattered around my feet and being barefooted – I often go that way when it’s hot in Bangor – I couldn't move. I was trapped in a corner, listening to Ms. Baroque excitedly explain the predicament and what I should do about it.

I’m home now and I’ve decided that I won't let the world bother me. I have my nice new shiny biscuit tin and that, for a Wednesday, should be enough for any thong wearing man.