Dirty weekend

This could be my very last blog, because it appears I’m about to die.

I know this because my girlfriend just called up to call me a slagbag and drop some hints about my impending doom. It was only a matter of time. Most people want me dead, or at least don’t give a Bernard Matthews Turkey Twizzler if I’m alive.

This is normal, by the way. I’m not suddenly depressed, even though I did see myself in a mirror earlier today. Most people won’t be very mourned. We’re all the stars of our own little lives, but of the 6,973,738,433 alive today, 6,973,738,400 won’t know you’re gone.

I think of this when I’m damn near killing myself to please a client: if I actually went one step further and did kill myself to please a client, the result would be the following thought in the client’s mind:

  • Oh dear… who’s going to finish building my website?

So my philosophy of life is to laugh in the face of death, at least until death starts to laugh back. I’m going to live forever, or die in the attempt.

But it seems I’m going to be killed soon. I don’t yet know the full details, but my loving girlfriend clearly has plans: today she called me up to tell me she’s been speaking with an undertaker to find out if my 44 inch chest requires an extra-large coffin. I’ve checked all over my body, and can’t find an expiration date, but she’s definitely got one in mind.

In an odd way, it’s touching how much she cares: checking that I won’t be cramped in my box shows that at least she wants me to be comfortable when I’m a corpse. Although she’ll probably still steal most of my burial shroud, just like she steals most of the duvet every frikking night.

What, as stand up comedians often ask, is that all about?

Fortunately I like to operate a lot cooler than she does, which is why I haven’t yet died of frostbite in the night. (I can assure you, that’s the only cool thing about me).

As far as I’m concerned, I function at a normal temperature, but she disagrees. Every time she gets in my car she’s immediately struck by how cold it seems, and I’m immediately struck for letting it get that way.

Apparently the correct ambient temperature for the inside of a Ford Mondeo is just below the temperature at which my face melts. If she becomes cooler than that, steps must be taken: and that’s why she needs 97% of the duvet, and I only need something the size of a handkerchief.

She’ll definitely kill me now.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being dead. Some of the best people are dead, including, sadly, Neil Armstrong. He stood on the moon. Let’s just think about that: he stood on the fucking moon! You and I would think it’s a big deal to go to Spitzbergen, and we’d tell everyone about it for years. If we climbed Kilimanjaro we’d bore our relatives into a coma (I speak from experience, as the brother of a man who has climbed Kilimanjaro, and has bored me into a coma). But Armstrong didn’t just go to another country or stand on a tall rock. He went in a rocket to another celestial body, and looked down at the earth from 240,000 miles away, and didn’t once feel the urge to boast. In fact the most memorable thing he said since coming back from the moon is probably unknown to you all, but is rather ace:

As I sat on the launchpad, the thing that went through my mind was this: I’m sat on 3000 tons of explosive kerosene in an experimental rocket, every component of which was made by the lowest bidder.

What a guy.

So if/when my girlfriend does do me in at least I’ll be in good company. In fact, I reckon I’m well prepared for death: I learned a bit of Latin in school, and that’s a dead language, so, like a bilingual chicken, at least I’ll be able to communicate when I get to the other side.

And I’ve almost died a few times, which you could call being clumsy, or you could call unfortunate, but I call it practice:

  • Cancer √
  • Broken skull √
  • Hit by a car √
  • Falling onto railway lines √

And my brother once scribbled out those warnings they put on plastic bags, the ones about not putting it on your head, which I still maintain was an elaborate murder plot. I survived, which made him sad, but as I said at the time: being dead isn’t everything in life.

My brother belongs in that vast crowd of people who care not a jot for my life. He cares about only two things: making vasty heaps of money in his job as an evil capitalist stooge; and pretending to be blasé about climbing Kilimanjaro whilst actually being absolutely constipated with smugness about it.

But my girlfriend, in spite of her dastardly plan to kill me soon, actually cares. She must be nuts. I know she cares – or is nuts – because of the list.

You see, we’re going on a dirty weekend, and she sent me a list of things to take along. Now, I’m of the opinion that there is something wrong with women. All of them. I’m prepared to be shouted at by feminists for this outrageous slander, but bear with me.

You see, I go to Tesco with a vague idea of what I’ll want to eat next week. Sometimes, if I’m planning to cook something special, or try out a new recipe, I’ll jot down the things I need. But 99% of the time, I manage to walk around Tesco in a fairly efficient way, filling my basket with things I remember I need, or just think I fancy on the spot. The gentlemen in my readership will know that this is possible, because they will all have done it. And you know what: none of them have starved to death yet.

But ladies need a list. Most of them can’t go to the bathroom without making a note of the functions they’ll perform when they get there. And as they sit, ticking off “wee” “poo” and “small, squeaky fart that smells like kitten’s feet” on their special toilet-break list, they’ll probably write down how much loo roll is left, and whether they need more Veet.

It’s just how they are.

I’d like to say it’s just my girlfriend, but that would be a fib. It’s also my mum. And her friends. And my sister-in-law. And every woman on the planet. And if women had followed Armstrong to the moon, every woman off the planet too. They’d probably have taken a list with them too:

  • Go to moon
  • Bring back moon-rocks
  • Get talc

Lists, for men, are either a sign of obsessive planning, or of a demented propensity to worry, or of a big wet hole in the middle of your brain. But ladies make them all the time, and far be it from me to suggest women are obsessive, demented or have wet holes.

My mum has a special pad for making lists, which she keeps no more than 18 inches from her at all times, even though her Parkinson’s means she can rarely read what she just wrote. It honestly looks like she was making a list whilst tied to a pneumatic drill, standing on a washing machine, being driven at high speed across a carrugated roof, and having sex. But there’s always a list when I go round to do her shopping, and it’s always very comprehensive, if incomprehensible.

I’m starting to wonder if my girlfriend is the same. She’s listing badly captain! Not that I mind. I think it’s sweet, but it’s also slightly frightening. For example, as I mentioned, we’re going for a dirty weekend. You’d think by that phrase we’d need a list of lubricants and toys and ropes and goats and aubergines and marigold gloves and sink plungers.

But no: her list includes such fetishistic devices as:

  • Socks
  • Toothbrush
  • Shower gel
  • Hobnobs

And brilliantly

  • Savlon and plasters (just in case)

OK, maybe I misled you slightly for comic effect. The dirty weekend is actually a weekend getting dirty by scrambling up a waterfall in The Lakes, and all of the things she’s listed are practical, sensible and necessary. But still… socks? I’m 42. Do I really need to be reminded that I’ll need to wear socks?

Sadly, the truth of that is that I probably do. You see, 42 might not seem very old to you, but seems hysterically ancient to her. She’s quite convinced that at my age, my memory is going. What’s more, she’s quite convinced that at my age, my memory is going.

Mind you, if her plans for my forthcoming demise work out OK, I’ll soon be dead: and you don’t get older than that.

I’m Batman

Spoiler. If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises, don’t read any further.

I’ve broken my spine. It’s actually broken.

Careful: this kindly old man is going to punch you in your shattered spine.

OK, maybe a bit of an exaggeration: I’ve actually got a touch of sciatica, and it just hurts when I move. I wasn’t slammed over Tom Hardy’s knee like Batman was, and unfortunately I don’t have a dishevelled Tom Conti here to dangle me from a rope and lovingly punch my spine back together.

I never went to medical school, so I’ll take Christopher Nolan’s word for it that this is the correct way to fix a broken back.

Actually I’ve got it worse than Batman, because even though he’s got no cartilage he has, as far as we know, both of his kidneys. So he’s allowed to take Ibuprofen, but I’m not. Sciatica with no anti inflammatory painkillers: it’s a pain, quite literally. I’m not even allowed whiskey, which was my painkiller of choice in the good old days, when I still had a full set of internal organs and a rock hard liver. Ahhh, Glenfiddich, how I miss you. You saw me through the worst of times. You usually caused the worst of times too, but we’ll let that pass.

Anyway, that’s why I’ve been silent for a while: back-ache. I normally just need a subject matter that annoys me, such as Simon Cowell. Just writing his name annoys me. I once knew a Bassett Hound call Simon, and I thought he was lovely. But now the fact that the dog had 50% of Simon Cowell’s name just makes me angry at it, and I want to kick the beast in its saggy, drooly, soppy face.

Cowell infuriates me that much. I should write a blog about it. Oh, hold on, I’ve written about 900 of them.

Anyway, normally I just need the seed of an idea, or something to rant about, and then I can sit at my desk churning out these blogs with nary a care in the world, interrupted only by my body’s demand for coffee and the ever-present allure of porn.

A wanker in 1764

Isn’t it weird that the thing we use to be productive is also the thing we use to sag off work and wank ourselves into a husk? I have a mental image of a sun-dappled meadow in the middle ages, with a hoary son of the soil sucking on a piece of hay as he gently leads his plough up and down the field, cultivating the land and planting seed – and then looking furtively around, dropping his trousers, and having a speed-wank while trying to ignore the back-end of his horses.

Never happened. There’s nothing sexy about ploughing a field, and abslutely nothing sexy about a horse’s arse. If you disagree with my last statement, seek help. But where once we separated work from fun, now they’re blending into one, like the TV, phone and computer and inhexorably merging into a single device. Soon we’ll be watching telly, shopping, working and wanking all at the same time, constantly, through one piece of equipment, 24 hours a day.

This generation is doomed, and it’s all the fault of Sir Tim Berner’s-Lee. What was he thinking? Cunt.

But even without the lure of porn, it’s hard to write blogs (or drink coffee, or spank one out) when you’re flat-out on the sofa, groaning slightly and comfort-eating a hundredweight of Hobnobs.

So I’ve been ignoring my blog for a few days, but this morning I got an email notification telling me that some damn fool has decided to follow me –  I should be saying thank you, shouldn’t I? – and when I logged in to find out who the nincompoop is, I noticed some new search terms.

In case you didn’t know, WordPress tells me what search terms people have used to find my blog. I’ve had some doozies, my favourite being “huge hard morning wood throbbing photo”, which is just so specific. That man or woman… let’s face it, it’s a man… has no interest in huge hard penises at any other time of the day: just in the morning. Brilliant.

But today’s selection takes the biscuit. Here is the full list of terms people searched for when they found this blog during the last 24 hours:

  • my naked girlfriend
  • can you paper mache naked skin
  • naked mole rat it’s fucked basically
  • libido fetish
  • lost my cherry to the black taxi driver

In my mind, it’s one person who wants to find them all. He has a girlfriend, but she won’t turn the lights on during sex, so he’s never seen her naked. Therefore he wants to make a papier-mache cast of her body, but needs to know if it’s possible. Papier mache being what it is, it’ll probably come out looking as wrinkly as a naked mole rat, but he’s going to fuck it anyway; and why? Because he has a libido and likes fetishes. Don’t blame him: he’s been that way ever since he lost his cherry to that black taxi driver.

My only question is: was the driver black, or the taxi? I’m genuinely intriged, and if that person was you, I want to know more. But in the meantime, I’m going to spend an hour trying to put my socks on, which is tricky enough with a bit of sciatica. It makes you wonder how the hell they managed to get Batman out of his rubber costume and half way around the world with a broken back?

Cheers Chris Nolan: you’ve made Batman seem sooooo real.

Olympic sex

Athletes competing at this summer’s Olympics have been given a total of 150,000 free condoms.

That’s 15 each, which seems rather a lot, considering 15 condoms saw me through an entire decade from 18 to 28. After all, you’d hope that after years of training and preparation, the athletes would be focussing their energy on less sexual things; like mounting horses, tossing hammers, the breast stroke, the clean snatch and jerk, or pulling oars (a joke which works best if you say it out-loud in a cockney accent).

And the athletes are all ensconced in their village, so they’re only likely to rub up (or, indeed, rubber up) against other athletes; athletes who also have 15 condoms each. So either they’re double-bagging, or that’s 30 sexual encounters per person

Roger Bannister.
No, I don’t know what’s happening just below shot either.

Never mind the energy – how do they find the time? It’s OK for Usain Bolt, because if all goes well he’s got slightly less than 10 seconds of work to do this week, and after that he’ll probably have some chicken nuggets, a quick kip, and then go back to his attempts to drag Victoria Pendleton onto the stairs and show her what “Roger Bannister” really means.

But many other athletes are actually quite busy: they’ve got a packed schedule of signing massively lucrative sponsorship agreements, or bitching about not getting massively lucrative sponsorship agreements. In between that, many of them manage to fit in a marathon or two, or, if you’re a cyclist, approximately 200 separate events, none of which looks remotely different from any of the others.

So how do the competitors find the time for 30 shags each? I wonder if they’re checked for Viagra in the doping tests. Is it a banned substance? It works by oxygenating the blood, which I’d imagine is fairly handy for events which require oxygen in the blood, such as, well, all of them.

Mousetrap. Better television than the archery. Believe!

Actually, not all of them. The first week of soi disant sport included all the speed, agility and action we’ve come to expect from some extremely static people laboriously firing arrows at an extremely static target, while a stadium full of empty seats watched in monastic silence. The event could have been performed by a slightly modified game of Mousetrap and it would have been more fun to watch.

(My theory, by the way, is that they don’t bother testing for Viagra: they just make the athletes wear lycra and watch closely for any, ahem, pole vaulting).

But many sports need a lot of oxygen. Distance running, for example, is dominated by people from East Africa because that part of the world is really just a massive plateau, 10,000 feet up, and with 20% less oxygen than you and I are used to. That’s why Kenyans seem so great at marathons – when they descend to London the air is so thick by comparison that it’s like breathing soup, and they’re so stoned on oxygen that they don’t notice their thighs have burst into flames. It’s also why most nations send their distance runners to Ethiopia for a few months before the Olympics: so they can train in those hypoxic conditions.

The British, always pragmatic, side-step the awkward and expensive problem of flying athletes to other countries by simply raiding other countries for existing athletes. This time around we asset-stripped Somalia for a certain Mohammed Farah, who prefers to go by the name of “Mo” so that he isn’t firebombed by the same Islamophobic fuckwits who are currently wrapping him in a Union Jack and boasting about how great Great Britain is.

I’m one of those rare people who thinks immigration is a good thing, and that, to quote Warren Beatty, we should all just keep fucking each other until everyone is the same colour.

One of these men is very happy about his Swiss bank account. The other is Jimmy Carr.

But surely it’s a bit of a cheat to simply purloin another nation’s athletes? What would we say if, for example, Andy Murray decided this afternoon that he was actually Swiss, and ran off with his medal? That Jimmy Carr fella would have won by default, and we’d probably look even more miserable than Murray does.

I didn’t know any of this about Mo Farah’s providence until I looked him up – and before you criticise me for my lack of Olympic trivia, you didn’t know anything about him a week ago either, so wind your neck in you smug git.

Let’s face it, all of the sports in the Olympics are a total mystery to you until about an hour before they begin, when the BBC dredges up an expert who tells you all about the scoring system, and how important it is for the competitor to keep his knees together at all times, wear a beaver-skin hat when the opposing player lobs the ball diagonally using a back-hand, and never ever let go of the banjo. And yet suddenly, you’re an expert and want to have a go yourself. Sales of banjos and beaver-skin hats go through the roof for one week; and donations of banjos and beaver skin hats overwhelm Oxfam a month later.

Frankly, they could drop 90% of the events next time, and you’d never notice. I think they should do that in time for 2016. I’ve been thinking about what events should be introduced instead, and I find myself inspired by Mo Farah’s website, which uses the delicious legend “Go hard or go home”.

Next time, it’s Brazil, home of the pared pudenda, the 2 sq inch swimsuit and the all-over tan. There will be 10,000 of the planet’s fittest people, all of them eager to “go hard or go home”. We have the world’s assembled press, and the very finest HD cameras. Effusive commentators can give us a blow-by-blow account of every sweaty moment, and the London Rubber Company are happy to provide them with enough prophylactics to waterproof Eamonn Holmes.

Come on people: let’s make 2016 the world’s first Porn Olympics. Go hard or go home indeed! We could have events such as:

  • Most copious spaff
  • Loudest fake orgasm
  • Ugliest neck tattoo
  • Most dead-eyed crack whore
  • Most terrifyingly vast talliwacker
  • Sweatiest, gurniest, most unpleasant sex face – I might be Britain’s medal hope in that event

Come on folks, what do you want to see: Chris Hoy riding a bike, or Chris Hoy riding Victoria Pendleton? On a bike? And of course, we could up the ante with mixed doubles. Or the team games, in which female competitors end up looking like a game of Kerplunk or a plasterer’s radio.

Don’t ask me about the equine events. No, don’t even ask. And stop thinking about it, it’ll curdle your libido.

You might think I’m being unduly sexist, in which case I wish to apologise to you darlin’, and invite you to go back into the kitchen and finish cooking my tea, there’s a good treacle.

These fine athletes demand respect

But in all seriousness, it’s not like sex isn’t already a part of the Olympics. One hundred and fifty thousand condoms! And if that’s not enough, I present the official photo of Brazilian synchronised swimming twins Bia and Branca Feres. I sincerely hope they had a say in that, because if they didn’t Brazil 2016 is going to be… well… OK, honestly, it’s going to be fucking epic.

It seems to me that we’re at least half-way to my dream of Porn Olympics, and going the rest of the way just takes a little will, and a great big willy.

It could be great. It would certainly be memorable. And, thankfully, it would be brief, because unlike real sex, every single competitor will be trying to come first.

Olympic diary. Again

In 1997 my dad retired, and the whole family went to the Highlands of Scotland for a week.

If you’ve ever been to Scotland you’ll know how strange the following words are: the weather was beautiful.

In other parts of the world they have a climate, but here we have weather. A climate is (or was, before we broke it) pretty much predictable, and pretty much constant. But weather: not so much.

For example, in the Maldives they’ve got a climate. I’m sure the Maldivians have out-sourced their weather to the Germans, because it’s astonishingly well-organised. When it’s time for the rain, a small bell rings, and everybody moves to the bar for a drink. Two minutes and 11 seconds later the bell rings again, and everyone returns to their spot on the beach as though nothing had happened.

But in Scotland they don’t have a climate: they have weather, and plenty of it. I was once waiting for the ferry across to Stronian, a small headland just outside Fort William. The sky was clear, blue and bright; so nice, in fact, that as my fellow passengers and I waited for the ferry to arrive, several of us took our shirts off and sat on the rocky beach, tanning.

By the time we got to the other side of the crossing, 100 yards away, it was snowing. That’s what it’s like in Scotland: if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes and there’ll be something different.

But in August of 1997 the weather seemed to have been imported from the Maldives, and we spent a marvellous week away from the real world, travelling through fabulous landscapes in a rented people carrier and consuming superhuman quantities of beef, salmon, broth and whiskey: all the things that people go to the Highlands for.

We’d rented a remote cottage for the week. Sometimes holiday properties are advertised as having “all mod cons”, but this had, at best, one mod con: a road that ran reasonably close to it. Not even a television, just beds, a coal fire, plenty of scenery, and a pile of jigsaws for when the hoolie blowing outside was too much for even the hardy souls who live up there.

When our week was over, the owners visited from the local village to collect the keys, and things started to turn strange. The woman was obviously very weepy, but trying hard to act normal. Her husband also looked on the verge of tears, and they kept hugging each other supportively, as though experiencing an unspeakable family tragedy. Being terribly British, we didn’t ask. Nobody said a word. We just shuffled around awkwardly and wished they’d go away and have their emotions in private.

The man, who was holding it together better than his wife, asked if we’d had a good time. Yes, terrific. Lovely. Couldn’t have been better.

And then he said something confusing. He said, “I’m just sorry it happened at a time like this. It really must have spoiled it for you”.

We had no idea, but it appears Diana the Princess of Wales had died the night we arrived, and we were leaving on the day of her funeral. We’d managed to miss the whole thing.

And then we drove back into civilisation, and found that Britain had gone insane. The word hysteria is from the Roman belief that women had a funny turn when their womb wandered around their body. Hysteria is from the same root as hysterectomy. For one week, everybody in the country had a wandering womb, and seemingly a brain which had gone out for a stroll too.

In England (world manufacturing centre for stiff upper lips, emotional repression and nihilistic cynicism) millions of formerly normal people were rending their hair and wailing in the streets.

Florists, who were having all of their Christmasses at once, had been so moved they’d only been able to increase their prices by 5000%, and in between bouts of hysteria and self-harming were congratulating themselves on their restraint.

The global news media had gone into “operation shit-fit”, and thrown every resource at repeating the same tiny, slightly sad little story over and over again until every important event had to be paused until the tragedy lifted.

The Daily Express still hasn’t recovered. The Daily Mail has moved on slightly, but only because they realised there’s more money to be made from showing scantily clad teenagers on their website, and then bitching about how scantily clad they are. But in the 10 years following Diana’s death, the Express had only 3 front pages which didn’t show her image or name.

Three. In ten years.

I’m sorry she died, but not that sorry. I didn’t know her, you see. And if I did, I suspect we wouldn’t have got on. She was a bit melodramatic and self-obsessed, and I don’t like either characteristic.

To me, she was a face on TV, and a face I tended to avoid reading about because she was, I’m sorry to say, unimportant to me or anybody I knew. She was important to her sons. She was important to her parents and siblings. She was important to the editor of the Daily Express. But to me she was a soap opera that I didn’t watch, and which got abruptly cancelled early one Sunday morning, making its viewers go fucking apeshit.

It’s true she was a pretty girl, but she was a pretty girl who had a few bits of plastic surgery – check out her miraculous shrinking nose – so clearly not the most beautiful creature ever. And it’s true she did some nice things to people who are poorly, but so does everyone. She was not Jesus. The chances are that not even Jesus was Jesus. Diana the Shagger certainly wasn’t.

The response to her death was nuts, and you know it was. If you joined in, I hope you’re embarrassed about it. You should be, it was mass-hysteria, and you should be better than that. Personally, I’m extremely glad I missed it all – being cut off in a shed in Scotland – because it would have made me vomit myself inside out, like a toad.

I’m sure there are a few people who probably still feel their reaction was normal, but I’m telling you: it wasn’t. It was nuts.

Perhaps it’s something about our national character. Perhaps we’re just so incapable of having normal emotions that when one does happen, we massively over-react and start screaming and gnashing our teeth and rending our clothes.

That level of hysteria seems to be building again, and all because Britain’s athletes had a moderately decent day of bike-riding and playing in boats; a bit like the Secret Seven, but with less blatant racism.

There is still a little bit of racism, obviously, because this is Britain and we’re all a bit uneasy about Johnny K Foreigner, especially if he’s French. I don’t blame anybody for it, as long as we can recognise our awfulness and laugh about it. After all, the French have been our enemies for a very long time, and it’s hard to just forget about that just because we’ve all grown up a bit and realised racism is pretty awful. But it’s still in us.

You think Israel and the Arab states are a bit squabbly? Amateurs! They’ve only been at it for 70 years, but us and the French have been actively hating each other for one and a half millenia.

You won’t be shocked to hear that this unpleasant national instinct is being stoked constantly by the Daily Mail, which claims British GB Team UK of England (sorry, I still haven’t learned the proper terminology) contains “61 plastic Brits”.

A plastic Brit is, according to the Mail, somebody who can’t trace their ancestry back to Richard the Lionheart, or at least to Oswald Moseley, whose cod-Nazi goons the Mail heroically supported in the 1930s, and whose son the Mail heroically smeared in its pages 80 years later. Arguing about whether Bradley Wiggins is sufficiently British seems a strange attitude from the Mail, when you consider how hard that august and noble organ lobbied for Zola Budd to be on the British team in the days of apartheid.

Perhaps the Mail wasn’t wholeheartedly against apartheid, which is why it was still referring to Mandela as a “terrorist” the day before he was released. Nice.

But I don’t honestly care if the British team is full of what the Mail think of as mudbloods. Few of us are totally British for a hundred generations. Think of Churchill, whose mother was American. There are few people more British than Stephen Fry, who is made of tweed and who’s beautiful heart is warmed by his own internal AGA, but who is only a generation away from being Hungarian. Bill Bryson, born and bred in Des Moines, Iowa, feels as British as a slab of cheddar or a stabbing in a pub; and that proud son of the valleys, Sir Anthony Hopkins, is actually an American citizen.

Does any of that stuff matter? What really matters is that the people who count in this country, the people, the citizens, the inhabitants, whatever you want to call them – those people are going fucking nuts again. I was caught off guard today by the incessant patriotic drivel and sporting passion visible on Twitter, even from people who I was convinced were as weary and wary of all this crap as I am.

Perhaps I’m just like nasty, old, flavorless chewing gum stuck the pavement, unsightly and unwanted: when everyone else is getting swept up, I remain unmoved.

I just can’t wait for the hysteria to be over, so we can go back to being sullen, familiar and British. Until then, has anybody got a hut in Scotland I can borrow?

Olympic report: day… what day is it?

Nobody knows for sure when Robert Falcon Scott died. Not even he knew.

More than a week before he and his men crawled into their final tent, exhausted, frostbitten and out of food and fuel, he lost track of the days. Sometime in the middle of March 1912, gaunt with hunger and his agonized feet freezing beneath him, his focus, understandably, failed him. Suddenly he was unable to even remember which day it was.

On March 29th (by his own hazy reckoning) he made his final entry in his journal. He was trapped by an endless, swirling blizzard, only 11 miles from One Ton Depot. He was demoralised, weakened, starving and freezing; and in spite of the monumental heroism of he and his 2 surviving friends, none of them could countenance that final agonizing trek to their next supply drop, and the hope of salvation.

Lest we forget, within days, possibly even hours, they all succumbed to their bitter fate.

Lest we forget. What lovely words. Lest we forget.

It’s 100 years on, and I’m starting to know how he felt: I’m trapped by the fucking Olympics which swirls all around me; there is no escape, and my only outlet is this lonely journal, which I’m sure will be ignored.

OK, maybe a little melodramatic, considering I’ve also got warm slippers, and a king-sized bed and some illicit Hobnobs. But like Scott, I’m losing track of the days, and I feel like I’ll be here until I die.

Of course, I know it can’t last forever. It will finish eventually. I know it’ll finish…

… I just can’t feel it’ll finish.

So yesterday I took a break. I know, I know: I said I’d do one of these things every day, but you’re not paying me for this shit, so fuck off. Yes you. Off you fuck.

I decided to skive for an evening, and I went out with my girlfriend – who, believe it or not, actually allows me to refer to her as that in writing, in spite of the fact that I just admitted to buying Hobnobs when my stomach is under close scrutiny. Not by her – she seems only slightly appalled by it, bless her. But having seen Tom Hardy with his shirt off for a few hours I’ve realised that I might not be quite the perfect physical specimen I had thought.

“Make it so”.
Or rather, “Ffrrake hish shoooo”

As you might guess, my girlfriend and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises, which is a very good film, only slightly marred by the strange decision to have Tom Hardy play Bane as a sulky, steroidal Patrick Stewart, muffled by a cross between a ball-gag and a radiator grille.

He looks like he’s at a fetish party sponsored by Chrysler, and sounds like he’s had his face stapled to the inside of a bucket of trifle. Hey, we all have our kinks, but leave it at home Tom, there’s a good chap.

But now I’m back; and the Olympics is still trundling on like a £9 billion tank; and I can’t remember what day we were up to. All I know for sure is that when I left, Britain was a dismal failure, and when I came back Britain was a dismal failure with a few gongs.

I was going to call them Gold Medals, but (interesting factoid) the Olympic Gold Medals are made of silver. They’re not even Gold Plated, they’re just coloured using electrolysis. I don’t know about you, but if I’d just completed 10 years of crippling training for the Olympics, strained every sinew, and finally got my Gold Medal, I’d feel cheated.

Cheated twice actually: once because my Gold Medal wasn’t gold. And once because I’d just wasted a decade learning to row slightly faster than the team from Denmark, not quite as fast as the team from Argentina… and nowhere near as fast as a power-boat. And let’s face it, we’re all going to pick a power-boat if we want to go really fast. So what exactly was all that rowing for?

OK, I admit it: even I’ve managed to be a little bit impressed, in spite of my efforts not to be. It’s a jolly good thing to excel at anything, especially in a nation which seems to pride itself on being so mediocre. Some nations are born mediocre; some achieve mediocrity; some have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Britain, it’s all three. Even amongst nations lacking all distinction, we stand out as lacking more distinction than the rest.

And for the last few days it’s seemed like, hilariously, we’d even manage to turn a home advantage to our disadvantage. Assuming we’re spending our £9 billion at a fairly even rate, we had managed to blow two and a half billion pounds on not a single Gold medal. Not one.

The nation that brought the world the longbow even managed to miss out in the archery to a man with one eye, for Christ’s sake.

(It’s not clear whether he had both eyes when he started fooling around with arrows).

Did you know the longbow was the source of sticking two fingers up at people? I know you only come here for my wisdom, so here it is. The longbow was a revolutionary weapon in its day; and in Wales, where it was invented, it’s still considered quite modern. I’m not saying they’re behind the times, but if you showed an iPad to a Welsman, he’d burn you as a witch.

Well, he would if the Welsh had discovered fire yet.

Actually, that’s not fair. Wales isn’t the backwater the English assume it is. In some areas of Wales there is so much traffic now that the locals no longer point at the cars and shriek.

A dignified Olympian sits modestly on a throne and displays the fingers with which he plans to murder Frenchmen.

Anyway, when a Welshman was captured, the French would cut off the first 2 fingers from his right hand to prevent him from firing any more arrows. So as a taunt, uncaptured Welsh archers would wave 2 functioning fingers at their enemies…

… No, not at the French: at the English. The French only stole a couple of fingers, whereas the English stole their entire nation.

But they’re wreaking terrible revenge on the English by waiting until we go into their Post Offices, and then… dramatic music… pretending to speak in another language!! The swine!!

Come off it, you’re not telling me Welsh is a real language. They’re making it up as they go along! The Welsh for the town of Wrexham is Wrecsam. The Welsh for the town of Colwyn Bay is Bae Colwyn.

That’s not a language, it’s hereditary dyslexia.

Sorry, for a moment there I forgot I was meant to be writing about the Olympics, and decided to start a race war. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s my race! I’m almost entirely Welsh, and as proud of that as anybody should be. Which is barely at all.

The Welsh for an ironing board is board smoothio. Jesus.

Back here in advanced, modern, sophisticated and urbane England, there’s a vast, baying mob of people who are presumably unemployed, as they can spend all week sitting by a riverbank, bellowing at passing boats. I assume they’re hoping the boat will do something mildly interesting, but even if it does it will have absolutely no bearing on any aspect of their lives.

Sometimes, for a change, the mob stops howling at men in boats and howls at men on bikes instead. But not at ladies on bikes because, for some arcane reason that I simply cannot be arsed discovering, the ladies have been sent home.

I have to admit that for a long time I thought the menstrual cycle was a lady’s bike. I thought that’s why girls needed pads: uncomfortable saddles. Don’t blame me, I was only 34 and had had a sheltered upbringing.

I’m guessing here, but perhaps that’s why the women had to pack it all in: it was the wrong time of month to sit on a bike, so they had to pop home to have a cry and solemnly devour an imperial pound of chocolate. No wonder women complain about having “heavy days”: it’s all that Dairy Milk.

Meanwhile the remaining Olympians will continue to do whatever the fuck it is that they’re supposed to be doing – running around, throwing sticks, playing in the water or going for bike rides. And the mob will continue to yawp and howl.

When I ran around or rode my bike as a child I got no attention at all, not unless I fell off and got a really nasty grass-burn, or a wasp stung me on the lip. But for some reason the highly paid members of our national media, whose primary purpose is to hold power to account, are busy having a fucking shitgasm about the whole thing, like they’ve never seen a man on a bike before.

What the media have forgotten is that there is a much more important and exciting set of Olympics going on right now, and a lot more gold being splashed around too. There’s the Catastrolympics that’s taking place in Europe; the Kleptolympics that’s taking place in our banking sector; and the Corruptolympics landing actual criminal charges at the door of Cameron’s chum Rebekah Brooks.

And – lest we forget – a complete and utter fucking Slaughtolympics in Syria. And about that, I refuse to make jokes. Want to see a hero? I’ll tell you what: he’s not alive on a podium in London, and he’s not dead in a tent in Antarctica.

Lest we forget, he’s terrified and desperate in a shop doorway in Damascus. Lest we forget.

Whoops. We all forgot.