Johnnersintheraw's Blog

April 30, 2010

Johnners on ‘How to Mangle Your Life’ – Part I (All About Sex and Rampant Gonads)

Filed under: Comedy,Comedy Rants,Rancid Comedy,Really Dumb,Twisted Fables,Uncategorized — johnnersintheraw @ 5:39 am

Before I launch into this turgid sinkhole of a pity-party, let me get a couple of things straight.  I have a grand fucking life, and don’t you forget it!  I am ferocious.  I am angry.  I am a fucking mess.  And I am one of the gloriously lucky few.  Although I never really seem to get anywhere by the prevailing standards imposed upon us the fucking pointy-head dickhead nabobs, I have seen things and done things and gone places and stubbed my fucking toes and fallen down and gotten back up again while most people are still reading the instructions and following the rule book. And not going anywhere before first looking it up on the CIA website.  I am an arrogant piece of shite; I have never even opened a rule book.  In fact, I don’t even know what a rule book looks like, which means I wouldn’t recognise one if I saw one.  I have fallen in love every single day of my life, and the day I do not fall in love, will be the day I know what hell is.  What else do I feel like sharing with you?  Nothing, because I don’t share anything and I surround myself with a wall so that others dare not share with me. So there!  I always end up with an empty seat beside me on the bus, even when the bus is so packed people are spilling out the windows. I routinely tell people to fuck off, especially when they are trying to be helpful and make life easier for me.  I don’t suffer fools gladly, and since I myself am one of God’s natural fools, I don’t suffer myself either.  In other words, I am an equal-opportunity twat.  I am incredibly, unspeakably selfish and, no, people don’t particularly like me and they tend not to return my calls. And I am a loner.  And if others don’t like my company, tough shit; because I like it just fine. I can fight with myself and don’t take it personally. I can put on a good ‘caring’ face with the best of them, but so fucking what?  In the end, a ‘caring face’ isn’t worth the price of a ticket.

I am both a fuckup and a storyteller.  Words are my only world and I spin them endlessly, world without end.  I cannot do anything else.  I have no real ability, and there is nothing I want.  For if it is there for me, it is mine.  And if it’s not, it’s not mine to have?   I’m out the door.  And if there is one thing I have learned, it is never ever to go back, because whatever was there isn’t there anymore.

Gawd, I’m sounding more and more like Oprah Winfrey.  But, unfortunately, when I speak, I sound like Margaret Thatcher (only posher) delivering a party political broadcast.

Now if I could really do anything, things might be different, but then I wouldn’t be me, would I?  So let us cut to the chase.  Is what I am going to write profoundly personal or is it a pile of stinking, self-serving shit? Will it put me in a bad light?  And if it does, will I even notice?  And will I care?  One thing I do know is this: It’s one thing to talk about your sorrows on the stage; on can always find a way to make it funny.  Writing it down, however, is not the same as talking it; it’s more risky – it leaves tell-tale evidence that’ll bite you on the butt when you least expect it.  In ranting on stage, there’s always the audience against which to bounce your humiliations and your pains.  They absorb a lot of the roughest bits, even if they don’t always realise it.  Because, when it comes to it, even a hostile crowd is your partner and your fuck-buddy for however many minutes it lasts, and even when they are hurling insults, baby, you are still sharing their body.  It’s just you and your audience and your inner demons, and all you’re doing is sending a bunch of abstract sounds into the stratosphere where they will eventually vanish into the empty spaces between the particles of dust (now, don’t fucking  tell me I’m not profound).  But, as I’ve said before, as soon as you write anything down, it is there on paper or on a computer disk, and somehow it is reduced to black and white and fact or fallacy.  But that is the risk a writer or story-teller takes.

But let us stop going around in circles, and just get on with it?  Are you sitting comfortably?  Are you ready for some of Johnner’s petty humiliations?  Well, ready or not, here they come.  And this is in the nature of a warning label:   Everything I write is a part of me and a part of my comedy.  And it is a fucking comedy, and don’t you forget it. Every word I write, every utterance I make, is disgorged from the foetid womb of my petulant, thoughtless Uriah Heepish self.  I love my comedy perhaps better than I love anything else.  To put it bluntly, it is the child I shall never have.  And if this it is always not particularly funny, remember this: there is nothing that says comedy has to make you laugh.

I really wish I could honestly say that writing the following will wreak havoc to my tender psyche, but I won’t.  My life is not the Oprah Winfrey Show (even if from time to time I seem to channel her essence).  And, yes, I may well be tempted to feel sorry for myself, but in the end, it’s only fucking words.  If parts of my life have been traumatic, so what?   As long as I have a roof over my head and food for my stomach, my little traumas are but a grain of sand in the desert of creation, aren’t they?  Why should I allow my memories to suck me down into a maelstrom of despair?  No reason at all (except that I really did enjoy writing that sentence)….

So now we are going to bludgeon you with a little raw meat.  And let us get this straight: it is my raw meat.  It is my fucking life. This is My Life!  And it is, as I’ve already said, a grand life. It is a life redolent of failure and fury and well-vented spleen.  But, my dear friends, as I shall never cease repeating, I am completely alive. And with year, my demons get sharper, more vibrant, more painful, and more outlandish.  And yes, the sex just keeps getting funnier and more complicated and stupid, and love just keeps getting more terrifying.

So let us now talk a little bit about my sex life, because that is why you are here, isn’t it? I will tell you when it began, when it went off the rails, and when it crashed completely.  And yes, there have been times when it has actually lived up to the hype and perhaps even surpassed it, but you are not fucking going to hear about those times today.  Nah-uh!  First I get to dump all my shit on your heads.  So sit back and enjoy.

To begin: I know several people (one or two who might actually be telling the truth) for whom sex has always been a ‘natural’.  They slid into it like a foot into a soft Italian leather shoe, and it just kept on getting better.  In other words, they were born confident.  And no, I’m not talking about the arrogant, machos strutters or the bullies who want to show how potent and liberated they are.  God forbid!  I’m talking about the beautiful ones who live in our fantasies, and without whom there would be no movies or poetry or literature, or even any dreams of love.  And I think everyone knows one or two of them, even if we don’t know that we know them.  And the reason we don’t know that we know them is because some of those lucky people live within almost all of us. Only we are so busy looking outwards, or looking at our circumstances, or stuck in our own fucking wretchedness, that we pass right by our own lucky person and don’t even know it. And when we do that, we miss out on the single perfect moment of our lives.  The one moment for which we were created.  Hence, my little journey.

The first year of my life was, sexually speaking, probably a lot more active than I remember it being.  After all, from the moment of birth, human beings are very sexual.  If we weren’t, we would never consciously go through all the shit we go through in order to eventually reproduce and bring forth yet another generation of idiots to crap up the world. 

Babies, as we know, have many obstacles to overcome.  First of all, they bowels and bladders are a little over-exuberant, which means that an unclothed baby wreaks havoc when left unattended on the Isfahan carpet for more than half a nanosecond.  And, although in some societies, traditional wet-nurses were supposedly adept at various techniques for soothing colicky infants and transporting them into the realms of tranquillity, we have lost that connection with nature.  And having lost touch with the natural, we take it out on our sprogs; why else would we swaddle them up to their little gills? Of course, there are practical reasons – most of which can be found in the instruction manuals, but speaking as an former baby, it occurs to me that the main reason they bundle a baby us is to prevent the poor wee things from touching themselves and putting themselves to sleep the old-fashioned way.  But then, again, we are desperately afraid that someone should actually enjoy themselves.  And since we can’t explain why, we blame God.  You remember Him?  The one who put us on earth so that she might suffer and be glad?

But now, to me.  I was a very unhappy baby.  I had a lot of allergies and cried a lot.  And I also shat more than the common or garden baby can possibly shit.  This means I was changed very, very frequently.  And although I don’t remember it consciously, some part of me does recall the joy of holding my little penis in my left hand – for I am left-handed – and pointing it to the sky and sending up a stream of golden sunshine.  And even if I don’t actually have a conscious memory of doing that, I can still hear my grandmother saying that those were the only times she ever saw me smile or heard me laugh.

A little boy has no better friend than his willy. And the one frustration I will forever hold within me is that I was never allowed to be alone with my little friend.  There was this constant refrain, “don’t touch it,” (although, to give them credit, I don’t think my parents ever told me it was ‘dirty’).   Of course, the more you are told not to do something, the more fun it is to do it.  But then, being sneaky, my folks decided to let me run around unclothed, and that put the kibosh on my whole relationship with little willy. For although I continued to tug on it every once in a while, the very ease of access caused it to lose its fascination. You know how it goes, once I had played with it a few times, and poked it into a number of potentially dangerous places, I grew bored with it.  It lost its appeal.  In the same way that my toy cars did.  And also, since by now I took him for granted, my willy was always getting in the way or getting scraped or hurt, and I have never ever been a fan of physical pain. To cite a couple of examples, you can’t really climb a tree properly when your willy is being scraped raw against the bark, and you can’t really ride your pony when you have to spend all of your time keeping your scrotum from banging against the withers.  And on and on and on.

I’m going to slide by those years of unconsciously sidling up to visitors and rubbing myself up and down against their knees – and terrifying the life out of them – because I’m not particularly proud of it (and also, of course, because I don’t want to give anybody any ideas).  But if memory serves we well, that was about the time a nanny appeared on the scene.  In other words, my parents were very aware of my rampantly odious little ways, and decided I should be watched like a hawk.

Now, this is where it started to go pear-shaped. When I was about six or seven, I found a friend.  Now, almost all little boys have their little friends, and they roughhouse and fight and race their tricycles and climb trees. And then one of them flashes his willy and the other one reciprocates. And it’s all part of growing up, and nothing more.  But this was something else.  I actually sought out someone.  He was not a member of my family; he was not a teacher; nor did he work for my father.  He was simply someone standing outside one of the paddocks looking at the mares grazing.  And I seduced him.  Of course, I never saw him again.  And I know he could have done something to prevent what followed, but I have a feeling I was so aggressive he panicked and simply froze.  The awful thing is, I do remember how much I enjoyed the experience.  And it wasn’t until several years later – when I had finally entered the age of reason – that I wished I could have taken it all back.  You see, there are no two ways about it: I did approach him.  And yes, he could have told me to fuck off, but he didn’t.  And all I can say now is, “shit!”  For it did effect my sexual development when I was an adolescent and beyond – not because I felt I had been abused, but because I knew I had seriously damaged someone else.  And I am terrified of hurting someone again, which is probably one of the reasons why I am shit when it comes to relationships.

School was great.  I loved boarding.  Everyone was wading through the morass that is puberty; everyone was miserable and rank, and everyone had perpetual erections.  The entire school stank of nocturnal discharge, and everyone used to make fun of everyone else when they were caught wanking in bed.  However, since we were all going through the same fucking shite, and all smelled of sweat and semen and were spotty from head to toe, no one paid any attention.  And, at least in my experience, no one was ever raped or gang-banged in the showers and we all stood together and became rock-solid friends or not. So anyway, I don’t have any school-related horror stories to report.  I know I was fairly promiscuous for a while, but it was mostly confined to holidays and to friends outside the school. It goes without saying that, at the beginning of the each term, we would all have a quick look to see how everyone else had developed during the holidays, but that would occupy about five minutes and that was all.  And then of course, everyone’s balls were dropping like apples in the autumn, and the world was changing accordingly.  We all got very involved with sports, and became focused on upcoming exams. Photos of girlfriends started to appear, and all of us looked to other horizons.  And while our pecks did get a jolly good workout, and even though we tried our best to wear them out, our endeavours were primarily of a solitary nature.  After all, we were growing up and everything was becoming a lot more private and more secret.

About this time I started to have a particular problem with girls.  Not with girls in general, or girls as girls, because basically, girls and women have always been my best friends – a situation that still holds (even in Egypt, where male/female friendships can be a minefield).  My problem was that, except when around horses, I became very withdrawn.  On a horse, I was fine.  On the ground, I became progressively more depressed and more difficult.  I became an outsider at school, an under-achiever and a loner.  The only time I excelled at all (when not on a horse) was when I was performing comedy parts in plays.  I really have no memory of those years; and because of that, I really do not remember a single classmate, and I doubt if anyone remembers me.

Needless to say, the pretty girls liked me OK when I was riding, because I was very good.  But as soon as I dismounted, and thought, “oh, goodie, at last,” the ones I fancied would walk right over me with their glamorous, older OE boyfriends – you know the ones I mean: blond, devilishly handsome, wide-shouldered, narrow flanked, perfect Eton crop,  flashing teeth, and a condescending sneer guaranteed to reduce someone like me to a forelock-tugging fag.  Now, I was never anyone’s fag at school (I was far too arrogant), but one look at those OE Greek Gods swanning around with the girls I’d just walloped at show-jumping or in a pony race,  and I was a puddle.  I suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of inferiority, and that terrified me. Of course, a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was gay – and I knew I was guy and that I had always been gay, that I had been actively gay. However, I desperately wanted to be one of the chaps who was everything I was not.  Let us just say it was not a good time for Johnners on the sexual front.  Or, for that matter, on any other front.

And then school ended, and life went on.  Much of the time it was better; some of the time it was really shite.  I continued to be a morose and surly bastard, and if not an actual psychopathic sociopath, I was at the very least morbidly antisocial.

And since this state of affairs lasted for some years, I am going to give it a rest.  After all, even though misery may love company (although I personally find company more boring than misery), the less written about it, the better.  After all, all you do have your own problems, and if I tell you too many of mine, you might be tempted to tell me some of yours.  And that wouldn’t be good for my happiness.  After all, I am still not Oprah Winfrey.

April 29, 2010

I was Born a Naked Sprog, Part II (the lecture and the free harangue, NOT the ballad)

Filed under: Comedy,Comedy Rants,Rancid Comedy,Really Dumb,Twisted Fables,Uncategorized — johnnersintheraw @ 6:19 am


It may come as a shock to most of you, but I was born naked. That’s right! From top to bottom and down to my toes I was in a state of shameful undress.  Everything was there for all to see (and I am led to believe that the nurse’s aide actually took a peek and fainted. Or, perhaps, she laughed herself to death.  I’ve never been sure).

Now nakedness (or ‘nudity’ or ‘au natural’ as it is called in politer circles than mine) was common in my family.  At least on my father’s side.  He was, you see, Swedish, and the Swedes  – as you well know – are famous for taking off their clothes at the drop of a hat and for any reason whatsoever, such as before they enter a bath or before they go swimming or before they go walkabout during the first mosquito hatch of the season.  Don’t ask me why?  Pure stubbornness, I suppose, coupled with staunch Lutheran genes. Plus the fact that many of them do not have a great deal of body hair and, therefore, look like plucked chickens unless they roast themselves to death under a scorching midday sun.  And of course, since they only ever get redder and not browner – a trait their Viking forbearers passed down to the Irish and the Scots – their persistence in exposing themselves to the solar furnace whilst all their danglies flop hither, thither and yon, demonstrates a certain grim lack of joie de vivre, as well as Puritanical inclinations and masochistic tendencies.  And last but not least, it shows an appalling hatred of sex.  For nothing retards one’s libido quite so completely as constant and obsessive flag-waving. 

As for any abhorrence for sex, I cannot, of course, speak for my father.  As far as I am aware, he did sire two sons – me and the other one (ol’ ‘Whatisname’).  If this be the case, then I suspect sex might have played at least a peripheral part in his psyche, though possibly a negligible one. I mean, although I shared a house with my parents from time to time (after all, one is forced to bring one’s beloved child home from school at least once every ten years), I never actually heard them grunt or groan or scream out each other’s names in ecstasy.  And I never once saw them emerge from their bedroom all sweaty and with snot dripping from their noses, or with scratches up and down my father’s spinal column.  If that is not a proof of total sexual indifference, I don’t know what is.

Now, whenever I was inclined to spy (for what else does one do when one is seven years old), I was always very discrete.  My two favourite disguises were, respectively, an aspidistra (painting my lower half as a jardinière) or – alternatively – a grandfather clock. Either way, I would do my best tableaux vivant routine by standing in a darkened corner of the hallway, and pretending to be inconspicuous. Believe me, it was not a good idea for one’s treachery to be discovered.  First of all, I didn’t want to be screamed at.  And secondly, I knew that if my parents even suspected I was conducting the old Do My Mother and Father Actually ‘Do It’ survey, my mother (who had the hearing of a terrier, the temper of a lioness and a deadly sense of humour) would have yanked open the door and – while standing there in the all-together, but draped in amber beads  and with a fearful look on her face – demanded to know why I wasn’t out in the stable mucking out the horses or doing my homework.  Or cleaning a saddle.  Or perhaps even cooking breakfast.   And then she would rub salt into the wounds by making unkind remarks about my costume.  Remarks such as, “oh, haven’t we got a tiny pendulum for such a tall clock,” or, alternatively, “it would have been more realistic had you been disguised as a Johnny Jump-up.”  But, as we all know, mothers always hit below the belt.

Neither of my parents particularly worried about strolling around the house in the altogether.  In fact, I don’t think they even noticed it.  I suspect that sometimes it wasn’t only because they liked the feel of arctic gales caressing their skins (and here I’m speaking of the draughts blowing through the old, rattling windows and down the chimneys). Or because it seemed to embarrass the dogs.  However, having said this and knowing what they were like, both of these things might have been contributing factors. Be that as it may, I think it also had something to do with the fact that, very often, they simply forgot to get dressed.  Both my parents spent an enormous amount of time dashing about and doing things and being busy, and this leads me to suggest that – with the busy lives they both led – occasionally their clothes simply got tired of trying to keep up with them and, as a result, sat down for a rest and let my parents go on without them.  I can see it now:  My father’s shorts, out of breath, gasping to my mother’s bra and girdle that he simple could not go any further, and that he had to have a good lie down and perhaps a nice cup of tea.  And since my mother’s undergarments were (as one says) married to my father’s underwear, and since they were both faithful unto death, the bra and girdle remained behind with their spouse. And there they remained, drinking First Flush and eating ginger biscuits and waiting until their owners deigned to remember where they had left them. 

Come to think of it, it must be a very lonely life for the clothing of nudists.  A life full of abandonment and emotional scars. And it’s a wonder why more of them don’t report their situation to the social services, and have their owners dunned for neglect and inflicting emotional damage. And while I’m at it, shouldn’t garment workers’ unions claim that naked bodies are acting in a manner that blatantly discriminates against clothing and, therefore, against sweatshop workers of third world countries and minorities?  Ergo, nudists are synonymous with members of the BNP.  And if you look at it from that perspective, doesn’t BNP actually stand for Bolshie Naked Perverts?

In the event you weren’t paying proper attention and forgot I that was talking about my family, let me remind you that, but a few sentences ago, I was being chided by my naked mother for doing what comes naturally to a seven year old boy: spying. And now that we are back on track, I wish to make one thing perfectly clear.  When guests were invited to dine (yes, we did that sort of thing in our house) the clothes in our wardrobes clothes finally got dusted off.  And also, when there happened to be people working for us (don’t get excited), dressing gowns were brought out of the mothballs and given an airing, as were layers of shapeless gardening clothes (you know the ones: the corduroys and tweeds that get passed down from generation to generation and spend much of their lives having patches sewn on to their elbows and knees).  And as for myself, when I was at home I was either exercising horses, riding out on the gallops, mucking out,  grooming or cleaning tack.  And none of these things, my friends, should really be done in the altogether.  Not only will the horse think you’ve lost your mind and try to find out what you taste like , but think of all those lovely sharp odds and ends lurking in the barn; for as sure as da sun do come up in da morning, they will seek you out and invade your bare extremities at every opportunity.  Plus, anyone who thinks God intended males to ride buck naked, has obviously never been near the back of a horse.  Of course, I cannot speak for women (not having been one, or at least not to the best of my knowledge), but…but…. (and I’m going to leave this sentence before I say something stupid, such as, ‘perhaps it brings them closer to nature’s fundament’).  I will simply add that clothes do provide a certain amount of protection, as well as padding.  And if you can’t figure that one out for yourself, then go ahead… only don’t ask for any sympathy from an equestrian (at least not from a naturist one like me).  And nor do I think any insurance company is going to pay out for any injuries sustained while riding unclothed.  

And while I’m wading into the shit by antagonising other naturists (especially ones who like riding in the nude and are blessed with testicles of iron), I am going to bury myself even deeper by touching on another little niggle. After all, I did promise both a lecture and a harangue for the price of a simple lecture, so consider this a freebee. And don’t forget I did give you a little song yesterday as a special treat.  And as my mother might have said, “too many treats in a row without a gravitas-break works havoc on your endorphins.”

This particular harangue concerns cooking in the nude.  Now, I’m not talking about making a salad or a sandwich, because – safety wise – as long as you’re clean and careful with your implements, it doesn’t matter what you are or are not wearing. And as long as you remember certain rules governing personal hygiene, why not?  Having said that, however, I spent more time than I care to admit slaving as a cook in a restaurant.  And along the way, one thing I discovered was that there is a reason why professional cooks wear steel-toed shoes, sturdy trousers and jackets, and aprons.  And it’s not only because of mindless regulations passed by government nannies (unlike the wearing of goggles when playing conkers).  It’s because kitchens are (to put it mildly) extremely hazardous places in which to work.  Even the most conscientious chefs are routinely injured.  Now, at the best of times knife cuts and burns are no fun, but please, don’t put your important bits at risk. At least let us put on some shoes and cover our burnable dangles with a stout apron. After all, our bodies are the only bodies we have (unless, of course, we are The Terminator). And I don’t know about you, but I love my body even more than I love the pet dog I don’t have at the moment. And I would like to keep it safe and happy as long as possible.  Or at least until I finally do get another pet dog, and then it will have to take its place in the queue for my affections.

Another harangue is all about picnics and dining al fresco, but, children, I don’t think we have enough time today.  After all, you must polish your shoes, and iron the shirt you’re not going to wear tomorrow, and feed the dust bunnies under your bed.  But never fear… for as Little Orphan Annie was always singing, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow/tomorrow’s a day away.”  And if that is not enough to convince you of my intentions, let us ask Scarlet O’Hara for her opinion.  Didn’t she say something like, “tomorrow’s another day?”  Personally, I don’t give a shit, but if she didn’t say it, that’s what she meant, and that’s good enough for me.

April 28, 2010

I Was Born a Naked Sprog – The Ballad

Filed under: Comedy,Comedy Rants,Rancid Comedy,Really Dumb,Twisted Fables,Uncategorized — johnnersintheraw @ 5:50 am

(A Little Ditty with a Wistful, Ballady Ending)

(To Be Sung by Three Lyric Tenors and Accompanied by an Annoying ensemble of Guitar, Accordion, Fiddle, Tambourine, as well as a Folky Drummy Thing – and eventually by anyone who’s been at the Skull Splitter)

– I –

I was born a naked sprog

T’was early in the morn.

The nurse she shrieked

The Pastor said, “Tis sure in hell he’ll burn!”

(First Chorus)

I’m pissing in the wind I am

I’m pissing on my shoe,

I’m pissing on the clean white tiles,

Right down beside the loo.

– II –

Them nappies they weren’t good at all

They kept on falling off.

And when m’wanger peed on her

My aunty sawed it off.

(Second Chorus)

A splat of shite upon the wall,

It does not hurt a thing.

It makes a pretty brownie splodge,

And makes the doggies sing.

– III –

Nursie glued my pants on tight,

She didn’t miss a thing.

But I was standing on my head,

My nose was in her sling.

(First Chorus)

I’m pissing in the wind I am

I’m pissing on my shoe,

I’m pissing on the clean white tiles,

Right down beside the loo.

– IV –

I went to school when I was six

I will not tell a lie.

The teacher sent me home again,

I had not worn my tie.

(Second Chorus)

A splat of shite upon the wall,

It does not harm a thing.

It leaves a pretty brownie splodge,

And makes a man a King.

– V –

When I was twelve I fell in love,

It wasn’t very nice.

The girl she made me wear a glove,

And said I gave her lice.

(First Chorus)

I’m pissing in the wind I am

I’m pissing on my shoe,

I’m pissing on the clean white tiles,

Right down beside the loo.

– VI –

When I was wed, I dyed it red

And thought it looked quite fine.

The priest he took one look at me,

And took me home to dine.

(Second Chorus)

A splat of shite upon the wall,

It does not harm a thing.

It makes a pretty brownie splodge,

And makes a man a King.

– VII –

When I grew old and wrinkles grew

I still would wear no pants.

A trickle dribbled down m‘leg

And drownded all the ants.

(First Chorus)

I’m pissing in the wind I am

I’m pissing on my shoe,

I’m pissing on the clean white tiles,

Right down beside the loo.

– VIII –

When I had died and buried was

Upon the craggy peaks,

My soul could never dance or sing

They’d stuffed me in m’breeks.

(Second Chorus)

A splat of shite upon the wall,

It does not harm a thing.

It makes a pretty brownie splodge,

And makes a man a King.

I (Reprise)

I was born a naked sprog

T’was early in the morn.

The nurse she shrieked

The Pastor said, “Tis sure in hell he’ll burn!”

(here we slow down a lot for dramatic effect)

“Tis sure in hell he’ll burn!”

“Tis sure in hell he’ll burn!”

“Tis sure in hell he’ll burn!”


(First Chorus – Reprise)

(here we speed up a lot for a rousing finish (as is befitting a drinking song), after which you may start making up your own verses. NOTE: In order to annoy the neighbours, It should be sung at the top of your voice).

Ohhhhh….I’m pissing in the wind I am

I’m pissing on my shoe,

I’m pissing on the scrubbed white tiles,

Right down beside the loo.

(Suggestions for optional verses)


I’m pissing up my nose, I am

I should’a been a goat

I smear my wanger all with jam

And fuck the Beeb remote.

(Repeat First Chorus – see above)*


I’m pissing right across the street

Right up upon your wash,

And splashing it upon your feet

I am so very posh.

(Repeat Second Chorus – see above)*


My wanger is a lucky chap

He does just what he wants.

He never ever gets the clap

Nor goes into a trance.

(Repeat First Chorus)*


And when he does go beddie-bye

He always says his prayers.

And in the night, when dreams is right,

He spews up all his cares.

(Repeat Second Chorus)

* This is a drinking song (though not literally a fucking drinking song, which is by way of being an impossibility). It is not recommend for a church social or for a Primary School Show-and-Tell, or to sing at your daughter’s graduation.  However, it has proved popular with certain chapters of the W.I., especially after the judging of the Best Whisky Marmalade and Best Christmas Puddings with Hard Sauce competitions.   It might also prove to be a winner with your 11-year old son – you know the one: the grumpy, smelly, hormonal, spotty, pustule who hasn’t spoken to you since he entered puberty at the age of six.  There’s every possibility that this little song might open a channel of communication.  And if nothing else, it will embarrass him so much he’ll ask to be sent to boarding school.  This, of course, this is what we call a win-win situation: A win for him because he won’t have to eat your wife’s attempts at Jamie Oliver’s healthy eating; a win for you because you can rent out his room to someone nicer and more polite – someone you can proudly pass off as your own issue, and whose rent will help to pay off not only the mortgage necessitated by your son’s school fees, but also the fines incurred by his ten-thousand or so illegally downloaded files of garage bands who think they are Jimmy Hendrix.

Put it this way.  This song is not so much an irresponsible drinking song, but a community service.  This demonstrates that I am a solid citizen after all and – as such – entitled to my own show on BBC Radio, one which will hopefully offend both the Daily Mail and ‘readers’ of the Sun.

This also proves that just about anyone can have a future if they live long enough.


April 27, 2010

Today I Murdered My Porn Collection

Filed under: Comedy,Comedy Rants,Rancid Comedy,Really Dumb,Twisted Fables,Uncategorized — johnnersintheraw @ 9:19 am

“Today I Murdered My Porn Collection.”  What a delightful opening sentence!  It is, in fact, the perfect opener to the perfect prologue to the perfect, old-fashion whodunit.  It is, as is to be expected, written in the first-person.  Needless to say, the author – probably named something like Beverly ‘Major’, was the largely-forgotten and overlooked eleventh son of  an impoverished peer, who himself probably (though not necessarily) went by the name of Sir Malcolm MacSphincter-MacDangle.  The mater of ‘Major’ was the tragical Lady Penelope MacSphincter-MacDangle, née MacDervish-MacTavish, the eleventh and almost completely invisible penultimate wife of Sir Malcolm, and also his richest.  Lady Penelope, who had never come down for dinner (for she was always confined to the birthing bower), eventually expired of ennui and postpartum depression.  Her demise, following the birth of her largely ignored (and possibly misplaced) eighth set of twins – most probably named Bertram and Beverly ‘Minor’, was hardly noticed.

Beverly ‘Major’, who took umbrage over such slights as being served the burnt edge of the pudding at tea, was the only forgotten member of his family who never forgot.  He had loved his mother, but because his mother had never been sure of who he was and once mistook him for a garden gnome, he had developed a chip on his shoulder. And so it was that, one summer’s afternoon, while the sun shone and daisies billowed in the breeze, ‘Major’ stole a sheet of parchment from his father’s library. And he started to write.  And it was while he was penning his four-hundred thousand word magnum opus, The Fall of the MacSphincter-MacDangles – using quills plucked from his childhood sweetheart (a goose called Wanfried) and blood from his own veins – that he slaughtered in cold blood the twenty-five extent members of his immediately family.  Including both Bertram and Beverly ‘Minor’ who he found hiding behind the croquet lawn and torturing the dog. 

When not actually writing or murdering the members of his family, our narrator found the time to dispatch (in sundry, amusing ways) various annoying hangers-on, including forty indoor and eighty outdoor servants, the vicar, seven choirboys, the president of the local Women’s Institute, and the adenoidal shop assistant from behind the ‘fancies’ counter at the portable sub-post office on Wrath-Beside-The-Sea.  It goes without saying that ‘Major’ was finally apprehended, but during his arraignment…..

Now, gentle reader, you might be wondering what all this has to do with the demise of my porn collection.  Absolutely fucking nothing; the words simply flew from my fingers, and who am I to refuse my fingers anything?

But just so you know, I have now regained control of the computer.  So Let The Porny Bit Begin!

As I wrote in my first sentence (as well as in the title), I murdered by porno collection.  Or rather, I deleted it.  First thing this morning.  And no, it wasn’t through a deep-seated guilt.  Or even shame. Mind you, it had occurred to me that if I suddenly died, the first item to come to anyone’s attention would be that one fucking flash with all the porn on it.  And I don’t why that bothered me, but it did.  Sort of like dying after slipping in the bath and knocking my head.  I suppose, it has to do with dignity.  I mean, if I died in the shower, and had lain under an icy stream of water for an hour or so, I don’t think my poor willy would be at its best.  And he does have his pride.  Personally, I don’t give a fuck how I die (as long as it’s a soft and pleasant death), but I don’t want my willy – who, after all, is my best friend – to be laughed at when I’m not around to defend it.  My willy is personal.  It in mine and nobody else’s, and nobody else’s business but mine.  He is shared at my discretion, and only with those with whom I wish to share it.  Yes, I know, I am a naturist, but that is different.  When I am swanning around with other naturists, willy is not interested; he is more concerned with not getting a sunburn.  But when I am alone, willy is free to do what it wants to do.  As Julia Child famously said, “Remember, you are alone in your kitchen.”

But none of this was behind my ruthless disposal of my porn collection.  I found to my horror, that although I had some four or five hundred images on my memory stick, they suddenly bored me.   After all, they were all of dazzlingly attractive young men (yes, I do l love women as well, but not in pornography). They were clean, incredibly fit, and well-endowed (though not so much that they resembled buff young elephants). Most of them were blond, but that was because they were from the Czech Republic, and for no other reason (next time, I shall rootle round a different site – if there’s a next time, which there is sure to be).  After all, a few good brunettes help to make the willy stand up and pay attention. 

Willies are very strange, predictable creatures.  After all, they are male. They are male, ergo, they have the moral character of stoats; they have a very short attention span, cannot multitask, and seem to have a disconcerting problem with  monogamy. Yes, for a week or so, a dozen or two pictures will pique their interest. In other words, they will come out to play. But then, they get bored, and when they get bored, they refuse to respond.  They say, “no thank you,” and so you go online, hoping that various computer viruses and trojan horses are occupied elsewhere at the time, and that no one in the cyber cafe looks over your shoulder at an inopportune moment. You download yet more mouth-watering eye-candy.  And so it goes on.  And on.  And on.  And pretty soon, you have hundreds of images.  But even then, is your willy satisfied?  No, it is not.  For by now, it has become a raving, ranting, spoiled brat.  Always wanting a new toy, and refusing to look at you if you don’t go out and get it.  Thank goodness, my willy does not like violence.  Nor does he like filth.  Hallelujah, be praised! 

But never mind all that, because I don’t think anyone out there really cares about my willy’s wants or needs, and so I shall keep them to myself.  At least, during this blog.

But back to my Porn Collection and the reason I murdered it!  It’s  rather pathetic, really. I needed a new flash drive  in which to store bits and bobs of miscellaneous drivel, but I was too fucking cheap to go out and buy one!  Would you believe that?   I sacrificed by willy’s porn collection!  I stole my willy’s personal Megabytes!  Oh, yes, I can always justify this! Yes, I always like to have everything backed up and portable at all times.  Yes, travelling with a laptop can be a pain, plus a laptop can get lost or smashed or stolen, whereas memory sticks are easily packed away and are ready to be plugged into almost any attractive port hole at any time.  But why my willy’s memory stick?  Are my personal rants so much more important?  As religious leaders like to say, “It’s a mystery.” 

Of course, it’s now on strike.  But never fear, willies are very much like memory sticks, and a memory stick is very much like a willy.  All they need is the right hole.

And the moral is, having a memory stick is very much like having a second willy.  And I bet you didn’t know this, did you?

April 26, 2010

Officially a Perverted Hippy

Filed under: Comedy,Comedy Rants,Rancid Comedy,Really Dumb,Twisted Fables,Uncategorized — johnnersintheraw @ 6:14 am

Yes, folks, I am now officially a Perverted Hippy.  You see, for the first time in my life, I found a personality test that suited my temperament.  In other words, it wasn’t po-faced.  Now, I have nothing against being po-faced, if you happen to be a po.  However, if you are not a po, for God’s sake, don’t pretend to be one.  Which reminds me, I did know someone once who knew a certain Colonel Parker Po, who happened to be married to a Missus Pansy Po.  I’ve always regretted not meeting them – even though they lived in Florida – and I hope they have led long, happy and productive lives.  I believe they were quite well-to-do, and – if so – I hope they didn’t invest it all with Bernard Whatisface.

I don’t believe it, but when I was writing the above paragraph, I spaced out on the spelling of the word ‘colonel’.  It was not a senior moment; I blame God, who is all-powerful and is supposed to know what He’s doing.  Except, of course, He is never around when you need Him, i.e., those moments when you are writing breathless prose and cannot remember any of the words you were looking for.  And if and when you finally do remember them, you instantly misplace the spelling.  Inevitably, these are the times in which God goes somewhere else where they have better food.  And by the way, while we are discussing this, the one thing for which I shall not blame God is Microsoft Spell-check, which was obviously developed by some unshaven geeky tosser wearing a short-sleeved, cheap, wrinkled polyester shirt and a pocket-protector.  Now, to be fair (as one must be), there is something to be said for the argument that God was ultimately responsible for the pocket protector.  Ditto for wrinkled, short-sleeved polyester shirts, but I am not convinced.  And I base this entirely on the claim that He created us in His own Image.  I have never worn such a costume, and He has never guided me to the cheap short-sleeved polyester shirt section of the local discount super store. Furthermore, on every one of His many visits to me – (He finds me restful, because during His stopovers I do all the talking and He gets to take a nap) – God has always been carefully attired in a glowing halo and flowing robes. And because He once worked in the All-You-Can-Eat Donut Bar of the MegaDeepFriedMarsBarTikiMasala Restaurant in Glasgow, He is most particular about His personal hygiene.  Consequently, He is never ever without His hairnet.  And yes, sports fans, He is a Celtic supporter.  He told me so; Rangers fans: let this be a warning.

But let us return to the topic of the day: my personality test.  Before I was interrupted, I started to say that I was lured into taking one of these things by the happy helpful chirpy administrators of one of those free online dating services (about which I can envisage at least a few thousand words at a later date).  Now, let me be blunt.  This is only my second attempt at finding true love and bliss over the Internet.  Setting aside Facebook, of course, where if you have enough ‘friends’ – three or four thousand, for example – at least two of them are guaranteed to declare their undying love to you.  They will then try to make you feel personally responsible for everything that has befallen them, including their lack of happiness and their inability to throw their fucking computers out the window and get on with life.  One wonders how may self-help books and support groups the latter problem has spawned.  And, it goes without saying, How Many Facebook Pages?  And how many column inches have been written in which said Facebookers are never held responsible for their own addiction?  But, never mind, we all need some sort of fix to help us through the day.

But, I digress.  Johnner’s Personality Test.  As I mentioned, being the desperate, unloved and truly sick person that I am, I decided to try my luck once again.  My previous attempt had proved to be – shall we say – a mixed blessing.  Now, I do not blame the lady; obviously with me, she had bitten off more than she could chew.  As for me, even as I flew over 4,000 miles to fall into her arms, the hairs on the back of my neck were screaming, “You fucking moron!  You dumbfuck of a duck-fucker, You did not like her when she messaged you! You thought she was a pillock and a prat!  You are going to fucking hate her… and then you’ll be stuck at the far end of the earth in a country you think is crap!  With a fucking protozoa!”  But, of course, being the dipshit I am, I am forever hopeful.  I am nothing if not consistent: with me, stupidity must reign supreme.

But that was then, and I only suffered for my mistake for four years.  But wa-HAY, what is four years spent living miles away from even the nearest sheep, and inventing new ways to masturbate.   After all, I’m only three-hundred seventy-five years old.  Plenty of time left to get de-virginised again.

Now- to be honest – when it comes to listing likes and dislikes on a profile, I am extremely anal.  Nothing do I leave for chance.  Not a fucking thing! Which is why I am always amused when I receive a suggestion from an ever-helpful administrator in which it is mentioned that I might be more specific.  More specific?  I am so fucking specific I come across as a boring old twat!  That is how specific I am.  In fact, this time round, the only thing I left out was the number of hairs on my scrotum, and I do like my body to be shaved or plucked or au natural?   

I really wonder if anyone actually reads these profiles, and that includes, of course, the ever-hopeful peeps who send you messages.  I mean, how many times can you say ‘Orkney’ and ‘Crofting’ and ‘Rare-Breed Sheep’ and ‘Pigs’ and ‘National Hunt Racing’ and ‘Club Rugby’ and ‘Comedy Improv’ and ‘Possible Long-Term Relationship’ still receive a  dozen replies from expats living in Nicosia, whose interests are confined to sunbathing on the beach, barbequing, clubbing and sex-parties?  I guess it must the ‘island’ theme.

Anyway, to get back to my personality test.   I had it in mind that by my relenting and actually filling out one of these questionnaires soberly, I might improve my chances.  So, of course, I rooted round the various available options, and – lo and behold!  I came up with something quite wonderfully subversive!  And before you ask, as much as I wanted to torture the truth, I refrained.  I even kept a straight face when faced with the question regards physical fights.  I was asked if, in my entire lifetime, I had been in more than three physical fights?  My macho me desperately wanted to say, ‘yes’…. but I couldn’t remember more than one (actually one and a half).  And so I said ‘no’.  And consequently, I ended up feeling like the boring old twat everybody thinks I am.  It was only afterwards that I remembered two more, but since I had forgotten them, they must not have been very special.

Fortunately, the Personality Test was kind.  Instead of coming right out and saying that I had the personality of a boiled newt, it said I was a Perverted Hippy.  I suppose now, I shall be approached by all sorts of people inviting me to the summer solstice, where I can dance around in a circle, wear flowers in my hair and body-paint my willy. And I still won’t get any sex!

April 25, 2010

Unless I Say This, I Shall Go Mad

Filed under: Comedy,Comedy Rants,Rancid Comedy,Really Dumb,Twisted Fables,Uncategorized — johnnersintheraw @ 7:47 am

This is not a whinge about Alexandria, or about Egypt, or about little men with bruises on their foreheads, or about the role of women in society.  I’ve already said enough about these topics; they are done and dusted.  Plus you can read everything that’s ever been written about them simply by checking the Internet.  Believe me, it’s all there: the good, the bad, the even worse, and the even worse than that.

I happen to love words.  Some people many have grand passions for women or men, or even for themselves – especially if they happen to be of a mind to recreated the world in their own image.  Having failed singularly to create anything at all, much less to recreate the world, I have been forced to narrow my horizons slightly.

And my world is words and telling stories.  And when I am not doing either of these two things, I am watching and listening and absorbing everything that slips through my metrosexual pores and into my febrile mind.

It goes without saying that there is nothing funnier (or more disturbing) that the misuse of words.  I’m not talking about the evolution of words, about how their meanings shift from one year to another, or from one country to another.  And I’m not talking about the purple posturing of sports commentators, or even the demeaning and sometimes criminally dishonest diarrhoea perpetuated by government and big business.  Or even about the blatant ignorance and cultural ‘thuggery’ of many commonly used English-as-a-SecondLanguage curriculums (yes, I managed to slip that one in, too).

What I cannot understand is the almost deliberate uglificiation of words.  The cheapening of language.  The sort of language that’s spoken by those dumbfucks who are so bloody lazy – or conceited – that they’ve reduced the world of ideas to ‘ten monosyllabic grunts or fewer’ – (or, as the people at Walmart might say, ’10 words or less’). What’s more, they seem to be proud of it. In other words, they are the kind of nincompoop that jeers at anyone who makes an effort to speak properly, calling them elitist.  And lest you misunderstand me, I am not talking about people with an educational or social disadvantage.

Now, before I go too far and mention that many of these nincompoops seem to be employed by NewsCorp, let’s cut to the chase.  In other words, what the fuck am I talking about?

Butt-crack!  Why butt-crack?  For what fucking reason would anyone choose to include this incredibly asinine term in their conversations?  Yes, granted, according to the Oxford Wordpower English-Arabic Dictionary (the ultimate authority on everything, except for all the words every eleven-year-old boy wants to know), the only definition of crack that might even remotely apply is, “a narrow opening,” to which is appended, “the wind blew through the crack…” Now, even I will admit that there is a certain poetic elegance to that.

It seems to me that, up until now, the emphasis has always been on the buttocks, or on the anus.  Regards the latter, if you are going to use arsehole, use arsehole; do not use asshole.  I realise many Americans don’t know the difference between a donkey and an anus any more than they seem to know a tortoise from a turtle, but don’t take it out on the poor, blighted donkey.  They are the workers of the world; in many countries commerce would grind to a halt without them.  For fuck’s sake, they have enough problems as it is.  You can be an ugly American if you like, but don’t take it out on the hardworking asses.  Your arse can speak out and defend itself; an ass cannot.  It’s too busy working (literally) twenty-four hours a day hauling vegetables or furniture; one word out if it and it gets beaten.  Mind you,…..

So endeth the lecture for today.

April 24, 2010

2009 was 2009 was 2009… fodder for tales on down the line…

The following are blogs written during 2009 after I moved to Alexandria.  I posted them elsewhere for a short time, but never followed them up.  Simply put, there was nothing more to say, except this was where Johnner’s head was in 2009 – for better or worse.

So, here we go: Random Rants and Crapola from 2009

 Carrefour and Beyond

 2009-02-03 – 06:24:16

I realise I’ve got to organise my “blogtime” better. Yesterday I was planning a riff on the wonderful social madness that takes place at Carrefour in Alexandria every Friday and Saturday night. However, because I wasn’t paying attention to the time, I was interrupted, and as a result posted my fragment by mistake. Never mind.

Anyway, as I was about to say before I fell over my own two feet, Alex loved to party, and the current Party Central is Carrefour (there are other venues, of course, but none so deliriously weird). Thousands of people (men, women and children)… jamming the isles of one of the largest supermarkets on the planet (not literally, but you know what I mean), whirling about on the amusement park rides, stuffing their faces in the same (dreadful) ol’ food court eateries we know and love the world over. What is it about a food court anyway? Cities such as Alexandria have amazing markets and shops and restaurants. Food is fresh, tasty, well-prepared and cheap. So why does everyone flock to a food court, and scarf tasteless multinational garbage as through it were their last meal. Horrible thought, that. Imagine dying after eating at a food court. Is that the best last memory one could take with one to one’s final destination?

I thought I was going to finish up with Carrefour today and get on to something more worthwhile. But since I got stuck in the food court and my mind is still there…..

 My Brain is Sucked Dry and Then Some

 2009-05-22 – 16:06:20

It’s been forever since I scribbled my last entry. ‘Course I knew that this would happen. You see, I’ve never been any good when it comes to diaries. I really can’t fucking stand myself and I don’t have much to say. And so, the usual happened: Two entries and then the Black Cloud descended over Johnner’s Blogland. My days ran their course; they all started promisingly enough. Some widened their horizons; some shrunk into their shell. Some could have been interesting, but – you see – I was busy living them, and when I’m busy living a day or a minute or an hour, the last thing on earth I think about is writing about them. Like a memoir: how can I fucking remember something when I’m not yet finished with it?

What does this have to do with Alex? Nothing, really, but this time I really do have an excuse for not writing about this dirty, filthy, crappy city of industries and refineries that I love like no other (except, perhaps, for Paris or Buenos Aires, but I’m here and they’re not). You see, I haven’t been here, either.

Two and a half months ago (a dark day if ever there was one), a private school from a town on the north coast of Egypt sent a busload of urchins to Agami for a day camp. Since I had mentioned to some people I know that I would like to spend some time teaching kids, I was volunteered. It seems they liked me (they were also desperate for a teacher), and I was hired on the spot. So off I trotted, on a day’s notice, to Marsa Matrouh, and there I remained…

One thing good I discovered is that I really do like kids. Another thing I discovered is that I will shred my nose with a vegetable grater if I ever become an Egyptian teacher. Now, before you get your knockers in a twist, let me clarify something. I am not talking about a teacher who happens to be an Egyptian. There are lots of those about and many of them are fine, upstanding citizens. What I’m talking about is that particular specimen I was warned about going in. (“We’ll make an Egyptian teacher out of you.”)… This particular species of pond scum screams and punishes and hurls insults, and quotes some bearded fanatic’s bizarre interpretation of the Qur’An from morning ‘til night, AND NEVER EVER LISTENS to the children. Not once. The kids are they, they believe, only to be beaten and to show blind respect their teachers and to follow every mangled lie that is pumped into their heads. Believe me, I would castrate myself if I was even tempted to sire a child who might end up at the mercy of one of these creeps…..

For days and weeks I watched from the sidelines, more concerned about my own part in this play… and then one day I found that I had started to become one of them. One of these Egyptian teachers.

This might go down as the worst moment of my life. Or perhaps the best. I’ve learned what listening entails. How difficult it is, and how wonderful. I’ve learned how impossible it is to be understood when we ourselves don’t bother to understand.

I’ve still got a week in Marsa Matrouh, and then, insh’Allah, it’s back to Alex, to my wonderful new flat and the new possibilities (good and bad) which which await me.

There are rumbles about me returning to Marsa and setting up a new curriculum in a new department. However, warning lights are flashing and every night I wake up grinding my teeth…..

Besides, I’ve crappy (and decaying) city or industries and refineries that I love… And oh, do I want to write about her…

… I think I start off with the rendering and paint applied to building, and how it seems to slide off before the first day is done. Bless Alex. Bless everything about her.

 Egyptian Bugs

 2009-05-31 – 12:09:39

No., I’m not talking about our intestinal friends, of which I’ve had a few. In fact, during my lifetime, I’ve had so many various and sundry residents in my nether regions that no new ones dare crave admittance. My amoebae run a closed shop: NO ROOM FOR AMATEURS. It’s rather fun. While all around me spend their days sitting on the pot, my generals are waging war against the invading armies, and I do not feel a thing.

Personally, however, I have a feeling I’m not bothered because I really don’t give a fuck. I’ve got better things to do with my time than spray the walls with shit.

So… if it’s not bugs of the intestinal variety I’m whingeing about, what is it? It’s the fucking computer variety. And they’re driving me bats. Not my laptop. I should add – for I’m really fussy and don’t let anyone get without a million miles of it – but the computers I resort to when I go online for reasons great and small. The fucking viruses here are really boring, and do nothing whatsoever for the already crumbling reputation of Egypt. 

You may have noticed that I am here. This means I’m shot of Matrouh – at least for now – and am once more ensconced in my flat in Bianki, which is now the proud owner of a dozen new lace doilies. Every week it looks more and more like the carriage of a Soviet era first class train compartment, only with strangely Egyptian William Morris/arts and crafts furniture (at least we’ve gone past the French brothel look, of which I’ve had more than a fleeting acquaintance). But even more important, my apartment seems to like me – which is vital when it comes to even the most tentative residence/resident relationship. It is a relationship that (hopefully) will build and endure longer than most of my other relationships, which seem to last about as long as the phrase, “my name is…..”

Of course, should I be offered a small villa which is to my liking, or perhaps an estancia at Tortugas, you won’t see my arse for dust, but please don’t tell my apartment. He is a trusting chap, and I don’t want to disillusion him before I leave him for someone else.

It is altogether amazing and wonderful to be back in Alex! I have met all sorts of wonderful new friends, have added to my wardrobe in an encouraging manner, and am weedling a membership of Sporting… I have even discovered – and this discovery was, for once, the last thing on my mind when it happened – the effectiveness of being pulled whilst on the tram. In this case – which ended my status as a virgin expat and pathetic amateur – it was done by someone more munchable than I could hope for. The someone was idly texting no one in particular but making sure I was the once who saw the message. Quite an amazing experience. It also answered a few theretofore unanswered questions about how to arrange an intimate encounter of the best kind, in a place where such things seem so impossible.

Of course, everyone here already knows about the technique. It’s called “how to pick up or be picked up without anyone else even guessing anyone had even noticed anyone else. I’d heard about it, of course, and knew it was universally used in this part of the world. When it suddenly happened to me (yesterday, as a matter of fact) I had a few qualms of the “what if I’ve knifed and thrown out the window” variety. But, of course, if you listen to all of your qualms, you’ll never get anywhere and probably die a virgin.

 Language Expansion

 2009-06-01 – 10:26:50

No, this has nothing to do with the painful and hopeless attempts on the part of my mind to ensnare Arabic. For that, mi amigos, shall for all time remain an illusive goal. Or, as they say here, mish mumkin.

I used to care. After all, wasn’t that one of the reasons I moved to Egypt?

That, however, was before I realised this particular goal was not within my grasp. I stopped caring, relaxed, and joined that horrid fraternity (formerly despised by me), “Expats who refuse to learn languages”. I used to seethe at the mention of Brits in Spain who’d lived there for twenty years, still ate nothing but Bacon Butties and chips, were resolute footie hooligans and ate nothing but frozen fish and chips, washed down by a pint or twn. Ditto expats from Germany, France and Italy. Argentina I cannot include, for the simple reason most of them seem to be born multilingual. Besides they have the tango and Tortugas Polo Club. Both of those attributes render them perfect and above criticism. However, come to think of it, many of my acquaintances from Arab countries abstain from languages other than their own (for reasons I shall not go into here, but which actually boil down to intellectual sloth). So, perhaps I’m playing their own game. And I shall win. I’ve only learned how to win and I like it. Winning makes me feel good.

Of course, my failing to learn yet another language – having already neglected three unto their deaths – does not particularly please me. However, whilst I have been occupied in not learning Arabic, I have discovered – to my delight – that my other languages have been stretched in certain directions. My swearing has reached new heights! And so has my ability to fight and scream and jump queues and, in general, to behave like a twat.

For a long time I preferred to ignore the fact that no one here is capable of ordering a coffee without fighting with the waiter. One cannot board a bus without entering into a shouting match with the driver. My regular bus trips from Matrouh to Alex are ALWAYS delayed whilst the man selling the tickets fights with someone. And, of course, the men here cannot multitask to save their lives (of course, they already have a head start, being men, but being Egyptian doesn’t hurt). Since they are fighting, they cannot press the button of the computer which causes one’s ticket to be dispensed. And so the bus is delayed; it really is sort of counterproductive to wade in and join the fray… but as I’ve come to realise, it doesn’t hurt either. For the thing is, everyone fights all day long, and no one really worries about it.

In the school in which I’ve been toiling (for my sins), the pupils are screeched at, whacked and punished from early morning til late afternoon. And unlike other countries where they worry about such weighty matters as human and civil rights, nobody thinks twice about it. The kids certainly don’t.

Of course, one knows they get the same treatment at home. And when they grow up and propagate (for propagate they certainly will), they will render the same abuse unto their own kids.

And we wonder why there is no peace in the Middle East. But I do adore the Egyptians, in spite of and because of it all.

Next time I’ve really got to mention bathroom fittings. And perhaps their light bulbs. If, that is, I’m not so busy fighting that I forget.

 Purchasing Light Bulb and Other Joys

 2009-06-02 – 10:58:26

This is for those who’ve either never lived in Alex or have only stayed in hotels or hostels. It’s called “Navigating amidst the Ruins”.

You should know by now that I am infected (and infested) by Alexandria. Egypt is all right. Aswan is dandy, but only if you want to see the same Egyptians you saw in Alex or Matrouh, only this time at their second home. Sharm El-Sheikh is all right if you don’t mind the Lanzarote and Costa del Sol drinking crowd from Blighty. Siwa is all right if you are a old hippy, play ‘ultimate’ and like that sort of thing. And (because we have to mention then) The Pyramids are all right in their own way, especially if you avoid facing Cairo and seeing all the horrendous apartment buildings you never see in the brochures. Anyway, I suppose they’re decent backdrops for photos of one’s mother-in-law astride (just before she falls off) a camel. Yada Yada Yada. But Alex is infectious. By that I mean it infests the blood like an amoebae infests the bowels. Once there; always there.

There is no unearthly reason why there is a single building still standing. The Pyramids may have been built a couple of years back, but – except for their rendering, which I’ve noticed sluffed off just like the rendering on every single Alex building, after only the second month – they’re are in pretty fair shape.

I may have mentioned that I have a new (to me; five years old to Bianki) apartment. And I absolutely adore it. The rooms are large enough to accommodate Egyptian furniture, it’s a corner flat and gets a nifty cross-draught, and it’s high enough up so that, when I hang my towels on the line, I can give my vertigo something to think about. However, it (the building) was not built thousand of years ago when Egyptians had confidence in themselves, but by the contemporary variety who definitely do not. Unfortunately, they also used Egyptian materials.

The flat was newly painted in colours and patterns of William Morris Wallpaper. The furniture is madly arts and crafts, and their maker had a definite preference for spindled legs. And, it goes without saying, there are loads of doilies (many brought by myself). It’s quite fun, sort of like a retro Brothel (or, as I’ve already said, a Soviet-era 1st-class railway compartment).

It even has a water pump so that I am able to shower and do all the other things that make the world go round. However (and this is the first of the ‘howevers’), the taps one should close to keep unwanted water from gaining admittance to the toilet cistern when the pump is on, do not work. But, then again, I have never ever met a tap that works in Egypt. By government edict, the minute one touches one of the little critters, it falls off, often on to one’s foot. Consequently, when one turns on the water pump to, say, wash one’s hands or take a shower, the toilet floods.

Before I moved in, “my people” were told a new stove was being installed in the kitchen. In fairness, it probably was new at sometime in the last century, about the last time it was cleaned. That wouldn’t be so bad, except the knobs (those that are there) also fall off when touched, rendering one unable to turn off the gas. Since, as of today, I have no more cheap plastic knobs to replace the other cheap plastic knobs that have broken in half, and I happen to like to cook, I have no choice but to bring up the matter to the proper people (hopefully via “my people”, since they – at least – have been known to get things done). I really dread the confrontation, for in the hearts of every contemporary Egyptian (what has happened to them?) lies a thick payer of denial of the “what’s the matter, there’s nothing wrong with it” variety. And that leads to the regulation fight, and after a regular dose of such fights, I’ve become a much more unpleasant (but possibly more interesting) person.

I am a very sore loser, and have been known to prolong a fight longer than even the best Egyptian… (this is for the record, by the way).

Which brings me to light bulbs. Now, the light bulbs here are made to expire the minute one needs them. They also shatter in their fittings, which is why every blingy, gilded chandelier in Egypt looks decrepit before the first day is out. I don’t know who makes the light bulbs, but I do know that unless the makers want to give Egypt an ever worse reputation than it already has, they should cease putting “Made In Egypt” on the box. The light bulbs are utter crap.

However (this is sort of a reverse however, to compensate for all my other negative howevers), if one does have to purchase a light bulb for any reason, one should always go to a shop specialising in light fittings and (yes) light bulbs. At least in one of those places you can check the boxes in front of the little man before forking over a wad of brown money. One thing you do NOT do, is to purchase light bulbs in a Supermarket, not even in such lofty emporia as Carrefour or Metro. A friend of mine did. However (sadly, not a good however), I was by that time wise to all things bearing the imprint “Made in Egypt”, and told him to check the box before he bought. He looked in all twenty-six boxes (this was, by the way, in Metro, which is part of the San Stefano Mall, anchored by The Four Seasons Hotel). In every single box was a shattered light bulbs. The manager didn’t seem to think anything was wrong with them. He even had the nerve to say, ‘Insh’Allah’, which annoyed me no end.

I’ve not got round to buying shoes yet… or to brown money… or to getting change, although I’ve probably mentioned that, it being one of the impossible inponderables of life.

But I still love Alex. Call me infested.

 Ain’t Life Wonderful!

 2009-06-07 – 10:01:26

What can I say? I’m in love again. And no, I’m not talking about my personal life, where – let’s face it – I give a new meaning to the word “fickle”, and where it’d be nice if my love of my life lasted longer than the best part of five minutes. In fact, I rather think the longest-lasting love affair of my life was with a paint bubble when I was about three. It was on the window sill of one of my nursery windows… then there was my love affair with a jar of pickles when I was five.

I also fall in love with necks… more specifically, with the line that runs down from the jaw bone to the collar bone… this, means, of course, that I can have great relationships with perfect necks on the bus any day of the week, and never have to worry about personal interaction and other boring stuff.

I also have a thing about the throat latch of horses… very special horses. But unlike with members of the human race, I don’t mind a bit of interaction with their equine equivilents. Plus the fact, that I’m still around for breakfast.

You might have noticed that I’m not angry this morning. The reason for this, my dear friends, is that I have “DONE THE RIGHT THING”.

As you might know – if, that is, you’ve been following this blog or my page on Facebook – I spent the past couple of months teaching at a private school on the North Coast of Egypt. Lovely people; lovely town (as towns in Egypt go); fabulous kids. And everybody seemed to want me around (which must be a first). The only drawback – and one that was airily dismissed by those in charge – was that, although I was supposed to be teaching English, not one of my pupils could understand a single thing I said. As anyone who knows anything about teaching understandings, a good teacher has to find a way around this sort of problem; it is, after all, the teacher’s jobs is to find a way “in”, as it were. Unfortunately, in this case, the longer I was there and the more I listened, the more I realised that I understood the pupils even less.

There was also the problem (while I’m being honest I might as well admit this as well) that I do not know my way around kids. As kids, I really didn’t know any (preferring horses and books and inventing stories); in school I avoided them whenever possible. I’ve never held a baby, and – until my recent experience – I’ve never ever played with them. Of course, I suppose kids are remarkable creatures. Not as interesting as a pet kestrel or a horse or a pen and paper, of course, but good for a few amusement. At least until they realised I don’t really know what they’re for, at which point they find someone or something more amusing.

Kids want to play. Kids need to play. It’s what kidhood is all about. In other species, play is what is referred to (condescendingly, I fund), nothing more than a schoolroom for the cutthroat world of adulthood. However, when it comes to kids, playing is called time-wasting. Now, my problem as a teacher is that I want kids to play. Once their balls drop (in the case of boys, at least), life will start to sour – not only because that is what life does when one turns into a seething pustule of pumping hormones, but because there is inevitably an authority figure who takes himself too seriously and spends his time beating the pustule whenever he behaves… like a pustule.

Kids need special handling; they are, after all, our future and I (at least) they manage to do a better job taking care of things than have the current crop of adults. And that is why, when a teacher realises he or she has no business teaching, he or she should stand aside.

I spent the past two months getting more and more angry, acting more and more like a male Egyptian teacher. In other words, ranting and screaming and – yes – resorting to physical abuse. Then I woke up. I realised that one more day of that and I would thrown myself out of a window. Literally.

I’ve also become increasingly rude. Now, if you’re Egyptian, it’s all right to argue with everyone and push into queues. It’s a cultural thing. However, I’m not Egyptian. With me, such behaviour is NOT acceptable.

And so, in spite of being wanted by one’s employers, I quit. As soon as I did so, I suddenly ceased feeling angry. I no longer feel the need to be ruder than the next guy. I didn’t spent the night ranting and raving. I know, I know: in a place where everyone else spends all their time yelling and screaming, no one even notices. And the kids are often abused so much at home, nothing done to them at school even phases them.

Best of all, I’m back in Alex. I don’t have to spend five days per week away from this glorious mess of a city doing things for which I hate myself.

I’m back in Alex. I have fallen in love again. I’m learning how to have love affairs the Alex way, even if they last only the best part of five minutes. I am reading great reads and scribbling great scribbles. I’m looking out for the next best thing.

 Alex without Alex

 2009-06-16 – 15:15:56

This actually has little to do with Alexandria. Of course, it happened in Alex, so for all intents and purposes it’s an Alex problem.

It’s been a while since I last scribbled anything for this blog. I made this promise, you see, not to say anything about the city unless it was something (at least) reasonably positive. And, of course, that meant I was OBLIGED to go one a tear. A rant. An absafucking shitfaced fury over anything and everything, but mostly over the constant fighting and screeching and yelling that surrounds one every minute of the day and night.

To be fair, it’s not an Alex thing. It’s an Egyptian thing. But still, it drives one round the bend. Especially since – if you’re like me – it’s so easy to get sucked in to the fray. In fact, you can easily go from dawn to dusk (well, more like late afternoon to dawn, since nobody gets up until 4 or 5 in the afternoon) and never spend one second without being embroiled in one fight or other. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know the others involved or that you have no idea what’s going on, the thing is to let everybody else know that they don’t have any right to exist. Not that they do exist. This explains a lot about the Middle East Peace Process and why anyone from the know-it-all West who thinks he/she’s got the answers has been eating too many happy pills.

Ooops… as usual, veered into lecture mode. Sorry about that. Of course, I’m not going to admit I was born with it, because I was. In fact, in school I was chosen as the Mostly Likely To Bore People To Death.

I don’t know what I’ve accomplished in this blog, but as they say, it’s the jounrey that counts, not the actually getting there.

Oh, I know. It’s about not writing this blog if I couldn’t find something good to say about Alex. HOWEVER, I just thought of something to write about in which I could blame Alex, but at the same time, let Alex off the hook.

It’s all the fault of Alex. Not the city Alex, but an Alex named Alex. Alex may or may not be his real name, and I may or may not have met him. In other words, what took place may or may not have taken place. And while it took place in a city that looked very much like Alex, it may, in fact, have been Geneva. Or not.

I bought (or didn’t buy) a computer. From a guy who may or may not have been named Alex. Now, the first rule is NEVER ever buy a computer from anybody else. NEVER EVER buy a USED computer. Period.  Also, never ever buy a computer unless you like it – and more importantly, unless the little guy that lives inside and to whom you pore copious amounts of coffee every day (through the CD/DVD thingy)- likes you. That’s the trick about successful computer ownership. The guy inside’s gotta like you, and can’t care a fig what a moron you are.

Most computers I’ve owned (all of which have forgiven me anything and everything and have never once told me I’ve performed an “illegal act”) have ended up as my best friends. But then, I knew they would before I bought them (the same has applied to houses and flats and cars and motor cycles: either I’ve loved ’em, or I’ve left ’em (usually without getting my money back, which shows that when you buy a computer or a car or a motorcycle, it’s the same as getting married).

But back To Alex. Who sold me a computer. A used computer. A computer I didn’t like. I computer I hated so much (it looked at me and sniggered) that I locked it away in the wardrobe for a month before using.

Of course, like in any good horror story, the computer really was evil. It had a worm. A really really really bad worm. And I know it was there waiting for me, because it sucked out the life of a flash disk before I even went on line with it. It destroyed my life and I hadn’t even downloaded any porn. And that wasn’t nice of it.

Alex phoned me a while back and asked me (?) how the computer was. Of course, seeing as how it was still locked in the wardrobe at the time, I said it was fine.

Alex isn’t in Alex anymore. Alex is now Alex-free. I like Alex better now that Alex doesn’t live here anymore.

 The Joy of Being Me

 2009-06-20 – 15:30:13

It’s nice being me; it’s even better not having to be anyone else. Being someone would be so exhausting. All that responsibility for things, which I – as me – don’t have to worry about.

It’s taken me a long time and a lot of miles (and kilometres, since I’ve lived in a lot of countries) to appreciate the me-ness of being me. That is not to say I necessarily like myself or like what I do or like my personality (or any of those other things that – put together – make the me that I am. But I’m used to me.

Now, I’m not necessarily very good at anything, except of course, at being me. I have no other talents to speak of, I’m rather too fond of being antisocial when life would be easier if I weren’t. After all, going through life alienating people is not something I would recommend to anyone else. Except, of course, if you’re me, and then it’s all right. I’m used to it.

My linguistic skills are appalling. I was once fluent in three languages and proficient in a couple more. Now, I barely get along in one, and unfortunately that – English – is not one of which I’m particularly fond; it can be sublime when on the printed page, but that’s as far as it gets.

What does this have to do with Alexandria, my home for now and possibly for the foreseeable future? Not much, excepting the bit about my appalling language skills, and even there I feel a fine Italian hand at work.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that now that I’ve settled here, learning Arabic would be my number one priority. Not a bit of it, it seems. I’m not in the least bit proud of myself, but – you see – it doesn’t really matter all that much. Perhaps one of these days I’ll awaken and proclaim, “today is the day I learn Arabic.” But I doubt it. And I’ll tell you why.

What a longish life lived in many countries has taught me is that, as soon as one knows the lingua franca of a given place, one is required to listen to what people are saying. And since they are usually saying more or less the same thing wherever you are, why should you go to all that bother and muss and fuss just to hear the same old crap you listened to at the last twenty places you lived in. In language, just as in so many other things, familiarity really does bred contempt.

It used to really upset me that I don’t retain languages very well when I don’t practice them. But that was when I was when I was busy striving for a meaningful existence and hidden talents and – well – denying my real purpose in life: which is to be me.

Alex, at least until it changes its mind about me, is quite a nice place in which to be me.

 On Being a Border Person

 2009-07-07 – 03:09:55

As usual, it’s been a long time between blogs. To be honest, there’s been nothing much to say. Or at least nothing to say I haven’t already said a dozen times. Pathetic, really, when I’m living in Alex; surrounded by teaming, screaming life; being lectured to by sour men who spend most of their time standing on their heads and never look at the garbage they’re throwing on the ground. They always ask me if I can say the Faditha, to which I answer yes. They don’t bother waiting for my reply. I’m European, and therefore stupider’n the cat shit upon which they’re standing, and so they ask me to repeat after them. At that point I butt in and say (politely, I hope) “I pray to God and not to man”; quickly I say Ma’a Salam and exit stage right. But not before they’ve asked my age, followed by various other personal questions I’ve no intention of answering. This is not really a whinge; it’s an admission. Every day I’m assimilating less. Something I’m not proud of, really, considering I have always lived between cultures – though I’m not really ashamed of it, either. A border person, is one definition that fits people like me. I exist between cultures; I don’t fit in anywhere, and the longer I live the less I want to. I used to become annoyed at my mother’s constant refrain, “but I’ve moved all my life!” I know now what she meant, because the mantra has become my own. But, of course, it always was; only when I was younger I was naïve enough to think I would change.
Of course, I have changed; however, instead becoming someone or a better me , I’ve become a more concentrated version of myself. I’m far more me than I was a year ago. I sort of like the me I’m becoming (thank God I’m even less conservative than I was last week; if the opposite were true, I’d have to kill myself). My horizons are brighter; the colours sharper. I exist and want to exist in the Aurora Borealis.
The average length of time I’ve lived anywhere is about three years, the longest exception being five or six. What I notice now is that “drifting through” is my limit. Set me down in a place for three months and I can’t stand myself. When I think of what I really want to do, all that come to mind is a sail boat – endlessly sailing the southern oceans, only stopping now and again. Mr heart yearns for Patagonia. The Andes also call, as does the north of Norway and Sweden. Cities don’t beckon, except for their diversions; education and learning do. And books. Endless stacks of books. And, please, if I am to be around people, let them have a passion for life and learning. Let their horizons be bright. Let them be fucking educated. And for fuck sake, let them keep their religion to themselves. We all believe in something. I believe in the endless seas; in the skies; in the breezes that caress my bare flesh; in horses; in me. The rest is my business.
I know why I’m writing this. It’s because I’ve been in Alex for more than three months. Three months, plus a further two in Marsa Matruh. When it comes down to it, I’ve got nowhere else to go; Egypt is good for me; I have opportunities here that elude me elsewhere. Who cares if the cities are cities. Who cares if they don’t wash their plates on the reverse side? Who cares if the people are nosey and bossy and as rude as shit drying in the sun? They are also giving and generous and wonderful…
I’d thought, having nothing good to say about Alex, I’d write about something else. There was always the jingoistic 4th of July “Happy Birthday America” picnic to which I was invited, and which left me in a black hole of fury (about which I have nothing original to say, and so won’t. At least for now). On a more positive note, I’d also thought to write about the community of rats living in my (and everybody else’s) ventilation shaft. I met them today; they’re fat and healthy and bigger than the Agami cats. I’ll write about them tomorrow. Mumkin.

 Early Sunday Morning on Bitosh

 2009-06-27 – 10:33:50

Picture this (I only say this, because if I don’t, you might not get the picture). It is Sunday morning in Bitosh, which, for those not in the know, is in Agami, somewhere to the west of Alexandria. In the summer, Agami is a party town. It rises at five or so in the afternoon, and doesn’t really get going before nine or ten or eleven.

I live at the good end of Bitosh. In other words, I live at the edge of Bianki. Not so posh as living in Bianki itself, but better than living on the other side of the street, if you know what I mean.

Clubs on Bitosh and in Bianki don’t get going til long after midnight. And some don’t wind down til after seven in the morning. I should know. My apartment overlooks the Paradise Restaurant, where all the trendy Agamiti hang out and do what they never do – things they don’t even know about – between the hours of seven and midnight.

I was going to say it’s where hijabs come off and minis (just about) come on, but since it’s one of those open secrets of which Egypt and much of the rest of the Middle East is so famous for, I won’t go into it.

Now, I get up early. Always have. Always will do (until the day I don’t). The racket blaring from the Paradise has nothing to do with my sleeping habits, only I wish they’d get a longer playlist and a better sound system. One can only turn the volume up on a cheapo set so far until it you start pondering the fate of humankind, if such a thing is possible. Thank heaven no one in Egypt can afford sub-woofers, is all I can say. The buildings in Egypt are constructed of concrete in which they forgot the concrete. They have enough trouble standing upright without sub-woofers.

This morning I met a new best friend. I was leaving my building about nine, a time when everyone else is asleep – unless they’re slumped in a cafe blurry-eyed and sucking on a sheesha – and a young ultra-trendy agamisto came up to me and asked me where I’d spent the night. I pointed up in the general direction of my apartment, to which me mentioned a name. A worried frown crinkled his face.

The conversation went back and forth (as they do here), and it dawned on my that one of the women living in the building (I don’t knowing which one, not knowing my neighbours) earns the sort of income no one in Egypt is supposed to know about. The guy – who I suppose – has to earn a living somehow, was worried I had been getting a little on the side without him getting a cut.

In the end, we got it all sorted out. He knows (because I told him) that my “little friend” likes to be introduced before getting all excited, and that being introduced entails more than a quick “here’s fifty pounds, your alleyway or mine?” Also, although I’ve got the morals of a stoat, I’m really really cheap (I thought he deserved to know the truth about me). However, since I also said I was always ready and willing, and that I never met a “haram” I didn’t like – should the conditions be right – my new best ultra-trendy Agamisto pimp friend left me with a hopeful smile playing on his lips. I bet he phones we with a proposition.

Actually, what I said had something about drawing the line at ducks.


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