Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Delete the Internet.

Hello. I am Michael Legge and I have an announcement to make. I am retiring from being angry online as from tomorrow and today I will be having my last ever online argument: With Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

25 years ago to the day, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the then keyboard player in D-Ream, invented the Internet and he is a cunt. I mean, he ruined absolutely everything. If you're young, you may not remember a time when a sack full of every hate-filled thought by every arsehole on the planet wasn't thrown at your front door, but 25 years ago today Sir Tim Berners-Lee decided that that was the very thing that was missing from our lives. Why are people keeping their thoughts to themselves?, he sang in Sack Full of Every Hate-Filled Thought, the follow up single to Things Can Only Get Better, his one and only sarcastic pop hit that the nation didn't get was a joke. Why can't we all read the minds of every single vicious bastard on Earth and openly agree with them?, he kept singing and singing and singing. I can barely listen to any of D-Ream's albums anymore. They sound like the beginning of the end of civilisation. Which they are. And that is the fault of one "man": Sir Tim Brooke-Taylor.

All of that might sound insane but that's only because I haven't slept for days. Maybe 2 or 3 hours a night for at least five days. Right now, I'm writing this at 4:53am after sleeping for 90 minutes. I can't sleep because the noise of the Internet is so constant in my head. I know what Dave Piss in St Albans thinks of non-English athletes in the Olympics and I shouldn't because he's far away, he's horrible and I have no interest. Yet, Mr. Piss's opinion has been posted online, retweeted, shared and put into the sack full of every hate-filled thought that arrives at my door every morning. I know what Kenny Dickhead in Utah thinks of #BlackLivesMatter and I shouldn't because he's far away, he's horrible and I have no interest in him. I know what Billy "The Wanker" Wanker in Blackburn thinks of Brexit and I shouldn't because he's far away, he's horrible and I have no interest in him. I know what Shit Shit in Wexford thinks of abortion and I definitely shouldn't because he's not far enough away, he's definitely horrible and he should always keep his stupid fucking pointless mouth closed while holding his nose blocking any oxygen unfortunate enough to locate his brain. Yet, Sir Tim looked at the world 25 years ago and decided he wanted to connect people, not to the mains like you or I would, but with a tool that means every single person can communicate with every single person in every single subject at every single second of the day, at all times. Sir Tim wanted to connect people. PEOPLE! The very things that should be isolated in iron trunks at the bottom of the sea permanently. He looked at a global forest fire and thought "What that fire needs is a voice".

When I invented online hate in 2008, it was adorable. Cute. I thought it would be funny to appear to be the least supportive member of the comedy community and openly abuse my contemporaries. But we were all younger then. I'm not sure we were ready for this possible huge change in our lives. It was back when Facebook was in its second trimester and the news that an unwanted Twitter had appeared and it was just a different time. They're both products of the regretted fling between MySpace and Geocities, a night that should have been forgotten. Society demanded we accept these horrible twins and let them grow, even though we clearly weren't ready to raise them properly. It was all pictures of cats and dinners then and maybe we thought it always would be like that. But, like The Smiths, pricks started to like them. Somehow, pricks really got into dinners and cats and, all of a sudden, the Internet was appealing to the same people who like violence, porn, far right politics and The Smiths. It was the middle of the beginning of the end of civilisation. 

Over the past few days I've got in online arguments with a joke thief, a pro-lifer abusing women and a cunt. These arguments lasted hours. Hours of whatever I have left of my life. I don't know why I argued with the last one. A cunt is just a cunt (D-Ream, 1996) and there is very little anyone can do about that but I argued with him anyway because that is what Sir Tim's plan for me always was. It's equally baffling that I got into such a long argument with the joke thief. It's not like everything I do in comedy is always so original. As for the pro-lifer? Yes, him targeting the utterly heartbreaking and noble @TwoWomenTravel is distressing but here's the thing: when you argue with a pro-lifer who has gone online to target and abuse women who are making such a brave statement and yet you start looking equally mad, it's time to rethink exactly what it is that you're doing. His views were horrible and, as he attacked, so I attacked him. I almost certainly couldn't change his mind. Can anyone calm insanity in 140 characters or less? But maybe I could have tried. 

One night in 1989, the first person outside of my immediate family that I loved asked me to go to the pub with her. She was the first funny, artistic, well-read alien I had ever met and she still appears other-worldly and exciting to me to this day. I worry about the fictional Michael in the alternative universe who didn't meet her because his life wasn't doing so well when I left him. She bought me cowboy boots. That night while sitting on a kerb drinking beer, she told me she had an abortion. My response wasn't angry or abusive but I did say that I considered it murder. 

I was 20 and even though I was a few years into atheism, I was still very much hardwired to think just as the Catholic Church taught me. Obviously, I felt bad that this person who I loved had experienced this and decided to read up on exactly what abortion was. I wish I could remember what I read now because those books helped me so much. I'm very much a pro-choice person and I'm ashamed of how my brain worked in the past. But, it's amazing what a bit of reading and actual facts will do. And maybe I could have told him that. Instead, I called him smelly. Yeah. I really did.

So, I'm done. I'm even calling off my last fight with Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He invented this awful thing so it's his problem. Just like stealing a joke, hating yourself so much that you send hate tweets to women and being a cunt is some other people's problems. I'm not looking in the sack anymore. Neither should you. In fact, stop reading this. If you have to look at anything Sir Tim's invention has to offer then look at @TwoWomenTravel and you will see something truly astounding, inspiring and tragically beautiful.

Sorry this isn't funny.


Monday, 8 August 2016

A Fringe Sell Out.

This year has seen the worst Edinburgh Fringe since 2007. It’s great that there are so few badly designed posters (practically none), there are no shuffling crowds to avoid and I’ve yet to get hassled by an over-happy foetus on stilts passive-aggressively threatening me with news of his play, but it’s still terrible. This year’s theme of the Fringe seems to be just existing. Walking around, doing nothing and just barely keeping things together. Why they decided to hold it in Lewisham is also a mystery.

The arrogance of being a relatively unsuccessful comedian and not doing the Edinburgh Fringe is atrocious. How fucking dare I not do the Fringe? Who the hell do I think I am? Last year was fun and the show did well so OBVIOUSLY I didn’t want a repeat of that and decided not to go. WHY? I lied to myself by saying I was going to work on something else. Something else? What else have I got? What else have any of us got? Nothing. I am not on Live at the Apollo and yet I decided not to do the Edinburgh Fringe. I’m not the host of The Graham Norton Show and yet I decided not to do the Edinburgh Fringe. I’m not “THE STAR OF” Mock The Week, 8 Out Of 10 Cats or Garden Rescue and yet I decided not to do the Edinburgh Fringe. I’ve not even been on Question Time. Name one comedian who hasn’t been on Question Time besides me? You can’t. And yet I decided to not do the Edinburgh Fringe. I’ve not even had an online misogynistic/racist breakdown or openly pretended that I’m transitioning just to get some attention and YET I decided to not do the Edinburgh Fringe. The gall. The arrogance. The utter egomania. And yet here I am, complaining about not going to the Edinburgh Fringe and being just as vain and pompous as any who are there and posting of near sell outs and how the internet was in to review them. I am pathetic.

And it’s not like the stand-up circuit is a lucrative alternative anymore. I’m lucky to get the gigs I do during any month, never mind August, but there’s no way I’m making a fortune by avoiding Edinburgh while all the real comedians are being one-starred to death at the Fringe. It’s hard on the circuit now. Hell, it’s hard for anyone. There’s not a single person I know outside comedy that doesn’t have two jobs to make ends meet and yet, here I am, fucking what little career I have left in a bin because I just felt like not doing Edinburgh! Years ago, I would mock my friends for having proper jobs. But not now. At least they’re doing something and going somewhere. Years go by and they get promoted while I avoid the ladder completely by poo-pooing Edinburgh. My friend Paul is a home security expert. He started his job around the same time I started mine and I remember thinking “People will always need laughter. Are locks really that important?” Turns out that door locks are the Michael McIntyre DVD of the home security world and, as a result, Paul is now successful enough to own a house, a car and a child. He’s even convinced me to think about getting a door lock. But, even he doesn’t rest on his laurels. Times are tough and, to make ends meet, Paul is also a bass player in a Queen tribute band playing 5-6 nights a week in provincial theatres around the UK. My friend Karl quit stand-up comedy to be a fitness instructor 10 years ago. At the time I thought “I can’t think of anything worse” but now he owns 6 very successful gyms and earns a fortune. Not that that’s enough for Karl. He knows how easy money comes and goes so he has a second job as a bass player in a Queen tribute band playing 5-6 nights a week in provincial theatres around the UK. When I left school, my friend John told me he wanted to join the church. I laughed in his stupid, religious face but I don’t laugh anymore because John is now a deacon employed by the Church of England and gets a free house and a car! Not only that, Deacon John has a second job as bass player in a Queen tribute band playing 5-6 nights a week in provincial theatres around the UK (not Sundays). My other friend John quit his band 25 years ago and I thought he was an idiot but now he makes about £20 million a year by being a silent partner in an operation by his former bandmates to sully his name by doing terrible musicals and feeding off the last remaining bits of flesh of their dead lead singer but even he knows that to make ends meet you’ve got little choice but to be a bass player in a Queen tribute band. Which he is. My mate… I dunno… let’s call him Kenny. Yeah, Kenny works as a guitarist in a Queen tribute band playing 5-6 nights a week in provincial theatres around the UK earning thousands every night but, look at Broken Britain, look at the times we live in. Even Kenny has a second job as bass player in a Queen tribute band playing 5-6 nights a week in provincial theatres around the Uk and I sit here, like Emperor Cunt doing fuck all squared and thinking that NOT going to the Edinburgh Fringe was a good idea. I’m a fucking idiot. I hate this. I hate it all. Please give me an hour at a dripping free fringe venue that’s in the middle of a fight with another free fringe venue. Anything. I just want to smell Edinburgh. I want to taste it. I want to taste its pain and its frustration and its disappointment. I want to cancel a show and burst into tears and meet someone who just sold out “again” and find out my accommodation doesn’t actually exist because at least while I was dying in Scotland, I’d be living. But NO. I decided to just choose a month long coma. Like a coward.

And then, in Manchester on Friday night (technically the first night of the Edinburgh Fringe), I died on stage for so long and to a maze of such grey silence. I could have been at the Fringe, performing every day and get better as a comedian. Every day, working on my act and my skills. But I said no. To those who said yes, I salute you. Have a great month no matter what. You’ll be on my mind always while I figure out what I thought August without the Fringe might be. I’d get another job but I can’t even play bass.


Saturday, 30 April 2016


If you work hard enough, sooner or later you'll receive the recognition you deserve. My first drama teacher, Lydia Grant, used to say to me every week: "You've got big dreams. You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying: in sweat". Every time she said that, I would sweat instantly and profusely. That's how much I wanted fame and how unhealthy I was. Sadly, after 6 years of studying and sweating at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts, I left and, like all my fellow pupils there, I didn't really do anything afterwards.

Well, nothing recognisable. Miss Grant had promised me fame and it never arrived. But I never gave up. Maybe recognition isn't important. Maybe the work is reward enough, I often tell myself. And, to be fair, I get a lot out of doing what I do. I'm very satisfied with the skill I have perfected over the years. And I have experienced tiny flashes of fame before and I hated it.

At a recent music festival, a man came up to me and said he listened to Vitriola (he didn't say he liked it, just that he listened to it). Then he asked if he could have an autograph. Not my autograph. Robin Ince's. A couple of years ago at a party, a BBC producer said they were really happy to see me as they had an idea for a Radio 4 series for me. It was very exciting and he certainly gave it an interesting pitch. Well, the first few minutes of the pitch were great but tailed off once the penny dropped that I wasn't Dave Gorman. Turns out beards really can fool people. And, of course, I have signed countless Angela's Ashes DVD's as well as numerous photographs of the successful actor Michael Legge. Photographs of a man who looks nothing like me. It still makes me smile to think that there's a huge fan out there with a pristine shooting script of the film Angela's Ashes signed by Frank McCourt, Robert Carlyle and me, rendering it worthless. 

I was on my way to Scotland the other day and, at King's Cross station, a pigeon did a huge almighty massive shit all over my little suitcase. I mean, it was only a pigeon yet it managed to absolutely cover my little suitcase in shit. Covered it. I soon found myself in a dark corner of the station, alone and on my knees scrubbing away to remove the mess and the stench. And that is exactly how I've always been recognised.

Until yesterday.

If you persevere, people will notice. I know that now. How long have I been doing what I do? Years. So very, very long. I remember starting out and being so nervous. Terrified. But I soon got confident. Sure, yes, I made many mistakes on the way. It's gone disastrously wrong a lot of times but I'm definitely way better than I used to be. I'm confident. And when people see that confidence, they respect it. And you. And if you persevere, people will notice. You got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is were you start paying...

On the metropolitan line going to Amersham yesterday, I asked a man to turn his loud music off that was blasting from his phone and he stared at me. For two seconds. A long time. Then he smiled and switched off his music and said "You again?"

Yes. That's right. That's how famous I am now. I'm the man who tells people to be quiet on public transport. So famous am I at that one thing that people have started to recognise me for it. Apparently, I "had a go" at him on a tube train a couple of years ago. Brilliant. I sat next to him and we talked. Because that's what I do. That's what I'm known for. I ask you once to switch your music off and I have a go at you. If I have to ask you twice, you're getting the lecture.

And this is my life now, I suppose. Fame. That's what I have now. I promise I won't let it change me. Really. I'm still going to be that normal, everyday, down to earth bloke that foams at the mouth if you so much as sniff on a train or make a fucking FaceTime call to a baby while sitting next to me in a quiet pub (WHY THE FUCK DO PEOPLE DO THAT???). No. I'll still be the regular Joe that I always was.

I'd like to thank Miss Grant for believing in me all those years ago. And thanks to @BrianFerry for dinner too.


Saturday, 23 April 2016

Arsehole Formally Known as David.

On Thursday, like so many of us, I put on my black armband and walked to the local florist. When the young woman who worked there asked if she could help, I wiped tears from my eyes and my throat cracked a lost yes. I wanted flowers. Purple flowers. They had to be purple. I wanted beautiful purple flowers. Roses. Morning Glory. Lavender. And I wanted them arranged lovingly into the shape of a name. The name of someone I've admired for so long, more than I could ever admire or love anyone. I wanted those flowers arranged into the name "Michael Legge". When the young florist asked why I wanted flowers in the shape of my own name, I asked her to sit down because I had some terrible news. Prince is dead. She understood immediately. One of the world's greatest songwriters, musicians and showmen had died. And what else could I do but make it all about me?

When I looked on the BBC website and read the news that Michael Legge's Prince had died, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and exploit him. I looked through my entire collection of Prince albums (Hits 1 & 2, The Best of Prince and The Very Best of Prince) and tweeted about my favourite songs, like a normal person would do: Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret and Purple Rain, to name just three. As well as rarer cuts such as When Doves Cry. But it just felt pointless. A great man is dead and no one knows that I met him and we have a strong connection, even though I haven't and we don't.

We all mourn in different ways and my way is to take the focus away from the deceased and put it directly on me. Through tears I tweeted Tim Burton saying how sorry I was that he had lost the composer of the Batman soundtrack, making sure I put a full stop in front of his Twitter handle so everyone could see what I wrote and maybe think that I might know Tim Burton. I don't know Tim Burton. I don't even like him. But that's hardly the point. I am the point. Then I tweeted that, like Prince, I too don't eat meat, thereby letting the world know that a torch had been passed from the dead rock star directly to me and, as I was alive, I would carry on his great work of eating vegetables. Then I did the only thing that I could do when someone famous dies and you're a manipulative piece of shit: I wrote to Prince's estate asking if I could attend the funeral, read out a memorial to me in front of the grieving, take some selfies of me beside dead Prince and then defecate into his open mouth. They respectfully wrote back saying they understood exactly how I felt. Michael Legge's Prince meant so much to so many people and it was only natural to want to read a thing about yourself at his funeral, take some fun pics of you and the corpse and then to defecate into his mouth. It's completely normal. But sadly, so many people had already insisted that they attend and shit in his mouth that they just couldn't make room for anymore. Elton John, Kim Kardashian, Kate Smurthwaite. So many people wanting to show their disrespects and vulture the remains of the dead for money, fame and Instagram. I am grateful to Prince's estate for their understanding and their promise of one of Prince's feet if anything is left of him after the funeral. I'll Snapchat the foot as soon as it arrives so please link to me, yeah?

Lots of people tweeted about Prince with respect, saying they love his music and what a great loss his passing is. And lots tweeted about themselves, just like I wanted to. But none of them came close to the same desperation and neediness that I felt since his death and all the opportunities it presented. I hoped to find a kindred spirit. Someone who loved exploiting the dead as much as I did. Thankfully, I met that kindred spirit. What helps us through the grieving process more than connecting with someone who feels as you do? I am so grateful then to David Walliams and his deeply moving, thoughtful and manipulative tweet: "Thank you so much @bryanferry for inviting me to have dinner with #Prince a few years ago. One of the most unforgettable nights of my life".

That really happened. In actual real life. And I thank him for it. I thank him for letting me know that he met Prince. I thank him for letting me know he is friends with Bryan Ferry. And I thank him for sharing with us all that it was one of the most unforgettable nights of his life, despite him forgetting to say what made it so incredibly special. One can only dream of what could have happened that lovely, unforgettable evening at Bryan Ferry's fox-free mansion with Prince dining with those two Cameron-supporting cunts. Delicious food served on the finest platters while Bryan says "Prince, do you like me?" and David says "Prince, what is Sheena Easton really like?" and Bryan says "Prince, seriously, do you like me?" and David says "Prince, can you play the guitar in real life?" and Bryan says "Prince, please like me" and David says "Prince, computer says no" and Prince says "I've told you 18 times, I'm Lenny Kravitz. You're both being racist". Unforgettable.

I am humbled at David's complete lack of humility. He wasn't alone in being the online corpse fucker the second news broke of the tragic and untimely death of Michael Legge's Prince but his words are the ones that have stayed with me the longest. I will look at his tweet every single day for the rest of my life because it said everything that I wanted to, but mainly because it's hilarious that Bryan Ferry has still not acknowledged it. My friend said it is the single worst thing that anyone has ever posted on the Internet, an achievement in itself. But she is clearly jealous, petty and correct. David, just like I tried so hard to do, saw his opportunity and exploited it. And as any Prince fan knows: if Prince stood for anything, it was exploitation.


Monday, 22 February 2016

Take It Off

I hope you'll forgive me for this. I don't ever really write things like this but, sorry, but something awful happened to me on my way home last night. Sorry.

I was standing on the train platform and a woman came along and stood beside me. She was too close but not close enough for me to make a fuss of it. I moved a few steps away and pretty soon she moved a few steps closer. Sorry. It wasn't that awful... It's hard to explain. It just felt like my space was being invaded for no reason. Maybe it wasn't. Sorry. I just felt a bit awkward, I suppose. I definitely suddenly became too aware of how short my trousers were. Sorry.

Then the train arrived. I was totally relieved because it meant I could get on and get away from this woman. But everything went wrong as soon as the train came to a stop. I held my hand out to press the OPEN button on the door but she got there first and she smiled at me as she said "After you". Like an idiot, I said thank you and walked through the door. IDIOT! Everyone knows that if a woman holds a door open for you and you agree to walk through then that's a contract. A contract you've agreed to. I knew she was creepy but, I swear to God, I thought she was just being nice. Sorry. So I took a seat and she sat next to me.

I looked out the window and pretended to ignore how she was just staring and smiling at me. I mean, I thought she was just letting me on to a train. I thought the only reason she noticed me was because I was a fellow passenger who wanted to make the same journey she did. But no. She wanted more. Sorry. I was on there with her for 4 stops and she made herself clear at every moment. 

I asked her to stop touching me but she kept reminding me that if I was going all the way to Lewisham then I'd be better off being looked after by someone like her. Someone older, someone that knew the area. I sometimes thought she was right. Sorry. Idiot. Sorry. But it didn't feel right. We got to London Bridge and she started kissing me. I asked her to stop but she told me that if she hadn't pressed the OPEN button on the door then I'd never even have got on the fucking train in the first place so I owed her. Going through St Johns was horrible. Sorry. But it was there that I decided that enough was enough. No one should have to suffer the things she thought were totally normal. She thought it was acceptable. I'm sorry. I got off at Lewisham and refused to even acknowledge her. I went straight to the police. They also brought in the transport police. I sat down with all of them and I told them exactly what I've told you.

Now I'm legally obliged to record six albums with her. How does any of that make sense? 

Thursday, 11 February 2016

On Rocky Ground.

As you may or may not know, this week I have been taking on the considerable might of comedians who box and I HAVE BEEN KICKING THEIR ASSES (from the safety of behind my laptop, I'm not an idiot). I made a joke, went too far, my fault. But I haven't forgotten what the money raised from the boxing night went to: a very young boy who is ill and needs money to get get better.

It's important that you read this.

His illness is time sensitive so money is needed right now. The charity is halfway through to it's target so donate right now. £1, £10, £500. Anything. I need new recording equipment for podcasting that will cost me £100. I won't get it now because I gave the £100 to Care For Kian because podcasting equipment isn't that important. Ask anyone who has heard Vitriola. What I'm saying is, instead of buying an extra pint tonight or paying for drugs to give to a prositute patient of yours so she might sleep with you (if you're George Osborne's brother), why not just give the money here?

Just do it right now. Then you'll feel great about yourself.

Help raise more money by helping arrange a benefit night. I want to arrange a kissing night where I can beat all the Fight For Kian boxers at kissing. I shall kiss each and every one of them for at least 10 minutes each to see who is the best at kissing. I will easily win. Milo McCabe has already said yes, which is great because he's the boxer that looks most like a beautiful woman. That said, I think there were some women boxing too, so even better. but mainly I just want to get off with Eliott Steel as he's young and I can prove I've still got it. Plus, we'd raise money for a worthy cause and Kian could get better and stronger and then come round and punch me for making fun of his boxer friends.

Surely that's worth your donation?

Donate. Like. Share. Do it right now.

Click here: http://www.kapipal.com/caringforkian

Tuesday, 29 December 2015


In the UK, a child is reported missing every 3 minutes. Some go missing and are never reported, certainly not by the media, and the reason will disgust you. Take 4 year old Binh Ly Cao, for instance. Ever heard of her? There has been no report of her in any newspaper in the country. Not one. No TV report, no radio, not even a mention on the internet. Her parents have yet to even inform the police that their own daughter has been missing for over a month.

I was at Costa Coffee in Lewisham Shopping Centre on the 22nd November. I was just sitting there drinking tea, minding my own business and trolling on Twitter when a young family came along and sat at the table next to me. The little girl was making some noise so one of the parents gave her an iPad to play with. The parents continued to ignore their child and just talked to one another while she played games with the volume on full. Right next to me. In a public place. There I was trying to relax with some peppermint tea while calling @Glinner a boring moral compass for idiots, but all I could hear was crappy kids music and beeps and whistles all loudly pushed through a horribly tinny speaker and yet the parents just kept on talking to each other as if they could hear nothing. I mean, why does this ALWAYS happen? Fine, let your kids have an iPad. There's a mute button on the iPad though, just letting you know in case you give the tiniest flying fuck about anyone else on this planet besides your awful selves. Better yet, why not actually give your kid some attention? I mean, I know that an iPad is an important part of modern parenting, in the same way that beating was an important part of my parents' upbringing, but it doesn't have to be permanent. You can sometimes switch the iPad off and talk to your kid. 

I tried to be patient. I even tried getting the parents' attention to ask them to turn the iPad down but they never looked away from their own conversation. They certainly didn't look at me or the other people they were annoying around them and they definitely didn't look at their child. As long as the iPad was making BEEP-BOOP-WHIZZ noises then they didn't have to care about anything. So, I picked their daughter up and left.

I just put my hand around her mouth, lifted her up and walked out of Costa Coffee. The iPad was still on the table making irritating noises and the parents didn't notice a thing. I just abducted a child and walked out.

When I got home with Binh, I got worried. I realised I had done something stupid. I had taken a child away from the iPad that had raised her. She was scared, confused and angry. I only wanted to steal a child to teach two utterly thoughtless cunts a lesson but as soon as she got into my house she just kept screaming for her iPad. "I want my iPad", she screamed. "I WANT MY IPAD!". I told her I didn't have an iPad and she told me to stop being stupid. "Everyone has an iPad", she insisted. But I don't. I have a Wii but I'm not even sure if it works anymore. I have Netflix and a plastic mounted fish that dances when you press a button, but no iPad. This made her scream more. My dog wondered what the fuss was all about and came in from the kitchen. As soon as Binh saw the dog, she stopped screaming. She actually looked happy. Happy like she'd found her iPad. "There we go", I said to her. "This is Jerk. Why don't you go over and pet her and introduce yourself?"

"My name is Binh", she said to Jerk and the pair sat together while Binh patted Jerk gently and Jerk lay her head on Binh's lap. I showed Binh how to get Jerk to sit, stay and lie down. The time flew by and soon Binh was fast asleep on the sofa next to a snoring Jerk. I put a blanket over them both and tip-toed off to bed.

I lay there flicking through every news website on my phone. There was nothing about Binh's disappearance. Maybe they have to wait 24 hours? Is that just for the films though? I couldn't figure it out why there was no mention of an abducted child anywhere. Then I slunk to sleep.

I awoke to screams. "IPAD!", I heard. "IPAD! IPAD! IPAD!" I bolted downstairs to see Binh in tears, shaking. "WHERE IS MY IPAD?", she demanded. Suddenly, I was absolutely terrified of this very small 4 year old girl. Even Jerk had decided to go to the kitchen to hide from her. I calmly reminded Binh that I didn't have an iPad. This made her more furious. "I need my iPad", she howled. "I miss it". 

I felt awful. I'd taken a child away from its iPad. What have I done? A child should always be with their own iPad. I mean, parents are probably better for a child but if the parents have absolutely no interest then an iPad is all a child has in this world. Who was I to deny this child that right? "OK", I said. "Let's go get an iPad"...

Look, I know buying an iPad is the coward's way out but after all that screaming, what else could I do? I had to buy Binh an iPad. Just to keep her quiet. Anyway, her parents will be frantic about her and the press will go ballistic trying to find her and I can leave her in Wetherspoons or somewhere and she'll be found and I can sell the iPad. It's only temporary, I thought. I asked her what she did with her iPad. "Play games", she said. "Angry Birds". 

"I know where the real angry birds live", I said. 

And with that we took a temporary detour to the park so that I could introduce Binh to the parakeets of Lewisham, the loudest, angriest birds anywhere. They're truly amazing. We stood under a tree listening to them screech at everyone who passed by. She loved them. Actual exotic birds living in Lewisham! They're Asian, sometimes African or Central/South American but these ones were let loose in Lewisham and they thought, if we have to live here, we're taking over. When sirens aren't blaring, the parakeets are all you can hear around here. And the closer you get to a tree full of parakeets the more screaming they do. Binh and I discovered this to our amusement and spent far too long tiptoeing up to trees, hearing a billion squawks and running away again. It was fun. And we hung out in the park for so long that the iPad was forgotten about. At least for that day.

I mean, "I want my iPad" soon became the sentence I heard most every single day. But that hasn't been the only change in my life. Food has been the most difficult thing, really. She eats meat and I'm not going to argue with her over that one. She's been through enough. There's plenty of time to give her animal rights leaflets when she's reunited with her iPad and I'm writing to her from jail. Now isn't the time. So I've been cooking bacon and sausages and chicken or whatever for her and then a separate meal for me. I've only been a child abductor for a few days and I'm already turning into my mother! I thought clothes were going to be hard but it was easy. Binh and I have been shopping a lot and she picks her own things to wear. I only say no when it's too stupid (I had to buy her shoes for walking in the park and she picked out ballet slippers). She's great with her clothes. She's got style. I mean, it's a crazy style but it's definitely a style. Sometimes she dresses like a 4 year old Diane Keaton but mainly she dresses like Paddington. I'm not sure she was allowed to pick her own clothes before and I can totally understand why but, she's not my kid, so I just let her. She loves hats.

It took me a while to figure it out but, anytime she would cry for an iPad, what she really meant was that she wanted to be entertained. Amused. So when the tantrums started, we'd play with Jerk or watch Frozen (I have seen that film 18 times now. Seriously) or go out and play or stay in and play games. My house is full of games now. 

Also, Binh saw a parakeet in the garden so has been trying to lure one into the house by leaving bread trails from the garden into the house. So far, it has only resulted in Jerk eating a trail to the garden. But I was so impressed with her ingenuity that I got bird feeders that actually stick to the windows. Now we can watch parakeets and hear them scream while I'm washing the dishes and she dries them, something she surprisingly loves.

Recently, we've got into talking. Big conversations. Mainly about things I don't know anything about. Like, "Why is there a moon?" and "What is Ireland?". All sorts of questions. And we try to figure them out together. Or make up stories based on what we think the answer might be. I love talking to Binh. It's better than talking to anyone else I know, that's for sure. Like everyone I know, Binh knows nothing. But unlike them, she wants to know everything. There are four bags of astronaut poo on the moon. Neil Armstrong and his friends left them there. I know that because Binh and I found it out together.

Of course, Binh needs more company than just me. She needs other 4 year olds. So I've been taking her to pre-school day nursery. Three days a week, we get up early, I check the news for any mention of Binh and we go off to nursery. At first, I was really nervous leaving her there. In case she said something. But now, I hate dropping her off because I miss her. Two weeks ago, the nursery had a Christmas Tea Party. Parents turned up and hung out with each other while the kids played. It was very cute. Soon some of the kids got restless and started looking for their parents' attention. All they got was an iPad that they played with loudly while their mums and dads talked. I saw Binh roll her eyes and I think I felt, for the very first time in my life, pride.

The whole change in me has left me with this incredible love of kids making noise. Not iPad noise or loud noise. Just noise. Last week, Binh and I went to see The Peanuts Movie and I was a total dick about it. I told her how you had to be quiet during the film (which is right) and not talk. Sit quietly, I said. Then I worried that she wouldn't like the film. It wasn't that funny. Every joke was a bit dull. And yet she laughed at every single one. Not just her, but every child in the cinema. I heard kids cheering and laughing and asking so many questions and it was lovely. Made it more communal. Like we were all watching together. I saw Carol the other day and no one wanted to talk to me during it. Carol isn't the same without Binh.

I counted the days since she last said "I want my iPad". For a full week before Christmas Day, she didn't say it once. The iPad stopped but the questions continued. The day before Christmas Eve, I cooked her chicken and veg for dinner and a tofu-based stir-fry for me. For the first time, she asked me why we eat different food. I told her I didn't eat meat. She asked why. I didn't want to answer. She's only 4. So I said "I'll show you why tomorrow".

On Christmas Eve, Binh and I went to Surrey Docks Farm, an urban farm in London. We petted piglets, fed chickens and mooed back at cows. It was a completely brilliant day. The piglets were our favourites. But Binh still had questions. "But why don't you eat meat?" Oh, boy. 

"See the pigs and cows and chickens? They're meat".

It was a much quieter trip home. It's a lot to take in when you're 4. It's hard to love pigs and pork sausages. You have to make a choice and choices aren't really what being 4 is all about.

When we got home, Binh was happier than ever to see Jerk. She promised to look after Jerk forever. While they hugged, I went upstairs to wrap Binh's Christmas presents. Silly things. And an iPad. It was Christmas Eve and not a word about her on the news. She deserved her iPad back.

We sang carols as we walked up to my spare room (now Binh's bedroom). She picked a book to read and I read to her while she settled into bed. Even though she was falling asleep, she still had questions. "Can we go back and see the piglets?" I told her we could go back as often as she wanted. She told me that she didn't want any meat for a while. I acted like that was fine but really I was so happy I could have yodelled. "I don't want turkey tomorrow". 

"Good", I said. "I haven't got any". I had to promise three more times that we would go back and see that the piglets were OK. I told her that I thought she was really clever and I was so proud of her. "What would you like from Santa?", I asked. 

"Not an iPad", she said.

I kissed her on the forehead and said merry Christmas and then, just as she was falling asleep, she changed my life. "Merry Christmas", she said. "I love you".

I left her room, closed the door and I felt... I felt Christmas. In every part of my body. Especially my heart. I felt Christmas.

Luckily, I got other presents for her too. If she feels she doesn't need an iPad, then there's no point giving her an iPad. She's completely amazing. I wish her parents could see Binh the way I do. Funny, clever, sweet, dresses like a brilliant idiot. Surely they can't face 2016 without her. It's only a few days until New Year and I hope they get in contact. I'm sure they will get in contact. I'm sure they will. Because I sent them one of her toes this morning. She's nice and all but, at the end of the day, she's the child of two cunts and I won't have THAT in my house.