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:

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.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Last Night.

A friend of mine recently told me about Aldi Malibu. She said to me "Do you know what's lovely? Aldi Malibu". We both laughed but she was serious. She said it was a lovely drink and she even made a cake with it and I said "Brilliant. That's brilliant" but I didn't mean it because to me it sounded horrible. I mean, Malibu is horrible so surely Aldi Malibu is going to be even worse. I told her that I was really looking forward to buying a bottle but I was lying. There was no way I was ever going to buy a bottle of Aldi Malibu. Not going to happen. But I couldn't stop thinking about Aldi Malibu for a week. Could not get it off my mind. She's a very intelligent person so why would she drink Aldi Malibu? She's not an Aldi Malibu person at all. Not in the slightest. If anything, she's the opposite of an Aldi Malibu person. If you met her, you'd think that immediately. You'd think there's no way that person would ever touch Aldi Malibu. And if she was in your house and she asked for a drink and all you had was Aldi Malibu, you'd just tell her you had nothing in and take her out to a nice bar somewhere. You would never know that she liked Aldi Malibu and I couldn't stop thinking about it so I went out and bought a bottle. I wasn't just walking past an Aldi and thinking "Oh, I know what would be funny. Buying a bottle of Aldi Malibu". No. I didn't even know where an Aldi was. I had to look one up, find it and go there especially for no other reason than to buy a bottle of Aldi Malibu. I made a special trip. I went out especially, bought a bottle of Aldi Malibu and brought it back. And you know what? It was quite nice. 

But that's not really what this is about. This is about last night. I bumped into a guy called Jermaine. I don't know him at all but we got on pretty much immediately which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, is pretty much unheard of. It never happens. But Jermaine just seemed one of those positive people that, I dunno, you just get swept up in their positivity. We were having a brilliant time. I couldn't tell you if we had anything in common because it wasn't about that. It was just two people meeting at the right time at the right place, I suppose. Honestly, we just clicked. I'm normally straight out the door when it comes to talking with a stranger but Jermaine isn't like that. He put me at my ease. In no time at all I was having a laugh and I liked him. Then he said something a bit weird. He said "We don't have to take our clothes off to have a good time". 

I didn't respond at first because it was just such a bizarre thing to say. Not bizarre, but inappropriate. I mean, in as much as us taking our clothes off had never been mentioned. It just wasn't on the cards. At all. I felt completely awkward now and felt like leaving but Jermaine clocked that I had taken things all wrong. He said "We can dance and party all night".

Fuck. I felt terrible. Why had I just leapt to that stupid conclusion, I thought. Jermaine's a nice guy. When he said "We don't have to take our clothes off to have a good time", he meant that guys like us don't have to go around chasing women and being dicks to justify ourselves. You can have a good time without using someone. You can hang out with your mates and, like Jermaine said, dance and party all night. And I like that. I like that a lot. You can just have a good time by having a giggle with your friends. I suppose that might sound a bit innocent to some people but I genuinely took to what Jermaine had to say. I don't know why I'd been so weird before, even homophobic. Stupid. Especially as I don't have a problem dancing with a man. It's just dancing and having fun, isn't it? I get what he meant about taking clothes off now (he didn't mean us together) and if he fancied a dance, I'd gladly dance with him. He's a friend and it's a laugh. "We can dance and party all night" and he was right. Then he said "and drink some cherry wine".

I looked at him for a second too long before I realised I was staring. "Yes.", I said. "We could drink some... Some cherry wine". I'll be honest with you, I've never heard of cherry wine and, to me, it sounds disgusting. It sounds like the name of a wine someone would give to their home-brew wine when it had gone wrong. But he said it was lovely and I said "Brilliant. That's brilliant" but I didn't mean it... Well, not at first. 

You see, I started thinking about Aldi Malibu. When I first heard about Aldi Malibu I was nearly sick in my own mouth but when I tried it, it was fine. Maybe this is all happening again? I never would have drunk Aldi Malibu before but I listened to a friend and just decided to be a bit more open minded. A bit more adventurous. And it paid off. Despite one tiny second of weirdness (probably on my part), my night with Jermaine was going great so why fuck it up by saying no to some cherry wine? If Jermaine likes it, I should at least give it a go. "It's my round", I said. "Some cherry wines, yeah?" Jermaine agreed and I went off to the bar.

The barman asked what the fuck I was talking about. I mean, I'd said some cherry wine to him 4 times now, I didn't know any other way of ordering it. He said he never heard of it and said it sounded rank so I suggested to Jermaine that we just got a couple more pints but he was determined that we got some cherry wine. Right. Well, I thought we'd best go to the bar round the corner. "Or we could go back to mine? I have a bottle there", he said but I just couldn't let Jermaine down. He'd been kind enough to me to want to share some cherry wine with me so I was determined to find some in a bar nearby and not ruin his night. "Or I have a bottle at mine", he said again. That's Jermaine. A lovely, kind man. But some cherry wine had become my responsibility. I had to find some and share in this bit of Jermaine's life by not ruining the night and just ending up going back to his. 

Every pub we went to just laughed in my face. "What the fuck is cherry fucking wine?", they said. Of course, I didn't know. It was Jermaine's thing. That's what he wanted to share with me. He'd sat through my stories of living in Lewisham and photos of my dog and me telling him that I used to know Jimmy Carr, all those things I shared with him and the one thing that in his life that he wanted me to experience, the one thing, was some cherry wine. I couldn't even do that for him. After being laughed at by bar staff time and time again, I just gave up. I faced Jermaine and apologised. This had been a great night and, although I find it hard to make friends, I genuinely felt that I had made one tonight. The only thing that would have made it perfect is for the two of us, great mates - good lads, to sit down and banter over a couple of glasses of some cherry wine. I tried, I failed. "There's always the bottle at my house", he said.

I felt like a prize cunt walking to Jermaine's flat. I'm sure there are loads of places that sell some cherry wine but because I never try anything new, I didn't even know where to start looking for it. He told me not to worry. Well, he would, wouldn't he? 

When we got to his, he immediately got a bottle out and poured two glasses. "Some cherry wine", he said, proudly. "Uh-huh".

I raised my glass to him and reminded him again of what a great night it had been and when I said cheers what I really meant was "thank you". Then I smiled and took a sip of some cherry wine.

It was fucking disgusting. Like sugary sick or lighter fluid with a Black Jack in it. Absolutely horrible. The worst thing I've ever put in my mouth. I thought I was going to spit it out immediately but as soon as I saw Jermaine's smiling face, I swallowed some cherry wine and said "Delicious". He was so happy I liked it. So happy that I instantly became horribly obliged to take another sip. If anything, it tasted even worse. Like someone had put a Berocca in their piss and given it to me a month later. And when Jermaine told me he'd been keeping the bottle for a special occasion just like this one, I took another sip. Holding back my own vomit. And another sip and another sip and another horrible sip. Each sip worse than the last. Like I had just drunk some semen-flavoured Vimto and the only thing I had to wash it down with was Blu-Tac. I took the last sip and put the glass down. When Jermaine picked up the bottle again, I put my hand over the empty glass.

"What's this?", said Jermaine. I just said "No".

"What do you mean no?", he said, looking sad.

I was nervous. I was. But I thought we were friends enough that I could just say I didn't like it. I didn't like some cherry wine. Actually... I didn't know if we were friends or not. Maybe I could just laugh and say "Just the one glass for me. Too much of a good thing and all that"... He'd never listen to that. That's not how Jermaine and I were. All night we'd been drinking and laughing and sharing... Stopping now would seem weird. I just looked at him, silently. Lost for words. Like I always am around new people.

Jermaine sighed and put the bottle down. He looked at me. His eyes told me that everything was OK. We just looked at each other for well over a minute. Silent. Staring. Not uncomfortable... But not good. Then Jermaine laughed and slapped my arm. "It's only 11", he said. 

Yes. It was just 11. Not that late. But late enough. "Not sure I can dance and party all night now though", I half-laughed. 

"No", said Jermaine. "That time's gone now. Dancing. Partying. All night. No. Not now. But there is the other option..."

I waited for him to finish but instead he just looked at me. As if it was up to me to suggest something. As if it was up to me to say where the night would go. As if it was up to me to make the next move. I got nervous. Eventually, I spoke.

"Other option?"

"Yes", he said. "You know the other option".

After a pause, I replied. "I... I don't know the other option. I mean, it's only 11. There are loads of optio..."

"You do know", said Jermaine, his voice now stronger yet his eyes now not falling on me. "We spoke of it earlier".

I was baffled. "Watching Evil Dead?"

"No, Michael. Not watching The Evil Dead. The other option".

My mouth tried to make words but my brain refused them. What other option? What did Jermaine mean? If it was too late to dance and party all night and I didn't want any more cherry wine, what was there? Finally, he spoke and put me out and in of my misery.

"Take our clothes off", said Jermaine.

I laughed nervously and Jermaine repeated "Take our clothes off". 

How had we got ourselves here? For the first time in my life, I decided that I needed to get out there and try new things but not this. Not this. Never this. It all started with wondering why my friend likes Aldi Malibu and it's ended up here, in a grotty one bedroom flat with a middle-aged man saying we should get naked. I liked Jermaine and maybe he thought this was the normal end of a normal night for him but it wasn't what I wanted. It's gone too far. I looked him in the eye and said "No".

"I understand", sighed Jermaine. "Anyway, there's always some cherry wine".

I took my shoes off. I didn't want to but the idea of another glass of sugar-sick was too much to bear. I lifted my jumper over my head and then took my hat off. It was an awkward order but I was nervous and not thinking. Jermaine smiled as he undressed. Somehow, his stare and his smile made it easier to look at his naked cock than look him in the eye. Soon I was completely without clothes. 

Jermaine looked so happy. The two of us just feet apart, him staring at my body, me not knowing where to look. I waited for him to make his move. My mind completely understood what was to come. I waited. I waited because he made me wait. Waiting while he stared. Waiting and waiting. Waiting for what seemed like 15 minutes because it was 15 minutes. "So... Now what?", I said.

"Nothing", Jermaine replied. "Just this".

"What? Just this?"

"Yes", said Jermaine. "Just this. This is nice".

A minute of silence went by.

"Seriously, just this?"

"Yes", said Jermaine. 

"Us just standing here with our clothes off. That's it?"

"Yes. I like this".

"But we're not doing anything. And you still have your socks on".

"I could take them off?"

"I don't care. This is just stupid. We're just two men standing together completely naked, well one of us is completely naked, in a room doing fuck all".

"I'm having a good time. Uh-huh".

"It's pathetic. You haven't even taken a sip of some cherry wine".

"No. I just poured that glass to make you think I'd drink it. I hate the stuff".

"Right. Fuck you. Goodbye".

I lifted Jermaine's glass and threw some cherry wine in his face. It burned through his eyes and he screamed while I got dressed and left.

And that's what I get for trying something new. For trusting people. The next day I got a DM from a friend asking "Did Jermaine try any of his shit on you last night?" Apparently he's been doing this since the '80's. He gives people cherry wine and it's so disgusting that he reckons people will just take their clothes off in front of him rather than have a second glass and I'm the first person that's ever fallen for it. Ever. Jermaine, if you're reading this, you're a sick cunt. Get some help because you fucking need it. And Kate, my lovely friend Kate, can I just say thank you. You're a true friend. You wanted me to try something new and you did it for no other reason than you thought I'd like it. You wanted me to try something new and I'm so, so grateful for that and your friendship. You said Aldi Malibu was lovely so I listened to my friend and I gave it a go. And you were right. 

This status update is sponsored by ALDI. Click below to find out more about Aldi Malibu and other great items at low prices. ALDI - Spend a little. Live a lot.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

A Moment In Life.

To find beauty in your own solitude takes bravery. So rare that we would ever hear the song of a bird first thing in the morning and then ask ourselves why we cannot match its perfection. If we dared look at how all that is around us is greater than our dreams, would our spirits not just wither? Perhaps soar? The chance too great to take. Our streets and cars and jobs and devices and our wants and must haves... How can we compare these to a flower in bloom? Can I let nature remind me of my nothingness? I cannot. For I am a coward.

I awoke in Kavos yesterday and it was time to say farewell. Before my coach arrived, I had but a moment to gaze upon the sea once more. It was sunrise and I walked to the jetty to have the waves beneath me and the majesty of the sun awakening before me. As I progressed across the old, wooden jetty, I was gripped by a fear. I am alone. Nature is all that surrounds me, with a song that I could never match. What do I do in this life? Where do I go in this world? I cannot face these thoughts. I stop, barely feet and inches onto the jetty's long invitation to revel in the ocean and to join it as the sun insists its wonder. I could walk to the very end of the jetty... But I am a coward.

Not all men are as I.

One sole figure stands at the jetty's end. He too looks at the sun. But he can see it rising perfectly where my sight of it is blocked by trees and villas. I have but a low tide beneath my feet where he has the ocean. I look at him and see all that I am not. A man alone and unafraid. Far out and content. Nature above and below, a man facing his inner self and all that this world can give us. I look at him and I smile. At least there is one such as he. Brave. Connected. Beautiful.

As these thoughts entered my mind, I saw him get his cock out of his pants and photograph it.

I am never coming back here.

My new show, TELL IT LIKE IT IS, STEVE, will be at the Edinburgh Fringe from 6th to the 30th August at The Stand Comedy Club 2. Get tickets here: