Visiting Mum

My Mum lives in a care-home because she has early onset Alzheimer’s, a cruel form of a cruel disease that goes after people under 65. This can be particularly tricky because the sufferers are often still in their prime with highly-responsible jobs and dependents. Mum was a nursery school headteacher, and I was still at school and my sisters still at university, when she began asking us “Have you eaten enough?” several times an hour. Visiting Mum really is the least I can do and at the third time of asking I hopped on the train from London to Birmingham, and then from Birmingham to far-flung Rowley Regis, to see my mother.


Mum, July ’16.

Two and a half hours later when I strolled into Mum’s grey – but excellent – care-home I could immediately tell she was in a great mood. She recognised me instantly, smiled broadly, and waved in her signature manic way when her jewellery – a collection of ‘New Age’ type stones found in tourist shops in Cornwall and Celtic metalwork – clicks and clacks like a little maraca.

“Hello Mum,” I said.

“Hello!” came the reply.

If still physically possible one of the most important things to do when visiting a loved one in a care-home is to get out of there as quickly as possible. The other patients wander around and stare at you and it smells like miscellaneous cleaning products. I grabbed Mum and we shot off around the corner to a cafe which is more like a Little Chef. As we were walking along, her little legs a blur of activity, we caught up on lost time.

“So how have you been?” I asked.

“Well thanks!”

“What have you been doing?”

“Oh just, you know…just going to the what-not.”

“Oh yeah, same,” I replied.

We got to the cafe and ordered two cups of tea, a slice of lemon meringue for me and, after minutes of furtive deliberation, involving pointing at different cakes and fingering the wrapping of the various bars on offer, a caramel shortbread for Mum. We sat down as she rubbed her hands incessantly, creating a pleasant dry and scratchy sound. I had recently enjoyed both series of the excellent “Catastrophe” on Channel 4 and thought this could be a fruitful conversational boulevard.

“So what is your favourite sitcom Mum?”

“Lemon flavour.”

Quite content with merely being in one another’s company, we sat in silence for a while, although the silence was frequently punctuated by Mum humming “A Hard Day’s Night” under her breath because we had sang it together earlier and it had obviously lodged itself in her brain in the same way “we need more bacon” and “we need more Innocent smoothie” had in the great bacon and smoothie stockpiling of ’11, when our fridge resembled that of a tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist preparing for a nuclear winter.

Mum and I

Mum and I, February ’16.

After approximately an hour of sitting in the cafe, which included me frequently tapping her tea-cup to implore her to drink it, we decided to call it a day. We walked along the run-down road that leads to the home and arrived back in roughly 10 minutes. Because Mum was in one of those good moods that anyone who has a loved one with Alzheimer’s will recognise as bittersweet, I foolishly tried to capitalise. Rather than depositing Mum back at the home as is my usual modus operandi, be I on my own or with other members of the family, I waddled after her into the home so that I could stuff my cheeks with some quality time.

On return to Mum’s little room she disappeared into the toilet for about ten minutes. I messed around with her CD player which seemed to be intent on playing at whatever volume it so wished. When she came creeping out of the toilet she was muttering under her breath about random things and Karen, another former teacher at the home with whom Mum has bonded.

Earlier on in the day when Mum was stood in the doorway of her room, as I helped put her lavender fleece on, a slightly emaciated hand shot into vision and touched Mum’s shoulder. Mum turned to see where the hand had come from to see Karen stood there, beaming. Mum waved and said “Hello!” and they smiled at each other like two children on their first day of school who have just found someone they know they are going to be friends with. I suppose every time they bump into each other on their little expeditions around the bottom floor of the home they are struck with that breathless excitement that comes from meeting someone you instantly really like for the first time.

“Shall we go through to the living room?” I said.

“OK,” she said, although I really could have said anything. The inexplicable and stealthy turn for the worse had happened.

I ushered her towards the living room with my hand on the small of her back, feeling her stegosaurus-esque spine which once split her swimming costume on a water-slide in Devon, and caught the eye of one of the young care-workers, Kelly.

“I think I’m going to head off,” I said.

“OK,” she replied, “do you want to come over here Jane?”

Mum drifted towards the young woman.

“Bye Mum!” I said, giving her an unreciprocated hug and kissing the top of her head,”Can you let me out?” I then asked  Kelly.

She walked me down the dark corridor and punched in the code. The door swung open and suddenly there was Mum like a pale apparition.

“No Mum, you’re staying here!” I said, smiling.

“Ah OK, am I?”

“Come on Jane,” chimed in Kelly, linking Mum by the arm, “let’s go.”

“Bye Mum!” I said, and the door closed softly. I walked down the stairs, fighting back the slightly tumultuous feeling in my stomach, and reflected on the last two hours. Other than the dicey final ten minutes it had been a success and well worth the journey. I decided that I had been coasting towards a resounding 3-0 victory with 2 minutes remaining but the ‘keeper had switched off and let in a dirty consolation goal from an unnecessary corner. It does mar the victory somewhat but three points are three points and you would have taken it beforehand.

You have to laugh, really, because it is just life, but that doesn’t mean you don’t sometimes feel like howling at the moon: “MUUUMMMMM! Where are you?! Come back!”

*Names changed.




When My Friend’s Girlfriend’s Phone Got Stolen

Thursday last week, a rather large group of friends and I went careering down the Kilburn High Road to an establishment that was doing two for one cocktails. It’s a great deal and they taste simply wonderful. At one point in the evening, a balding gentleman sat down on the table next to us  and began repeatedly asking, quite insistently: “Is this seating taken?” We all nodded in approval, too caught up in the warm, fuzzy feeling of tipsiness and atmospheric lighting.

It is the 21st Century after all, so we soon got that irresistible urge to document the evening in case we forgot; or more likely, so we could say crassly to everyone else we know “Hey, look, we have a life! Look how great this is!” As such, we asked the aforementioned gentleman to take a photo of us. He, as most people in that situation would do, obliged. Through a forced smile and that faint feeling of intrusion you have when taking photos of strangers (when they’ve asked of course, not just for the laugh) he snapped a few of us. The poses were mixed, with some going for Pout, others for Having Loads of Fun, and most settling on just Smile. They were, on the whole, nice.

Soon after this glamorous photo shot, it dawned on the girlfriend of my friend that she had lost her phone and that this was an Emergency. As is often the case, we split into two groups: one opting for sitting around and tapping surfaces pretending like they’re looking and the other actually looking. After five minutes of fruitless scurrying the balding fellow sloped off (I imagine you see where this is going) but the looking group were rooting around too intently to notice. Luckily, another friend noticed said suspicious sloping and alerted us all.

“He has it! I saw it in his back pocket.”

At this point, a deathly silence befell the table as it dawned on us what we must do. We had to confront the balding man, who was now transformed into a 6 foot 4 inch, heavily muscled cage fighter.  Three other friends and I looked at each other right in the eye and resolved ourselves to the manly task ahead. We were going to reprimand him; we were going to stop him escaping and we were going to say: “Hey you! You nefarious man, you deadly trickster, our friend wants her phone back and if you don’t give it back then we can’t be held accountable for our actions!”

So, like a pack of highly trained SAS agents, we moved out.

“I have a visual on the suspect” I said.

“What’s the ETA?” a friend replied.

“About two seconds. He’s at the bar.” came my curt, efficient, gruff response.

We got to the man, and for some reason unbeknown to me, I stood slightly in his personal space and said to him: “Erm, excuse me, yeah, hi, do you have my friend’s phone?”

“No I don’t” he said.

There was an uncomfortable silence.

“Yeah you do, we saw it in your back pocket” said another friend.

“I don’t have it” he said. Things were getting tense and  the suspect and I could see the whites of one another’s eyes. As this staring match was taking place, one of the team slipped back behind his back and began to make a phone call gesture. It was an unbelievable bit of quick thinking; he was urging me to call the stolen phone so it would light up and provide us with incriminating evidence. Taking my friend’s advice, I reached for my phone and drew it out quick as a flash. I went into my contacts, found the number and pressed “Dial”. My palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy. Fortunately, seeing as I live away from home, none of my Mum’s spaghetti was on my jumper.

The phone rang and unsurprisingly his back pocket began to vibrate and light up. The team moved in. One of my friends snatched the iPhone cover off the phone, waving it over his head triumphantly like a big bear that has caught a delicious salmon whilst another friend took the actual phone itself. There were, if I remember correctly, four of us and the man knew he was surrounded and as far as he knew any resistance would be futile. Unfortunately for him, little did he know that we were mild mannered fellows and if there had been a fight we would have quite literally soiled ourselves. At this point, I leaned over to the barman and said: “Can you remove him? He stole our friend’s phone and now we have it” and the barman obliged, scooting the man away before we had our revenge (which would’ve consisted of us asking for his address so we could send him an exceptionally long and passive aggressive letter).

We returned to our table victorious; four men who had stared death in the face and death had blinked first. Very surprisingly, hyperbole began to fly around left, right and centre. Quite quickly we were calling ourselves the “A Team” and before we knew it the man had actually had four knives, an Uzi and a grenade. One of the team even had to battle through a pack of rabid dogs to reach him at the bar! Who knew? It was a victory that we all relished, and a story we will take to our graves.

It was also the most painfully British reprimanding that has ever taken place.Image



A Perfect Day

Yesterday I had a perfect day, a taste of utopia, and I’m going to tell you all about it. Shall we?

It started with a groan; and some sodden underwear and that is the best way to start the day. I hastily put my grundies in the washing machine and scuttled to the shower to wash off the excesses of shame, self-loathing and mini-me’s. After I did this I ambled back to my room and put on my favourite cream suit. Whenever I wear the cream suit, good things happen to me.

Now wearing my cream suit I had a bowl of wheeto’s and psyched myself up for the day. “Come on Fionny, today’s the day the teddy bear’s had their picnic, and you’re a big teddy bear who will be eating from the picnic of success” I said to myself whilst vigorously rubbing my left knee. I put on my favourite feel-good song, Wait and Bleed by Slipknot, to get myself ready for the day. In case you’re wondering I don’t often put my fingers into my eye as I feel pain on a regular basis – like when I stubbed my toe running out of my neighbours back garden after a spot of ‘bird watching’.

I left and shortly arrived at the tube station, hastening onto the tube whilst everyone was still trying to get off and immediately copped an eyeful of some top totty. Oh baby, she had jugs like the Carpathian Mountains. I couldn’t take my eyes off them, and it wasn’t until her boyfriend said to me “Look mate, can you take your roving eyes elsewhere, you’re making my girlfriend feel uncomfortable” to which I responded in parseltongue, forcing another passenger to intervene and usher me off the tube, that I eventually tore my eyes away from the jugs. Oh Daddy like jugs doesn’t he? Yes he does.

On arrival at university I darted to the library and found a nice, secluded spot in a dark corner. It’s so pleasant sitting in the library for extended periods of time as you get to see the absolute conveyor belt of totty that mills through like sexy, vacuous cattle. Whenever some quim sits in my vicinity I enjoy growling softly under my breath and raising and lowering my eyebrows very quickly. Some people have labelled this type of behaviour ‘creepy’ but I think a real man should be able to make his intentions known without feeling bad about it.

Today I was checking out some holiday snaps on Facebook whilst in the library – I believe they were in the album entitled “Thailand ‘13” – and was admiring one particularly succulent piece of meat when said juicy piece of meat has only gone and plonked herself down opposite me! Seizing this opportunity like a crocodile seizes an unsuspecting, but very nutritious wildebeest, I went back to my personal favourite picture (she’s regally resplendent in a red bikini and must’ve been a bit cold which makes the picture all the more eye-catching) and spun my laptop screen into her eye line.

At first she didn’t actually notice my presence (I am unremarkable looking, despite the cream suit) but eventually the incessant clearing of my throat and frantic scratching of my face got her attention. On registering her own voluptuous self, juxtaposed next to my lolling, steak-like tongue she gave me the most inviting look I’ve received. It said: “You are a cretinous piece of shit and if you weren’t so pathetic, flaccid and skinny I’d call the police”. Then she got up and seductively sashayed away, shooting me another one of those looks over her shoulder, clearly inviting me to partake in God knows what activities with her, but unfortunately I had too much work to do so had to let her down.

At about 8 o’clock, after many hours of reading, and many, many unasked for erections, I got the tube home. I put my headphones in full blast and blared out all the lyrics to Blurred Lines by Robin Thick, Candy Shop by 50 Sense(less) and Smack My Bitch Up by Mozart (I think).

Once arriving home I watched four of the latest episodes of backroom casting couch. If you haven’t already seen it, I thoroughly recommend you do so. It’s the suspense and noble deceit of the thoughtful plotline that keeps me coming back. After that I wound myself down by rubbing both my knees. I start off slowly and quite sensually, until I speed it up gradually, eventually reaching a manic crescendo of knee rubbing and parseltongue.  Very relaxing.

It was now getting late, and time was knocking on the door of 11pm so I took my suit off, scrubbed my teeth and got into bed knowing no dream I had could compare to the day I had experienced. It had everything I could want. Image


Bernard’s Watch(ing you), Episode 4

(Episode 1, 2, 3 and linked)

They were all sat around in Karl’s huge room. “What shall we do tonight?” Charlotte asked.

“Moonies?” inquired Bernard.

“Fuck Moonies, it’s a Friday you twat” said Tia Maria. Bernard was quite upset by that response, he was just trying to fit in and he didn’t think he looked much like a female genitalia. Bernard withdrew into his shell. I am a strong, independent man he reassured himself. I am an intrepid warrior; I am like Genghis Khan. I am Genghis Khan.

“I have an idea” began Karl. Oh I bet you do, Bernard thought to himself, I bet it’s going to be really bloody good and Charlotte will want to marry you and then you’ll build a boat together called Felicity.

“I was speaking to one of my old pals who’s now at SOAS. There’s a really cool reggae bar in Brixton called Jamm, I think we should go”.

There was a general atmosphere of approval from the group. Xi ‘Jacques’ Wan, as usual, just manically nodded her head like a squirrel who has just done 8 lines of coke and drank 2 red bulls. Tia Maria looked generally nonplussed, but he always looks like that because he’s from The North. He reminded Bernard of one of the Urak Hai. Charlotte looked like she had literally had an orgasm. It was sickening. I wonder how she will respond when I eventually manage to trick her into bed with me, Bernard thought. ‘Bernard you are my big bear’ he wanted her to say. Bernard began growling softly under his breath.

It was 12am and they were in the Brixton Jamm. Bernard wasn’t sure what was going on; there were lots of people who had obviously got some sort of memo that meant they had to dress the same so as to trick everyone. What tricksters! All the girls were wearing denim shorts with an assortment of blouses. They all had their hair in buns. All the boys had the same facial expression, one of casual supremacy, and were wearing tight fitting jeans with oversized check shirts. Bernard was a wearing a suit. The others had warned him that it wasn’t one of those places, but Bernard had worn it regardless. It’s good to look smart, Bernard thought to himself rubbing his knee.

“Hey Bernard” Chalotte said to him, her beefy breath washing over him luxuriously “we’re going to have a weed, do you want some?”

Bernard most certainly did not want any. He’d heard horror tales from his mum about people who had a weed and their head had fallen off. “Yeah sure!” said Bernard, straining like an Olympian to feign enthusiasm.

They went outside, and sat on the steps of housing estate. Bernard was very nervous. An American, named Chad was with them; he was rolling the weed for them. Bernard assumed they had bought it off him. This had Karl’s handiwork written all over it. Once the man had made the weed stick, they began smoking it. “3 DP?” said Tia Maria, and they all agreed. What on earth does ‘3 DP’ stand for, Bernard thought. Bernard had a considerable amount of weed, in a vain attempt to impress Charlotte. She was too busy laughing to herself to notice. It was a strange sensation Bernard was experiencing. He felt like the whole world had slowed down, everything was very fuzzy and faintly amusing. His legs were wobbly and his head blurred. The American, Chad, looked a bit worse for wear, primarily because he had bought 2 large bags of Dorito’s, was now eating them and getting crumbs all over his fingers, chin and clothes. He was also ugly on biblical levels.

Bernard began to feel a bit queasy. The world had come to an absolute standstill, he felt like Doctor Who with total mastery of the space/time continuum. However, he could feel bile beginning to rise up in his stomach. He retched, put his head over the railings running along the sides of the steps and began to violently throw up with an admirable efficiency. Bernard was far too high to worry about Charlotte at this point, and besides, everyone throws up from time to time.  Then, a low, mournful and sonorous sound began to emanate from him. It was very loud and lasted at least 4 seconds. At first Bernard thought he had begun humming his favourite Dean Martin song, but then he realised he was actually farting very loudly. He was throwing up and farting at the same time. Now he began to worry about Charlotte. They were laughing like a group of hyenas and Bernard continued to fart loudly. He couldn’t control it. Why is this happening to me? Bernard thought. Why do the God’s forsake me so, what have I done to deserve this? He let out three more loud farts, each more mournful and sonorous than the last. The others couldn’t control themselves, Tia Maria had fallen over he was laughing so much and Charlotte had snorted. Like a pig.

In the taxi home they didn’t stop laughing. Chad was still with them, which was odd. Bernard had only one thing to console him; they didn’t know that during the chaotic combination of vomit, farting and laughing, a very sizable amount of poo had actually crept out like a reluctant mole coming up to the sunlight. At least they don’t know that, Bernard thought to himself, rubbing his knee.

5 Top Tips To GUARANTEE You’ll Have Loads of Sex, And I Mean Fucking Loads (FOR MEN!)

After many nights observing the British male in his natural habitat, lurking in the dark corners of dancefloors in London, Birmingham, Manchester and beyond, I have complied the five steps to ensure you mate.


This is a British male. Beautiful isn’t he?

Follow these rules and you will be guaranteed some copulation with the prey.


The hunt is on.


This is the arguably the most important step in our honourable quest. Girls, from my experience, absolutely love being leered at by large groups of males. If they didn’t, then large groups of males wouldn’t insist on doing it? Right?

But anyway, a good leer is a form of art. None of this ‘bedroom eyes’, ‘love at first sight’ bullshit; you need to undress the lucky lady with your eyes. Make her feel the objectification. Make her imagine the soft touch of your clammy hand clumsily trying to take her bra off (otherwise known as The Enemy). A well administered leer will set you well on your way to entrance into Sexland. I want to see those eyes googling, mouth hanging open and tongue lolling out. This is of paramount importance.

Shower her in compliments

This is a very subtle step. Once you have identified your Cinderalla then you need to shuffle awkwardly towards her on the dancefloor (top tip: have a fellow predator with you). Then stand within earshot and say any of the following (if you have a friend say it to him, if not, say it to yourself very loudly. It still works):

“Mate she’d get it” (romantic)

“Look at the tits on ‘er” (observational)

“Cor” (animalistic)

“Phwoar” (cultured)

Once she’s overheard you saying these, then she’ll know you’re interested. And she will be too.

Grab her tits and/or arse

This goes hand in hand with #2. Having hovered in her general vicinity showering her in compliments, or doing your mating cry, you then have to augment this with a measured and skilled thrust of your hand.

Girls are a complex creature and they like to pretend they don’t like being touched, but they love it really. Trust me on this one. So, thrust your hand out and get any piece of flesh you can get your grubby, sticky mitts on. If you can’t reach the Dynamic Duo (tits and arse. Cor!) then simply grab her wrist. A careful, precise yank will be needed though. I’m sure you can manage that though.

.He knows

He knows.

Repeat “The Mantra”

This step is vital. It is the assist before the goal. The exquisitely threaded through ball that splits the defence in two, for the onrushing striker to slot home (football metaphor; MAN!). This, my friends (or subjects, it’s up to you) is The Mantra.

As you may know, the representative of all men, Robin Thicke, produced an amazing song called Blurred Lines recently. In this song there is the following refrain repeated:

I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it

So, as you’re preparing to go in for the kill whisper softly under your breath ‘I know she wants it, I know she wants it, I KNOW SHE WANTS IT, SHE MUST WANT IT’ until you get yourself into an absolutely manic frenzy. I want to see you frothing at the mouth, eyes rolled back into your head, screaming at the top of your voice. This will get you psyched up ready for the final move. You have to be like this bloke in order to succeed:

uruk hai

He’s moving in.

The Final Approach

This is very simple. Go and talk; by now she’s got nowhere to run. I’ll give you a past example of a successful endeavour of my own.

Me: “Hello”

Fit Bird (phwoar!): “Hello”

Me: “Um, right, yes, I just thought I’d let you know that you’d get it”

Fit Bird: “Sorry, but get what exactly?”

Me: “Well, my penis”

Fit Bird: “I don’t understand…”

Me: “I’m giving you my penis. It’s a treat.”

Fit Bird: “Oh I see now, well, that’s a very kind offer”

Me: “So how about it?”

Fit Bird: “Hmm, to be honest I didn’t really fancy you, but you have such an exquisite way with words that I’m going to take you up on the kind offer”

Me: “Excellent”

Fit Bird: “Where would you like to give it to me then? I’m quite impatient. You are so sexy, I love the way you stand too close to me and stare really intensely at my breasts when I’m talking. I just want to have sex now”

Me: “Shall we? This dancefloor is very romantic, and I shan’t be long”

And then we copulated. True story people. Follow my golden rules and you’ll be having many experiences like my own.

You’re welcome.

Bernard’s Watch(ing you), Episode 3

(You can find Episode one here, and Episode two here)

Bernard watched attentively as his lecturer explained what the course would be about. He glanced about searching for Charlotte amongst the herd of dozing students. He couldn’t see her anywhere. Bernard looked to his left and appraised the slumped student on his laptop. He was flitting lazily between Facebook and Guardian Sport. There was also a window opened called I like flowers too mused Bernard. What a silly way to spend his time, Bernard thought to himself as he furiously typed every single word the lecturer said. His fingers moved swiftly and deftly and the sound he was emanating was like a hoard of locusts.

The lecturer gazed out at the audience “Any questions?” he asked. Bernard’s arm shot up like an unwanted erection in year 10.

“At what point will we be doing Marx’s critique of the capitalist structure and his dialectical theory of history?” Bernard asked, knowing that his question showcased his stupendous genius.

“Week 17” came the blunt reply. The lecturer’s eyes were blank. Why wasn’t he staring at me with admiration and hope, thought Bernard, surely my question illustrated my intelligence, surely he wants to nurture me and make me his protégé?

“You may be dismissed” he said as students streamed past Bernard. Bernard was expecting someone to congratulate him on his brazen question but it was not to be. He could merely overhear innocuous conversations: “Did you see that girl at the front?” said one sexually frustrated teen to another. “Man, I was so fucked last night; I had 10 pints” said one liar to another. “My daddy works for Goldman Sachs” said one twat to another.

Bernard began to reflect on his time at school as he trudged out of the lecture hall on his own. He could still hear the accusatory jibes ringing in his head. “George Bernard Shawsese” they had called him, for his religious obsession, borderline addiction, of the works of Martin Scorsese. Bernard had vowed that at university he was going to drop the ‘George’ from his name, and be known only as ‘Bernard’. It had a nice ring to it and made him feel like a bear. He had considered introducing himself as Bernardé but then he realised he was neither French nor handsome enough to pull off such an audacious name. Bernard it would be.

“Shall we head back?” a recognisably alluring voice cooed. Charlotte stood behind him; he could almost feel her deliciously stale breath warming his neck. She needs a glass of water, swooned Bernard feeling his heart batter against his chest like a bird on LSD.

“Yes, we shall” replied Bernard, whilst frantically trying to quash the evolving bulge in his crotch through his hand in his pocket. Luckily Bernard was wearing his favourite tight-fitting ‘Game of Thrones’ y-fronts and the bulge was thoroughly nipped in the bud. Bernard and Charlotte began the short walk back to halls. She languidly began to link his arm. I feel like Snoopedy Dog, Bernard thought to himself.

The walk back was great, thought Bernard as he reclined in his room. They talked about some really important things; whether the world exists or maybe we’re just brains in a vat; perhaps Marx was right, but his timing was just wrong; is it possible to do a truly selfless act? All sorts of enlightening things that no one had ever talked about before.

When Bernard and Charlotte got home they went to dinner at halls together. It was simply awful; some sort of curry that had goat in it – a goat! -, tasteless rice, all pleasantly topped off with a flourish with a block of sponge coated in lobulated ‘custard’ which Bernard was sure the cook had spat out. But the awfulness of the dinner was made redundant by Charlotte’s transcendental presence. She had such an ease within herself; when someone asked a question she averted her eyes and shifted her feet, when a boy said hello she spluttered like a dying fish, when Bernard told her he liked her hair she scratched at it awkwardly like a starving mouse. Just how I like girls, he thought rubbing his knee.

Bernard returned to his room to do some reading for his class in a week’s time. Bernard liked to seek solace in his academic articles. His brain was expanding like the broken condom that brought him into this life.

It was a Tuesday night and Tia Maria, Xi ‘Jacques’ Wan and Karl were all going to a pubbing house. A house of pub called ‘The Rocket’. Bernard immediately thought of astronauts and the fragility and inanity of human life when he heard the name; he has no control over his soaring philosophical thoughts. Bernard had thought this a great idea; apparently it was a pound a pint! I only need 3 quid to have a great night Bernard thought smugly rubbing his knee.

And a great night he did until it ended acrimoniously with Bernard calling Karl a ‘pseudo-intellect’. Bernard deeply regretted this slight. He had never said anything quite so scathing before, and it weighed heavily on his conscience like Mrs Crocker’s leering breasts weigh heavily in his darkest dreams.

Bernard’s Watch(ing you), Episode 2

(You can find Part 1 here)

‘Hello motherfuckers’ said Bernard. All three of them turned to him. Tia Maria’s expression was unreadable but it conveyed at best bewilderment, and at worse burning resentment; Xi Wan was smiling manically like a squirrel on a gram of MDMA and Charlotte giggled nervously touching her luxurious straw-like hair as she did so. Oh my Christ oh lord, screamed Bernard internally, why did I just say that? I don’t even believe any of them has had intercourse with their mothers; he didn’t get a waft of Oedipus from any of them, so why had he addressed them in such a way?!

Bernard tittered awkwardly and pushed his shaggy mop out of his eyes. “I’m sorry about that” he began to say when the door to reception crashed open behind him. Karl strode in with the glitter of intelligence burning in his eyes. “Hello dear friends, so we are all going to this tedious tour of campus” Karl announced with a thespian flourish.

“We sure are Karl!” said Charlotte enthusiastically. She’s never that enthusiastic with me, Bernard thought desolately.

“Shall we set off then” Karl asked as he strode towards the door not waiting for a reply. He had craftily disguised it as a question but it wasn’t, it was a command. He set off along High Holborn at a rather unforgiving pace. Oh my, Bernard thought queasily, it should be me leading this band of merry-men.

The five of them arrived outside the Waterstone’s knowing they had suffered an absolute ordeal. Karl had yapped on non-stop about his take on the political institutions of Europe and how Britain was simply miles behind when it came to levels of democracy. When he took a break from his litany, the others had literally nothing to say to one another. Bernard had tried to extract a conversation from Tia Maria about his hopes and dreams but he had simply shrugged and said ‘I don’t know mate, the only hope I currently have is that this fucking hangover pisses off’. Bernard didn’t know how to respond to that but noted mentally that the thing happening to his body was a ‘hangover’. Bernard decide he should just laugh but he did so a shade too loudly, and Tia Maria just stared blankly at him. ‘Yeah same mate, I mean, what a bloody pain in the arse hey!’ Bernard had responded. Swearing had never come easy to Bernard and it was twice today that he had sworn for literally no conceivable reason. The words were like acid in his mouth; not the drug though, the corrosive substance. Bernard had overhead a stilted conversation between Xi Wan and Charlotte about male circumcision. I wonder how that came about Bernard thought to himself.

The tour had been similarly painful. Bernard was aware that he had nothing to say to these people. They were his only ‘friends’ so far, but there was only so many times you could ask someone “So, what course do you do?” and it not just become rude. Even now, he couldn’t for the life of him remember what they all did, despite asking them individually, soberly, what they did at least 5 times. He thought Tia Maria did Geography, Xi Wan Accounting and Finance, Charlotte Government but he couldn’t be entirely sure. He didn’t dare ask again, he couldn’t take the raised eyebrows anymore. Of course, he remembered what Karl did. He broadcast it to all and sundry. He had to do Politics and Philosophy, Bernard thought, he’s a certain rival for a First.

He had overheard the others talking about some sort of ‘Welcome Party’ at a mysterious, exotic place they called the ‘Tuns’. I suppose I should go Bernard thought; it could be fun. I certainly won’t be drinking though, I don’t want to embarrass myself any further, he concluded.

It was around 12pm and Bernard was in hell. This exotic ‘Tuns’ place was exotic only in the sense that it was an urban rainforest of death, desolation and dickheads. The humidity of the place was breath-taking. Sweet was dropping down the walls, ponderously tumbling down the walls like wax and the foul stench of beer hung in the air. The lighting had a strange blue hue, like the innards of the main protagonist in the video for that musical classic ‘Blue (Da Be Dee)’. Bernard was confused; he had seen 3 boys with their shirts off swinging them over their veined heads with a look of ecstasy on their face. Bernard had slurred to Charlotte “why are they doing that” but it accidentally came out as “buy me some hats”; Bernard had been drinking again. When he had earlier told Tia Maria of his intention to not drink he had looked aghast. He had called him a pussycat minus the cat and thrust a can of Stella Artois into his hand. Then he had gathered the others and started chanting forcefully “down it, down it, down it”. The others joined in, a fervent enthusiasm burning in their eyes. Bernard felt compelled to ‘down it’; he felt like he had just wandered into an extract from Lord of the Flies – he didn’t want to end up like Piggy. After ‘downing’ the first can Bernard felt like a regal prince; a glorious lion amongst a flock of seagulls. So he went down to Sainsbury’s and bought six more.

Here he was, in a room as muggy as a reptile room. He was dancing in a peculiar way, watching Karl and Charlotte gyrate as he did so. His knees were crouched and his entire upper body was violently vibrating and shaking, as if he was having a stroke. His back was stooped forward and his right arm was placed across his chest as if he was going to be blessed by a priest in a purple velvet robe. He looked like a drunken, malfunctioning robot. It was an odd sight to behold. It was an odd, but endearing sight.

At around 2am ‘The Gang’ had decided to leave the ‘Tuns’ and stagger home. Tia Maria was missing; he had been sighted with a human of the female variety. Xi Wan informed Bernard of this and the interesting titbit that she had seen his hand resting on her bottom. I wonder where he is, Bernard thought. Is he sexing with her?

Bernard clambered into bed in his Bart Simpson pyjama’s safe in the knowledge that he had had on the whole a fun night. University is strange, Bernard thought to himself as he lovingly stroked his wiry pubic hair, but I think I’m going to enjoy. So far, so good.