Scene: A traditional cake shop (interior).
There are signs everywhere for Breadcakes.
Around the shop are basket upon basket of breadcakes it would appear that no-one is interested in.

A Customer enters.

Baker: "Good morning, sir. Welcome to Big British Cakes - home of the famous breadcake - how can I help you?"

Customer: "I'd like a chocolate eclair and a cream horn, please."

Baker: "Breadcakes in the morning..."

Customer: "I beg your pardon?"

Baker: "All the breadcake goodness, direct to you. Big British Cakes - the home of the famous breadcake."


Baker: "For all your breadcake needs."

Customer: "Are you quite alright?"

Baker: "Yes, sir. Never better. What would you like? A breadcake?"

Customer: "No. Thank you. I'd like a chocolate eclair and a cream horn, please..."

Baker: "Certainly, sir. You are in the Big Bristish cake shop."
Customer: "Yes. I am aware of this..."

Baker: "Home of the famous breadcake."

Customer: "So you said..."

Baker: "Today's bakery."
Customer: "Should I come back when you are feeling a little better?"

Baker: "I'm perfectly fine., sir. Have you seen our morning breadcakes? You can now get them online."

Customer: "Online?"

Baker: "Breadcakes for you. At your convenience."

Customer: "Right. You see, I don't want a breadcake. Real or virtual. I'd just like a chocolate eclair and a cream horn, if that isn't too much of a stretch?"

Baker: "Made with local ingredients. For you. Today's breadcakes. Today. "

Customer: "Yes. You did mention that. I'm not interested in breadcakes, however. I'd just like a chocolate eclair, a cream horn and to get the fuck away from this shop as quickly as possible."

Baker: "You see we've done research that shows that many people in your demographical area really rather like breadcakes. That's why we've spent so much money on a new breadcake maker. And these signs."

Customer: "Quite.."

Baker: "It's about customer choice, sir. The breadcake YOU want, when YOU want it."

Customer: "At the risk of seeming coarse and ungrateful adter all this effort, I don't want any fucking breadcakes. I'm sick of hearing about your fucking breadcakes. If anything, all this talk of fucking breadcakes is putting me off ever having another fucking breadcake for the rest of my days. In fact, I wish you'd shut up about your fucking breadcakes and just get me a chocolate eclair and a cream horn.."

Baker: "Certainly, sir. This is, after all, the Big British Cake Shop - home of the famous breadc.."


Baker: "Yes, sir, but I was just.."


Baker: "It's just.. Well.."

Customer: "WELL WHAT?"

Baker: "The work experience boy hasn't made all the chocolate eclairs yet. Or cream horns. Or any of the other confectionery."

Customer: "Work experience? Why is the work experience boy making all the chocolate eclairs and cream horns?"

Baker: "Well, sir, I'm afraid we had to fire all the bakers that specialised in making cakes and fancies and all the other things that people actually enjoyed, to pay for the breadcake-maker. So now, every single other member of staff concentrates solely on making and marketing our famous breadcakes.
We are the home of the breadcake after all, sir. Locally made. For you. Today. For all your breadcake needs."

Customer (picking up rolling pin): "Bend over...."

... If BBC local radio were bakers.





I don't care about X Factor. I don't hate it or love it, I simply don't care. I'm indifferent to Simon Cowell, I'm not bothered about the Christmas No 1, I wouldn't know Louis Walsh if I passed him in the street, and I think that Britain's Got Talent has proved that this nation is so bereft of talent that we haven't even got enough to fill three chairs on a judging panel let alone fill an hour of television.

So I don't understand the backlash against Chloe Mafia.
Apparently she's a bit of a foul-mouthed, 19 year old who has taken cocaine, wears too much fake tan and constantly asks if 'ya get me'? (To paraphrase Viz Top Tips - "Try saving time asking 'y'know what i'm saying?' by speaking clearly in the first place..")
So far so Westgate.Yup, she's from the magnificent City Of Wakefield, your one-stop-shop for nutcases, fuckwits and idiots.

From what I understand in the pornography and sex-line-funded tabloid press, she's been accused of being a prostitute and subsequently there's a vigorous FB campaign to have her child taken into care because of this. Quite frankly, I do not care. Not about the child, just about everything else. The X Factor, as I'm led to believe, thrives on tales of people who have had harrowing lives. People who have been in care, had abusive relationships, lived in dire streets, and so on. Only this time everyone seems to hate this person. Why?
Is it because she has yet to emerge from the chrysalis of her shatty existence? Because Max Clifford hasn't stepped in like some Victorian benefactor? In fact, if this was Dickens she'd be ignored and left to rot on the streets like the Artful Dodger while Leona Lewis' Oliver goes to America in a nice frock.

Honestly, if you walked past this lass in Westgate you wouldn't notice her. She'd blend in like a chameleon in a chameleon shop on come to work dressed as a chameleon day. Wakefield is full of orange faced wankers in too much eye make-up and too little clothes. It has been for years and years. This is what happens when you make Jordan, Jade Goody and Jodie Marsh aspirational figures for little girls they grow up wanting to be famous, substituting miniscule talent with minisule clothing, a big mouth and big tits.
She's not a true representative of ALL Wakefield teenagers any more than those cunts off the Carling Black label ads are representative of   ALL men who drink beer, but there's a high percentage of idiots who emulate them who make those stereotypes valid.
(Seriously though, if any of my mates were remotely like the wankers in those Carling ads I would leave them to fucking cook to death in that desert).

My only problem with Chloe Mafia is that she is one of those people who loudly tells you that you can't tell her how to bring up her kids or 'learn me nuffing'. Well, you can. Everyone can be told how to bring up their kids, everyone can be taught something new. Getting help and advice is a wonderful thing, not a sign of weakness. Imparting or receiving knowledge isn't something to be afraid of, and talking in a mixture of patois, street-talk and a Wakefield accent will always make you sound moronic.

So stop watching X Factor, stop reading abusive columns in the adult-entertainment-sponsored tabloids, stop making Simon Cowell rich, stop joining FB hate groups and Chloe, go read a fucking book.
You might learn something.

Ya get me?




As I think I may have mentioned, a fortnight ago I turned 40.
Thank you. What? Hmm, good genes, I guess...  I know.

However, despite being middle-aged now (80's a good innings) I still do not feel anything like a Grown Up. Why is this?? How long do I have to cling to this cold, spinning rock with all the other jostling primates before I start to take things seriously? I thought there may be an initiation ceremony where someone brought me a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, a book of proverbs, some Haynes manuals and then talked me through the financial benefits of owning a Volvo. But nothing. In fact, quite the opposite.. for my 40th birthday my beautiful tiny girlfriend took me to the amazing city of Barcelona, where we arsed about.

Having spoken to friends and colleagues about my trip it would appear that I am the last person I know that has gone to Barcelona. Every single person I spoke to had been. It was like a secret club "Oh yes, daahling, Barcelona's maaahvelous this time of year.. You simply must try this little tapas bar off the beaten track.."

Anyway, tiny niggles aside, it really is an awesome and beautiful city. It was a wonderful time and had the right mixture of beauty, culture, fine cuisine, glorious weather, fabulous architecture and downright dodgy squalor and petty theivery to make me feel welcome. There was an edge to Barcelona that I hadn't experienced elsewhere, something that made it feel that little bit more exciting. I absolutely loved it and will certainly be going again... If only to take more photos like this...


Upon coming back I was straight back into work at 5.30am. Radio Phone-Ins are something I'm not all that keen on. It may seem a bit rich to slag off a medium where people have there curtailed and often paraphrased opinion broadcast within this blog, but generally the people who take part in radio Phone-Ins are cretins. The type of people who dominate the conversation in pubs with some little gem they 'heard on Talk Sport'.

Just imagine that every time you answered a constantly ringing phone that the person on the other end was a late night taxi driver. That's essentially what it's like working on Radio Phone-Ins. In the past I have been told by callers to these shows that I, personally, was "Tony Blair's lapdog", that my "kind should fuck-off back to Peru" and that all muslims "have an old mattress in their back garden.". For that last one I asked the caller to go and check if it was facing East toward Mecca.
Somewhere there's a bigot that actually thinks this is what muslims do. As I say, I haven't grown up one jot.

I must say that the Radio Phone-In I did for BBC Radio York was phenomenal. The presenter was calm, measured, intelligent, caring and everything you would come to expect from a BBC broadcasting professional. In one show he managed to extract a quote from a fire brigade union official that there is practically no point in calling the fire service in Thirsk as there'd be no-one to answer due to chronic understaffing and budget cuts. Another day we spoke about the Pope's visit and recieved call after call detailing violent and evil child abuse from victims of the Roman Catholic faith. I have never worked on a show where I have cried throughout, where each subsequent guest could not hold it together and where the journalists in the newsroom worked in silence aside from the occaisional sniffle and sob. Truly powerful stuff, and if Jonathan  Cowap doesn't win some major prizes this year then there is simply no justice.

So, a brutal fall-to-earth after a long weekend staring at spectacular skies, shimmering blue water and the smiling face of my beautiful girlfriend... but not brutal enough for me to actually become an adult just yet. In fact, I bought a mountain bike! It looks like a prop from BMX bandits and I just need a large ariel with a raccoons tale to finish the look! I recieved toys, sweets and books from my friends and had a great chat with my mate's little boy Haris about superheroes... he even came dressed as Superman. Good lad!
I recieved an inflammatory and offensive present from Thom, just like I have for the past 20 years, I recieved a terrible ornament that I shall try and palm off on someone else, just like I have for the past 20 years, and came home drunk and demanding a curry, just like I have... well, you see a pattern emerging.
I just don't think I will ever grow up. I cannot see it happening.

When I was a kid or a teenager or in my 20's, people who were 40 got their clothes from Greenwoods or Double Two and had no idea what music I was into or TV shows I would quote. The people who hoped-they'd-die-before-they-got-old were our parents. We didn't have any such a nihilistic mission statement. We just hoped we wouldn't die OR get old.. like an optimistic Highlander.

The one thing that does make me want to grow up, get a mortgage, talk about loft conversions and the best way to tackle the A38, is the fact that the students have moved back. I always hated students. Even when I was one. I hate the fact that they are so self-assured, cocky, obnoxious and yet utterly fucking naive, charmless and stupid all at the same time. They can bang on about Heidegger with great authority but can't change a fucking fuse. They know how to calculate Pi to 300 bits but try to pay their bus fare with a fucking credit card. They think they are the first people to walk into a pub all dressed as Where's Wally? And they have absolutely no need to ALL be driving a new Fiat Punto.

But I think what I hate most about this year's Freshers is that they were all born the same year I went to University.

Now THAT made me feel old.



If, like me, you are constantly wondering what to buy a charismatic yet unconventionally attractive bald man for his upccoming 40th birthday then here is a handy guide.
It can be difficult, and everyone is different, so please use this as more of a guideline than a precise list.
(NB: Buy me PRECISELY what is on this list and do not deviate).

CLASSIC ALBUMS - everyone likes music, sure, but what type of music do you buy for that Headingley-based slaphead in your life? Well you can't go wrong with a CD (NB: You CAN go wrong with a CD). Forty year olds love their music in a physical form, they distrust downloaded music as something akin to witchcraft, so always buy vinyl or CD (NB: Do NOT buy vinyl). As for the artists, well years of listening to Britpop wannabes and indie bollocks may mean that many of the established 'Classic' albums have passed them by so any of these should be fine (NB: Many of them are NOT fine). As ever, The Beatles are always a good place to start and everyone loves David Bowie, but try and avoid artists such as The Beach Boys, Van Morrison, The Doors, The Eagles, Pink Floyd or Neil Young as they are all shit, despite what Mojo and Uncut say.

DVDs - Despite DVDs imminent arrival as an obsolete format for watching films, most chinless chrome-domes do prefer them to watching films online (witchcraft, again). As a general rule it is good to stick to normal DVDs and not Blu Ray as this confuses the soon-to-be-40 year old. Genres to look out for would include Samurai, Wishu, Karate, Ninja, Japanese Horror, Sci-Fi, Crime, Comedy or Comic Book Adaptations.

COMIC BOOKS/ GRAPHIC NOVELS - You may find that many people, wankers generally, think that a man entering middle age who still lives like a fucking student should have grown out of comic books/graphic novels and took the fact that he had to sell most of his collection on ebay when things got tight as a sign. But you would be wrong. 100% wrong. For this I would suggest the complete Judge Dredd collection as the perfect and only choice. They are very reasonably priced on Play.Com. So I hear.

CLOTHING - The typical soon-to-be-leaving-his-30's manchild can be very difficult to shop for when it comes to clothing. Having worn nothing but robot/superhero t-shirts and jeans since turning 17 it would be odd to start dressing like a fully functioning adult now. It is best not to get them clothes and just wait until they inevitably see their own reflection in a big shop in town and realise they look like a fucking idiot.

GROOMING/ HAIR PRODUCTS - Go fuck yourself.
and finally

A VESPA - Seriously. You could club together or summat.

So there you have it, my guide to buying the perfect gift for someone you should bloody-well-be-honoured-to-even-know on his upcoming traumatic birthday. I hope this helps you avoid any embarrassing purchasing decisions that can all too often result in a swollen eye, a coppery taste in your mouth and several minutes of unconsciousness.




September 11th is an ominous day. A miserable, portentous, soul-sapping day.
It's my 40th birthday.

Yes, this is the final week of my third decade. On Saturday I enter the fourth. Already I am recieving comically-ageist greeting cards informing me that I am over the hill, past-it, ready for the knackers yard, etc. I shall no doubt recieve zimmer frames, catheters or similarly hilarious objects to remind me that my youth is over. All through my thirties there has been the reassuring mantra that "30 is the new 20" - well, Newsflash buddy.. it isn't. It's just something that the rest of your boozy, single, feckless friends used to say.

Now it's time to subscribe to another age-old mantra "Life Begins At 40".
Life BEGINS at 40.
Who came up with that claptrap? I bet it wasn't a twenty year old. I've never seen a pilled-up raver on 'Ibiza Nites' or 'Benidrom Clap Clinic' say 'You know what? I may be having fun chewing my face off and having liberal amounts of sex right now, but I cannot wait until my joints ache and my hair thins and for the inevitable mental breakdown from taking these psychotropic chemicals."
You never hear Olympic athletes complaining "... damn my youthful exhuberance and working limbs."
Mind you, I don't really care what Olympic athletes and ravers think. They are tossers. Getting sweaty at 4am and taking a load of pharmaceuticals that will inevitable destroy your body in later life? And for what? A chance to get a Bronze in the hop, skip and jump in Spitalfields. Fuck that.

Still, I'm turning 40.
On the brighter side, if this was Logan's Run I'd already have been worm-food for the past decade.
And my thirties were all a bit wonky, listless, aimless... right up until the past eighteen months really.
In fact, thinking about it, as I am, my 20's weren't much cop, either.

You see, I have rejected responsibility as much as possible. I have led a student-like existence well past the point where it is acceptable. It's been one long run of disappointing house parties, shopping in Oxfam, sleeping on floors and spare rooms, drinking in overpriced bars, watching late night telly and deafening and distictly average indie nights. I now feel self-conscious at student gigs as I look like a taxi driver booked to pick up one of the moshers. Bars and nightclubs lost their appeal long, long ago. Pubs have been my haven for as long as I can remember. Old men's pubs. Pubs with wood and brass in them. And I've started drinking Real Ale and getting a belly... and wearing courduroy.


So long as I can keep my Superhero t-shirts and Kung Fu DVDs I don't care about getting old. I'll just take the cod liver suppliments.
So I will grow older but just never grow up.

Otherwise the terrorists win.

Or summat.

Happy 9/11 everybody!