Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Beards. All the best paedophiles and serial murderers have them. Perhaps “best” is the wrong word, since it implies an air of moral authority that killings generally deprive you of. A better term, I suppose, would be “Most successful”. Obviously, I’m growing one, if only to show I don't pander to the whims of society and I am a maverick; doubtless enviable on many fronts except, it will quickly become apparent to strangers, for my ability to grow a beard.

You see, in keeping with my vaguely anachronistic life, my beard is faintly reminiscent of a late nineteenth century teenager desperately trying to emulate his father's illustrious beard, which, inevitably, wouldn't have looked out of place sitting on the face of Zeus himself. Sadly, my beard wouldn't look out of place in a news report about bodies found in a garden, but I persevere regardless with my wispy beard.

There’s good reason to persevere, though. After a certain point, you become ashamed to shave it off, as it’s almost an admission of beard failure. “I have shaved!” your clean, smooth face screams to the world at large. “I am unable to grow a beard. Pity me”. Those who saw your initial efforts will be forced to avert their gaze, and your distinct lack of beard will become an elephant in the room. Instead, I feel I have to endure it on the basis that “It’ll fill out!” and “It’s hard to see because it’s blonde”. I’m veritably a martyr to my beard now. It’s been 7 months. Months of hard beard-related work would be, literally, down the drain if I shaved.

So I haven’t shaved, and as such, I have a beard, of sorts. The whole thing is at best, patchy and asymmetric. At worst, it looks like a drunken child specially chosen for his inability to artistically create any sort of meaningful pattern has idly stapled clumps of hair to my face in the visual representation he thinks most represents chaos, only granting me the slightest of graces in ensuring I have sideburns on both sides.

And you know what? I'm glad. Because society has these weird little rules called social norms, which seem to restrict me in what I can and cannot do without appearing like an idle malingerer, or dangerously insane cretin. Fundamentally, these are good; I never think “Hey, I should go around naked!” but when society has this norm wrong, for example, when we eagerly adopt, say, a weird and obsessive addiction to celebrity culture, I cannot help but question it, much like how I started to question the association of facial hair with seedy 70s porn stars and paedophiles.

The social norm seems to be against beards, with people in positions of authority almost always being clean-shaven. In a sense, I’m taking back the beard from society’s norms, wrestling it away like the mischievous scamp I am, and giving it to the people. I am Prometheus, and the beard is my fire. Enjoy it mortals, for I am destined to be shamed at every shop visit for eternity. I’m doing this for you.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Household Tasks

Household chores. I am not a man notably inclined towards performing these simple day to day tasks, but sometimes on the whim of the moment, I like to spontaneously perform some. My glaring failings as a human being are never more notable than during these misguided efforts to look after myself to any degree.

1. Cooking
Surprisingly, this is my strong point. I have three dishes, mostly revolving around "Brown Mince, add sauce, add vegetable/pasta", but I have yet to physically cause harm to anyone, although a brief foray into sausages could have ended badly, but fortunately, I appeared to cook everything adequately in some sort of massive cumulative fluke, not unlike a man wandering into a bookies, throwing his money on the desk and saying "Accumulator for the next five races on any horse numbered 4, please" and winning.

2. Dishes
You'll rarely find someone with so experienced a hand as mine with regards to dishwashers. I have many years of practice under my belt and am now sufficiently honed at this task that I hardly ever send the crockery spiralling towards the unforgiving tiles to their shattering demise, spreading dangerous shards across the floor like glinting desert islands illustrating my failure, isolated in a sea of my despair. Hardly ever.

3. Cleaning
Tidiness is not a trait I am well-documented to possess, but despite this, I am pretty certain of where roughly 50% of my stuff is at any one time. Sadly, inevitably, anything I ever need is in the 50% I know is "Somewhere in my room", or even more ominously, I am certain it is "Just around here". Cut to footage of me rootling around in one corner of my hovel, whilst the object I need (Or more likely, desire. At some stage, I just need to accept I have lost my copy of Pokémon red, and it's never coming back.) glints gently in a completely different part of my room. For added hilarity, the object should be wildly incongruous with it's surroundings (My red hat, for example, highlighted against my distinctly blue walls) and should be directly behind me.

4. hoovering
Another strength provided I avoid stairs, which leave me so flummoxed I can only stare in bewilderment, with a blank middle-distance gaze. whilst hoovering, I hate stairs even more than the Daleks hate them, and they really hate stairs.

5. Bedmaking
This is my biggest failing. I recently returned from a camping holiday (Where I visited the delightful Cumberland Pencil Museum, all 3 rooms of it! I've seen the world's largest pencil. That's not a euphemism.) and, reasonably tired, attempted to make my own bed. All it involved was putting on a sheet. I eventually managed to do it, but the end result looked like it belonged in a collection of photographs from an early 60s experiment into training gibbons to perform basic household chores to free up housewives' time. Next to a picture of a gibbon standing between a pile of shattered dishes and a pile of excrement-covered laundry would be a photo of my bed (But it'd be in a surprisingly well hoovered room. Gibbons look like they'd take hoovering seriously). Any video footage of me making my bed wouldn't look out of place in a documentary about the heartbreaking effects of oxygen deprivation.

A round up of my total inability to perform even the basic of tasks and which surely document my inevitable slide towards living in what can only be described as a disgusting hovel. Still, onwards and upwards, eh?