Sunday, July 29, 2007


Ham Shanks secret Diary - The one where .......

Ham Shanks secret diary w/e 29th July 2007

I’ve received a lot of feedback after last weeks ramblings, mainly death threats from the evangelical brigade it has to be said, but also concerns from other quarters that I was going to reveal the plot of the last Harry Potter book. Gies a break! Some things in life are sacred after all. The conclusion of such a fine piece of literary work is not to be trifled with and I would never reveal the ending because that would be exceptionally cruel and petty. So despite the fact I have finished the book, I’m keeping shtum. Read it though – it’s bloody great!

Amongst the e-mails threatening me with living evisceration and flaming hot pokers up my jacksee were some slightly less violently expressed concerns. Apparently it was the three wise men that followed a celestial object to baby J’s cot. Not ‘Ma and Pa’ Nazareth looking for a B&B after all. As this correction was passed on without the threat of an accompanying painful and lingering death I feel it only fair to put my hand up and say ‘I’m sorry; I was wrong’

I also think that perhaps I need to explain why I have these chips on both shoulders about religion. I don’t hate religious people - gracious no! Some of my best friends are Christians! (is that tumbleweed I see blowing in front of me?) Don’t you just love it when a phrase like that is used? Usually by a heavily perspiring individual who made an offhand comment to a regional news reporter and is now being interrogated on national television by Jeremy Paxman ‘I’m not a *insert description of discrimination’, ‘Some of my best friends are *insert description of the discriminated’ they plead indignantly as Paxman melts them with his withering glare.

‘Some of my best friends’ is never a winning phrase because it makes you sound like those friends you covet so much are pets or possessions. So you’ll either look like a seedy white slave trader who inhabits the murky world of human trafficking or a thick necked member of the landed gentry. Ironically enough neither of these individuals would ever use the ‘some of my friends’ phrase because they couldn’t give a flying f*ck what anybody else thinks. It’s only the middle class, stuck betwixt and between, that mumble and mutters red faced apologies and justifications.

So I’m going to break the middle class mould and say ‘Some of my best friends are religious but I don’t give a f*ck; I don’t like religion’ And now I shall tell you why.

I haven’t even read the bible! Daaah dum dum dum duuuuum (that was sinister music by the way) I have to confess I skipped straight to the end to see who did it ‘Judas?’, ‘didn’t see that one coming’ I mumbled before tossing it into my bag. I’d possibly have been slightly more interested in reading it, or even receptive to the underlying message, if we hadn’t been forced to accept a copy in our first year at secondary school. Yes that’s right forced; against our will! Daaaah dum dum dummm duuuuum! (that was the music again – keep up)

They were divvyed out at assembly by the headmaster, who I can only guess was a birrova god squander or under the Imperius curse. Anyway we were each handed a small bright red copy of the Bible courtesy of The Gideons; and then warned that if we could not produce this gift on any subsequent request by a teacher we would be belted. Very fair policy for a state comprehensive I think you’ll agree.

There were quite a number of rosy red hands to match the cover when a few heretics attempted to refuse their copy on that happy day. Likewise the following week when we were all asked to produce our copies again. For those unfortunates unable to produce the word of God© a prolonged cavity search by the bible Gestapo and then six of the best was the order of the day. It occurred to me even at that young age that there seemed to be very little carrot but a sh*t load of stick involved in the religion business.

I managed to avoid these obvious punishments by keeping my copy close to me at all times; after all you never knew when you might need a sheet of toilet paper or a hanky. I’d also recommend the pages for emergency rollups. No gum sadly but you could generally hold the thing together long enough for that sweet hit of nicotine before your fingers got burnt. Thankfully the Gideon Dementors wernay very bright, as long as they saw that bright red cover in your trembling hand you were ok. They never seemed to notice the ever thinning nature of mine. Perhaps they thought I was wearing out the pages because I was reading it so much?

I did however quite enjoy religious education. Another compulsory class that we all had to attend in school. At least in this one they weren’t peddling one particular flavour of worship. Instead they gave you a selection box of beliefs and you were invited to discuss. The dementors didn’t like it though; they would prowl around the corridor outside, flashes of red clutched in their grey bony hands.

The thing about R.E. was it just made me even more sceptical ‘So hold on, what your saying is the Protestants and the Catholics believe in the same god?’, ‘yes’, ‘and they both believe in Jesus?’, ‘yes’, ‘and they both follow the teachings in the bible’, ‘yes’, but they have been knocking lumps out of each other for hundreds and hundreds of years haven’t they?’, ‘yes’ …… ‘but that’s just fucking mental?’

So from religious education. I learnt two important lessons; 1. Religion is much more complicated than it looks at first glance and 2. Swearing in class gets you six of the best and an awful lot of detention even if the teacher is a smelly corduroy clad hippy. Another happy religious based school memory to taint me for later life and turn me into the twisted bitter man you see before you now.

So to all those holy people out there I may have offended; my mum always told me not to lie so I have to say I’m not really sorry. It’s called freedom of speech and just as you are entitled to your opinion which you have expressed in the best selling book of all time (does it count if The Gideons are the ones who bought them all?) I am entitled to express my opinions in this tiny critique. Let’s just agree to disagree and stop all the arguing and death threats.

However I shall refrain from having (too many) future digs as I have now divulged the reasons for my heresy; and let’s face it if you’re right I’ll burn in hell anyway which would definitely give you the last laugh


Monday, July 23, 2007


Ham Shanks and the Order of the Pizza

Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 22nd July 2007 (‘ish)

Pottermania [Pot-er-mey-nee-uh] – noun:

  1. Excessive excitement or enthusiasm for final instalment of J.K. Rowlings wizarding heptalogy
  2. The end of the world if you believe the media
  3. Dangerous Pagan worship if you’re an Evangelical Christian
  4. Fondness for working with wet clay

Well it’s finally out ‘Harry Potter and the deathly Hallows’ the last in a series of seven great books. Yes; I too am consumed by Pottermania. In fact I hope you appreciate the great effort I am making in putting down the book to write these 1200 odd words of inane drivel. Don’t you realise how much danger Harry is in? Hmmm? Do you? WEEEELLL!!!!

And relax

I got into the whole Potter ‘scene’ because of definition number 3 above. Funnily enough I am not in fact an Evangelical Christian, or indeed any form of religious devotee. My reasoning at the time was this; anything these narrow minded nutters object to is probably worth a gander. A bit like the sadly missed red triangle broadcasts you used to have on channel four. Ostensibly for their art-house ‘avant-garde’ films imported from European countries with slightly less neo-conservative views on television censorship. They were great; a wee red triangle displayed in the top left hand corner of the screen meant guaranteed bush and possibly even a glimpse of kipper if you were willing to sit through all the French drivel in between.

In fact I’d like to extend a big thank you to the evangelicals for introducing me into the world of Harry Potter. I was determined not to like the wee sh*te and if it hadn’t been for all those redneck bigoted zealots in the American Midwest having ‘book burning’ nights I’d have never opened a page in the first place. Now I’m a total Potter devotee; cheers ye insular intolerant narrow-minded raving whackos! (My therapist has recommended that I don’t bottle up my emotions)

Bloomsbury was probably rubbing their hands with glee at the news. Nothing like a good old medieval ‘witch hunt’ (how prophetic) to drum up some good publicity for your product. When you’re selling 300 million copies, a few hundred getting smoked on a religious bonfire is of little consequence. Especially as it occurred that they must have had to buy them in the first place! I can just imagine the shop keepers smile as he wiped the foaming spittle from his cheek after another righteous tirade against his selling of occult merchandise ‘thirty copies, that’ll be two hundred dollars please sir’ Oh how I laughed at that one; he’s putting the guys kids through college for him.

I couldn’t quite get my head round their objections anyway? There are some striking similarities between the main ‘characters’ in each set of texts. Harry was orphaned soon after his birth and never knew his parents. His mother died to save him thereby placing magical protection on the infant and of course thwarting Lord Voldemort in the process.

The old Immaculate Conception is a wee bit paranormal as well you’d have to say. Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit after Mary receives a nod and a wink from the Angel Gabriel that it won’t nip and she will remain unsullied in the process? Now c’mon! If that doesn’t sound like magic I don’t know what does.

Add the fact that his mum and his step-dad chose to follow a celestial object to the nearest barn rather than hailing a taxi to the hospital for the birth of their first, and in fact, the prodigal son and everything is starting to sound a little sinister to me. What have you got to hide Joseph? Hmmm? Dabbling in Astrology are we? Oooooh that’s practically devil worshipping that is.

The similarities don’t end there. Harry constantly has to defend himself against criticism that the Dark Lord doesn’t exist and he’s making it all up. The daily prophet are always having a dig and attempting to discredit him. Jesus is also doing his best to spread the good word about his dads business and he’s getting the cold shoulder plus no end of gip from the Romans. They could be twins separated at birth! Did Jesus have a big jagged scar on his coupon? ……. I think he might have

Not only that, but Harry was betrayed by a member of the order of the phoenix in the last book and as a result old Dumbledore was smoked in his own school. We all know what a turncoat that Judas lad was and how it didn’t end up so well for JC. Although unlike Snapes desire to reconcile with the Dark Lord apparently Judas did it for the cash. Thirty pieces of silver would go a long way in 32 AD; you could get yourself a nice hovel for that kind of money with en-suite slurry and off street parking for your Donkey. You’d be knee deep in raw human effluent before you could say ‘is that a spot on my face or a suppurating leperotic lesion?’

Basically the two texts tell the same story; good against evil and only one can conquer. It wouldn’t be so bad but the entire fecking premise of the seven book series is that we’d all really like good to win the day. After all the Republicans have been in power for two terms so evil has had a pretty good innings lately, it’s about time good got a look in and did some ….. well …. good.

Just because the main characters name is Harry and not Jesus; dry your eyes, get a grip and move on.

Personally I think the evangelicals are just p*ssed off that they didn’t think of the whole sequel thing first. The apostles have probably been kicking themselves ever since ‘Oh maaan why did we blow the whole gig in the first book’, ‘I know I know’ replies Matthew with his head in his hands ‘we could have stretched that story out like for eeeeever’ moans Luke ‘give it a rest man, I was sooo stoked with that first edition, it was sweet dude’ A third apostle bursts into the room carrying flagon of wine and a paper parcel. He surveys the morose scene in front of him ‘for Christ sake are you lot still going on about that? Give it a rest boys’, ’now who ordered the chicken tikka?’

I’ve a couple of suggestions for sequel titles, see what you think: ‘Bible II – The Wrath of God’ and ‘The Third Testament – The Bible bites back’ …… yeah you’re probably right, straight to DVD ……


Monday, July 16, 2007


HS132 - The one with the bike

Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 15th July 2007

As you may have gathered from my last diary I am now a ‘biker’; well I’ve got a bike licence. Purchasing a motorbike seemed like the next logical step, that’s why I sat the test after all. My car was stuttering along reasonably well with only minor incontinence around the oil filter and a few other suspension aches and ball-joint pains that are to be expected with a 13 year old motor car. After flicking through a number of bike magazines filled with glossy spreads of beautiful shiny motorbikes and then glancing sadly out the kitchen window at my rusting relic corroding in the driveway I made the very sensible and correct decision to ‘invest’ in some new transport. After all I’m not seventeen anymore; so a new motorbike it was! You can get a lot more bike for the same money, honest mum you really can!

First of course you have to decide what style of bike you want; which can be trickier than you’d imagine. There are a number of categories of motorbike, the first and most recognisable type would be the Sports bike. These are the most popular bike in the UK and tend to have riding positions which force your head down low and very close to the bars. Your helmet is crammed behind the miniscule windscreen and your arse is up in the air, thereby forcing your now agonisingly cramping body to adopt an aerodynamic teardrop position. This tortuous arrangement allows you to slip through the atmosphere with the minimum of drag.

Contorted into a leather clad teardrop and jammed behind the bars of your metallic Polaris missile you are now prepared to pass any slow moving object which may be in your way. Of course when I say ‘slow-moving’ that basically refers to anything travelling at less than say a hundred and twenty miles per hour. You’ve barely time to shout ‘gerroutofthewayyoudodderyoldbastard’ before you’ve whipped past several dozen cars and are tearing down the road like a bat out of hell.

PC Plod has just shat himself as the wake vortex from your bike ripped the cup of tea he was holding out of his hand and tipped the contents on to his lap. So much for a sneaky brew as he catches some motors with his speed gun. It’s melted trying to clock your speed and he’s squealing like a lassy, fanning his par boiled goolies with a newspaper as you vanish into the distance. Numberplate? what numberplate? With top speeds in excess of 170mph even the Police helicopter can’t keep up. A bike like this would mean death within two minutes for novices like myself and as such is definitely off the buying list (see how sensible I am mum, see see SEE!)

‘Perhaps I need something a bit more sedate’ I mumbled as I thumbed through the enormous pile of bike magazines I had procured since passing my test. A picture of a BMW R1200RT hoved into view ‘hmmm something like a touring bike’ I exclaimed with glee. These are big chunky motorbikes with nice sensible upright riding positions. Designed for jaunts round Europe they usually have huge cavernous panniers where you can store everything you might need for a couple of weeks in the south of France. Capacious wind screens to keep out the worst of those horrid nasty elements you get exposed to on a bike. Comfortable you ask? Seats like a leather chesterfield; it’s a holiday for your backside riding one of these bikes.

Optional accessories include a teas maid, ashtray, microwave, satnav, Sky TV and a live in butler ‘Hmm just the bash-howfuuuuckingmuch!’ my eyes nearly popped out of my head as they took in the exorbitant price tag ‘a fecking car would be cheaper’ I grumbled in disgust. Not a surprise that they tend to be the play thing of bank managers, doctors, Lawyers and the like. ‘Not really the spirit of the motorbike’ I mumbled through my petted lip as I flicked on in search of a suitably priced steed.

We moved on to custom bikes which are (and lets not beat about the bush here) for out and out posers. We are talking Harley Davidsons and the like. Huge chrome encrusted leviathans with names like Panhead, Knucklehead, Shovelhead and Fathead. They all have very very loud burbling engines. In fact Harley Davidson even tried to patent the sound of their motorbike to prevent competitors copying it (yes it is sad isn’t it) apparently a Harley goes ‘potato potato potato’ Happily the residing Judge said ‘get-tae get-tae get-tae-fuuckootofmacourtroom’ upon hearing the case.

These are really bikes to be seen on. They have a very laid back riding position, usually long or wide handlebars (sometimes both) often fitted with leather saddlebags (not panniers you’ll note, saddle bags) Tend to be ridden by aging hippies and bank managers who have a mild side, sorry wild side. Custom bikes are always ridden whilst wearing an open faced helmet and leathers with tassels. I believe it’s the law?

Most custom riders will have a copy of ‘Easy Rider’ in their film collection and proclaim to live on the edge. Given their transport is about as stable as a jelly in a tumble drier I wouldn’t be riding anywhere near the edge of anything in one of those shiny death traps. But custom bikes are not about handling or speed or braking; they are about style! And as a regular patron of Oxfam and Millets style isn’t really my thing so that was another genre crossed off the shopping list. Shame really I quite fancied the tassels …..

Off road bikes are just that, for off road. Tall riding position, huge suspension travel and big knobbly tyres for biting through deep mud and the like. Unlike the much maligned ‘Chelsea tractor’ these tend to be actually used off road. As I had missed the deadline for Paris-Dakar entries and no trans-continental or Polar Cap-to-Cap jaunts were in the offing I decided to cross them off the list straight away.

After a weeks exhaustive research I decided I didn’t have a clue. I plumped for a ‘National Lottery’ approach. After cutting out a picture of every bike I could actually afford out of the magazines I gathered them all together and placed them in an empty coco pop box for the big draw. With some trepidation I gave the box a final shake, closed my eyes and dipped my hand inside ‘C’mon coco monkey don’t let me down’ I mumbled whilst fumbling inside ….. ‘and the winner is’ ……… ‘oh’ …..

Congratulations Mr shanks’ beamed the salesman ‘yeah cheers’ I mumbled in return ‘here’s your key; pleasant riding’ grudgingly I accepted the keys and inserted them in the ignition. With a heavy sigh I kicked down on the starter and the engine roared into life ‘BRUUUM….. BRUUUM’ before settling quickly to a nice idle. With a face like a bulldog licking p*ss of a nettle and tassels blowing in the wind I rode off …... potato potato potato potato …..


Ps I really got a Kawasaki ER-6F and it goes like slippery sh*t off a shiny shovel but don’t tell my mum shhhhhhhhh

Sunday, July 15, 2007



‘My neighbours are cretins’ is going to be the title of my new blog. I’ve unashamedly pinched the format of the title from a fellow blogger ‘My neighbours are hoors’ a very good blog you should look up btw (

To be fair my neighbours on either side are very nice but the dick brain that lives across the other side of the road is indeed a tool of the highest order. It’s now after ten pm at night and he’s cleaning his car in the driveway. He has both front doors of his motor open and the stereo is blaring out music at about 100 decibels. I’m not sure what genre of music as his speakers don’t seem to be able to cope with the power from his amplifier. He must have the cleanest car in the street though as he’s been at it for nearly an hour. I’ve really been enjoying it, even though my windows are all now closed on this balmy hot night and I’m steaming like a fucking clam I can still hear him, which is nice.

I can’t quite work out whether he’s drunk, deaf or just care in the community? Clearly when you’re hoovering the car; a quiet pastime in itself and definitely one for the twilight hours, you will struggle to hear the stereo so naturally you’d turn it up.

I’m just looking out some flaming torches and a couple of pitchforks before I round up some of the other neighbours and we pop across for a ‘quiet word’ with the imbecile. There’s nothing quite like a pointed farm implement to carry the argument I find. Failing that I might douse his motor in a gallon of unleaded and turn it into a genuinely hot hatch; which the go faster stripes and furry dice have so far failed to achieve.

Sadly this means I won’t have time to finish this week’s diary as I don’t believe they have installed wireless broadband in the custody suite in Stirling yet

Kindest Regards


Sunday, July 08, 2007


Ham Shanks Secret Diary - Part 131

Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 8th July 2007

My brother looked at me incredulously ‘Your bike test?’, ’yes’ I replied curtly ‘your motorbike test?’ he continued with barely disguised disdain ‘no my fecking cycling proficiency test’ I replied hotly, ‘of course the motorbike test!’ he raised his eyebrows and exhaled theatrically ‘dunno, I could have believed the cycling one; are you still a member of the secret squirrel savers club?’, ‘oh ha ha’, ‘don’t you think it’s about time you cancelled your subscription to Commando magazine?’, ‘Your looking for a skelp in the puss sunshine‘, ‘sorry I thought we had been transported back to the late seventies and we were eleven again; do you want a new train set as well?

‘Your cruising laddy’ I hissed through gritted teeth, giving him the full force of my mesma-death stare at the same time. He raised his eyebrows ‘can I get you some senekot?’ slamming down my coffee cup I grabbed the collar of his shirt, pulling his face up to mine ‘What’s so fucking hard to fucking undersfuckingtand’ I screamed ‘all I want to do is get my motorfuckingbike fuuuuuckinglicence!’ relinquishing my grip on his shirt I dropped him back into the kitchen chair. He calmly mopped the spittle off his brow ‘Ooooooh you’re having a mid life crisis, now I understand!

The remainder of the conversation was carried out through the medium of fists.

Ok Mr Shanks’, ‘can I call you Ham?’, ‘by all means’ I had been expecting some big greasy biker to be doing the training, but it turned out my instructor was a very nice woman by the name of Rosie ‘Ok Ham, lets see if we can find a helmet that’ll fit over that broken nose’ she rummaged through a box of bike kit occasionally handing out a helmet or a pair of gloves. After half an hour of modelling the very latest in motorcycle apparel I was finally looking like a biker; all I needed now was a bike. I’d booked myself on to the ‘direct access’ course. This is the one where you sit your test on a 500cc motorbike and assuming you pass; you are then allowed to ride any size bike straight away. I couldn’t wait.

Okay Ham let’s have a look at the bike you’ll be riding’ I was soooo excited as we walked over to the training area. The instructor opened the door of a large container and I peered eagerly inside ‘this is a Honda CG125cc four stroke motorbike’ my face was tripping me ‘what?’ it was about the size of a bmx ‘when do we get on the proper ones?’ I enquired in a particularly whiny voice ‘one step at a time we-’, ‘I thought we were doing the big bikes’ I interrupted ‘You have to do the basic training on a 125 first Mr Shanks’, ‘Wannnabigbike!!’ I screamed as she wheeled the bike out of the container ‘so let’s familiarise ourselves with the controls’, ‘wannabigbike wannabig bike! WANNABIGONE!’ I howled until my face went crimson.

This response was given short shrift; I was forced to go and hang from the naughty hook until I calmed down. Only after ten minutes thinking carefully about what I’d done and a ‘proper’ apology did the training continue ‘m’really sorry Rosie promise I’ll behave’ I sniffled as she removed the bike chain from my ankles, lowered me to the ground, and resumed her explanation of the bikes controls.

The C.B.T. (Compulsory Basic Training) was in fact a dawdle but I have to confess that I did actually own a 125 bike when I was seventeen and had ridden for a couple of years until I finally got around to passing my car test. So it did all come back to me quite quickly, after all it’s just like riding a bike …. Well where the fuck did you thing the saying came from? Hmmm?

Aaaaanyway once I’d sampled the delights of four wheeled motoring i.e. being dry and actually able to keep up with traffic rather than being at the mercy of it. The lure of the motorcycle lost its attractions. I have however been kicking myself ever since that I didn’t just sit by bike test at the same time. It would have been a dawdle.

In those days your bike test consisted of whizzing around a few cones in a car park before being sent round the block on your bike. At some point the examiner would jump out in front of you, dressed as a woman or a baby, and you would have to do an emergency stop without killing him. Ok so the dressing up part is a fib but I’m pretty sure the examiner wanted to live. There was certainly no ‘pursuit’ test. Nowadays you are linked up with the examiner via radio and he follows you on another motorbike watching your every move. It’s a fecking nightmare. Unless of course you are properly trained; Enter Rosie stage right.

I’d elected to do the ‘condensed’ tuition which consisted of four days consecutive training followed by my test on the fifth day. It was indeed ‘intensive’. I don’t think the communist Chinese, The Scientologists or The Moonies could have done a better job brain washing me. We were linked up by radio and by thend of the four days I’d ridden round Stirling so many times I felt I could do it in my sleep. Every turn I made I could hear Rosies voice in my head ‘Observation, Signal, Manoeuvre, too early with the lifesaver glance, ‘straighten up and rear observation, c’mon boot it up this is national speed limit, get moving go go go!’ I was waiting for the lesson where she was going to blindfold me and I would have to use ‘The Force’ to get around., but it never came.

It was all worth on the day because I realised it was my own voice in my head telling me what to do (no not the crazy one; he’s quiet as long as I keep taking the lithium carbonate) the sane one was telling me to do all the right things at the right times and I breezed the test - Passed with only 2 minor faults – Woo and indeed HOO!

It was with the utmost relish that I knocked on my twin brothers’ door that evening. He took a couple of minutes to answer as I leaned on the door bell whilst knocking loudly and repeatedly on the wooden door with my other hand. The door was finally wrenched open ‘WHAT!’ he shouted ‘Oh it’s you?’ he was fumbling to zip up his fly so clearly I had caught him ‘incognito’ (or having a shite as we call it in Scotland) ‘What do you want?’ he muttered angrily, our previous fight clearly not forgotten ‘I’d like to gloat please’ I replied brandishing my pass certificate in his face ‘HA! Take that ye bawbag’, ‘midlife crisis my backside!’

He examined the document before handing it back ‘Oh aye very good’ he replied ‘what are you getting next? A tattoo and a piercing?’ nonplussed at his reaction I gave him the finger before stomping back to the car. Slumping into the drivers seat I fished out my mobile ‘How the fuck did he know that?’ I mumbled as I hit speed dial ‘Hello Gary’, ‘Ham here’, ‘aye am going to give the Prince Albert a miss pal’, ‘Aye it’s just not me’


Ps Sorry Mum but Neil and Fraz BOTH knew I was getting a bike and they said nothing so they are as much to blame as me – more in fact if you think about it …..

Monday, July 02, 2007


Ham Shanks Secret Diary - Part 130

Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 1st July 2007

‘Ggnnfmmpff … gnnfmmpf.f.f.f…. aaah ye fecker!’ exhausted I slumped down into an armchair, sweat pouring off my brow ‘a deep breath Ham, that’s all ye need, c’mon you can do it’ sucking in a few lungfuls of air I waddled back to my feet and made sure I had a firm grip before my second attempt ‘Huuuuu …’ my face turned a fetching purple hue as I struggled in vain ‘ggnnfmmmp’ it was now turning more of an ugly blue as my brain pleaded for some oxygen and my lungs started to convulse in protest ‘… mmmmpfff aAAAAHHFERFUUUCSAKE!

Collapsing back onto the armchair I kicked the faded jeans off my legs ‘comfort fit my arse’ I mumbled as the red colour ebbed from my cheeks and cool sweet oxygen filled my aching lungs. This was the third pair of jeans I had attempted to get into, sadly I wasn’t in a Versace fashion outlet where all the garments are designed for anorexic stick insects; I was at home. My initial surmise that elves were hiding inside my washing machine and secretly shrinking all my clothes proved to be slightly wide of the mark. A thorough search of the appliance revealed an absence of any magical creatures, given that damming evidence I had to concede that perhaps I ‘may’ have gained a few pounds in weight.

There was nothing for it; I was going to have to go on a weight loss ‘diet’ (cue sinister music and anguished look to camera) Notice that I didn’t say I was going to go ‘on a diet’ because the word diet merely refers to the nutritional intake of an animal. For instance you might say a lion has a diet of Zebra, Antelope, Wildebeest and any other poor herbivore it can sink its teeth into. I’m already on a fecking diet; it just happens to be a diet of meat pies, crisps and chocolate.

I’m also not one for following fads and let’s be honest it’ll take more than a slimfast milkshake or a couple of bowls of Special K to counteract 4lbs of potted meat fat. Losing weight is not rocket science, it’s actually very simple. If you are taking in more calories in than your body needs it will store them, and sadly it aint going to store them as a rippling six pack. So either a) eat less or b) exercise more or c) a combination of the two.

You also don’t need to go raking about the cludge to have a look at your stool sample. All that will tell you is that shit stinks; I know this without having to check my own. Although perhaps that explains why ‘Dr’ (ha ha that’ll be right) Gillian McKeith always has a face like she’s licking piss off a nettle? She’s forever raking about other peoples jobbies. Gie it a rest luv and find a proper hobby.

Now don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not saying it’s easy to lose weight, all I’m saying is that the principles aren’t exactly complicated. Pretty much everyone knows what foods are healthy and which ones are going to turn you into a lardass. However in defence of fatties like myself there are a number of foods that can catch people out with sneaky ‘hidden’ calories. These ‘SAS’ calories remain totally concealed during consumption. There’s no obvious hint of danger as you eat, no thrilling chocolaty sugar high, no finger licking greasy fingered satisfaction; nothing to suggest what you’re eating is actually bad for you. The b@stards

I’m talking about things like the humble fruit scone, you might not necessarily peg a fruit scone as the devils doughnut; but it is. Don’t be mislead by the word fruit, the scone is not your friend, do not trust it. We are not even talking about butter and jam covered scones; we are talking about a naked scone. There’s no way of breaking this to you gently but the scone is in fact a Trojan horse! (Da da da da daaaaa!) It contains hundreds of hidden calories.

As soon as that relatively tasteless mouthful hits the stomach those sneaky calories spring into action. Their floury camouflage broken down by caustic stomach acids to reveal the hardy components hidden inside. Within a few seconds they are lined up in front of the Regimental Sergeant Major; a bristling phospholipid ‘ok lads up and at em!’, ‘right my lovely bunch of triglycerides, you knows whats you gots to do don’t you?’, ‘sah yes saah’, ‘B Platoon! Get yourself up to the chin and start doubling up’, ‘yes sir!’, ‘D company I want to see love handles and I want to see them fast! Hup hup hup!’, ‘A Company is there any reason why you’re still hanging around here? Move it you orrible little lipids!’, ‘If I don’t see’s you inside some adipose tissue in five seconds flat I will personally stick my boot right up your backside MOOOOVE IT!!!! Hup two three four hup two three four!!!!

It’s not just scones though; oh no. Ye cannay even have a drink in safety there’s hunners of sneaky calories in beer as well. So the next time you sit down, crack open a tinny and rest it on your belly spare a thought for your calorific intake. And what’s got more calories do you think, a pint of Guinness or a pint of Stella? You’ll be surprised to know that the Guinness only has 170 calories a pint whereas the wifebeater has over 220. So bang goes the myth that lager is better for ye than brown beer. It’s a fecking nightmare. Once you start hunting down these sneaky calories you realise they are everywhere. They are like Zulus ‘there’s fousands of em’

By now you are probably getting quite exasperated ‘so I cant have scones and I cant have a pint’, ‘fair enough Ham, I hear what your saying’, ‘I’ll just have some healthy seeds and dried fruit instead’, ‘WHAT!’ now I would be forced to knock the packet of seeds out of your hand and slap you round the face ‘are you stupid’ I would shout whilst giving you another slap ‘don’t you know what your eating?’ slap slap’ ‘Seeds’ slap ‘are packedslap ‘with fats!’ slap slap SLAP! By this point you would be unconscious and unable to benefit from my second lecture on the high sugar content of dried fruit and the merits of choosing foods with a low glycemic index instead.

So much for not getting into fads.

After examining the contents of my shopping trolley more closely I have decided that a little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing. I have decided I’m not going to get caught up in calories, carbohydrates, glycemic indices or pro-fecking-biotics. All that’s required is a little common sense. Moderation in everything and if it has the words ‘double cream’ or ‘full fat’ on the label then it’s probably best left on the shelf. I therefore go back to my earlier premise with one addition. If you are worried about your weight either a) eat less b) exercise more c) a combination of the two or d) buy bigger jeans


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