Monday, February 02, 2009


Hams Back (once more)

Hey Hey Hey!

Hams not deid

Aye ok so I have reached new levels of poor service. I can make no apologies but in my defence I was sucked into a rent in space and time which took me to a foreign part of the galaxy and I had to construct a space vessel to take me home using only the contents of my pockets. I was hampered by lack of a viable form of interstellar propulsion and any discernible talent or ability.

On the plus side this was all a rather vivid dream and in fact I’ve just been a complete slack b@stard for the last four months (well when it comes to these scribblings) elsewhere I have been rather busy


Hopefully the next one will be around before Halleys comet returns

Kind regards


The Certainty Principle

It’s the end of January and payday has finally arrived. The longest month of the year is nearly at an end and Ham is going out to celebrate. Christmas, Hogmanay and the credit crunch have left Hammy a wee bit on the short side and made this January as much fun as a baw kicking party; so he’s going to celebrate the first flush of pay and get well rubbered tonight. The weather has also taken a turn for the worse so our baldy hero is forgoing his normal healthy walk and is getting a bus into town ……

Peering out the window I see the rain is coming down in sheets; I check my watch. 15 minutes to get to the bus stop; it’s going to be a sprint in this weather. Several deep breaths to charge the lungs ‘Ok Ham, no probs, plenty of time’ one more quick gulp and I jump out the front door into a wall of water ‘bloodyhell’ I fumble to lock the door ‘for fuuucksakes’ I wail as the errant key tries to wriggle out of my already soaking hand ‘lock ya baaaastard lock’ with a dull thud I finally hear the chamber fall into place; and I’m off like a whippet (albeit quite a chunky slow whippet)

Long galloping strides carry me quickly through the many deep puddles and I make it to the bus stop in world record time, I curse my luck that Norris McWhirter isn’t here to validate my record; then remember he pegged it 5 years ago ‘Damm you Norris’ I mumble whilst surveying my sodden jeans and leaky shoes. I take solace it the fact I am now under cover.

However it didn’t take me long to twig that despite the cover the precipitation did not appear to have stopped? If anything it was even wetter inside. Call me picky but the words ‘Bus shelter’ surely imply some protection from the elements? I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation from something that boasts the word ‘shelter’ in its title. Unfortunately this particular refuge appeared to be a ‘rain collector’ the prevailing weather conditions rendering it an impromptu ‘whirlwind spa’

The bus company had also helpfully put the timetable outside the ‘shelter’ so I popped back out into the teeth of the hurricane to check when the next bus was actually due. Stirling doesn’t have any of these fancy electronic signs which tell you when the next bus is coming. Its old school paper timetables for us. Hanging onto the lamppost as my feet were blown horizontal I scanned the rain soaked sign ‘Oookay there’s one in 8 minutes’ I mumbled glancing at my watch ‘and another half an hour after that’ another 8 minutes of dampness was bearable; after all it would take four times longer to walk into town. I let go and was blown back into my icy spa.

Huddling in the corner of the leaky bivouac I noticed the sepia orange street lights starting to flicker ‘what the?‘ suddenly I was bathed in very strong bright lights. They cycled from yellow to red to white and then to green. I had to shield my eyes from their fierce glare. My first instinct of extra terrestrial invasion was ruled out by the absence of any little green aliens wanting to take me to their spaceship for rectal probing. This suggested there may be a more mundane and earthy explanation for these powerful lights. Gazing across the road I found the answer….

KEBAB, PIZZA, CHIPS and FREE HOME DELIVERY all shone out at me in varying colours of vivid neon. The entire front of the shop was taken up by this behemoth of a sign which the proprietor had just switched on.

How the council ever gave planning permission for this energy sapping Jurassic beast I’ll never know. ‘For pities sake’ Not only was I now cold and hungry but even when I closed my eyes I could still see the glowing words as they were now burnt indelibly onto my retina; I was cursed to think of kebabs and chips for all eternity. I pulled my donor card out of my wallet to score out the section for bequeathing eyes ‘No point in giving these to anyone now’ I mumbled.

It also dawned on me that the bus hadn’t yet arrived? It was now more than 5 minutes past the allotted arrival time and there was nary a vehicle to be seen of any kind. My celebratory beers seemed more distant than ever. Braving the pelting rain I checked the timetable again. Using the remaining unburnt retinal tissue between the E and B of kebab I noticed there was a number you could text which would tell me when the next bus was due. All I had to do was text my bus stops ‘unique’ 16 digit reference number and they would reply with the time the next bus would arrive.

You can imagine the feelings of joy and happiness when the reply I received stated ‘unknown location please check your reference’ Three more times I braved the elements to triple check the fecking number and IT WAS as printed on the timetable. Twice more I received a reply stating I was a f@nny and couldn’t input the number correctly. This may not be the actual text of the reply but it was what they were implying. The vein on my forehead was throbbing angrily now and tetchiness levels were reaching a critical threshold. This seemed a good point to call their helpline.

My good humour was further improved by having to press nine numbers to allegedly route me to the most inept, sorry appropriate operator at which point I was cut off anyway. Feelings of anger and resentment were not dissipating; I tried again.

‘Hello how can I help you sir?’, ‘Ah yes I wonder if you can tell me if you own any buses?’, ‘pardon?’, ‘Buses, do you have any?’ there was a pause on the other end of the line ‘I’m not sure I understand sir?’, ‘well the thing is I’ve been waiting at this bus stop, for an hour, in the clearly faint hope that a bus might arrive’, ‘yes I-‘, ‘your timetable clearly indicates that two buses should have arrived by now’, ‘yes sir but the timetable is just a guide’, ‘a guide’ I replied quietly ‘yes sir’, ‘so what your telling me is your buses are subject to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle’, ‘sorry sir?’ clearly my operator was not the recipient of a high school education. Sesame street was probably more his standard. I felt I should educate him.

‘The Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that the values of certain pairs of conjugate variables (position and momentum, for instance) cannot both be known with arbitrary precision’, ‘That is, the more precisely one variable is known, the less precisely the other is known’, ‘although this usually refers to quantum physics rather than public transport’, ‘but I don’t want to blind you with science so let’s put it in simpler terms’, ‘what I really mean is YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOUR FUUUUCKINGBUSES ARE DO YOU!!’

It was at this point I was drenched to the skin as two buses came thundering past at 60 miles an hour showering me with the contents of a large brown puddle. If my hand had been out to stop them I would have lost it. Sighing heavily I trudged wetly across the street ‘large donner please mate, sauce salad everything’ ….

Sunday, November 30, 2008



Hey hey hey kids

It's nearly December. Not long till Sunty is climbing doon yer lum tae steal mince pies and drink yer sherry!

Here's something to take yout mind off this impending breach of household security

Kindest Regards


Family Fortunes

Regular readers will know that I have a twin brother; an ‘evil’ twin obviously. I also have an older brother who’s not quite so evil, lets’ just say he’s ‘twisted’. From those two pieces of information you should have been able to work out that we have a mother; no it’s not rocket science is it. Anyhoo dutiful son that I am I recently persuaded my siblings that we needed to pop round to the ancestral home and carry out some odd jobs for mother dear. This I did out of the goodness of my heart, the three and a half hour phone call from my mum nipping ma heid about the leaky tap the previous evening was neither here nor there.

The ‘Twinnys’ were to rendezvous and meet no 1 son up at the hoose. Being a former boy scout I thought we best ‘be prepared’ so I had a look at the weather forecast ‘Oh marvellous!’ there was a severe weather warning for the North East of Scotland. The met office advised of a ‘60% chance of moderate to severe wintry weather affecting the region in the next 24hrs’ Travel was to be avoided if at all possible.

When I mentioned this to my twin he intimated that I was ‘a big jessy’ and ‘to dry my blubbering eyes’ he further suggested that having taken a day off work were I to bail out of this journey that he would fashion mum some ear rings from components of my nether regions; I told you he was evil. Aborting the mission was clearly not an option so instead I vowed to be prepared for every eventuality ……

It was 5:30am as I drew up outside my brothers’ house that dark Friday morning; a light dusting of snow covered the car like automotive dandruff. I crept my way to his front door ‘Bing Bong’ ….. ‘Bing Bong’ ….. ‘Bing Bong Bing Bong Bing- WAAAAH! Bong’ Lights flickered on and the sound of a crying child pierced the crisp morning air. I could hear footsteps then a key being frantically turned before the door was flung open to reveal my twinny looking less than amused as he shivered in his tartan boxers ‘Morning Bruv I-ooomppfffff!’

When I came round the crying had ceased and my brother was now fully clad and clutching a steaming mug of tea in his hand. His expression was not dissimilar to that of a man who’d just stepped on a turd with bare feet ‘You’re not really my brother are you? The fecking fairies must have left you on the doorstep’, ‘what do you mean?’ I replied sullenly ‘I have a 9 month old bairn you simple fud!’, ‘aye so?’, ‘You rang the fecking doorbell at 5 in the morning!’, ‘I wasn’t ringing for him!’ I replied tetchily whilst examining my rapidly blackening eye in the kitchen window ‘Oh, of course, well I’ll let him know it wasn’t for him WHENHESTOPSFUUUUCKINGCRYING!!!’ ‘Oh aye right; sorry’ I mumbled whilst mopping the spittle from my face.

Having placated his child (and wife) we headed out to the car ‘So what’s mum wanting us to do this weekend then-‘ my brothers voice trailed off when he saw the car ‘Ham’, ‘yes?’, ‘why?‘, ‘Why what?’, ‘Why’ he replied with the voice of one speaking to a simple child ‘do you have a sledge on the roof of the car?’, ‘well I can explain-‘, ‘and skis?’, ‘and what appear to be animal hides?’, ‘just being prepared’ I replied cheerily ‘uhuu’ he mumbled ‘shame your not prepared for reality’

Which may be true but he certainly wasn’t prepared for the wet nose on the back of his neck as he sat down in the passenger seat ‘Jeeeeusfuuuuuuuck!!’ he screamed ‘oh don’t worry; that’s just Moose’ I grinned as the Alaskan Husky slobbered in his ear ‘he’s the lead dog’, ‘lead?’ replied my brother as he turned to see a plethora of hairy faces in the back seat ‘Who would have thought fourteen dogs could fit in the car’ he mumbled weakly. ‘Aye it surprised me too’ I replied as we rumbled off, the snow chains digging deep welts into his tarmac driveway.

‘So you still haven’t told me; what exactly are we doing at Moothas again?’ enquired my brother as he wound down the window, his face screwing up in disgust ‘Aye sorry about that I don’t think the Aldis dog food agrees with them’ I replied bashfully as a wave of canine flatulence washed over us ‘Leaky tap was her main complaint’ I continued, winding my own window down ‘Anything else?’, ‘Oh just a couple of odd jobs; rewire the house build a conservatory that sort of thing’

We’d barely driven out of his estate when the first flake of snow hit the windscreen. My hands gripped the steering wheel tightly ‘Oh sh*t!’, ‘What?’ replied my brother, ‘Blizzard!’ I squealed hysterically. He peered out the window and scanned the clear morning sky ‘what the feck are ye talking about it’s three flakes of snaw at most ye baldy eedjit!’, ‘I told you we should have postponed this trip’ I wailed ‘We better break out the emergency rations’ my brother looked at me incredulously ‘have you been eating soap again?’, ‘We could be marooned here for months’ I sobbed ‘I could walk home in 5 minutes ye f@nny’, ‘get a grip!’ he retorted sharply; slapping me on the back of the head for extra effect.

The blow to the head suppressed my hysteria and I managed to regain some composure ‘right, aye sorry aboot that Bruv, am just a bit jumpy’, ‘tell you what; I’m going to grab some shut eye seeing as a complete cretin forced me out of my bed this morning’, ‘do you think you could manage to hold it together for half an hour without adult supervision?’, ‘aye fine, no bother bruv you can count on me’, ‘aye I can count on ye tae be a complete fud’ he muttered whilst propping his head against the window ‘don’t wake me up unless it’s an emergency ok?’, ‘right ye are bruv’ ……

That’s a difficult one, when someone says an emergency you have to be sure the situation merits that status. I mean to you and me a broken nail is not particularly serious; but to some lassy on a night out it can constitute a major crisis. However after a few minutes mulling things over our current predicament I gently nudged my brother ‘Eeer Twinny can ye wake up please?’, ‘whasat? Mnggfff’ he lifted his head up and peered through bleary red eyes ‘for gods sake Ham am tired’ ‘DON’T MOVE!’ I screamed as the car rocked gently from front to back ‘what’s going on?’, ‘I’ve had a little bit of an accident….’ I replied whilst gesturing outside with my eyes

My brothers’ face quickly formed a rictus of terror as the mountain top opposite swayed in and out of view. Husky’s were piled on top of each other beside us and whimpering as pallets of pemmican emergency rations slid dangerously backwards ‘What have you done Ham?’ enquired my brother through gritted teeth ‘Eeer I took a bit of a short cut Bruv’ I replied as we swayed on the rocky precipice ‘I’m going to fecking kill you!’ he whispered ‘better make it quick then’ I retorted as another crate of dog food started slipping towards the rear of the vehicle.

It’s at time like this you can regret only taking out third party insurance ….

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hey hey hey folks

Here's another piece of vented spleen. Yes it's late again, ok very late again. I posted it Royal Mail third class. It's a new category to help with the credit crunch......

Hope ye enjoy


Bawbags and Bandwagons

Are we becoming a more hysterical and shallow Nation I wonder? There have been a number of stories in the press recently which seem to have spiralled out of all proportion. Take the whole Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross fiasco. It went a bit radio rental didn’t it? Yes they shouldn’t have left obscene messages on Andrew Sachs answer phone and yes the producers probably deserved a kick up the backside for thinking that it was actually ok to broadcast such drivel (given they had two days to mull it over)

But hello people! Did the controller of Radio two really have to fall on her sword? Did it really merit Politicians getting involved? Questions in the House of Commons and calls for the death penalty to be reinstated? I think not.

The question we should really be asking is where did Andrew Sachs get an answer phone that could actually hold an hours worth of puerile schoolboy messages? My answer machine stores about three and a half seconds before truncating any future message into meaningless gobbledygook ‘Alright Ham I’ll see you at-‘, ‘Ham can you call me back on 014-‘, ‘Ham you’re a twa-‘ I just never seem to get the whole message? I’d like to know what make and model it is and where he bought it! Those are the answers the public deserves.

I actually felt a tad sorry for Messieurs Brand and Ross; even though I find Russell Brand about as funny as syphilis and I reckon Jonathon Ross is 15 years past his sell by date. But hey! We all like different things and anybody that can negotiate 18 million over three years is far from stupid. Well done ‘Wossi boy’ for convincing the muppets at the beeb 500 thousand a month was a reasonable salary for endless knob gags and childish innuendo.

Of course the Beeb have just saved one and a half million by taking him off the air for three months and another two hundred grand when Brand belatedly noted the sharks circling and did the decent thing. As for Joe Publics indignation; nobody gives a stuff about Andrew Sachs or his grand daughter. Most people don’t even know who they are! Andrew Sachs? ‘Manuel from Fawlty Towers!’, ‘I thought he was deid?’, ‘Georgina who?’ They don’t have any empathy for these people! They just heard what the entertainers were getting paid ‘Two undred graaaand faack a duck’, ’18 million!’, ‘That’s a faaacking disgrace!’, ‘What did they do again?’

Now that the furore over ‘Wossgate’ has subsided it’s time for Aunty to kick herself in the other cheek with Strictly gone bonkers! Yes it’s the most important news item of the decade. Forget the credit crunch and the fact the pound is now worth less than a Zimbabwean dollar. Never mind that first black President of the largest democracy in the world is assembling the key personnel in his administration that could change the face of the world forever (whether we like it or not) Don’t fash yourself about that, oh no, let’s get ourselves all steamed up because somebody that cant dance is no longer going to dance anymore!

John Sergeant is an ex political journalist, witty raconteur, all round good guy and probably the most affable and enjoyable company you could wish for; can’t dance for toffee though. ‘Sounds like a top bloke’ I hear you cry. Yeah he is, that’s why the public are voting for him; because they like him. This is where the program creators didn’t really think it through. If you want a pure dance competition then surely you get proper dancers to enter? But it’s not a dance competition is it? It’s ‘entertainment’ and therefore people are going to vote for the person that entertains them the most.

They want to see the bloke that has three left feet, they like to see somebody that’s every bit as keech as they would be, they enjoy rubber necking the car crash that is Mr Sergeants Cha-Cha-Cha. Why? Because it’s enter-fecking-taining! It takes their mind off the fact the bailiffs are knocking down the front door to repossess the very TV they are watching it on. Feckless footwork and error filled timing provides a welcome distraction from the pain of the knee capping your local loan shark is currently administering for default on an interest payment.

Furthermore; if you are going to suck people into the program by giving them a say in the eventual outcome then you can’t blub and spit the dummy when things don’t go the way you planned; that’s democracy. In fact politicians are clambering to get on now. I even heard a suggestion on the radio to expand the principal from the current format and have Gordon Brown and David Cameron in a dance off for the next election? That’s plainly ridiculous! Gordon Brown only has one eye and his lack of depth perception would leave him at a distinct disadvantage.

Anyway I’d have made it an ‘Ultimate fight’ to the death instead, and then you’d find who really wanted to be involved in politics. Big Gordys missing eye would make him look like a bad b@stard! Spotted red Tie secured round his forehead he’d lumber into the cage ‘R.r.right ya Ff.f.fancy dan f.f.fop, geddit up ye!’ Camerons Quiff and tailored suit not quite so intimidating, although he’d probably ‘get a man in’ to do the work anyway ‘I say Jeeves give that Scottish oik a dam good thrashing will you’ Jeeves being a 20 stone black dude with no neck and fists the size of watermelons ‘I’ll be downstairs pumping the scullery boy’

But we needn’t worry. The Beeb have concluded their extensive and expensive investigation into Wossgate and reiterated that it was a "deplorable intrusion with no editorial justification" and no further action is to be taken. That was definitely worth the time and money not to mention the Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing held at the House of Commons. As long as we’ve kept the nations curtain twitchers, Tory MP’s and very vocal moral minority happy that’s the main thing.

But just in case your blood pressure has returned to normal apparently there was a guy called Johnny Rotten who said some sweary words on the telly a few years back, lots of sweary words actually! I know you didn’t see or hear that either and it was on the now defunct Thames television but don’t let that stop you feeling righteously indignant and getting on your high horse anyway.

I’m sure by this time next week you will be getting your knickers in a twist about some other non-event which you feel compelled to comment on while the world continues to plummet into financial meltdown and you stick your fingers in your collective ears about that one and go ‘la la la la la it’s not happening’, ‘la la la la la’

And next on the dance floor is the Honourable bawbag for Hartlepool …..

Sunday, November 09, 2008

There may be trouble ahead doo doo do dooo….

Dance, intransitive verb, 1. to move or seem to move up and down or about in a quick or lively manner 2. to engage or perform in a dance

Ok folks I want to do a quick straw poll; hands up if you like to dance? C’mon don’t be shy, get those hands raised. Right let me do a quick head count here, ladies first of course mumble mumble…. I’ve run out of fingers but I think 27 girls like to dance out of ..123.4... mumble mumble … 27! Ok now for the boys …. Boys? …. C’mon gents I can see you; who likes dancing? …

I think we all know how many hands were raised, and the reason is actually more complex than you’d imagine. I’m going to let you Gals into some secrets about blokes that will blow you away! This is the sort of expose that could result in a couple of large gentlemen knocking on my door and cracking their knuckles in an unfriendly manner ‘your gender are not impressed Mr Shanks’ will be the last thing I ever hear before I’m dragged away to sleep with the fishes. However I think it needs saying so I’m going to say it ……

Firstly ladies you need to understand that guys can’t dance, not much of a revelation I agree but bear with me and I’ll explain why we can’t dance. It’s genetics you see. Many thousands of years ago man was a hunter gatherer and the ability to maintain perfectly motionless whilst carefully stalking prey animals was essential. Your average woolly mammoth could get quite tetchy, especially when you attempted to creep up on it and thrust a spear in its backside. So to avoid being trampled into chunky salsa ‘Man’ had to able to remain concealed.

Most prey animals were not only well armed with pointy horns and hooves like dinner plates but they had good eyesight, keen hearing and excellent olfactory skills. So this ability to remain still as a hunter was crucial. Swivelling your hips and mincing across the forest clearing to the rhythm of the universe didn’t just leave the dinner table bare but was a good way to meet your ancestors slightly earlier than you might have wanted. As such ‘Man’ developed a fierce rigidity in our movement, not dissimilar to the flexibility seen in a plank. It’s also the reason why boys smell; it’s to mask ourselves and prevent prey locating us.

Of course woman didn’t develop these traits because they would be left at home tending the cave; usually complaining about the state of the floor. Repeated furious sweeping actions lead to development of a rhythmic sway in the hips and an opposing swing of the arms. This combined with an absence of razor toothed carnivores and gigantic hooved herbivores trying to mash, spear and generally eviscerate them allowed time for singing and ’music’ to develop. In between bouts of obsessive cleanliness of course.

It is a wonder that men and women ever managed to procreate given that the man would come home covered in excrement dragging the corpse of some recently deceased creature in his hands, he’d be sweaty tired and hungry, looking to collapse on a comfy rock when instead he immediately gets his heid nipped for bringing ‘that dirty thing’ into the house ‘and you’re humming by the way’ these are not the gracious words of thanks he was expecting for putting a meal on the table.
Given that ‘woman’s’ over zealous cleanliness regime has allowed her to develop a sense of smell that could detect a gnats chuff at four hundred yards, the still warm and bloodied antelope cadaver cooling on her good kitchen floor was unlikely to pass unnoticed. Cue heid nipping and mans hand on spear for the first ‘domestic’ of the Stone Age.

But moving forward a few thousand years the real reason we don’t dance is because we’re actually intimidated. No not by you! Don’t be silly silly girls now (condescending enough?) It’s actually something you’ve probably never thought about. But when you are all dancing round your handbags a cold shiver runs down our spines. Because not only does that never leave home without item have significantly more co-ordination style and rhythm that your average bloke, it looks better!

And it doesn’t end there either. We can’t compete with your handbags on any level; we’re up against it from the start. Not only is the bag better at dancing but a handbag wont get p*ssed and start chatting up your friend with the big t*ts. It won’t spend the whole evening looking at other bags and dribbling when a black patent leather number with tight silver buckles wiggles its strap past your seat.

A handbag won’t stand you up in the pouring rain or forget your anniversary. It doesn’t fart nosily in bed then force your head under the duvet to ‘savour’ the aroma. Nor will your bag keep you awake all night because its snores are akin to a badly running tractor. To rub salt into the wounds a handbag is actually quite useful; you can store things in it that aren’t burgers and beer.

Many's the time in years gone by I’ve stood at the bar, imbibing courage with my fellow youth, whilst eying up the talent ‘hey Ham what aboot the one wi the shoulder pads?’, ‘naw I fancy the one wi the pink legwarmers’ (it was the eighties) ‘ach hud on though have ye seen her bag’, ‘aaaw naw man it’s fuuucking gorgeous man, OH! It’s got extra pockets on the side and an adjustable strap’, ‘fuuuckinggreat!’, ‘what aboot the minger with the tie-dye jute bag?’, ‘dinna be feel min she’s got a better tache than me!’, ‘beggers cant be choosers Ham’, ‘Oh aye like you’re beating them aff wi a sh*tty stick’

At which point a drunken fight with the fellow suitor would ensue and finish any chance you had with Miss Moustache and her hippy hold all anyway. Not that I need have worried as the doormen would be arriving by now to ‘escort’ us off the premises via the back door where we could receive a complimentary kicking free of charge. Ah the 1980’s what a f*cking dreadful decade. I blame that bleached flat top ‘Dolf Lundgren’ haircut for my baldy napper now. I remember asking the hair dresser at the time if it should be painful getting hair bleached?

So you see girls it’s not our fault, we’re ‘programmed’ this way. Thousands of years of evolution and your selfish addiction to bags are the root cause of our inability to dance. So you’ve nobody to blame but yourselv- ‘Heeey I’ve just thought, that John Sergeant gets top blonde totty on strictly come dancing?’ and he cant dance for toffee either? … Aaaah you know why don’t you …. Cos they don’t have bags!!

Anyway can’t stay to chat I have to get to my ballroom dancing cha-cha-cha ….

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