Monday, March 28, 2011


A mug's game

A few weeks ago, something entirely unprecedented happened: I took a punt on a horse and it actually won. Proud was Dan as he swaggered into William Hill to collect the Saturday night beer kitty.

On the back of that, I decided to throw a few quid at the Cheltenham festival and see what came of it. Nothing outrageous, just a few pounds a day and cash my winners at the end of the week, see if I break even or even (heaven forbid) turn a profit.

First day, first race: winner; second race: winner. My goodness, I thought, how long's this winning streak going to last?

My answer came in the third race of the day when my chosen jockey dismounted his horse rather prematurely (not to mention spectacularly) and got trod on a few times by the rest of the field.

This setback notwithstanding, my spawny luck just about lasted the week and I made a profit of around £40, enough to pimp my new dive with a Playstation 2 (second hand) and a copy of Grand Theft Auto 3 (likewise).


Dan zooming across the Callahan Bridge from Portland to Staunton Island in a stolen sports car, suddenly realises he's made a classic 'Brit abroad' mistake and is in the wrong lane.

Wow, that's dangerous, I thought, somebody could have got hurt...


GTA3 is a very addictive game, but I'm more worried about the potential consequences of my Cheltenham success. The Aintree festival is looming and I may find it hard to stay out of the bookies.

Gambling is a very slippery slope and, as far as I can see, there are three stages:

1. You've got a pound change left over from your shopping so you spend it on a scratch card.

2. You take a punt on a horse you like the look of.

3. You're sitting in a piss-stained bamboo hut in the middle of some god-forsaken jungle, holding a gun to your temple with hordes of locals, screaming with bloodlust, wagering large sums of money on you blowing your brains out all over the wall. Your best mate is sitting the other side of the table with his underpants on his head and he can't stop crying.

Just before pulling the trigger, you recall that pound change in the shop and experience a moment's sadness, wondering what life would have been like if you'd bought some Jaffa Cakes instead. Then you remember that the price of Jaffa Cakes has gone up and they now cost £1.09.

You shake your head briefly, and pull.

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Friday, March 18, 2011


Ill tidings and the lowest ebb

I am, for the time being at least, looking after a new property in Islington. It is a bit of a state, to put it mildly. All the carpets are soiled. Somebody has been trying to grow a fern in the sink of the upstairs bathroom. When I went in the kitchen the other day, the light bulb exploded. Didn't just go ping! and stop working - exploded.

I was shipped into this place on very short notice. The urgency of my situation was made apparent when someone attempted to break in through the back window on my second night here. From time to time, I think I hear voices in the house, panic and start legging it up and down the stairs like a startled cat.

Someone I know asked me yesterday if I am a Christian; I replied that I am not. She told me that sometimes she prays for people she knows and that recently my face has been popping into her mind during prayer. She also told me that she isn't crazy. I believe her.

I've spent much of my week in the bookmakers, not so much in the expectation of improving my fortunes as accustoming myself to life at the sphincter end of society's great tract. And tonight I finally reached the lowest ebb of my life thus far when I found myself reading the instructions on the back of a pot of baked beans.

In honesty, I'm actually quite enjoying all this - it's like indoor camping. There are a lot of people in real trouble right now.


Via text

HE: Btw, is everyone you know in Japan suitably accounted for mate?

ME: If by 'suitably accounted for' you mean 'all dead and floating to Canada', then no, I don't think so.


Levity aside, the destruction in Japan is awful, beyond me. 人生はこんなにはかない、なんて。


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