Thursday, June 17, 2010

Anthem envy.


That, I have been assured, is my greeting in Japanese to mark my 3rd and hopefully final dip into the office world cup sweep stake tin. You will have gathered by this time, that its not the most populous of teams that I work in.

I felt a new emotion this week, one that I didn't think I would, given my natural cynicism and likelihood to guffaw indiscreetly at the mugs who must always have the latest Apple product.
You know, the type that would rush out, buy and quaff down a Venrti sized cup of Apple i-boak.
At the risk now of appearing horrifically hypocritical, I have a Sony e-reader, a quite nice thing of useless techyness that does its job, all be it a job of questionable value, that of replacing much cheaper and more easily available paper based books, very well indeed.
I'm actually quite fond of it. Anyway, now, before I bring it out in public, and start swiping through the computer generated pages, I have to have a little look around for potential i-pad users.
This is because I have i-pad envy, and as soon as somebody unzips and unfurls the graphic girth and undeniable throbbing gorgeousness of an i-pad, my little Sony e-reader gets packed away. It just doesn't measure up, and that means I have failed as a man and my tools are less than adequate to even get through a simple 30 minute commute. I suppose it comes with age.

The World Cup, I love it and it has tempted me to the bookies to put a bet on a few match outcomes. A funny thing, the bookies in Canary Wharf, a Coral shop, totally mobbed at lunchtimes, full of bankers doing with their own money, what they do all day with other peoples.
It was so busy and chaotic, a bit like those images of the trading room floors in Trading Places, that I decided to do my betting business on-line.
My deep seated fear of bookmakers could be circumvented I thought, all done virtually, with simple forms and clicks and that. But no, its even more bloody complicated. I had 135 betting options to make for one game, its too confusing and I was momentarily blinded by choice and subsequently made, in hindsight, stupid selections that the directors of RBS probably would have baulked at.
One thing I will mention though, because I think it should be when customer service is often considered a nice to have rather than a prerequisite for retail outlets of any kind. responded to my issue when I couldn't get a bet on before Algeria's first game because of some technical thing. They contacted me personally and gave me a free £5 bet too, even though my selections that didn't go through were losing ones, I was impressed by that.

I've enjoyed the football, and I've enjoyed how South Africa is being portrayed by the sceptical visitors who thought it would be hellish. I thought it was a beautiful place, populated by really nice, hospitable people and I'm glad the rest of the world is seeing a bit of that too. African pre-conceptions are vivid and almost immovable. But by going there you begin to realise that its no different to anywhere else, just people getting through the day, sleeping, working, eating drinking and laughing. Sometimes they clash, sometimes they hurt each other, but its the same in every town in the world. Even in my hometown of Dunblane, a place where the entire population could fit in an upper tier of a stand behind the goals in one of these South African stadiums.

Saying that, I hear those vuvuzelas and I hear a million hornets playing kazoos through a comb and paper, aggressively. But when I see all these fans waving them over there heads in that rhythmic dance, i see machetes, Kalishnikovs, burning tyres and impending hacking.
Probably its because of the images I grew up with on the news, if so, today's school generation hopefully will have a totally different view of Africa, and the World Cup will go someway to giving them that.

Everyday at work, I get in the lift to the 22nd floor. Its always packed and stops at nearly every floor from the 14th up. Now, when it gets the the 17th floor it stops and the pre-recorded message, provided by a vaseline voiced mature hottie that I imagine looks like Anna Ford says, "Level 17". As soon as she says that, in fact, now its started before she says it, as soon as we have left the 16th floor, a voice starts singing in my head " I'm so tall, I'm so tall, you build me up, and then you let me fall". Now that is a little strange, but only a little if that 80's ditty was sung by the Level 17 of my immediate location, but its not, its by Blancmange, so how do you explain that?

I nipped for a haircut on the way to work the other day, a risky strategy given the incredible length of time my new barber, Georgios, takes to cut my hair, I mean, its not like I'm David Ginola or someone. Now, I was the first customer of the day, and I don't know if its tradition he keeps or not, but I was given a first customer of the day coffee, which I tought was a nice touch. It had the desired affect too, because I rounded up my £8 haircut to a tenner as a tip for himself and in the process think I stumbed upon the very root of the whole credit crisis and world wide shortage of money. Imagine if everyone payed 25% more for everything than was asked, even if they receive something for nothing ie, coffee, i ended up paying £2 for it when it probably only cost a pound. Times that by 100 billion and that suddenly explains where all the money is, its in tip tins in bars and barbers all over the world.

I have this unfortunate affliction, one that I have been unable to find any cure for, or help in easing the effects. When I mean to type THE, I always type TEH. Its some kind of finger autism or digit dyslexia. I don't know what to do, my spellchecker is beginning to grumble about working hours and terms and conditions.

I was offered a Jelly Tot the other day. The golden years of sweety satisfaction came sugar rushing back to me. But as I remember it, Jelly Tots were only one of three joyful candy princes of 70s confectionery royalty. While Jelly Tots has enjoyed a long e-number fuelled position at the very top of our affections, even enjoying privileged accommodation in an over sized cardboard tube at Christmas time. The two lesser brothers have trodden a less sure path, often turning up in budget bags of dolly mixtures and in the baking aisle of the supermarket. So, who can tell me the three points of the Tot triangle that controlled the sugar supply to kids in the 70s. Jelly Tots, was one, tell me the other tots and I'll blog happier in future with the belief that someone is actually reading these havers.

I hear today that Danny Boyle, the Oscar winning film director, has been picked out of the creative British gene pool to imagine the Olympic opening ceremony. Which provides an opportunity to consider exactly the kind of spectacle we might get. I would suggest a Trainspotting inspired routine, with a huge Beijing size junkie dance rave mash up followed by a synchronised glassing in the middle of the stadium by a load of Begbies. Then we could have a giant worst toilet in the world rising up from underground with the mascots climbing out.
The only thing that would come close to topping that would be if the the organisers had gotten all mixed up and booked Frankie Boyle by mistake. Then we could have looked forward to a turn involving folk having mass simulated sex with oversize British woodland animals, a kitten for the cuddles and shagging an owl doggy style because of the eye contact.

One last thing about the World Cup. I have seen all the teams in the competition now, which means 32 National Anthems and without doubt, as if there was any doubt, the English one, and remember, its partly ours as well, is without doubt the very worst there is. The French have a rousing tear inducing skelp, the Italians, the Americans, the Mexicans, even the Nigerians and North Koreans have joyful, uplifting spirited tunes that instill only pride. You actually get the feeling that if you played them before a battle, it would be worth a good few men of a start. This is embarrassing but I think totally by design and not a fluke of national tastes. You see, the countries with the great anthems have all had revolutionary pasts Tunes that have them marching down the high street with pitchforks whereas our anthem was probably written to suck the rebellious spirit, and every other spirit, out of us. After listening to God Save The Queen are you more likely to meet your pals and burn down the post office, or go and put the kettle on. I'll let you decide.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Breakfast of Champions

Bonjour cheminées vomissements

In honour of the Indomitable Lions, Cameroon, who I picked out of the 2nd office sweep, despite chanting BRAAAZILLL, over and over again as I dipped into the tin, which was still holding all the bookies favourites at that time. Never mind, Uruguay and Cameroon, even at my most generous, they are dark horses so dark, that no light escapes from them at all, they are an equine black hole, but at least I didn't get North Korea, Honduras or England.

It was a happy reunion with Cameroon for me, its a favourite place of mine, and contrary to what you might think, it has some of the best food in all of Central Africa, the French influence very much to the fore, with dainty little patisseries on the street corners of Douala. You cant stop and taste any of it of course, in case you get robbed/shot/hacked/raped/kidnapped or have a burning car tyre thrown over your head.

Still, anything I could have picked up in Douala, or even in the street cafes of Paris itself, couldn't have compared to the sheer quality of my dining today. I ate like the Sun-King himself.

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day they say, and I wasn't taking any chances, I grabbed a croissant from the Tescos Metro around the corner and a bottle of full fat Irn-Bru to wash it down. A bit of a nod to the Auld Alliance their, our friends across the sea. To be honest, this breakfast that the Jacobite Princes would have been chuffed to get, couldn't be enjoyed as I'd hoped. I rounded the corner to the bus stop as the 181 came lurching into view, like an overloaded Phillipinnes ferry. So I had to run, with flaky pastry flying behind me between bites and my bottle of Irn Bru getting dangerously jostled to a state of fizzy fulmination.

So, after a breakfast like that, Lunch was always going to struggle to come close to satisfying my new Regally demanding taste buds. But Rafael the office sandwich boy came up trumps, continuing the French theme, a baguette with cheese and tomato had me patting my tummy like Louie XIV, only slightly spoiled with Branston pickle.

Still, I had dinner to look forward too, and what else could suffice, after eating like a renaissance regal all day, than a Beef and Tomato Pot Noodle, or to be more precise, a Golden Wonder Noodle. A new entrant into the cut throat market of instant noodles in a plastic pot. If blandness and tastelessness is the benchmark of this particular segment of cuisine, then we may have a new contender, but then, it would be hard to tell. However, I did wash it down with the cheapest bottle of red in the shop, no vineyard on the label, not even a region where the grapes were grown, unless Australian counts as a region. But, if you blend something enough, it ends up tasting alright, and the bottle could be made into a nice lamp.

As I mentioned, breakfast was snatched from my local Tesco Metro this morning, and I couldn't help but notice a great big sticker on the floor of the threshold, proudly proclaiming this very shop to be England's official world cup supermarket. Now, I'm not one to criticise England's world cup preparations, but is a Tesco Metro, in South East London, not a little inconvenient for Ruistenburg, and to be honest, Tesco Metro doesn't really carry the product lines to satisfy 23 young multi millionaires. I mean not one Louis Vuitton man bag or Vertu mobile phone ( which is really a Nokia wrapped in £6000 of leather by the way,if that's even possible) can be found anywhere. I haven't seen any of them in there once, which would appear to reinforce my suspicion, that this may be some kind of marketing ploy.

I suspect that England football players continue to shop only in supermarkets stocked exclusively for them, where everything they don't buy is immediately crushed and sent to a special millionaires, high security land fill site, by virgin staff drawn from the most beautiful specimens of each racial group. Who, after serving these embodiments of perfection, are taken out, loaded into cattle carts and taken to an underground football stadium to have their memories erased. Probably.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Look, theres a country called U R Gay

Buen día chimeneas ahumado

Spanish today, to mark picking Uruguay out of the hat in the office sweep stake. A very long shot, but not a total loss and at least its not North Korea or Honduras.

I fell asleep on the DLR on the way home tonight, a disconcerting experience. I woke up with a right fright, not really knowing where I was or what direction I was heading apart from the fact I was in a tunnel. Not that much can go wrong, I get off at the end of the line.

Its not like falling asleep on the last train to Lenzie from Queen St. That happened to me a while ago. I had had a a couple of drinkypoos, but still, I only had to stay awake for two stops and 12 minutes. I cant even remember leaving the station. I didn't know anything until I woke up with the Perth sign slowing to a dead stop right outside my window pillow. Even if I had woken up before Dunblane, all would not have been lost, I could have stayed with my Dad or Sisters.
1.30am, Perth train station, anyone getting off the train was a train driver at the end of his shift, and no train back to the safety of the south until morning. I could have bunked down in the train station like a homeless hobo, i was homeless after all, and there was every chance it might be permanent if she who was still to be informed didn't buy this story. I decided I should try and get a roof over my head, I thought if I die of hypothermia, then that would just be a bad situation, getting worse, for me anyway.

After knocking on the doors of three hotels, with no response whatsoever I was beginning to wonder how many hotels Perth had. The fourth though, was the fine inn of the New County Hotel, the soft warm glow from the window panes, and the cherubic glowing cheeks of my host as he swung the door open with his twinkling eyes lighting up at the thought of sheltering a lonely traveller, and the friendly chatter coming from the cosy bar, it was like a mid-summer night in some Dickensian travellers tale. A quick half at the bar to demonstrate my gratitude for the protection given from the night crawlers outside, then up to my room.
I sat on the bed and next thing I know, it was 7am. I hadn't even taken my shoes off or removed my coat. It wasn't the worse £60 I've ever spent, but it felt like the most pointless, especially as I had no time to even snatch any of my inclusive breakfast as I ran for my train home.

I reckon I was so tired this evening because I was woken up at 5am for a reason that had not yet been cataloged. A police helicopter hovering, I never looked, but it was obviously right outside my window or no more than 3 feet above my roof, and it was there for over 30 minutes, waking me up.

No idea what it was doing, but every chance it was after the killer foxes that are taking over London. The big fear is that they persuade the pigeons to join in an axis of evil suburban pests, that would be a prospect to frightening to comprehend. Pigeons and seagulls providing the air cover for the ground shock troops of rats and foxes. I'll just make a break for the river and hi-jack GTA style, the first boat I see and make a break for the open water and hope there isn't a fifth column of seals in the Thames.

The reeking lum is now a twittering lum, and if you like you can follow my adhoc reeking actually as they occur in like, real reeking time @ReekingLum

Lang may yer lum reek.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Give me Sunshine

Hallo skoorstene rook.

Today, continuing in a World Cup induced excitable burst of linguistic latitude, I greet you in Afrikaans.

I've had a good run, but this morning the weather finally turned to crap and it was chucking it down when I left the house this morning, which meant me wearing my raincoat of course, which is a bit like the one Eric Morcambe used to wear at the end of the Morcambe and Wise Show. You remember, little Ern would pretend that was the show finished to get rid of Eric so he could sing a song on his own, then Eric would appear in the background with his mac and carrier bag as if he was heading home. I'm smiling now thinking of that. Anyway, it was soaking, but it was still hot, I felt like Burma Bill.

I was heading to Tower Bridge to attend a forum on cloud computing, and yes, it was over my head too. So it meant taking the train, one that I hadn't been on before. It was horrendous. Crammed full of grumpy, wet and steaming commuters, all squeezed up against one another in an almost solid mass. I caught one guy, lucky enough to have a seat by the window, just looking dead eyed and resigned to his fate, grey face and chubby jowls pressed against the glass as his eventual hellish destination drew closer. I thought of animals on the way to slaughter and when I passed them in their trucks on the motorway. I saw sheep with that exact same look on their face as the guy at the window.

The forum was actually quite good overall, though the presenters were a bit hit and miss. I was always of the belief that a 25 minute presentation should probably have no more than about 20 slides, this one guy set some kind of record with an incredible 245, yes, two hundred and forty five, slides. It was very good though, entertaining, informative and funny, so good for him for not following convention.

I bailed out at lunchtime to get back to work. I opted for the Thames clipper service and thought it was brilliant. I was only one of four passengers , as opposed to the tube where I would have been crammed with about a thousand others a mile underground. The river was a bit rough though and there is quite a lot of traffic to negotiate as well, but I'll do it again.

Tell you something else, I discovered another bacon roll emporium that is right up there with the best ever. That makes three withing 250 yards of work. Some kind of Bacon Bap Golden triangle. Canteen, third place for them on value grounds at £4.50 it has to be good and it is, but Square Pie runs it close at £1.20 less, but even cheaper was Bone Bone at £2.20. Superb two slice of buttered bread, bacon, and that's it, sauce of course a no cost option. Bone Bone, the new Bacon Buttie blue ribbon holder.

I ended up finding a website with mis-spelt movie poster mock ups, very funny.
There are some crackers on there.
The Drizzly Man. A man gives up his city life to live in the rain.
Pilate's of The Caribbean. Curse of the Back Curl, here lies the map to the treasure of inner core strength and body awareness.
Mystic Rivet, Childhood memories of three friends upset their plans to fix two pieces of metal.
About a Buoy, Hugh Grant stars in this nautical comedy.
The Ducks of Hazard, Yeehaw, Bo, Luke and Daisy Duck lead Boss Hog a merry waddle around Hazard farm
Band of Mothers, When the time came, the brotherhood of motherhood stood up and made tea.
Clownfall. The final weeks of the evil clown dictator in his underground big top.

Fell free to make your own contributions, I cant help myself now, I think i could pitch some of these to the studios.

After speaking about the odd words facebook asks me to confirm my identity with, last nights were brilliant

Goons Helmut. They must have created a computer with a sense of humour.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'll get you Butler !

Habari ya jioni sigara motos,

Greetings in Swahili tonight as my world cup excitement gets close to overflowing. I love it, every minute. I measure the passing of time in World Cups, each one since 1978 has its own significance and marks some part of life.

London transport is good, I'm a fan generally but the Buses really do run to their own agenda. Tonight for instance two number 181 buses drove right past the bus stop, one of the drivers giving a cheery little wave as he passed by, I would have been happier if he'd flicked us the V's. My theory is that 6pm is the time when the shifts change and the bus drivers were in a hurry to get back to the depot. Eventually a 181 did stop but by that time 3 busloads of passengers had pitched up, and when its that busy you have no say about where you sit or stand, you just get pressed in until you come up against something solid, in my case tonight, it was 3 baby buggies with noisy snotty toddlers with little fists full of Wotsits and an apparent need to wipe their hands on my trousers.

I gave an induction course today for a big bunch of new starts at work. I was trying to explain techniques for creating strong passwords for your computer. One good way I told them, is to think of a familiar or meaningful phrase, and turn it into an acronym. For instance ECOOWCE is an acronym from the easy to remember "England Crash Out Of World Cup Early". It didn't get the laugh I had anticipated.

I've been giving some thought to my mis-spelt movie titles from my dvd collection.
Schindlers Lift, The story of Oskar Schindler who helped Warsaw Jews escape persecution by taking them to the top floor.
Cool Hand Puke, Paul Newman in the story of a man who failed to conform to Bulimia.
My favourite is the tale of rogue gonads terrorising the North Ayrshire coast, Baws. Just when you thought it was safe.
The Wild Brunch, 11am and ageing inlaws are not happy with the quality of the bruschetta.
Planet of the Papes, Space travelling wee free ministers crash land on a planet run by tall hatted cardinals.
Finally, The Da Vinci Cod, something stinks in the Vatican vaults. Thats not bad is it? I'm sure there are more.

I've just been reading about the fox attack on those two babies. There are a lot of foxes down here, they reckon 27 in every square mile, and they are quite bold as well but I was reading that they had put traps out after the attack and caught and killed a fox, but there not sure its the same one. I thought that's a bit harsh, sounds like more of a lynching. Does a fox get a kangaroo court do you think?

Every time I upload one of these blogs, I have to type in a couple of security words and I have begun to look forward to what they might be. The words always come in pairs and its how they go together that has gotten me hooked. Look at these from my last 9 uploads.
Wallick (no ideas what or who a wallick is) their
entreat social
employed the (I felt this was a bit of a dig at me at the time)
no hassle
weaning the
hazleton you
and passport
funniest even
and a favourite of mine, joggles to. I can only have a stab what joggling might be, I think maybe its the word to describe the rare, early morning runs of very fat people.

Lang may yer lum reek

Friday, June 4, 2010

Whatever happened to Armitage Shanks

Lums o the North

I've had the horrendous misfortune to catch BBC breakfast television more than once these past few weeks, mainly because the flats digi-box remote doesn't work and there are no contingency buttons to fall back on. That Sian Williams is without doubt, the single most condescending presenter I have ever heard, I find her totally unwatchable, which means of course, I have to leave the room when shes on, because you will remember, I cant turn over. So despite paying a rent that would get me, oh, I dunno, Stirling Castle to live in at home, its me that has to leave when she arrives in the living room , preaching to me as if I were 5 and needed help with my laces. Plus, her head is far to big for her scrawny shoulders, she looks like a Thunderbirds puppet with strings that are too long. The way it lolls about on that skinny collar, its obviously the weight of it, her head belongs on a planet with less gravity than Earth, I wouldn't mind my TV licence fee going towards getting it there.

I had to take a train journey a few weeks ago from Nottingham to Crewe, right across Central England. It was fraught with risk and danger, i had to change twice, trains that is , not my pants and each connection only had minutes to spare, but it all worked as it should to my huge relief. I have to say, England, between the parts with people in, is very nice and has a gentle charm about it. But I did pass through what I think may be the biggest toilet town I have ever seen, and that is saying something. Around about Stoke there is a town called Longton that the train stops at, though not for long in case its gets stolen and melted down for jewellery or something. It was a pit of biblical proportions. Most towns don't look great approaching in a train, so this means it must have been extra shite for me to notice. It was around here a famous old name came back to me, like recalling an old friend that did you a big favour once. Armitage Shanks, yes, it was a toilet factory, in toilet town. But it was worse than that because Armitage Shanks's place was getting demolished. What happened there? Who makes toilets now?

I've settled in to my new place, I've got my home comforts in my room, well, a big TV and my PS3, what else do you need? Lewisham is just down the road and its a bit of a gangstas paradise. Apparently the most famous residents are Donald Ducks distant nephews Stabby, Shooty and Stampy. They are a busy threesome, always up to some high jinks around here. Look at them in the CCTV still at the top of the page, robbing that mans car.

I reckon the secret is to look as big and knowing as you can without actually meeting anyones eye. If you act like a victim, you'll be a victim, good advice that. Well its worked so far anyway.

The weekends are a bit slow right enough, though the weather has been brilliant, too brilliant actually as I totally burned my baldy head a couple of weeks ago and virtually invited some melanomas over for a stay.

I walked along the South Bank of the Thames which was really quite nice, you go past some right old docks, the replica of The Golden Hind is in there, its smaller than you think it should be. Then you go past The Globe Theatre, then you come to Tate Modern. I had to go in, not to look at the "art" but for something to eat, I was starving and all I wanted was a bacon roll. Silly me, they might have had one on display as some kind of abstract installation, but they never had, or have ever had I'll wager, one in the restaurant, which called itself a cafe to justify the limited menu, but acted like a restaurant to justify the prices.

No, I had to have a buffalo mozzarella, pesto and cherry vine tomato bruschetta. I mean that had as much chance of hitting the spot as a half hearted Kamikaze pilot. Oh, and says I, "A diet coke too please". Guess what, I found the only place , in the world, remember I've had the privilege of travelling around Central Africa, that doesn't sell coke or Pepsi, but instead sells something called Fentimanns Curiosity Cola, and at £3 a pop, It certainly made me curious.

I couldn't visit Tate Modern "Art" Gallery without going and looking at some art so got busy looking for the pictures on the wall. There are none. Instead I was invited to look at a frumpily dressed thin woman eating a pizza, in front of a big screen which was showing the same woman eating pizza in famous places all around the world. There was a crowd around her taking pictures.
Then I was treated to, well, a power point presentation of the same 5 words being shown over and over again with a grunting soundtrack. That was nice, but not as nice as the stepladder with a big pile of A4 paper at the bottom of it.
I thought about climbing to the top of them and hanging myself from the rafters here but my twitching jerking body and blue face might have won a prize or something as best art of the day. To me, it all looked like a mad jumble sale for the LSD generation.

Further along the South Bank there is an area where the urban youth, in there cool gear and tattoos and that do there thing with skateboards. At the risk of looking like some old Paed I thought I'd watch them for a bit because I am genuinely impressed by all that stuff. But these guys were utter shite. They were trying the simplest of little jumps and flips and coming off and skateboards were flying all over the place with no-one on them. Theres looking the part, and being the part, these little kid ons were looking the part and that was it.

London Transport is amazing, especially when you come from the sticks and could expect to wait 40 minutes for the next bus or train, here, if I'm waiting 2 minutes I'm huffing and tutting like an old boiler. But apparently, buses don't have to follow there advertised routes if the driver is in a bit of hurry, and they don't even have to stop and pick you up either if the driver is also in a little rush, or doesnt like the look of you or something. Even if you are standing waving your arms in the air as if you are trying to attract the attention of a passing ocean liner from a makeshift raft

The pit-bull count is quite high around here I've noticed, there was even one on the bus the other day. I reckon there are so many that if pit-bulls were volcanic ash from Iceland, we would actually see them in the air. There all very nice apparently and wouldn't hurt a fly. I'm glad the flies are safe, its the babies they like to eat I'm more worried about.

That me Lums for another night. The weekend looms and I don't know what to do with myself tomorrow. Funny, London is one of the most exciting cities in the world but I still cant find anything to do.

One thing for you to think about though. I heard of this thing that mad me laugh, Typo movie titles, when you replace one letter in a movie title to create somthing else. Like, Top Nun, about the elite papal academy where only the best of the best of the best Nuns go to learn how to be the best rosary rattlers there are.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Return of The Lum

Calling all Lums.

Finally, after over a month in the digital wilderness, I have reconnected with the rest of the world.

Let me tell you, its no fun back in the 70s. Sure, it may seem like a golden age to us 40 somethings. All long hot summers, Chopper bikes and collars on your shirts you could wipe your nose with. But being without connectivity in the 21st Century is just not natural.

Especially frustrating as I have had more to reek about than Eyjafjallajokull the spiteful Icelandic volcano that has spent 30 odd years thinking how to get us back for the Cod War. Or has it. Did you see anything in the sky, any soot on your whirlygig, no, nor me. It was obviously some massive world government conspiracy to hide alien contact. That would certainly explain Clegg and Cameron. I look and listen to them and I just think of Kang and Kodos from The Simpsons.

As regular followers of The Reeking Lum will know, I have, taken a job in London for a couple of years. Now, I’m no stranger to the English capital, but have always been lucky enough not to have to spend any more than 4 days in it at a time. Now though, I have to live in it.

Finding a decent place to call home is the first challenge. A whole flat to myself, because I’m not a Saudi prince, or Chelseas new centre forward, is beyond me alas, so that means sharing. The first place I went to see was, well, like something off the telly. Unfortunately for me, the telly I have in mind has The Young Ones on. It was heaving.

I didn’t expect the first place i went to see to be a swanky loft full of Estonian strippers, but it would have been nice if the girl that answered the door at least looked like she came from the same species as me.

The words men use to describe ladies are sometimes almost poetic, svelte, elegant, chic, foxy or voguish, but the word, that immediately sprang into my mind when the door scraped open, was dumpy.

In poetic terms, i can only think of frumpy, stumpy, bumpy, mumpy, pumpy and lumpy, each one, perfectly appropriate to this creature and great if your naming the 7 dwarves that lived just outside Chernobyl, but not great if you had to write a sales brochure for her.

However, the second place was much better, nice house, roomy loft conversion, a flat mate that doesn’t appear odd in any way so I took it.

I quite like it too, it easy for work and its quiet. Actually, too quiet. I did a little research, and where I live, Hither Green, just to the south of Lewisham was mostly built about a hundred years ago by a property developer who was a notorious temperance society member, which means an almost total absence of pubs or resteraunts. Now, that cant be good.

There is one pub, handily for me, right next door to the train station. Its no Stringfellows and can be best described as functional, but at least its a pub. To give you an idea of the kind of classy place it is, I took a note of the brands on the gantry tonight.

If you fancy a gin, then it will be Brigadier London Gin you’ll be getting, a dark rum, then what about a wee glass of Bootlegger please barman. A craving for a nice warming brandy will have you asking for a Jules Clairon or a whisky, for a taste of home will mean you having to request, rather awkwardly, for a The Charles House, which doesn’t even make sense. But brand of the bar goes to the “premium” vodka, taking pride of place and taking up two optic places was the enticing Minkoff Vodka. The brand marketeers cleverly suggesting the target clientele in the name.

I’ve been a month down here and the thing that strikes me most is the volume of people, there is no getting away from them, they are everywhere. Today I saw a man, a tall 50ish grey coiffure haired man, wearing ladies clothes, this wasn’t in some dodgy soho bar, it was in the foyer of the HQ of a major international bank.

A couple of weeks ago, I had to go to Piccadily in the morning for a breakfast round table event hosted by Computer Weekly, I know, all rock’n’roll. On the way, and this was just after the election put the Tories back in, I saw a homeless man in rags picking up fag doubts right outside DeBeers, the big diamond mafia godfathers place, is that how you spell doubts in that context?, anyway, picking old fags up off the street, so he can strip out the tobacco that’s left and make his own fags. I couldn’t help thinking that even his life under the Tories may be about to get worse.

That's my first reek for a while. I feel better already but don’t want to bore you all, so tune in next time folks, for the continuing adventures of a soft bodied man in the city of a million knives.

Lang may yer lum reek