Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Penguins, an Octopus and chocolate shoes

مساء الخير مداخن التدخين,

I have it, the answer to the long sought solution to Middle Eastern strife. Recall Tony Blair, tell the Israelis to relax, all that is required is some decent TV programmes and some pubs, that should do it. Send the Nobel prize to my Kirky address.

Yes, the Lum has been on holiday to the Middle East. I chose to avoid Dubai given that appears to be one big building site and instead plumped for Oman, sandwiched cosily between Yemen and Iran, two destinations not prominent in the Holidays Direct brochure bit if they did, would probably boast excursions to public stonings and terrorist training camps. Oh, and remember the added attraction of Mumbai style terrorists just over the sea in Pakistan and Somalian pirates bobbing in their dinghies just over the horizon. It was brilliant though. Beautiful country, albeit in a parched kind of way that makes you appreciate how many shades of brown there are and genuinely friendly and hospitable people. The menfolk were anyway, my lady folk did get some poorly disguised disapproving looks from their womenfolk for not wearing a headscarf or something. In an old souk we found ourselves walking along in a sizable group of women all wearing the full black abaya, I thought this is what it must be like to be on the penguin parade at Edinburgh Zoo, still, Muscat is well worth a visit and I recommend it before it turns into Dubai.

I've been dropping off occasionally for a pint of very fine Guinness in Dylans, the Oirish bear pit. It was so Oirish, I actually felt a little conscious of my little Union Jack Olympic lapel badge. The barman's a friendlier fellow than he looks, well the friendliest man with bite marks on his ear and a recently broken nose I have ever met. A quick shifty around the bar the other night I spotted a Mad Frankie Fraser look-a-like, one for a hollowed out Hurricaine Higgins, a convincing ruddy faced Oliver Reed and Viz's Biffa Bacons mum, and that was just the women. The barmaids not bad right enough, she would be better if she got her front tooth replaced though. It has a weekly quiz night, I'm no Fred Housego, but I have to fancy my chances in there.

Despite it being on the news every other night, I hadn't seen any gang shootings or corpses on the street but I spotted some intense SE London gang warfare the other night. Picture the scene, nine or ten black schoolboys, shouting and pointing at nine or ten black schoolkids across the road who were shouting and pointing back. A blare of sirens and strobing blue lights, so many police in fact that I thought Bin Laden had been found in a wheely bin next to the kebab shop, and it all kicked off, when I say kicked off, I really mean ran off, because that's what the two "gangs" did with comical, seemingly overweight cops, though I expect their anti-stab vests bulk them up a bit, in hot, puffing pursuit. Just aswell too, it was shaping up to be a bloodbath.

I like shoes, I can appreciate a nice pair as much as any man but I spotted a man the other day wearing brown paton shoes. They were horrible, like he had just dipped them in a Thorntons Chocolate Fountain, it looked like he should have been leaving little skiddy brown footprints wherever he stepped, it was off-putting for the forty or so seconds I thought about it.

I see Paul the psychic Octopus has passed away, seemingly of natural causes. Very convenient, that, what if Paul just knew too much, too big a risk to the establishment, predicting things all over the place. Maybe he had foreseen some impending catastrophe, like Armageddon and while the President and The Queen ready the spaceship we have to be kept calm and ignorant. Tell you what though, I want to be sitting next to Ray Mears on the train when disaster happens, he'd be a good bloke to know.

I have a busy little schedule coming up, its 2012 beer night on Thursday where we are enticed out into a London pub to sample some ales in the spirit of team building and networking then, Saturday, the social event of the season, Halloween Party at Casa Mart'in. Fancy dress of course and I've decided to go down the Elton John route, or should that be up? Anyway, at massive expense I have hired an outfit that will be too hot and uncomfortable, too much hassle to go for a pee in and I'll probably stress myself out incase someone spills wine over it and I lose my hefty deposit, still, it'll be a laugh.

Lang may yer lum reek.