27 April, 2008

Time for the tartan blanket

It's official. I am an old lady.

It's been creeping up on me for some time now but today it really hit home. I found myself standing in a local CD/DVD emporium clutching a copy of Alan Bennett's The History Boys and the latest Ministry of Sound compilation. I was in the mood to spend some money and the store was playing said CD (rather loudly, it has to be said). I particularly liked a couple of the tracks and had decided to buy it when I heard Soul II Soul's Back To Life mixed with something or other. I suppose looking back this was the trigger. When you remember a song the first time round you know you're not hip and down with the youngsters. Anyway. I wandered aimlessly round the store for a while, searching for things that needed to come home with me before deciding to call it a day and pay. I stood in the queue listening to the rather loud CD before it suddenly dawned on me that I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than voluntarily listen to any more of its repetitive doof doof doofing. I hastily shoved it onto a nearby shelf and left with just the DVD. The next shop was playing Wet Wet Wet and I found myself wondering why they didn't make music like that anymore. Probably because it's not still 1982, I suppose. Although looking at some of the fashions the kiddies are wearing you'd think it was. And don't policeman look young?

The feeling got steadily worse as I ambled round the shopping centre. I found myself tut tutting at a young woman who was wearing a top with a circle cut out, displaying her rather ample cleavage. And yesterday I stopped dead in my tracks when I told my friends children to stop running round inside the house. It was a lovely day, I informed them, and they should get outside and not waste it. Where the hell did that come from?

My eyesight is getting worse. I really need glasses and hold everything at arms length but I'm in denial. I'm sitting here listening to Ella Fitzgerald instead of an edgy, trendy young muso. I like to go to bed no later than 10.30pm. I can't drink as much as I used to. I turn the sound down on the TV when I'm on the telephone. I hate most people under the age of 20.

Is this it? Am I now an old lady? Should I start looking for a place in a retirement village?

On the other hand........it's true that I feel a lot more comfortable in myself than I did when I was in my twenties. I'm still hotheaded and badtempered but the outbursts are less frequent these days. I couldn't give a monkeys if Friday night sees me at home with the remote control, a beer, pizza and sporting tracksuit bottoms instead of being all dolled up in CBD bar/meat market. I don't care that I came home and downloaded Wet Wet Wet tunes from Limewire and I'm not in the least bit interested in watching Big Brother. Failing eyesight means I won't be able to see the lines that are creeping up around my eyes. It's not all that bad, this slippery slide towards old age.

Now, does anyone know where I left that packet of Werthers Originals?

PS. Ambridge fan of Chelmsford, you're excused. As always.

24 April, 2008


25th of April is marked in Australia and New Zealand as ANZAC Day. It's a public holiday and is always marked on the actual date, unlike some public holidays in other countries which move to the nearest Monday. ANZAC Day commemorates the anniversary of the first military action fought by Australian and New Zealand armed forces at Gallipoli from 1915-1916 during WW1. It wasn't a success, in fact it was an enormous cock up for the Allies, with massive loss of life on both sides. But a special bond was forged on those bloody shores and the Anzac spirit was born.

Australian deaths - 7,594 wounded - 20,000

New Zealand deaths - 2,701 wounded - 4,546

Ottoman Empire deaths - 55,801 wounded 140,000

(British, French and Indian soldiers also fought at Gallipoli. India lost over a thousand men, French losses have been put at 10,000 with 17,000 wounded and 21,000 British soldiers lost their lives, with over 52,000 wounded.)
Traditionally Anzac Day commemorations start with dawn services all around Australia. There's also a service at Gallipoli. There are marches in all the major cities as well as regional areas. Ex soldiers walk side by side under their old regiment banners, often joined by relatives wearing the medals of those who have sinced passed away. And it's not Anzac Day without a game of Two Up and copious amounts of drinking. My favourite part, however, is watching the old diggers gathering for a chat and a beer or two. It's their day.

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well." Mustafa Kemal

This quote never fails to move me. It's the true spirit of reconcilitation. Wars are started by men and women in power. The little men and women go off to fight them. Theirs not to reason why, theirs just to do or die. That's fine if you sign up voluntarily (well, it's not fine but we won't go there today) but think back to those men who were conscripted. Young men, boys in some cases. Shipped off to foreign lands to fight in wars they had no say in. Following orders they didn't agree with, and, in the case of Gallipoli, following orders that led to certain death for so many. Wars are fought by people who have no say and pay the ultimate price.

I don't believe in glorifying war. But I do believe in respecting those who fought. I believe in thanking old boys who put on uniforms years ago and went out to 'do their bit'. That's why tomorrow morning I'll be going to the dawn service. To remember.

23 April, 2008

Handy hints

People of Sydney. It seems that the majority of you have absolutely no idea how to behave when it's raining. Allow me to give you some pointers. It might make these rainy days a little easier to bear.

Drivers. Why not consider, ooh, I don't know, SLOWING DOWN, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS??????? The road is wet. There are more of you on the road - what with all car owners being scared of getting wet -and conditions are changed. Please slow down. None of you look as though you're having fun when you're standing outside of your cars in the pouring rain exchanging insurance details/verbal insults/blows.

Pedestrians. If you're using an umbrella, consider the fact that this increases the space you usually take up as you stroll down Oxford St. You might want to think about looking where you're going as well. Take a couple of seconds to peer out from under your brolly and see who you might be about to spear. Oh yes, and those of you with golf umbrellas? Please just fuck off and die. You're not playing golf. You need something smaller. And if you're only 5ft you're going to take someones eye out.

Public transport users. Make someones day by moving inside the bus shelter. I'm delighted that you're undercover and I'd quite like to be there too. When the bus comes, don't dawdle. Get on quick smart. You've had plenty of time to locate your bus pass or loose change in the time that you've been hogging the cover so stop fannying about when the bus doors open. If you don't get on quickly, I can't promise that I won't a) shove you or b) shout at you. Once on board, hold your sopping wet umbrella low to the ground. Don't walk down the aisle brandishing it in front of you. For one thing, you're not a medieval jouster, and for another it's dripping on me so bloody well stop it.

It's been raining all week and it shows no sign of stopping. It's not as though you've never seen wet stuff before, you should know how to deal with it. And if one more person tells me that I should be used to the rain, what with being English, I'm going to get a golf brolley and shove it up their arse.

Now, who was it who said I needed anger management classes?

22 April, 2008

Cry God for Harry, England and St George!

This week contains a day of great national importance for the English. The 23rd of April is St Georges Day. St George, as most of you know, killed a dragon. Or something like that. The real St George wasn't even an Englishman, but we've claimed him as our own anyway.

I've often wondered why we never celebrate the day of our national saint the way that the Irish do for their bloke. I mean, we like a drink and a Bank Holiday just as much as our neighbours in the Emerald Isle. But in contrast to St Patricks Day, where anyone remotely connected to Ireland feels the need to wear green, drink Guinness and generally act like a drunken arse, the English just go about their usual business and mutter about not celebrating. What happened to us? There's been a recent move to do celebrate more but we've got a long way to go.

By happy coincidence, the 23rd of April is also the birthday and deathday of one William Shakespeare. Arguably the most successful Englishman to ever pick up a quill, his work is still as relevant today as it was during his lifetime. Some naysayers believe that Shakespeare was not the author of the writings attributed to him and that they were in fact done by Francis Bacon. Personally, I don't care who wrote them. They're brilliant. They've got it all. If you've never read any or never been to a play, do it. You'd be surprised.

So, if you're English, Happy St Georges Day! Be thankful for the good things about being born in this sceptred isle, not the bad stuff. If you're not English, Happy St Georges Day! He killed the dragon, you know.

(Yes, yes, I know. There's no evidence that the great Bard was born on the 23rd. But he was baptised on the 26th and that's near enough for me.)

19 April, 2008

A loss

Another young woman lost her life to breast cancer yesterday. Maura was a much loved wife, mother of three sons and friend to many. She slipped away in her sleep, surrounded by family members. She was three weeks away from her 40th birthday. A party had been planned, the invites had been posted. A holiday had been booked in June. Now a funeral is being planned and another young life has been cut short.

It's not right. It's just not right. I know that's hardly eloquent but I don't have words today.

18 April, 2008

The P Word

I'm bloody knackered. I was stuck at work for 11 hours today and to add insult to injury I couldn't find anyone to come to the pub with me so I came home in a taxi and ate chocolate.

Anyway. The conversation in the tearoom was lively and don't ask me how but it moved onto a discussion of the word 'panties'. The general consensus amongst the women was revulsion. Not one woman could stand the word. Men, however, loved it. As each one entered the room I took it upon myself to ask them what they thought. To a man the reaction was identical; a stunned look followed by a puzzled one, then a big smile which turned into a dirty laugh. Oh, yes. Men like panties.

Funnily enough I think the reason we hate the word is the reason they like it. Men imagine panties to be small, lacy, sexy and full of promise. Women imagine panties to be small, lacy, uncomfortable and impractical.

One girl didn't mind the word 'cunt' but 'nipples' reduced her to fits of giggles. The boys liked it, obviously. It's a bit of a silly word with great comedy value. Nipples. Say it out loud. You're smiling, aren't you?

After that we sort of trailed off onto less riveting topics. I told the story of when I was 5 and my pet newt Fred killed my brothers pet newt and I was made to give him up. We all agreed that it was particularly unfair. The Australians in the room weren't quite sure what a newt was and thought I was saying 'minute'. It's not easy being a foreigner at times.

Looking forward to a 4 day week next week. Here in Australia we have a public holiday next week. It's called ANZAC Day. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. I'll be posting more on the subject this week. In preparation for this honouring of our war dead, have a read about HMAS Sydney.

16 April, 2008

SSS is cranky.

That's right, readers. The crankypants are high and tight today. I'm going to have trouble narrowing it down to just a couple of points but I'll try.

Firstly, teenage girls. Their conversation makes my brain hurt. Young people - extend your vocabulary NOW. Here's a challenge. Try having a conversation - no, make that construct a sentence - without using the words like, whatever, soooo and OH MY GOD. Please. Public transport is unbearable enough in Toytown without having to listen to your vapid ramblings.

Secondly, daughters of Germaine. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Where the fuck are you?

Conversation in the tearoom today was stroke inducing. I walked into a conversation about the wardrobe choices of Kevin 07's wife, Therese Rein. Now, I like Therese. I like that she's kept her name, unlike Mrs Bill Clinton and Mrs Anthony Blair. I like that she's an independent businesswoman. I don't give a shit about her clothes, just so long as she doesn't appear at State events in ripped, dirty rags or a velour tracksuit. I stayed close to the microwave and waited for my chili con carne (yum yum) to reach optimum temperature when the chat moved to our new Governor General. Are you sitting down? She's a woman. Yes, in the 21st century, here in Australia we are on a roll. We have a female Head of State.......oh wait.....that's the Queen.....okay, so we have a female representative for the Head of State AND we have a female Deputy Prime Minister, also mentioned in conjunction with Therese and her crazy dress sense. Burn those bras, ladies, we've arrived. Well, not quite. Julia Gillard, our DP, has bad hair. Oh yes. And she's childless. Well, fuck me, what were we thinking, electing this woman? Australians may remember the infamous fruit bowl incident, but for those who aren't in the know, Ms Gillard was interviewed in 2005 and a photographer took some shots of her kitchen. Imagine the horror felt by the Australian public when an empty fruitbowl was spotted. What kind of woman is this? She has bad hair, an ocker accent AND no fruit in her bowl. Childless, sans style and presumably suffering from scurvy, it's a wonder she got to where she is today.

The GG, Quentin Bryce, was described by the tearoom focus group as 'nice'. Quentin Bryce is a former Governor of Queensland. A lawyer, she taught for many years at the University of Queensland. She was the state Director of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission. She's been the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner......oh, look, Google her. She's even got a medal for services to womens cricket. But she's 'nice'.

Did anyone see that tie on Kevin Rudd yesterday? It like, soooo didn't go with his eyes. Whatever.

13 April, 2008

Dirty robbing bastards

Fuck off, Amazon. As if I'm mad enough to pay £10.00 to have two books posted to Australia. The cost of the two items doesn't come to a tenner. You can keep your books and shove them up your arse for all I care.

There. That's better. Back on form. Bookless, but back on form.

12 April, 2008

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible

I can't think of anything I want to talk about. How unlike me. I thought I'd put a new post up just in case people thought I was trapped under a heavy wardrobe or had suffered a repeat subluxation (how I love medical terms) or was off shagging somewhere.

To summarise the weeks events -

First week of full time work since Shouldergate. Much adulation from various members of the medical staff who have missed me. It was like coming back from holiday. Various opinions from the orthopaedic fraternity. As for me, I was over it by Wednesday. The highlight of my working week was looking after a concentration camp survivor. She was born in Poland and left in 1945. I can't imagine how a child survived all that. I've looked after a few camp survivors in my time and I've always found them to be positive people. I guess when you've been through what they have every day is a blessing. It's always upsetting to see the tattoos but the ones I've talked to about it say that they keep the number so people can't say it didn't happen.

Nothing on the social scene at all. Not even a cheeky one after work. My great aunt Lil had a better social life than me when she was ninety.

No shopping purchases. This in itself is enough to make me feel faint and certainly wasn't for the lack of trying.

One babysitting session which consisted of eating chops and chips with a three year old followed by supervised teeth brushing then having my evenings viewing interrupted by walking a nine month baby around for an hour. He's teething. It wasn't pretty.

Three hours of exercise today at some Pilates introduction thingy. I've got aches and pains where I didn't even know I had muscles. Actually, I probably don't have muscles there, just lard.

There was something I wanted to have a rant about but I'm buggered if I know what it was. I strongly suspect it had something to do with the forthcoming visit of the Pope. Then again it might have been public transport. Who knows? I don't.

So.......just talk amongst yourselves for a bit. I'll be back with a whinge before you know it.

07 April, 2008


A couple of things have made me say wtf today and, what with me being me, I thought I'd share them with you, my five readers.

First on the WTF radar is the incestuous father and daughter, John and Jenny Deaves. They appeared on Sixty Minutes last night (for non Australians, this programme is tabloid journalism at its best. I don't usually watch it but Who Do You Think You Are? finished last week. That's my story and I'm sticking to it) to 'share' their story. Interestingly, further details have some to light in todays press. But back to the story. John and Jenny are father and daughter and were separated for 31 years. John Deaves left when Jenny was a year old. Reunited after 30 years, they had consensual sex two weeks after meeting up. Jenny has two children from a previous relationship, and now has a nine month old daughter with her father. Yes. A baby. Neither of them think they've done anything wrong and say they are in a loving, normal relationship.

Sweet baby cheeses. I can't get my head around the fact that this woman met up with her dad after 30 years of being apart and got into bed with him within a fortnight. I can't believe that this man thought it was okay to have sex with his adult daughter and I'm totally fucking appalled that they have a nine month baby. They are on probation and are under court instruction not to have sex with each other, which I'm quite sure they are following. Not.

As I indicated earlier, new reports have come to light less than 24 hours after the show was broadcast. Mr Deaves's ex wife (who has presumably just stopped vomiting, scratching herself and burning all of her sheets) says that Jenny stayed with her father for a week when she was a teenager and stayed a further 4 times after that. It's also been reported that father and daughter had a child last year but sadly it died days after birth from a congenital heart defect. The Deaves's want respect and understanding. Sure. And I want a million dollars and a pair of diamond earrings.

What. The. Fuck?

The subject was discussed in a 'spirited' fashion in the tearoom today. SSS was of course in the 'freaks and weirdos' camp. Interestingly enough two of the anaesthetists seemed to think it was okay. This didn't sit well with the majority of the room. I made it clear that I didn't fancy my dad as he was a) my dad b) my dad and c) my dad but I could see why my mother had fancied him. My friend reported that she didn't fancy her dad as he has a beard. One of the points being made by the 'freaks and weirdos' camp was that as humans we have free will, and just because we want to do something doesn't mean we have to do it, ie. we have the power to resist our urges. The unit born again Christian was most vocal in her horror but unfortunately one of the gasmen (an arsehole if I ever met one) was enjoying baiting her (because he is an arsehole) and (because he is an arsehole) then compared incest with homosexuality and said that perhaps gays should resist their urges. See, I told you he is an arsehole. He is doubly an arsehole as a very lovely gaswoman was sitting in the room who just happens to be gay (he knew this) and she looked a bit uncomfortable. Anyhoo, you get the picture and I'm going way off topic. I don't know, I really don't. Every part of me is screaming that this is wrong and yet who are we to say what's right and what's not? Who chooses the moral code?

WTF Two is the whole sorry Shannon Matthews saga. This poor little girl went missing on her way home, a massive police hunt took place, the mother and her boyfriend/stepfather, Craig Meehan, were photographed looking distraught. Story after story emerged until finally Shannon turned up 24 days later at her stepfathers uncles home, hiding in the drawer of a divan bed. He was arrested and charged with abduction. His arrest was followed by that of the stepfather who has been charged with possession of child pornography images. More arrests came after that with the stepfathers sister and mother being arrested and charged with assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice. Today sees the news that the childs mother has been arrested and charged with perverting the course of justice and the uncle (the original abductor) was taken to hospital over the weekend after a serious self harm attempt.

The families involved are tabloid fodder. Matthews mother and Meehan put me in the mind of Wayne and Waynetta Slob from the old Harry Enfield show. The mother has seven children by five different fathers, three of whom live away from their mother. Poorly dressed, pasty faced,seemingly thick as piggy doo doo, they fit the stereotype of the undereducated underclass who bounce up and down in the safety net of Social Security. It's like DSS Dynasty.

Theories about on the internet. A widely held belief is that it was a set up job to make some money. It is thought that they came up with the sick scheme after seeing how much money was donated to the Madeleine McCann fund. The idea that these people could use a nine year old child to make money out of the British public turns my stomach. The whole saga is unthinkable. What a waste of police time. What a complete headfuck for the child herself. What a circus. Not to mention the fact that probably every child at Shannon's school as well as within the wider community was petrifed that someone was going to take them from their parents.

So, what the fuck again.

What a smashing ramble. I shouldn't post when I'm tired. Oh, and my fucking shoulder hurts. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to exercise my free will and eat some Green and Blacks.

Over to you.

06 April, 2008

Inner eight year old

SSS went out last night and was by far the oldest person in sight. I left the pretty, young and unbearably thin people at a sensible hour (conveniently blaming my new shoes) and was home in time to watch the end of The Spanish Apartment on TV. I'd seen the film before, it's unremarkable and if it wasn't for the subtitles you'd be able to get up and make a cup of tea without losing track of the plot. I was determined to stay up late, however, as the clocks were going back and I wanted to indulge my childish side of staying up 'because I could'. Besides, the bogan neighbours were cackling and I knew that sleep wasn't going to be instantaneous.

Anyhoo, back to the film. In a nutshell - Parisian boy goes to live in Barcelona for year, shares flat with other Euroteens, has girlfriend trouble (probably because she lives in Paris and not Barcelona), befriends fellow Frenchman and shags his wife after gleaning sex tips from lesbian flatmate. Finally gets dumped by Parisian girlfriend, upset by this and sulks. Parisian boy ends his year of shagging, drinking and headfuckwittage in Barcelona and gets a dull office job back in gay Paris. He sees a life of mediocracy stretching out before him, has an epiphany and legs it. He realises that he wants to be a writer and he doesn't want to disappoint the child he used to be. This made me think about how I would look at myself if the eight year old SSS could see the 2008 version.

On a surface level, I think she'd wonder what happened to her blonde hair. She'd be disappointed that she didn't seem to have grown that much taller and she'd giggle at the boobs.

She'd be delighted to find herself living close to the beach. She'd wonder how the hell she ended up on the other side of the planet. She'd love the fact that there is always chocolate in the house and she'd love it even more when she realised that no one was going to tell her that she had to eat all of her dinner before she could have any. She'd be staggered at the 'no sugar' approach to tea drinking.

She'd be ecstatic that she still listened to Abba after all these years, even if she looked more like Frida than Agnetha in the hair colour stakes.

She'd be heartbroken that she no longer had a mother, although not altogether surprised. She'd quite like the living alone bit as well as the overflowing bookshelf. The pink jumpers and cardigans would be a highlight as well. She'd love the amount of high heels. She'd like to see more singing and dancing. Also more pink lipstick. Not that it suits me but she wouldn't care.

I think the mini me would be asking what was missing. "Is this it, then?" Me too, little one, me too. I'll see what I can do about that.

*This has just been brought to my attention by a friend. If you're a fan of Douglas Adams - hell, even if you're not - take a look and join in. I'm off to examine the contents of my linen cupboard.


05 April, 2008

Got an hour?

Some of you may have ventured over to the 'blogs I like' section. If you haven't, you have to go to this one without fail.

Tom has written a book called Blood, Sweat and Tea and there's a radio play based on the book. It's about an hour long and it's really worth a listen. Give it a go.

Blood, Sweat and Tea.

In other news, Shouldergate has reached its conclusion. After 6 long weeks I am fit to return to normal duties. Thank fuck for that. I confidently predict that I'll be whinging about work by Thursday.

04 April, 2008

Man has baby

Thomas Beatie, an American man, is pregnant. Not pregnant in that really annoying way that men are when their partners are pregnant, - really, boys, 'we' are not pregnant. 'We' are having a baby but you are not carrying a foetus, you don't have your body taken over by a little alien who kicks you and keeps you awake, you aren't going to get piles and you are not going to push something the size of a watermelon out of something that's usually the size of a grapefruit so please FUCK OFF with saying 'we' - this man actually has a foetus in his uterus. Yes, his uterus.

Whilst legally registered as a man, Thomas started out in life as Tracy Lagondino, a female. In his life as Tracy he was a prominent gay rights activist who felt as though he'd been born into the wrong sex. His gender reassignment surgery was essentially a bilateral mastectomy with hormone treatment to stop his periods. He didn't do anything 'downstairs', he tells Oprah, because he wanted to have a child someday. He tells Oprah that it's his 'right' to have children. No, it isn't. No one has the right to have children. Thomas, you chose to become a man and quite frankly as far as I can tell that should have meant out with the old babymaking equipment and goodbye to the vagina, another rather essential component for those of us XX chromosome types.

As a woman, I feel a little bit insulted by this whole business but I can't put my finger on the reason for it. I suppose I see my uterus as the thing that defines me as female. Long hair, make up and pierced ears don't separate the genders these days, and I've seen some manboobs out there that would rival mine. No, what really separates the boys from the girls is the womb. Many women report feeling less feminine post hysterectomy. On the surface this makes less sense than say a woman who'd undergone a mastectomy but it makes perfect sense to me. Perhaps it goes back to the start of menstruation and being told 'you're a woman now'. I can't reconcile Thomas Beatie leaving 'Tracy' behind but keeping hold of 'her' uterus just in case it would come in handy at a later date. Why didn't he keep his breasts as well? He wanted a baby but breastfeeding was just a bit too girly?

Thomas Beatie isn't actually the first 'man' to carry a baby but he's certainly the first one to broadcast it on the Oprah show. One has to wonder if this in itself isn't the most damaging thing to come out of this need to draw the worlds attention to the latest freak show, posing for pictures with his sticky out belly complete with bearded face. Apparently his wife has had a hysterctomy and cannot have any more children. Not to worry, Thomas has a womb hanging around from a previous lifetime. She inseminated her husband with a device they purchased from a vet.

Thomas, I thought about making you the idiot of the week but you're not. You're just a selfish, attention seeker who wants to have his cake and eat it too. You kept the very essence of what made you female yet you see yourself as a male. I'm insulted by you and your bloody uterus. You, mate, are taking the piss out of the whole gender reassignment community. Make your mind up, male or female. I'm happy for you either way but don't sit on the fence. You'll get splinters in your arse.


01 April, 2008

Are you having a laugh?

The Cracker Comedy Festival is about to roll into town and as per usual SSS is going off to 'dirty' Newtown to laugh until a little bit of wee comes out.

So far I've booked tickets for Ross Noble and Mark Watson. I want to see more performers but the credit card won't support much more. I was really hoping that Stephen K Amos would come to Sydney again this year but sadly he's not.

Comedy has always been one of my favourite things. I think I would rather laugh than listen to a beautiful piece of music or even eat some delicious Green & Blacks chocolate. I think if you can't laugh at life you might as well be dead, or at the very least living in Burton on Trent or Mount Isa. (for cultural references there isn't much difference in these towns but 12,000 miles and the weather)

I like comedy that makes me think. I've never been a fan of slapstick. I remember going to the circus with my brother when we were children. We sat stonyfaced as the clowns did their thing; throwing buckets of confetti, treading on each others hilariously oversized shoes and tripping each other over. Other children around us were in fits of laughter but I don't remember either of us cracking a smile.

Not that I don't enjoy the misfortune of another human being falling arse over tit or getting smacked in the face with a frying pan. Some of my favourite comedy moments have been visual but they've generally been within the context of a show with funny lines. Who didn't laugh when Blackadder walloped the hapless Baldrick? And if only I could work out a way to add a clip of Only Fools and Horses to this bloody post you'd all be falling helpless to the ground, racked with silent spasms of laughter.

I like my comedy to make me think. I like good writing, different ideas, I like people who take you on a journey with their words and and turn a mundane event into something that has you wanting them to stop talking so that you can breathe and give your sides a rub. I like intelligent humour, Fry and Laurie, Bill Bailey. Girl comedians; Catherine Tate, French and Saunders, Fiona O'Loughlin (throwing an Aussie into the mix, there).

As an native of the Sceptred Isle, obviously I think British humour is the best. But if we move away from stating the obvious I'll tell you why. I think British humour is rooted in misery. From the darkest moments comes black humour, gallows humour if you will. Ben Elton came to our attention with The Young Ones but for me it was his political humour of the Thatcher years that was his finest work. My experience of Thatch wasn't the best and I hated the woman, her policies and her yes men cabinet with a passion. Laughing with Ben kept me sane and stopped my head from blowing off. I like the way that British comedians manage to take the piss out of themselves and others without being nasty. Gently poking fun - sometimes less gently than others - but never being nasty. The national stereotype of the cold, aloof and unfeeling English never sits well with me as I see us as a nation of piss takers who enjoy nothing more than a good old cackle, yes, at someone elses expense but we're laughing with them, not at them. Most of the time. Some of the time. Oh, all right, we're laughing at them. But we're laughing at ourselves as well.

Then there's the obscure and slightly off the wall comedians; Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, Ross Noble, Bill Bailey (love, love, love Bill Bailey), Monty Python. Comedy gold. But where did they come from? Who inspired them all?

These men. The Godfathers of alternative comedy. Every generation of comedians should get down on their knees and thank these men because without them we wouldn't be where we are today. Spike Milligan was a tortured soul as well as being a complete arsehole at times (and that wasn't all down to the mental illness either) but the man was a legend. I queued up for 3 and a half hours once at a book signing to meet him. He looked tired, he was getting on in years but he took the time to talk to everyone and sign everyones book. I'll never forget meeting my brief meeting with him. I wanted to thank him but in my nervousness I'm not sure I said all I wanted to.

So thanks, Spike. Thanks to the class clown who didn't get a lot of work done but made me laugh in double Maths. Thanks to all of those people who put themselves through nerves, rejection and ridicule in the hope of raising a smile from others. Without you all life would be a lot less bearable.