Six Weeks Of Screaming

Thursday the 6th of August, 2015. 11:05am.

Nearly three weeks of the school summer holidays have passed and as I am blearily jabbing at the keyboard to pen this piece, the children are screaming. I’m not sure why, if i’m honest. One of them screamed about something, which made the other one scream, then they just started screaming at each other. It’s what I call the “Perpetual Emotion Machine”, a non-stop cycle of childish anger which cannot be stopped, only redirected towards any hapless adult (yes, me) who might be foolish enough to intervene*.


Sipping at my second energy drink of the day and wiping the blood from my ears, I find myself browsing Facebook to see post after post of the same old shit. “Lush day with my babies, LOVE Summer hols”, “Another great day out with my family. XOXO”, “OMG BESTEST TIME WITH BESTEST PEOPLE!”. Status after status of gushing, luvvy-wuvvy happiness. What am I doing wrong?

I adore my children and we’ve had some great days out (and in) over the past few weeks. We’ve watched a bunch of films, eaten enough sweets to leave a trail of sugar from here to Terabithia, been to a frankly fantastic animal park (Axe Valley, well worth a look), all sorts of shenanigans.


That being said, you can’t do it every day. Thanks partly to my useless appendages (you can read that tale of woe here), some days you have to just sit. Other days, you maybe have to get some housework done. There are days, my darling children, when you have to entertain yourselves for an hour or two so that shit get’s done. You’d think i’d asked them to build a rocket and pop to the Moon for some cheese.

So, as the children whirl past in one of those cartoon clouds of dust, scrapping and yelling at each other, I wonder again what have I done wrong? Facebook is full of happy families who’ve never had a bad day and are always smiling big ol’ smiles like the freak show from the Black Hole Sun video. Are they better than us?

No. They’re just less honest. Everyone has bad days but they don’t post those on Facebook. You see the picture of the angelic wee child baking with mummy, but you never see the picture of said child drawing a big hairy arse on the wall in Tippex while mummy downs a litre of Pinot Grigio. You see a status update saying “Daddy/daughter time! X” with your friend’s wee girl riding her daddy like a pony, but no-one posts “GET THIS WEE SHIT OFF OF ME!” with the same sweet little angel bouncing on her daddy’s head while he tries to sleep off a migraine.


If you’ve ever felt like you’re screwing it all up just because Prissy McPerfection has posted yet another picture of her perfect family baking perfect cakes in Perfectville, don’t sweat it. The day after that, her kids smeared her Audi in shit and then set fire to the dog. She’s just never going to mention it on Facebook. Chin up.

* That’s rather clever, isn’t it? Perpetual Emotion Machine. That should be on an array of child’s clothing, wouldn’t you agree? It is now. Go HERE to buy some. NOW!

Feeling The Benefit

What follows is a brutally honest blog post. I’m not only about to bare my soul, but also flash my hairy man bosom and wobble my buttocks at you. Metaphorically speaking. It took a lot of umming and ahhing before I decided to finally write this, so i’d be ever so appreciative if you’d take the time to read it. Thursday 9th July, 2012 – 7:30pm approx I just tried to have a shower. Note the use of the word “tried”, which in this case, must be followed by “and failed”. Let me back up a little and explain this properly. Be warned, this will not be a short post. Best grab a coffee.


For those who don’t know, I suffer from osteoarthritis. In my case, this is a condition born of another ailment, talipes equinovarius. That’s “clubfoot”, to you normies. When I was born, my feet were turned upward and inward. I had a series of operations as a child but they were unable to fully correct my feet. The last of my childhood surgeries took place when I was 10, the surgeons removed a V wedge from the bones of my foot and stapled the two sections of bone together to pull my foot into shape. At some point between my discharge as an outpatient, aged 17 and the night when the proverbial hit the fan, back in 2010 or thereabouts, the staples snapped and to cut a long story short, I spent months, if not years, merrily wandering about with a micro fracture in my foot. I’ve since had an op to fuse the bones in my foot, which hasn’t helped, so my two options at this point are find a way to live with pain, or have the thing lopped off. Unsurprisingly, i’m still mulling this over.


So why am I telling you all of this? For pity? No. I don’t want your pity and frankly, obstinate swine that I am, i’m liable to tell you exactly where you can shove it if it’s offered. I just want you to understand, so that you can appreciate the realities of my day to day life. An average day for me starts out like that of many parents. I awake to the sound of children arguing and shuffle about the house preparing for the day ahead. More often than not, my wife will already have left the house. My eight year old daughter and six year old son fetch their own school clothes, make their breakfast and prepare their bags for the day. They do this partly because my wife and I  are proudly raising two independent, intelligent children. They also do this partly because they know Daddy can’t do it without wincing and occasionally muttering words that they’re not allowed to repeat. I take the children to school, riding my mobility scooter for what would be a five to ten minute walk for anyone else. Then I head home and rest up, ready to pick them up late in the day.


Sometimes, during the period between drop off and pick up, i’ll have lunch. Sometimes I won’t, it depends how much pain i’m in. Collection time arrives and I climb aboard the scooter once more, grab the kids and we head home. If i’m lucky, my wife is working a morning and she’ll cook the evening meal. If not, it’s down to me. Quick and easy meals, in the oven or microwave and leave them alone, then jammies and off to bed for the kiddies and I can sit down and that’s me for the rest of the day.

Notice I didn’t mention toilet breaks? That’s because stairs are an absolute nightmare. So I have two large bottles beside my chair. I don’t think I need explain any further. When I need to do something that, shall we say, won’t fit in the bottle, I often-have to climb the stairs on my hands and knees. Not always, sometimes I can pull myself up using the extra handrail I had fitted, but often enough that stairs have become a thing of dread.


That affects sleeping too, of course. I can’t always get upstairs to go to bed so I end up sleeping on the couch. Not the best night’s sleep at the best of times, plus I suffer from sleep apnoea so I’ve got the choice of either finding someone to relocate my entire breathing mask setup or run the risk of snoring myself to death. Literally.

So, that’s my X-Factor back story. Thing is, it wouldn’t even get me to boot camp. There are so many people who have it so much worse that I can’t complain, really. Well, I shouldn’t complain. I do, obviously, we all complain sometimes, but realistically I know that despite feet that look like rejected Twiglets and the whole Snore Of Doom fiasco, i’m lucky. I have a wonderful wife, amazing kids, a loving family and after battling with those bastards at the DWP for two years, our welfare system provides me with enough money to get by.

Ah yes, benefits. I’m one of those god-awful scrounging bastards that you hear about on Facebook. You know, the one’s that various pages post about. “HARD WORKING FAMILIES ARE PAYING FOR PRICKS LIKE AL VIMH” and the like. I’ve got it real easy, me.


“Must be nice to sit around playing Xbox all day?” people ask. They don’t stop to think that i’m playing the Xbox because I can’t get off the damn couch.

“That’s tax payers money you’re living off of, you know.” they cry. It is, but I never complained about my taxes going into the benefit system when I was working.

Oh, did I not mention that? I got my first job after school when I was 17 and worked right up until shortly before my feet crapped out on me completely. It never occurred to me to piss and moan about people claiming benefits because I understand the reality of things. There aren’t always enough jobs, there are people who simply cannot work, these people have a right to a roof over their heads, food on the table, warm beds, safety and security, just the same as the “HARD WORKING FAMILIES” that Facebook is so keen to remind me of.

You work really hard and you resent me for being at home all day without having to deal with Geoff fucking up the Hoskin’s account or a delivery of 20,000 printer cartridges instead of the 200 you ordered. Fair enough, but I envy your ability to get out and about in the world, to walk without wincing at every step, to shower in the morning without having to have someone to help you stand up.


Oh right, I was going to tell you about the shower thing. I tried to take a shower tonight. Normally I wait until my wife is home and god bless her she helps me in and out of the shower and she actually helps to wash me, because otherwise i’m liable to fall as I move about in the shower. I tried on my own. I fell. I had to call my eight year old daughter to bring me a towel so I could get my feet down on something with a bit of traction. That’s not a situation that any father ever wants to be in and as I write this, the words are blurring through a film of tears. Tell me again how I’ve got it so fucking easy. There are those who are swinging the lead, so to speak, people who are claiming benefits which they don’t need and to which they are not entitled. So find them out, stop their benefits, punish where appropriate, that’s fine. Don’t make the benefits system impossible to access for those who genuinely need it. That’s the biggest dick move since Godzilla windmilled his way across Japan.


I don’t want your pity. To hell with pity. I don’t expect you to suddenly experience a complete change of heart and mind. I just want you to consider the fact that your pissing and moaning about people on benefits might be unfair to the thousands of people out there just like me and the many thousands who are ten times worse.

Why the hell can’t we all just get along, hey?

Sh*t That Needs To Stop – Power Rangers

Thursday morning. I drag myself from my bed, the same bed upon which I collapsed just three short hours ago. I pour myself a cup of cold water, douse my face with coffee and i’m ready for the day as soon as the screams subside.

Entering the living room, I find the Child Units ready for school, uniform on, bags packed, angelic smiles on their teeny weeny faces. Obviously, something is wrong.

CHILD UNIT 2: “Daddy! We got up and got ourselves all ready and can we watch Power Rangers pleeeeeeeeasssseeee”

I probe the recesses of my mouth but alas, I removed the cyanide pill due to an unfortunate tendency toward nocturnal tooth grinding, so with a sigh, I hand the remote control to the youngest of the short people and bury my head in the cushions.

The ham festival of choice for today is Power Rangers RPM, one of approximately six billion assorted incarnations of the lycra clad heroes. In RPM, the Rangers have tyres wrapped around their extremeties, drive a Winnebago and do battle with Venjix, a computer virus which inexplicably chooses to inhabit the bodies of sub-par martial artists wearing eighty pounds of poorly moulded plastic.

I hate to resort to an “all this used to be fields” moment, but in the heady days of my youth, I loved the Power Rangers. I remember barrelling about the school playground, screaming “KEE-YAH!” and kicking my friends in the cock. Good times.

That was twenty years ago. Cycle forward to the present day and we’ve had twenty years of the same shit. Every series, of which there’s been one per year, boils down to pretty much this:


2) Powerful force and/or being gathers a group of community theatre rejects and hand models, imbuing them with the power to kick things and go “HEEEEYAI!”, along with figure hugging suits and impractical, plastic headwear.

3) As series progresses, Rangers discover new weapons, abilities, zords and allies in an obvious bid to introduce new merchandise

4) Rangers ultimately defeat the biggest, baddest wossname and are then cast back into the street, like so much human refuse

5) New series announced

Every. Bloody. Year. “Power Rangers: SSDD”.

So, here’s what I propose. Either sack it all in and call it a day, or give it a shake up. How about a gritty new take on the series, directed by Christopher Nolan? Or do it in 3D? EVERYONE loves 3D, huh?

Maybe not. Let’s face it, we’re in for another twenty years of the same old shite. Wonder which area of history or general interest they’ll bastardise next? They’ve done dinosaurs, cars, faster cars, emergency services, samurai, pirates, jungle animals, all sorts of old bollocks. Still leaves a few possibilities though…


Four young friends harness the power of Victorian London and become the Power Rangers, complete with grubby, steam powered zords and ill-fitting clothing in assorted shades of brown. They last about three episodes and then either starve to death on the streets or choke out their last, stuck up a chimney.


Five ordinary teenagers are forever changed when Billy Ray Cyrus enters their lives. Now they must balance their day to day worries with their new found fame as rock stars, plus occasionally defeating big rubber ugly buggers. Featuring the all new Montanazord with Wrecking Ball Attack mode and realistic Dissapointment-To-Father actions.


A group of disillusioned teens must join forces to protect the world from something-or-other, who cares man it’s all just too hard.
Featuring Kimmy, the Black Ranger, Michael, the Black Ranger, Edward, the Black Ranger, Lisa, the Black Ranger and Geoff, the Black Ranger.
Soundtrack by The Cure.


Four disgruntled Vietnam veterans are pulled together by a secret government organisation and become the Power Rangers! Piloting mighty zords, commanding awesome destructive power and occasionally lapsing into bloody, violent flashbacks, friend and foe alike are in for a world of hurt.


Three disenchanted youths gather in their basement hideout and dole out online justice against film directors, actors, popular musicians and other easy targets. This leads into a second season featuring the trio in their ultimate forms, titled POWER RANGERS: SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS.
Sponsored by Cheetos and Red Bull.


Six friends struggle with life, love and constant threat of invasion from alien forces in this light hearted sitcom, set in New York, circa 1998.


A pale, stammering imbecile meets a group of pale, beautiful vampires in a constantly drizzly shithole town somewhere in Bullshitsville, America. Together, they become the Power Rangers and ol’ mumbly-stumbly-bollocks inexplicably becomes the most powerful of them all. Then they all have sex and oh-em-gee it’s so hot and the writer cums.

Al Vimh Bat Cave key hanger
Get your very own Al Vimh Bat Cave key hanger.

…I am losing my patience…