Thursday, January 28, 2010

Much ‘to do’ about somethings

As every schoolboy physicist knows, time is an abstract concept. I’ve tried explaining this abstract concept to various girlfriends, but what seems like half an hour to some, seems like 30 seconds to others. Yesterday, for example, my lifestyle coach and guru Zach Abrahams came into the office to give a lecture on time management, and for me the five hours literally flew past. He was on-fire.

It was totally awesome readers. Zach’s class was due to start at 9:00, just like work normally is. I made good and sure I was in early, I suppose that my extra session at the weekend had already started to make me a better time manager. But Dan, as per usual, rolled up to work with his Starbucks skinny latte, a good ten minutes late.

As regular readers will know, when my boss Dan split up with his missus he moved into my place and became my flatmate. No one at work knows that we cohabit, because Dan said he didn’t want to have any conflicts of interest. Anyway, ever since he moved in, he’s started buying Starbucks skinny lattes and rocking up at ten past. I wouldn’t mind, but he makes me hang around after 5:30 so that he can leave the office first.

It’s totally selfish readers, of course; I know it is. But I’m too generously minded to kick up a stink. Mi casa su casa. Only today, when Dan turned up, Zach had already started the class. Punctuality, according to Zach, is sacrosanct. He spent almost the entirety of the day picking on Dan. Which was totally hilarious, as you can imagine lol ;-)

I must say sadly Zach seems to be copping some slack from my idiot colleagues. I overheard Suzi and Mark Baker laughing about his platform shoes and stumpy fingers. Old ‘keep your head down’ Barry would have sat down and ignored the jibes, or if I’m being honest, he might even have joined in succumbing to peer group pressure and the urge to win favour. But New Career-Minded Barry ‘modelled the way’.I went over and told them that they were clearly jealous of Zach’s confidence and ability, and that he did not suffer from a Napoleon complex. Then they started called me gay, but then amazingly Dan stepped in and defended me! Honestly readers, I can see that modelling the way is already helping me move up the career ladder. Come the next review, I’m going up against Suzi and Baker and there’s only going to be one winner. And it’s not because I let my boss stay at the flat for a very reasonable £300 a month either.

The class was a real eye-opener. Now, I know that I’ve been a bit slack of late when it comes to posting on the blog, but Zach taught me a totally amazing trick of time management. It’s something the pros use all the time. Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Tony Blair, they all use this technique for managing their time. Zach says he learnt the technique from a management guru in LA – so pay attention and you might just get your life back on track like me.

It’s something called a ‘to do’ list. Here’s the thing, you know how during the day you’ve got loads of stuff on your plate, so much so that sometimes it feels like you’re spinning plates! Well, if you write all the stuff down in a list and then make a note of which ones are important and need your attention, then you can make sure that you do those things. The really great thing is that if you write down all the stuff you need to do, then if your boss comes over and asks you to do something you can just hold up the piece of paper with your jobs on and point out that you’ve got quite enough to keep you busy thanks very much, so find some other mug to help out.

Another amazing part of the ‘to do’ list, is the way that is helps you palm off your work to other people. This is something called ‘delegation’. Apparently most people find delegation quite difficult because 50 per cent of the time they feel as though they can do a better job and the other 50 per cent of the time they feeling guilty about giving other people work. So if you accept that other people can do a better job, and even if they can’t who cares, then delegation suddenly becomes second nature. I think I’ll be a natural.

I’ve already delegated posting last night’s Love Film film back to Dan, he didn’t even realise I was ‘delegating’, I just asked him if he could do it for once and he said, ‘OK Barry, bloody hell, don’t forget who’s the boss’ – but he did it anyway, and that’s the key!

By creating the ‘to do’ list managers can prioritise workstreams efficiently and effectively, Zach says, and by adding in how long it will take to do the tasks on the ‘to do’ list the successful manager is able to palm off the stuff he (and let’s face it, women get pregnant and so the manager usually is a he), doesn’t really like or can’t be bothered to do.

It’s absolutely bloody brilliant and has already revolutionised my life. As soon as I got home, I wrote a ‘to do’ list:

  1. Turn oven on to warm up
  2. Crack open a can of Cobra
  3. Check in and see if Dan is watching his soaps
  4. Ask Dan if he’s seen that copy of Brokeback Mountain that needs posting back to Love Film
  5. Go to room and log on to the Internet
  6. Check emails and see if Mr London Street has been in touch
  7. Check Facebook to see if anyone else has bothered to join the Friends of Barry Newsdesk group
  8. Check Twitter
  9. Go back downstairs and put Fray Bentos into oven
  10. Crack open second can of Cobra
  11. Google ‘Maria Whitaker+nude pictures’
  12. Pleasure myself as part of on-going Project Onan
  13. Go downstairs and plate up the Fray Bentos
  14. Crack open another Cobra
  15. Log on to the blog and write about today’s experiences

And there you go readers, that’s Time Management in action. The sense of enormous self-worth that you get by creating the ‘to do’ list then ‘doing’ the things you need to ‘do’ is wonderful.

I think I’ll just crack open another can of Cobra and get myself to bed. A rested mind is an active mind!



Monday, January 25, 2010

Modelling the way

Today is the first day of New Career-Minded Barry. For too long now Fun-Loving Old Barry has been floundering along by the side of the Super Career Highway. I’m my own worst enemy in some respects, but the cause of my stagnating life lies in my roots and foundations. That Philip Larkin had some funny opinions, but when it came to the role of the parent, he was spot on, they really do Fuck You Up.

When Dad left, Mum (who despite her recent betrayal, I will always love) brought me up as the Man of the House. I was her Little Prince Charming who turned into her Handsome Young Man. I felt loved readers, and that’s all a child really needs. Except the world is a cruel playing field. The rules of engagement change according to circumstances that in the main seem out of your control, and while I was prepared to plough my own furrow, I have realised now that maybe getting a seat next to the farmer up on the tractor would have saved me a whole lot of muddy feet, cow shit and woe.

Up until now I’ve been happy to stand flipping burgers in the Transport Café of Life. Every so often I look up at the Super Career Highway, and I think to myself, ‘no way Baz old boy, the road’s a dangerous place, you’re better off here where you know your way, you know the burgers are good and plentiful, not for you a place on the starting grid of the Rat Race of commercialism.’

The thing is, while sitting flipping burgers in the Transport Café of Life is comfortable and easy, easy is not what life is about. At least that’s what Zach Abrahams my new life coach told me this weekend.

That’s right readers, I’ve got myself a life coach!!! I was always a little wary of coaching, I just thought that maybe it was the naughties equivalent of seeing a shrink. But Zach came in and took a management training course last week, and it’s no exaggeration to say that he has almost single-handedly put my life on track again.

As regular readers will know, I’m a man who is comfortable in his own sexuality. I’m straight up and down no nonsense, but I actually think that I might be falling for Zach a little. He has a magnetism that simply cannot be ignored. Which I found odd, because when I first saw him I thought he was ever so slightly physically repulsive. He has the look of a dwarf about him. Not like Gimli from LOTR, with long hair and a beard and an axe, but like a dwarf dwarf. Like in Time Bandits.”

But when Zach speaks, you have to listen. He has an aura, an aura that I know leads to great success in business and great success with some extremely desirable women, he says, which considering his physical disabilities is no mean feat.

Zach’s entire philosophy is based on something he has dubbed ‘Modelling the Way’. He is a guru and I am a convert. It’s all to do with balancing your IQ with your EQ. IQ is your smarts, and EQ is your hearts! That’s a little rhyme Zach made up that helps. It’s all about control, like a graphic equalizer on a hi-fi, too much bass and your career will be dulled, to little bass and the career will sound tinny.

Zach says it’s all about how the brain works. Basically, the lefthand side of your brain is what controls your memory, it’s the ‘logic centre’ and the righthand side is your creativity. It’s no good just being all logical like Mr Spock (he’s a mister, not a doctor – which makes him a surgeon – interestingly Zach says surgeons are able to close off their EQ and so when they’re cutting up the bodies of their patients, they feel nothing, no emotion, not unlike clinically insane serial killers who chop up their victims and dispose of the parts. In many ways, surgeons and serial killers are two sides of the same coin). Likewise, it’s no good being all creative, because then you just ending up seeing things and going mad.

During the class we did some psychometric testing. We had to answer a whole bunch of questions. They were either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response according to whether your agreed or disagreed with a statement. Then the scores were totted up and that basically told us our personality. According to Zach, personalities can be split into four types. Activists, Reflectors, Theorists and Protagonists.

It won’t surprise you to know that I scored extremely highly in ‘activism’. Higher than anyone else in the room. Hilariously Dan turned out to be a reflective theorist. These people are the boring dullards, like college professors, who sit around pontificating all and achieving nothing. It turned out that Zach and I have almost identical personalities!

I’m a winners readers, all this time I’ve known I was special, but I had wrongly assumed that being special would be enough. Success, says Zach, is 99 per cent perspiration, one per cent inspiration. To be successful, you need the full package and Zach has offered to unlock my full package.

My trouble is that I have a natural problem with assumed authority. Don’t get me wrong, if someone has earned my respect, then I have no problem with authority, but for me authority has to be questioned. Zach says it is this trait in my personality that has been holding me back from becoming as successful as him, but with his help I can ‘model the way’ and assume authority.

Authority, Zach says, is a state of mind. I had my first coaching lesson at the weekend in Zach’s place in Orpington. He’s got a great pad readers, all cream leather couches and the most space-age fridge I’ve ever seen, everything is remote control, and his lights can actually be turned down to ‘chill mode’ by sending a text message. I really did feel as though he was Captain Kirk to my Mr Spock. Or maybe he was Bones, although he’s not a doctor. Zach I mean, Bones was the doctor.

The lessons are a bit pricey, I will admit, but as Zach pointed out, they’re an investment in a future me. It’s like I’m basically lending my future self a few grand, in return for a lifetime of wealth and a limitless supply of beautiful women.

KK readers, I’ve got some homework to be getting on with, Zach has asked me to write an acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize. Amazing really, the guy is an absolute visionary.

Live long and posper.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Street life

My new follower the Fearless Threader doesn't like people on the street asking for money, and neither do I.

I don't mind the homeless, don't get me wrong. Sometimes it's not their fault that they've fallen on hard times and I always used to give a few quid out around Christmas. Although it's an increasingly cashless society, isn't it, so it's getting more difficult to do that. In fact last year I didn't really give anything.

What's an acceptable denomination to give, anyway? This is another problem. Used to be you could sling a few coppers in the pot and walk away feeling like the Good Samaritan. It was a win-win homed-to-homeless transaction. These days if you try offloading your shrapnel, the homeless will probably give you a sharp retort. You can hardly get away with less than a pound, truth be told. And in these straitened times that's not really feasible.

After all, how are you supposed to choose which homeless gets your charity? You give the pound out to the guy under the Sainsbury's cashpoint and, before you've got to the end of the street you see the girl under the Tesco's cashpoint. And she's not half bad. A bit scrawny, but that's to be expected. But that's not how you choose, of course, it mustn't be how you choose. Still, it's a conversation starter, isn't it. Although if it went well, the 'your place or mine' would be more or less redundant.

No, it's wrong, totally wrong. But you've given your pound to the bloke down the road and all it's got you is a look of disdain from a homeless hottie which could have been a smile that lifted your day. Your feel good factor's through the floor. If she ever gets back on her feet and scrubs up she'll remember your lack of charity and she'll never go near you. If you'd helped her out, maybe she'd seek you out when her huge inheritance came through and you'd live happily every after.

So you decide to go double or quits. You lean down, smile and put a pound in. She doesn't even look up. You cough. She doesn't look up. You say in a calm voice (not sounding angry, but firm): "I just gave you a pound. How much more do I have to give you before you act a little more gratefully?" She looks up and says: "Fuck off!" You think to yourself: hang on a minute Baz, she's an ungrateful little cow. So you say: "Only, it was meant to be 50p. You reach in, take out your pound, put back 50p, just to save your face, and she laughs a hollow laugh and you walk off down the street while she screams abuse at you. You're trying to hide your face from the other people on the street who are wondering what you've done to the homeless girl to make her shout at you. And then she screams: "He offered me money for sex the fuckin' pervert". Which you absolutely did not do; that's not what you meant at all. But you decide to run anyway, just because you hate people looking at you like that.

It's this kind of situation, which could happen to anyone, that makes it difficult to give money out on the street. In the end it's best to give nothing to anyone; at least it's fair.

I used to buy the big issue but I stopped because it's a shit read. I fully endorse the organisation's attempts to get people into paid employment but if you're going to try and involve me in commerce to help the homeless, as opposed to charity, then you need to create a product that I want to buy. Especially now we have the Metro, Shortlist, Sport and all those other wonderful freesheets. Come to think of it, I probably stopped buying the Big Issue right around the time the Metro first graced our transport network.

So, what do people want to buy that the homeless could sell? The only thing I can think of is booze, and that's just a recipe for disaster.

Anyway, all this is by the by. The kind of people I was referring to at the top of the post are chuggers; students paid commission to get your details so other students can phone you and try and give you the guilts about not helping the charity they're working for. They always seem to be really tasty girls who smile at you and then don't want to chat once you've signed up.

This is an old trick and predates the chugger. Back when people on the street used to simply want to ask you questions, they were often attractive girls as well. The most unusual one I ever stopped for was doing some market research into how people feel about being asked questions on the street by people doing market research, no word of a lie.

Here's how it went:

Her: Hi there, would you mind just answering a few questions?

Me: Well, I'm kind of in a hurry...

Her: It won't take very long, I promise. And you could be helping to save a life... Please?

Me: Oh, alright then.

Her: Oh great, thanks. That's so great. Right. First, can I ask you: How often do you stop for these sorts of surveys?

Me: I don't know, really.

Her: ...Don't.. know. Question two: When you do stop, how many questions do you tend to answer?

Me: It depends on how much time I've got.

Her: And how much time have you got?

Me: Well, how long will it take?

Her: I can only accept answers, I'm afraid, not questions.

Me: Oh. Sorry

Her: That's ok. Now, would you say that, in general, these surveys are 'a' under-rated, 'b' over-rated, or 'c' you'd rather not say.

Me: Erm, 'c'. I'd rather not say.

Her: Lovely, thanks. Nearly finished! Now, when you do answer questions, do you prefer 'a' multiple choice questions...?

Me: ...or?

Her: That's the question.

Me: Eh?

Her: I'm going to have to hurry you, I'm afraid, sir.

Me: Er... yes, I suppose I prefer multiple choice questions.

Her: Great! And when answering multiple choice questions, do you prefer 'a' one option, 'b' two options, 'c' three options, 'd' four options, 'e' five options or... 'n', 14 options?

Me: Er... 'c', three options? I suppose it depends on the question.

Her: Ok, nearly done now. If you feel that surveys are dragging on for longer than you had originally anticipated, and indeed that you've been misled by the canvasser, would you 'a' let them know, 'b' indicate your impatience some other way, say by looking at your watch, or 'c' pretend that you didn't mind?

Me: 'c' - I'd pretend that I didn't mind.

Her: And how long would you be prepared to go on pretending that you didn't mind? Would it be 'a' a short while, 'b' a long while, or 'c' other?

Me: 'c' again, I think.

Her: Right, that's it! Thanks very much for your time!

At this point, readers, I tried to move in for a bit of a chat up. I'd been there fifteen minutes and I was late for work. But she moved straight onto this other bloke, and he had it all figured out. Their exchange was over in seconds. It went like this:

Her: Thanks for stopping. Can I ask you: How often do you stop for these sorts of surveys?

Him: Almost never

Her: Next question: When you do stop, how many questions do you tend to answer?

Him: Only two.

Her: Ok, thanks very much indeed. Have a nice day.

Him: Look, here's my number. Give me a call if you want to go for a drink.

Her: Ok, I will.

I was gutted readers, totally gutted. And I never did find out what she meant about saving a life.

Project Onan's turning into Project Onerous, btw. I'm really losing interest and I'm only a fifth of the way through.



Monday, January 18, 2010

The country's most hated?

Hey readers, apologies about the lack of posts recently. My computer had a virus, it’s not the first time it’s happened either, you think I’d be more careful.

Google’s Chrome is so quick that I’ve been surfing much more easily, and I guess, well one thing led to another and I clicked on something I shouldn’t have and bingo – caput. It’s almost as though the God’s of the Computer world were looking down on my last post and had decided that my editorial integrity was being called into question.

I actually got an email to my private account from one of my followers accusing me of doing something called ‘astro-turf’ PR on behalf of Google. For my American readers and non-sporting types out there, astro-turf is not some specially manufactured grass that only grows in space, it’s actually a name for fake turf. So, someone was accusing me of fake PR. Which if you think about it is like accusing someone of being a dishonest estate agent.

Having been inspired by Nick Horby’s hilarious High Fidelity, I was ruminating over my top five list of hated professionals the other day. Here’s my list:

1. Estate agents
2. Politicians
3. Lawyers
4. Journalists
5. PR people

What do you reckon? Have I missed anyone off? Have I got the order wrong? Do you have a particular beef with traffic wardens or teachers, or lollipop ladies? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

Yours in lists

1. Barry
2. Newsdesk

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chrome dome

I remember when I first heard the expression "why don't you just Google it?", as someone who studied English literature to O'level standard (and I don't care what they say, the GCSEs are clearly a lot easier than O'levels - so by today's standards, I've probably got an A'level), the verbing of nouns always raises the hackles. But you've got to see the funny side, Googling stuff does sound like the sort of quip Julian Clary or Graham Norton might come up with in reference no doubt to some sort of kinky bumsex.

But Googling has entered the national lexicon, and fair go, Google has single handedly revolutionised the Internet. And no more so than in the art of grumbleology. I remember the early days of the 'Net were a little bit hit and miss, I didn't have a computer back then, I had to use Internet cafes and searching for smut seemed to take an age, then the computer would crash or be blocked or something but then along can Google and all of a sudden looking up filth was like being able to use Stephen Fry and Albert Einstein as your friends to phone on Millionaire. Ask Jeeves never truly recovered did it?

The thing I struggled to get my head around was how the people at Google ever planned to make any money by simply giving something away that enabled people to discover porn. Well, I suppose that's why scratching a living selling advertising on a human resources magazine, and not a multi-billionaire with a permanent spot on Millionaire and Messrs Einstein and Fry on speed dial.

The thing is, Google is continuing to give stuff away and it's continuing to get rich. That's the crazy world of capitalism for you, and one that I suppose I'll never truly understand. I've been giving away Newsdesk posts for one year now and I haven't made a fucking penny. And it's not for want of trying.

The latest thing Google has given away is Chrome. Not the metallic element, that's already been invented by the Dmitri Mendeleev. No, Google's Chrome is something called a browser. That's the piece of software (which is the code that makes computers work) that lets you and me use the Internet. Again, I couldn't really see the point much in this invention, there are loads of these so-called 'browsers' on the Internet and they all seem to do the same thing.

Well, not so apparently, I was handed a copy of London freesheet Shortlist recently, I'm usually a Metro man as you know, but it was during the snow and so the trains were heavily delayed in London, so I started reading Shortlist (which I usually call Shitlist, because it's not really a patch on the Metro), anyhoo, it was advertising the Google browser Chrome, so I thought, in for a penny in for a pound. I have to say that the boffins at Google Towers have come up trumps yet again. Chrome is extremely quick, and I can have loads of different tabs open at the same time and if one of the tabs crashes, the rest all stay open.

Chrome is a clear market leader I would say, and that's Citizen Journalism. Chrome is without doubt the optimum browser on the market for looking at porn and for that Google should be applauded.

If you've not tried it, go and get yourself a Chrome and Google yourself into a frenzy!

Yours in technology


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bloody Des Walker

The research into fantasy that is part of my Project Onan is yielding some fascinating insights, readers. Initially I just had it down as a cheap and enjoyable way to have a project of any description but I guess my innate curiosity and empathetic nature get people to tell me stuff.

I thought I knew a fair bit about fantasy from reading the work of the Contessa Alexia von Lichtenstein, aka Dave the Roofer, as regular readers might remember from this post. And then I thought I knew a bit more when I started reading Ellie's blog, but then she told me it was all true! And that made me feel a bit like Kenneth Connor. No the reality of it is, as I suspect it is with most things, that you generally don't know the half of it.

Take Mark Baker, one of my sales colleagues at work. He's a normal looking guy and the thing he seems to feel most passionate about is sport. He loves his football, his golf, his cricket, his rugby, the lot. But it turns out he loves them to a greater extent than most people. We were having a conversation about fantasy in the pub on Monday when he confessed that his most frequent fantasies while engaged in matters pre-ejaculatory were sports based. And not, as I initially assumed, like David Mellor, who liked odd looking women to put on football shirts while he nobbed them.

No, Mark actually fantasises about being a high achieving sportsman while he's on the job, be he alone or coupled to his long-term girlfriend, whose name I can't tell you because she's actually rather famous. I would tell you, but I assume even she doesn't know that Mark's pretending to be an 18-year old Michael Owen in the '98 World Cup, scoring that wonder goal against Argentina while they're doing the nasty. To be honest, I imagine she'd be pretty upset, although she might take solace in the knowledge that there are plenty of blokes out there who probably pretend that they're Mark Baker while they're at it, because she's a noted beauty. Odd, really, because Mark's not really a mover and a shaker. Apparently she's just very loyal. Plus Mark's in charge of the drugs.

So I thought I'd give it a go; try and fantasise about sporting achievement. I didn't do it Monday, because I watched the One Show and concocted a delicious little vinaigrette about being interviewed by that Irish girl whose name I can't ever remember about Judo and then us going out after the show and me showing her some holds, if you know what I mean. Maybe I'm weird but the best part of it was the next morning when Adrian Chiles found out and got really moody. (That was part of the fantasy, he didn't find out I'd been fantasising about her and then get really moody. Although he probably would; apparently he's in love with her. That's what Susie at work said, anyway.)

Nope, I saved this up for Tuesday.

Being a Notts Forest supporter, I had to trawl back a little way. There's not been much to shout about of late. I settled on a very satisfying goal from the FA Cup final of 1991. In a glittering career (that was ending in an alcoholic fug) Brian Clough had never won the FA Cup. Forest were up against a much fancied Spurs team, that contained one Paul Gascoigne (arguably the best player in the country at the time). Gazza was so ‘up for it’ that he threw himself into a wild challenge on Gary Charles some 10 - 15 yards outside the edge of the box. The challenge was probably worthy of a red card but Gazza stayed down on the turf, having ruptured his cruciate ligaments (the very injury that had effectively put an end to Clough’s playing career years before).

Gazza would never properly recover from that injury, and like Clough, would end his career a booze-addled wreck. It's a sad tale, but an all too familiar one, I'm afraid.

Anyway, back on the Wembley turf, one Stuart 'Psychic' Pearce stepped up to strike an impeccable, unstoppable, pile-driver of a freekick into the net (something I don't doubt he had predicted the previous day). Forest were one-nil up and Spurs had lost their best player.(By this stage readers, I was absolutely flying. I felt like I was on the pitch and I started to see exactly what Mark Baker was on about. God, it felt amazing! I actually had to hold off because I was enjoying it so much. I had to do that thing which is like the male version of pelvic floor muscles, like you do when you're trying to stop weeing! This was my big mistake. In my sexo-sporting ecstasy, I'd forgotten the outcome...)

Spurs rallied, continuing to dominate, Lineker had a goal disallowed (he's a swordsman, so they say), then had a penalty saved by Mark Crossley (only two keepers had saved penalties in Cup Finals, Crossley and Dave Beasant – who himself would later play for Forest. Good for a pub quiz that one). Eventually, in the second half Paul Stewart equalised and the game went into extra time.

(By now I was losing momentum. Even worse, I was getting unaccountably angry. Even worse, it was impotent rage!)

Spurs continued to apply pressure and won a free kick deep in Forest territory. The ball was whipped across the box and Forest’s England international defender Des Walker, 264 appearances during his first stint with the Reds and one goal to his name, turned the ball into his own net. Des Bloody Walker!!!

I shouted a string of swearwords and the neighbours banged on the wall. It was nearly midnight, to be fair.

So there I was almost out of time, close to missing my first Project Onan deadline and soft as a kitten!

I had to be quick. Ironically enough, I just thought about Mark Baker's girlfriend and I made it across the line with a couple of minutes to spare.

"You'll never beat Des Walker," they used to sing back in the Trent End. How true, how very, very true.

ND out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thirsty work

Hello everyone,

first order of the day is to say hello to my lovely new readers, who have joined me on the recommendation of Mr London Street, who is rapidly becoming the Paul McCartney to my Cilla Black.

Speaking of Cilla Black, I remember hearing once that she had her handbag stolen and when the coppers got hold of it they called her up to come down to the station to identify and claim it, she did so. But there was a problem for Cilla, in that the handbag in question contained a large motorised dildo. Cilla was too ashamed to admit it was hers and so didn't get her handbag back.

Can anyone veryify this?

Anyway, I'd like to point out to my new readers that I don't only write about matters masturbatory, it just happens to be a little project of mine that suits my current financial and social circumstances. It's a journey of exploration, that's all, and one that I will leave behind when the 100 days is up. And I'm not only going to write about this stuff, I'll deal with other issues along the way too. I guess what I'm saying is that there's more to me than wanking. Take a little look back through the archive if you don't believe me, you'll find all sorts of stuff.

Anyway, there's not an awful lot of detail to share about the weekend's entries into the diary of Project Onan. Apart from the fact that, if necessary, you don't need much time (so long as you've got the back story plotted beforehand, natch). Saturday I sorted myself out early doors; it was all quite practical really. There was a bit of an interruption when the radio came on automatically and I was put off by John Humphrys interviewing Nick Clegg. Humphrys can really kill a vibe. Anyway, I switched the radio off and got back to a time when I was getting the tube a lot and this woman kept rubbing herself up against me every day. She was really attractive and I was really excited. I couldn't bloody believe it. I didn't dare to think she was using me for a cheap thrill until it had happened on two separate occasions. After that, I started making sure I got on the tube at the same time each day, and always managed to stand next to her, in the same place. Not once did she make eye contact, and that made it all the more erotic.

I can only use the first bit of that memory because I found out later that she had a prosthetic leg, and hadn't even noticed that we were touching. If that person's bottle of champagne hadn't accidentally smashed against her leg, god knows how far I'd have let it go. In the event it looked for all the world as if the limb was bring christened like a ship.

Am I the only person ever to get a stiffy because of a prosthetic leg rubbing up against me on the Northern Line? I seriously doubt it.

Sunday was a bit of a marathon. I got cramp.

Anyway, all this is by the by, because I was reminded of something that happened to me when I was about 14. Being an only child I had my own bedroom; it was just me and mum. I had a Philips midi-system that was my pride and joy, with a twin tape deck and a turntable and tuner. One of the things I realised as I lay in my room listening to my Bruce Springsteen tapes was that at a certain volume I could hear Mum approaching down the hall, but she couldn't hear what was happening in my bedroom.

For a 14 year old boy, this piece of information serves only one purpose. There was no lock on the door and I needed to know when I could use my private time wisely. More than once I was almost at the point of no return when I heard the familiar creak of the hall flooboards and I had just enough time to whip up my slacks and adopt a posture that suggested I was just listening to music.

Anyway, one time I cranked up the stereo, set the trousers and pants at half mast, lay back and embarked on a typical adolescent journey. It was absolutely magical, no two ways about it, and I was transported completely. However, when I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was a pint of orange squash and a pile of freshly laundered clothes on top of my chest of drawers. They hadn't been there when I started, and that could mean only one thing.

In my haste I had misjudged the stereo volume and not heard Mum's approach. And, Mum being Mum, had not run away in horror but had realised that what I would be most in need of when I was finished was a drink and some clean pants.

I was bloody mortified, though. I couldn't look her in the eye for two weeks and I didn't touch it during daylight hours for a month. We've never spoken about it and I sometimes wonder if we ever will.

If we do manage to rebuild our relationship, perhaps I'll tell her how much I respect the practical way she dealt with it.



Friday, January 8, 2010

Tired but happy

Just a quick one tonight readers, in more ways than one! Yesterday’s instalment in the Onan Diaries was easy, what with Glynis Barber making a shock reappearance on our screens as Roxy’s mum in Eastenders. It reminded me instantly of classic cop show Dempsey and Makepeace. Seminal stuff.

And as for tonight, well… I was putting it off until bedtime but then, as I made one of my frequent trips to Mr London Street’s exemplary blog, I saw that he had nominated me as one of his seven blogs to watch during 2010!!! How about that? This guy’s got more than 900 followers. He’s got a photo that looks like a proper author’s shot. This is the big time.

I was so excited that, well, I went all improvisational. I didn’t even really need to think of anything at all. I was just buzzing. Thanks MLS, I wonder if this is the first time your blog’s had such an impact on one of your readers?

Pretty sleepy now.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Your thoughts betray you

I came up against my first obstacle in Project Onan yesterday, readers (don't worry I haven't been self congratulating while thinking about Darth Vader; it's for the purposes of illustrating the title, all of which becomes clear at the end). Here’s how it came about:

I found some of Gill’s old women’s magazines, you know the sort of thing. And, like I always used to, I went straight for the problem pages. They’ve always been the best bit for me, they stop me feeling so alone. None of them, unfortunately, were as good as the one that I see my follower Cathy has posted on her twitter feed, about a 32-year old woman who breastfeeds her dog.

I dunno about you, but there’s something darkly salacious about the way she writes of her dog’s pink tongue. There’s also something very amusing about the way she gives the full names of the two boyfriends who feature in the story. What goes on, eh?

Anyway, there I was perusing the problem pages – not, I should add, in a Project Onan kind of way – when I found a bit about sexual fantasies. This woman was saying how she always fantasises about someone else while she’s making love with her husband. Should she feel bad? Not so, according to the agony aunt; apparently this is all quite normal. The response contained the information that men most often call to mind actual memories of other sexual experiences when looking for a bit of a leg up, while women tend to fantasise about things that have never (and, let’s face it, probably will never) happen to them.

I have to say, there’s something in that. I can’t speak for anyone else but I’ve often raided the memory banks in the past and, the older I get, the more I will be forced to, I should imagine. Perhaps it’s the innate practicality of the male sex. Your memories, as Jim Bowen might have said were he some kind of darts-based sex counsellor, are safe. They can’t be taken away from you, unless you get the galloping dementia (see a few posts back). Safe is good. Safe is reliable, because you know the outcome.

Personally, even when fantasising about something fictitious, I’ve always felt the need to include a cast iron back story in the plot. If I don’t do that I tend to get distracted. Let me give you an example: Say I’m fantasising about, oh, I don’t know, getting it on with a couple of lingerie models in the back of a limo driving round the streets of Talin. There has to be a good reason why I’m there, otherwise why would I be there? I wouldn’t just go there for that reason, it’s just not me. That would nag at me while I was trying to get on with the meat of the plot. So, before I’ve even started, I’m backtracking. Turns out I’ve been sent over on a work trip. I should only be in town for a couple of nights. Talin’s supposed to be a fun place, I’ve been told by a colleague, who went on a stag do there a few years ago. The party of ten lads on this stag were picked up at the airport in a limo and there were two strippers in there who gave them a little show on the way to the hotel.

But I’m not the kind of guy that goes whoring, although in this fantasy I’ve decided to give it a whirl. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because the girl I was in love with has recently died and I’m not ready for another emotional commitment But I do need some sex. Finding myself on a trip to a strange town where beautiful women are available on a commercial basis, no guilt involved, I’ve decided to test the water. Ok, so that’s that. How do I go about asking my colleague where to sort out a pair of sexy ladies in the back of the limo, though? I tell him I’ve got a stag do to plan and could he get me the details. Bosh.

What time does the flight land, though. If it’s a morning arrival, I’ve probably got a meeting during the day that I have to go to before I check into the hotel. I’m not going to be getting jiggly with two lovelies ahead of a meeting, getting my suit all crumpled and my hair all messed up. Possibly turning up with one or more of the liquids of love besmirching my apparel. No, I’ve gone straight from work in the afternoon, caught the early evening flight and it’s about 9pm when I get into the limo with the two girls.

Now, you wouldn’t get into a limo and not have a glass of champagne, would you? Well, I wouldn’t, anyway. The pop of the cork, the foamy bubbles spilling over my hands. No, over the girl’s hands; a nice little piece of foreshadowing imagery that I’ve chucked into the tableau. But how much am I going to have? Not too much, I don’t want to take away the performance, now do I. So maybe I’ll just have a couple of glasses. Mind you, will that make for an elongated period of awkwardness. I’m guessing Estonian hookers aren’t that great at speaking English, and I don’t even know what’s Estonian for ‘beer’. Maybe it should just be the one glass. Ok, so that’s that sorted.

I’m just about to get down to the nasty and I find myself wondering: Who the fuck is driving this car, where’s he going and is he watching us here in the back or is he keeping his eyes on the road? The last thing I want is to end up in a car crash while in the middle of some saucy behaviour. Because then the police get involved, possibly the medical services and then, inevitably, I’ve got some guy from the Consulate to deal with. And then I’d be all over the Metro in a few days. Plus I wouldn’t make my meeting, and I’d be in trouble with the boss and probably sacked for using a legitimate work trip as cover for a visit from a couple of high class call girls. In the best case scenario I get to keep my job because of my recent bereavement but I become a laughing stock in the office. But how do I find out if the driver’s doing his job properly? If I don’t know the Estonian for beer, you can bet I don’t know how to ask the girls if the screen between the front of the limo and the main bit at the back is two way glass or not. But I don’t want to bang on the partition and spoil the moment. So I’ll just have to swallow that one, I suppose. Either way, it’s bound to put me off my rhythm a bit, you don’t want a wondering mind in these situations, do you.

Back in the real world, of course, I’ve been on the go for five minutes. I’ve sorted out a reason for going, my flight itinerary and my drinks menu. I’ve had a mild panic attack about an accident that may not happen in a fantasy that I’m having trouble getting started, I’ve lost a girlfriend about whom I presumably cared deeply and I’m nowhere near the good stuff. Take a step back and you realise that I’m masturbating while thinking about personal tragedy and logistics. And that kind of thing would probably give sex counsellor Bowen something to write a bloody thesis on.

No, these fantasies are much overrated, which is why, I suppose, men tend to stick to good old memories. And here’s the problem I came up against. For my go last night I was flicking through the filing cabinet of love when I came across a cherished moment in my sexual history; the first time I was brought to the point of no return by somebody else. An awakening, if you will. I won’t tell you what her name was; suffice it to say it wasn’t Jane Jarvis or Fat Alice. I was 13, she was 14 and it took place under a slide in the park. It was a head-bending moment; I felt some things I’d never felt before. I went under that slide one person, and I came out another person. The world looked different, everything seemed sharper.

So here’s the thing: If you’re sexually recollecting something that actually happened to you that retains an intense emotional resonance, perhaps because it was the day that your life changed forever, are you having the kind of thoughts that get you on the sex offender’s register and the front of the Daily Mail because the girl you’re thinking about is under age? It’s a tricky question, that one. If it’s a memory, it’s legitimate, right? You’re not thinking about you now and the girl then, you’re thinking about you then and the girl then. But it’s still the now you that’s thinking about the then girl. And there are some, I’m sure, that would count that as justification enough for chemical castration.

It was upon reaching this point in my internal monologue that I realised I had lost the momentum. All of a sudden I was struck by self doubt. Was I a deviant for thinking these things? Is there something furtive and unnatural about my desires? Was I afraid to take the questioning any further? Are my eyes too close together? Surely, I thought, it won’t be long before they can record our thoughts and we get betrayed by our own memories. The subconscious could become like one of those neighbourhood watch schemes you get in totalitarian states where kids report their parents for deviating from the party line. Jesus Christ, I’m going to have to start hiding my thoughts from myself, I thought. And then I wished I hadn’t thought it, because if I had thought it, my subconscious would know about my plans.

It took me a little while to calm down, readers. I don’t know, maybe the twelve drugs of Christmas have messed with my head a little bit. After an hour and a couple of cans of cobra, though, I was relaxed and even able to chuckle at my own silliness. I remembered that I still had to get back to the task in hand. I couldn’t give up on day six, after all. Mind you, I kept it all very normal, believe me.



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One hundred days of solitude

A new year, a new decade, a new start. I've decided that 2010 will be my year readers. It will be the year that I make a difference. Strike out and put my marker on the world.

It's nearly one year since I started out on my quest to become a Citizen Journalist. I have decided to avoid the easy post of doing a 'Best of', so popular with a number of my peers. I'm not going to go over the same ground. I'm going to forge new territories and push back the boundaries. There are leaders and followers, but I am a lone wolf. Albeit a lone wolf who currently has 44 great followers - each of whom I adore more than I can possibly describe.

I was thinking about what project I could next sink my teeth into. It needed to be something that didn't totally consume all of my time and money. I'm back at work now, which is bad enough in itself, but it also sucks up a lot of my creativity.

Unfortunately, my muse Dippy is still out of the country, saving Platypusses. In fact, she won't be back in blighty until mid-February at the earliest. I suppose it's for the best, I found the 12 Drugs of Christmas project quite challenging. It's not that I didn't enjoy taking drugs and being part of something positive like climate change, but it wasn't mine. I didn't have ownership of the art and art is a very personal persuit.

My new campaign is an extremely personal persuit. I have decided to take it upon myself to make sure I do one thing in particular just once per day, for the first 100 days of the year, then not make a particular point of NOT doing it for the next hundred.

For the first 100 days of 2010 I will be worshipping at the alter of the Nordic God Onan.

Just once per day, I will see to it that I carry out the self-sacrifice of self pleasure. Having a wank is something we all take for granted, although not Cliff Richard, if you believe the PR. I reckon he does though, probably while thinking about Tim Henman. I personally doubt that I'd be able to raise things with the image of Tim pumping his fist in celebration. But it takes all sorts, I suppose that's the great thing about being a human being. That and opposable thumbs. Which come in very handy whilst wanking.

Anyway, I've got to say the first five days of the year have been a walk in the park, what with coming off the drugs and Dippy being out of the country, I've barely had to even bother with porn. I did seek inspiration from my excellent follower Ellie's blog and yesterday I had a look at some fake topless shots of Kelly Brook on the internet, but nothing too anotomically revealing.

Apparently men find boobs attractive because it reminds us, on an animalistic level, of an arse. Bear with me readers, I'm not making this up! When our forebears started to walk around on two feet, mankind's take on rumpypumping changed, we started facing our mates, but the females with the bigger chests got more mates because our cavemen ancestors were still drawn to the cleavage. Which begs the question, why aren't there more homosexuals? In fact, if we likes arses so much, wouldn't that be counterintuitive in terms of breeding and hence evolution?

I dunno, but all this talk of boobs and bums has started the fires burning!

I'm off for a quick one off the wrist readers.

Happy New Year!