Sunday, July 01, 2007

In my own peculiar way I feel mercurial

Today's the first of July. It's been a funny old week... We in the UK have got a new prime minister in the guise of Gordon Brown, and what a wet old fart he is going to be. First order of business seems to have been to get a new hairstyle -- one that makes him look about ten years older already.

Also, finally we have a smoking ban in public places. Finally. It's been a long time coming, and I, for one, embrace it. As a man who does a little bit of travelling, I've seen how clean the air in restaurants and bars is on some foreign soils, and I like it. When some of our Italian friends visited late last summer, they were open-mouthed at the fact people were smoking in eateries. And they come from Italy, a country where smoking has long been normal among da kidz. But they embraced the ban over there with more relish than I might have imagined.

It's been a funny old week, yes. We've also had three supposed attempted car bombings in Britain: two in London; one in Glasgow. I wonder, though, if car bombings are going to be a tool in the terrorists' arsenal over here whether they might need to import willing perpetrators from the Middle East. We in the UK, I think, love being alive a bit too much. We have good lives in the West, you see. Even the Muslim extremists among us must wonder, What point is there in killing myself? I can do so much more damage by staying alive, by living to fight another day, as they say.

I had an exhausting, physically tiring, emotionally draining weekend with my family last weekend, and on my return there was stuff that needed doing. I spent a total of eight or nine hours, over the course of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, removing horrible old plasticky tiling from our kitchen floor prior to our new floor covering being fitted. Those hours were physically demanding. Most of the time I was stood up and bent right over, using a mini-sledgehammer and chisel to remove the tiles. The hammer was heavy; the tiles, stuck fast. I was removing around five or six per hour. My thighs still ache to bend over or sit on the loo or climb the stairs.

Funny old week? Yes. On Friday night, Red and I were awoken by our neighbours' alarm clock at about 4 in the morning. It kept on going: beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. Clearly no one was going to turn it off. At 4:30am, I decided I had no choice but to knock on their door. The husband answered, apologized, and switched it off. Later in the day, the wife caught us and also apologized profusely before mentioning that they would be having a party tonight, so sorry in advance for the noise.

As it happens, the noise wasn't too bad. Most of it was in the backyard, drunken 30- and 40-somethings karaoke'ing to their hearts' content. But at about 2:45am we were awoken again -- this time to the sound of the neighbours moving their bedroom furniture around. Voices started to get raised, and then the wife shouted something about "don't just dump my clothes in the corner" and stormed out. Finally, we could get our heads down. For about ten minutes, until the alarm went off again, at about 3am. Fuck's sake! It rang for about four minutes, I guess, before someone ran back up from downstairs to turn it off. I feel sleep-deprived today. I feel a little "wrong".

Funny old week? Yeah, and it turns out that -- ALERT: DOCTOR WHO SPOILER -- Captain Jack is the Face of Boe (above). Fucking hell, who saw that coming?! Fantastic! Captain Jack is kind of immortal, y'see. "Will I never die?" he asked the Doctor (I'm paraphrasing). "If not, what will I look like when I get to a million years old?" Then the reveal, and we already know what he will look like at five billion years old. We've seen him die in the future, y'see. And the Doctor was there with him.

Yeah, it's been a funny old week here in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Ha! "United". Ha! "Great". I'm hoping I can at least book a table for Sunday lunch and experience a smoke-free dining experience on Day One of the ban.

And -- unusualness of all unusualnesses -- our pet cat Cat has finally done a new post: you can read his "five things" tag over here. He promises to write more often, too, but I'll believe it when I see it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I adore the smoking ban in restaurants and bars. It's odd now when I eat somewhere that hasn't embraced it. When at a bar, should I be drunk enough to want to smoke, I can always go outside. Plenty of people there doing it, all just as drunk.

01 July, 2007 16:19  
Blogger martinobhoy said...

We've had the smoking ban up here for a while now and it does seem to be working. People simply go outside the bar for a ciggie.

It does make a difference to come home at night and your jacket and shirt aren't absolutely reeking of smoke.

01 July, 2007 17:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


01 July, 2007 18:40  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

RefPo: It's great, isn't it? I never get drunk enough to want to smoke anymore. I think the last time I did was probably my 25th birthday party. Didn't like it, though.

Martino: I like not smelling of fag smoke, mostly because I don't smoke. It's good.

RD: Well, fuck me with a chainsaw! Look what the cat drug in. Good to see you back, old bean.

01 July, 2007 19:02  
Blogger Suze said...

Asterisk, you got me thinking about John Barrowman again. Yum! ;)

01 July, 2007 20:21  
Blogger Milla said...

Oh I love July 1st!
I hate smokers with a passion (except of course me mum and me friends and her friends and Pazzo), and I am so HAPPY that I won't be back from gigs stinking of shitty cigarette smoke. Wonderful.

But what I hate even more than smokers are neighbours. Fucking cunts! Yours are cunts, and so are ours -I truly TRULY hope that whoever buys our house will make as much noise as the cunts next door. Karma! My only hope is karma.

01 July, 2007 21:42  
Blogger Biddie said...

We have had the smoking ban here for about 7 years. I love it. Really. (I was a smoker for a short while,many moons ago). The smokers complain, but now we can all eat our food sans ashes and without the smoked taste.
Nice nieghbours. we had to move to get awy from ours. Now we live next door to crack heads, but they are mostly just entertaining. :0
All of the car bombing business is scary as hell. I hope that you and red stay safe.

01 July, 2007 23:09  
Anonymous Mad goat lady said...

Smoking ban has been in force in our little part of Australia for a while now and seems to be working really well. I hate visiting other states where it hasn't been introduced..I would much rather eat a take-away meal in my room that be bombarded in an eatery where there is more smoke than food.

I think your neighbours need to be taught a lesson...hmm leave it with me while I think one up LOL

02 July, 2007 01:49  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Suze: And yet I didn't even mention him by name. It doesn't take much for you to get him on your mind, methinks!

Milla: I just don't know why so many people still do it. It's smelly, mostly ugly, bad for you... I mean, why? Neighbours can be a real problem. On the whole ours just make us laugh, but there are the occasional weekends like this that just make us want to murder them.

02 July, 2007 09:09  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Biddie: When it comes to the smoking ban, England has been living in the Dark Ages. People here moan about the ban being indicative of a nanny state, but I think it's the opposite. The country has been pandering to the smoking minority by not enforcing a ban sooner. Then they announced it, and said it would come into force in 18 months' time. I mean, do we really need that much notice? Can't it just be enforced with immediate effect? No, we have to allow the smokers time to adjust. And they are getting free support to get them off ciggies too! Jesus Christ! Weakminded fucks!

02 July, 2007 09:11  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Mad Goat Lady: I think everyone, once they get used to it, really enjoys the smoke-free environment, even smokers. But they are just so bloody resistant to change in this country!

02 July, 2007 09:12  
Blogger Pie said...

I quit six months ago. None of these namby-pamby patches and gum and fake cigarette things (have you seen those?), just a small amount of willpower.

And it wasn't because of these public bans. Just couldn't be arsed any more.

Captain Jack/Face of Boe was writing genius, what happened with the rest of the episode?

02 July, 2007 10:51  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Have you seen all the shite in the press today about smokers lighting up 'defiantly' because the ban infringes their civil liberties - yeah, the liberty to kill themselves and others with their poinsonous addiction...


02 July, 2007 11:52  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

wow... that does sound like a busy week. and seriously... you're going to LOVE the smoking ban. i know i do! food tastes so much better when it actually smells like food and not like a cigarette butt.


02 July, 2007 15:56  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Pie: Those faux ciggies are ridiculous, aren't they? I enjoyed the episode, though!

G/puss: I've not seen that stuff, but I'm not surprised. Surely one's civil liberties end when a bystander is affected? I just don't get it...

Martha: I think I'm going to love it, yes! No more having to ask people to stub them out when i'm eating (not that I've had to do that more than a couple of times, really).

02 July, 2007 17:02  
Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Smoking bans rock! They're the norm over here and it's the best thing ever. I'm surprised about Italy, like you were. When I was there 10 years ago, I couldn't believe where they let people smoke! It was gross.

02 July, 2007 17:26  
Blogger lightupvirginmary said...

I have written a blog on the smoking ban inspired by you- I'm anti it though hahaha!
Noisy neighbours are the worst things on earth- I sympathise. Barking dogs are the worst. I used to live under a woman who hoovered at 4am every morning. WHY!
My flat at the moment is quite soundproof. *thanks lucky stars*

02 July, 2007 18:23  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Coyote: They do rock, man! Italy has really embraced the ban, though, which I would barely have thought possible. Let's hope we Brits can manage to, too.

LUVM: I'll read your post right now. What the fuck does someone need to hoover for at 4am? I mean, that's just absurd...

03 July, 2007 09:52  

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