Tag Archives: ben folds

Never have I ever…

When at university I used to play a game. This game was called Never Have I Ever. It was a simple game that allowed you to stitch your mates up and find out embarrassing secrets about the people at your table. It never occurred to me to lie in this game, I would lay all my sins out on the table, face down, waiting for someone to say a never have I ever that would make me lift my metaphorical cards and show them. The rules of the game are as follows…

1) Someone says something like, “never have I ever blamed someone for something that I did.”

2) If you have done that then you need to drink.

3) If you don’t drink and someone at the table can give you an instance when you have done it then you finish your drink.

This memory came flooding back this week with the kids I teach. Don’t worry, we weren’t playing drinking games (something frowned upon when in charge of a class of 30 ten year olds) but instead it has been a week of lies and omissions.

It struck me that I put a great deal of trust in my kids, with the hope of fostering a happy and truthful classroom. Most of the time it works. When things go pear shaped though I feel the need to remind myself of the golden rule of teaching.

Kids lie if they think they can a) get away with it and b) stay out of trouble.

What makes my job great though is when they do learn the value of honesty. Owning up, in some of their eyes, is the grown up thing to do. They will come and put their name on the board (standard teacher warning style) without being asked. It’s their version of raising a cup to their lips and admitting that they have (ever) done it.

As the last few days with my class whittle away I find myself very glad to be going on a much needed break. I also feel very sad about my class going to another teacher. Its like a friend who has moved far away. You still see them, just not as often and for shorter periods of time.

I will miss this group of 30 kids. The jokes, fun, growing up, problems, drama and even some of the back chat. I take consolation in the fact that I will feel the same this time next year.

In spite of all the crap and stress that comes with it,  I can honestly say that I love my job. I’ll love it even more with 6 weeks off.

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My friend Alex came over yesterday. We watched Blade. Alex had never seen it.

What makes a film timeless and what makes it of its time? Last night while watching Blade I noticed that it felt a bit dated. It was very much A 90’s film ( a fact that I IMDBed. Maybe I should try and get that into the urban dictionary.”I wanted to know what other films Kris Kristofferson had been in so I IMDBed it.” By the way he hasn’t been in as many films as you think, check it out. Oops, digression).
So what makes a film of its time and what makes it timeless?

1) A film set in a certain time that is filmed at the time. Some films are set in the fifties and filmed in the 80’s. This seems to work as there is an effort to make the film authentic to the era. Blade was filmed in the 90’s and really feels like it. The clothes, the back drop the 90’s ness of it. I also think its one of those had to see it at the time films. If you saw it at the time you don’t notice the fact that it’s dated. Prime examples of this are a) The Goonies b) Ferris Buellers Day off and c) Mall Rats.
Some films can escape this trap but not many.

2) Sayings and phrases. As if! Cha-Ching! Bonus! Granted most of these are 90’s slang but that’s my comfort zone. It’s funny when you watch stuff back and have that ‘I used to say that all the time’ feeling. You can also tell the language is of it’s time when the older generation start using it 10 or 20 years later. My parents tell me they are having a chill out day quite often. I can’t remember the last time I put the out at the end of chill. What I also find amusing is that the current generation of kids laugh at me for my miss use of current slang (innit fam).

3) Technology. Will anyone watch the social network in 20 years time? Will any 20 year old even know what it is about? My 2 year old will never know a world without the Internet or the global domination of fruit named companies such as Apple and Blackberry. Give me an example I hear you shout. Fine, no need for that tone.

The Net
Angela Bennett’s a software engineer type who works from home and has few friends outside of cyberspace. Taking her first vacation in years she becomes embroiled in a web of computer espionage.

I just IMDBed that.

It’s not just that though, it’s the fact that they put a cassette tape in the tape deck in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’. A kid in my class found a tape in the stock room the other day and asked me what it was.

4) Special effects. Just go look at ‘The Last Starfighter’ and ‘Flight of the Navigator’.

Alex enjoyed the film by the way. I think it was more in a cheesy 90’s nostalgia way though.

All pictures in the blog today are from IMDB. I IMDBed them all.

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The future is coming!

As a teacher I get to impart my knowledge to the children in my class. Yes I do have to follow the national curriculum and yes most of the time it’s about being 2 steps ahead of the kids with your subject knowledge. At the moment we are looking at films and the composition, lighting, mood, language and so on. It made me realise how much I love films and how passionate I get when talking about them. It’s as if I am actually in the film when I watch a good one. It also means that I retain a great deal of useless information. One of my favourite knowledge banks is that of future dates in sci-fi films. Here are some of my top ones.

22nd of December, 2012. Fox Mulder uncovered a plot for alien colonisation of Earth. In one of the last episodes of the show the deep throat cigarette smoking dude fills in Fox on the “End Game” plans by the military. This prediction was made in 2002. Unfortunately we have all seen our last Christmas in the comfort of our own homes people, that’s why I’m having presents early this year and running up a huge credit card bill.


21st of October, 2015. Back to the Future, Part 2. Three years till hover boards! This has its inclusion because of the alternate time line in the film. If an idiot like Biff can run a global empire then imagine if someone with brains got their hands on a DeLorean and a sports almanac from the future. Fistfights, chase scenes and teeny tiny pizzas that you can rehydrate? Bring it on.


Sometime in November, 2019. The replicants are coming! The humanoid clones return to Earth on a stolen spaceship, hell bent on killing the evil suits at the Tyrrell Corporation. Ex cop Rick Deckard is the “Blade Runner” who is sent to chase them down. I think if I was sent off-world to do some of the crappy jobs I’d also be a little upset. Prediction made in 1982 and any other time the director/media company needed an extra few quid and released another version.


Sometime in 2022. The secret is in the sauce. Earth has run out of natural foods and is overpopulated. Step in Soylent, a company with all the answers. Detective Robert Thorn nearly ends up as lunch when he discovers the truth about what goes into making “Soylent Green” when investigating a murder. It’s still got to be better than a pot noodle. Prediction made in 1973.


3rd of August, 2032. Getting sent to the cooler takes on a whole new meaning. Simon Phoenix and John Spartan, the “Demolition Man”, duke it out in the futuristic land of San Angeles. Phoenix escapes and Spartan is unfrozen and tasked with bringing him down. My main concern about this is the fact that they don’t seem to have toilet paper, that and sex is a non contact sport. Prediction made in 1993.

5th of April, 2063. To boldly go… Captain Picard and crew fight off the Borg infestation aboard the Enterprise so that “First Contact” can go off without a hitch. The meeting between Zefram Cochrane and the Vulcans is the backdrop for an epic battle against assimilation by the Borg, who attempt to set up a sub space beacon directing the past Borg to Earth. It’s a prediction made in the present about a future star ship going back in time to our future. Confused? Prediction made in 1996.

2 extra come from two very different sub groups of sci-fi. I have left them out of the main list partly because they won’t concern the inhabitants of Earth directly and partly because they are sooooo far away. The first is 18th August 2158, the day the Na’vi protect their home world and fight off that hard ass army dude. The second is May 2511. Malcolm Reynolds makes his last stand in the Battle of Serenity Valley. If you haven’t seen Firefly (or the spin off movie Serenity) then you must. It’s a cult thing these days but you won’t be disappointed.

Please let me know of any other disasters or important moments I’ve missed (or might miss).

Enjoy your weekend, it could be one of the last we have on this planet.

Feel free to leave a comment, your email address won’t be used for any sinister plot. Alternatively you can cut and past the URL into your Facebook status or twitter to share it. That is all.

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Footballing reasons

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Not only has my wife become a football widow but I have also neglected my blogging duties. Welcome to Euro 2012.

There is something compulsive about it. Something that makes you watch competitive games between countries you can’t even find on a map. Games that scream of tedium and are special only in how amazingly average they seem to be. Countries I wouldn’t go and see play live if they were holding a game at the end of the road.

Competitive football tournements though makes these countries interesting. Not only do I neglect my family when games are on, I also become obsessed with stats, analysis, team selection and highlights. It’s all encompassing.

It becomes even more so when England are playing. It’s the knot in your stomach when the opposition is on the edge of your 18 yard box, the hope when a player, someone you have just berated, runs at the other teams goal. The elation of the goal, the crushing defeat of the equaliser, the shouts and swearing at the TV as if the players can hear you.

So a short blog this week. Can’t help it, football is on.

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Ugly Kid Joe: The Comeback Gig

Ugly Kid Joe are back! And they are fantastic. From the chugging chords of Neighbor, to the acoustic version of Cats in the Cradle and the inevitable encore of Everything About You, it was as if they had never been away.

Before they could take the stage, the support act of Fozzy attempted to get the crowd going. They were not great. The crowd sung along when directed to and waved their hands with the lead singer. I think this was mainly because of his size of the lead singer and the fact the he was (and still is I suppose) American wrestler Chris Jericho. Big? yep. Scary? yep. Camp? Very much so. They came on and left with a meh, then it was time for UKJ.

They opened with the shout along classic VIP and the crowd responded as expected. The crowd itself was a real mix of people of all ages. I was surprised to see some people there under 20, not surprised to see lots more 30 somethings and happy to see the old rockers with the obligatory Stones and Pink Floyd t’s on. As the set progressed it became clear that they had practiced for this gig. They were tight, enthusiastic, humble and seemed to enjoy (unlike most other bands who have not had a fifteen year break between gigs) playing the old stuff.

The new stuff was good also. The only song that stuck out was Another Beer and only because it was played acoustically straight after Cats in the Cradle. The crowd went from shouting the lyrics as one, to complete silence. The new EP was available from the merch stall (we were informed by lead singer Whitfield Crane that they don’t have, nor need, management or a label) or can be downloaded. I must admit to downloading the greatest hits a few days before the gig. I must also admit to not buying the new EP (yet). A further admission was that of being drawn to the old school t shirts (the ones with the cartoon dude with the back to front hat on) as appose to the new ones.

I personally think that the new stuff is not standalone. In my humble opinion, as long as they keep playing the old stuff they have a money spinner. I would highly recommend going to see them, if only for that being fifteen feeling. I leave you with the set list. If you are going to see them, prepare yourself for a nostalgic treat.

Setlist:

VIP
Neighbor
God
Dialogue
Panhandlin’ Prince
Milkman’s Son
C.U.S.T
Cats in the Cradle
Another Beer
Sweet Leaf
Make Me Sick
I’m Alright
Tomorrow’s World
God Damn Devil
Everything About You

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An open letter to my neighbours

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Dear neighbours,
I have come to the conclusion that my ‘not to subtle stares’ and ‘talking very loudly on the balcony about my issues’ tactics are not getting through. I Am therefore left with no choice but to write a letter of complaint on a blog that you will never read. I believe you have it coming.

Firstly, I feel I need to inform you that the harder you slam your door has no relationship or bearing to how securely it is closed. Burglars will not be foiled by this tactic, they will not reach your door and find that it has been slam locked and so give up and look for a more considerate persons door. It will not protect you from nuclear fallout. When the dust settles and the rescue teams, in hazmat suits, come to search for survivors, they will not find you alive and well. The tabloids will not run the headline ‘Door slammers are fallout out jammers’. Force of slam + noise of door shutting = safety. No.

In addition, the cigarette butt collage on the balcony is not considered art, so please feel free to use an ashtray and not your window. If this does not change then I shall douse my balcony in petrol so that I have an early warning system and can find out who is chucking them. Yes, this may burn down our block of flats, but the upside to this is that you, being higher up, will take longer to escape. I also feel that if an investigation goes ahead, you will be the one held to account for physically starting the fire.

Finally, buzzing my door at 3 in the morning will not have the desired effect of me letting you in. It will make me swear at you through the intercom. I may also decide to get up at 6.30am just to buzz your buzzer repeatedly. I would expect you to swear at me back and accept that outcome with a smirk.

In conclusion, I feel that this letter should put a stop to all my gripes. Please find my obscure blog, read it, make the link between it and me, take it on board, change your ways and consider your neighbours. The alternative is unthinkable. I may have to speak to you in person. As a Londoner, I feel this breaks many social etiquette rules.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Thomas (flat 3)

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Trouble and strife

Trouble and strife.

I am very happily married. Honestly, I’m not just saying it. We still talk to one and other, we enjoy each others company, we laugh and joke (mainly me joking and her laughing, but that suits us both). Life is good. Smug? you bet.

The thing that I have started to notice though is that our relationship has become more and more dependent on the level of knowledge we have about each other. The sayings we now share (no idea who brought which particular saying to the relationship), the short hand or gibberish, the fact that I know she will not be interested in what I am about to tell her, and the fact that I tell her anyway.

The other day I was trying to explain the end of the premier league season to her. To me it was the best final day to a season I had ever witnessed. I started the conversation with “I can’t believe what happened in the football today” silence followed. “I know you don’t care but i’m gonna tell you anyway”

Her: OK, but don’t expect me to remember it.

Me: So basically, It all came down to the last 2 minutes. United thought they had it in the bag as City were drawing. The full time whistle blew at United but City still had 2 extra minutes to play.

Her: OK

Me: So as the seconds ticked by United really thought they had it and in the dying seconds of stoppage time City scored. You should have seen the look on the United players faces

Her: I wonder what time the supermarket closes today.

It’s my own fault for boring her with football, star trek, star wars, star gate, athletics, snooker…you get the picture. The fact is that I think love is letting me ramble on regardless without telling me to shut up.

The other thing is that of the relationship shorthand. Can you pass me the thingy? And in a moment or two it’s in my hands. Did you get the stuff? And usually an affirmitave or negative response follows, but she always knows what I mean. It gets better though. Sometimes I don’t even need to finish what I am saying and she will be able to respond. “Did you…?” “yep”

Some people may find this kind of thing annoying, I find it endearing. I love the fact that whole conversations worth of understanding can pass in just a few words. The best part though is the fact that she knows exactly which part of my back to scratch.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I promise to be less cheesy next week.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address www.andrewauthor.com

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Pregnancy (a manly approach to)

My lovely wife is pregnant. Again. And I couldn’t be happier. It’s funny really as we have been trying for a few months and almost started to panic that it wouldn’t happen. Strange to panic as the average time it takes is about a year (according to Internet sources, not the most reliable I know). It got me thinking about the panic of my younger years, when I found myself in the midst of a birth control ‘malfunction’ and thought I was going to be a dad at 18. The chances, it would seem, were very slim.  I’m not suggesting we throw the pill and condoms out of the window (the pigeons my choke on them for starters), what I am saying is that the chances of my early fatherhood were much less than I thought at the time. I’m still not sure that this information would have calmed me down at the time though. Either way, we have just come back from our 12 week scan and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A very serious, sentimental and shared experience. The problem comes in the form of my brain and the thoughts that go through it. Let me try to explain. 1) The first thing they do is check how many babies my wife is carrying. What if its 2? Or 3? Or more? The logical thoughts on this are a) as long as they are both healthy b) how are we going to afford that and c) wow, that’s gonna hurt. My brain works in a different way. My thoughts were as follows a) I hope it’s a boy and a girl b) at what point do I suggest the names Luke and Leia and c) how can I convince my wife to call them Luke and Leia? Not the kind of thoughts to share at this tender, loving moment. I had a crack at a star wars name with my first born. I suggested Anakin and my wife liked it. She then realised where it came from, and that was the end of that. His middle name is Luke though. By the way, just one baby being carried by the wife. 2) Alien. That film has a lot to answer for. The beautiful symbiosis of mother and unborn child has forever been tainted by things bursting out of bellies. I can remember feeling my son kick for the first time. All I could think was Alien. Another wonderful, loving, sharing, caring moment ruined by my stupid brain. The scan room looks like something out of a science fiction film too, with it’s gel and scanner, flashing computer screen and roll ball mouse thing. Makes it kinda cool though. 3) Boy or girl. I really want to find out the sex. I want to know because I can, science affords me that luxury. I can’t really understand the counter argument of ‘it’s a nice surprise’ All that means to me is that the child spends its first 3 months on this Earth in yellow. No blue, no pink, just yellow. Couple this with the fact that I live in a flat in London, I need the space. Clear out the old stuff if it’s a girl, give it hand me downs if it’s a boy. This is where my brain comes in to play. It would be nice to have another boy as a) it would save me money and b) I wouldn’t have to go shopping for kids clothes as often. I also like the fact that when he grows up, he can’t get knocked up. I would, of course, be happy with either. So, all that’s left now is to explain to my 2 year old son that he will soon be sharing his toys, tell my family the good news and have a beer. That’s why the blog is on Sunday this week. My dad, mum, grandma, nan, sister and boyfriend (my sisters, not mine) are all at my flat (squeezed in amongst the toys) for Sunday lunch, the announcement and celebrations. Hurrah! As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address www.andrewauthor.com

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I don’t like that band but…

I love one of their songs.

I was talking to one of my friends the other day about music. I stated that I have got to a point in my life where I have a playlist of a few hours (7 hours, 51 minutes, 27 seconds to be precise) where I love all of the songs. Don’t worry, I wont list them all here. I then realised that the fact that I had such a playlist has coincided with my use of iTunes. In the good old days, when I used to like one song of a band I didn’t really like I wouldn’t bother buying the whole album. But now, I can get whatever songs I like.

So here it is, my list of songs that really make my day. Songs that I never skip on my playlist. Songs that can make me smile. Songs where I don’t really like the band but love one of their creations.

1) Kiss ‘God gave rock ‘n’ roll to you II’
This one I put down to the end of Bill and Teds bogus journey. They go off to write the song that unites mankind. I personally think they pulled it off. I tried looking for this song for ages but was under the false impression it was Z Z Top. I think it was the connection with the beards Bill S Preston esquire and Ted Theodore Logan sported.

2) Ben Harper ‘Walk away’

I had a friend who was effortlessly cool. She was like the person Ben Folds describes in his song ‘Kate’ (When all words fail she speaks. Her mix tape’s a masterpiece). I stole one of those mix tapes and this song was on it. Sorry Sara, I still have it if you want it back.

3) Alice in chains ‘Them bones’

When I was younger I spent a great deal of time round a friends house. There were 2 reasons for this: 1) he was a mate and I enjoyed his company and 2) his parents went out often. We used to get drunk and watch films, usually the same ones over and over. One such film was street fighter 2, the animated movie. It was a manga style film that had a fight scene to the above song. The fight was between Ken and Bison, in case you were interested.

4) Blind melon ‘No rain’

It was covered by a band I saw and fancied the singer. Got a snog off her eventually.

5) Squeeze ‘Tempted’

You will hear me singing this at the top of my lungs if ever you shower with me (offers on a postcard). I think it was in the film Reality bites. Anyway, it’s in my vocal range and I think I sing it amazingly. Not sure my wife agrees.

6) Bon Jovi ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’

I once played on stage with Bon Jovi. Seriously. It wasn’t as cool as it sounds though, I was pretending to play the trumpet. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I used to be in a drum corp (marching band) and we got asked to mime the start to one of his songs. Me and my fellow band mates stood on stage, in front of 60,000 people and faked playing for 30 seconds. Rock and roll baby!

So there you have it, a useless list of songs I like.

Before I sign off this week, yes I have tried the other songs from the bands in question. I just don’t get on with them.
I know some of you will love whole albums and discographies of one or two of the above bands. I also know how frustrating it is when I love an artist and someone says ‘oh yeah, I like one of their songs’. Well, you can take a stand, or you can compromise…

You can work real hard or just fantasize
But you don’t start livin’ till you realize – “I gotta tell ya!”

God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you
Gave rock and roll to everyone
God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you
Put it in your soul.

Bet you sang that in your head.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address http://www.andrewauthor.com

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Why are ginger blokes funny?

It seems to me that all the ginger men I know are funny. Not funny looking or funny weird, but funny ha ha. It was a blog I was reading the other day (the ginger fight back, give it a go) that got the cogs in my head turning. Are ginger men born funny? Or does it develop over time? Is it nature or nurture? What I mean is, does the fact that they get mocked because of their hair (I’m not condoning it, just stating facts of the schoolyard) mean they develop a self defence funny bone? A self deprecation that led one of my friends to walk around wearing nothing but a box which said ‘ginger nuts’ over his own (they are a type of biscuit for those that don’t know). I shall attempt to use some other genetic examples to quantify my theory.

1) Are all fat pepole cheerful? I once heard someone tell a large lady near me “if you’re gonna be fat, you could at least have the common decency to be jolly”. Let me set something straight from the off, this is not an attack on anyone, but if you are big boned or fat, you generally have a rosy completion and a cheeky, chubby face. This, to my eyes, gives you a cheerful quality. I think we could call it the Santa effect. And to be fair, most large people I know are very happy and laugh often. They are also great at hugs, but I digress. I also know some real miseries who are portly, so this does nothing to help prove my theory. Next.

2) Are all short men angry? I’m not, but then I’m just below average height. And once again, let me state that this is not an attack on dwarfs (even though one was called grumpy) or little people. Many famous leaders where short blokes:

Alexander the Great
Napoleon
Hitler
Sarkozy
Berlusconi
Cruise (maybe not)

All under 5’6, all wanting power, all angry about being short. Napoleon even had a complex named after him (in the psychological sense, not the building sense). I think then that this is nature. And why do short blokes date tall women? Anyway, next.

3) Are all pretty people arrogant? Yes we are. Only kidding. I think that this is more a nurture thing. I know some very attractive/pretty/sexy people (I also know some proper ugly ones, just to show I’m balanced), and it seems that some are very lovely and others are so full of themselves that they become repulsive, despite their looks. This viewpoint is not one of jealousy as my wife is attractive/pretty/sexy, so I’m not jaded by being turned down by the gorgeous folk, I married one. This to me is about upbringing. My wife is down to earth and doesn’t know how pretty she is, those who have been told their whole lives ‘you’re so gorgeous, you should be a model’ feel entitled. It reminds me of a song by the streets, Fit But You Know It. As an aside, I went to school with this guy below (yes, me and David Gandy are the same age, and have surprisingly similar dress sense). He never got the girls then so I hope his late blooming has kept him grounded.

So then, what have we learnt here today? Not much really. I think that the ginger blokes I know are funny because they learnt, at an early age, to laugh at themselves. My hair is all but gone and I can now laugh at bald jokes, I think it’s given me an avenue of comedic thinking I had never really gone done before. So in that respect, gingers are ahead of the curve.

Keep on being who you are my ginger friends, I may not be one of you, but pretty soon I’ll have so little hair it won’t matter anyway.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address http://www.andrewauthor.com

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