Questionable children’s names

So a couple of thousand years or so of human history hasn’t given you choice enough?! I mean Kyrie, for God’s sake?! And Zak. And Trixiebell. And Dwane, Shane and Wayne. And children named after the places in which they were conceived, though I’d make a special exception for ‘Bikeshed’, as in ‘Let me introduce…

Unnecessary signs

‘Beware. Pickpockets operate in this area.’ Look – if you know that, why not just remove the pickpockets, and then you can remove the sign. Only a few million left to go, then. If signs have the potential for amusement (e.g. ‘Slippery when wet’) then a few could be left dotted about as a morale-booster. …

The Proms

A series of sometimes really quite good performances of classical music, that used to be given solely in the Royal Albert Hall, but which now bizarrely seems to extend to all sorts of content in all sorts of venues. Whatever,every performance, sadly, is marred by the embarrassing behaviour of ‘promenaders’, the majority of whom, self-evidently,…

Overused/over-hyped descriptions

No, sorry, it’s not AWESOME!!!!!! It’s merely alright. And it’s unlikely to be AMAZING, either. Or FANTASTIC or WORLD-CLASS or any of the other PHENOMENALLY inappropriate superlatives in current-day usage. Our language is being drastically debased – oh, alright, slightly undermined – by the needless desire to ‘big everything’ up.   Read more in the book

On a journey

Around the world in eighty days.The pretty much inevitable traffic jam between junctions 10 and 14 of the M25. The long- drawn-out development of a business plan that isn’t complete sh1t. Only two of these activities could sensibly come under the heading of ‘on a journey’. Your voyage to self-discovery, for example, is no more…

Musty-smelling hotels

There’s a unique odour to the third-rate hotels sector that should make you do a 180-degree turn and head for the exit the moment you encounter it as you step over the threshold of such an establishment. I’ve never been able to work out what it is, but the formula is likely to include aged…

Merlot

Girly grape type which is sadly increasingly included by winemakers in their products to make proper red wines more ‘approachable’. If wines weren’t so soft and ‘easy-drinking’, maybe people wouldn’t drink them in quite such absurdly large quantities…our town centres wouldn’t be quite so vile in the evening…and our casualty centres less pressurised. Read more…

Lazy dog owners

I’ve had dogs for decades, yet I am as averse to the mess they can leave behind as much as the most fastidious of pet-haters. It’s simple: if your dog performs in public, clear the bloody stuff up! And make it easier on yourself by feeding the mutt on dry dogfood not slops, and certainly…

‘Go large’

Phrase promoted by McDonald’s restaurants to describe a meal consisting of larger portions. It is not merely accurately descriptive but self-fulfilling in the sense that buyers who take this option obviously…go large themselves. Read more in the book

Allen keys

About a hundred years ago, a no-doubt-somewhat-smug individual from Connecticut – named Allen, unsurprisingly – obtained a patent for a device which has come to torture DIYers ever since. Not because there’s anything inherently wrong with the Allen key – just the fact that however carefully you shepherd them, YOU NEVER HAVE THE ONE THAT’S…

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