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Cheers ... dude.

I've just bought a coffee. I can't help myself and I only notice once I've accidently said it. There's an uncomfortable slight silence and the bloke sort of looks at me with a 'don't patronise me fatty,' expression scrawled across his face. I try to undo the damage with a clarification: 'err, so yeah, thanks, bye'. Off I walk cursing myself, why the f--- do I keep calling people dude?

'Cheers, dude?' - I'm a grown man. I'm 32. I'm too old to be calling people 'dude'. It looks odd enough when Bill and Ted* do it. Imagine that oddness transposed into real life. It's not something people like being called. Imagine yourself being called 'dude' for no good reason by a man who looks like a chubby, hairy, cornish pasty. Not a pleasant experience is it? Certainly when it's so out of context. Then imagine the face of that bloke scrunching up into a sort of self loathing as he almost whispers the word back to himself with contempt and a question mark.

The thing about a minor faux pas like that is you can't apologise for it. Once you've got it out it has to remain there for all to see. There's no going back. You've committed yourself to the premise that whoever it is you're talking to is a 'dude', whatever that means and no matter how obviously untrue it is. The only way to deal with a verbal tick like this is prevention. Now I've noticed myself saying it I'm trying to filter it out. I just don't yet have a viable replacement. Feel free to post one in the comments section.


*Bill and Ted? Who are Bill and Ted? They're the characters who appear in "Dude, where's my car" amongst other things...

My cast iron guarantee has rusted.

'Politics is show business for ugly people' - Jay Leno.

I don't bother voting, I think they're all a waste of time. Perhaps that's the wrong attitude but I've yet to be impressed by a politician and it's against my deeply held religious beliefs.

Long term blog readers will remember there was a brief period of my life where I dabbled in stand-up comedy. During that time I learned that comedians are fiercely protective of their material. Stories of a comedian who feels he's had a line stolen by a lesser talent often end in brutal revenge, and rightly so. I wonder if the same is true for politicians?

David Cameron made a 'cast iron guarantee' in The Sun to their readers that there would be a referendum on Europe. Now, apparently, he can't have one because of ... I don't know or care, they just make it all up really don't they?

Anyway, the practical upshot of all this is that the pro-Europe brigade have been coming along and giving quotes to the media with a 'hilarious' joke in there. See if you can spot it:

Chris Bryant (who looks quite good in just his underpants):

Chris Bryant, the Europe Minister, said it was now clear that Mr Cameron would be forced to abandon his "cast iron guarantee" that a Conservative government would hold a referendum on the treaty. "Now he is clearly saying that there is not going to be a referendum so his cast iron is already rusting pretty badly," he told the BBC.

[Source - The Times Online Novermber 3rd 2009 - Czech court gives go-ahead to Lisbon treaty]

Then there's Lord Mandelson (who looks quite good in his robes):

Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, told Sky News: "It looks as if that cast-iron guarantee has become very rusty indeed. I don't think he's being entirely honest with the British people

[Source - The Guardian Novermber 4th 2009 - Davis challenges Cameron with call for referendum on relationship with EU]

I wonder who came up with this hilarious line first?

There lurks in my mind the awful possibility that it was written for them. Particularly after I read this story, also in The Guardian, about Gordon Brown paying out $40,000 for "West Wing Writers" to tailor some of his speeches to an American audience. I wonder how much a 'joke' might cost you to purchase if you're a humorless politician? Perhaps after the expenses scandal politicians are looking to save a bit of cash by re-cycling their material.

I'll vote for the first one to say that 'Cameron's cast iron guarantee was a load of shit'.

Grr - I'm really annoyed - I've got an Audi - Grr!

Pulling into a car park at a pub and someone's coming the other way. They're in a big red audi. They are clearly loving it. I've made the mistake of thinking that they might want to reverse to let me in via what is, after all, the entrance. No such luck, the driver seems to think it'd make more sense for me to back out onto the main road and take my chances. A face off ensues. It's late so I can't see the driver of the vehicle but there's no way I'm pulling back onto a main road.

In the end the driver reverses a little and we both pull up alongside each other. The driver's face is contorted with rage. I'd be scared if she didn't look like a middle aged primary school teacher. I don't know what possessed me but I decided to pull my frog face. A look of confusion breaks her anger briefly then she drives off apoplectic.

I've mused on this before here but, seriously, what is it about Audi's that makes their drivers such twunts? There's no way that silly woman would have been so annoyed if she wasn't sat in that car.


On the train and there's some cool dudes, probably coming back from a trendy all night rave or something, sat on the carriage. Actually, they're more slumped than sat. Their long skinny jean clothed legs are trailing over the gangway, one of their mobiles keeps jumping into song every now and then with some obnoxious s--- song that the uber dudes were probably the only people to know about. Part of me is annoyed by them because they do seem quite cool and I was never that cool when I was their age. At a guess they're about 20-23. Crafted haircuts. Etc.

There's a woman who looked just like the one I described in the incident above, only this one is slightly less assertive. She, like most everyone else on the train, is annoyed by these trendy twerps but is putting up with them.

We arrive in Birmingham Moor Street. They slump to their feet rolling their eyes with the same disdain they looked at the stupid ticket collector who dared ask them for their tickets. 'Duh, like this is so lame' I imagine them thinking. One of them gets off the train as the other two, a slim blonde emo girl and the taller of the two chaps sort of muddle about having a conversation about who should call the taxi. They hold hands and kiss.

The guy on the platform is sparking up a tiny slim rolled cigarette. The train is getting ready to depart. He casually raises his palm to inform the stupid train driver that he can't go just yet. The doors of the train close. The two kids on the train realise they're about to leave their mate behind. The girl slams her hand onto the button to open the door. The bloke on the platform freaks out. The train sets off.

Lovely stuff.

Suddenly all the cool and casual nature has gone. The girl is horrified and the lad looks like he's going to cry. They get off at Birmingham Snow Hill. I find the whole incident amusing. I think I must be a bad person.


Private Eye.

Go and buy a copy of the current issue. It's better than it has been for quite some time. There's an article in there which opposes two sets of Gordon Brown quotes. One lot comes from the Prime minister's secretary who spends quite some time making it clear that our leader does not have time to waste watching silly TV programmes like Question Time. The second is an excerpt from a handwritten letter from Gordon Brown telling a reality TV contestant how saddened the PM is that 'X Factor journey [has] come to an end'. According to the PM 'I always try and watch the X Factor'.

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