Wednesday, 18 February 2009

25 things

On Facebook I was receiving many posts in which my friends would write 25 random facts about themselves and share them with their Facebook friends. In the past I might have indulged this little exercise in ego - who doesn't love talking about themselves? But the past couple of months have seen me adjust my usage of Facebook somewhat and attempt to reclaim some of my privacy from it. In an attempt to continue this policy, and at the same time indulge a little ego, I posted this satirical response to my friends' often surprisingly frank confessionals.

25 Things

1. My favourite colour is holographic silver. I find it brings out my eyes.

2. I’m an excellent cook and have often been compared to Susan Sarandon.

3. I became gay at the age of eight. I found it was the only way to get attention from boys.

4. I once had a pet elephant called Thom (he was insistent on the h). All was well until he tripped me up one day with his trunk. I had him put down. That bastard.

5. My unique swimming style was learnt from the cat after I pushed it in the bath once.

6. I became straight at the age of 11. I found it was the only way to get attention from girls.

7. I met most of my best friends while studying my degree in crocheting. Woop woop big up the Crochet Crew innit! You know who you are. Love you guys. ;p

8. I am very, very good at video games. So good in fact that it goes all the way round to seeming like I’m quite bad at video games, which is very confusing for those I play with as they labour under the illusion that they’re beating me.

9. During my tenure as a ‘showbiz’ ‘journalist’ I interviewed Tina Turner. In my commitment to innovative and off the wall journalism I spent my allotted half hour attempting to gain insight into her personality and life by merely running my fingers through her thick, luscious hair. It didn’t make for a good feature, I must admit.

10. I’m a fantastic driver and have often been compared to Ricky Martin.

11. I became a gay at the age of 18 when I moved to Manchester. There was a man on the street giving out leaflets and it seemed like a fun thing to do. It’s been a rewarding hobby and it’s a great organisation to be part of. Girls are always well into it as well, so that’s a bonus. That said, they’re still not inclined to have sex with me so I need to be a bit gayer I think.

12. My parents would often punish me by placing me on top of the television and making me watch it from there.

13. I once worked as a waitress in a cocktail bar, that much is true. But even then I knew I’d find a much better place either with or without you.

14. I once did volunteer work in Wales, building wells and drainage systems, distributing food aid, teaching English, that sort of thing. It was hugely rewarding but the flies were horrendous.

15. People often mistake me for that kid from Indiana Jones. 

16. I once shot a man in the eye. He was not at all happy and complained about how much it stung.

17. I once used a jellyfish in a trifle rather than actual jelly. It killed all my dinner guests and I went to prison. That was a low point. But I learned a valuable life lesson – trifle is trouble.

18. I am an accomplished dancer and have often been compared to Hillary Clinton.

19. I was once in a dance troupe called the Scissor Brothers. Our high kicks were the talk of Wolverhampton.

20. I was once in a school play as a tree and was so good that I enjoyed a short career playing trees on TV and in film. But then a new trend kicked in where they used real trees (which still seems a bit dull to me) and it all came to an end. 

21. I became straight at the age of 29 when I met and married my wife Debbie, a lesbian truck driver with a beer belly and breasts of similar dimensions. She’s off driving at the moment, and has been gone for some time. I miss her, she has a wonderful singing voice.

22. I am really friendly to the environment. I think just a simple ‘good morning’ makes a difference, don’t you?

23. When it comes to my sexual prowess I am often compared to the people that the person I’m having sex with have previously slept with.

24. I can legitimately say that I know something you don’t know. So ner.

25. I am a Cornishman and as such I always do a proper job.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Red Moon

There was a red moon in the sky tonight. Beautiful it was, but made you feel an underlying sense of disquiet as well. I’m not being melodramatic, not much anyway. That red moon was caused by a fog of fire smoke hanging over the city – a dreadful reminder of the bushfires that have ravaged the state of Victoria right up to the outskirts of Melbourne.

My experience of the bushfires has been purely anecdotal, thankfully. As Black Saturday burned outside I stayed indoors much of the day with the curtains drawn to escape the suffocating 47 degree heat outside. I ventured outside at one point, just to have a little taster of what it was like. A hot wind blew fiercely down the road, feeling like the product of some giant hair dryer. My skin tingled in the thick air as I quickly retreated. A true taste of Hades.

The stories have always been heartbreaking and often tragic. The bravery of those wishing to stay and protect their houses from the unflinching fires is astounding. The story of one man has stayed with me. Staying to protect his house, he was finally beaten into retreat, not by the fire itself, but by the burning hot air that preceded it, blistering his skin before the fire even got near him. He retreated to his neighbours’ house to help them protect their house. The last thing he remembers is being thrown into the swimming pool by one of those neighbours.

Hundreds of people have lost their homes, and the death toll continues to creep up. My proximity to this disaster means it has touched me a little more than the many we read about on the world news each week. Empathy seems to have a direct relationship with proximity – with colleagues and friends all seeming to know people directly affected it’s impossible to not put yourself in their position.

The debate about whether to make people leave or not rolls on. Despite the tragedies that have resulted, I think people should still be allowed to make that choice. They are adults who enter into that choice knowing of the consequences. A government shouldn’t be there to make choices for people, to nanny them. Because where does that end?

But I digress. What’s been making the most impression throughout this whole disaster is the spirit of the Australian people. Never have I seen such speedy response to help fellow man. Or such heartfelt enthusiasm for helping out. Millions of dollars have been raised very quickly, and collection points set up around the city to collect vital items for those who have lost everything. Imagine that: being left with nothing but the clothes on your back. Not even a toothbrush.

The Australians have pulled together in a way that I wonder whether you’d ever see in my own country. The solidarity is impressive and inspiring. It feels good to be amongst them right now.