Danger of Death

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The unpleasant events from my workplace that turned 2011 into my Annus Horribilis still echo here in the new year. I can't really comment but it seems that when the spotlight is shining your way it matters not whether you perform out of your skin or fuck up in monumental fashion. There's always someone wanting to metaphorically kick you in the bollocks.

But life goes on in SW11 regardless and my colleagues of the establishment on Este Road and our customers outside continue to provide plenty blog material. However, I need to approach this material in the same way I am reminded to approach the electrical sub-station down the road. It's a small, metal facility that buzzes like it's full of bees 24 hours a day. It's surrounded on all sides by a high,  wooden fence and a heavily padlocked gate. On said gate is a sign that simply says:

'Do Not Enter. Danger of Death.'

There is danger of death within much of the SW11 blogging material, hence it never seeing the light of day. But I've examined the following story I'm about to tell and I believe it to be 'Safe For Work.'

It concerns one of my colleagues who is not known for his sharpness of thought. Don't get me wrong, I like this fella immensely and believe him to be worth his weight in gold. Mainly because he keeps me entertained whenever we're on duty together.

Anyway, this particular fella is known to drag his feet when he walks. It's almost as if he has feet full of concrete. I lent him a pair of boxing boots once. They were nearly 25 years old and had seen many an outing in the ring. I got them back after he'd worn them once and he'd managed to rip the sole off of the left boot.

Anyway, my colleague's work shoes were beyond repair so two new pairs of slip on Doc Martens were ordered for him (slip ons preponderate in the fire-fighting business due to the ease with which they can be changed into fire boots).

Said shoes arrived and my colleague was chuffed to NAAFI breaks with his new delivery. He takes them up to the locker room and makes the schoolboy error of leaving both boxes unsecured on top of his foot locker. He ain't checked them yet.

Sometime later he decides to change his slick-soled, aged footwear for a shiny new pair of Docs. The new shoes go on and something's not quite right.

'Wha....wha....what the fuck?' he says. 'They've sent me two left shoes! Good job I've ordered two pairs.'

And so my colleague opens the second box and pulls out two right footed shoes.

'Bloody hell!!' How lucky is that!?' my colleague exclaims. The fact that the colleagues that switched his shoes are laughing their cocks off is lost on him as he marvels that the numpty shoe provider happened to send him two sets of same, but opposing, footed shoes.

I tell you this story not only because it's funny but also because shoe making companies MUST be selling single shoes.


Because I keep seeing young men wearing one shoe (or no shoes) in the town where I live.


Because these are returning amputee veterans from the war in Afghanistan. I saw two in McDonalds this week, both enjoying Big Macs without legs. I felt embarrassed to be wearing a faux army parka as I chowed down on a Quarter Pounder. As I chewed my food I explored (very quickly) the idea that I had earned the right to wear my coat due to my own military service.

Then I dismissed it without question as I rose to my feet and strode out of the restaurant.

I was gonna mention the short, bald, millionaire magician Paul Daniels (why did the lovely Debbie McGee marry him?) who likened himself to veterans of the Afghan war because he cut a pinky off or two.

But I won't.

Oops, just did.

A Dirty Tale of MILFS

Saturday, 28 January 2012

It had to happen sooner or later. I had to mention the 'R' word before the Advertising Standards Authority got on my case.

Yep, I'm gonna witter on a bit about the 'R' word; that favoured pastime of skinny, Max Wall lookalikes and lardy burds trying to lose weight. The title of my blog suggests that I ought to mention the 'R' word and my plans to enter a number of Scottish ultra marathons this year might gain some momentum if I do.

So, I've mentioned this running club that I occasionally frequent, right? It's not really a club, more a group. A group of David Lloyd gym members that gets hounded into running on specific times and days by another David Lloyd gym member who doubles as a coach.

This club is perfect for me because its members are either:

1. Attractive MILFs with more time, money and silicone on their hands than sense (great to run behind for the scenic value).

2. Older, well-off women trying to lose a few pounds (great to run ahead of to boost one's ego).

3. Fellas that have considerably more ambition than ability (great to kick dust in their faces and doubly boost that character facet mentioned in 2).

4. Devoid of real runners that might whup the arse of the author (a trebling of the character facet mentioned in 2).

So I arrive at this club on Wednesday, change into Max Wall clobber, meet my fellow runners and coach and leave the warm and air-conditioned confines of the David Lloyd gymnasium that was once a mental hospital (when encountering the baseball cap clad idiots in the weights room it seems that many of the building's former residents simply refused to leave).

I arrive at Horton Park, a place that once saw many a mental defective getting an airing, and line up with my fellow mental defectives....err...I mean runners, on the start line of our training session. The journey to the park, a distance of maybe a quarter mile, is conducted at an amble. This apparently serves as a warm up and the Garmin clad, distance obsessed, buy-any-gadget-available lot include this in their run summary.

The initial instruction from coach is to:

'Do the 2.5 mile loop warm up.....go on then.....go on.....go!'

For me the warm up transcribes as: 'Run like fuck employing your well worn arse breathing technique and reach the finish line first.'

And if that's what's painted on my tin, I make sure there's no Advertising Standards Authority interference. What I notice as I streak around the 2.5 mile loop is a slight moistening of the ground caused by the recent damp weather.

I arrive at the finish line in around 17 minutes and do a few hill reps as I await the arrival of the rest of the group.

As my fellow club members arrive many complain of the mucky conditions under foot. I really am perplexed by this because it's what one might expect when running off-road after rain but it's certainly not a recreation of the Somme.

Next up on coach's schedule is some sprint drills. No problem.....around me I have MILFS trying to ascertain the condition of their make up in the reflection of their opposite number's sweaty face; older, well-off women wondering if a private taxi might take them home; and fellas with great ambition being hamstrung by their lack of ability.

So off we go in a long, snaking, single file stylee with the back marker sprinting to the front. It takes me not too long to realise that this lot seriously ain't at home in the damp. Every time we encounter a puddle, my fellow runners proceed to dance about it like that twat Wayne Sleep. This pisses me off because I've spent many years dropping up to my waist in Scottish peat bogs. A bit of mud is fuck all to me.

The others' desperate avoidance of any mixture of earth and water causes me such consternation that I start to intentionally land in puddles. Each wet landing results in a cry of:

'Aw!!! My nice white trainers/socks/legs!'

This makes me target the most clean and actually kick muddy water at them whenever the chance arises. Those that I manage to splatter are far too polite to swear or shout at me and generally just say:


The more vocal occasionally escalate this to:


The sprint drills continue for around twenty minutes although the word sprint is about as loose as a whore's fanny.

Then there's the warm down, which for Yours Truly is another belt around the 2.5 mile loop as quickly as possible. The amble back to the club is conducted in silence apart from the occasional mumbled grumble about extra washing powder.

Once back inside the club the group disperses and I head for the showers to flash my bits at any towel wearing prudes I can find.

Twenty minutes later I'm as clean as a vicar's rap sheet and I'm heading out the door with my bag on my shoulder. In my mind now I can see myself whistling nonchalantly as I travel through the club's cafeteria but in actual fact it's unlikely I was whistling. This has nothing to do with the fact that I can't whistle, because I can, nor an extreme dislike of Roger Whittaker; it's more due to a with a belief that nonchalant whistling is the sole preserve of milkmen and posties. And while I appreciate and respect the delivery of mail and milk as an honest job of work, I'm still desperately clinging on to my employment as a firefighter.

'Dave,' I hear called to me from a dark recess of the cafeteria. 'A word.'

It's the coach standing by the rack of daily newspapers and he's shifting about uncomfortably. I go over to him and say:

'What's up, mate?'

'I've had a complaint about you,' he says nervously. 'Well, a few complaints actually. The other runners say that going running with you is like taking a naughty child to the park. They're asking for the club to pay for the laundering of their kit because you've showered them all in shit. I'm sorry mate, if you behave that way again you'll be barred from the running club.'

Well............I've been barred from the occasional pub............I even got barred from the Tate Gallery once..............but it's the first time I've been barred (or threatened with) from a fucking running club.

I'm wearing that like a badge of honour.


Graduating Magnum

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That's me.

Although I'm an absolutely shit runner and would like to have bridesmaid status (rather than a white dress wearing virgin I am in fact just a homeless, Big Issue seller peeking through the window outside the reception venue), I thought I had this blogging status sewn up. Proper brided up, white dress, bouquet and cheeky blue garter belt, the works.

Then Richard Cronin turns up like Dustin Hoffman in the final scenes of The Graduate and I'm knocked back into bridesmaid territory.

If you have no idea what I'm wittering on about, Richard Cronin is an Irish runner, now ultra runner, and supreme writer of blog material. His online action can be accessed here: The Beirut Taxi.

I think you'll agree that his writing knocks the bollocks you're reading now into a cocked hat. I'd like to say that I hate Richard but he's a fine human being and an all round good guy. OK, so he chose to wear those fuckin' awful running sleeves in last year's River Ayr Way Challenge, but you can't blame a Paddy for dressing up.

While we're on the subject of dressing up, I'm really happy to remain a bridesmaid in the fancy dress stakes to individuals like my buddy Martin Antoninus Horatio Hooper who can be seen here in a number of guises:

As is demonstrated above, there's absolutely no way that I could ever hope to campaign against the Hooper in a dressing up game. The man is the absolute meister at things fanciful. So when I got invited to a fancy dress party I groaned.

The party in question was the celebration of a 50th birthday and was based on a Hawaii 50 theme. Yours Truly decided on a Magnum era, Tom Selleck stylee (probably better than his Two Men and a Baby work which has a limited Hawaiian connection).

So I'm off to the local fancy dress shop like George Michael on way to the opening of a new public loo. Luckily I'm familiar with the lovely owner, Sharon Alexander who sold me the pirate flag that dropped me in such hot water four years ago. So I'm guessing that she's an experienced dressing upper.

'Shazza,' I say. 'I'm going to a party and need to look just like Tom Selleck.'

'You fuckin' knobcheese,' replies Sharon. 'Tom is a tall, good looking individual and you're a little idiot. I'm a fuckin' fancy dress shop owner, not a fuckin' magician.'

So in between dusting her till and filing her nails Shazza throws a wig and a stick-on tash at me.

'Put them on. It's the best of a seriously bad job. That's £97.30,' Sharon proclaims (actually she charged me £7.00 and offered discount.....poetic licence doncha know).

So I don said wig and tash, safe in the knowledge that I am Magnum P.I.

As was pointed out to me.......

'No, you're Bobby Ball ya twat.'


Sex, Sex, Sex!!!!!

Friday, 20 January 2012

I've never been much of a prude. Never been one to consider the exhibiting of human flesh as something that might be considered offensive or embarrassing. If I seek to establish a history to this mindset I'm reminded of being a young boy and being inextricably drawn to the lingerie pages of my mum's Littlewoods catalogue. I didn't know why at the time, but skimming past the dodgy seventies clothing and the fishing tackle, to arrive at the Charlie's Angel-esque models in sheer bras and panties, gave me a bit of a thrill.

That thrill was probably fully realised when me and my pals found a carrier-bag full of discarded gentleman's magazines behind a bus stop in Camberwell some years later. We were like a gang of frontiersmen discovering gold and we made off with our bounty to my mate's house where his mum was out at work. We pored over the grubby mags in his bedroom and naively puzzled over what chemical reaction had occurred behind the bus stop to glue many of the pages together.

What surprised us most was the discovery that the beautiful women we were looking at had a little beard in a southernmost region. Of course, had these magazines been a modern equivalent, the Brazilian effect would have resulted in a less remarkable impact on us.

Things in my life seemed to switch into fast forward not long after the bus stop magazine event and before I knew it I was a young husband and father. I don't attribute my youthful fatherhood to the early discovery of soft porn but the stories we read in those pages gave me a bit of an idea what to do with my girlfriend. Thank the Lord it was soft porn mags we found and not the harder variety or I might have expected my girlfriend's mum to join us in a menage a trois.

Not long after that I became a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces where other members of the organisation seemed to rejoice in nudity. I think that the realisation that violent death was no respecter of privacy may have had something to do with that.

I suppose what I'm getting at is that we come into this world wearing a birthday suit and leave it in the same way. To my way of thinking there's no need to become abhorrently offended at the sight of a pair of boobs or a fella's meat and two veg and I know I'm not alone in this belief because Mike 'King of the Essex Underworld' Mason exposed his milky-white arse to me one summer's day in 2007. Don't get me wrong, Mike wasn't suggesting we get jiggy with a bit of sword-fighting action, he was merely making use of the outdoor facilities while we were running the West Highland Way Race in the same way that a woodland located bear might.

Why, oh why then, do grown men insist on hiding behind a towel to get changed at the gym? I even saw one fella last week who came out of the shower with two towels. One to dry himself and another that stayed clamped around his waste like a fucking kilt. And he only took it off once his trousers were on and his belt was fastened. I mean, what the fuck?

Experiencing individuals like this in the gym changing room causes me to be utterly overt in my nudity. I let the old fella dangle for as long as I possibly can. Socks on; tee shirt on; mince about a bit checking my phone and putting my training gear in my bag before my pants go on.

I haven't really got a punchline to this story so I'll finish with the realisation that, despite being told in the media that the creeping sexualisation of our young people is abound, it is in fact going the other way.

This week a member of the Jewish community in Stamford Hill complained that a Calvin Klein advert that showed a skimpily clad woman was offensive and inappropriate. The advert was for underwear by the way.

Sounds like a fair complaint to me. For anyone unfamiliar with this particular area of North London, if you ventured into it you might believe you've been dropped into downtown Jerusalem. A poster advertising skimpy underwear ain't gonna find many interested parties there.

Only problem is the complainant was offended by an advert on the side of a bus that happened to pass him or her.

Sheesh!!!!! I wonder what the young lads in Stamford Hill find dumped behind bus stops.

Millinery catalogues maybe?

Short, Fat and Blind as a Bat

Sunday, 15 January 2012

I've discussed the subject of ageing on this blog before. The author of the blog you're reading is a perpetual teenager aged 45. In his mind he's a wrinkle free, hirsute young man with a lust for life. In the mirror he's a scabby, greying middle aged dude whose hirsuteness has gravitated south to his back, but still has a lust for life. The problem is that when he indulges that lust he often suffers prematurely and goes for an early bath.

The Subversive Runner looks in a mirror....and sees a Subversive Runner looking in a mirror.
Every time I visit the supermarket (which is often) I like to use those self-service checkouts. I'm not sure why but I suspect it's to keep my hand in should my employment with the London Fire Brigade be terminated and I seek a future clad in a uniform with 'Asda' emblazoned on it.

In my basket I usually have goods that prompt the self-service machine to say: 'Authorisation Required' (despite receiving no pay rise for three years I pay for said goods, Antony Wozza Thompson).

When the dude with the magic card arrives; swipes the machine and the screen that says 'the customer is clearly over 25' appears, I expect to be asked for ID...............it never happens. And I'm mortally wounded every time.
This delusion was brought into sharp focus this week when other things became seriously blurred. Let me provide you with some background:

In my desperate clamour to disguise my own physical, mental and emotional shortcomings I've been known to highlight other people's foibles in order to take the heat off Yours Truly. Mrs Mac's myopia has prompted me to call her 'Specky,' 'Geggy,' and 'Bicycle Face,' followed by a brag that I've got 20/20 vision.

However, I think that 45 years of eyeball use, 30 years of looking at porn, and getting continually punched in the head may have had an unfortunate effect on my vision. This was proven to me the other day after being at work in South Chelsea and discovering I could no longer read printed call slips. Printed call slips are the messages that indicate the nature of the incident and its location. As I directed my driver to an area that was geographically remote to the incident, and he over-rode my instruction because he could read said call-slip, I realised that the chickens may have arrived home to roost....that karma was in operation......that I was getting my cumuppence.

I'm short, fat and blind as a bat.

I've yet to submit to an eye test but maybe this explains why I've found night-time driving increasingly difficult recently.

This leaves me with something of a quandary. If I'm to become a specky, bicycle face, what gegs should I go for?

John Lennon round ones?

Buddy Holly style NHS jobs?

Modern square ones?

I'm not sure and I'm still hoping that my myopia might be a sort lived result of getting smashed in the head by Mason (dog) the other day. The little fella's extreme power was proven to me when he simply moved while on my bed and his elbow hit me in the mouth.

The sharp pain, coppery taste of blood trickling down my throat, and rapidly swelling lip demonstrated that he remains a born in blood fighting dog.

But a lovely one.

When my lip has returned to normal and my eyesight remains blurred I'll consider a journey to the specktician.

Until then I'm looking in that mirror.


Happy Hogmanay

Friday, 6 January 2012

I've been absent from this blog recently but a suitable length of time has now elapsed following that time of the year. The decorations are down, the wrapping paper has been recycled, and the electronic gifts are back with the manufacturer for repair. Christmas is but a memory and what do I have to say about that?

Thank fuck.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no Scrooge or miser, in fact I fucking love Christmas, but the prospect of sitting home alone is too desperate to contemplate so Battersea Fire Station and the assembled employees of the London Fire Brigade were my home and family for the day.

New Year is almost a week gone by too. What do I have to say about that?

Thank fuck too.

Ok, so I'm starting to sound a bit like a Scroogesque miser now, but New Year.....what's it all about? I've never really got it but once upon a time agreed to take part in the collective belief that one had an obligation to have a bit of a knees up, put past conflicts to rest, and generally have a good time.

I've now dismissed my taking part in that collective belief and just allow my mood to be affected, positively or otherwise, by the acts that Jools Holland puts on on Hootenanny. Previously Jools has secured such musical luminaries as The Eels, Martha Wainwright, Amy Winehouse and Ranking Roger (the geezer with the hat from the 80s Ska band The Beat). All of these artists, and any like them, are enough to make The Subversive Runner a rather happy chappy on New Year's Eve. Any tedious middle of the road bollocks, or idiots with baseball caps on sideways, is enough to turn The Subversive Runner into The Subversive Lunatic With Ideas of Murder Toward Middle of the Road Twats and Idiots With Baseball Caps on Sideways.

Anyway, this New Year's Eve I completed my day shift at the fire station and scuttled off home to plot myself up in front of the sofa with a glass of Vino Collapso and Hootenanny. Jools promised the performances of Imelda May, The Vaccines and Cyndi Lauper- all good stuff. I might have to indulge in some self induced vomiting when James Morrison takes to the stage right enough, but you can't have everything.

My plans were scuppered by a certain Scottish burd with big feet who was visiting Chez Waterman from a strange, far away land where men wear skirts and women have a hierarchical system based on the number of their remaining teeth.

But I didn't realise that New Year's Eve involved searching my Sky Planner for Bastard BBC Scotland and some burd in a kilt called, funnily enough, Jackie Bird.

All her own teeth

Mrs Mac insists that BBC Scotland and  the shittiest sitcom ever called Still Game are essential New Year's Eve fare and in an act of outright childishness, The Subversive Runner makes some rash comment involving the words 'Shit,' 'Scottish,' 'Fuckin,' and 'Pub.' He thereafter leaves the house, Mrs Mac and Jackie Fuckin' Bird to something called Hogmanay and heads off to the nearest licensed hostelry.

The same Subversive Runner returns some ten minutes later professing an apology for his grumpiness and an agreement to fully immerse himself in Hogmanay and the lovely Jackie Bird.

Don't you just hate it on New Year's Eve when the pubs operate an entry by pre-bought ticket system? 

Laters......oh, and Happy New Year.