Week 30: No, You’re A Poopy Bum Head

Friday 27th July 2018

Reading time 3 minutes 65 seconds

“Never work with animals and children” W.C.Fields

If I told you that you were a Poopy Bum Head I wonder if you would find it funny? I suspect you would think I was a little bit strange and regressed to being a child. And of course, you would be right.

The Poopy Bum Head insult is not the domain of a 47-year old man. It is best left to those who are four decades younger.

I’ve never had the urge to reproduce as it has always seemed such a strange concept to me. Like most parents I don’t like other people’s children and as I don’t have my own I guess that means I don’t like children. I am the Child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Recently however I’ve discovered that children are funny. They make me laugh and I mean proper belly laugh like I did when I was their age. Children have no internal editor and I find that free spirit inspiring and being around them makes me feel young. I guess if you are a parent you would know this already.

I’ve had two experiences recently where Children have made me cry with laughter and taught me that in comedy I’m still taking baby steps. Although if your baby was this slow you’d be seeking an appointment with your GP.

Experience One.

Comedy festival, one-hour show, afternoon slot. We’ve even been in the running for a prestigious comedy award, that we failed to win, but like an Oscar Nominee we will continue talking about it.

The concept of the show is that we exaggerate tales with suggestion from the children. It started well but quickly went wrong when it was suggested that I have a sword fight with a 5-year-old, which I knew I could win as he was slightly smaller than me.

The other kids, who were not invited to the duel, decided to join in and a heartbeat later I was being attacked by 8 children with foam swords. I got in a few good blows but there were just too many of them and they were winning. I realised I was being beaten up with adults watching and it reminded me of my school playground.

I feigned death and proceeded to die, inside as well as out. The army of swordfighters thought this was hilarious and hit me more. I fell to the floor and they bundled on top of me football celebration style and as I tried to stand realised I couldn’t, so I cried out for help, but the parents ignored me. This went on until the show ended and I received some thanks from the parents for exhausting their children. I felt like a cross between Russell Crowe and Russ Abbott.

Experience Two

Music festival. I was an MC or rather the filler between bands. There was an 8-foot-high stage and a barrier in front so there was no way I could be attacked by kids.

After my first introduction one child stood at the barrier looking intently at me. I went into stock stand up mode and said “Hello, young sir what’s your name and what do you do for a living?”

The child laughed.

The rest of the 1500 audience were lounging around not paying any interest.

We carried on and I repeated what the child said. Some of the audience perked up and laughed. Then another child ran up and joined in. One of the kids then called me a poopy bum head. Did you say Poopy bum head I repeated into the microphone? YESSSSS – he said – YOU’RE A POOPY BUM HEAD.

The audience laughed. My job was done.

Throughout the day this scenario repeated itself as more kids seized the opportunity to be ‘interviewed’ by the MC and take the opportunity to put him in his place.

ME: Young man what would like to say?

CHILD #1: You are Mr Poopy bum head.

ME: Ok thank you. Sir do you have anything to add?

CHILD #2: Yes. You are the worst introducer ever.

It went on.

‘Your football team smells’ [how did they know?]

‘Your trainers are rubbish’ [this one hurt as they were my favourites]

‘I entered a photo into the ugliest photo competition and it won, the picture was of your face’ [I belly laughed at this one]

You are a poopy bum head – [I heard that over a 100 times and it’ still making me laugh]

No one could hear the kids exact words so I’d play with it some of it for comic effect. The parents were laughing as were the kids and by the end of the evening there were about 50 little people politely taking it in turns to hurl insults.

On the drive home that night I had a huge grin on my face earned from a fun, if not exhausting day at the office. I was in need of a some kindness though as it had been tiring. I arrived home and my cats blanked me which was their version of a human insult. My day was complete.

Picture: Early on in the proceedings

Week 29: What is an Emergency?

Friday 20th July 2018

Reading time 02 minutes 48 seconds

“In an emergency, one often learns that one’s companions can be of even less help in extraordinary circumstances than they are during an average evening.” Lemony Snicket

The days may be long but the years are quick and as I rapidly approach 50 years of age I’ve noticed that my views, values and beliefs are no longer current. 

Recently I was the MC at a music festival where 1500 event partygoers were having a great day, the sun was shining and I couldn’t see what could possibly go wrong.

People that’s what. A very small group of people.

My job as MC was simple. Introduce the bands, interact with the audience, keep it flowing, the usual. During one particularly brilliant set a volunteer approached me and said she need to make an announcement as there was an emergency. 

I went straight into my American hotel customer service mode and asked what I could do to help. She explained that someone had left their car unlocked and we had to find them because it was, as previously stated, an emergency. I asked her to repeat because I thought she said someone had left their car unlocked. She repeated what I thought I heard.

I’m not sure why but I felt it was important that I explained what I believed an actual emergency was. A child stuck down a well, The Russians invading, running out of booze at a festival when it’s 30 degrees. Those were emergencies, weren’t they?

For a third time she repeated and insisted we needed to stop the band playing and make an announcement. At this juncture I exited customer service mode and went into protect the performers mode as we were not going to interrupt the band because someone had made a small human error. 

Clearly unhappy with my stance she went to see the lead roadie. The roadie also enquired as to the nature of the emergency and I just heard him laugh. He then asked what I had said about it and to her credit she explained that I said she can go on after the band had finished, to which he agreed.

15 minutes passed before another indignant person approached me. This person was clearly used to getting their own way and aggressively asked why I refused to make the announcement and anyway who gave me the authority? I offered my hand in friendship. She didn’t take it but did give me her name, her role within the festival, took a step closer, looked down at me and demanded again why I refused and under what authority.

I shrugged and apologised. And I meant it.

This really wound her up and her perplexed look told me she had nothing. I’d apologised for making a decision so she had no more wrath. This was fun.

It was explained to me that we have a responsibility to the people attending this event. Not to the normal 99.9% but to the 0.1% who had made a mistake. My stock reply that an unlocked car was not an emergency was when I found out how out of touch I am with the modern world because this woman then explained that it was and we needed to get up on stage immediately and rectify.

At the point the band were finishing so I went on stage and announced that some ‘idiot’ had left their car open. The mic was then snatched from me and the owner of the vehicle was asked to come to the stage. I was then given back the microphone. 

I kept digging myself into a hole though as I announced that if anyone wanted to rob that car now’s the time as it’s wide open. I was later given a telling off by the event organiser.

I learnt two things that day.

1. An emergency is no longer considered a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life or the environment but does include property.

2. Tall women shouting the odds often get the better of me.

Picture: Me finishing the 125 Mile overnight bike ride known as “The Dunwich Dynamo” 2017

Week 28: I’m Cool……….

Friday 13th July 2018

Reading time 03 minutes 47 seconds

And that’s what makes me cool, not caring, right? – Marge Simpson

Marge: Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we’ve tried everything here.

Homer: Wait, Marge. Maybe if you’re truly cool, you don’t need to be told you’re cool.

Bart: Well, sure you do.

Lisa: How else would you know?

I’ve always wanted to be cool but I don’t know what cool is. Although I know what cool isn’t. 


I first realised I wasn’t cool when I donned a Scooby Doo t-shirt on my secondary school’s ‘Jeans and Jumper’ day. Ironically if I went out in it in Shoreditch, along with my with glassless spectacle frames and beard, then I’d be hip AND cool but back then I was the little kid wearing a child’s t-shirt which seemed appropriate as I was actually a child. 

I was, and am, short. Short is only cool if you’re a flight.

I live near a village named Cooling which is in Kent and not very cool. My cat sitter is named Ms. Cool and I’ve realised that a man who is so obsessed with his cats that he employs someone to look after them is the opposite of cool.

So how was I going to achieve my cool?

Let me tell you. 

I was in India sitting in a travel agent when a hairless man pulled up alongside me and started talking. During the conversation he pulled out a disposable razor and he started to pull this across his head. Wow! He was shaving his impressive noggin, in a travel agent no less, and he looked cool, really cool. 

I wanted a piece of that action and as I bid my new friend goodbye I told him he was inspirational and that I’d see him later. Immediately I marched to the nearest barber. 

The barber’s chair was just a chair. A standard ordinary chair and I knew I was in India as the chair had no shop surrounding it. There were no luxuries like a receptionist to be rude to you, no magazines to make you feel bad about your lifestyle choices and no mirror in front of you so you can silently judge the person holding the scissors who is changing your look before your eyes.

Indian Barbers are very different to their UK counterparts. They are resourceful and have a ‘let’s just get the job done’ strategy. There is no chit chat and there is no questioning the desires of their clientele. Whatever the gentleman asks for he gets. 

He sat me down and asked what I wanted. 

“Shave it all off please sir.”

No ifs, no buts. Clippers. Grade zero. When he was done he lathered up my head and put his blade to my scalp. As he scraped every single follicle from my head I entered a dream state where I was Kojak and everyone respected me because I had made the brave decision to be bald.

It took about 12 minutes and we were done so I walked out of there. I say ‘out’, technically I was already outside so I just strolled away from the roadside chair and sign. I couldn’t see my haircut but I could feel it and it felt like liberation. No more visits to hairdressers as I was going to stay bald, and during conversations with very interesting people I would pull out a razor and shave my head. I’d finally found my cool thanks to my new inspirational friend.

I didn’t walk down the street I strutted. 

In my mind I looked like Bruce Willis or The Rock or Vin Diesel, just shorter and with less muscles and a not so great smile. I also thought I looked like my new cool friend.

The more observant of you who know me, or have at least seen one of my pictures, will know that unlike my friend at the travel agent I was not and nor have I ever been black. It’s only my freckles that stop me being see through to how white I am. 

Although I’d been in India for some months, and had a bit of colour on my face, the fact remained I was a red haired freckled kid and back then red-haired people were not respected like they are today. I was pioneering for the time though and essentially like Rosa Parks to the current day Ed Sheeran.

Then I finally got to a mirror. The person staring back at me was far from cool. My skull was scarred on both sides and had some pretty deep ridges. I later found out that these were from a doctor’s tongs when I became “stuck” apparently unwilling to leave my mum. I’d also never noticed the bumps before. Probably because until five minutes previously I’d been blessed with hair as thick as a Love Island contestant.

Later that day I was in the ocean trying to have a relaxing swim. My travel agent buddy swam up to me and said “Hey I noticed you from the other side of the beach, Cool Head Man!”

He said those exact words “Cool Head Man!”

Homer Simpson was right. If you are really cool you don’t need to be told but unfortunately for me I just had.

Picture: I spent hours looking through photos of me with the bald head and was unsuccessful. It was pre camera phone days so I guessing the picture was destroyed by the developer because it was just too bang on trend. 

I will recreate the look though and post it then. This is me a few months later in New Zealand during an extra goofy teeth phase and is my first ever skydive.

Week 27: Footballs Coming Home

Friday 6th July 2018

Reading time 2 minutes 17 seconds 

“This time, more than any other time, this time…..” England World Cup squad 1982

Most of the time it feels as if we are surrounded by news of sorrow, tragedy and conflict. 

Right now, in this warm summer of love, we could be on the verge of the complete opposite and my optimism is flying high. Experiencing elation, and I mean proper overwhelming and uncontrollable elation, is rare. You might experience it through overcoming a personal challenge, through your offspring achieving great success in their exams, via a bit of how’s your father or when you find something so funny that you cannot stop laughing. 

In that respect some Comedians, being narcissistic animals, try their best to make you elated every time they perform.

Being elated in a large crowd is like the Holy Grail of ecstasy, unless of course you lead the life of Caligula. One of the reasons why sport, particularly football, is so great is that it can bring you moments of joy that fill your heart, and your whole being with an incredible sense of exhilaration.

Those moments are best experienced right there and then but they can also have the benefit of lasting you a lifetime. The Goosebumps I have when some sporting memories are invoked is delicious. West Ham 4 Man United 1 on a bitterly cold November night springs to mind.

The football World Cup is as important to a Colombian, Brazilian, German or Spaniard as it is to me – an Englishman. There is nothing wrong, or jingoistic with this statement but I am a proud to be an Englishman and being proud of where you are from simply makes you feel connected to where you live and the people that surround you.

Sometimes I am ashamed of what I see and hear, and decisions made that affect the running of the country occasionally make my blood boil, but that’s only because I desire the best for all.

The pressure on the English football team at the World Cup becomes immense because they carry the hopes and the dreams of what it can mean to be an England fan. In the space of the next few days they have the ability to make the sorrow and misery disappear and they can make us remember what it’s like to be nice to the person next to us. They can make us all feel euphoric, buoyant, hopeful and proud. All in the name of winning a few silly football matches.

They can do something that even Caligula’s parties cannot. 

Big Daddy Harry Kane has the chance to make you feel better than when you found that £20 note in your old trousers pocket.

The Exquisite Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be the greatest lover you never had.

Gareth soon to be legendary Southgate can make you feel like you have never felt before.

I always have and I always will believe……………. Come on England.

It’s coming home……

Picture: The words on Plaque read;

The Football Association was formed on the property of Ebenezer Cobb Morley at the Freemasons’ Tavern which stood on this site. The Modern Game of Football was born on this day. 26 October 1863.

It’s coming home……

Update from a few months later.

It didn’t come home and I sadly don’t think it will in my lifetime