Gopping 'Orrible

Some Now there is a word you don’t hear very often anymore….unless you are talking to my Mum, who has tried (rather unsuccessfully) to keep it alive within the English language.

Gopping…used to describe something rather unpleasant…somebody could be gopping, something could taste gopping – It is a word for many occasions….none of them good.

When I was younger, it was regularly used but kind of went out of circulation along with many others.   Lush is another one, although the Welsh seem to have successfully comandeered that and kept it going.   Again, people can be lush, things can taste lush and so on…generally considered good.   Not to be confused though….calling someone lush is good – Calling them A lush is bad and suggests alcoholism if I remember correctly.

As far as I recall, we can blame (or thank) Lenny Henry for making Wicked and Crucial a part of our language for some time…thankfully they didn’t make it for too long…although I occasionally hear wicked..I tend to dismiss it as being spoken by morons which therefore proves the case for it to be left behind.

We also seemed to steal a lot from the Americans…I am not quite sure why, but things like Fresh (meaning new and good), Radical (or rad) meaning good….Bad or sick, also meaning good.   The same can be said for Gnarly and Word.   Let’s face it, we probably heard them on a film or TV show and decided they sounded like we would all be instantly cool if we used them…NOT!   (sorry for the Waynes World referencette).

My fave though is not a nice term to use toward someone…but it is Swamp Donkey… I honestly don’t know how old it is..or even where it came from, but it sounds great and for me at least, it allows you to insult someone and put a smile on their face at the same time…and that can’t be a bad thing…can it? :-)

There are other ways to use normal everyday words to mean other things though…for example, you can use a number and a day of the week to describe being drunk.   For example…”We were seventeen kinds of Thursday last night” or “Six ways from Tuesday”.   It just works, try it yourself…you don’t even have to use days of the week, think of “three sheets to the wind” and mess around with it and you get something that is understood by English speakers everywhere as “pissed”, even if they have never heard the statement before.

I know it is a relatively short post, and will be my last for a little while as I am visiting my kids back in the UK…so I will clearly have more important things to do..for a short while at least.

What are your guilty pleasures regarding language use, new and old?

Almost forgot…if you, like me, want to bring back “Gopping” then join my Facebook Group Here

Tradition or slow suicide?


We have a tradition in our family…created I think by a series of drunken bets on behalf of my parents and their friends.   The tradition is that we will barbequeue on New Years Day…regardless of location and weather conditions.   It is something that I have tried to maintain over the years….it just seems like a bloody good idea.

Some of the conditions that we have achieved this in:

Torrential Downpour…protected by a series of strategically placed bin bags
8 inches of snow (thanks Berlin Christmas weather)
Actual sunshine

These bbqs have been carried out in a number of different countries and the food is not always traditional.   I believe Mick (RIP) and Andrea once told my Mum that they wanted Swordfish steaks…..and sure enough, Swordfish steaks were bbq’d on New Years Day.

It has been bizarre sometimes, and the reason for the title is down in large part to my own attempt at keeping the tradition going a few years ago.   Everyone was invited, beer and food were purchased…when the heavens opened.   Now, having no real location to work with where the bbq could be located and covered with the aforementioned bin bags…I felt no option but to move the bbq into the garage.   I figured that the doors being open would provide plenty of ventilation….. I figured wrong it is fair to say.

I also failed to notice that the garage roof was made of asbestos and technically should have been pulled down a long time before.   So, after cooking in the asbestos garage for around 4 hours, it was of little surprise to people when I started feeling really ill and had to go and lie down.   Still, asbestos burgers have a little more zing to them I feel.   Also…totally worth it.

I do struggle to accept food from other peoples bbqs though.   Not that I am the best bbq chef in the world or anything, but I at least recognise when food is cooked and when it isn’t.   For example, burned on the outside does not always mean cooked on the inside.   I will always be seen cooking with a water sprayer to keep the flames down and the heat up…if anyone asks me why I am spraying water onto the coals, I make a mental note never to accept an invite to one of their bbqs.   A decision that has kept me virtually salmonella and botchulism free for many a year.   Unfortunately frostbite, man flu and asbestos poisoning are somewhat harder to avoid with my families penchant for bbq’ing in ridiculous weather.

We also like to play drinking games…and as with all drinking games, the aim is to drink even more should you make a mistake.   We have things like Fuzzy Duck, Railway Stations, Rippy Tippy, One Hand and various others.

One hand is my favourite – It is simply a repetition game, you all go round in a circle..someone starts off with a phrase (in this case “one hand”) and everyone takes turns to repeat it.   Then another phrase is added “One hand, and a couple of ducks” then another “One hand, and a couple of ducks, and three brown bears”.   It gets progressively more complex as it goes on….for example “Five pairs of Donald Veezers Tweezers” and “Six thousand screaming Mastedonians charging over the hill in full battle array”…”Eight sacred Egyptian monkeys from a sacred Egyptian crypt”.   It is normally around number 6 that people start emptying and refilling their glasses with terrible rapidity.

We like it…not that we drink in our family…oh no – Drink is the devil


Just the one? (or school night shenanigans)

German beer....mmmmIn the last couple of weeks or so, a few people have taken to drinking on a school night.   This is all well and good and always seems like a good idea at the time.   However, I personally spent the whole of a Wednesday trying to focus, not fall asleep and not throw up..thanks to going out for “one”.   Someone else didn’t wake up until 11 and got to work 4 hours late.   Another got into   work in plenty of time, but had to go home in the afternoon (I get to thank SP for that one).

Why do we do it to ourselves though?   It’s not like in the UK, which I think is our problem.   In the UK, the worst you can do is drink until 11pm (ish) on a school night..this means that you may be drunk, but at least you are home the right side of midnight generally.   Over here the bars stay open until people stop buying beer (or that’s how it feels)…so any day of the week can lead to getting home a few minutes before you have to get up for work.

Couple that with the fact that the beer is so damned good and you have a recipe for being unemployed quite rapidly….

That said, as I write this I am regretting yesterday…once again I attempted to go out for “one”, fully expecting two or three as I watched the football.   What I didn’t anticipate was drinking for almost 8 hours solid.

Memorable moments from yesterday..

SP trying to change the subject when former blog posts were referred to.
TD wrecking Rs 2 week old pride and joy Vespa by accelerating into a wall 2 meters in front of him.
M and P playing the fart game (we all lost that :-( ).
M and P fighting for the last slice of pizza.
Quite a few playing the rain..with a small sponge rugby ball.
Women coming in and insisting Robbie Williams was played, and P changing it to Business Time by Flight of the Conchords halfway through.
My weak and pathetic attempts to say no to more beer being thwarted by….well, everyone really
Me trying to convince TD that, despite repeating it like some kind of mantra for 4 months, I really will be going to his tattoo shop soon for my next tattoo.
Watching Gaelic Football and not having the first clue what was going on
Me being made unofficial keeper of the Kick in the nuts rulebook and helping M invent new ones on the spot to deal with whoever was near us.
Also, me being given exemption from the game…despite being English and a Liverpool fan :-D

Other than that it was pretty much about the beer….far too much of it as it happens.   Still…not bad for a lazy Sunday afternoon

Good times

The customer is always….

Short bus.…wrong apparently.   Well, at least that’s how it feels over here in Germany sometimes.   I must admit, I have generally been lucky with my customer service experiences since I got out here, but I have noticed a trend more recently.

JD told me of two experiences last night.   The first was asking for cheese instead of bacon on a McDonalds Chicken Royale thing…to be told simply “Nein”…no further discussion available, simply no and move on.   The second was trying to exchange a brand new phone as the box was marked with the wrong colour.   This simplest of retail issues took well over 45 minutes and the box went via 15 different people.

Neither of these things are particularly unsual though, although at least with the phone exchange, it was actually replaced.   Retail workers over here treat you as if they are doing you a kindness to allow you actually in the shop in the first place.   You should be honoured to be allowed to spend time using their electricity and heating whilst you browse the products and grateful that they let you pay for things and actually take them home…..

I have had people literally walk away from me mid-conversation…I have thought that they were going to get an answer to the question I asked, but they were just going off to do something else.   It is not something that is restricted to foreigners either, which I would at least sort of get as a reason.

I don’t think it helps that the retail experience is akin to England around 15 years ago.   Don’t get me wrong, they have all the new gear…it is just the methods of paying that are archaic.

I did read a story about a guy that fell through some decking at an outdoor restaurant that was rotten and poorly maintained.   Apparently the German owner tried to charge him for the repair 8-O

My personal fave is when I went to the dentist and had to fill out a complicated form in German…my German is limited at best unfortunately, but I have a knack with accents.   This means that Germans have a tendency to look at me like some form of Short Bus patron whenever I ask if they can speak English.   Which is of course what I did…in my best German…the woman behind the desk looked at me strangely, said yes and then continued the rest of the conversation in German.   With hindsight I should have asked if she “would” speak English.   I can’t imagine what she must have thought though…it probably struck her as the worlds strangest question in the context of what we were discussing.

Actually, that reminds me of a woman on the U-Bahn (subway).   She was on her mobile throughout the journey and we arrived at the last stop…everyone off and all that.   Clearly she hasn’t heard the announcement that it was the last stop, so approached me to ask if the train was going on to another station.   I responded in German that it was the last stop…at this point she decided to go into what can only be described as Autogabble in high speed German.   Suffice to say I didn’t have a bloody clue what she was talking about and asked if she could speak English.   I don’t think I have ever been looked at in a more strange way in my life.   She ignored me and continued in German, whereupon I had no choice but to drop into a deep English accent (I decided on North Yorkshire to prove my point).   She threw me another look that I can only describe as “What kind of moron are you” and turned on her heels and scarpered.

Ah well, I live to survive another day – I will try speaking German with a Cockney accent and a lot of stuttering from now on.

Good times

Bad advertising

Beware the big black bendy arrowI was watching Ricky Gervais Live the other night and he talked about an advert.   This particular advert sees a taxi cab pull up and ask if a girl needs a cab.   Then a disembodied voice comes on and says “If you want to know the price of an illegal taxi ride…..just ask a rape victim”.   Like Ricky says, “Don’t…they go mental – I burst into an incident room and shouted ‘How much to Hounslow?’ and she freaked”

So what goes into making an advert bad?

Bad acting
Ok, so this one is pretty much a given, but at least stop giving actual staff of these DIY outlets lines to read and hire someone for the job.   Also, under no circumstances give talentless bank managers songs to sing.

Poor Slogan
What’s in YOUR wallet, for example.     Do they really want the answer?   Some condoms, a number from the other night, some expired cards, my drivers license….certainly not a card from Capital “robbing bastards” One.

Utilisation of never were or wannabe celebs
If you need a Big Brother contestent, or a 1970/80s “star for a year” then you’re in trouble.   File for bankruptcy immediately and never contaminate our airwaves again.   If an advert has to put the actors name on screen, they aren’t known well enough to help sell a product….it’s that simple

Crap 1970’s cinema advert style
Producers of adverts that feature nothing but photographs and shite voiceovers should be forced to consume battery acid and arsenic tea with a side order of broken glass and razor blades.

Twisting great songs into shite pun-filled nightmare inducing ear vomit
I don’t even have a specific one for this particularly category…due to the well known fact that the mind blocks out traumatic events.   It may also explain why there is a large hole in my television screen currently.   Rest assured you will have your own list of vomit inducing, cringeworthy attempt at being humourous, pun filled calamitous destruction of popular music adverts.   Fuck you DFS Furniture Superstore…fuck you in the spleen.

There are some genuinely great ones though, take my old fave, the John West Salmon adverts…

or the Nationwide bank adverts

I think that my fave advert of recent times is this one…mainly due to living in Frankfurt and listening to Germans wandering around saying the last line…then bursting into laughter – Who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humour.

Any adverts that stand out for you?

Male stripper…

Make it stop!There was a male stripper in a go-go bar.   Or at least that’s how the song went….

I have only the vaguest notion as to why this song popped into my head yesterday, we were talking about people being able to recreate songs etc.   Marc used to be able to play the intro for Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz so well that you would be forgiven for thinking someone had put the CD in.   During this conversation I remembered this song from Man2Man Meets Man Parrish….bizarrely I also remembered the name of the *ahem* musicians…


I would like to say that I thought it was a pile of dross, but unfortunately this was a big song one fateful summer and everyone seemed to like it (myself included)…I didn’t recall the Blue Oyster Club rejects that consisted of the band however…but I remember liking it so much that a friend of mine (who was a keyboard genius) was able to recreate the thing perfectly.

I also remember being stripped almost naked in the youth club (on more than one occasion) whenever it came on.   It’s all good and funny in the darkness of the dancefloor, but not so funny when the girls involved leg it into the well lit areas…with your clothing….just to see you running along in your shreddies :oops:

You see, what those young whippersnappers amongst you don’t get….the quality of music in any given generation is always deemed to be superb at the time.   You even hold onto the idea throughout your life that it was actually very good….until someone plays it to you again many years later.   Then you are more than a little scared.

Then of course, the music comes full circle and gets popular again.   Don’t get me wrong, there are some classics that will always stand the test of time, regardless of the generation that gave birth to them…but there are also some huge hits that are utter utter…well, a word hasn’t been invented to describe how utterly…whatever it is they are…but they are one..and an utter utter one at that.

To give some examples…Here are some of the “popular” tunes from 1988…

The Stutter Rap – Morris and the Minors
Pseudo comedy novelty “rap”, performed by a talentless comedian of the time and supposedly a Beastie Boys parody.   How in the blue hell it got into the top 10 is beyond me.   Still, at least Mr Blobby didn’t get to number 1…wait…arse

I think we’re alone now – Tiffany
Just wrong..on so many levels.   Always remembered by ladies of this generation with fondness.   Anything by Tiffany does not stand the test of time….it didn’t stand the test of the present to be quite honest.

When will I be famous – Bros
If only it was possible to ensure that the answer to this question was a negative one.   Responsible for making Grolsch Bottle tops a shoe based fashion accessory….need I say more.

Together Forever – Rick Astley
Now…I know that Rick Astley has gained some ground in recent years as a cult icon on the internet…but no….seriously, just no.   This ginger haired former teaboy is one of the reasons that the combined might of Stock, Aitken and Waterman should have been put to death for crimes against peoples eardrums….

Joe le Taxi – Vanessa Paradis
There are no words…an early precursor to the Cheeky girls in my opinion.   Not only did she miss the talent train, she was actually at an airport wondering what was going on.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad… I mean there was …. and who could forget …. ummm   Circle in the sand – Belinda Carlisle…. wait, no no..that’s for the first list.

I can honestly say that I must have been on some type of drug during the 80s and early 90s.   Looking back with the rose tinted glasses I seemed to remember the music being pretty good.   Then I look at some chart websites from the time and realise that not only are my new found glasses rose tinted, they have been blacked out from the inside.

Similar things happen to TV shows, but I will leave that to another post.

Do you have any music experiences that you remember as great?   Are you willing to look back and see how crap they now are, or would you rather protect your naive sensibilities and fool yourself that it was all great ;)

If the latter….try and avoid going to an 80s party :-P

What have you done for me lately?

British spirit fly posterSo..being British is not always everything it is cracked up to be.   Let’s face it, as a nation we have single handedly ruined the Burberry company product line by creating Chavs, were pretty successful at taking over the world, foisted our language everywhere….and didn’t complain overly when it was butchered by other nations ;-)   We invented lager louts and beer culture, privatisation Real Ale.

We did give the world one of the first female heads of state….although it was Margaret Thatcher, so I am not sure it really counts.   We have been responsible in large part to the creation of some of the worlds biggest sports…and then subsequently forgotten how to play any of them.

We invented the Stiff Upper Lip…I found this account of the invention process.   “The patented Stiff Upper Lip was invented by Brigadier-General Hercules “Phil” McThighs in 1823 after a nasty mix-up in the preparation of one afternoon’s Tiffin. Although not that useful in the battlefield, McThighs’ batman Kate discovered that is was extremely useful during cunnilingus.   General McThighs is reported to have died a year after this invention, reports say suffocation…”

Tim Berners-Lee is considered responsible for the creation of the WWW, so by association he is also responsible for the lack of productivity due to Facebook and Blogging.   Due to political maschinations, we seem to be attributed responsibility for India being how it is….so it is our own bloody fault that there are so many call centers out there whenever we call our “local branch” of our “local bank”.

We gave the world Monty Python, Blackadder, The Hitchhikers Guide and many other great comedic genius….only to ruin it all with Allo Allo and Robins Nest.   Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch…only to be undone by Revolver.

I am not sure if I can claim sarcasm and dry wit as ours, but noone else is any good at it, so I may aswell.   We did manage to give Benny Hill to the Germans…so we don’t always ruin ourselves…

We sort of discovered America and Australia….sorry about that world.   In fairness we were a curious bunch with a natural instinct to try and find stuff.   Typically, we had no idea what to do with it when we did :-)

Penicillin is one of ours…you are welcome promiscuous youngsters (and oldsters)…in the same arena…two British guys are listed on the patents for Viagra… Messrs Dunn and Wood!

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny the Beatles…but in fairness I can only apologise for the Spice Girls.

It isn’t all good though, we created Morris Dancing after all…

In writing this I realised that the saying is true, for every action there is an equal an opposite reaction.   We have given some great things to this world….and some godawful stuff too.

Never forget though…we gave you the mini skirt…You are welcome :-)

What has your country given the world?

Definitely NOT Monty Python

I can flySo I went to watch the Flying Circus last night..more specifically “The Great Flying Circus of North Korea” and I have to say…..they were superb.

It is one of those shows that you might not think about checking out, but it is amazing to watch what people at the peak of their talents can do.

It had everything, unfunny (but undoubtedly talented) clowns, gay ninjas…or at least that was our take on these guys dressed in blue.   The token big guy that is with all of the acrobatic guys and gals, but doesn’t actually do any flick flacking as he is clearly the muscle.

People flying 20 meters through the air to be caught by other people hanging fairly low from a narrow sliver of metal.

The inevitable scream of the crowd when someone falls into the huge net underneath them..   More somersaults than you can count…oh, and Nachos.

It does beg the question though, how in the hell do you realise that you can be good at something like this.   What is the mindset of people that leads them to discover that they would be pretty good at being shot through the air, 10 meters up and 20 meters along and are quite confident that they will be caught?   I don’t even trust people on that whole fall backwards into someones arms thing (I know that I think it would be funny to step aside, so why won’t other people?).

There were two moments of genius that were not contrived by the talent on stage though.   Firstly, the German audience and their synchronised clapping.   You can’t just applaud here, no no no, that would be too informal and obvious, ve all must clap at once so zey vill know ve appreciate zem…so every round of applause turned into a percussion number by the audience.   Think of the crowd at the olympics whenever a high jumper or someone wants a beat to time their run up to – then speed it up and make it last…well…the entire show.   I have only just regained feeling in my hands if I am honest.

The other moment was about photography.   At the beginning of the show, we asked a steward if we could take pictures and were told that without a flash would be ok.   Then an announcement is made that under no circumstances should flash photography take place.   This was completely adhered to for the first half of the show, no problem.   The second half of the show began with an amazing balancing act on a wire and people decided that it was so impressive that they needed photographs….all of a sudden, there are flashes going off all over the place…just as the guy is focusing on some seriously difficult balances.   How he didn’t get put off is beyond me.   I took photos, which I will add to this later, but I was very English and reserved…and TURNED THE FLASH OFF.

Still, a fantastic show that you should definitely go and see if you get the opportunity.   I may even go again it was that good.

I love Frankfurt.



Let’s recap.   I decided to give up smoking, exercise and diet… I thought things were going ok, not exactly easy, but ok.

The problem I have is that I have to take Zyban for the next 12 weeks to be sure I don’t start smoking again.   Why is this a problem?   Well, I am taking other tablets for something else right now, and the Zyban conflicts with them…effectively stopping them working and giving me some interesting side effects.

It would appear that I have to stop taking Zyban or stop the other ones and unfortunately the other ones are a little more important right now…

So, whilst it may disappoint my children, as soon as I am off the other tablets..I still have an almost full course of Zyban available to me.   And hey, I don’t have to quit the exercise and diet…I am quite enjoying them to be honest.

I know it sounds like a pathetic excuse, but honestly, I genuinely want to give up smoking right now…it just happens that I will have to wait a month or two.

Like the title says….


Ch ch ch ch changes….

Give up smoking!So, I sit here – 3 days into the whole not smoking thing, a week into the exercise thing and the same into the diet thing.

Jesus wept.   Pretty tough if I am honest.   I don’t know if I built up some immunity to Zyban from when I took it years ago, or if I was right and I should have taken it for 2 weeks before giving up smoking, not a week…but this is taking more force of will than I anticipated.   The diet and exercise thing is going ok, but the not smoking is almost killing me.

Then, I have my first working day without the smokes….and I think I wanted to kill the world today at some point.   I can be quite intimidating at the best of times, but with the nicotine DTs….I dread to think – Therefore I think I am over-compensating with niceness.   That said, today was pretty stressful and I had little patience to deal with incompetence….and my desperate attempts to use caffiene in place of nicotine were doomed to fail, especially as I normally go for a coffee and a smoke.

My own over reactions were tempered by me legging it out of the office before some form of career limiting explosion took place.   I of course mean my own career, not me curtailing someone elses…although that could have happened too I suppose….

I have told my kids that I have stopped though, so I don’t want to head back to England for my visit at the end of the month, only to have to tell them I failed…   So there you go, my entire motivation for getting fit and healthy…my kids.

I am sat here like a recovering heroin addict though – It is almost funny, I have this kind of nervous energy.   Oh yeah, additionally…I am determined to stop chewing my nails… imagine the joy I am having right now if you will….then pity me.

Or don’t…I chose this path and I intend to see it through.   I think I have only felt worse than this one time in my life, and that was when I tried to give up coffee a while back…..I am never trying that again.   Plus, with the amount I drink, I have a genuine fear of falling into an exceptionally long sleep….

I promise I am working on some decent posts, but I honestly can’t focus on them right now…   Hopefully tomorrow will make it a bit easier and I can get something sorted :-)

I would go an have a beer…..but I have stopped drinking too


Thought I would leave you with this great anti-smoking advert….