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» Rubbish Towns

Barnsley: it's like the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s never happened
I've lived in Barnsley pretty much all my life. It's rubbish, but I love it. I say "all my life" - I spent 3 years away in York at uni getting more of a cultural education than an academic one. You see...

When I'd come home from uni after experiencing life in a different part of Yorkshire (why would I want to go anywhere else?), it struck me why I like it. It's like going back in time...

I took a local girl out on a date earlier this year. I say "girl," she was 26. We'd have a fab night on the tarn and we were ready to come home. Walked out of the pub (we don't really do bars or clubs) and flagged down a taxi. She turned to me and said "You've just stopped that taxi for us?" sounding all surprised. Yes: turns out she'd never seen somebody flag down a taxi, having lived in Barnsley for 26 years, where everybody, sort of, stands in queues waiting for them.

And then my mates dragged me along to a gay night in a pub one night. We don't have gay clubs: not enough gays. Anyways, got there; standing outside having a fag. Bloke comes up and starts talking to me about how he'd not seen me before. Hmm... Carries on; "Yeah, I'm not gay. I just like coming here cos everybody's so friendly. Yeah, I've got a girlfriend..." And then the same happened again. And again. Barnsley: it's still not cool to openly admit that you're gay here. Or be black. Or Asian... Unless you work in an Indian/Chinese takeaway. Odd but true. Even shop-keeping, taxi driving - the racially-stereotypical jobs - are done by middle aged white men.

And then alcohol... Alcohol. People drink alcohol constantly. Soft drinks are for women and children. There was a bit in the news recently about how the teachers at a school in tarn had been concerned that parents had cans of beer in hand as they dropped their kids off at school... And then when they picked them up again. Nobody but the teachers thought anything about it. When Georgi Hristov joined Barnsley, he said "Our women are much prettier. Besides, they don't drink as much beer as the Barnsley girls which is something I don't like at all." I think the thing to add to this is that Barnsley women have a generic orange glow. I kinda like it. I digress. Everybody here's a marginal alcoholic and most people are smokers, but nobody uses drugs. Oh no. They haven't been invented here yet.

And you hear the most amazing conversations when sitting in the pub. Nowhere else have I heard things like this (where everybody else could hear and nobody batted an eyelid):
"Kelly, sleep with us?"
"No, I can't. I'm seeing somebody."
"Ah go on. We never did it when we were together."
"I've told you. I can't."
"Please."
"Fine. Well I'll give you my number. Text me later."

But, best of all, people talk to people. If you're standing at a bus stop or waiting for a train, you always end up talking to somebody. You can go to the pub on your own and, even if you know nobody, you'll never drink alone. And you can smile at people as you pass them in the street without worrying about being stabbed or mugged. It's nice.

So Barnsley... It's like going back in time; it really is rubbish. But I fucking love it and I think everybody should spend a week here at least once in their lives.
(Sun 1st Nov 2009, 0:13, More)

» The Credit Crunch

Credit Crunch? Whatever...
I was on the train down to Cambridge on Tuesday from Barnsley and I had to change in Peterborough (amongst other places)... Being 9am, it was that time of the day when I needed to take the kids to the baths (my body runs like clockwork and it knows that that's the time when I normally get into the office). There was no toilet paper in Peterborough Station's gents, so I went to the shop and bought Kleenex with Balsam, with which I luxuriated my geographically-confused poo tube.

If I can do that while the economy's in recession, what will it be like when it's in boom? Portable bidet or gold-trimmed babywipes, methinks.
(Thu 22nd Jan 2009, 19:31, More)

» Inappropriate crushes

I'm amazed that this one's still unsaid
Yes, I know she's a cartoon character and she's only got one eye and purple hair...but Leela off Futurama. Jesus, she's hot. Really hot. And thanks to the internet, you can still get some great, if odd, pictures of her for the wank bank. Amazing what people can do.

Oh, and my old IT teacher. See, I'm not *that* odd. She was (and still is, luckily) real with all the right number of features.
(Fri 29th Sep 2006, 0:29, More)

» I'm going to Hell...

Raising money for charity's thirsty work...
When I was at uni, my girlfriend was into all that raising-and-giving/charity stuff. I never quite understood what it was all about, but I'd do things with her because that's what nice boyfriends do.

So, one night, we were going round a nightclub (Ziggys in York - for those in the know) collecting money for some underprivileged children or something but we came up with the fantastic idea that we should just pay for our drinks from the bucket of money we were collecting, in a 'this is our wage' kind of way. We spent about 80% of what we collected.

The dirty looks we got from the bar-staff haunt me to this day. As does the thought that anybody who asks me for money for charity is actually just going to spend it on Stella... It put me off charity for life.
(Tue 16th Dec 2008, 21:17, More)

» What's the hardest you've tried to get dumped?

I failed...
With my last girlfriend, I decided that it was time to move on. She was really lovely and I didn't want to dump her myself (but it just wasn't working out) so I tried. Well, God loves a trier. I convinced her that I was a Christian extremist (if such a thing exists) by repeatedly texting her things like 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' No luck. 'Oh,' she said, 'I asked my grandma about that and she told me the context.'

She stills believes that I'm a devout Christian to this day. And that didn't work so I convinced her that people were watching me. You know? Like in The Truman Show? She dismissed that.

Next step? We were sitting in bed together and I kept replying to imaginary questions. When she asked why I was talking, I said I was just talking back to her. No luck.

And, in the end, she left me when I texted another girl. The simplest things, eh?

Incidentally, I come up with the best reasons for dumping girls when I'm not too bothered about them. Past examples include 'you wore your shoes in my bathroom' and 'you ripped a button off my shirt...yes, I know it was an accident.'

Length? Never more than 6 months.
(Mon 9th Jun 2008, 22:51, More)
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