I am Gary James. I am mostly together, even though I often come across to others as being a little lost and a little late, like someone who suspects they may have got off the bus at the wrong stop
I am accident prone, often hilariously. I will probably die in one of those freak accidents that end up as an amusing titbit in the Sunday papers, shot by a mad traffic cop in Naples or stampeded to death by a flock of large flightless birds, or something like that. I’m a bit of a loner.
I adore cats and I'm still frightened of people who make balloon animals. I live in Yorkshire. I love Yorkshire and I walk all over it – in agreeable sections – once a week or more if time allows. I am a rock and roll rambler
I am going away today. I am going somewhere exotic and mystical, somewhere so steeped in rumour and fiction that even now I can't decide whether or not I am even telling the truth. I shall leave you to decide for yourselves, probably in the form of amusing but hardly interesting guides.
I mention the trip for two reasons, the first of course is that I hope to be inspired into writing some guides, but the most important reason is so that I can mention my fantastic new hat. It is a splendid hat, a hat made for a fine English gentleman. Fortunately for me he died before the bill was settled and so I picked it up for a song. In fact, if I told you what kind of hat it was, you might possibly put two and two together and guess where I am going.
There, that's got you thinking, hasn't it? Some of you are thinking, 'Mmm, I think he's bought a ten-gallon hat, so he must be going to Texas,' and some of you are thinking, 'Mmm, I wonder if he has bought a beret and is at this very moment on his way to France," and yet even more of you, including at least two "knowledgeable" gentlemen, are saying to yourselves, "I think he's bought that lilac Sinamay with the sloping crown and ivory swirls, so I bet he's going to Jean's wedding in Truro.'
We shall see...
Shall I tell you what I've spent the last fifteen minutes doing? Well, I took a lovely photograph from my collection and spent fifteen minutes messing around with it in a photo-editing programme. Now I have a version of the photograph that looks uncannily like a watercolour painting, which is rather sad and pointless as the reason I bought a camera at all was so that I could finally stop lugging that easel on and off the bus. Also, sunbathing girls could spot me coming up the beach and almost always managed to cover their boobies with a towel before I had managed to set up my equipment and depict them in watercolours.
Fifteen minutes before that I was waiting for the kettle to boil. I may have been squeezing my widge too, I can't recall. I got caught squeezing my widge the other day, and I had to try and explain that a man will often squeeze his widge to aid contemplation, as another might chew on a pencil or suck the end of a pipe.
Anyway, so I squeezed my widge for fifteen minutes, doodled around on the computer for fifteen minutes, and now I'm here, as Queen said. You may wonder why I am breaking my day into bite-size fifteen minute chunks, and the answer is quite simple. It is because I am hyperactive, and 15 minutes is about the maximum amount of time I can dedicate to a single activity before I have to wander away and find something else to do. Just why I am hyperactive is another story.
Oh go on then, I've eight minutes left yet. My manic behaviour of late is down to the fact that I have stopped smoking. It's quite astonishing really. I was expecting misery and fatigue, illness and of course that awful, awful, unremitting craving for a cigarette. Instead - and I don't mean to appear smug or evangelical or anything like that, because I'm more astonished than anything – the symptoms so far have been almost all positive. So far I have experienced a constant but good-humoured mood of restlessness, an increase in my general energy levels, a slight increase in appetite (easily dealt with by keeping nothing appetising in the fridge), and pleasingly frequent spontaneous erections.
It is my mood that people have commented on more than anything. Well more than the erections anyway. Polite people do. When they notice you walking up to them with a stiffy and a smile they tend to focus on the smile. But I have to agree with them – I feel remarkably cheerful, outstandingly accommodating, insanely good-natured. It doesn’t quite stretch to lending money or throwing back stray footballs that sail over the fence, but youcan’t have everything. You certainly can’t have your football back in any event.
My fifteen minutes are up. I'm off to squeeze my widge again – I know, I know I've done it already, but I may have missed a bit last time.
I am not usually one for pondering life's unanswerable questions. There just isn't room in my head for a start. I am too busy – too distracted – by the irksome little mysteries that buzz around me like bothersome insects, such as why they don't make cars that go sideways, and why underpants come in packs of three. The latter one I find particularly puzzling. Where does it come from? What logical process first led someone to the conclusion that two pairs of pants would not cover a gentleman's every need, whereas four might be construed as excessive? Is it based on market research?
Question 1 – When you are shopping for underpants with a couple of your chums, would you prefer to: A) buy your pants individually, in accordance with taste, variations in anatomy, and all-round gentlemanly discretion? Or B) Purchase a handy pack of three and divvy them up at a later date, perhaps over brandy and cigars?
Also, how insanely bored did someone have to be in order to first discover that licking a certain toad would induce a pleasant hallucinogenic state of mind? Was it an accident, and if so, are we likely to see something similar on You've Been Framed? Or worse, did they experiment with a lot of different toads before they found the right one? Which inevitably leads me to ask, how many toads do you lick before you decide to give up?
Maybe they got lucky on the second or third toad. I know I did.
Anyway, so perhaps some questions are best left unasked. Some things are greater for their mystery, I think, such as where elephants go to die and what dads are really like when we're not around. I only mention the subject because I've had a trainee with me at work today, a young and pleasingly effeminate lad called Nigel. Not the marrying kind, our Nigel. As his instructor I encouraged him to ask questions no matter how stupid or irrelevant they might be. “Remember, Nigel,” I said, sticking up a finger…holding up a finger, I should say. “We are not at home to Mr Cock-up.”
He was crestfallen.
“Not even for a quick cuppa?”
“Not even that.”
So he was asking questions all day long. Where does this file go? Where does that file go? Why did you and your friends hold me upside down and shake all the money from my trouser pockets? Can I have my lunch back? Do I really have to lick that toad?
Ah, the curiosity of youth. Were that I once more so bright and inquisitive, alive to the joys and terrors that mark the road to discovery. Instead I must wander an unmarked side-track down which there is little to learn and much to mystify.
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