Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Meme About Me, Myself and I

Welcome, dear reader, to another meme from Sunday Stealing . As you may have guessed from the title, this meme is called The Meme About Me, Myself and I.

1. What inspires you to blog?

I am a frustrated writer. I love to sit down and get my thoughts down, even though most of the time, they are rather strange reflections on life. I am very opinionated and blogging is a great outlet. If something annoys me I will write about it – it is a form of therapy and it really helps. One of my ambitions is to write a book and the journey to that goal will be quite an arduous one, particularly with work taking up too much of my time. In the meantime, writing short blog posts helps me along that road.

2. What’s the best thing about blogging, for you?

I love writing and I love the fact that other people are interested enough to read the words that I write, despite the fact that they are the product of a warped imagination. I love receiving comments too.

3. What is your favourite book of all time?

That’s a tough one. I am a huge fan or anything weird, so I will plum for “The Stand” by Stephen King. I will probably come up with another one if I think about it a little more.

4. It’s 9pm and for some reason you’ve been hungry all day, despite the three square meals. What do you rustle up?

I would rustle up my favourite quick snack; cheese on toast.

5. Who are three of your style icons?

What’s a style icon? I’m afraid I don’t have one. If you see the way I dress, when unsupervised by Mrs PM, you would probably say Worzel Gummidge.

6. What’s your current favourite song/piece of music?

My current favourite piece of music is the epic 24 minute long track Octavarium by Dream Theater.

It is an absolute masterpiece and brings tears of joy to my eyes. Follow the link and listen to it if you have a spare half an hour. If not, just listen to the first five minutes. It is beautiful.

7. What is the last book you read?

The last book I read was “Patient Zero” by Jonathan Maberry, a cross between 24 and Night of the Living Dead. It was a cracking read (if you like that sort of thing).

8. What is your current favourite recipe?

I can cook but I don’t enjoy it at all. If I must put an answer then I will say that my favourite is a quickly thrown together pasta dish in a mushroom sauce and bacon.

9. Who or what first inspired you to set up your own blog?

As I said above, it was my desire to write plus additional encouragement from Mrs PM who predicted that I would love doing it. She was right.

10. What object could you not live without?

At the moment I would have to say my desktop computer. It enables me to surf the web, write blog posts and listen to music.

11. Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I would like to think, in an ideal world, that I have changed career and become a writer, travelling the world searching for inspiration to write a book. However, looking at it realistically I will still be doing the same job and I will be ten years older. Still, I can dream.

12. Who or what made you into the person you are today?

I would say that it is a combination of Mrs PM, my ex-wife W and my kids. I have been a different beast for the past few years and I am still evolving. I haven’t reached my peak – not by a long way.

13. What have you learned from blogging?

I have learned so much but the best thing is that there are some great people out there in the blogosphere who think just like me.

14. Knowing what you know now, what knowledge would you pass on to your past self?

This is a little bit of déjà vu because I completed an entire meme about this not too long ago. I guess I would get him to start writing sooner while following his instincts.

15. Sunday roasts - lunchtime or evening meal?

I would say lunchtime.

16. What has been your best blogging-related experience so far?

I guess it’s knowing that people all over the world have read and enjoyed my inane and sometimes insane ramblings. There are a lot of people out there who are as weird as I am.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Stone Forest

China is a weird and wonderful place and my last post focussed more on the weirdness. This post, however, will redress the balance.

One of the finest tourist attractions in Kunming is The Stone Forest, or Shilin (石林) , roughly two hours’ drive from the city.

What a wonderful place it is.

There were eight people in our party, three of whom were our Chinese friends and colleagues. The Stone Forest is so vast (350 square km) that it seemed prudent to hire a guide to lead us along the tourist track. Being so huge, it is possible to wander off into areas and get lost. I didn’t fancy spending hours wandering around, totally lost, in a Chinese national park. Sadly, there were no English speaking guides available so our Chinese friends hired a local woman and offered to interpret for us. This scheme worked perfectly well.

I was surprised by the entrance fee, a cool 175 Yuan (approximately £17), which is a little high by Chinese standards, but once we were inside, the reason became clear; it is an absolutely beautiful place.

The rock formations are incredible and my poor literary skills simply cannot do the place justice. Here instead are a couple of photographs that I hope will illustrate how magnificent the Stone Forest is.

I will be posting more on the The Plastic Mancunian’s Eye in the coming weeks, so please pop over there and have a look.

As well as the incredible stones, we saw traditional dancing and shows. A couple of my colleagues tried to persuade me to participate in the dance but, being a shy retiring sort of chap, I declined. However, I did take a video of others who weren’t too scared to join in:

How good was that? Also, here is a guy playing a leaf and making it sound like a proper musical instrument:

I’m not sure whether you will ever get the chance to go to Kunming, dear reader, but if you do I would heartily recommend a visit to the Stone Forest. I hope the photos above do it justice.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Road To Hell

There is just one rule in the Chinese Highway Code:

There are no rules.

At least that is the way it seems.

I have just returned from a two week trip to Kunming in China and the traffic situation is just as bad as it ever was – in fact it is possibly worse. My journey to work each day involved driving headlong into a traffic jam heading towards a country road out of the city. The problem was that the country road was the road to Hell.

It was so full of potholes that we basically bounced to work each day and bounced back each night. The length of the journey was 20km, but with the sheer volume of traffic, the state of the road, the insanity of some of the drivers and the number of accidents and breakdowns, the journey typically took between an hour and a half and two hours.

That meant around three and a half hours a day being shaken about in a car.

Mind you, it was funny watching some of the antics of the other drivers.

Here, for your curiosity and possible enjoyment are some of the highlights (or lowlights) of my experience of traffic in and around Kunming.

(1) Picture the scene. There are two lanes of traffic in either direction. Our two lanes are blocked - apparently there has been an accident ahead. One crazy driver thinks that he can make progress by moving into the oncoming traffic and beeping his horn. Other drivers think “Well if he’s doing it, so will I.” The result? Two lanes in each direction become four lanes in one direction with nowhere to go for any traffic in either direction. Total chaos ensues and we end up in a jam for at least an hour.

(2) Pedestrians may think they are safe on the pavement. Wrong!!! Another bright spark, decides that he is not making any progress. He is stuck in four lanes of traffic and not moving. He looks to his right and sees pedestrians wandering, quite legally and safely, along a pavement. Since this is China and there are no rules, he decides to take a chance and mounts the pavement, oblivious to the pedestrians. And, of course, other drivers see him and think “Well if he’s doing it so will I.” Pretty soon, the pavement is full of cars and mopeds with hapless pedestrians trying to avoid being smeared onto the bonnets of the cars or squashed under the wheels.

(3) On one journey back from work, we saw five accidents. The funniest by far was an enterprising driver who tried to manoeuvre around jammed traffic and ended up in a ditch at the side of the road.

(4) We were held up in the city by an accident involving two wagons and a car. The wagons were approaching a junction travelling in the opposite direction, and the driver of the car was waiting to cross between them. Of course, he should have waited but decided that he could cross their paths. He was totally and utterly wrong. He managed to drive across the first wagon but not the second and ended up being wedged in between the two hapless vehicles.

(5) The rain one day was very bad as a result, the potholes in the rural road to Hell filled with water, making it extremely difficult to judge exactly how big they were. A four by four, impatient at the state of chaos on the road, opted to drive around the side through, what he thought was a little bit of surface water. He was wrong. It was a pothole that was approximately a foot deep and he plunged into it and almost tipped over. Thankfully for him, he somehow managed to recover the situation. A smaller vehicle would never have made it.

(6) Our driver was approaching a traffic light with a massive queue. Instead of waiting patiently, he drove down the wrong side of the road and turned into oncoming traffic, veering across another two lane highway in a scene reminiscent of the Freeway scene in The Matrix Reloaded. I almost filled my trousers.

(7) The worst journey we had took three hours during which we drove down an unfinished highway across a flyover that had collapsed some months ago and had had to be rebuilt.

(8) Every single wagon, bus, van, truck, car and moped use their car horns to the extreme. Whenever a car overtakes another car, the driver will beep. Whenever a car is driving into oncoming traffic to avoid traffic jams, the driver will beep his horn as if his life depends on it. The result is a cacophony that can drive you insane. Maybe that’s why drivers appear to be so crazy. Basically, the horn means “I am here – watch out!” It’s just a shame that poor pedestrians don’t have a horn to warn the drivers when they are attempting to cross the road. After two weeks of horn trauma, I now know how Oliver Hardy felt in the following clip:

A work colleague gave me the following pearl of wisdom:

Chinese drivers are the best drivers in the world and also the worst drivers in the world.

I can see what he means. Drivers in China will always take chances and try to squeeze their cars into the smallest possible space in order to avoid the inevitable traffic jams, sometimes risking serious damage to their cars. Yet they still somehow manage to do it and the majority of the cars survive the chaos with their vehicles intact.

I will leave you with a short video that hopefully illustrates how we bounced to and from work every day. All of the movement is from the car, and not my jittery hands.

Here is a little snippet of rural China.

And finally, a couple of images that illustrate traffic chaos.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The TV Meme

I’m off on my travels again, tomorrow. Unfortunately this is a business trip and my destination is Kunming in China.

This is my first visit to that strange, yet wondrous land since 1999, when I wrote my travelogue (The China Chronicles).

I’m having mixed feelings about the trip to be honest. I’m a little excited about returning to China, but it is such a weird place that there is a feeling of trepidation and of course I have to work, which is a pain in the arse.

The trip is lasting two weeks and, thankfully, I should have internet access over there – so watch out for some photos on The Plastic Mancunian’s Eye and possibly a blog post from there. There might be the odd tweet as well.

In the meantime, I will leave you with a meme that I have stolen with absolutely no guilt whatsoever. It is called the TV meme.

1. Name a TV show series in which you have seen every episode at least twice:

That would have to be Star Trek and I have probably seen each episode of the original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager at least twice. I am a huge fan of the show.

2. Name a show you can't miss:

At the moment I would have to say Dexter, which is my current favourite. I absolutely love the idea of serial killer working as a blood spatter expert in the police and murdering bad guys to satisfy is homicidal maniac tendencies.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to watch a show:

That’s a tough one. I’ve never seen anything bad with Robert Carlyle in it so that is who I shall say. I am currently enjoying watching him in Stargate Universe

4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to watch a show:

Another tough one. I would say William Roache who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street. I reckon I could act better than him.

5. Name a show you can, and do, quote from:

I usually quote from Blackadder which is absolutely full of fabulous comedy quotes like:

The path of my life is strewn with cowpats from the devil’s own Satanic herd.

We’re in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun.

The eyes are open, the mouth moves, but Mr. Brain has long since departed, hasn't he, Perce ?

Oh, God. What on Earth was I drinking last night? My head feels like there's a Frenchman living in it.

A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn.

He's mad! He's mad. He's madder than Mad Jack McMad, the winner of this year's Mr Madman competition.

6. Name a show you like that no one else enjoys:

Strangely, I would say it is Curb Your Enthusiasm. I love it but Mrs PM finds it unfunny, though I have to say, she has chuckled at the odd episode.

7. Name a TV show which you've been known to sing the theme song:

I love the theme to “True Blood” and sing this bit to Mrs PM:

“I wanna do bad things with you”.

What does she do? Rolls her eyes and tuts.

8. Name a show you would recommend everyone to watch:

There are so many that I would recommend but at this moment in time, it would have to be Dexter. It is now in its fourth series so you would have to start with the first to get the gist of what is going on.

9. Name a TV series you own:

I am a real geek. I own all eight series of Red Dwarf on DVD and the full box set, including movies, of Babylon 5.

10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium, but has surprised you with his/her acting chops in television:

I’m not a big fan of Billie Piper (certainly not her singing career) but I was pleasantly surprised by her portrayal of Rose Tyler in Dr Who.

11. What is your favourite episode of your favourite series?

It is really difficult to name my favourite series so I shall pick a random one. That series is Blackadder II and the episode is “Beer” when Edmund Blackadder has to host a night of drunken debauchery while at the same time trying to convince his puritanical aunt and uncle that he is worthy of an inheritance. Absolute classic comedy. Here is a clip:

12. Name a show you keep meaning to watch, but you just haven't gotten around to yet:

I’ve heard from many people that The Inbetweeners is a very funny show, but I keep forgetting to watch it.

13. Ever quit watching a show because it was so bad?

Absolutely - numerous times.

14. Name a show that's made you cry multiple times:

Being a sad geek, I have struggled to remain composed during some episodes of Dr Who.

15. What do you eat when you watch TV?

I usually watch TV when eating at home, so dinner?

16. How often do you watch TV?

I watch less TV than I used to. I tend to use the Sky+ box to series link my favourite shows and watch them at my leisure later. On average, a couple of hours a day.

17. What's the last TV show you watched?


18. What's your favourite/preferred genre of TV?

I like weird science fiction stuff, preferably with a touch of horror – shows like Fringe.

19. What was the first TV show you were obsessed with?

I think that would have to be Dr Who. I used to watch the classic series as a child but the new series and stories have made the show unmissable.

20. What TV show do you wish you never watched?

I don’t watch anything I don’t like. I have been known to switch off in the middle of a show that was utter bilge. I did go through a phase of watching soap operas, so I will say Eastenders (which thankfully I stopped watching in the nineties.

21. What's the weirdest show you enjoyed?

I think True Blood is pretty weird – but I love it.

22. What TV show scared you the most?

As a child, Dr Who scared me to death. One series in particular with Jon Pertwee as the Doctor gave me nightmares.

23. What is the funniest TV show you have ever watched?

That is such a difficult question. Select any episode from any of the following shows:

Curb Your Enthusiasm, Blackadder, Monty Python, Red Dwarf, Fawlty Towers, Father Ted, One Foot In The Grave, The Office, Drop The Dead Donkey, Black Books, The Young Ones, The Simpsons

and many more.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

48 Not Out

Friday 8th October is my birthday – I am 48 years old.

What an old git I am!

I have been wondering what to post about this particular birthday.

I could complain about how bits are drooping, how my dreadful hair is cranking up a gear to annoy me further by turning grey etc. but instead I have decided to have a bit of fun.

I dumped my date of birth into a couple of horoscope web sites to find out what makes me tick. Here are some of the results with my comments.

Your date of conception was on or about 15 January 1962 which was a Monday.

That’s a little too much information, thanks. An image has formed in my mind now that will probably haunt me for a few years.

You were born on a Monday under the astrological sign Libra.

I know that I am a Libran – a typical one according to Mrs PM (who says that I am the most indecisive person she knows). Whatever the negative aspects of my star sign are, I am happy that Librans are considered to be almost perfect. Librans are wonderful, friendly and intelligent people and loved by every other jealous star sign. We are also arrogant, conceited gits.

Or are we?

Talking of horoscopes, I also stumbled across this “dark horoscope” which basically tells me what is wrong with me as a Libran. Sadly, it confirms my worst fears – I am an indecisive old grump

Your inability to reach a decision in matters of personal action is legendary. You like to weigh all the alternatives and hear every side of an argument - but this may take time and opportunities may pass you by because of it. You also like to expand energy on people who may not deserve it. You want to help the underdog. You are also sensitive to criticism and may take mild statements of fact very personally.

Advice: Follow your instincts and act on them - stop sitting on fences. Don't blindly trust people; learn to be a little more discriminating in your offers of help. Learn to think for yourself and don't be swayed by persuasive tongues.

Crikey – should I follow that advice? I might if I believed the crap above it. I am indecisive, I have no doubt about that, but I think that is a good thing. Agonising over which gadget to buy, for example, usually bears fruit. And I think my choices have usually been great in other fields – so drop THAT in your toilet and flush it.

Your Life path number is 9.

I have absolutely no idea what this means. Maybe I have the mind of a 9 year old child?

Your fortune cookie reads: Your skill will accomplish what the force of many cannot.

Well that’s a load of old cobblers. I’m not James Bond or Rambo.

Your Life Path Compatibility:

You are most compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 3, 6 & 9.

You should get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 1 & 5.

You may or may not get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 2, 7 & 11.

You are least compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 4, 8 & 22.

I checked Mrs PM’s life path number and hers is 7. What does that mean – you may or may not get on well with the Life Path numbers 2,7 &11? It’s like saying “You may or may not be a woman”. Utter balderdash.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 2/5/1962 and ending 1/24/1963. You were born in the Chinese year of the Tiger.

Many women have said to me “Hello, Tiger.”

Anyway, enough of that bollocks. Here are some more interesting facts about my birthday.

I share the same birthday as Matt Damon. People often mix the two of us up, and it’s rather annoying having to sign yet another “Jason Bourne” autograph.

I also share my birthday with Sigourney Weaver, alien fighter extraordinaire, and Paul Hogan, aka Crocodile Dundee himself.

I am also thankful that in dog years I am still under 7, which means that should I desire, I still have the energy to run around chasing cats and my tail (the latter of which I frequently do at work).

My lucky day is Friday – which is also the day of my 48th birthday – therefore I should have a lucky day (in theory). Lottery win this weekend?

My lucky number is 6, which some would say is also my mental age.

In terms of planets, I am ruled by Venus – which means I’m HOT, baby!!

I’m sorry about that last bit – I came over all Austin Powers for a second.

So who else is 48? I’ve had a poke around and discovered that the following celebrities are the same age as me:

Axl Rose, Amanda Donahoe, Cal Smillie, Carol Vorderman, Eddie Izzard, Emilio Estevez, Izzy Stradlin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jon Bon Jovi, k.d. Lang, Martin Clunes, Meg Ryan, Paula Abdul, Steve Carell and Tom Cruise.

So I’m not doing bad, am I?

I’ll finish off with three facts that nobody knows about me. Here they are (and don’t laugh):


You can surely see the resemblance between Brad and myself:

I was only the stunt double in one film and sadly it wasn’t Mr and Mrs Smith (as if he needed any help with Angelina Jolie).

No – I am afraid it was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and here I am:


My wonderful singing voice was appreciated by the Scottish duo but unfortunately I couldn’t quite pull off the Scottish accent. They were cruel and they sacked me, even though I wrote thirty songs for them.

Follow the links and look at these songs:

Letter From America

500 Miles

I'm On My Way

I didn’t write any of those.

Still, you can't help but like The Proclaimers - and I'm not saying that because I look like them.

I love the mantra "I'm on my way from misery to happiness today" - that's something I wish I really had written. I love the sentiment of that song.


Ignore Ben Collins; his claim to be Top Gear’s The Stig is utter bunkum.

I can reveal that I, the Plastic Mancunian, am the man behind the helmet. Here I am in action:

I don’t like scouts:

I have never crashed a car:


Yes – the above three facts are utter bollocks.

The only truth is that I am 48 years old.

But you knew that anyway.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Bully

Picture the scene.

A thirteen year old boy enters a classroom and walks to his desk. He opens his bag and pulls out a bag of his favourite crisps. He is about to open them to enjoy a tasty savoury snack when into the room walks Lewis, a boy who is the same age.

Lewis used to be the boy’s friend but not any more.

Due to a massive growth spurt, Lewis has grown to the incredible height of six feet tall; he is taller than most of the kids and he knows it. His height intimidates others and he has used this to his advantage. Lewis regards himself as superior to everybody else, including his former friend. He sees the boy about to tuck into his crisps.

Lewis marches over, grabs the crisps, throws them onto the floor and jumps on them. The other kids in the class laugh and Lewis relishes the attention. His action has proved once again that he is the cock of the class, if not the entire year. Nobody messes with Lewis, particularly this little runt who once was his friend.

Lewis is a bully who believes that he is untouchable. He can do whatever he pleases to whomever he chooses. Lewis is the king. Lewis is the best.

But this is no ordinary day, dear reader, because the boy has had enough. He was looking forward to his bag of crisps and this has happened before. Something begins to erupt inside him, something that is similar to the effect that causes Bruce Banner to turn green.

The boy is angry.

The boy is livid.

The red mist descends.

You fracking bastard,” screams the boy and before he realises what he is doing, he has leapt up from his seat. Such is his anger that there are tears of rage in his eyes.

Lewis turns to the boy, considering briefly how best to hurt him.

He considers just a split second too long.

The boy, enraged by this latest episode of being tormented by his former friend, looks up into the eyes of Lewis. Lewis is so tall and so tough.

Common sense is swept aside; fear is swept aside. The boy acts, driven by something deep and primeval.

The boy punches Lewis in the stomach as hard as he can.

Lewis barely has time to register what has happened before every breath is swept out of his body in a massive whoosh. He falls to his knees, gasping. The boy takes advantage of the situation and pushes the now defenceless Lewis into the nearest desk.

Lewis is lost in a clatter of furniture.

Everybody else in the class stares at the boy, aghast at this strange turn of events.

Realising what he has done, the boy is suddenly gripped with fear.

The bully is gasping and struggling to stand up.

The rest of the class are stunned.

The boy comes to his senses and the consequences of his actions become evident. However, rather than running, the boy calmly walks out of the room and into the corridor, shaking with the remnants of rage, but also recognition of the ramifications of his actions.

As he walks away, Lewis bursts out of the room.

I’m gonna kill you, you little prick!

The boy runs.

Lewis chases him and eventually corners the boy.

The boy decides to stand his ground; he has no choice. He sees a sports bag and picks it up.

Come on then, “ shouts the boy, defiantly.

Lewis lunges forward as the boy swings the bag. It makes contact, hitting Lewis in the face and knocking him sideways. Other boys come running, screaming for blood.


The boy’s strength is sapping and he drops the bag.

Lewis sees his chance and attacks the boy.

The resulting tussle is over fairly quickly. The boys ends up in heap on the floor and his glasses are in the corner, fortunately not broken.

The boy is beaten yet despite the defeat he screams in defiance.

"I’ve had enough of you, Lewis. Do that again and there will be more of the same!"

Lewis laughs nervously, still gasping and rubbing a red mark that has appeared on the side of his face where the bag struck him. Another red mark has appeared on his mouth where the boy managed to connect with a blindly lashed out punch.

The other kids stare at Lewis and then at the boy.

The physical victory belongs to Lewis. The moral victory belongs to the boy.

The boy stands up and walks past Lewis pushing him as he does so. The taste of defeat is bitter, the rage is still present – but the satisfaction of hurting the bully, not once but four times is immensely satisfying.

He smiles knowing that things will never be the same again.

That boy, dear reader, was me.

And Lewis never did anything else to me again.

Looking back though, Lewis did do me a massive favour because he made me realise that bullies can be defeated.

And that has been my philosophy ever since.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Time Traveller's Meme

It’s been a month or so since I attempted a meme, so I thought I’d have a bash at the Time Traveller meme from Sunday Stealing .

This is a short meme but quite an interesting one.

Here goes:

1. Depending on your age, go back 10, 15, 20, or even more years.

2. Tell us how many years back you have traveled and why.

3. Pretend you have met yourself during that era, and tell us where you are.

4. You only have one "date" with this former self.

5. Answer these questions.

Okay, as we start, what year is it and how old are you?

I have travelled back in time to October 1981 and I am just about to start university. I am just about to turn 19.

1. Would your younger self (YYS, from here) recognize you when you first meet?

Actually, my appearance might freak MYS out. Before you ask, this is not because he thinks he is an Adonis and I am clearly not. He would be freaked out because he would think that I am his dad (who incidentally died about a month earlier at the tender age of 44). I recently saw a photo of my dad when a year before he died and the resemblance was uncanny, even down to the sideburns. His hair was a little wavier than mine and more controllable but apart from that facially the image of my father is almost like looking in a mirror. MYS would probably stare at me and, because he was shy, he would stutter uncontrollably.

2. Would YYS be surprised to discover what you are doing job wise?

At that age I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do. I was very good at maths but realised that maths wasn’t exactly going to be a career. I chose Computational and Statistical Science as a degree in the hope that the booming computer industry would prove interesting and keep me in a job for life. So far it has, and while I still work in IT, the nature of my work demands more than just that knowledge. I imagine therefore that MYS would not be surprised that I spend my day bollocking computers, but he would be surprised at the application I work with, the travelling that I have done and the involvement I have had in other fields.

3. What piece of fashion advice would you give YYS?

Grow your hair long, buy a leather jacket and bow down to the Monsters of Rock. Do not become a New Romantic just to impress the girls; they won’t be impressed and your hair simply doesn’t lend itself to that style – you will look like a goon.

4. What do you think YYS is most going to want to know?

MYS would have been obsessed with sex and would want to know whether I was married or not.

5. How would you answer YYS's question?

That’s a tricky one really because, as regular readers might know, I married and then divorced. I would tell him that I was married but I wouldn’t want him to do anything differently, simply because, although it failed, the marriage did have positives that I simply cannot live without - for example: my boys.

6. What would probably be the best thing to tell YYS?

I would tell him about all of the wonderful places I have seen and how good life is. I would tell him to avoid tall buildings though.

7. What is something that you probably wouldn't tell YYS?

I wouldn’t tell him about all my failures with the opposite sex (though I might warn him about the woman who tore out my heart and fed it to her pet lion in 1984).

8. What do you think will most surprise YYS about you?

MYS would be amazed that I still look young for my age and that I am still as immature now as I was then . He would also be amazed that I am no longer the insecure shy fool I was then.

9. What do you think will least surprise YYS?

That I can still be an absolute dolt when I want to be.

10. At this point in your life, would YYS like to run into "you" from the future?

Yes I think I would – preferably a future me that was 100 years old.