Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Top Ten Supertramp Songs

I have another music top ten for you, dear reader. This time it will not alienate those of you who dislike rock and heavy metal.

You may be surprised to know that I am a huge fan of Supertramp. Their music rekindles a moment in my life when I was about to break free of the reins of childhood and embark on the road to the big bad world and all of its dangers and rewards.

At that time in the late seventies, I loved heavy metal but was still influenced by other major artists of the day. Supertramp in particular were one of those bands that wrote intelligent, meaningful and poignant music that was technically brilliant, yet managed to delve below the surface and touch my heart in ways that still resonate within, bringing great memories flooding back.

The moment a Supertramp song appears on my magic music machine (otherwise known as my mp3 player), I break into a huge smile and am overcome by a euphoria that few bands can summon. It is rumoured that Supertramp were one of the favourite bands of Princess Diana – at least we have that in common.

If you haven’t listened to Supertramp, I would urge you to just follow the links below and give them a try.

I present to you my top ten Supertramp songs. Here they are.

(10) Bloody Well Right (from Crime Of The Century)

I am indeed bloody well right - most of the time anyway. And I am tempted to alter the lyrics to this song, ever so slightly, in order to accommodate numerous rants that bubble beneath my laid back façade. For a laugh – let’s just have a go (please indulge me, dear reader).

So you’re seeking fame and money
But you’ve no talent I can see
Your singing voice is really funny
It’s like a cat with dysentery

You know I’m bloody well right, I’ve got a bloody right to say

And me, I don’t care anyway!

(9) Give A Little Bit (from Even In The Quietest Moments)

I love the sentiment in this song. Supertramp were very good at writing feel good songs that give people a warm fuzzy feeling inside and this is a perfect example. I think perhaps if you look up the phrase “warm fuzzy feeling” in the musical dictionary of moods you will find Supertramp performing this song. Ah – a “musical dictionary of moods” – now there’s a concept for another post if ever I conceived one. More on that later, I think.

(8) The Logical Song (from Breakfast In America)

A friend of mine was obsessed with Supertramp and used to sing this song quite a lot, when he thought nobody was watching or listening. The problem was, he didn’t quite know the lyrics and occasionally he got them wrong – spectacularly wrong. I just wish I had had the foresight to try to catch him unawares with a cassette recorder and let you know what he actually sang. It certainly made me howl with laughter as a youth.

(7) Take The Long Way Home (from Breakfast In America)

When I was eighteen, three friends and I drove off to Bala in Wales, to spend a week at a cottage owned by one of the guys’ parents. All of us were unleashed for the first time, spending a crazy week isolated in a cottage in the middle of nowhere, a mile from Bala Lake and three miles from Bala itself (the nearest town). We had an absolute scream, doing the things that eighteen year olds do (drinking and playing stupid games) but also doing sensible things like hiking in the beautiful Welsh countryside, rowing on Bala Lake, fishing and all sorts of other activities.

Take The Long Way Home was a firm favourite and it seemed very apt at the end of the holiday because we all wanted to take the long way home.

(6) Dreamer (from Crime Of The Century)

Dreamer is another feel good song and we are entering “heart string” territory now. What am I talking about? I’m talking about songs that tug on your heart strings and make you almost tearful with delight. I can’t listen to this song without sniffling slightly – and with a huge grin. Why? Because I am a bit of a dreamer.

(5) School (from Crime Of The Century)

School is the first of the countdown to really grab my heart strings and yank them mercilessly. At the time this song was around, I was about to leave school myself and had a bit of a problem with authority – so the lyrics kind of struck a chord with me. Looking back, the guidance I received was fabulous but my school, in my opinion, tried to make me into something they could boast about rather than allowing me to do the thing I wanted to do in my own way. I can thank them for the “don’t do this and don’t do that” mentality now but I felt that although they were “old and wise” they were actually wrong about me in more ways than they can ever perceive. This song sums that up for me perfectly. Sniffle.

(4) Crime Of The Century (from Crime Of The Century)

Lyrics are meaningful to me and when combined with a fantastic tune you have a recipe for the perfect song. Crime Of The Century is high in my top ten mainly because of the music. I can’t put my finger on what appeals to me but the combination of piano, saxophone and violins at the end of the song elevates this song above most of the others. Many Supertramp fans I have spoken too don’t rate this song as highly as I do. Perhaps it’s just a personal preference.

(3) Child Of Vision (from Breakfast In America)

Now, dear reader, we are entering “shiver” territory, by which I mean songs that send a shiver up and down my spine. This song has everything I like about Supertramp; great lyrics and mesmerising keyboards and piano. Again, there are people who like Supertramp who don’t rate this song highly and I can’t understand that at all. It is almost the perfect Supertramp song – and it is only number three. Why? Because there are two songs that are even better (no shit Sherlock!). Here they are…

(2) A Soapbox Opera (from Crisis? What Crisis?)

On that trip to Bala, I mentioned earlier, Supertramp were high on the playlist chart and a lot of the time we chatted and sang when they appeared. Yet there were two songs we simply had to listen to and this was one of them. At the time I couldn’t drive so I sat in the back of the car listening to A Soapbox Opera and struggling to contain my emotions. You simply cannot allow yourself to blart in front of your mates – and I nearly did every time. This song is beautiful; as simple as that. But there is a song that is even better …

(1) Fools Overture (from Even In The Quietest Moments)

I am a massive fan of progressive rock; songs that experiment with sound and, typically, last for at least ten minutes. Fools Overture is, in my opinion, a progressive pop song that is an absolute triumph. Coming in at just under eleven minutes long, it captures everything I love about music; astounding music, incredible lyrics, experimentation and a massively catchy tune. If you have ten minutes, just relax, close your eyes and enjoy a true masterpiece. And yes, I am welling up as I am listening to it – what a big Jessie I am.

So that’s it, dear reader and over to you.

Do you like Supertramp? If so, do you agree with my selection?

I’d be very interested to hear what you think.

By the way, do you have a hankie? I think I have something in my eye.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Seriously Random Questions Meme

On Monday I am off for a well-deserved holiday to a country I have never visited before: Turkey.

Mrs PM and I are really looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I thought I would have another go at a meme from Sunday Stealing and, as is usually the case, I find that it is the second part of a meme.

Tradition now dictates that I have a go at all parts – so I will do so.

Here it is:

1. Your ex's car is on the side of the road, on fire. What do you do?

I would almost certainly call the fire department like any decent citizen of the world. If she was in the car, I would do my best to rescue her.

I don’t bear grudges.

2. Your best friend tells you she is pregnant. What is your reaction?

Your assumption is that my best friend is a woman. In this case you are correct and that woman is Mrs PM. And if she told me that she was pregnant I would almost certainly scream:

“WHAT??? How did THAT happen?”

to which her reply would almost certainly be:

“Are you a complete moron?”

3. When is the last time you wanted to punch someone in the face?

Last time I saw David Cameron’s smug face on the television.

4. What is the last thing you spent money on?

I bought a round of beers after the Whitesnake gig last night. We were in a student bar and I tried to get a discount by pretending to be a student. The barman just laughed.

Actually – come to think of it, the last thing I spent money on was my bus fare home on the nutty bus.

5. Do you think you gained or lost weight this past month?

I have actually lost weight, believe it or not.

6. Crunchy or Puffy Cheetos?

Neither. I don't know what they are and I don't care. My life is probably better for not knowing.

7. The first person on your friends list just called you a bitch. What do you do?

I would tell him that he needs to go to Specsavers.

8. Congratulations! You just had a son. What’s his name?

Crikey – I’ve got two sons already. What is it with you and these bloody questions about children? Okay – just to satisfy your weird craving I would pick a weird name:


It’s about time we brought back the names of early English kings.

9. Congratulations! You just had a daughter. What’s her name?

For Pete’s sake. Okay – here’s one for you:


10. What are you craving right now?

Mrs PM is cooking a curry and the smell is driving me insane with hunger. So I guess that I am craving a curry.

11. What was the last thing you cried about?

Being asked this question meme after meme after bloody meme.

12. When you buy something and your change is 2 cents, do you keep it or tell the cashier to keep it?

I explain to the cashier that we are both in England and that I expect my change to be in British currency.

13. What color is your tissue box?

I don’t have a tissue box.

14. Do you have a ceiling fan in your bedroom, and if so, is there dust on that fan?

I live in England – why would I have a ceiling fan?

15. What was the last voicemail you received about?

It was from a mate telling me that he had arrived at Kro Piccadilly for a quick beer before the Whitesnake concert and asking me how long I was going to be.

16. Have you ever blocked someone on Facebook?

I have two Facebook accounts.

The first is under my real name and I have not blocked anybody, just ignored friend requests from people I don’t know.

The second is “ThePlastic Mancunian” and I will be friends with anybody who wants to be my friend on that one. And I will not block anybody either.

17. Scariest thing you’ve experienced in the last year?

Accidentally watching an episode of the X Factor.

18. Do you wear a name tag at work?

No – everybody knows who I am.

19. What kind of car do you want?

The fastest super car I can drive without taking off.

20. What do you order when you go to Burger King?

I haven’t been to Burger King for around ten years. I guess I would order what I ordered last time: a Whopper?

21. Have you ever had a garage sale?

No – I haven’t got a garage to sell.

22. What color is your cell phone?

It is a kind of dark grey.

23. What is the last alcoholic beverage you had?

A pint of Marsden’s Pedigree last night after the Whitesnake concert.

24. Are you happy right now?

Deliriously happy. I am off to Turkey on Monday.

25. Who came over to your house last?

It was a friend of Mrs PM’s called Nancy.

26. Do you drink beer?

Have you not read any of the previous questions? Yes.

27. Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted?

Why on Earth would they do that? The answer is, of course, no.

28. What is your favorite key on your key chain?

I think the person who wrote these questions needs to see a specialist of some kind. My front door key perhaps?

29. What was the last movie you watched at home?

Ah – that’s a better question. It was “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” starring Nicholas Cage.

30. What is in your pocket?

A space shuttle.

31. Who introduced you to your bf/gf/husband/wife?

I introduced myself to Mrs PM.

32. Where do you hurt?

I usually hurt at work because it is a pain to go there.

33. Has someone ever made you a build a bear?

Doctor? Bring the strait jacket. No I have NOT built a bloody bear nor have I made anybody build a bloody bear. Bears are animals and cannot be built.

34. What’s something fun you did today?

I was going to say answering these questions but the very nature of them is making me reassess the definition of the word “fun”.

35. What is your favorite aisle at Target?

Never heard of Target.

36. When is your birthday?

8th October.

37. Is there anything hanging from your rear view mirror?

Just my will to live.

38. How many states in the US have you been to?

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Washington, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio.

So that’s 12.

39. What kind of milk do you drink?

Normal everyday skimmed milk.

40. What are you going to do after this?

Post it on my blog, eat a curry and watch the first episode of the 5th series of Dexter.

That's it folks. See you in a week or two.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Opera Is Rubbish

I want to admit to being a failure, dear reader; not a total failure but a failure nonetheless.

I have tried to like opera and I have failed - spectacularly.


Because, in my opinion, opera is rubbish.

There – I’ve said it.

A few years ago, my workplace organised an evening at the opera.

“Shall we go?” said Mrs PM.

“Absolutely not,” I replied. “Opera is rubbish!”

“How do you know? You’ve never been,” she replied. “Go on – you might like it.”

Deep down in my brain somewhere there is a rebellious troll that sometimes catches me unawares. Now was one such occasion:

“OK – I’ll give it a go,” said the troll, taking over my brain for a brief second.

Before I knew it, the troll was laughing as I held in my hand two tickets to see Carmen at the Manchester Palace Theatre.

“What have I done?” I yelled.

“Hee Hee Hee,” sniggered the troll, returning back to his little cave in my mind, satisfied at having stitched me up again.

Nevertheless, I decided against selling the tickets. I opted to try to broaden my horizons and embrace something that goes against my taste – I was willing to give opera a chance by seeing arguably the most famous opera of them all.

I hated every tedious second of it.

And I hated one thing more than anything else – the singing.

I have experienced opera in the past on TV, on radio and, bizarrely, on my mp3 player.

I know what you’re thinking:

“You are a hypocrite! How come you have opera on your mp3 player?”

I can answer that. I have several classical CDs, some of which are compilations. Regrettably, I am too lazy to filter out the opera and one or two other dreadful songs have somehow found their way onto my music machine. There is some utter bilge on that device and by far and away the worst of that bilge is the opera.

I appreciate that there may be some people out there who genuinely love opera and marvel at its apparent audible beauty and can't understand why I have opera in my sights, ready to squeeze the trigger. I would be tempted, dear reader, if I had the power, to remove opera from the planet. Sadly, I don't have that power.

I actually like classical music – just so long as opera singers don’t destroy it with their monstrous vocal sledgehammers.

There may be those of you out there who want to scream:

“You like heavy metal; how can you possibly write bad things about opera singers when there are far worse heavy metal vocalists out there?”

The truth is I like heavy metal and rock music as long as I can understand the lyrics and the vocalists aren’t grunting and roaring; some heavy metal bands are just dreadful and the vocalists (if you can call them that) don’t deserve be called such.

I don't like that style of rock music.

I much prefer my vocalists to have good powerful voices. You might argue that opera singers have good powerful voices too – the truth is that some of them do. However, most of them, the women in particular, have voices that make my brain shriek in anguish.

Take this, for example:

I love Freddy Mercury’s voice but Montserrat Caballé’s voice shreds my brain like a cheese grater ripping through cheddar.

Am I alone or am I a heathen?

A pseudo-intellectual might say that I’m a heathen and quote Aristotle at me but to be honest, I would genuinely like a true opera buff to tell me what is so fascinating about opera.

Why ruin a perfectly good piece of classical music with unintelligible, over-rated and ostentatious vocals from somebody who could shatter glass with a high note?

When the three tenors (Domingo, Carreras and Pavarotti) sang Nessun Dorma I heard that people were crying in ecstasy.

I found it tedious. I wouldn’t have paid three tenners to see it.

Am I weird?

Just because it is classical and sung by three operatic maestros, is there any reason why I should lie and say “very moving"?

When people tell me that rock music is awful by default, I get really annoyed. To me, a progressive rock masterpiece is far better than an opera but because it contains guitars, keyboards and a rock singer it doesn’t fit the pseudo-intellectual vision of musical culture.

I appreciate that people like opera but I don’t. And that doesn’t make me a heathen, a cultural Philistine or any less intellectual than somebody who thinks Carmen is a masterpiece.

I have to say that although I have been pretty scathing about opera, I do love classical music.

Here is my favourite ever classical piece:

Mars - The Bringer of War from Holst’s The Planets is a piece of classical music that enthralls me, bringing tears of joy to my eyes every time I hear it. I would love to resurrect my trombone and be part of the orchestra to play it.

And there are lots more classical pieces that have the same effect on me.

Opera would ruin such music.

What about you, dear reader? Do you think I’m a Philistine? Or a heathen?

I would be particularly interested to hear from opera lovers. I am always willing to discuss such things – or gain an insight into other people’s views.

At the end of the day it is just a question of taste; and I believe I have excellent taste – or maybe not.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Comedy Rock

Some people say that rock music is offensive nonsense. Others claim that it is a loud dirge with meaningless lyrics and hoarse unintelligible vocals.

I don’t care what people say – I still love it.

And, contrary to popular belief, rock music can be funny. Here, for you amusement , are a few examples of funny rock music.

Note – some a little naughty and puerile and that’s why they appeal to an immature arse like myself.

(1) Big Balls – AC/DC

You can guess by the title that this song is totally full of innuendo in a “Carry On” kind of way; a rather strange addition to the excellent AC/DC catalogue – but fun nonetheless.

(2) Learning To Fly – The Foo Fighters

This isn’t really a comedy song but the video is really funny. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look. It features Jack Black and Kyle Gass (aka Tenacious D – more from them later) and gives the band a chance to dress up a bit.

(3) Break Like The Wind – Spinal Tap

The lyrics to “Break Like The Wind” are fantastic. This song is a rock cliché from the start to the finish and features the guitar talent of Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani and Slash reaching a massive crescendo that seems never to finish. As funny as it is – it is also a great song.

“We are the thumbs on a stranger’s hands”

(4) Master Exploder - Tenacious D

This is taken from “Tenacious D – The Pick of Destiny” featuring Jack Black and Kyle Gass. It is the high spot of the film for me because not only is it a great song, the comedy around it is fabulous, particularly the expressions on Jack Black’s face as he sings.

A word of warning – the clip has bad language and some scenes that may be a little unsuitable for anybody who might easily be offended.

(5) Death To All But Metal – Steel Panther

Talking of being offensive – this is totally offensive but absolutely hilarious. I present the “radio edit” for those of a sensitive nature. Thankfully the offensive words have been replaced by weird noises. I saw the uncut video on late night TV and I was stunned at the appalling language. The good thing is that Steel Panther are a comedy band but also extremely disgusting. I saw them live and it was hilarious. If you dare to dig out the uncut video, watch the ending:

“Death to all butt metal”

“No – I said Death to all but metal

“That’s what I said – Death to all butt metal

(6) The Offspring – The Worst Hangover Ever

If you have ever been drunk this will make you laugh. We’ve all been there. I certainly have.

(7) Love and Death and an American Guitar – Jim Steinman

I’m not sure whether this is supposed to be funny – but it makes me laugh. It comes from Jim Steinman, the brains behind Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell”. Weird but I love the ending.

(8) The Majesty of Rock – Spinal Tap

Another classic from Spinal Tap – with very funny lyrics.

“When we die do we haunt the sky? Do we lurk in the murk of the seas?
What then? Are we born again, just to sit asking questions like these?”

(9) Tribute – Tenacious D

I love this video – if you haven’t seen it you really should. Jack Black and Kyle Gass are hilarious. And the devil is played by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. Wonderfully funny.

(10) An Englishman on Holiday – Thunder

My final offering is from Thunder and tells the tale of English thugs on holiday in Spain. Of course, the message is clear, but it is told in a funny way.

“We like to sing and shout out “Here We Go!” ‘cos they’re the only words that we all know.”


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Mr Clumsy

I am not clumsy by nature.

There are people out there who may not believe this and, sadly, there is evidence suggesting that I can be a lumbering oaf with all of the coordination of a drunken donkey.

Take last Thursday for example.

I was invited to the Stockport Beer Festival. It was Thursday, so initially I wasn’t too keen. Drinking on a “school night” is bad practice, typically, as the repercussions the next day can be quite nasty. Hangovers at my time of life are monsters and torture me for days.

I decided to go late and leave early – a sound plan in theory.

The event was held at Stockport County Football ground, which is about four miles from where I live and a bus ride away. I arrived at about 8:45.

Beer festivals are fun and great for people watching. Once you have paid your entrance fee, you buy your souvenir glass and sample all wonder of real ales from around the region. For those who like weird drinks, they also have a fairly chunky selection of perries and ciders that can quite literally blow your head apart if you have too much.

I stick to beer – I know its strength and I know how many I can have before I have to stop.

The real ale connoisseurs who attend these festivals can be quite weird; they treat their beer like wine and urge people to sip it and savour it. You are expected to buy half pints so you can sample as much as you can before falling over. Most of these people have beer guts so big that small moons orbit them.

And some of their beards are something else.

I met a couple or mates and a few work colleagues and had an enjoyable hour or two sipping various beers with names like Black Mamba, Nutty Slack, White Nancy, Sworn Secret, Wren’s Nest, Tiger Rut, Silver Magnet, Dizzy Blonde, Village Idiot, Brassed Off, Battle Cruiser, Blond Witch, Alchemist Ale, Weapons of Mouth Destruction, Matron’s Delight, Dragon Slayer, Old Stoatwobbler and Monkman’s Slaughter.

At around 10:40 I decided I’d had enough and started the fifteen minute walk back to Stockport Bus Station to catch my bus home.

Sadly, I was walking a little too slowly and realised that I would miss my bus if I didn’t run. I was carrying my souvenir pint pot in a plastic bag. I decided to run.

Running is something I used to do quite a lot and I was quite fast in my youth. Sadly, these days, I am neither fast nor fit. Something kicked in and I managed to sprint to the station with not much trouble. At the far end of the station I could see my bus. I would make it.

At this point my clumsy gene kicked in. As I ran across a kerb, I tripped.

I was hurtling at quite a fast pace and realised what had happened. I found myself lurching forward. Had I not been carrying a pint pot I might have made it with my pride intact. Half my mind was determined to save the glass so I foolishly adjusted my body so that I didn’t smash it.

I found myself careering out of control towards the floor, my arms whirling like a demented windmill. The laws of physics refused to yield and I sprawled headfirst into the pavement, the shattering of my pint pot ringing in my ears as it lost the battle with the concrete.

The word that escaped my lips, dear reader, is not one that I would like to publish in this post.

My bus was still there and I had to reach it, so I got up and started running again. That was when I discovered the consequences of my fall.

My right hand had scraped along the concrete and taken the top layer of skin off an area the size of a 2p piece.

My right elbow was bruised.

My right elbow was grazed.

My left knee was bruised.

My left hand (the hand carrying the pint pot, the hand that had failed in its sworn duty to protect the pint pot, the hand that is probably pissed off with me because I am right handed) was injured.

The shattered glass had escaped the bag and cut my left hand in a few places. I stood up and started running again and noticed blood splattering as I ran.

I stopped and stared at my hand in disbelief.

There was no pain – just blood. It looked as if I had dipped my hand in a bucket of the stuff.

I made the decision to continue my run for the bus but as I did so, I identified the cuts and sucked them to try to stem the bleeding.

I reached the bus just as he was pulling off but he took pity on me and let me on.

With my bloody left hand hidden behind my back, I managed to extract the coins I needed with my right hand (which was also cut) and paid the driver.

I ran upstairs hoping that there was nobody there. There wasn’t – I was alone.

I examined my still bleeding left hand and realised that all of the blood was coming from just two cuts. The rest of my injuries were minor scratches.

I found a discarded newspaper and tore strips off it to add pressure to the cuts – and thankfully after a few minutes they stopped.

All of this was too late because by now my jeans were blood-stained and I had nothing to wash the blood off my hands.

When the bus arrived at my destination, I plunged my hands into my pockets and walked downstairs. There was a trail of blood spots from my injured hand.

I thanked the driver who stared at me as if I had just walked off a spaceship and said “Take me to your leader.”

When I arrived home, I was about to tell Mrs PM the entire sorry tale but she beat me to it.

“WHAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU?” she said looking shocked.

It was then I caught my reflection in the mirror; my mouth was covered in blood. I looked like a crazed vampire. No wonder the bus driver was terrified.

My attempts at sucking my wounds had deposited great smears of blood onto my face.

Mrs PM thought I had been in a fight with a rabid vampire.

I cleaned up my wounds and as I applied a couple of plasters I told my sorry tale to Mrs PM. She struggled between sympathy and trying not to laugh.

The next day at work, my colleagues were merciless.

“You drunken oaf!”


And I swear that I wasn’t drunk, dear reader. Even my beloved children were merciless.

My eldest lad, who has just turned eighteen pointed at me, laughing and said “FAIL!!!!!!”

My youngest lad just laughed.

So there you have it, dear reader. Mr Clumsy is alive and well and living in Manchester.

What lessons have I learned? A simple one :


The truth is that smashing up my souvenir pint pot hurts more than the wounds or my pride.

What a pillock I am.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Drowning In Red Tape

Have you ever had a conversation like this?

Plastic Mancunian: I’d like to organise a five-a-side football match.

Pillock: You need to fill in form A in black ink with writing less than half a centimetre high then go to Mr Clang to get it authorised.

Plastic Mancunian: Then can we play football?

Pillock: Yes – after you have returned form A and then filled in form B with the names, ages, marital statuses, genders and medical histories of all players and their spouses. You need to fill in form B in red ink and are restricted to using capital letters less than a quarter of a centimetre high. You need to take it to Mr Bung along with proof that none of your players are over six feet tall.

Plastic Mancunian: Then can we play football?

Pillock: Once you have all taken an induction course, lasting two hours about the dangers of playing football. After that, each player needs to fill in form C stating categorically that should he be injured then it is his sole responsibility. Form C should be sent to Mr Splodge. Oh – and it should be filled in with green ink.

Plastic Mancunian: Then can we play football?

Pillock: Mr Clang has a backlog of three months and Mr Bung is currently running six months late. Also there is a waiting list for the induction of two years. So you can probably play in 2013 – maybe. That will cost £3 per person per form please – payable in advance.

Plastic Mancunian: WHAT??? How much? Just to play football? Why so many bloody forms? We’re adults! Are you insane?

Pillock: Sir, you clearly don’t take our procedures seriously – nor Health and Safety for that matter. It seems that you need to fill in form X having undergone an intensive training course on the dangers of everyday living. The only course available is in London in March next year and it will cost you £300. I can start off the process now if you like – fill in forms D, G and Q – all forty two pages – and I’ll pass it Mr Corkage for processing. We should get to the top of Mr Corkage’s in tray by Monday …

Plastic Mancunian: Monday?

Pillock: Monday 6th August 2012.

Plastic Mancunian: Have you got a cricket bat handy?

Pillock: Why?

Plastic Mancunian: I want to demonstrate to you how to by-pass all of this red tape with the aid of a cricket bat. Have you got a good doctor?

Pillock: You need to fill in form Z first – in blue ink. Why are you punching me?

I am drowning in a sea of red tape from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep again. Or at least it seems that way. It’s bad enough having to follow procedures at work but when I need to do anything worthwhile outside work, I am suddenly confronted by an avalanche of red tape.

You can’t do anything without having to fill in form after pointless form.

It is impossible to do anything even vaguely challenging without filling in health and safety forms in triplicate and in blood.

“Can I fart on this rollercoaster?”

“Only if you fill in a form absolving the company of any fallout from expelling your noxious gases should you choose to let one rip. We can’t be held responsible for any BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!!”

I would like to know who keeps all of the stupid forms we have to fill in. And more importantly I would love to know who bloody well reads them.

No wonder it takes so long to do anything these days. No wonder everything is late. Worse, there are so many new laws, health and safety initiatives, and green laws, international laws that we are all being pushed to the limit of our patience.

It is not helping – it is hindering us all.

Here are some offenders who make my blood boil:

Health and Safety

Health and Safety is the cream of the crop in terms of pointless bureaucracy. We live in a world where people can be sued for the most trivial things. You’ve all seen the adverts:

“Had an accident that wasn’t your fault? We will sue the arse off whoever did it and give you loads of cash (while keeping a load for ourselves)”

Consequently, we now live in a Health and Safety nightmare where it is impossible to walk down the street without risking death – or so they would have us believe. I can see the day when I have a man waiting outside my house asking me to fill in a form before “risking my life” going to work.

The Environment

My carbon footprint increases dramatically if I have a particularly hot curry but that’s another story.

Everybody has to jump through hoops to prove that everything they do is friendly to the environment. My bank now urges me to go online to view my statement. Why? Because if I demand a paper statement then I am a completely treacherous arse who is contributing to global warming and killing wildlife with every statement that arrives through my letterbox.

And what is the by-product of this? The bank saves itself money while making me feel like I am killing innocent animals and turning the world into a toilet for future generations. That money gets handed over to fat cats who drive cars with a carbon footprint so big that they can be seen from outer space.

The end result is that I have to go online to see my current balance and half of the time the server is down because of demand or there are hackers waiting to intercept my keystrokes to gain access to the small amount of money I have.

And what happens if I forget my details or I can’t log in because I can’t remember the name of my first pet? I have to ring up the bank whereupon I am transferred to a call centre in India and have to spend two hours trying to convince them who I am before being cut off and denied access to my own money.

At this point I then have to fill in approximately two hundred forms to reopen my bank account.

Stupid Regulations

European Union regulations are ridiculous. I have seen many examples of total stupidity when it comes to the EU. There are some preposterous regulations like stating that bananas have to be shaped like cucumbers otherwise the EU won’t agree to import them.

This means that there are an army of men who have to inspect every crate of bananas to ensure that each one conforms to the high standard demanded by faceless, unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who get paid wads of cash to spew out other ludicrous laws about the size of fruit and vegetables permissible in Europe.

“This banana is unacceptable.”

“Why? It’s shaped like a banana and it looks like a banana; it’s yellow and it’s curved.”

“It is should be straight and it is 2 cm too long. Throw it onto the banana mountain. Next banana please.”

“But there are 4000 crates of them.”

“I don’t care – we must check every last one of them."

Does this post conform to standards?

I worry about my posts and whether or not I have to fill in forms to ensure that they conform to regulations, rules and red tape.

Rest assured, dear reader, that I have personally performed stringent tests on this post to ensure that it is safe for you to read:

(1) It passes all Health and Safety standards demanded by the European Union although I have to issue a warning that it contains a modicum of humour. If you laugh at this post then I cannot be held responsible for any injuries that may result from any chuckling you may partake in as a result of reading it.

(2) Americans should not read this post because I haven’t had time to submit it to the department of silliness across the pond. It got past the equivalent UK department but I believe it only did so because a large shipment of drawing pins arrived at the same time and had to be sorted according to colour.

(3) This is an environmentally friendly post. Its carbon footprint is negligible although you, dear reader, are being an environmental anarchist by reading the post. You have had to switch on your computer and waste electricity. How could you? You should be ashamed.

(4) There are naughty words in this post. I have used the words “arse”, “bloody” and “fart”. I have warned you therefore if you stumble across them you cannot sue me if easily offended.

Oh bugger! I forgot the EU rules on post length ...