Saturday, 23 July 2011

Pants On Fire

Last night I told Mrs PM about a dream I had.

She is always regaling me with her wild nocturnal fantasies about epic crusades through bizarre worlds created by her subconscious mind; I thought I would return the favour. Here’s how the conversation went.

PM: I had a dream last night.

Mrs PM: Liar!

PM: What? What makes you think I’m lying?

Mrs PM: I can tell. You’re wearing your lying face AND you’re talking with your lying voice.

PM: How DARE you! I am not lying.

Mrs PM rolls her eyes

Mrs PM: Go on then – tell me about your “dream”!

PM: I dreamt that I was having a fight with the Grim Reaper in our house. There was nothing I could use to defend myself so I opened the cupboard under the stairs and grabbed the nearest thing: the hoover.

Mrs PM: Now I KNOW you’re lying – you don’t know where the hoover lives because you never use the bloody thing.

PM ignores that comment

PM: Anyway, I started hitting him with it – and before you know it – I was Dyson with Death! HA HA HA!!! Get it?

Mrs PM: Anybody who thinks you are funny needs to seriously get a life.

The insults aside, Mrs PM knew that I was not telling the truth. I can catch her out but such occasions are very rare. I am a liar – but a very poor liar.

I can tell all manner of porkies on this blog, dear reader, and frequently do.

Actually, that’s not being fair to myself; I don’t lie exactly, I just exaggerate sometimes.

You can’t see me or hear me, dear reader, so you are none the wiser.

The little exchange with Mrs PM got me thinking about lying. How can Mrs PM tell that I am telling a fib? She claims that my face is taken over by, what she calls, the imp. Apparently I yield to the mischievous little goblin within and my face becomes an open book. And then I speak and my voice changes, thus confirming my deceit.

I have decided to do some research on this and there are, supposedly, several tell-tale signs that the person you are talking to is a monstrous fibber. Here are some of them:

(1) Avoiding eye contact – when a person tells a lie they will not look directly into your eye. I’ve tried this; I stared at myself in a mirror and said to my reflection: “I am the sexiest man alive and every woman in the world wants to have my babies”. That must be the truth because I stared right into my reflection’s eyes and uttered this incredible statement. Guess what? I didn’t flinch. It must be true then – I really AM sex on a stick.

(2) Adding unnecessary detail – a liar will waffle on about their lie, dredging their imagination for all manner of drivel to convince the person they are talking to that the bullshit being generated is in fact true. I tried this too. I said to my reflection: “I met Megan Fox, Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, Lady Ga Ga, BeyoncĂ© and all of Girls Aloud and they begged me for a date because, in their opinion, I am the most handsome specimen of manliness on the planet.” I then added all sorts of other nonsense about wild nights with Hollywood sex kittens and my reflection didn’t flinch. Crikey – I need to reconsider my career.

(3) Bad body language – liars will touch their mouths to subconsciously prevent the lie from escaping their lips and also shift uncomfortably from foot to foot. Again I watched my reflection as I said “All of the top supermodels in America have chartered a jet to Manchester with the sole purpose of persuading me, the Plastic Mancunian, to marry them. They spent the entire flight fighting with each other over who gets to ask me first.” Guess what? I didn’t cover my mouth and I didn’t move. It must therefore be true.

I decided that I needed a second opinion and tried these above facts out on another guinea pig: Mrs PM. I started to tell her the three lies above but I had barely uttered the first sentence when she interrupted with: “Lying voice and lying face. You are a LIAR!”

Alas, she didn’t believe me.

I am still unconvinced, dear reader so I am going to tell you about another dream I had. See if you can tell whether I am lying or not:

I walked into an undertaker’s shop and one of the coffins came to life. It started to attack me so I ran away. Unfortunately the coffin was relentless and pursued me for miles. I somehow managed to get home and lock the thing outside. The coffin wasn’t deterred and hurled itself through the lounge window to get to me. Horrified, I ran upstairs, figuring that a coffin wouldn’t be able to climb the stairs. I was wrong. In a blind panic I ran into the bathroom. The coffin was determined and threw itself into the bathroom, smashing down the door in the process and trapping me. I was caught in a blind panic and in desperation I opened the bathroom cabinet and launched everything I could at the coffin; shampoo, toothpaste, bathroom cleaner etc. It was only when I threw the Benylin that the coffin stopped.

Okay – I admit it – I just used this post to justify telling two pathetic jokes.

I am deeply and sincerely sorry, dear reader.


Monday, 18 July 2011

The Sexist

A few weeks ago I was accused of being a sexist.

But it’s worse than that, dear reader – apparently I am a benevolent sexist.

To be fair, I wasn’t the only person accused of this heinous crime. The accusation was aimed at a huge amount of men who are clearly as bewildered by the charge as I am.

In an extraordinary attack, a bunch of feminist psychologists targeted me and many other nice fellows with claims that are outrageous.

Here’s what they said about me:

(1) Whenever I open the door for a woman, I am being sexist.

(2) Whenever I say that I love women, I am being sexist.

(3) Whenever I call another woman “Sweetheart”, I am being sexist.

(4) Whenever I refer to another woman as being lovely, I am being sexist.

(5) Whenever I offer to carry a heavy bag for a woman, I am being sexist.

(6) Whenever I help a woman buy a computer, I am being sexist.

(7) Whenever I compliment a woman who has cooked a delicious meal, I am being sexist.

What is happening to the world?

Sometimes I am absolutely certain that the whole world is going mad.

Have these people nothing better to do?

Let me just state one thing: I am not sexist, not even in a benevolent way. At least I don’t think I am. If I were to believe every idiotic report from a bunch of people who are on some moral crusade then I would most likely end up living in a little cave somewhere in the Lake District, too scared to come out or open my mouth in case something I did or said turned me into a pariah.

Rant over, dear reader, but please allow me to answer this peculiar charge.

(1) I am guilty of opening the door for women. I am also guilty of opening the door for men. I don’t call that sexism (benevolent or otherwise) – I call it good manners. Next time I see a feminist I shall shut the door in her face and let her complain about that. No doubt I will be accused of being a malevolent sexist.

(2) I love women. I am fascinated by women. I live with a woman who intrigues me, entertains me and enthrals me. Most women I know are fascinating creatures. Why am I sexist for that? I am male – I can’t help my feelings and I am not going to hide them because somebody takes offence when I offer to chat to them and find out about them. And I know women who are equally fascinated by men. Does that make them sexist?

(3) I don’t call women “Sweetheart” but I have been known to call them “Love” as in “Are you okay, love?” Women, particularly older women, call me “Dear”, “Love”, “Sweetheart” and all sorts of other terms of endearment without fear of me accusing them of anything.

(4) I appreciate female beauty – I am a man – I can’t help it. But equally, women I know also appreciate male beauty. Mrs PM often remarks on the appearance of guys on the TV. Is she sexist for doing that? She simply can’t help it. She is a woman.

(5) If I see a women struggling with a bag I will offer to help her. Equally, if I see an older man struggling to carry something I will offer to help him. I have helped mates move furniture. I have helped children when they kicked their football into a tree. I have even helped men push broken down cars. Again this is good manners and all due to the fact that I am a nice guy. Sexist, my arse.

(6) Mrs PM helps me buy cloths because, in her opinion, I am useless at it. Is that because I am a man and she is a benevolent sexist? Nonsense, total and complete nonsense.

(7) I love eating food and I will compliment the chef even if that chef happens to be a six foot five bruising animal who plays rugby with other guys of a similar ilk. To be honest, people who take the time out to cook a meal enjoy the praise no matter who is giving it.

I will confess to one thing, dear reader.

During my first week at university way back in 1981 I was wandering around looking for decent university societies to join when I stumbled across the “Feminist Society”. I was slightly taken aback, as were the two lads I was with. Before I knew it, I had walked up to their stall and said:

“Excuse me, can I join?”

A rather angry looking woman with bright red hair glared at me and said:

“No, you may not join.”

“Why not?” I replied.

“Isn’t it obvious?” she sneered.

“No,” I said.

By this time, my mates were chuckling.

“You’re a man,” she said, slowly and deliberately as if addressing a total imbecile with the IQ of mouldy cheese.

“THAT’S SEXIST!” I declared as loudly as I could before storming off in a huff.

Sadly, on that occasion, maybe I WAS being a little sexist – just for a laugh, you understand.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Return Of The Plastic Mancunian's Eye

One of my minor hobbies is photography (though I admit I am not very good at it). To show off my (lack of) photographic talent I started another blog, The Plastic Mancunian's Eye, at the start of 2009 showcasing the better of my efforts.

I actually maintained this until the beginning of this year.

Since then, however, I have neglected it. I know - how could I?

That's not to say that I haven't been continuing with my hobby - I have just been too lazy to post the photos.

No more!

The Plastic Mancunian's Eye is about to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

I have decided to attempt to post a photo a day for the next couple of months. Actually, I won't necessarily be able to post a photo a day for the next couple of weeks because I will be away for some of the time; nevertheless I will do my best.

I have already started with a photo from a recent trip to Lisbon.

Please wander over there and let me know what you think of my efforts. If you think they are crap, tell me why and how you would improve them - I am keen to learn from those of you who have more talent than me.

I may also pop a couple of photos from Mrs PM on there too - she is a much better photographer than I am and tries (sometimes in vain) to instruct me on how to improve upon some of my more pathetic efforts.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the photos.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cat Soup

One of the benefits of travelling is the chance to try cuisine from different countries and while some of that fare is divine, some of it is a little weird.

I thought that it might be nice to relate to you, dear reader, some of the more unusual meals I have been offered or have tried.

I am not suggesting for a second that the dishes I am about to describe are not worthy of consumption; all I am saying is that many of my compatriots would never consider eating anything other than the standard Sunday lunch of meat and two veg.

The French don’t call us Rosbifs for nothing.

I am fairly adventurous when it comes to food and I am willing to try certain things. However, there is definitely a line or two that I will not cross.

Here are some of the slightly peculiar things I have been offered or have tried.

Black Pudding

I appreciate that foreign readers may well regard some of the items on the list as fairly normal so I will start with something that originates just a few miles up the road from Manchester, in a town called Bury. Black Pudding (or Blood Sausage to give a more sinister name) and is made by cooking pig or cattle blood until it is solid enough to congeal when cooled. As disgusting as it sounds, Black Pudding is actually surprisingly tasty and is an almost essential part of a traditional English Breakfast.


I’ve eaten haggis – once! I won’t eat it again, that’s for sure, but not for the obvious reason. If you don’t already know, haggis is a traditional Scottish dish consisting of sheep’s innards minced with onions, suet, oatmeal and spices and then stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled for a few hours. It doesn’t sound very appetising does it? And to be fair it isn’t. It wasn’t the taste of it that I disliked; it was dry and stodgy and a real chore to eat. I’m sure that there are loads of people in Britain who love it – it’s just not for me.


I’ve been offered snails on numerous occasions in Europe and I find the thought of eating a gastropod that carries its own house around a truly revolting prospect. I have refused. I see snails and slugs frequently and they leave a disgusting slimy trail wherever they go. I’m sure that they are edible but I fear that I might throw up if one were to manage to find its way into my mouth.


“You can’t eat Skippy,” said Mrs PM with a look of horror on her face when I ordered a kangaroo steak in Coff’s Harbour, Australia.

“Why not?” I asked. “It’s on the menu.”

“That’s beside the point,” she replied.

She glared at me when the food arrived and refused when I offered her a taste. At first I thought she was joking but she was deadly serious. I didn’t know that she had a soft spot for kangaroos. Sadly, I wasn’t impressed by the taste; it reminded me of liver and I’m not a huge fan of that at all.


In South Africa, I was amazed to find crocodile on the menu and initially I was not keen to try it at all. I somehow found courage and crossed a line. And I was very pleased that I did. Crocodile is strange yet totally edible. Some of my work colleagues were intrigued so I gave them a taste – they agreed with me. Others simply watched in disgust.


I tried oysters in Hong Kong. Why? Because I was under the impression that it was a sophisticated thing to do. I was in sophisticated company and I didn’t want to show myself up. So I tried an oyster and almost spat the revolting thing over my managing director. It was utterly disgusting and I was so repulsed by it that I had to go for a walk and take deep breaths before returning to the table. Never again.


In China, anything is game for food. I adore Chinese food but when I was offered “Gou” I refused to order it until they told me what it was. Thankfully my hosts translated and I was spared the humiliation of eating a pet without realising it. I could never eat a dog.

Cat Soup

Likewise a cat. Again in China I saw Cat Soup on the menu and imagined the worst. How could anybody eat a cat, let alone turn it into soup? Even the thought of it makes me wince.

Frogs Legs

Mrs PM and I visited a French restaurant in Manchester and as soon as I saw Frogs Legs on the menu I just had to try it. The thought of eating any part of a frog used to make me feel ill but Mrs PM offered to take over if I didn’t like them. And surprisingly I did like them. I hate to be predictable but I honestly think that they really do taste like chicken, even though their appearance can be a little unappealing. Since that day I have tried Frogs Legs a couple of other times, both in China.

Thousand Year Old Eggs

A Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong offered Thousand Year Old Eggs as a hors d’oeuvre. It looked repulsive – a dark green yolk in clear brown goo. When I put it in my mouth, I said to a colleague: “Mmm this tastes just like egg!”.

A second later the real taste hit me. It was like eating a solid fart. It was utterly revolting and tasted worse than it looked. I’ve never eaten one since.


At university, a student I used to live with was trying to impress his new girlfriend by cooking her a meal. His starter was caviar. I strolled into the dining room just as they were sitting down to eat. “Is that caviar?” I asked incredulously. How could he afford such luxury on a student grant? I was clearly being an irritating spare part so in order to make me leave him in peace, he offered me some on a cracker. Caviar looks like fish shit, dear reader, and I can tell you now, if you haven’t tried it, caviar tastes like fish shit too.


I know that I’ve moaned about eating cat and dog but thankfully I don’t regard horses as pets. On a trip to Zurich, an ex-pat friend of mine suggested that I try “pferde”. My German isn’t brilliant but that is one word I knew.

“Are you suggesting that I literally eat a horse?” I said.

“Yes,” he replied. “You can get a decent horse steak in the restaurant in your hotel.”

Curiosity got the better of me and I ordered it with mild trepidation. And I loved it. I apologise in advance to any compatriots who are revolted by the fact that I have consumed horse; all I have to say to you is that you need to try it. It is wonderful.


I was in a Dutch restaurant in Amsterdam with a Belgian colleague and he was helping me to translate the menu (which wasn’t in English – a rare occurrence in Holland).

“What’s that?” I asked.

“I don’t know the English,” he said. “It is Big Bird.”

“Like Sesame Street?” I asked

“No,” he replied.

I took a chance and ordered it – and it was delicious. I discovered what it was on my return to England and have since had ostrich in Switzerland.


On my recent trip to China, I was asked by my Chinese hosts what kind of food I didn’t like. “I will eat anything apart from dog, cat, gastropods or anything with more than four legs; oh and no snakes either.”

They laughed and respected my wishes. Why was I so wary? Because on previous trips I have seen and been offered all manner of insect as part of a Chinese banquet. I have watched my Chinese friends eating large insects and small insects and I am sorry to say that I felt like running away.

To be fair, though, I have eaten one creature with more than four legs; octopus. And very nice it was too.

That’s it for now, dear reader – in fact I think it’s more than enough.

I would be genuinely interested to hear about strange things you may have eaten and even whether you consider the delicacies I have mentioned to be normal fare. Also, if you are not British, what do you think of our cuisine? You can be as honest as you like (I have been told many times what people think of British cooking).

I’m off for a curry now – how traditionally British can you get?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

There's Something Weird Going On In My Head

Today as I left work, my mind wandered to a weird place. I don’t even recall why it went there or how it got there. All I know is that it found an indescribable something there.

I have no idea what it was, but it manifested itself in a really strange way; as I was walking down the stairs I found myself singing this:

I wasn’t just singing it – I was singing it loudly and accompanying myself with whistling.

Thankfully nobody heard me, apart from perhaps the security guard (who will now keep a very close eye on me). As soon as I realised what was happening I started to question my sanity and asked myself one simple question:

“Where in the name of Thor’s Hammer did THAT come from?”

Why was I singing an old Tom Jones song? I don’t even like the song (though I am secretly worried that a weird part of me DOES like it).

Does this ever happen to you?

It happens to me all of the time. I can find myself wandering through the city centre and my mind just vanishes into realms unknown, sometimes with music (and usually crap music at that).

Thankfully my mind leaves behind the autopilot; you know – the device that kicks in when you are drunk and somehow gets you home (via the beer scooter or whatever).

The result is a zombie-like imbecile wandering around Manchester heading vaguely towards a shop but with no concept of his surroundings, who might be watching and most importantly, what he might actually be saying or singing.

I must look like a total dope.

I’ve heard the phrase:

“I’m sorry! I was miles away.”

I tend to say:

“I’m sorry! I was light years away fighting an intergalactic war accompanied by Lady Ga Ga and her poker face.”

Sometimes, I have even found myself openly cringing such is the weirdness of my mind’s odd location. Once my mind vanished into my past as I was walking through the city and it chanced upon the time when I flew over the handlebars of a bike and cracked my front tooth on the road. The feeling of enamel hitting concrete resonated through my head and I found myself saying:


Sadly, I realised that I was walking past innocent and unprepared Mancunians who presumably thought that I was expressing revulsion for their appearance or odour. I’m surprised I wasn’t whacked. And of course I apologised unreservedly for any offence that might have been caused.

“I’m sorry!” I said. “I was decades in the past!”

I hope that I am not the only person inflicted with this problem. I have just realised that by confessing to this to you, dear reader, I might lead you to believe that I am a nutter. Imagine if I really am the only person who finds himself lost in his own mind while in a crowd of people.

“Er – sorry to tell you, Dave, but I don’t know anybody whose mind wanders like that.”

Writing blog posts about such things is dangerous, dear reader. You might be thinking:

“Who is this bloody idiot?”

Thankfully, I know of others who have the same problem so I feel that I can confide in you. I know for a fact that Mrs PM has the same problem – only far worse.

I’ve lost count of the number of times she has been so lost in her own thoughts that she has driven to work when she has meant to just pop to the shops.

If I ask her for a lift to work I have to constantly remind her that I am in the car.

“Why are you heading down the motorway? You’re supposed to be giving me a lift.”

The phrase she uses is:

“I’m sorry! I was away with the fairies.”

And I guess she probably was (as opposed to me flying a space ship into the oncoming Tharg war fleet with Doris Day serenading me as my co-pilot.).

So, if you see a gormless man walking around Manchester singing a truly horrific song like:

please be kind and tell me.

Better still, dear reader, please put my mind at rest and confess if the same thing happens to you.

You can lie if you want.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

It Only Takes A Minute

Last week I arrived back home from a holiday in Bodrum, Turkey.

In Turkey I was happy.

In Turkey I was relaxed.

On Wednesday I went to work. I logged in and opened my emails and found approximately one gazillion of the bloody things all of which were fighting each other for my attention.

It took a minute for me to succumb to stress. It took another minute for the anger bug to bite me on the arse.

It was as if I hadn’t been away at all. Sitting there at my desk I found myself pining for the sunshine, begging for the beach and missing those lazy days by the pool.

One day I shall dwell on why my job pisses me off but for this post, I shall endeavour to be positive and reminisce about our holiday.

I had never been to Turkey before so I was really excited about visiting a new country. I would have preferred to have travelled around a little and experienced the less commercial aspects of the country but both Mrs PM and I were in desperate need of a lot of rest and relaxation. The lure of the tourist traps, beaches, swimming pools and sunshine were too much to bear.

I won’t bore you with the daily details of our holiday but I will emphasize some of the more memorable experiences (well as memorable as a week long package holiday by the sea can allow).

Here are some of the highlights:

(1) Our hotel was full of Turks so we were spared the usual British home from home experience that a lot of my compatriots feel they need to make their holiday special. Barely a word of English was spoken, allowing us to get a small taste of being in a foreign land. The Turkish holiday makers were keen to have fun though and the pool area was a hive of activity with Turkish holiday reps dragging people up to perform silly dances, sing silly songs and generally have fun. We watched with amusement as the reps performed a Turkish song similar to Agadoo with a comparable silly dance. Mrs PM was tempted to join in but resisted at the last minute.

(2) It was hot – very hot – bordering on being too hot. Our hotel was at the top of a hill and on the first day we embarked on a massive walk exploring the local town before climbing the hill back to our hotel when we had had enough. We ended up slightly lost and the hill was extremely steep. By the time we found our way to the hotel we were both almost dead. Mrs PM almost threw up and I flopped onto a chair in the hotel bar, barely able to say “water”. We sat there for twenty minutes sipping water supplied by a very kind barman with sweat pouring off our bodies. We decided that we would take taxis from that point on.

(3) Turkey is the first Muslim country I have visited and at one point we were enjoying the sunset over Bodrum Harbour when the signal for prayers came from the local mosque. I was fascinated by this. Turkey seems to be quite relaxed when it comes to religion and while there might be a few devout Muslims, most people carried on with their business.

(4) The food was brilliant. I had to try a Donner Kebab and it arrived, sizzling on a hotplate. It was wonderful. Turks love their food and I was very impressed with the cuisine generally. There wasn’t a single meal that I didn’t enjoy.

(5) Turkish men are very friendly and very forward, particularly with women. On the first night we were enticed into an open air bar and within five minutes a waiter had demonstrated to me how Turkish men greet each other. He kissed me on each cheek (he needed a shave) and within seconds he was holding Mrs PM’s hands and hugging her. He offered free drinks to the “young, romantic and sexy couple”. Mrs PM loved the attention but I wondered whether he was very short sighted, describing me as “sexy”. We were offered free shooters in this bar and a few others too. Thankfully we were fairly sensible about it and only had a mild hangover the next day (not a good idea in the heat). Most restaurants and bars we visited were similar with the waiters and owners offering us various things “on the house” (like Apple Tea, Raki and even a small fish in one place). Wonderful hospitality.

(6) A couple of the friendly waiters were quite surprised to discover that I was forty eight years old. One guy in particular said I looked about thirty two. What a charmer he was.

(7) We embarked upon a boat trip that was extremely good fun. There was “free beer” available but it was so weak that I stuck to coke. The food, however, was very good and we were able to plunge off the boot into the Aegean Sea to cool down. The highlight was watching the Turkish crew performing their traditional Turkish dancing on the top deck of the boat while other passing boats watched with a mixture of fascination and enjoyment. A very nice day.

Our original plan had been to see some of the local sights, particularly places like Ephesus. Sadly after the first day we decided that it was simply too hot to spend six hours travelling to the place and another three hours walking around. In a sense, I’m glad for two reasons.

First, it gave me a chance to really relax, spending days by the pool, reading, listening to music and swimming.

Second, it gives us an excuse to go back. The next time we go, our destination will be somewhere closer to Ephesus or Izmir. It also makes sense to go when it is a little cooler, perhaps in May or September.

I am quite excited at the prospect of visiting Istanbul also – perhaps that’s yet another trip.

To summarise, Turkey is a great place. It is relatively cheap, very friendly, as excellent food and there is a lot to see and do.

I would recommend it.

Now then, I have to make inroads into this huge heap of jobs that have piled up.

If you can read the future, dear reader, and are willing to share next week’s lottery numbers with me I would be most grateful. In the meantime I shall post a few photos on my photo blog when I get round to it.

Still, every cloud has a silver lining - we're off to Ibiza in a few weeks - and I can't wait!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Faceless 4th Of July Meme

I may have given the impression that I don’t like memes when I last attempted one. That is not true – as long as the questions are not daft. The truth is, they pass the time and give me just enough ideas to be mildly creative to post something when I am too lazy to write my usual nonsense.

Here is another one, dear reader, from Sunday Stealing and this one has been badged “The Faceless Fourth of July Meme”, which will only really mean anything to American readers.

We don’t have an Independence Day in the UK – we’ve always been independent – apart from when the Vikings invaded – and the Romans – and the Normans. In fact, I’m probably descended from such an invader myself (having blonde hair and blue eyes would make me a bit of a Viking I suppose).

Anyway, I’m babbling now so without further ado, here is the meme.

1. Last movie you saw in a theatre?

I’m sure that I answered this one recently. One of the minor irritants about these memes is that the same questions seem to crop up. I think in future I might just omit them. Anyway, I apologise if I am repeating myself here but the last film I saw at the cinema was Thor. I like all that superhero nonsense.

2. What book are you reading?

Thanks for reminding me to update the “currently reading” bit of my blog. I have taken a chance and started another space opera, this time by an author I have never heard of. The book is called “Seeds of Earth” and is by a guy called Michael Cobley (no relation to Uncle Tom as far as I am aware). So far it is okay - but I have only just started it and cannot be too critical after just fifty pages.

3. Favourite board game?

That’s a good question. I don’t play board games much these days but in the past I have enjoyed “Sorry” (a good game to play with kids) and “Monopoly”. I usually win because I am so good at board games. I am modest too.

4. Favourite magazine?

The magazine I enjoy most at the moment is “Classic Rock”. Thanks to that magazine I have discovered quite a few new bands and it keeps me up to date with the latest releases and news about my favourite bands, plus information about tour dates etc. as well as reviews. It is an all round cracking read. This month’s edition has an interesting article on the making of the the “Use Your Illusion” albums by Guns ’n’ Roses.

5. Favourite smells?

There are so many to choose from and most of them involve cooking. I love the smell of sizzling bacon and grilling steak on a barbecue.

6. Favourite sounds?

Any music by my favourite bands.

7. Worst feeling in the world?

When I am in pain or when somebody I love is in pain of any kind.

8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?

It depends on what day it is. On Monday to Friday it is “Oh shit! Work again!!”. On Saturday and Sunday it is “Time for a full English breakfast and a chance to embrace my love of the smell of sizzling bacon.”

9. Favourite fast food place?

The local fish and chip shop.

10. What’s under your bed?

Nothing – there is absolutely no room. Actually that’s not quite true – there is a carpet under my bed.

11. Finish this statement. “If I had lot of money I’d….?

“…book a round the world trip, flying business class all the way and staying in the best suites in the best hotels. I would visit as many countries as I could and write a massive travel book at the end of it.”

12. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?

I sleep with a live cat who snores and scratches me when he is hungry. Oh – and Mrs PM of course.

13. Storms – cool or scary?

Storms are brilliant. I particularly love violent thunderstorms with crazy and frequent forked lightning. I could sit and watch them all day long. In fact, I did exactly that when we went to Thailand a few years ago, as Mrs PM accidentally booked the trip in the middle of the rainy season. And boy did it rain – every single day. The storms got a little too much after two days, though and I was thoroughly bored watching lightning and listening to thunder.

14. Favourite drink?

Tea, beer and grapefruit juice. That’s separate and not together in some weird cocktail. I think if somebody were to present such a drink to me I would have to name it – “Smooth Vomit” perhaps?

15. Finish this statement, “If I had the time I would….”?

“… sit down and write a book. Sadly I am ruled by procrastination the need to face psychological torture at work.”

16. If you had to dye your hair another colour, what would be your choice?

I would dye it jet black – I’ve always fancied the idea of being a Goth and that would be a start. Mrs PM would almost certainly disown me though.

17. Favourite place to relax?

On the sofa with Mrs PM, in the pub or by a swimming pool in a very hot country.

18. Name all the different cities/towns you’ve lived in?

I started life in a town called Walsall which is about ten miles north of Birmingham. I then moved to Liverpool for three years where I studied at university. After that I moved to Manchester where I lived for a year before moving to Altrincham, a small town around fourteen miles south west of Manchester. After that I moved back to Manchester and have lived there for the past thirteen years.

19. Favourite sports to watch?

My favourite sport is football but I also like Rugby Union and cricket. I occasionally watch other sports like motor racing, tennis and boxing.

20. Would you like to be born as yourself again?

I would absolutely like to be born as myself again, though I would like to have memories from my current life. I would tweak a few things to improve my life a little though, like rectifying a few mistakes and reconsidering some of my more bizarre decisions.