New Boots and Panties

“Arseholes, bastards, fucking cunts and pricks” screamed Ian Dury in  the opening line of “Plaistow Patricia” from his superb debut album “New Boots and Panties” in 1977. Was anyone offended? I don’t know, I certainly wasn’t as a 12 year old boy listening in my bedroom and turning it down so my mum couldn’t hear. Now she would have been offended but she would never have listened to Ian Dury and to my knowledge Engelbert Humperdinck never swore on any of his albums so no harm done there. That dear reader is the point, the current wave of poor souls complaining to anyone that will listen that they have been offended by what they have seen and heard needs to stop. There is a time to be offended and time to mind your own business.

The analagy I want to use is this. If I heard Gethin Jones say “fuck” on Blue Peter I would be offended. There is obviously no place for swearing on childrens television. Now, if Gethin was on “Friday Night With Jonathan Ross” and he said “fuck” I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Everyone says “fuck” on “Jonathan Ross” I know what to expect. My wife has chosen not to watch Ross because she finds him offensive, choice put into action.

Which brings me to the the infamous Ross/Brand/Sachs incident. What they did was infantile but not offensive in my view but I would choose to listen to Ross and Brand and know what to expect. There were virtually no complaints at the time it went to air and they only started pouring in when people who would never listen to Ross and Brand read about it in the press. They have no right to be offended by the report of an incident that was not intended for their ears. My 79 year old mum listens to Terry Wogan on Radio 2 because she knows what to expect, she would never listen to Ross or Brand because it’s not for her and she knows it, simple. If Terry said “I hope all my listeners over 70 die painful deaths this week” my Mum would be offended and rightly so, if Russell Brand said it she would neither know about it nor care. She loves Paul O’Grady even though he’s “one of them” (my Mum’s words) he’s perfectly safe at 5pm on Channel 4. My Mum would never watch O’Grady as Lily Savage therefore would never be offended by O’Grady’s alter ego, not her business. 

The recent furuore over Carol Thatchers “golliwog” comment, said in private, is ridiculous. I can be racist, homphobic, ageist and sexist in equal measure in my own home mostly without meaning it or really thinking it. Hand on heart who isn’t? Honestly? But I know in public where to draw the line, I know not to offend and I know that if I told an innapropriate joke in the wrong company then I deserve all the vilification that would come my way.

The Dail Mail reported today that on QI comedienne Jo Brand likened Margaret Thatchers name change to Lady Thatcher to a feminine shaving device . That is funny, approprite for the show and completely inoffensive. It has become offensive to those who will now complain because The Mail have brought it to their attention. When I have finished this post I will complain to the press authorities about the Mail persistantly telling me about things I wasn’t meant to hear. I hope you all join me.

In conclusion, if you know you don’t like something or someone, excercise your right not to watch or listen. If you enjoy Last of The Summer Wine on a Sunday night and Russ Abbott is shown full frontally naked, excercise your right to complain. If you read about something in the press that wasn’t intended for you, excercise your right to mind your own business.

As a footnote New Boots and Panties was re-issued as a tribute album a few years ago. Shane MacGowan performed an excellant version of Plaistow Patricia and Robbie Williams performed Sweet Gene Vincent. I’ve often wondered how many parents of young Robbie fans bought the album only to hear “arseholes, bastards, fucking cunts and pricks blaring out of the family stereo. Would they have the right to be offended?


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 I have decided it is time to unleash another of my verbal rhymings on the unsuspecting world. This was written about 8 years ago, when my children were 12, 8 and 3 year old twins.  The limited response to my previous effort leads me to believe that I will not be publishing my first book of verse any time soon. Enjoy.


The alarm rings at quarter to seven,

In my dreams I was in heaven,

At the sound of that bell,

I’m back into hell,

The next time for bed’s half eleven.

It’s time for brekfast with my four boys,

I step all over their toys,

Milks been spilt on the floor,

I rush for the door,

At work how I’ll long for that noise.

An hour later still stuck in the car,

I wish work wasn’t that far,

My cars overheating,

Late for a meeting,

Doing this every day is bizarre.

Eighteen messages left on my phone,

Most of them having a moan,

By the end of the day,

They’ll all go away,

I’ll deal with them all on my own.

Now it’s time for the evening repeat,

Home to my little retreat,

My wife’s at the door,

She’s cleaned up the floor,

She really is ever so sweet .

Now I’ll put all my children to bed,

It soon clears my messed up head,

On the computer,

Read Harry Potter,

I kiss each one on the head.

Cook dinner, wash up, have a shower,

If I’m quick I’ll have half an hour,

Some time for a think,

And maybe a drink,

Tell my wife how I love her.

Half eleven and now for some rest,

My day was another big test,

I musn’t grumble,

I feel so humble,

My family is the best.


 So, there’s a fat gene. There are some poor people out there who just have to look at a sausage and the weight piles on, they just have to breathe in the smell of a cooked brekfast and suddenly they’re 20 stone. Years of study, fad diets, education all for no use, there’s a fat gene. It’s Ok there’s nothing you can do. Bollocks! Whoever is peddling this myth is not telling the truth, it’s just another excuse to put alongside “big bones”, “I don’t eat much” and “I’ve tried everything”.

When did you see an Ethiopian with a fat gene? These people live on bare minimum , greed to them is 2 handfuls of rice. There is no fat gene!For your body to store fat it needs to ingest fat. Your body does not create fat out of thin air. It stores fat that it can’t digest. You eat too much!As with much of modern society we can’t pick on the fatties, we can’t tell them to stop eating, we have to understand why they eat. It’s emotional, it’s comfort eating, they can’t help it. YES THEY CAN.

I believe it starts with parents who won’t say no. No to a second packet of crisps, no to another can of Coke, no to a doughnut at bedtime. It is abuse to let a child fill themselves full of shit food and stand back and say “there’s nothing I can do”. It is just lazyness supported by the theory that children can’t be punished, criticised or told what to do. Take control early, treats should be just that, treats. To be enjoyed on occasion not a staple part of a childs diet.

Once the cycle has started, the children turn into teenagers who turn being fat into the reason why they eat. These kids are the only ones I have any sympathy for. It was their parents ineptitude that allowed the situation to get out of control and then they don’t want to say no and add to their unhappiness. Well parents if your 13 year old is overweight it’s not too late for you to put it right. But no more excuses, just get them to eat less and excercise.

Schools must take some of the blame for not encouraging excercise at an early age and allowing children to miss PE fo any excuse, excuses again. Always fucking excuses.

It could be argued that like smoking, adult obesity is a choice but it’s a choice that places an enormous strain on our health service and it just takes a change of attitude to put it right. Stop believing that nothing can be done, that it’s just the way it is. I cannot bear to see another programme with some lard arse bemoaning the fact that they’re overweight as they shove another bucket of fried chicken down their throat. Just do something about it.

There is an inspirational American television programme tucked away on Livng TV called “The Biggest Loser”.  (There is a UK version see video). It takes the fattest of American society and takes them out of their comfort zone and puts them in a house with 2 personal trainers and proper food. These people have given up, accepted a life of obesity, can barely walk. After 2 weeks of a different regime they start to train, to eat properly, to feel better and to lose weight. The downside of the show is that as in “Big Brother” a contestant is voted off every week, but the point is proved. Every contestant that leaves the house goes back to their old life and continues to lose weight. The old beliefs shattered forever by a short period of doing the right thing. The weight losses are huge and because the diet is balanced with excercise there is no flappy skin, these people lose weight an remain toned. The transformations are astonishing and absolute proof that ANYONE CAN LOSE WEIGHT. Take control of your lives, believe it can change, watch “The Biggest Loser” and be inspired.

Do you know a fat person? Do them a favour, be honest, tell them they’re fat, tell them to take control and tell them to stop making excuses. Did you know there’s a thin gene in there trying to get out!