When I had a close encounter in a Hendon Park

So I was walking back home from the pub through a North London park and I was feeling great. I was 21, I was ginger and BOY could I hold my drink. Back then I downed pints of Courage Best with side orders of Johnny Walker and I never once committed any of the forbidden “three ps”, those being pissing, puking and passing out. (Mind I would have killed to do the first one but a shy bladder dictated otherwise.) Nor were my faculties impaired. I could have landed a Boeing, performed keyhole surgery or done that thing where you guide a hoop over a wire without setting the alarm off. I was ROCKING, man!

The first danger sign should have been that the park wasn’t situated between the pub and where I lived. I cared nothing for that as I strutted through a deserted children’s playground aged 21, with my adult life ahead of me and holding my booze like a pro. Then I hit the force field. The one that aliens had constructed in a Hendon park specifically to inconvenience me. I tried the subtle approach twice but it wouldn’t let me tiptoe through so I went like a rugby prop and ran straight at it. I rebounded, fell backwards and went to sleep. The last thing I remember is a young couple fair killing themselves laughing.

That’s where I spent the night until the dawn chorus woke me up. It was a beautiful summer morning: the blackbirds were singing; the rabbits were frolicking. And I was lying in the middle of a tennis court.

The day I was traumatised by Brian Blessed’s Bollocks

Laughter is assuredly not the best medicine when you’re 17, when you’re sitting beside a stern English teacher and when you can’t stop doing it through all five hours of Hamlet. It’s more like castor oil or a course of leeches. Couldn’t help it. If the RSC didn’t want people to laugh they shouldn’t have dressed the male cast in codpieces. Least of all Brian Blessed. Brian Blessed’s codpiece was – and you’d expect nothing less – humongous. Not only that but every time he shouted it did that thing where the doctor tells you to cough and your balls bounce. It was an exact indicator of the bellowing thespian’s volume: the louder he shouted the higher the codpiece bounced until in a crucial moment in Act III Scene ii it was smacking off his navel. I giggled involuntarily through five hours of this with the teacher beside me mentally weighing up whether come Monday to administer lines or detention or to go old-school and hit me with a rugby boot. What could I do? Brian Blessed was and is the world’s shoutiest actor, he was playing Claudius who’s in all the bastarding play from beginning to end and all the time his massive codpiece was functioning as a ball-sack VU meter. Laughter the best medicine? I’d say no because it’s given me bollock-themed PTSD. I can’t eat lychees, Brian Blessed’s testes visit me in my dreams and I come out in hives every time I see a wrecking ball.



Welcome to the new incarnation of Alea Jacta Est, Gareth Thomas’ Asterix site for Grown ups. This website was originally published in September 2000 and then reviewed all the books up until  Asterix and Obelix All At Sea.  That is quite a poor book and the omens were not great that matters would improve. However the addition of new creative blood in the writing and illustration has changed all that. The two recent Asterix adventures written by Jean-Yvres Ferri and illustrated by Didier Conrad capture some of Goscinny and Uderzo’s magic from the 60s/70s glory days. They’re not there yet, but the Asterix future is looking much rosier than it was when we waited five years for a new story and what we got was Asterix and the Actress.

People were quite generous with their comments on the previous site and indeed the first comment of all came from Rob Shearman, later to show the world how a Dalek story should be written during the 2005 Doctor Who Series. I would of course appreciate any comments for good or bad on the new site, either via this blog or  the contact form. I’m still grasping about with WordPress, so any tips to make this site look less rudimentary will be gratefully received.

If you like this site please tell your friends, which of course means more than it does that back in 2000 when there was no such thing as social media. If you wish to exchange links please contact me.

The site is entirely non-commercial and meant for entertainment purposes only.