Category Archives: Hitherto repressed memories of embarrassment

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.