Who will fall off the treadmill first?

So the drunken debauchery of Christmas is over and next we’ll face New Year’s Eve and the inevitable reflection of another trip around the sun.

‘Things will be different this year’ they cry. ‘We’ll lose weight, eat healthier, promise to cut down our drinking and kick the fags into touch.’

They’ll start with the best intentions. They’ll take advantage of reduced price gym memberships and swear to their God that they will attend religiously. ‘It’s a new me’. They’ll announce to everyone willing to listen.

The consumer will cut down on consuming. They’ll buy green vegetables and promise to cook healthier. And they will. At first.

But the advertising machine is hard to resist. It’s an insistent voice constantly whispering in your ear and dangling temptations under your noses.

Valentine’s Day will see the object of your affection stuffing chocolates into their face and then there’s the obligatory overpriced romantic meal for two at a ridiculously overbooked restaurant.

Then Easter will hop along with calorie choked chocolate eggs that simply must be devoured or Jesus’s sacrifice means nothing. And the greens will be left to rot.

Somewhere down the line all those promises to get healthy and stay that way will waddle out the door belching and breathing heavy, promising they’ll do it ‘next year’ instead.

The only thing the gym membership will wear away is the bank account. Fatter and poorer the consumer will start to ‘comfort eat’. And the adverts will pour more delicious snacks in front of their eyes.

They’ll fall into the routine of getting a takeaway instead of cooking something. And before you know it, it will be Christmas again and everyone will say, well it’s only once a year, indulge yourself.

This year, shun the gym. It’s a lot of effort and money for very little return. Go for a walk. If you feel you must, go for a run. Get the heart pumping for an hour a day at least.

Something simple.

It’s easier to maintain than a rigorous workout in an expensive gym and gets some fresh air in your lungs rather than breathing in great lungfulls of sweaty body odour from someone who has been wobbling on the treadmill for 20 minutes.

Since I started my ‘one hour’ walks I’ve lost over 5 stone in total. I’ve cut out sugar. And only eaten carbohydrates after exercise to build up stores of depleted energy. And I feel better than I have for decades.

When I get down below my target weight I may even worry the pavement again with a turn of speed – I don’t want to break my knees or the pavement with my excess weight.

But I’m doing it slowly.

And without ‘buying my fitness’ with a gym membership. Or a half-hearted promise on New Year’s Eve.

 

 

‘I now pronounce you man and wi-fi’

It was a simple service. I was happy. I remember taking the vows and signing the contract. At first it was magical. Days and nights became one. It didn’t matter.

We spent long nights communicating into the early hours. Our relationship was unlimited. We shared everything. Intimate moments tears, sorrow, happiness joy and laughter. We were inseperable.

Then something went wrong. I’m not sure what. She decided that everything was just too much effort. I’d be talking to her and she just wasn’t listening. She began to fade in and out of conversations as if she wasn’t interested.

Long winding revelations which I had spent time crafting were lost. Thoughts and feelings, which although could be re-created, were never the same because they weren’t spontaneous or from the heart – they were just grudgingly rebuilt from shards of memory.

I thought it was just a phase. Something that we could get over together but her mind had drifted elsewhere. She was paying attention to other people in the street. I felt deserted.

Then I started to leave the flat and use other wi-fi. If she wasn’t going to pay attention to my needs then I would find someone else who could give me all the things I needed. Someone who could download a film and not ask me stupid questions all the way through. Someone who didn’t switch off halfway through.

I’m ashamed to admit it but I went to Starbucks and spent hours revealing my deepest thoughts and feelings to their wi-fi. Pubs were sympathetic listeners too. They would do things that my wi-fi at home wouldn’t. Some just a little more adventurous.

It was inevitable that things drifted apart. I even talked to her parent company about her quirks and idisyncracies but they were little help. They told me that nothing was wrong even though it was evident that our relationship was irretrievably lost and the connection we once had lay in tatters on the ground.

With a heavy heart I severed all links with her and moved on. It still hurts to think of her and the relationship we once had but I know that this is for the best.

I can carry on doing what I love to do and she can find someone new who can be less demanding on her time and abilities to perform.

I’ve moved on. I hope she can too. But I know she doesn’t move that fast.

 

 

 

I love Christmas

Surprising really.

You’d think an anti-social, misanthropic, curmudgeon like me would be bah-humbugging his way around town, scowling at Christmas decorations and resenting the ‘commercialism’ of another religious festival.

Well, I’m not. I’m looking forward to the festivities, Christmas, New Year’s and all the days inbetween. It’s one of the greatest delights of the year for me.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas – I don’t agree with all this ‘Happy Holidays’ nonsense, it’s Christmas, get over it. Celebrate it for what it is and be done with all the politically correct ‘wordage’ that springs up around it.

What makes it good for me? I mean after all I will be working over Christmas inbetween a few libations and a few meet-ups with old friends and long walks to burn off a few excessive calories.

What I love about Christmas is that a great number of people leave London. They stop littering the highways and pathways with their presence.

They go to visit their folks somewhere in another part of the country and leave London to the people who appreciate a Christmas in the capital.

There’s nothing like walking down a street at night and watching all the twinkling lights without being jostled by someone who is rushing to get to a meeting and to hell with anyone in their path.

You can wander from place to place, unmolested. The other people who stay in London are also surprisingly absent. They’ve stocked their larders, topped-up their drinks cabinets and settled down in front of the goggle-box for some good old-fashioned ‘Christmas telly’.

It’s all very peaceful. Especially on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The parking area near my flat may have one or two cars left but nothing like a normal day.

While the neighbours have left the neighbourhood I can turn up the Marshall amp and blast out a few tunes without worrying about upsetting next door – they’re a delicate lot and loud nosies tend to spook them.

While other people will be jingling their bells I will be clanging out a few power chords and loving every minute.

So, yes I love Christmas. And I will be enjoying it in my own special way.  It’s just not the same way everyone else does.

 

 

The road to nowhere – South London

It was at this time of year that not having a car was a real benefit. Long lines of disgruntled motorists sat twiddling their thumbs while they waited for junctions and roadways to magically unclog themselves and allow them through.

He wasn’t sure where all the traffic had come from. Maybe the cars reproduced. Maybe they were owned by aliens Christmas shopping from other planets. They were spaceships that transmogrified into motor cars as part of their camouflage as soon as they hit Earth’s atmosphere.

Whatever the reason, they were everywhere, choking up the roads and arteries of South London like a blocked drain. Someone, somewhere needed to pour some Mr Muscle high strength drain cleaner through the whole system. No one was going anywhere.

Well, they weren’t going anywhere physically. As they sat motionless in their vehicles they were slowly going around the bend. No sooner had a traffic light blinked to green it seemed to blink back to red far too quickly.

Dribbles of traffic seeped through the clogged junctions then reclogged it again. Drivers honked frustrated at the wall of slow-moving metal that never ended.

People selling Christmas trees on the side of the road watched with confusion as this never ending metal wall drifted and stopped. Drifted and stopped. They could see words mouthed in anger and annoyance through the windscreens and side door windows. Some definitely ‘blue’ in nature.

Buses packed with people were stranded in the middle of this. Drivers stared helplessly as passengers hit the emergency door open button and tried their luck as pedestrians. The driver wasn”t supposed to let them out between stops but once they knew where the ‘door open’ button was they tended to open it without the driver’s consent. And to hell with the dangers of stepping out into traffic.

‘What’s the danger anyway, nothing was moving’. Nothing except a few motorcycles who were small enough to weave through the immobilised traffic and sneak forward on their journey.

Jack watched as the cars performed their cacophonic symphony on their horns and sat still waiting for their turn to drip through another blockage.

He walked at a normal pace. Not too fast. Not too slow and still managed to travel further than all these modern technological wonders.

As he ambled passed the BMW and the Porsche, and the Ferrari, he smiled to himself.’ 0-60 in 5 seconds. Really. You must show me how that works sometime’.

Then he changed hands on his Sainsbury’s shopping bags and carried on walking slowly but surely home. He was in no hurry. And neither was anyone else it seemed.

Jack Walker is the anti-hero of Nothing Important Happened Today by Mark Davies, now available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nothing-Important-Happened-Today-Davies/dp/1540647889/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481557588&sr=1-1&keywords=mark+davies

 

Kill all the Christmas drinkers, fa-la-la la-la la-la-la laaaaa!

Where were they last month? Or the month before? They were all at home. But as soon as December reared its ugly head they had suddenly decided to clutter up the local pubs and more importantly, the bar area with their indecisiveness.

Jack stood at the back of one such group now. Their yuletide revellry and their flushed faces beaming with the alcohol coursing through their previously sober extremities.

They were all happy. Which annoyed Jack. They were loud. Which annoyed Jack even more. And they couldn’t decide what they wanted to drink. Which had Jack on the verge of apoplectic rage.

They had all wandered to the bar purposefully. They hadn’t suddenly been surprised to find themselves there, they had made a conscious decision to be there and had all the time in the world to decide what they wanted before they got to the bartender.

“Are you having a Seafarer’s Peter, or a London Pride?”

“I can’t decide, have they got a Speckled Hen on draught?”

“No, only in bottles.”

“What about you Amanda, Prosecco or a large glass of the House white?”

“No, I fancy a cocktail, after all it is Christmas. If you can’t treat yourself once in a while…?”

From his position behind the group Jack heard every drink listed in slow detail as the bartender smiled on patiently waiting for the four people to reach a decision.

Jack could have sworn they went across every bar pump and optic and then started to mix and match with other vexing concoctions.

Finally he heard the men fix on a pint of Marston’s Pedigree each while the giggly women plumped for a bottle of Becks and a Gin and tonic. It had to be slimline tonic though. Well, wouldn’t it just.

“Anything else?” The bartender asked secretly hoping that they had done with him and he could move away.

“Anybody fancy any crisps?” Amanda asked the annoying little group.

“What flavours have they got?” The other girl asked cheerily

Jack’s eyes rolled up into the back of his skull as he watched the bartender list the contents of the boxes which they could all plainly see at the back of the bar.

With drinks and crisps in hand the annoying little group paid everything and received their change. Hopefully, Jack began to hop from one foot to the other slightly. He was next. He would finally be served. He could slake his thirst and be rid of these annoyances.

The little group stood their ground. Not content with hogging the bartender, they now stood in the way of anyone else who wanted to be served.

“Excuse me, can I get to the bar please?” Jack asked politely.

“Oh, suppose so.” Peter said rudely as if Jack had asked them to kill their first-born and offer it up to God on a mountain-top.

“What can I get you?” The bartender asked Jack politely and breezily, unaffected by the annoying little group.

“Drunk.” Jack replied

 

Jack Walker is the fucked-off and exceedingly frustrated ant-hero of ‘Nothing Important Happened Today’ by Mark Davies, now available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nothing-Important-Happened-Today-Davies/dp/1540647889/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481300349&sr=1-1&keywords=mark+davies

 

 

 

Seated passengers: 32. Moronic oblivious passengers: 14

It didn’t matter if there were people at the bus stop shivering in the pouring rain. Once they changed from cold, soggy pedestrians into warm, dripping passengers they stopped caring about anything.

They had made it onto the bus and that was the end of it. The people behind them could go hang. It didn’t matter if they blocked the bus aisle. Nothing else mattered except that they were on and they could check their iPhones without getting them wet.

‘Will passengers please move down inside the bus?’ The smooth electronic female voice implored the blockages. Even the bus dot matrix screen echoed the sentiment for people who were hard of hearing.

It was to no avail. Not one person budged. There were seats at the back of the bus and even standing room for a few more people who desperately needed shelter from the rain but no one paid the situation any mind.

Jack was frustrated. From his position in the recess where prams and wheelchairs could be stowed, he watched as the people ignored the bus driver’s electronic pleas.

People were trying to cram themselves on the bus at the front doors and looking longingly at all the free space that was there for the taking. If only they could get past this wall of deaf flesh that was blocking their path.

‘Will passengers please move down inside the bus?’ The voice purred again as the desperate looks from the people at the door begged for entry onto the warm bus.

‘Typical’, Jack thought. ‘No regard for anyone else. They’re alright so forget about the people outside getting waterlogged’.

‘Will passengers please move down inside the bus?’ The voice said again and Jack was getting more and more frustrated. This particular driver wouldn’t move the bus until all the people were out of the way of the bus’ doors and his wing mirrors.

There was only one thing for it.

“WILL YOU MOVE DOWN INSIDE THE BUS, PLEASE? Jack blared to the people in front of him who were disregarding every message. One woman jumped so high she nearly smashed her head on the roof of the bus.

No one had expected a foghorn of a voice could come from one man. Staring hate and fear at him, the passengers grumpily shuffled slowly down the bus and filled the empty spaces.

The last few people at the bus stop managed to get on the now crowded bus and thanked the driver. Who closed the doors and set off with the characteristic jolt of a heavy footed attack on the accelerator.

They were moving at least. That was one thing. Next, Jack would have to suffer the moaning ‘excuse mes’ of people who were trying to wriggle their way off the bus at the next five stops.

Tomorrow he would walk home. Even if it was slinging molten rocks from the sky. He wasn’t sure he could face another tedious repeat of the same old story.

It was at this point he felt sorry for the driver. How many times did he have to go through the same old rigmarole? How on earth did he stop himself from driving the bus into a brick wall at great speed and killing all these people?

Jack admired his restraint. If he had been driving, all these people would be dead or dying after a fatal collision.

In the end it would serve no purpose. He was sure there was another bus behind suffering the same problems as this one.

Buses might come in threes but idiot passengers came in their millions.

Jack Walker is the frustrated and annoyed anti-hero of Nothing Important Happened Today by Mark Davies, now available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nothing-Important-Happened-Today-Davies/dp/1540647889/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481121152&sr=8-1&keywords=Mark+davies+Nothing+important+happened+today

30th November 2016. Nothing Important Happened Today

So, the first book’s finished. Now, I just have to finish writing the second one. Start fleshing out the third and finish planning the fourth.

(Then I have the two horror ideas I want to develop; and the book of short stories.)

The problem with having ideas for novels is you can write them in three months but all the mucking about that surrounds them is monumental.

My book was published on 30th November 2016, but the road to that publication date has been fraught with difficulties. Rewrites aplenty. Going backwards and forwards making sure all the verbal links still work.

Sometimes I have gone through the book and wanted to change it. One time I even rewrote the first chapter because it was too angst ridden. It needed humour.

At the end of the writing and rewriting process I became so ‘word blind’ I even started to believe the American spell-check on my machine.

Somewhere down the line though, you have to relinquish control. Leave it to the experts. And they did a marvellous job. They ferreted out some of my more heinous mistakes and even corrected a spelling mistake which was intended.

They were absolute gems and after all their corrections I made another pass at it to make sure everything was ticketty-boo.

The designers were amazing and helpful and gave my initial idea a dark and more omninous look which I love. I never imagined it could look so good.

Even the marketers did a fantastic write-up based on my synopsis – by this time I knew the story backwards and probably would enjoy it that way just for the sheer novelty value.

This week I am having a rest from writing. This blog is, as some people pointed out, just my musings. Nothing more. I don’t have to get my character from A to B to C  and so on, linguistically.

It’s been ‘frickin’ hard work and possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. But it’s always been something I wanted to do. So, it’s done.

My next ambition is to write a song; the music and the lyrics and even play on the damn thing. But I might save that task for next year, now. I’m pooped.

Tonight I am going to the pub to have a few pints of Guinness and have a chin-wag without this annoying fictional character demanding my attention.