Dude! Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude!

Liverpool’s defence sucks, dude. I mean, jislaik dude, I could drive a double-decker bus between our center halves and they still wouldn’t notice, dude.

I mean, really dude, our defence is so bad, we gave Arshavin the ball so much against Arsenal, dude must have felt like he was at tennis practice and that machine was lobbing balls over the net at him, dude.

Dude, we can’t expect to win any titles with our defenders (and defensive mids) giving the ball away so easily, dude. It’s all well and good having a lively and enthusiastic attack, but without a vigorous and robust defence you’re nothing, dude.

But dude, seriously dude, that Arshavin is something special innit?

But Torres is king, dude. Torres is king.

If you don’t know, now you know

People are complex organisms. Human beings have free will, and they make their own choices. Some are good, some are bad, some are downright eeeveel, but they’re choices. I’m all for religion, worship in whatever form it comes in, faith to whatever deity or principal someone chooses. When one person or group’s specific moral leanings begin to encroach on the rights, beliefs or thoughts of others, I have a problem. People are free to choose what they believe in, and only when their actions contradict societal norms, then their society can sanction them accordingly.

Read: not everyone should be Christian, Jew, Muslim, hindu or whatever. People can choose. Stop fighting about it.

I don’t mind pets. Feel free to have your dog, cat, fish, alligator or nine-metre snake. When your pet then decides to shit, vomit, piss, bite, sting, kill, eat or otherwise screw up another person’s life, maybe it’s time to consider doing what other lonely people do. Have a fucking baby.

Read: keep your dog in your yard, dammit.

Life is for living. The world is one big amusement park, and we need to learn to treat it like one. There are challenges, trials, but all leading to boundless joy and wonder. Don’t look for monsters in every closet and hoods around every corner. Live a little.

Read: don’t be afraid to try new things, new people.

Love exists. Just because someone hurt you before doesn’t mean the next person will fuck you over as well. You have to believe in the power of the human spirit; you have to believe in people. In feelings. Follow your heart – love will pass you by if you think all men are dogs and all women whores. Take a chance, your heart will thank you for it.

Read: go ahead, open yourself up.

People are fallible, and they make mistakes. A moment of stupidity does not a villain make. Learn to appreciate that and you’ll see people for who they are …  simple creatures. Give them a chance.

Read: forgive, and you’ll be all the better for it.

That’s me, and those are my principles. If anything is ever said about me, let it be that I lived my life, loved my women and took my chances. Staying true to yourself is about the best any of us can ever do, and I think I’ve done that.

Just thought you should know.

A fool and his money

Roman Abramovich calls Chelsea Football Club a “project”, an undertaking that’s been jeopardised by one Luiz Felipe Scolari. So he’s fired him.

The best football coach in the world. After seven months.

They brought him in to rescue that club from the disaster that was Toad of Toad Hall (aka Avram Grant) and promised him money and time to build the squad in his own image. Not so much.

You have to wonder exactly what Chelsea are trying to achieve; you don’t get a new manager in and ask him to start winning things immediately. You don’t recruit someone like Felipão and treat him like your run-of-the-mill Souness or Curbushley or Allardyce.

Has to make you wonder, with people like Rijkaard and Mancini being touted to replace Big Phil, what kinda idiot would take this job? Oh, the money you say?

Right. Big Phil leaves with  £7.5m. That’s okay then.

The slow march of time …

It’s not my choice, having to shower in my office every day. It’s not fun, tumbling out of bed and driving fifteen kilometres before the obligatory shit, shower and shave.

This is because I don’t have running water at home, and electricity supply is patchy at best. Now, I usually don’t have a problem with having to perform my ablutions in the office; in fact, there’s no comparing a bucket-wash to that feeling when a warm jet first hits you full in the face. Hot water – good.

Problem; I think I’m getting old. I pack my clothes bag after falling punch-drunk out of bed, and that’s never a good idea cos I always forget something. Usually it’s underwear, which isn’t an issue cos you know a brother’s gotta let it hang sometimes. I mean, the meat and two veg need a holiday, you know? No hay problema senor.

But today I left my socks behind. I’m wearing a formal shirt, cord pants and … dodgy Levi flip-flops that were white at some point but are now just kinda dirty cream wiv brown splodges. Fuck.

Where’s the nearest clothing store?

Such sweet sorrow – Part 4

She strained back, arching her body so that her silky black hair almost brushed his legs. He felt her shudder deep inside, losing control one more time. Then she came slowly forward, until her flushed face was close to his and he could feel her deep drawn breaths and gentle moans. She smiled and licked her lips. His smiling eyes on hers, he cupped the full smoothness of her buttocks and felt her lift, rising away from his stomach, drawing herself to the end of him. For a moment he had to catch his breadth. She giggled. He laughed.

She eyed him mischievously and moved slowly down on him until he felt the pressure of her muscular loins against his. Her eyes were half closed, the lids trembling as she concentrated on his pleasure. He felt her move inside again as she arched away from him, pushing away from his chest with her hands. Slowly and then faster she rode him, her head thrown back. He watched, excited as he always was by her voluptuous intensity. Then her nails dug into his skin and she was moaning again, over and over.

They lay in his bed for a long time, half-covered by the damp duvet. He turned and looked at her thick, silky black hair spread over his arm and across the blue pillow. They kissed, and exchanged a gentle smile.

Since She had come over to talk yesterday they had been together almost every minute. It was unlike anything she had expected. They had talked about It, about work, about saving his cleaner from a domestic abuse case and the black hole that is Zimbabwe’s legal system. Instead of being “taken out” to grand restaurants by someone who was obviously going to great pains to impress her and make up for some Great Mistake, she had found herself walking alongside him in a shopping mall with no particular sense of urgency or purpose. Found herself eating simple food at odd hours; found herself curled up on the couch in his house with John Legend on the iPod and her feet in his lap, and found in all these simple things that she was deeply affected by him, by them, the way they were together. The spontaneity, the laughter of the whole thing was all the more striking in the context of what her daily routine had become since they had broken up and she had gone back to work.

It wasn’t just a question of the increased pressure which came with discussion, accusation, apology. There was something vaguely scary about being in such close quarters with someone who had caused her so much hurt and pain. In the midst of what seemed sometimes like the ocean of ulterior motive and hidden intention in which she now had to swim, the old He had bobbed up like a life belt. Funny, spontaneous and entirely engrossed with her. Strangely enough she got the feeling that the end of their relationship, and with it the lack of pressure, seemed to afford him the same kind of relief. He seemed to welcome her as if his house were a sanctuary. He only had to touch her and She would relax immediately. And when she touched him it seemed a natural extension of their discourse, their communication. True, he obviously wanted the relationship to go back further than she was ready for, but she believed that in time even that would no longer be an issue.

He breathed her scent and touched her fine skin with his lips. Being close, he felt a heaviness in his throat. How could he ever hurt something so precious? He wanted her back so much, it was difficult to keep control, to keep the thickness out of his voice. She held him too. She had pressed herself against his thigh, straining against him as though he were in fact trying to push her away. He tried to look at her face, but she kept her head buried in his neck. She stayed like that for a long time, breathing through her mouth. He finally looked into her eyes, sure that he would see the fear there which was becoming familiar to him. She looked at him, brows compressed in a line over her soft dark eyes.


And her expression, the way she spoke, her beautiful disarming frankness, filled him with love. He kissed her forehead, her fragrant hair. She fell asleep in his arms.

Such sweet sorrow – Part 3

After the reggae show and a tour of the Irish pub, the boys had driven him straight back to the house and He had rooted out some warm, dry clothes. He looked down at his hand which held a clumsy stoneware mug, hers, of black coffee. He was wearing a bright red t-shirt over a striped wool shirt and skinny blue jeans so undersized they put his man-bits in stark profile.

He couldn’t help smiling. All his life he had distrusted people who dressed like he was now dressed. In his better moments, he drank like a sailor and smoked marijuana like everyone in the United States Congress, but these people, people who dressed like this, he assumed they never sat down to eat without frying up a plateful of hallucinogenic mushrooms. They were constantly high on one thing or another, one idea or another – constantly raving about reform, change, the dawn of some new age.

He had always thought of it as part of the white man’s guilt trip: they have their industrial revolution, fuck up the planet with millions of tons of packaging, poison gases, toxic waste, and then want you to stop using aresol sprays in the privacy of your own bathroom when you knew the Chinese, the Africans, the Indians, all the teeming millions of the struggling semi-industrialised nations were now belching out enough shit to finish off the planet by the end of the century anyway. Spray your armpits and face Armageddon smelling sweet was the was He saw it.

He was shaken out of his thoughts by the sound of her voice. He recognised the tone, but not the words. Something about calling her later, she was in a meeting. Firm. Uncompromising. She at her best.

He thought back to the previous night. The way she had laughed uncontrollably, contrasting that winning smile with playful slaps across His arm. His friends had lapped it up. Laughing uproariously each time the bottle spun in her direction. Hoping to dare her into a display of overt sexuality. Winking at Him when they thought her back was turned. Surprised that she had accepted the invitation to join him for farewell drinks with his foreign-based mates.

She had hesitated to accept at the time. It wasn’t just that she didn’t trust him to behave – she didn’t, but she knew she could handle that with one look. It was more that she hadn’t wanted him to think she wasn’t serious about the break up. But now She felt different, exhilarated at the idea of a no-strings night out with good peeps. She hadn’t had one for many months, and she needed one, especially after everything that had happened. Why shouldn’t she have a good time with him, anyway? It would help to keep her mind off what had happened.

After the initial explosion of anger, she had come to think that maybe she should have listened to his explanation. It was just that in midst of all the pressure of returning to work, and the wheedling and scheming of other people in her past and present, his betrayal, if that’s what it really was, had pushed her over the edge. She had come to expect as much from Him. Whatever his reasons turned out to be, he should never have lied to her.

She had played her part. Running the show with a firm hand and a loving smile. Lighting up the bar with her infectious laugh. She did it delicately, showing Him just the right amount of affection without being obvious. She reminded his friends why they had fallen in love with her in the first place. She reminded Him why he had fallen in love with her in the first place. A dynamo in red heels.

He hung up the phone, safe in the comfort that she’d call him back as soon as the meeting was over. He gazed out the window at a beautiful African morning. He was startled to see a policeman walking up the driveway.

Such sweet sorrow – Part 2

They were sitting together at a bar, facing each other, holding hands. They were very close. He could smell the familiar warm perfume of her hair. She looked more beautiful than ever, and she was smiling. He didn’t have to say anything. He knew everything was all right now: she was safe, and her love for him was alive again, renewed.

He felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted from his shoulders. The happiness made him giddy. He would be everything for her. A new man. He would never let her down again. Sweetie. He was about to put his arms around her when the barman slid two fluted glasses of champagne towards them. They took the glasses and raised them in silent toast, but the bubbly didn’t taste right. It was flat and bitter.

He held his glass up to the light, but it fell from his hand and shattered on the floor with a deafening crash, like a brick going through a window. When he looked up, he saw that the woman opposite him was not Her at all, but someone he had never seen before. He asked her where She was, but the stranger just smiled at him and raised her glass again.

Then He saw the glod watch on her wrist, the one she always wore. He tried to reach forward and take it, but the ground seemed to be giving way beneath him. He was falling, and as he fell he could hear the angry voices of people in the bar shouting at him. He looked down just in time to see the tiled floor of his bathroom hurtling towards him. He felt sure the impact would shatter his skull, but as he opened his eyes he realised the floor was soft.

He was lying on his couch, and there was light coming in from behind the drawn curtains. The yellow digits on the decoder read 15:34. He could still hear the shouting, but it came from the television: the chanting of young voices, a crowd outside an Israeli embassy somewhere …

He sat up. It hadn’t all been a dream, surely. She had been real – and the watch? He wasn’t sure. Ignoring the splitting pain in his head, he crawled over to his computer. She was still there, online. Then he remembered.

The strap on her gold watch was broken. It was all just a dream. He sat down, and began to type.

Such sweet sorrow – Part 1

The milk in the carton was sour. He went through to the lounge and put his coffee on the table. It was after eight and his cleaner had just taken over the kitchen to clean up the mess. He sat for a long time listening to the rain on the window, sipping his drink and staring into space. He had been awake since six, but hadn’t wanted to get out of bed until the cleaner had knocked at the front door.

He was alone now, struggling, trying to work out his next move. After he left Her apartment he had waited for a time in the car, a hand on his pounding heart. He had wanted to go back up, to explain everything, but the shock and the pain in his chest made him so angry all he could do was drive away, almost knocking over a man standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross the road. That was just over three days ago. To Him it seemed like it had only just happened.

Three days. They were stacked against him like the dirty dishes in the sink. On Tuesday, exactly one day after everything had fallen apart, he had called her mobile, getting no answer. The sound of her phone ringing, simply mechanical, made him feel like he had been turned inside out. He had put down the phone without a word, and regretted it instantly. Maybe she was waiting for his call. Maybe she wasn’t near the phone. Maybe he only had to wait for her to pick up the phone.

He dialled again, his hand shaking. “Hey, this is me.” No answer. He had so expected her to pick up the phone that the repeated tone threw him completely. As always, when unsure of himself he tried to be funny.

“So. You don’t want to answer. There are only three possible explanations for this: either, one, you are not there; two, you are there but don’t want to speak to me; or three, you are there, desperately want to speak to me, but are trapped under something heavy in your office and can’t reach the phone.”

Then it seemed to him that his tone was all wrong, although he was only speaking to himself. She knew he could be funny. He had to prove to her that he could be serious; honest. He had slammed down the phone, cursing his own stupidity.

Since then he had tried to avoid the phone. It made him angry to think that even though he had left a few missed calls she still wouldn’t call him. It seemed to show how little she felt for him. How little she trusted him. Staring out at the driving rain, he brought the cup to his lips, his mind drifting back over the time they had spent together. How could she believe, after the times they’d had, that all he wanted was to play games and treat her like shit? He sipped at his coffee. He was ready to forget the whole thing.

He stood up and walked around the lounge. He switched to BBC news and watched. There was a shot of the bombings in Gaza with an Arab man screaming into the camera. He switched it off.

He put on his green jacket, pulled up the hood and went out into the rain. He didn’t know where he was going and he didn’t care as long as it got him away from the house and his thoughts.

At nine o’clock he was back in front of the window, looking out at the dead morning light, a cold cup of coffee in his hands.

He stood up and walked around the house, switched on the TV without turning up the sound. He watched the images for a while. Then he walked over to the long mirror hanging on his bedroom wall. He looked at himself. He hadn’t shaved for days. He closed his eyes. Then he opened them again, squinting at the reflection.

“You look about ready to jump,” he said, smiling nervously. Then, exhaling noisily he went to the computer and opened a new email. Her recorded address. It looked vulnerable, far away.

“Hey, this is Me.”

“Like they say in the films – I’m losing altitude. No, don’t worry, I’m not gonna crack a joke. I just wanted … I have to see you, my love. It may seem impossible from where you are, but that morning, the way things looked, it was all wrong. I just wanted to find out … oh, hell.”

He pushed the screen away, as though he might see her there, reduced, looking back at him.

“Listen, it’s too complicated to explain over email. We have to – I have to see you.”

He pressed the send button and looked across at the TV screen. A young woman was talking into the camera, looking out at him and smiling, but he couldn’t hear her voice.