Or so said Darth to Luke.
Presents are a funny old game. Not being someone to want to appear ungrateful, normally I’ll smile and thank who ever got me what ever and appear interested or passionate about what ever they have got me. I think, generally, it is possible to classify presents into ten categories. These being:-
1 Corker – An absolutely fantastic present. One that has been bought with great forethought and careful selection. They tend to be a bit of a surprise though they need not be expensive or nastily cheap. Typically they would be the type of item you didn’t even know you needed or existed just that now you know they exist and you just can’t wait to take it out of the box or package and utilise it.
2 The Wow – A present with surprise. They’re the sort of gift that makes you exclaim “Just what I’ve always wanted!” and you actually mean it. You’ve hankered after one of these items for ages and you’d promised yourself that one day you would treat yourself to one. Again, they need not be overly expensive or cheap. The kind of item that makes you beam with contentment for hours.
3 The Ooh – Another present with surprise. You’ve been aware of the items existence but you’ve never really been passionate about it. One of those things you’ve put off getting because you couldn’t be arsed about really, but it’s still nice now to have one. Now you’ve got one you exclaim an ooh. Still saves you going out and having to choose one for yourself
4 The Ah – A item which you typically already own. But no matter you could do with a new one because the other is now a bit tatty. It could even be a better model of whatever the item is, but your sentimentallity for the original is strong and you’ll probably hold onto the old one for spares.
5 The Mmmm – Typically these items are things you already own but the gift is an inferior one. But, not wanting to seem ungrateful you accept it graciously and with thanks.
6 The Oh dear – You’ve already got one again. In fact you went and got one for yourself only the other day. Still the thought was nice
7 The Gah – You never wanted one. If you did you’d have gone out and got one and probably got a better one. Still you smile graciously and secretly plan on taking the fucker back to the shop for a refund. If you’re not careful your feeling might just slip and the benefactor, who is watching you intently to see your reaction, could just spot your disgust.
8 The Eh? – These tend to be bizarre gifts. Like what was the benefactor thinking? Did they think you’d really enjoy this? Still again, you don’t want to appear ungrateful. Then in a few weeks you’ll shove it on Ebay or swap or flog it to a mate down the pub for something you need more because there’s no way any shop in it’s right mind will take back whatever the item is. Hell shops probably don’t even sell them.
9 The Fuck me – Similar to the “Eh?” only with the added embarrassment of you actually involuntarily expressing your reaction. Typically these are items where the benefactor has more than likely just ran into the shop to buy on their way to give it to you. They’ve probably gone “Oh fuck I never got so-and-so a present. OMG What shall I get them? They’re typically the kind of thing that are left in shop’s aisle bargain baskets in February this time marked down or even on offer (eg 2for1). They are a clear indicator that to them (the benefactor) you are just an afterthought.
10. The What the Fuck is this? – The benefactor is obviously trying to palm off items that they have been given last year. Things they never wanted. To them they are probably Gahs or Ehs though occasionally they might even be Fuck mes. Such gifts are indicative of strained relationships. Surely they’d have been better off getting you a gift voucher….
Of course this list is not exhaustive. There are probably further categories that one can define but I like my taxonomy (it was a gift) and I’m sure you’ll agree with most of them. Indeed, you may have your own similar taxonomy (which I would love to hear about) but then you might not.
Who’s is that?
It’s not mine
Who’s is this
That’ll do fine
Presents are passed
Around the room
The defrosted turkey
Senses its doom
The family sat round
All festive with cheer
Our Chris got five pound!
All I got was beer
And in the kitchen
Mother doth toil
The Christmas dinner
She hopes not to spoil
With cabbage and carrots
And potatoes to cook
While in the front room
I get a new book
After dinner we sit
All stuffed to the gills
A flurry of snow
Gathers on the (window) sills
Our trousers are bursting
With our bellies girth
And father relates
A story of mirth
Then on with the telly
At three o’clock
The Queens festive speech
Live from Albert Dock
“Good Season my subjects”
“History and Math”
“I lost my virginity”
“To Lord Bath”
According to a recent email, my films on Vimeo have had over 1000 plays. Sadly it appears that the most puerile one, My Neighbours Cock (2008), has had 90% of those views while others have only had a couple. A great shame.
Autumn is here
The leaves leave
The nursery of branches aloft
Free at last
Falling gracefully to the earth
There to become part of history
Or swept and burnt
To become free again
Airbourne in spirit
Their fragrance warming
Their brothers forming
Mountains to walk through
Kicking skyward feebly
Fruit abundant falling
Feeding dying wasps
Crushed under foot
Or gathered by the wise
As nights grow darker
Embers glow brighter
Warming and scenting the air
Autumn is here!
What do you say when you don’t understand someone? “Pardon?”, “What?”, “Please can you repeat that?” or do you grunt non-committedly and hope your vocalisation is interpreted as the appropriate response?
Maybe you contort your face into a half smile, the kind of facial expression that could be interpreted as a smile but can equally be seen as a grimace of pity or sincerity. Maybe you half close your eyes to disguise your misunderstanding.
Does this happen when you communicate with non-native English speakers or those with particularly strong accents?
How about the written word? Does yous follow coherently the aspects of the authors graphical scribing or do your eyes skip over the page like a troupe of River Dancers?
Sometimes I’m like that. Sometimes it happens like this:
“mrmparhrn neramaeat pot noodle grmbn mrmmrph”
“mrmparhrn neramaeat pot noodle grmbn nermrmmrph”
At this point I do the half-smile nod-shake. Often this results in a confused look that I’m quick to detect so I quickly turn the situation round with
“Sorry no, can you say it again a bit slower”
This usually results in an exasperated sigh and either a slower version of “mrmparhrn neramaeat pot noodle grmbn nermrmmrph” or a slightly clear translation.
“My partner. Never eats hot poodle gravel nermrmmrph”
“Oh I see” I’ll say, part guessing what they’re saying or maybe just that the person talking to me is off their rocker. I’ll bluff and hope it goes away. They then say something like
“What do you think of that?”
At this point I’ll panic slightly, unsure of the correct convention to answer by. If I say something like “I totally agree” I might be agreeing to something abhorrent. If I say something like “I don’t agree” I might be coming out as some sort of heartless bastard. Usually I’ll go for the safe “I’m not sure” which makes me out as a non-committal coward but it’s often better that way. Of course there are times when I just admit that I didn’t understand in the first place.
“I’m sorry can you repeat what you said”
“My partner. Never eats hot poodle crumble mixers”
She doesn’t know what she’s missing out on.
Gawping is rampant in the UK. It’s everywhere. It’s like a disease. Gawping is something that needs to be stamped out before it gets out of control.
What is gawping?
Gawping, or gopping, comes from the verb to gawp; a gopper or gawper is someone that gawps. In my experience you find goppers or gawpers in most places north of the Watford Gap especially at weekends when they are most prolific. They can be found in town centres, supermarkets, out-of-town shopping centres, on the road, tourist spots, and areas of outstanding natural beauty as well as places where people gather such as festivals, fayres and shows.
Gawpers can be compared to when you’re happily tootling along a twisty bendy uppy downy country lane and a tractor pulls out in front of you and the next overtaking spot is 5 miles down the road…On the other side of a hill…With a growing queue of traffic behind you.
You can usually spot a gopper by their gait as they tend to shuffle zombie like aimlessly about the place. Gawpers are social animals too, they tend to gravitate in packs especially in areas where people are either in a rush or have a better idea of their destination. Sometimes goppers will be armed with small children, pushchairs or trolleys and will frequently congregate in places where there is little room for overtaking.
Genera of gopper
Consisting of both genders, all ethnicities and cultures, it has been reported in recent times that gawpers come in two distinct types, the gormless and the attitude. The gormless gopper is a harmless irritant. They will eventually become aware of their goppishness and correct their behaviour, and, in some cases, often apologising.
However in poorer areas of the UK and in parts of the UK where people tend to think of themselves as better than everyone else (typically Conservative heartlands), a new species has been spotted. Often accompanied by small children or tattooed gorillas, this type of gopper can become aggressive when approached. The aggressive gopper will often have a swagger about itself and can be heard growling the words “Wanker” or any similar vulgar term. They tend to have an air of self-importance and may express opinion about their “right to be there”.
This behaviour should be monitored and reported to authorities immediately as, if left unchecked, their type might become rife and spoil society for the rest of us. Wild Goppers have, in some instances, been identified with far right political movements that use skewed ideals of British values to further their foolishness and they often fail to understand or refuse to accept that polite gentlemanly or ladylike behaviour and courtesy is tantamount to British behaviour.
This is a moot topic. Some believe gawping has something to do with a decrease in self-awareness brought on by isolation and the rise of social media affecting how humans interact with each other. Others believe that it is a virus or some divine punishment while some learned professionals debate whether the rise in gawping has risen due to the proliferation of hand held electronic devices such as smart phones and tablet computers.
Indeed, a vast majority of gawpers (or goppers) have been sighted equipped with smart phones often leading to the discussion that the word “Smartphone” itself is actually a misnomer.
Moreover, pre-handheld technology era sightings of the gawper regularly occurred in bookshops and magazine stalls where the male could be found blocking the aisles whilst thumbing through the pages of a magazine. Of course, nobody is entirely sure. Some even argue that gawping is solely a male thing yet there are examples of female gawpers frequently reported.
Professor Knobsock, head of Gawping Studies at Madeup University said: “Studies have been conducted with gawping and attractive vistas for example. One might expect that gawping levels increase in the presence of something attractive or beautiful be it scenery, art or personage but this is not always the case. Frequently it has been shown that gawpers are an entirely separate genus of homo sapiens sapiens and that can only mean that it is a result of government experiments or that simply there is no hope left for humanity.
I see gawpers what should I do?
If you see a gopper (or gawper), you should take care to note which genus the gopper is. Harmless or common gawpers can be asked to move or gently nudged out of the way with a shopping trolley in the back of the heels. Wild and vulgar gawpers should be hastily overtaken at the earliest opportunity, preferably with as wide a berth as possible.
Being rude or impatient with gawpers can result in altercations, and it should be noted that being rude or impatient is unBritish. UnBritish behaviour around the Wild Gopper can result in the attraction of unwanted behaviour or result in even more unBritish behaviour from the Wild Gopper.
If your local area becomes overpopulated with gawpers then it is suggested that you relocate or try to establish some sort of educational programme in your local community. Failure to address the issue of gopping (or gawping) in your community may result in infection or thermos-nuclear eradication by authorities.
I am a gopper what should I do?
Be more considerate to your fellow pedestrians. Step aside. If someone wants to pass, don’t snarl or look gormless, politely say “I’m sorry”, step aside and wait until those behind you have gone. Then reflect on why you’re such an inconsiderate useless waste of space. Preferably somewhere out of the way of others. Then, when you have reflected upon this, realise your best place is at home, on the sofa in front of the TV or Facebook where your gopping behaviour has a lesser effect on society.