The Compostual Existentialist

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Gawping

gawpDo you gawp?

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

gawpingGawpers are a pest to society. They can cause delays on public transport, on the road and even in situations where expediency is crucial to preservation of life.

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.

Gawping causes

115123381This 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?

PAY-Burgler-caught-on-CCTV-at-a-couples-house-in-DaventryIf 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.

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Trendy

At the weekend the wife, an out-of-town friend and I nipped out to the lovely town of Royal Leamington Spa for a mooch around the Peace Festival.

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Leamington Peace Festival 2015

The Leamington Spa Peace Festival, for those who don’t know, is an annual rain causing event held in the Pump Room Gardens and features all manner of new age nonsense such as yogurt weaving, kaftan liberation, tofu swallowing and vagina floating.

The food sold there is mostly vegetarian to vegan on the omnivore spectrum. Free range falafel chocolate bars, organic gravel soaps, crunchy compost on a stick and fair trade mong bean ice creams abound. That kind of thing.

As well as hearing local folk bands and pan pipes, it’s also a good opportunity to see the latest trends of the anathematic capitalist hippies are pushing onto today’s youth. For example, stove pipe hats seem to be entering a renaissance, gong showering is breaking into the wavy world of healing and knotted dyed rags are this year’s rad hair fashion (again).

An aging hipster

An aging hipster

With hipsters now denying their own existence in a Schrodingeresque fashion (you’re either a cool cat in a box or not, depending on who is observing you), goths morphing into the less threatening emo collective and  neo-nerd-geeks becoming vogue thanks to Big Bang Theory the time is right for a new collective. One that is so trendy and beyond cool that it is off the spectrum entirely, but one whose emergence will be unobserved until it has spread to a point where it becomes commonplace.

Of course it’s not just teenagers and infantilised twenteenies trying to be trendy. While beards may no longer be the fashion and half-mast trousers and arse showing waistlines have gone the back into the wardrobe for several years, the smart Sunday shirt wearing, middle class middle age organic free range grass eating daddies of the world appear to be taking their midlife crisis to the high street. Quitting their well-paid, high stress jobs and opening cafés using the stylistic ideals of designer hipsters to influence their décor.

At least, that’s how it appears from my visit to the overly trendy café, Bread and Butter on Regent Street in Leamington Spa. In what appears to be a former butcher’s shop a couple of doors down from the fishmongers, Bread and Butter just oozes huge blobs of “I’ve been to that London and seen how the well to do spend their leisure time”. I was reluctant to go in but guests take precedence and so began an experience I am about to recount.

Stepping through the door, it is difficult to see what’s going on due to the low level lighting. Windows provide free light and white tiled walls help reflect it around the important areas mostly to the till area which is sat on a thick wooden counter.

Autumn leaves artistically strewn near garden furniture

Garden furniture, the crap type that rotund people will find difficult to sit on comfortably or safely, are the choice of the day, enhanced only by artistically and purposefully strewn autumnal leaves on the floor. These, it has been debated, appear to be swept up of an evening, sieved to remove dust and detritus before being replaced after the floor has been mopped, cleaned and dried. Wankery.

Menus come in the form of a sheet of A4, minimalistic in choice, as per instructions from Blumenthal and Ramsay, but in a way that is limiting to the consumer.  Old favourites ruined by the addition of wankery. A bacon club sandwich with wanky bread and avocado. Wanky salad, served with wank. Poncey toasties with cheese and a selection of teas that would ordinarily cost you about 30p to make yourself in a mug sold at the exorbitant price of £2 for a mingy scale model cup.

I had the “slow roasted” pork  bap which came garnished with stale musty tasting crackling. This was obviously a new definition of “slow roasted” as to me, slow roasting means that the meat is succulent and melt in the mouth. I’ve chewed shoes less tough. Supposedly reasonably priced at £6.70.

During my years of eating out and writing about my experiences in the food world I’ve always said that you can’t make a restaurant or café trendy and popular by charging a lot of money for a small portion of food. Sure, you’ll get some tossers who think “Hey! This is so trendy and cool I’m going to come here every day because £6 for a stale pork butty is the lifestyle I want to lead”. But these people, like the hipsters they gave birth to, are dying out.

IMG_1026Although a greasy spoon café has its place, I’m not calling for that, I’m calling for some balance. Wankery has had its day back in the noughties when we found it ironic and amusing. Wankery today is just a road to disaster and mockery. Just as sticking the words “Organic” and “Free range” before every item on your menu is passé so is bringing the outside in, tiny portions and over pricing. The people you think you’re appealing to have grown out of this kind of approach and, much in the same way as faux-Victoriana and retro tea rooms have faded from popularity, so will wankery in décor. If it isn’t naturally worthy of brown leaves being tastefully placed on the floor, then don’t do it.

As we left and made our way back to the car, I observed corduroy trouser, gingham shirt wearing, late thirty something middle class graphic designer dad with his stay at home on an allowance yummy mummy  what lunches and writes crap fiction wife pushing  their child-with-a-neo-trad-name-like-Edna in its free range organically padded for their own safety comfort five wheeler monster stroller making their way into the café. Exactly the kind of clientele the café is trying to attract.

Would I go again? No I wouldn’t.


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Christmas Music – Day 6 of 24

Baby it’s Cold Outside – Various Artists

Creepy older guy sings to younger impressionable female who is trying to get out of the guys house. Older guy tries his best to dissuade her from leaving and going on her way.

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Watching

cctv_2I just had an air guitar moment. It was to In Motion Pt 2 by The Gathering. Thing is I was really enjoying myself and then I thought “OMG! Someone might see” so I stopped. Thing is I didn’t think “OMG! Someone might see” because I’m sat somewhere public with millions of people passing by. Nor did I think “OMG! Someone might see” because I’m sat in a place someone might catch me in the act. No! I thought “OMG! Someone might see me” because after 30 odd years I still think there might be a hidden camera somewhere.

Historically, for me, this began before CCTV became as wide spread as it is in the UK. Longer term readers might recall my telling of what my eldest brother said to me on my first day in school that being “You had best be on your best behaviour because I have hidden cameras about”.

That really set me up for life.

Followed by bumping into Mrs Thingie (friend of my nans) on the Isle of Man at the age of 10 and often having my mum confront me about things and events that there was no way that she could have witnessed (only later to find out one of her spies had seen me and told her everything).

This all proved to be the grounds of my really good behaviour. I’ve never stabbed anyone, never robbed anything (apart from that little ring of rubber that you attach face masks to snorkels with from a Hypermarché in France) , even when picking my nose I make sure nobody can see me. So not being an exhibitionist as such I conform and do as little to embarrass, offend or upset as I can incase somebody is watching or sees.

big-brother-is-watching-youTotally unfounded I know. I know that people have got better things to do with their time than scrutinise my every move and laugh at (note…I said at not with) me doing air guitar or whatever. I know that really nobody could careless and I won’t end up plastered all over the Sunday tabloids as being “That wanker that did the air guitar” or whatever it is I’m doing. But in the UK today, what seemed like an unlikely event in the 1970’s, CCTV and hidden cameras are everywhere. I’m not being paranoid or weird or owt…THEY ARE!! Just cos you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there.

Ok they might not be there. But there is always the chance that they might be, so I adapt my behaviour accordingly. Likewise, being the person that monitors the internet and computer usage of the students here makes me more paranoid. WHO IS WATCHING ME? Probably  you or the CIA. Not that I care….

So I thought am I alone in thinking this….


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Surnames

For some time now I have been fascinated by the origins of surnames (or last names if you want to be all modern and right on). My own surname Gnomepants stems from the Greek Gnomos Pantalonkikos which is a trade that was popular in ancient Greece. People would flock to ancient Athens and Crete to visit the numerous Gnomos Pantalonkikos and inspect their handicrafts. I think Plato said “My Gods! The Gnomos Pantalonkikos in my street is the best!”. At one time one of my ancestors would have been a Gnomos Pantalonkikos and we all know how important they were to the development of civilisation.

Butcher

Butcher (n) – to be a butcher

Heaton-Harris (n) - Wanksplat

Heaton-Harris (n) old Swahili – Wanksplat

So likewise when I come across unusual names I like to look them up (on google & wikipedia) in an effort to locate their origins. Today, I was dealing with a person that goes by the name of Spink. Now Spink is an unusual name from my perspective. I don’t know you might know lots of Spinks, in which case it won’t be all that unusual to you. I know several people called Grobinglops which is quite common though some would argue that they don’t know anyone called Grobinglops and they might find the name Grobinglops unusual. But anyway….that’s by the by. So I look them up and I think “oooh I wonder what their ancestors must have done. So for example someone called Colin Computersalesman would obviously have descended from a prominent Barrel maker. Likewise David Butcher would have been descended from a butcher, Barry Bumscrape – a tramp and Simon Quantumphysicist would most likely have been a quantity surveyor. You get the idea don’t you. Maybe you have a occupational surname too….I know that the likes of Sean Bean would be descended from a bean (maybe he was planted and grew) and Gordon Honeycomb would more than likely have been related to some ancient piece of a bee hive or something.

You get what I’m on about. So I looked up Spink on Wikipedia and I learnt a new thing. So I thought I would share that with you. According to Wikipedia (and yes I know that contrary to popular belief Wikipedia is not 100% reliable) a spink is the formal name for human meat! So at one time this Spink person would have come from a family of food. I can imagine them sitting in the tribal village during the harsh winter months.

Mr Chieftan – We’re so cold. All the meat and food has been eaten. What shall we do?
Mr Advisor – Well why not have a reserve of meat in the village. Fresh meat. How about that family over there? They worked hard in the fields this summer so they’re all nice and muscley. No sinew or fat on them. We could eat them!
Mr Chieftan – Who the Spinks? Well yes! I don’t like the way they look at me anyway

And so it happened, the villagers were eaten and a name gained a meaning.


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Day Two: A Room with a View (Or Just a View)

This is the view

In the wooly wilds of North Wales, there is a place dear to me. A peaceful place. A place where magic awaits. A serene place where the only loud noise is the occasional jet fighter from Valley flying over head or the farmer making bales of hay.

This place is nearly  unpronounceable at a campsite at the base of the large mountain. I won’t tell you where it is exactly, but regular readers will know. I don’t want the area spoilt by coach loads of people seeking peace and serenity.

 

Lovely isn’t it?

This is the spot. Miles from anywhere. Peaceful. Quiet. No people to bother you.

In my minds eye it is always this glorious too. Skies as blue as language in a working mans club. Grass as green as my old Hyundai Coupe. A climate as warm as toast. Beautiful. Quiet.

Why this particular view? Well during the day the sea looks so calm and serene there. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you may witness the clouds rolling in off the sea like something from an eerie movie. Shrouding everything yet still allowing parts of the landscape to peek out like cheeky little kittens.

A bit like this

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Misty eyed

But I know. I know from bitter personal experience. This place can be cold, wet and stormy. But it doesn’t stop me from remembering it as a warm welcoming place.

It is no wonder that this area is steeped in mythology and wonder. This is where Arthur had his Camelot. Nothing to do with Glastonbury or Cornwall. This is the land of the dragon. Where the isle of Avalon lies over the treacherous waters. Where few come. Where fewer remain.

Those that do, and stay the night, are treated to a display of stars bright. Of distant light from the Pembrokeshire coast cast from lighthouses across the bay. Shooting stars, dolphins basking in the light of the setting sun. All this. With naught but peace and quiet.

It is where I want to be scattered should I be cremated. It is where I would like to spend my last waking moments on the Earth.

No mobile phone signal. Nothing. Just peace and quiet.

Badger in Wales

Badger in Wales


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Making the world a better place – Part one

Love you Jim xx

Bloody hippy!

Bloody hippies. Sitting there in their kaftans with their long hair and beards, weaving yogurts and floating vaginas. Why can’t they be pissed off and angry like everyone else.

Yes. Why not? I mean its such a lovely world isn’t it. People hating each other, blaming each other, being nasty to each other and complaining about anything to anybody who will listen and then complaining further when people don’t listen.

We have just had elections. Elections where every person who is angry with the current state of affairs in Europe and the UK took out their frustrations on the government by either not voting or by voting for far right loons. Great job! I’m sure we’ll laugh about it when jackbooted fucktards come a knocking to evict us from our homes for none compliance.

 

empty vessels

Some noisy things

Of course there is a saying. Empty vessels make the most noise. Indeed,  this saying when applied to the current political landscape seems to ring true. Furthermore, this saying applies across all aspects of society. Just look at any newspaper (or news website) and you’ll read about how bad things are. How people in power are horrid. How people who do things do things selfishly or for the rubbing of their own ego, gain and gratification.

But what’s the one thing you don’t read about?

Nice people.

People doing good things.

Years ago, and I think I’ve already written about this before, people with lots and lots of money would look about and say:

“Fuck me, I have so much money from building railways/transporting slaves/eating jam <delete as applicable> I don’t know what to do with it!”

Then, armed with wads of cash they would do good things like building churches, hospitals, libraries, club houses or starting mutual societies and cooperatives. Benevolence. Generosity. All for eternal recognition.

 

This was actually built in memory of some bloke who died during a fox hunt.

A monument

In the UK at least, one only has to take a trip into their nearest town and find monuments to people who have donated or sacrificed something for the benefit of others. Did people moan about that then I wonder? Did the newspapers of the time bemoan the fact that some great benefactor donated land for use as a municipal park? Did people tut and mutter about it? Surely that land would be better used as a factory? Maybe? Who knows? I can’t be arsed to do the research but I imagine it wasn’t like that.

These days, being nasty gets you fame. Being awful and frightful gets you instant celebrity status, or so it seems. To me it seems that being awful and frightful is de rigueur . Think about it, companies don’t have compliments departments do they? Why is this? It is because there is more benefit in providing a shit service and employing people who spend all their day depleting their self-worth levels by listening to people blame them personally for the lack of service or whatever. I know, I used to be one of those employees.

So how can we turn the world into a better place? How can I get people to be nicer to each other? How can I get recognition for good deeds done to humanity?

 

You’ll just have to come back later and read all about it.