Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Big Breakfast Bru-Ha-Ha.

Man cannot live on toast and chocolate coco pops alone, so said Aristotle in one of his more lucid moments before the battle of Waterloo, and I would agree. On occasion, the full English breakfast is required to keep a working man on his toes throughout the day, preventing lapses in concentration before the 10:30 tea and muffin break.

With this in mind, I stopped off at a likely looking place for a plateful of coronary inducing trans fats in the form of some bacon, egg, sausage, beans, mushrooms, fried bread and hash browns. And since they had a sign outside declaring 'Breakfast served here,' I thought I was on to a winner.

It turns out that by arriving five minutes after breakfast had stopped being served I was in fact, onto a loser.

"I'm only five minutes late, no chance of a cheeky breakfast..?" I pleaded.

"Sorry love," Said the comely serving lady behind the counter, "We stopped serving breakfast, were now onto the lunch menu if you would care to have a look."

I picked up the faux leather bound menu and perused its contents. It turned out I could have egg on toast, beans on toast and mushrooms on toast. I could also have a bacon sandwich, sausage sandwich, bacon and egg sandwich or a bread roll containing all three.

"Can I have the egg, beans and mushrooms without the toast.." I asked.

"No, I'm afraid not. They all come with toast."

"Can I have the bacon, egg and sausage without the bread roll and combine it with beans, egg and mushrooms on one serving of toast..?"

"Sorry Sir... But that would be a breakfast. And we've stopped serving breakfast."

It appeared that the only way to get breakfast in this place was to order 4 or 5 separate lunch items, which would result in all the breakfast I wanted but with 8 pieces of toast and a leftover bread roll and five cups of tea, all for the princely sum of £16.95p instead of £4.75p for the original breakfast but without all the toast, tea and bread rolls.

I know. It's confusing. They could cook all of the breakfast items separately, and call it something else on the lunch menu, but wouldn't cook it and serve it together on one plate, because that would be called a breakfast... And they've stopped serving breakfast five minutes ago.

"Can I help you mate..?" Said an unshaven man through a serving hatch in the wall.

I explained my confusion as to the current breakfast / lunch menu, and the fact that all the ingredients for a full English breakfast were still on the menu, but now seem to be sold as lunch items separately and can no longer be combined.

"Yeah, sorry..." He said. "We stopped serving breakfast like, five minutes ago..? We don't do all day breakfasts."

I took a deep breath. A very deep breath. It would seem that they just didn't get it. I gritted my teeth. They did..! They did do all day breakfasts, except sold the very same items separately and called them lunch..!

"I can do you a bacon and egg sandwich..." He said unhelpfully.

"Can I get that with beans, sausage, mushrooms, a hash brown with a cup of tea..?" I asked.

He frowned, then lifted one eyebrow as if a great idea had just popped into his mind. "I don't see why not.." He said. "We could call it brunch."

"I would put that on the menu." I said.

"I might just do that..." He replied. "That's, erm... Let me see here... £4.75p please."

I despair of some people. I really do.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Energy Drinks Disaster Awaits.

I've noticed a lot of things over the last few months, like young people who say 'like' a lot... What I mean is, like, I want to, like, tell you something, like. But that isn't what I want to talk to you about today... Like.

No... What it is, is people who drink large amounts of energy drink for no good reason. These people are generally hanging around street corners, guzzling energy drinks as if they have just stopped for a breather in a particularly long run. I don't think they need the energy for anything other than watching passing folk and cars.

I've noticed them in cafe's, shops, and even at their place of work, where they apparently need more and more energy in order to catch up on Facebook or get up to do the filing. This is not normal. For a start, energy drinks tend to taste like shit. Secondly, I believe they are dangerous to the general well being of society.

It's a wonder that they manage to do anything except palpitate and sweat their way through the working day. Do they need one first thing in the morning..?

"I've got a hard day at the office today dear... New delivery of paper clips. Pass me a can of CaffPow would you..? I'll pour it on my cornflakes. Would I like a lift to work..? No thanks dear, I'll bounce my way there."

Whatever happened to a coffee in the morning and a stiff Scotch at the end of the day to wind down..? I don't know about you, but my day is not complete without nodding off to the early evening soaps at the end of the day, which is why they are made in the first place, to get the populace to go to bed early and stop them causing trouble on the streets.

More and more people though are drinking these energy drinks. And this in turn can make them stay awake and alert until at least 10 o'clock in the evening... Maybe even 11. It's a recipe for disaster.

I tell you this, the upsurge in the energy drink market is a slippery slope to caffeine and sugar induced rioting in the streets. These energy drinks should be banned and replaced with warming cups of Ovaltine and a Radio 4 play to settle them down a bit. I hope the powers that be are reading this...

One day you will thank me.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

A Time Machine, Marty McFly And Trouser Insurance.

There is something that has bugged me now for many years. I hadn't thought about it for a long time until I caught a glimpse on the telly the other day of the hit 80's film, 'Back to the future.'

Now what's been bugging me all these years isn't the fact that they made a time machine from a Delorean, however implausible that it may be... No. What has been bugging me is what occurs when Marty travels back in time to the 50's and finds himself in his home town.

You see on arrival, he wanders down his street and is promptly knocked over by a car and is rendered unconscious. The next thing you know, he wakes up in his young mothers bed without his trousers on... Think about this a while...

This is not a logical response to finding a casualty in a traffic accident is it..? Just who was it that decided the medical response to an unconscious young lad with a head injury, is to abduct him from the street, remove his trousers... Just his trousers mind you... And put him in a young adolescent teen girls bed..? And for the love of humanity, why..?

Did they not have medical emergency response in 1950's small town America..? A first aider perhaps, who knows how to check an airway, stem blood flow or splint a broken bone. Apparently not...

What they do have is a maniac on the loose with a penchant for debagging young men without a care in the world for medical sensibilities and the well being of the patient.

I tell you this... Next time I'm travelling to the USA, I'm taking out some serious medical insurance with an anti abduction clause. Also, I shall be insuring against malicious trouser theft. You can't be too careful can you..?

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Carry On Starbucks.

You probably think that I spend a lot of time hanging around in various coffee shops and you would be right, I do. Being on the road and waiting around is part of my job so I have imbibed my fair share of arabica goodness.

Today though, i thought the baristas at a certain Starbucks, (I will mention no names, Farnborough.) had started to flirt outrageously with their clientele. Either that or they were in full dress rehearsal for their amateur performance of Carry On Starbucks. Having ordered my usual latte, I was asked by the charming young lady barista...

"Would you like anything to eat Sir..?"

"No thank you.." Came my reply.

"I've got a lovely muffin..."

I raised my left eyebrow, stifled a schoolboy giggle, and refrained from letting out my inner Kenneth Williams. "I'm sorry what..?" I said.

"I've got a nice muffin Sir, if you would like it..."

At this point, my inner Kenneth was replaced by a full on Sid James. Just what was she offering to show me? It was obvious to anyone who doesn't have a dirty schoolboy / Carry On film orientated sense of humour, but not me... Oh no...

"And I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts..." I retorted.

She looked at me perplexed.

"Sorry Sir..?"

"Nothing... Just the latte, thanks."

Some people just don't get it do they..? I bet she has never even heard of Kenneth Williams or Sid James.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Steamed Milk And Chocolate Sprinkles.

Yet again I found myself on the road and in need of refreshment. Coffee, that'll hit the spot. A large latte no less with foam and choco sprinkles in a plastic lined cardboard cup. I am nothing if not a connoisseur of fine coffee establishments of the roadside service station variety.

I took my place in the medium sized queue and noticed there was only one man at the till, in a row of five otherwise unattended tills, dealing with the customers, one at a time and very slowly. I waited my turn as the queue extended behind me. I could hear tuts, harrumphs and long, drawn out breaths of impatience.

Everyone in front of me was paying for fuel, but I, I was not. I only wanted a large latte, and this I knew, was going to cause him to abandon his till to make it. The queue in front slowly disappeared and it was now my turn.

"No fuel, just a large latte to go please..."

I heard a loud harrumph from behind me. Not a small imperceptible harrumph, but a fully audible, I'm going to let him hear my displeasure at being held up harrumph. No matter, this was not my fault and I wanted a coffee. The man abandoned the till and headed for the coffee machine.

Placing the plastic lined, cardboard cup beneath the spout, he pushed the large latte button and my beverage of choice flowed. The people in the queue waited. I watched the steamed milk as it slowly started to fill my cup. As it neared the top, before the foam was dispensed, the man removed the cup. Steamed milk still flowed followed by the whoosh of foaminess that was now going into the spill tray.

What he gave me was a medium latte in a large latte cup, with no foam and no chocolate sprinkles.

I wasn't going to stand for this. As he started to place the plastic lid on the cup, I reminded him of the order I had made.

"I ordered a large?" I said. "I'm sorry?" He replied.

"I ordered a large latte... Could you top that up please? You removed the cup before it finished."

He looked at me. I could see a dark cloud descend upon his furrowed brow as he mentally decided how he was going to deal with this pedantic troublemaker. A tut emanated from over my shoulder, as the waiting queue started to form a loose lynch mob. I was not to be distracted from what I saw as a crime of obtaining money by deception.

"I can't top it up, it's a machine... I'll have to make you a fresh one" said the till man, as he again walked towards the coffee machine. I glanced towards the queue. Around ten pairs of eyes bore into me with varying intensity from mild irritation to downright murderous thoughts.

"One LARGE cappuccino... Two pounds twenty please.." Said the till man, in a sarcastic manner.

Did he just say cappuccino? I think he did. He bloody well did you know. I was now in a quandary. I had a large drink, just not the drink of my choice. I really, really wanted to say something about latte being a close cousin to a cappuccino, but all of three to four minutes had elapsed and the queue were now starting to look for pitchforks in the BBQ aisle section. So I relented.

I paid and took my coffee to the sugar stand and gently removed the plastic lid... You guessed it... No chocolate sprinkles.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A Summers Day Sabotaged.

So the school summer holidays are upon us in earnest and I'm on the road having dropped No1 Son off at his adventure to the zoo, courtesy of the youth club. So I will quickly nip home and relax in the garden, child free for the next 5 hours of quiet bliss which incorporates a mandatory snooze in the warm sunshine.

My local authority and the highways agency have other ideas however. In the time it took me to drive through a small town, drop off the boy and return, 20 or so heavy set blokes in hi-vis vests, along with digging vehicles, dump trucks, pointy cones and traffic lights have somehow managed to cause a tailback from here to eternity.

They weren't there 30 or so minutes ago, and neither was the entire population of North East Hampshire, in their cars, patiently waiting to thwart my ambition of just a little bit of child free rest and recuperation. This is just not bloody fair. I manage to last a mere 30 minutes of crawling, stopping, crawling and stopping before my inner demons surface and I call the entire membership of the local roads authority a bunch of fuck witted, lame brained, moronic shit for brains dickwads, for ripping up the roads in summer time.

I felt better for my outburst, but also grateful that my car window was up as I did so, for the little old lady in the car next to me may have overheard some truly awful language not heard since the trenches of WW1.

I queued for a full hour along a dual carriageway before being able to turn round and go a different way. Knowing the back roads can sometimes be a blessing but also a curse, for today is also the day that every farmer with his tractor has decided to come out and cut the fields of grass for silage. Learner drivers are still learning, potholes the size of the Grand Canyon are in abundance and... No... For Gods sake, no...

The queue stretches ahead like a metal snake...

It seems I'm not the only one who knows the back roads and so it seems, do the local roads authorities, who have decided that today is not only the day to rip up the roads, but also the day to fit new roadside lighting along this particular stretch of highway.

I'm only 8 miles from home, a cool drink and an afternoon nap... But today, I may as well be on the fucking moon.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Husband Crèche Humiliation.

It has come to something when us blokes can't be trusted to venture onto the high street for a pleasant afternoons shopping for home essentials like toilet roll, cheese, (extra mature) a Toblerone, a child's toy light sabre and a box of cheap beer.

What do you mean? That's quite a normal sounding shopping list for a man who walks the streets of retail therapy alone and unsupervised. Now I know that last time the Missus sent me out hunting and gathering for salad, quiche and baby potatoes, I did in fact come home with a play station, 2 games, a war film and an iceberg lettuce, but that's not relevant here...

What is relevant, is that people obviously think that we men, as a whole, cannot be trusted and as such, have invented the 'husband crèche,' where we can be kept an eye on by more sensible people.

I am appalled. It is a gut wrenching sign of the times where I, as a grown man of advancing years, intelligence and experience, can be treated as a child and must be reigned in. Inverse sexism is what it is.

I am a man, a hunter, maker of fire and provider of shelter and protection. But I am also a modern man, so I must compromise, share and be equal to the concerns of my other half. However, I must stand firm and take control of this situation without confrontation.

So this time, I compromised a pint of best bitter, a bar stool and the possibility of a meat and potato pie as she went shopping for the accoutrements that our family are really in need of... Like fresh food and cleaning thingies.

In the 'Husband Crèche' we discussed and philosophised on the important matters of the day, things like the price of beer, battlefield conditions for the modern infantryman and does a cheese toastie, beer and Toblerone make for a balanced diet..? We came to the conclusion that yes... Yes it does.

Can't be trusted eh..? Even Descartes or Aristotle couldn't come up with these deep and meaningful theories on modern man, and they were proper philosophers. A Husband Crèche, that's what they needed back then... Now, where's my meat and potato pie..?

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Inadvertent Exposure.

I'm sitting outside a TK Maxx, which in itself is a frightful thing to be doing. I didn't go in, I promise you. I just happened to be there when a young gentleman of the Shoreditch twat variety, or Hipster, hoved into view sporting the latest in eighties retro hairdo, clothes and footwear.

The sight of him alone made me giggle to myself, but then something truly awful caught my eye. I didn't mean to be looking but once I had seen it I couldn't look away. His too tight skinny jeans were, how can I put this... deficient in the zip department, and he was going commando. Everything was on display like the proverbial last turkey in the shop window.

There were people about. Ladies may faint at the sight of this man's unfettered meat and two veg and could drop like flies, no pun intended. Something needed to be done... Swiftly. Just not by me. I looked around to see if anyone else had been unfortunate enough to have witnessed this act of inadvertent indecent exposure... Nope, just me then.

As is always the way of my life, he started to walk in my direction. Why me? Do I ignore it or tell him? It would certainly be funnier to ignore it and wait for the inevitable scream that would happen any time now from a passing lady of the fainting persuasion. But what do I say and how do I say it..? Should i do it quietly and politely with a well recognised euphemism like, 'you seem to flying low there old chap..' Or should i just go for it and...

"Oi..! You..! Your dick's 'angin' out you plank..."

Thank you white van man. Ever the stoical, down to earth and plain speaking modern Englishman. He was parked behind me with a mouthful of burger and a cab full of other builder types, laughing.

I mentally packed away my well worn euphemism and sense of British politeness. I guess it's not required any more.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Gents Lavatorial Rule Book

A good blogging friend of mine, Scaryduck, commissioned a survey a while back into the toilet habits of the modern British male. Having been on the road for a few hours today, the time inevitably came when I would need to.. Err.. Relieve myself. There was a petrol station not far off so I decided that is where I would stop. Perhaps this story could go towards his lavatorial study...

Walking towards the gents door I noticed in my peripheral vision another man walking towards the same door. Having been here before, I quickened my pace knowing that the gents only had one urinal. If I get there first, he would have to use trap number one, not me. Those things are usually filthy in your average roadside gents lavatories and are to be strictly avoided unless you are in an absolutely unavoidable touching cloth scenario. I made it first with a few steps to spare and opened the door. The man followed in behind me. As we did so, I found to my horror that trap number one was engaged. There were two toilets and three blokes... This could go badly.

I stood at the urinal thinking that the man would do the decent thing by realising his gentlemanly faux pas and leave to wait outside. He didn't. He was about three feet behind me, unmoving. He sniffed. I coughed and stared at the wall dead ahead. You can't be in a small gents urinals and stand in silence. It's not the done thing, the rules of the urinals state that if one man sniffs then the other must cough, at least he knew that. Whoever was in trap number one remained silent, he too it seemed, knew the rules.

Maybe he was too shocked at finding out there was only one urinal and was too embarrassed to be seen by others walking straight out again. It would certainly look suspicious to any casual observer of the gents door. So I guess he stayed there frantically trying to remember the gents lavatory rule book.

Having finished my turn at the urinal I now turned to wash my hands and the full horror of the situation struck me. The tiny wash basin was directly next to the urinal, less than a foot away. If I washed my hands would the man stand next to me as he did his business? We would basically be touching each other at the shoulder, him peeing and me washing my hands. Under no circumstances is there to be any physical contact in a public toilet, it's rule number one in the gents rule book on pain of a potential beating by a stranger, or worse, an invitation to 'Go and observe the nearby badger set..' Also, there was a real danger of splashback or sidespray.

I prayed that he knew of his earlier mistake and would now show common bloke decency by waiting until I had finished washing my hands. Thankfully he did. I sniffed again, he coughed and trap number one remained silent. I took this a a sign that he understood the rules and was sorry for the earlier gaffe, a kind of bloke lavatorial audible sign language that everyone understands from an early age.
I turned and studiously avoided eye contact, again, another rule of the gents had been observed. I was relieved that gentlemanly lavatory honour had been restored as I dried my hands under the blow drier and left, but it was close. So very close.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Home Improvement, DIY And Will I Be Needing A Sponge With That..?

I found myself on an industrial estate yesterday. I don't work there and no, I wasn't looking for illicit drug dealers, prostitutes or a shady cash deal on a new washing machine from a bloke in a van with no questions asked and no VAT.

I was there to deal with another kind of man who strikes fear into my heart every time my wife says we could do with a new bathroom, kitchen, carpet or self assembly wooden contraption for the bedroom or hallway. The DIY showroom man. This is a man who expects me, as another man, to know what I'm talking about. I don't. Sexist stereotyping... That what I call it.

I was there to buy tiles for the bathroom and was confronted by a myriad of square ones, oblong ones, shiny ones and ones that glow in the dark. Rows and rows of the bloody things. The man asked, 'What do we have already?' 'Square ones.' I replied... 'On the wall. I don't know how they got there and they won't come off.'

'What size wall in square metres are we talking about?' He said... 'Bath length and width, all the way to the ceiling.' I said. The funny thing was, he knew exactly the size I was talking about.

'What sort of tile are you interested in?' He asked... 'Waterproof ones I guess.' I said, knowingly. 'Any particular design?' He sighed. 'No flowers, and don't make my bathroom look like a gents underground urinal, other than that we are good to go.'

At this point, my wife chipped in with the correct dimensions, design choice with border tiles, tile size and quantity. She then ordered something called tile adhesive and grout.

I meanwhile, pretended to be interested in a ladder that was for sale nearby while my wife and the DIY man talked flexible tile adhesive and whether we had a stud wall or solid brick and would she be needing a sponge. What the hell does she need a sponge for..? 'Oh, I see, and what exactly is a stud wall..?' I asked.

'Ignore him.' Replied my ever tolerating wife. The man nodded and gave me a look that said he deals with incapable idiots like me on an hourly basis. I fiddled with the ladder as if I was a ladder expert and that he had got me all wrong. It turned out to be a two stage extendable ladder with rubber footings for extra safety, perfect for window cleaning and gutter maintenance. I recoiled. If I had one, my wife would make me climb it and do the guttering, so I decided that we didn't need one.

My eye wandered around the showroom. Power tools, lighting, electrical goods and hardware. 'Do we need any Pozzidrive screws..?' I asked... 'No.' Came the reply. 'Wall flange support rods?' Again, no.

I found the coffee machine which I made good use of as my wife managed to get a ten percent discount on the deal for buying everything in one go. She even got DIY man to load everything onto a big trolley with wheels. I told him where my van was.

Job done. That was easier than I thought. Oh and yes, we are getting a man in to do the tiling. I will let you know how it goes, I think he's going to need my help when he discovers that my wife said we didn't need those wall flange support rods. I won't say I told her so...

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The First Rule Of Bilderberg...

Yep, I'm going to link the all time greatest film 'fight Club' with the Bilderberg conference, which this year takes place in a hollowed out volcano somewhere in the Bahamas... Oh no, hang on... Watford.

By holding the conference in Watford, the world's elite hoped that their presence would be shielded by all the local news of binge drinking, hoodies and a world famous football club, but alas, the press found them out. Unfortunately, the first rule of Bilderberg is that you don't talk about Bilderberg, so details are somewhat sketchy.

However, my secret, inner resources at a nearby hostelry, tell me that the Bilderberg conference is in fact one big secret punch up between left and right wing leaning factions who ordinarily would not meet each other. Discussions take place of course, but the final settlements are reached by more physical means in the form of a bare fisted punch up in the bar following afternoon tea, and bouts of heavy drinking.

For those of you who may be a little skeptical, at the end of the conference, look closely at our Chancellor of the Exchequer when he returns to his duties at the House of Commons. He will have a face like a slapped arse. Then look at Ed Balls, his shadow. He will have a shit eating grin on his face for weeks knowing that he will be the next Chancellor in a few years time.

In other news, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde beat former Prime Minister Gordon Brown with a neat left hook and a kick to the groin in what was described as a grudge match.

Chairman of Shell Oil beat head of BP with a knockout blow resulting in a merger to create the worlds largest oil company.

Finally, President Obama, the official referee in such matters declared the Pakistan victory over the Taliban null and void, following heavy duty backhanders by MI6.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Getting On With Your Neighbours...

I have a theory. In fact I have many, many theories which could lead you to suspect I am sort sort of conspiracy theory nut job. I am not.

This particular theory is about serial killers and why, after being caught, the neighbours always say to the waiting press, "He was such a quiet man. Kept himself to himself..." It's because we don't keep an eye on our neighbours any more, that's why.

There is a reason why serial killers keep themselves to themselves and are quiet people. It's because they are quietly going about their business of slaughtering innocent people in their basements, and wearing their victims skin as a dress / underpants, whilst cooking brains with onions for their supper.

You never hear of the neighbours saying things like, "I always wondered what the blood curdling screams were about." Or, "I thought he was burying his bulbs a little deep, I never imagined he was actually burying the body parts of fifteen murdered prostitutes."

So next time you see see your neighbour with a wheelie bin, go and check the black plastics sacks inside. If you see him weeding the garden, ask if he needs any help to dig, his reaction will tell you all you need to know. Next time you are casually looking through their windows or letterbox, look out for bottles of chianti on the sideboard, it's a sure giveaway you're living next to a psychopathic cannibalistic killer.

My neighbour has, oh so politely, asked me to leave him alone, but I know what he's up to the fiendish bastard. A drop of red wine with his liver and onions? A likely bloody story. I never did like him, the freak.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

An Experiment In Destroying Cornwall...

I had a thought this afternoon. Dangerous I know, but bear with me for I believe that I can rip open a tear in the space / time continuum between Cornwall and the rest of the UK, along the route of the River Tamar. This should please the Cornish Independence Front, The Independent Front Of Cornwall and the League Of Cornish Independence no end.

Here's my plan. Next time i visit the South West, i shall collect one Cornish fisherman and one Cornish ploughman and place them in a room above a pub in Polperro. In a blind taste test, feed the ploughman a fishermans pie and the fisherman a ploughmans lunch.

Rumblings in the space / time continuum should appear after 10 or so minutes. To hurry things along, ask them to wash the food down with a Scrumpy shandy, 1 part Scrumpy to 2 parts lemonade.

The water in the River Tamar should at this point be boiling a blood red colour with sulphurous steam. Then the Coup-De-Grace for the Cornish fate should be applied.

Serve them a Cornish Pasty. Not your average meat and potato variety, but one filled with Italian Antipasti. A vortex should begin to appear somewhere over Polperro, resulting in a crack in the Earths surface along the River Tamar, breaking it away from the rest of the UK.

Job's a guddun. You're welcome Cornwall.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Friday, 31 May 2013

My Personal Revolution Against 'The Man.' This Is Just The Beginning.

I am not a man to worry about what others think of me. I consider myself a decent sort, approachable and honest of intent. I don't want to deftly remove cash from your account whilst selling you crap, nor beat you to within an inch of your life because you happen to disagree with me on a few issues.

I get through life pretty easily with minimal fuss and avoidance of confrontation. Until that is, confrontation comes my way. You only have to turn on the news to discover the vast array of confrontation that is currently ongoing around the world due to religion, politics, shady business deals and common thievery of resources on an epic scale. I am but one man with one vote, therefore small fry in the minds of those that seek to control.

As I say, I avoid confrontation but it sometimes has a nasty habit of seeking me out. Take yesterday for example. All I wanted was to stop for a coffee, rest a while and then move on. It would seem however that now you have to pay for the privilege of spending your own money. Everywhere you stop the car, you have to pay 'the man.' Well I don't want to pay 'the man.' Not any more.

Why should I pay 'the man' 80p for 30 minutes parking so that I can go and spend £2.65p for a coffee that takes me five minutes to get, therefore costing me a grand total of £3.45p for the whole experience? Lets say I wanted to buy a 50p newspaper a little later on in a different high street. 60p to park, for local councils are nothing if not inconsistent in pricing, plus 50p for the paper, £1.10p in total. That means I have to spend £1.40p to spend £3.15p.

Now I could, if I were the sort, not pay the parking charges in the hope of getting away with it. Nip in, nip out and drive away with the maniacal laughter of a seasoned super criminal, and no one is any the wiser. I am however, not the sort to get away with it. I never am. Trust me, the moment I walked out of sight would be the moment the parking attendant would discover my illegal transgression and hit me with a £60.00 charge for my impertinence against the system of 'the man.' (£30.00 if paid within 14 days.)

I don't want to pay £63.45p for a cup of coffee, (£33.45 if paid within 14 days) not even one where the coffee bean has passed through the digestive system of the lesser African jungle stoat. So I poke my coins into the slot of misery and pay 'the man.'

Well no more. Not only do I resent paying global business £2.65p for a coffee, I also resent paying 'the man' his slice of the pie. I have devised an ingenious plan to get my own back, thereby saving me a not inconsiderable sum of money in the process, and contributing to the demise of the high street.

I've bought a flask. 3 mugs of lovely hot java, made to my own recipe and without the corporate bollocks of sustainable, forest friendly, fair price marketing so beloved of the corporate suit. No more the comfortable seats, the choccy-Mocha-capo with hazelnut syrup and people watching on the local tree lined boulevards. No more.

I can now park in a condom, dog shit and litter strewn, council controlled roadside layby of my own choice, whilst at the same time, lifting two fingers to the parking charges of town centres. That my friends, is the sweet sweet smell of success, and of getting one over on 'the man.'

That'll show 'em.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

I've Just Slowed Down A Little, That's All.

So here I sit in my car, looking out to sea. Southsea, Portsmouth in the late spring is breezy with a washed out sun and the threat of rain. I sip at my just purchased hot chocolate and nibble on a sandwich. I feel relaxed.

Watching the Isle Of Wight ferries slip lazily over the Solent, eying the passers by in their wind cheaters whilst trying to enjoy ice cream, made for an enjoyable afternoon of people watching and general fulfilment in my life.

I looked into the car parked next to mine. An elderly couple, sipping hot chocolate, stared out from their own windscreen. The tiny old lady was frail looking. She removed a limp sandwich from her sandwich box and gave it a gummy mangling. I looked over to my passenger seat to where my own sandwich box lay and as I did so, noticed the old man in the car to my left. He was sipping a hot drink and eating his sandwich.

I returned my gaze to the waves of the Solent. Instead of me watching the passers by, the passers by seemed to be looking at me and my elderly companions, lined up in our cars on the seafront, sipping hot chocolate and gumming our sandwiches to pass the time of old age... Waiting for death.

I'm only 46 years old. I'm not ready to go yet. I only came here to eat my lunch and have a hot drink whilst watching the world go by. I switched on the radio. BBC Radio 4, that's good, there is some interesting debates on in a while.

So here I sat in row of car bound, elderly people waiting for the inevitability of the cold clutch of death as we ate our sandwiches and sipped our hot chocolate. I wanted to run from the car and leap, bollock naked into the sea shouting "How's this for being middle aged?" But then remembered my bad back and decided against it.

I could sit on the sea wall, bare chested, drink a can of Special Brew and whistle at the passing babes. No, maybe not, there's a chill in the air and a threat of showers later in the afternoon. Summers aren't what they used to be when I was a lad. Anyway, I'm not as buff as I used to be. Moobs are not de-riguer.

I took out a sandwich and bit manly into it. Mayo slipped down onto my chest staining my newest fleece jacket. The Missus is going to kill me. I noticed that the little old lady in the car next to me had nodded off. In the car to my left, the old man was looking through a pair of vintage binoculars at the passing ferries. It started to rain.

Has my life really got to the stage where I would happily sit in my car, listening to Radio 4 and drinking hot chocolate? Hell no. I'm still youngish, I have all my own grey hair and most of my teeth. I might even go down the pub tonight, have a few large ones with the boys... Ah, hang on, it's the last in the series if Midsummer Murders, I can't miss that.

No. I'm not old yet. I've just slowed down a little. That's all. That's what I tell myself as I feel my eyes getting heavier, and I nod off the tunes of Jamie Cullum on Radio 4.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

I Will never Forget The Day When JLS Split.

So there i was, happily ensconced in the bathroom reading Twitter on the bog when the awful, terrible news came through that the pop foursome JLS were to split up. It was an almost comic symbiotic relationship that i have with my twitter friends.

The news came as such a shock to my system that i admit a little fart escaped. Finishing my ablutions, i scratched my balls, coughed and washed my hands. I then turned on the BBC Breakfast news... It was all too real, they had indeed split to spend more time with their cash.

I thought about the dozens of fans around the world who were by now crying into their cereal bowls, mixing the bitter sweet tears of anguish with coco pops and milk. It took me right back to the time that i heard the news of the global phenomenon that was Black Lace of Aga-Doo fame, when their pop partnership was rent asunder...The lonely days of crying under my duvet and not talking to my wife were a tough time.

The feeling then of heartbreak was all so much to bear that i almost called the Black Lace counselling hotline. I will never forget it.

I feel for the JLS fans. I know their pain. If only we as a nation could get together somehow to find who in Britain has the talent to replace the fun foursome. A talent show perhaps, we could call it Britain has a talented voice with the X factor... Or something.

Surely we could find a music producer with the money to find such a replacement. A hands off mentor type who would let them grow, become musically accomplished and find their own style. There could be judges... How about Jimmy Tarbuck or Shane Ritchie..?

All i know is that there are not enough boy bands out there with such talent and now is the time to do something about that. We could find a cute one, a sporty one, a thick one and an impossibly good looking one that eventually gets all the money and fame...

But maybe i live in a dream world.

For now though, i will always remember this day. The day JLS split up. It will be forever etched in my mind with scratching my balls whilst looking in the mirror, having just evacuated my bowels.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Ass Hattery In A Disabled Bay.

I've just encountered a Dick splash, Ass Hat, and all round fuck witted moron. And I'm not saying that because he drives an overpowered, low profile tyred, BMW with privacy windows.

I'm not even saying it because he got out of the car and proceeded to have a conversation with someone on his blue toothed phone, loudly, so even I knew that sales were better than expected, Jeff in the Audit division is a tosser and that yet again, he's going to be late home.

His cheap shiny suit gave me good laugh, so it wasn't that. No, the reason I am calling him a dick splash, ass hatted, fuck witted moron is that he parked in a disabled bay when there were plenty of other parking bays behind him and next to him.

Clearly, this is a man on a mission. A goal to be achieved, targets to hit and a boss to suck up to. He is a focussed man. Nothing will get in his way.

He is also not disabled. He did not display a blue disabled parking badge.

So, in time honoured English fashion, with a sense of good nature and fair play, I waited for him to go to the store. I then parked my van behind him, got out and left. I am writing this as I sit with a coffee and ample time until my next working appointment.

He's probably late for his. In the words of the great Sergeant Major Williams from it ain't half hot mum... (If you are old enough to remember it..)

"Oh dear, how sad, never mind."

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Elizabethan insults I shall use more often...

Listening to the spotty, slack jawed, baggy trousered youth of today, you could be forgiven that the English language has, how can I put this... 'Gone shizzlin' gangsta blud, innit..?' Yes my dear boy... That's 'Bitchin.'

Forgive me kind gentle reader, i am sorry to have shocked you with such profane language, uttered by street guttersnipes outside your local off licence. Mind you, offensive profanities are not the reserve of today's ineffectual youths in hoods, my word no...

In my life's quest for flowery language, there can be no other verbal insults as good and effective as the Shakespearean Elizabethan of yesteryear, and youths in hoods would be well advised to pick up on this. For example, you may be outside your local purveyor of fine ready rubbed shag to be accosted thusly...

'Oi... Battyboi... Gizza dolla or I slice you innit...'

On being insulted in this manner, a gentleman of sobriety and self worth such as myself would be inclined to flatten the cream faced loon with a blow worthy of inclusion in the Queensbury rules. However, quick wit is the key here, and the manifestation of your superior breeding and well read mind should prevail over mere thuggery. Your riposte should be rapier like...

'You Scullion, You Rampallion, You Fustilarion... I shall tickle your catastrophe. indeed Sir, A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen, as you are toss'd with.'

Write that down. Learn it. It may save your life one day. I'm sure that a reply such as this would so confuse the poor little tyke. He may say something like... 'Say whaaat..?' That is the moment of your destiny, as you would have plenty of time to make your lightening like escape on foot to the nearest office of the constabulary, as is your duty as a citizen.

Mind how you go...

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Aisle Blockers.

I'm not talking of people in churches, stopping people from getting married, no. You know who you are, you utter bastards. Yes you, you and the other people you are talking to in the biscuit aisle of our local supermarket.

You stand there, as if nobody else exists, talking about the kids, the school run, and the price of fish. You are standing there with your shopping trolleys, three abreast, thereby blocking my advance from the cheese counter to the fig roll shelf. (I know they are not strictly speaking biscuits, but bear with me ).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I apologise for ramming my trolley into your ankles, thereby interrupting your story that would command high fees on the after dinner speaking circuit. However you must admit that by standing and yammering on in the middle of a supermarket aisle is just a tad tedious to the likes of us who like to get in, shop and get out.

Did I say I apologise for ramming your ankles with my trolley..? I did..? What I meant to say was fuck you.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Monday, 25 March 2013


Just a thought...

Politicians... Tell us again your plans to fix the economy.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

You're where..?

I just made a phone call to a colleague. It went something like this...

Me: Hi... Just thought I'd give you a call to give you the heads up on something you may be interested in..

Him: Oh, OK, is it happening in the next week or so..?

Me: Yes, in the next few days. Why..?

Him: Well, it's just that I'm on a beach in Trinidad at the moment... And I....

Me: Click...

Bastard. The utter bastard. Here I am sitting on the M4 in misery and rain thinking I am doing someone a favour, and all the while he's been on a beach in Trinidad and Tobago chugging Pena Coladas like they are going out of fashion.

Again, I reiterate... The utter bastard.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Coffee Shop Creche.

I would just like to reiterate the fact that i am a tolerant, likeable and approachable sort of chap. Having said that, there are times when all i want to do is give someone a good, hard slap.

Take this morning for instance. I entered a coffee shop with intent to have a medium latte, a toasted panini and 20 to 30 minutes rest. Maybe even read my Kindle and take in an article or two for purposes of worldly education.

I ensconced myself on a particularly comfortable single seat at a small table, not wishing to take up the freely available 3 seater sofa that looked far more amenable for my weary body to sink into. See..? I'm not the sort to take up 3 spaces whilst reading a broadsheet newspaper for 2 hours whilst making my coffee last all day, with a smug look on my face that says.. 'I was here first, i got the sofa all to myself, so fuck you..'

Anyway, having just sat down, my quiet reading was rudely interrupted by 3 mums in their early thirties, trailing baby buggies, shopping and an air of superiority. The two kids that accompanied them were obviously free range. They shouted a lot. they squealed and spilled juice on the floor.

I imagine they were called Benjamin and Rupert. I wouldn't know because during their play time in the coffee shop not once did their mothers even attempt to calm them down, ask them to stop squealing and shouting and generally being little shits. They talked to each other about soft furnishings and how their holidays were going to pan out this year in Tuscany or some such crap.

Then... The as yet unseen baby woke up. It was obviously also in training for the highest pitched kiddie squeal competition. Mummy ignored it. My blood pressure was rising. Just as i was about to rise, Jackie Chan stylee, delivering a kick to the head, she picked up the small ball of screeching flesh. She smelled it's bottom...

'Ohh... has little baby poo-poohed..?' Oh for fuck's sake.

Free range Benjamin or Rupert bumped past my table making my coffee wobble. I gave the child a good hard stare with a look that says that i'm about to rip your legs off... only it was wearing trendy dungarees which would have made it technically difficult. I looked at Mummy, with her trendy scarf. My mind wondered just how long it would take to choke a fully grown adult woman with a trendy scarf. She didn't admonish the child probably fearing that doing so may inhibit his creative inner self, scarring for life the adorable little darling.

I wondered whether i could get away with a sly little kick to it's shins. Would trendy mummy notice if i drop kicked little Benjamin through the window? I discounted the idea for i am as i said, a tolerant, likeable and approachable sort of chap. My article went unread. I didn't want my coffee and the relaxing half hour break was in tatters.

What irked me is that i had paid good money, not just for the coffee and toasted panini, but for the ambience, the atmosphere of cafe culture.

I did not pay to sit in a creche of screaming, free range, shit smelling, snot nosed mini Ruperts. I like children, really i do. I used to be one. I however was taught the importance of behaviour in a social setting.

One day, i'm gonna really hurt someone.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.