Share on Facebook

Showing posts with label All Ears. Show all posts
Showing posts with label All Ears. Show all posts

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Michael Holden's All Ears 5th March (& my last one)

Sadly this my LAST EVER All Ears. (although in the print edition it's credited to 'name in here')

I only officially found this out earlier in the week which is rather disappointing in that unbeknownst to The Guardian, all through the run I've been secretly implanting symbols within each illustration with the plan that if you laid all of them out on a large flat surface they'd spell out a secret message that can only be read from space* (something about lizard people, the Holy Grail & Rupert Murdoch etc.)

So much for my masterplan...

Anyway thanks to Stephen & Sara at The Guardian for being a pleasure to work with over the last 3 years or so & have enjoyed Mr Holden's articles (despite never having met him!) at least I get my weekends free now

PS *this may be a lie

(& milk in coffee's for wimps & little girls, - FACT!)

Over & out, here's the article

(Article by Michael Holden)

Mid-morning at a busy sandwich and coffee concession in the middle of the city, and one young businessman collected his, presumably daily, sought-after beverage and returned with a look of what could only be described as woe.

Man 1 "I hate the way they shout it out."

Man 2 "What?"

Man 1 (quietly, as if in shame) "'Milky Americano'. It's the word milky, she says it, 'mill-key', really strings it out. She shouts it when I order, too."

Man 2 (right first time) "You think it's a sign of weakness, having extra milk in your coffee?"

Man 1 (embarrassed to be read so rightly) "No, I … "

Man 2 "Yeah, you do!"

Man 1 "I don't. I just take the trouble to say, 'With plenty of milk', and they turn that into milky, and shout it out, 'Mill-key!'"

Man 2 (half joking) "Well, it's a dynamic environment – they have their own way of getting things done."

Man 1 (playing along) "Yeah, but I'm a key part of that environment, I'm driving it."

Man 2 "You're just one person. And you'll be the only one that gives a fuck."

Man 1 "I reckon this could be bigger than you think."

Man 2 "You're not alone?"

Man 1 "You never know."

Man 2 "Get on Twitter, start a revolution."

Man 1 "It's blocked at work."

Man 2 "Do it when you get in."

Man 1 "It never bothers me at night."

Man 2 "What does?"

Man 1 (emphatic) "Other stuff."

Man 2 (retreating, quite probably wisely) "Right."

Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 26th February

I've never used the 'recent bereavement' method for dealing with cold callers but I did once conjure up a story about a colony of light sensitive 'mole people' whilst persuading a replacement window salesperson that their product was insufficiently opaque for my needs...

Original article here

(Article by Michael Holden)
Amid the debate around minimum pricing for alcohol, I should point out that, in six years of writing this column, it's been my experience that people who have paid more to get drunk say duller things while they're getting there. The cut-price drinker might reach oblivion faster and generally live a shorter life but, on balance, they get the better lines. This discourse from my local bargain hostelry being a case in point.

Man 1 "I told a feller on the phone my wife was dead."

Man 2 "But she's not?"

Man 1 "Nah, but it was the call centre. Three days in a row they'd asked for her, so I told them she was dead – and you could see it took the wind out their sails."

Man 2 "Well it would …"

Man 1 "I really turned it on, sobbing and that. Got quite into it. I could hear the feller was upset too. He said they'd delete the number – never call back."

Man 2 "A result then?"

Man 1 "Not really. Once I heard how moved he was I started to feel bad. I'm not cut out for the lying, you know."

Man 2 "It's true."

Man 1 "If I were, life would have been easier. Instead, I felt like one of those murderers who does a press conference for the person they've killed, asking for help and that."

Man 2 "But they drive you to it, though – the calls."

Man 1 "Maybe. Either way, I was glad when she walked through the door."

Man 2 "In case she had died?"

Man 1 "Yeah, which would have been typical of her."

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 19th February

After playing with several Gypsy/carpark/well-known-cartoon-character-with-explicit drug-reference combinations I figured this illustratory* route would leave me less on the road to future legal action.
On the other hand the consumption of the kind of beer you only get in gold & black cans on public transport slightly appeals to me but purely for the fact of pissing Boris Johnson off. Me? Childish? You bet!
(I'll shut up, you can read the article here)

(Article by Michael Holden)
Having failed to visibly outrage anyone by drinking lager on the tube, the four young men sat opposite me seemed anxious to raise the stakes by talking openly about cannabis. First, though, they had a more immediate problem – one born of their initial transgression.

Man 1 (distressed) "I need a piss."

Man 2 "This isn't our stop!"

Man 1 (leaving the carriage) "I can't hold on. I'll meet you there."

Man 2 "What's up with him? He's only had, like, one pint."

Man 3 (looking at his can of lager) "I swam through my brother's sick on holiday. I thought it was coral at first – it was all in my goggles and shit. This was on the Great Barrier Reef. It's a sick country, Australia."

Man 4 "Fuck Australia!"

Man 2 (holding a bit of paper) "Make the roach nice, that was one of the first things I learned about smoking."

Man 4 "What's that?"

Man 2 (rolling it up) "It's my bus ticket, keep the white bit on the outside, you have to twist it. That way you get feedback."

Man 3 "Back in the day I used to think I was the don. I used to get bare stoned and just watch The Simpsons. Nobody knew. I was 13."

There was no reaction to this, so he upped the ante.

Man 3 "That was before I got expelled."

Man 4 "Do you wanna get off and fight?"

Man 3 "I fight Gypsies in car parks – like on that show."

Man 4 "Downgrade your status!"

With that they were off, checking as they went to see if anyone had noticed them.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 5th February

Ok, ok, it's a real curtain not a digital one, & nope, he's not a wizard AT ALL!
(we're definitely not in Kansas any more either - I'm sure they don't make masturbation references in illustrations there - no sirree!)
Read original article here

(Article by Michael Holden)
Two men in a pub – reassured no doubt by the physical nature of their conversation – were speaking loudly about the benefits of doing things in the real, as opposed to the digital, world.

Man 1 "What time are the band on?"

Man 2 "11.15 I think."

Man 1 "You think?"

Man 2 (wearily) "I asked the venue. They have a site and I sent an email saying, 'When are they on?' The woman emailed me back and said, 'Why are you asking – are you in the band?'"

Man 1 (half laughing) "Jesus!"

Man 2 "The band have a site as well – I emailed them – they didn't get back to me."

Man 1 "This is the problem with the internet: everybody's got a fucking site – but who are the idiots behind them? I mean, if you were running a real business and you heard someone not answering the phone – or delivering basic information – you could step in."

Man 2 "You do wonder how much of this is driving the recession – digital idiocy, dressed up as work."

Man 1 "True. It's incompetence veiled behind a virtual curtain."

Man 2 "You pull back the curtain – and there's nothing there. No one."

Man 1 "Not even the Wizard of Oz. Not even an old man who might apologise and give you something useful."

Man 2 "Not even. Pull back the curtain and there's just someone there wanking off – going, 'Why? Are you in the band?'"

Man 1 (excited) "The wanker of Oz!"

Man 2 (happy to have worked out a phrase that those around him would be hearing a lot more of) "Exactly."

Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 29th January

I've still got the scars from my '80s teenage years (but have burned most of the photos!)

- wish I'd left the 'studioline' text off the illustration but I like to present it as printed - one of those cases of 'funny-at-the-time' (like mullets? Conceptual hey?)
Original article here
(Article by Michael Holden)
Walking down a side street I was suddenly overtaken by two young men making quickly toward the main road and kicking around a conversation of sufficient merit and volume that I found myself having to speed up in order to keep abreast of it.

Man 1 (pressing for an answer) "What do you call him, the guy with all the hair down the back?"

Man 2 "Gandhi?"

Man 1 (irked) "No – he's bald! The other one?"

Man 2 (getting the picture) "Him! He's out there – we don't even have a proper nickname for him. He's just 'him', innit?"

Man 1 "We said to him, you can't have hair like that!"

Man 2 "It's the proper mullet."

Man 1 "Nobody wants it!"

Man 2 "But he won't listen!"

Man 1 "He can't hear!"

Man 2 (making snipping motions) "I go up behind him and do the scissors thing – everyone laughs."

Man 1 "We said to him, 'What happened? Did your mum freeze you in the 80s?' Everyone laughs at him! Even the general manager's on to him about it, saying, 'I think it might be better if you didn't have that hair.' But he's all, 'No no no – it's my thing.'"

Man 2 (shaking his head in recognition of a lost cause) "And he's proper slim, innit?"

Man 1 (sad and angry – as though he had great plans for the man's hair that might never see the light of day) "It just doesn't suit – doesn't suit him!"

They laughed loudly though, as they reached the high street and jogged away into the crowd, who all looked much the same as them.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 22nd January

(Article by Michael Holden)
Beyond the humidity, the other thing you can hope to get at the local steam baths is a climate of silence. Not always. Some people will talk, as though stranded on a boiling bus. This time it was a wiry young woman (Woman 1) and her larger friend (Woman 2). The contrast between them was considerable – they looked like a broken exclamation mark.

Woman 1 (nodding toward the gym, looking serious) "You have to go every day."

Woman 2 (downcast) "Yeah but there's work.

Woman 1 "What's your shifts?"

Woman 2 "Earlies."

Woman 1 "Change them 10 'til 6, wait for me for half an hour then we can park round here for free from seven."

Woman 2 "Ain't gonna happen."

Woman 1 "Unless you make it happen."

Woman 2 "I'm all right when I'm with you, I can't do it on my own."

Woman 1 "You cheat when you're with me, if I just look away you start loafing!"

Woman 1 (turning to the men in the room as though appealing to a jury) "She's the fittest person I know. Look at her. Ain't she hot?"

Man 1 "It's a sauna, we're all hot."

Man 2 "What sport do you play?"

Woman 1 "Nothing. I just come here."

Woman 2 "I wanna lose two stone by my birthday."

Woman 1 "You're dreaming."

Woman 2 (plaintive) "I don't drink tea any more."

Woman 1 "Don't worry about tea. It's the Ribena."

Man 1 (back for more) "I like to exhaust myself."

I took that as my cue to fade into the mist.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 15th January

That Brian May (no relation) made his guitar out of a fireplace he did...etc.
As a real-life guitar hero(!) I find the whole concept of Guitar Hero rather puzzling, read on...
See the original article here
(Article by Michael Holden)
For a swift antidote to the optimistic platitudes of new year, there's nothing quite like hospital waiting rooms, where any rogue act of exuberance is swiftly countered by the collective frowning of the preoccupied majority. It was here that I saw a woman standing up in a room full of seated people, typing on her Blackberry and looking up occasionally to see if she had stopped acting like she shouldn't be there. An elderly woman and her adult son sat by my side.

Son (reading a text) "Guitar Hero, I wonder how he's getting on with it?"

Mother "You got him playing it?"

Son "Yeah, he's sent me a text saying he's gonna kick my arse."

Mother "Oh."

Son "Of all the versions I've bought – and I've bought five – there's no Jimi Hendrix on there."

Mother (diving deep into her own past) "Burt Weedon? Duane Eddy?"

Son "No. Stones, a lot of Bon Jovi. That's some frantic playing."

Mother (updating) "Brian May?"

Son "Yeah, Queen are there."

Mother (excited – relatively speaking) "Killer Queen?"

Son "Band On The Run – that's good to play."

Mother (eyeing the standing woman with disdain) "I dunno what she's playing at."

Son (holding thumb and forefinger together to indicate the woman's lack of long term illness) "I saw the size of her file – it was stick thin."

Mother "I've definitely gone deaf in this ear."

Son "I'll get you some shopping later."

Mother "Why don't she sit down?"

Son (most assuredly) "She will."

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Penguin Dunces

Referring to previous post I can't help feeling Penguin books might have missed a trick with this line of titles for the 'less sophisticated reader'

(PS has anyone ever seen seen a real dunce's cap apart from in the Beano? Guess it's politically incorrect to humiliate the divvy kids now?)

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 8th January

Happy New year - after a couple of weeks of festivities I'm climbing back into my (slightly ill fitting) Freudian slip - possibly my favourite undergarment - couldn't resist the dunce penguin in the corner either...

(Article by Michael Holden)
I became surrounded on a bus by three ladies whose lunch had evidently escalated into something more sustained, causing them to abandon their cars for public transport.

Woman 1 (the most drunk) "Where does this bus go?"

Woman 2 (not drunk) "I'll tell you where to get off."

Woman 1 "When do you qualify as a psycho-whatever-it-is?"

Woman 2 "Psychotherapist. I've only just started. This is my first term."

Woman 3 (medium drunk) "Where are you doing it?"

Woman 2 " In town. The youngest person there is 21, it's quite daunting."

Woman 1 (slurring over the distinctions) "But what's the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist."

Woman 2 "A psychiatrist has more of a clinical background."

Woman 1 (delighted to have grasped that) "Right!"

Woman 2 "With therapy that's not always the case."

Woman 3 (not helping) "So at the end of the day, you'll be doing like, cognitive?"

Woman 2 "That might end up being part of it. Freud is the real distinction; he had been a medical doctor, so the psychiatrists …"

Woman 1 (interrupting) "So you can give out drugs, or is that the other lot?"

Woman 2 "Well, it's more psychiatry, the idea that the problem has a pathology to it. Therapy is different, to a degree in that …"

Woman 1 (not listening) "Well Edmund sees someone, and he's on drugs. And Peter sees someone, and he isn't on anything."

Woman 2 (bracing herself for a long journey, in every sense) "I see."

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 11th December

Drugs are bad, mmmmmkay? I was originally going for the 'exploding stomach'imagery but decided against it in the end...
(Article by Michael Holden)
Recently I shared a train carriage with two people whose frank exchange of narcotic chit-chat – while not without its tragedies – was at least a break from the norm.

Woman (glad to have bumped into a mate) "I thought you was in prison!"

Man (equally surprised) "I was, I got done with one bag! Donna got off with two! They said 18 months. Then, they said if I plead guilty I'd get seven. But I didn't know nothing about it. I thought I had to do the whole lot. It was a big surprise to me when they let me out."

Woman "So what you gonna do?"

Man "I'm going on the old Naltrexone."

Woman (cautionary) "If you can be bothered every day."

Man (rueful) "I couldn't sleep for a couple of weeks."

Woman "Well you gotta stay positive. What did your mum to say about it?"

Woman "Went ballistic. Thinks I'm gonna end up like my uncle."

Woman "My area's headed for one of them things where there's not that much shit about; when the good stuff comes back people are gonna start dying."

Man "The stuff I got done with came in at 37/38% – I was quite pleased with that. Did you hear about John's foot?"

Woman "Terrible. Nightmare. He was walking about with bits of bone in his pocket!"

Man (more surprised) "Did you hear about Alannah?"

Woman (nodding) "Her stomach exploded."

Man (with contempt) "Booze."

Later on the drinks trolley came wheeling past; the couple waved it by.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 4th December

In the interests of good taste I avoided illustrating the 'dad's corpse' reference, read on...
(Article by Michael Holden)
Upstairs on a bus, a group of schoolboys were discussing their day when things quickly took a turn for the extreme.

Boy 1 "(talking about a teacher) It's like she's trying to be you friend – she called me 'bred'ren,' which is going too far."

Boy 2 "The other guy is better, I learned bare stuff with him. More in a day with him than I do in week."

Boy 3 "But he's tough, though. He shows you one thing and you get it. And then another thing and you don't. And then he moves on."

Boy 1 "There's a boy in my class – Polish – his name is Olock. He said to me, 'How did you lose that race?' I said, 'Shut up – your name's Olock.

Like bollock.'"

We pulled up by a station and suddenly they got furtive and steered their friend toward the window.

Boy 2 (to boy 1) "You do it, you do it! You're the best."

Boy 1 shouted something inaudible but loud from the window. Moments later, the man who sells the local paper was up the stairs and out for blood, evidently not for the first time. He singled out Boy 1.

Vendor "Why are you always giving it to me, you little mug? You're gonna get stabbed if you don't shut your mouth!"

Having overplayed his hand, the man went back downstairs.

Boy 3 "He's gone mental."

Boy 2 "He is mental. What did you say?

Boy 1 (stunned at the scale of his creation) "I fucked your dad's corpse."

They dissolved into giggles.

Boy 2 "You're gonna get us killed."

Fair point, but still, it was – presumably – inventive. Reprehensible and so on, but I could hardly write it down for laughing all the same.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 27th November

Caution this image contains gratuitous zoom lens tumescence & a very feeble pun which I make no apology for...
(Article by Michael Holden)
One of the occasional hazards of writing a column like this is that, sometimes, the people you've written about track you down. Some write in, and others simply lie in wait. For those drinking locally they don't have to wait too long. Happily, the last time this happened the man who crossed the bar wasn't displeased by his depiction. In fact he was anxious that I carried on.

Man "I've got a new one for you."

Me (uneasy, for such assertions, however well-meant, have seldom proved true.) "That's great."

Man "I was in the supermarket."

Me (anxious for detail) "Which one?"

Man "Sainsbury's. Saturday. Late afternoon."

Me "Right."

Man "So I moved into the bakery area, because I'm after a cheesecake."

Me "Uh huh."

Man "Now, ordinarily I would go for the three-for-two thing but I've seen an individual one. I'm about to get it when I get a text, so I take out my phone."

He took out his phone by way of illustration.

Man (amping up the tension) "But! Just as I've done so, the fella behind the counter goes, 'Hey, you cannae take pictures of these."

Me "The cakes?"

Man "The cakes!"

Me "Like a security thing?"

Man "Who knows? But I'm in no mood to argue, so I bought it and then as I'm moving away I say, 'Can I take a photo of it when I get home?"

Me "Did he laugh?"

Man "Not a flicker."

I did, though, and bought him a drink, which seemed like the right thing to do.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 20th November

(Article by Michael Holden)
Rush hour found me standing near a young couple seated on an underground train. They were headed for the airport and had the luggage to prove it. While others struggled gamely around their bags, the man hid his head in the free paper while she – with their baby strapped to her chest – talked about last night's TV.

Woman "I saw that Banged Up Abroad thing. It's scary what happens to these people. They're not like long-term pushers or anything. But they end up in all kinds of trouble."

Man (emerging from the paper) "Eh?"

Woman "That thing I watched. The people in prison overseas. It's terrible. It really scared me."

Man (vaguely) "Yeah."

Woman (fixating on bad things happening at airports and nodding toward the baby) "We won't have to put him through physio will we?"

Man "Physio?"

Woman "X-ray. I mean x-ray."

Man "No."

He opened the paper to show her an advert for a new film and pointed out an actress.

Man "Do you like her?"

Woman "She's got fatter. Fatter round the mouth."

Man (turning the page to an advert for a digital tablet) "They're really pushing these at the moment."

On the next page was a huge picture of a badly burned man.

Woman "WHAT'S THAT?"

Man "He ran through a bonfire."

Woman "WHY?"

Man (gleeful) "As a dare."

Woman "Oh no."

She looked away, rocked the baby and held it closer to her as if to shield it from all the idiocy of the world. I wished them luck.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 6th November

Yep! I'm available for tattoos & children's parties too!
- the knuckle tattoo 'toys' hails from a situation in a Brighton bar where upon being ejected from the premises by the door security the ejectee turned to said bouncer, held his fists up & loudly exclaimed 'What do you think these are?!? F*CKING TOYS??!?!'
Anyway, article follows shortly...

(Article by Michael Holden)
I was on a bus one evening as it stopped by the local fair. A man
boarded, came and sat upstairs directly in front of me, although we
were the only passengers. He looked a lot like someone who might work
at the fair, although I always thought having access to a vehicle
would be one of the perks of such employment. Either way, he was up on
the bus when he started talking, initially to himself, facing his
reflection in window.

Man 1 “I wish this driver would hurry up. I’ve only had two hours
sleep. I did nine hours on the rides. Can’t be strapping kids in if
I’m tired. Health and safety. Health and safety! Can’t sleep. Can’t
sleep in that room. Full of car boot stuff…every weekend. I’m gonn
have to have a word with her. And the spare room. She won’t shift it.
Every weekend…more and more.”

At the next stop a man got on with his young son, who was holding a
massive blue bear, the sight of which was enough to nudge the first
man from his monologue.

Man 1 “Been to fair?”

Man 2 “Yeah.”

Man 1 (addressing the kid) “Win that, did you?”

Kid (proudly) “Yeah.”

Man 1 “I’ll tell you how clean them bears.”

Kid “How?”

Man 1 “ What you want is a polythene bag full of bicarb. Like a
carrier bag. Stick the bear in and shake it up, give it a good shake.
It’ll come out good as new. It works better if you got a few of them.”

Kid “Bags?”

Man 1 “Bears.”

Man 2 (to his son) “You remember that now.”

Man 1 “You’ll have to go back and win some more.”

Man 2 “Yeah. We will”

Kid “Really?”

Man 2 “Maybe.”

Good luck, I thought. Just keep an eye on who’s strapping you into the rides.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 30th October

On reflection would have liked to have added a penguin into the mix,
I like penguins. End of.
(article by Michael Holden)
By giving us what we thought we wanted whenever we wanted it, supermarkets have bred a reciprocal brand of super anxiety. Listen closely, and the aisles hum with a discontent peculiar to the resentment of dreams fulfilled. Down by the fresh meat fridges, I found two men bemoaning the very air that they breathed.

Man 1 (sifting through the giblets) "It's cold in here."

Man 2 "Colder than it used to be?"

Man 1 "For sure. You come in here in summer with a T-shirt on and you have to run round, get out before your core temperature plummets down."

Man 2 (pulling at his ears) "I can feel it in my ears. My ears are cold. That never used to happen."

Man 1 "It's just daft. Think about the energy."

Man 2 "It's unpleasant, is what it is. Maybe it's to keep you moving. Get you in and get you out. Like the fucking Crystal Maze.

Man 1 "On ice."

Man 2 "Exactly!"

Man 1 "It's gotta be a preservation thing. They fly this stuff in from wherever the fuck – Argentina – everybody hates that. So they have to keep it as long as possible, drop the temperature of the whole store."

Man 2 "That can't be good."

Man 1 "It's like I said: the energy."

Man 2 (grabbing a lump of meat and reckoning its heft as though he might use it as a weapon) "It all comes down to energy."

Man 1 "We should go somewhere else."

Man 2 (holding the joint at eye level and staring directly at it, Hamlet-style) "There isn't anywhere else though, is there?"

Man 1 "Not that I know of. Not round here."

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 23rd October

Funnily enough I saw a perfect ageing '70s throwback skinhead in Bethnal Green this morning - maybe there's a reserve somewhere where old youth cults go to live & occasionally let them out on special occasions...oh sorry, what's that you say? It's called Camden Market?
The more decrepit (& geeky) of you might also notice that the phone number I used is the old Swap Shop number - brings up scary visions of sex with the ghost of Noel Edmonds past - enjoy your breakfast!

(Article by Michael Holden)
Although the calibre of their contents may fluctuate, galleries remain a reliable source of strangers' conversations. Like people leaving the cinema, people staring at art like to discuss what they've seen. Sometimes, though, the more intriguing dialogues come from events unrelated to the pictures.

Man 1 (returning) "You see that graffiti?"

Man 2 "In here?"

Man 1 "No. In the toilet. I couldn't believe it. It's like going back in time."

Man 2 "How do you mean?"

Man 1 (spelling it out with his finger) "It says, 'NF', like the two letters, together. And then, 'Gay sex.' And then there's a phone number."

Man 2 "A mobile?"

Man 1 "Maybe, I dunno. What do you care?"

Man 2 "Well, it tells you how old it is, to a degree."

Man 1 "Either way, it was still like something you'd see in the 70s. Sort of thing people would write when you were growing up."

Man 2 "I guess those things are sort of timeless."

Man 1 "Nationalism and homosexuality?"

Man 2 "Are the NF still going?"

Man 1 "Well, they are in here."

Man 2 "Maybe it's art. Like an installation. We could ring the number."

Man 1 "What, you think Charles Saatchi's on the other end, going, 'Well done, you've spotted the art.'?"

Man 2 "What's the worst that could happen?"

Man 1 "Plenty."

Man 2 "Just say you've got the wrong number."

Man 1 (moving on) "No."

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 16th October

Having been brought up at the seaside I know everything about fish & chips - FACT!
Read the article here
(article by Michael Holden)
The good fish and chip shop near me is and always has been run by a couple of contrasting dispositions, which, as they get older, seem ever more pronounced. She grows more talkative, while he becomes more contemplative, staring hard into the fryer, eyes on some unknown horizon. A look I call "thousand cod stare". He was doing this again the last time I went in, and then eventually he spoke.

Him "I wish I was somewhere hot."

Me (facetious, going for the cheap joke) "It's hot in here!"

Him (wearily) "I mean a country."

Me (busted) "I know, I know. You been on holiday?"

Him (getting into his stride, making his own joke) "I got something mapped out. Can't take the wife, though. What about you?"

Me "I was in Egypt in February."

Her (like I deserved to go away more often) "That was a long time ago."

Me "It was warm, though."

Her (having none of it) "But you come back and it's cold."

Me "It was cold before I went."

Him "You like it?"

Me (wanting to sound clever) "I like all that part of the world, you can see why they're always fighting over it."

He gazed into the boiling fat and then scooped out my dinner.

Him (with resignation, as though explaining great truths to an imbecile) "But the problem is: the big fish eats the little fish."

Me (words leaving mouth of their own accord) "Mostly, yeah. I suppose. I dunno."

His wife handed me my fish and he looked at me as if to say, "You just don't get it, do you?" And I'm still not altogether sure that I do.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 9th October

Quite fond of this one despite virtually having to draw it twice due to a subtle mix of computer balls-up & a little touch of vintage f***wit-ery from yours truly...oops!
(Article by Michael Holden)
The idea that once you have paid for something you are entitled to complain about it is much in evidence at the gym, where whining about the facilities has become wildly popular of late. The nerve centre of this discontent is the steam room, itself a source of perennial complaints.

Man 1 (always complaining) "They blame it on the pipes. You never know, though. I think it's the door. You'd think people would have the common decency to shut the door!"

Man 2 (recently roped in) "Well they could put a spring on it."

Man 1 "It's a waste of resources, really. Take all the water in the pool. I mean, once it's full it's OK, you just recycle it, but filling it up …"

Man 2 " I Probably wouldn't use that much water in a year."

Man 1 "I've cut my consumption right down. I don't use the shower at home. I come here and use the shower most days."

Man 2 (pondering that) "Right."

Man 1 "I've got two sinks but I've narrowed it down so I only use one of them. My washing machine broke, and I didn't replace it. I figured out I could pay £400 and have a new washing machine or I could start going to the launderette. There's one 30 seconds' walk from me."

Man 2 (in auto response) "Yeah."

Man 1 "I go every two or three weeks. It works out around a fiver. So at that rate I'm ahead for about four or five years I reckon. And that's before you factor in the cost of the electricity. So I've lost the machine and I've got a load more storage space now."

Man 2 (seemingly sincere) "That's brilliant."

Man 1 (attentive to the bigger picture) "Yeah, but, I also stink."

Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 2nd October

I seem to have been drawing a lot of animal / bus concoctions of late...must be something in the air...I research my demographics very thoroughly you know*
(*possibly a fib)

(Article by Michael Holden)
At a bus stop around 5pm two women, acquainted by their journey home, were discussing the lateness of the previous day's transport, a trip that one of them had missed out on and whose details the other eagerly relayed.

Woman 1 "Well it was packed."

Woman 2 "Because of the delay?"

Woman 1 "Because of the delay, so I had to go upstairs."

Woman 2 "I can't get up there any more. My legs won't have it."

Woman 1 "Well I'm not keen, but of course, once you get up there, the view looks very different, you see all kinds of things."

Woman 2 (sceptical) "Maybe."

Woman 1 "Up by London Road, you can see into one of the gardens, and there's two Shetland ponies kept there!"

Woman 2 "No!"

Woman 1 "Just there in the garden."

Woman 2 "You'd think the RSPCA would get involved."

Woman 1 "Well you wonder. I wondered if maybe the person had some land somewhere and they were just resting them there, I don't know."

Woman 2 (having none of it) "You'd think the animal rights would be on to them."

The bus arrived.

Woman 1 "We can sit upstairs if you like, maybe they're still there."

Woman 2 (after due consideration) "No."

I went to the upper deck, scanned backyards for tiny horses and saw none. And by the time my stop came the women had gone, too. Still, I have my mission for the autumn now – find the ponies. Exactly the kind of futile obsession that makes life bearable.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 25th September

as they say...It's all done with computers these days, I just press a button then f*** off for a massage & a cocktail usually...
(Article by Michael Holden)
It was All Ears' good fortune to be in New York last week, feeding bread into a rotary toaster at a breakfast buffet, when two young lions of the leisure industry – all shirts and laptops – joined the queue behind me.

Man 1 (clearly in awe of his subject) "We have quarterly meetings, and he's nothing but questions."

Man 2 (of the same opinion) "That's why these guys are who they are. He was an account manager at Morgan Stanley. They see things we don't see."

Man 1 "He's way down in the weeds. We were meeting and he starts asking how the chambermaids know when the room is checked out."

Man 2 "Shit!"

Man 1 "That's what I'm talking about. He doesn't have to worry about that."

Man 2 "But he does!"

Man 1 "Exactly. These guys are spinning stuff around and we don't even feel the motion."

Man 2 (rightly puzzled) What do you mean?"

Man 1 "They're way out there."

Man 2 (like that helped) "Right."

Man 1 "You can't learn that shit. It's instinctive."

Man 2 "The success instinct."

Man 1 "Damn right."

Man 2 "So what did you say?"

Man 2 "About the chambermaids."

Man 1 "Oh right. Well how the fuck would I know? I said I'd get back to him."

Man 2 "So how do they know?"

Man 1 "I don't know. I haven't asked yet."

Man 2 "Don't they just knock on the door, or phone the desk?"

Man 1 "No. I'm guessing there's computers involved."