Am I the only one not to have one ?
Driving around South-East London yesterday I became aware that I was sitting in the only car in a ten-mile radius not to have an English flag sticking out of it. World Cup fever has taken hold of the country, and in my little bit of it, there’s an epidemic of England soccer team-related merchandise threatening to turn every car,pub and terraced-house window into something which resembles BNP Headquarters.
As The Incumbent and I wandered around the supermarket yesterday it became more and more evident that, not only was the World Cup but two weeks away, but that we would be shirking our responsibilities by not purchasing some tacky item adorned with Cross of St George and therefore damaging our team’s chances of winning the whole bang shoot.
England Mars Bars, England CocaCola, England lager, England deckchairs, England flags, England cups, England mugs, England spoons, England dishwasher salt, England loft-lagging. I think it’s getting a little much, don’t you?
I like to think of myself as a patriot (though actually typing that feels strange) and proud of my country. Back in the 80s and early 90s I used to envy the Dutch, Scotch, Irish and the like who felt no embarrassment wearing their colours, donning the badge or flying the flag for their homeland. Us English had a problem with all that (at least us decent English did). Our flag had been stolen by the nazis.
The National Front, a collection of neo nazis, dullards and skinheads, had during the 70s somehow stolen our flag and national emblems. Back then, flying the English flag was tantamount to shouting Seig Heil and goosestepping down the high street. Euro 96 changed all that for good, thank goodness and since then English Football fans, the Barmy Army cricket followers and Shake ‘n’ Vac producers have been able to wear the colours with renewed pride and bandwagonjumpiness.
But why can’t we show a little class or decorum? There’s something rather elegant about the way a lone Stars n Stripes flutters outside American schoolhouses or government buildings. There’s nothing classy about two flags sticking out of your car, one plastered onto the bonnet, and your ugly fat missus having the Cross of St George plastered over her white, flabby back. Very sexy, I’m sure, love.
So we resisted the temptation to buy England flags, England shovels or England house insurance, much to the disappointment of the official check-out girl to the England Football Team. Money’s getting a little tight in Railway Cuttings and if I do have to sell up or rent out the place, I think I might improve my chances of getting a fair price by not putting a flashing “Come on Ingerland” sign in the window.
During the election I didn’t place a VOTE LABOUR poster in my widow either, for similar reasons but I kinda now wish I had. I take no great pleasure in seeing the fledgling QuisCon Coalition beginning to unravel….no, no who am I kidding? Of course I take great pleasure in it. Uncle Vince is looking as guilty as a puppy sitting next to a pile of poo, and he has the face of someone who deep inside is screaming “What have I done? What have I done?”. Suddenly all that Liberal support has disappeared like Saddam’s Republican Guard. Where did they bugger off too? There was Storming Gordon bracing himself for the mother of all fights, and when it came to it, it was all a mirage. Still, scheisters that they are, they ‘shocked’ everyone by getting into bed with the other lot, promising ‘new politics’ and a ‘new style of government’.
Well stone me ! You’ll never guess what ? One of our brave new leaders has been a naughty boy. David Laws has been up to the old tricks of paying loved ones for accommodation, and then claiming for it. No, no, no, Mr laws, that’s not right. That’s the sort of underhand behaviour which you and Nick the Rat (The London Olympic’s 3rd Mascot) were forever accusing the ‘old’ political parties of dealing in.
What’s that? You were trying to keep your private life private? Oh ok: all in favour of that. I know it must be tough to be an MP and gay, or gay in any profession in this homophobic, bigoted country of ours. But, sorry, what’s that got to do with nicking £40,000 from the British taxpayer: to wit: me. Give me my money back and fuck off out of it. This has nothing to do with your sexual preferences, but everything to do with you being as bent as a nine-bob note, where the word ‘bent’ means crooked. You’ve been caught out having an extra-marital affair, and funding it with my cash. There are MPs on trial at the moment for their part in the expenses scandal (though we can’t read about them until the court orders are lifted) and YOU, Mr Outside-the-Laws can bleeding well line up behind them.
October 14th, mark my words: go down to Mr Coral and get yer money on the date for the next general election. This shower of shite will show themselves up to be what we all knew, as reliable as the England back four, as straight as a welsh put-in to the scrum, as trustworthy as Billy Bowden‘s light meter. Stay tuned for Cameron and Clegg poncing about in England shirts, playing keepy-uppy during PMQ’s. Meanwhile, I’m gonna start producing “BRING BACK GORDON” t-shirts.
I feel I’m missing out.
As predicted, all week I’ve been fighting off the lurgy. It had been jabbing me on the hooter, with the occasional left hook to the throat, to counter which I’d been ducking and weaving, and defending my body with linctus, Lemsip, Lockets and Lagavulin. But by Friday morning, standing in a packed compartment on the DLR, I realised that I’d succumbed to a nasty bout of, if not Swine Flu, certainly Man Flu. Yes, I had a rotten cold. Being the trooper I am, I made my way to the office, but after an hour of snotting and sneezing my way around the department, I threw the towel in and made the return journey home.
I slipped into my favourite kitten-soft striped pjs and nice wooly bedsocks (well, cricket batting socks anyway), collapsed onto the sofa and under the duvet, remote control in hand and surrounded myself with jollop and tissues. Semi-content and semi-conscious, I settled down for an afternoon of all the crap my new cable service could throw at me. A quick flick through all 183 channels revealed that there was nothing decent anywhere on telly. No matter, I had all the stuff to watch which I’d recorded over the last couple of weeks. I had no mum around to mop my sweaty brow, but I did have lieutenant Columbo of the LAPD. A whole 4 episodes. 8 hours of recorded heaven. Comfort tv and a comfy pit in which to recuperate/feel sorry for myself. Trouble is, such was the heaviness of my cold, I soon nodded off only to be woken up at every advert break (which, of course, are several notches louder than the actual tv show). It was then I started worrying.
Or, to put it another way, I realised that I’m not been worrying enough!
As more ad breaks came and went it became clear to me that I’ve not been spending enough of my life worrying about cheaper car insurance. Like Twitter, Facebook and going to the gym, regularly comparing car insurance is obviously part of modern life that has passed me by. If the adverts which bombarded me that afternoon are to be believed, the nation is gripped by an ever-present fear that they’re paying too much for cover on their motor.
Confused dot com? I certainly am. You can apparently save yourself not only Pound££££££££££££££££s with Moneysupermarket.com but also minutessssssss of wasted insurance-buying hell if you go to Admiral.com (do you know about Admiral Multicar????) and during the seconds you’ve saved there, you can get yourself onto the VanInsurer.com to sort out your Transit. Yep, there’s a dedicated site for insuring vans too. Stephen Fry and Paul Merton lend their weight to Directline.com‘s campaign for car and home cover, while cheeky cockney builder from Ground Force, Tommy Walsh touts Direct‘s line in van protection. Sir Steve Redgrave used to dress up as an Admiral before they realised that as an actor, Sir Steve makes a great Olympic rower, and Vic Reeves used to be the voice of Churchill, before an unfortunate incident with a breathalyser. Ohhhh yus.
Who are these people who spend their lives insuring stuff ? I’m clearly doing something wrong. Watch these ads and look at the sad, insurance-less faces of the sad old cows therein, quickly replaced by their look of ecstacy when they save themselves £17.50 cos their daughter’s have suddenly taught them how to work a mouse. Is this really a scene that takes place across the land?
I haven’t owned a motor for four years, since I shunted my old Rover up the arse of a parked car on a sliproad off the M25. But when I did have a car, I’m pretty sure I insured it when I bought it, then once a year I would open and close that letter which told me I should do nothing if I wanted to continue my policy for another year. Do nothing, what a wonderful phrase? That, to me, is worth pound££££££££££££££s of fucking around on a dull, dull website. “Mike, would you like to weave your way around the web, looking for the best deal on a van, or do nothing? ” Er…..?
Perhaps they are right and I am wrong (there’s always a first time)? Perhaps instead of tapping away talking to you I should be logged into Morethan to see if I can shave a fiver off what The Incumbent pays for her jam jar, though she seems about as bovvered as I am. She’s brighter than me, so doubtless she’s with Diamond or Sheila’s Wheels to benefit from the fact that she is indeed a Sheila. Perhaps Tommy Walsh does a discount for fat cockneys, as I don’t own a van.
I wonder who insured Columbo’s old Peugeot ? I bet Mrs C got him a good deal.