Thursday, 27 April 2017

My Wife vs the naked plasterer #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...other men remind you of your place.


ME and the LONG-SUFFERING WIFE (LSW) are in sleeping bags. In a tent. With the kids playing outside.

LSW:
Had another weird dream.

ME:
Was it about the house?
I bet it was about the house.

LSW:
We had a plasterer in and he was this really nice man. You know, professional but friendly. And you could tell from the way he was talking that he was good at his job.

ME:
I know I look tense. I know there’s a but.

LSW:
But he was naked.

ME:
Why do you always take so long to get to the but.

LSW:
Not at the start - he arrived in shorts.

ME:
Big shorts.

LSW:
No. Little you know barely-there shorts.
He’s a little brown man who does plastering with no clothes on.

Long pause.

ME:
Was the plastering any good?

LSW:
I don’t know. I didn’t actually see him do any plastering.


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The Cathedral and The Bus Stop on Google Maps #DadDirt


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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Cathedral and The Bus Stop on Google Maps #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you can't pass anywhere without leaving your mark on the world.


I don’t know why I have this overwhelming urge to leave this review.
Why do any of us want to leave a mark on the world?
Legacy.

Why do I have an urge to leave a rating.
Fact is - I do.



I will never use this Bus Stop.
And yet the Universe has delivered me to pass this - let’s face it - lamppost - with an ability to judge it.

Who am I to judge it?

Or - conversely - withhold any stars from it?
Isn’t there beauty and optimism in everything?
How can we look for joy in anything when it’s there to be found in what’s here right now.
Look at the service it gives just by being.



The layout of the timetable angered me - it provokes a reaction, like all Good Art
Bad design - maybe - but in the blank page, after the tiny bus times, times 4, lies the struggle for uniformity and compliance.
The bus company finds itself unable to change its layout and make this Bus Stop special or delightful.

That would incite a change that would threaten the safety it wants to maintain.
Look at it.
This is the image it wants to share with the passers by, while the “Bus Stop” itself - the sign that declares its very presence is invisible from this angle.



This combination of sign and information is at 90 degrees to itself:
The two will never meet, and yet they co-exist, at the same time in 2 different planes.

The M is intriguing.
What does it stand for?
Literally and symbolically.
I know deep down there is no A-L.
Only M.
A number - any number - would be too big for a route serving a stop so small.
M for the metal of the post.
The wall that begs to be invisible seating, but as a residential boundary it’s anti-seating.
Making the bus route even more urgent to its smallness.
This post is a portal.
An entry point to destinations unknown.
Beyond the Morrisons, there is no limit.
If this is the starting point - blink and you’ll miss it - you know that the finishing has no point. Movement is all that is missing.

Five stars.



Winchester Cathedral.

Five stars.


Previous post...
The Train Guards don’t know where they’re going next either #DadDirt


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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Train Guards don’t know where we're going next either #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you sometimes worry a bit too much about other people's lives too.


The GUARD checks my ticket and Network Railcard. (I’ve long since learned to have that on show) and he thanks me.

ME:
Can I ask you a personal question? If the company's lost its franchise - what - if you don’t mind me asking - what happens to you? And your colleagues?

He's bulky but visibly crumples and drops his ticket machine to lean on the seats opposite.

GUARD:
I don’t know.
We’re “safe” for 18 months - that’s the legal minimum. But we don’t know what happens next. We did everything that was asked of us. We met every single target they laid down.

ME:
It might be good though? Do you all go to the new company?

He straightens up. Owns the ticket machine again.

GUARD:
Oh you won’t notice any difference. I might be in a new colour - but it’ll run the same the day after the changeover.

ME:
But, what’s the 18 months?

GUARD:
Well, they’re determined to get rid of us. Guards. Which is weird because we’re revenue collection - so we actually pull in more than our costs. All of us.

ME:
So they want this to go driver-only?

GUARD:
Did you get caught up in the chaos last week?

ME:
No. Saw it on the news.

GUARD:
Well, take that. That’s just one incident. Driver’s dealing with a suicide and the immediate impact of that. He’s checking that the train is safe, and the aftermath and the damage and what’s going to happen next. Meanwhile, the guard’s now dealing with a man’s who’s having a suspected heart attack and there’s a heavily pregnant woman who’s getting stomach pains and panicking about that because everything’s at a standstill.

ME:
I didn’t hear about that.

GUARD:
Of course you don’t. So it’s still sold as Driver-Only’s a good idea. But when the driver’s dealing with that on the track...

ME:
“Who looks after us?”

GUARD:
I heard a rumour. It’s only a rumour - you know how these things go around... that they’ve already allocated 13 million pounds for the increase in compensation claims, for injuries and the extra costs of that.

ME:
That’s a great rumour. Of course, why wouldn’t they? It’d be weird if they didn’t.

GUARD shrugs, and moves on.

GUARD:
It’s just a spreadsheet, isn’t it.
So, I’m sorry.
I don’t know how long you’ll see us around.



Previous post...
Put aromatherapy oil in cars. Soothe the town you're polluting. And 134-140 other DadDirt thoughts


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Monday, 24 April 2017

Put aromatherapy oil in cars. Soothe the town you're polluting. And 134-140 other DadDirt thoughts



My thoughts, fears, ideas, and dreams of Dad Dirt this week:

Monday 24 April
Idea: Fill cars with aromatherapy oil.
Soothe the town while you're polluting it.

Tuesday 25 April
She's more than a pet.
She's also the answer to an internet banking security question.

Wednesday 26 April
I hate the broken syntax of Swing Low Sweet Chariot.
Maybe you're not home because the words took too long for to come out of your mouth.

Thursday 27 April
Idea: Weddings triple the cost of everything.
We should run one as a funeral and not tell the venue.

Friday 28 April
People use old cars for weddings to remember the lack of reliability and a sense of danger.

Saturday 29 April
The Dwindle is the speed at which your bank account runs down.
You can speed it up or slow it down, but it will always Dwindle.

Sunday 30 April
If we stopped banging alphas for just 5 minutes the world would suddenly become much nicer.


Previous post...
Another one of those office-based James McAvoy directed shark attack dreams. #DadDirt


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Monday, 10 April 2017

Another one of those office-based James McAvoy directed shark attack dreams. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you are barely awake enough to remember last night.


I had the weirdest dream. Yet again, I was in a corporate building.

And a lift opened out onto someone in a nice suit in a really nice large office, with nice luxury dark-wood office furniture, but his colleagues had their backs to me, processing really grotty receipts, or invoices with receipts attached, and the receipts were for really cheap things like value fish fingers and low-quality plastic stuff, and there were comments from managers about how the forms they’re attached to are filled-in incorrectly. And the line of desks that is processing these forms was backed up right to the lift doors to maximise space. So it was nice but not nice.

Then the rest of the dream flipped between a nice city location, and James McAvoy directing a film of a shark attack, that I was helping him make (even though he had a full crew). And I got caught up in spray painting a small window hole in the floor that needed blocking up. But there was an elaborate pattern on the tiles (a little like the pattern of a Lego building my son had made).

None of this is in my Long-Suffering Wife's dreams and what they mean book.

It's 30 years old. I think I'm going to have to write an updated version.

In Biro.

Over my Wife's copy.

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Why can't I wear my shoulderless top to school today Daddy? (and why you cant go on holiday in term time) #DadDirt


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Friday, 7 April 2017

Why can't I wear my shoulderless top to school today Daddy? (and why you cant go on holiday in term time) #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you don't know what to tell your daughter.


INT. BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING

I'm sat up in bed with my Long-Suffering Wife (LSW). Both dancing our mugs to avoid the kids kicking them out of our hands. Yes, they are there too.

ME:
Can you go and get dressed for school?

6 YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER:
I am dressed. It's for Mufti day today.

MUMMY:
Yes but you can't wear your shoulderless top to school.

DAUGHTER:
Why not? We're allowed to wear clothes to school.

MUMMY:
Yes, but go and get changed, it's not quite right.

DAUGHTER:
But why?

I'LL FIELD THIS.

ME:
Well, in the 1800s children were allowed to go to work. Millions of them. And they were great. Because they were cheap. They didn't know how to ask for money and they did dangerous jobs. And when they died, the Industrialists just got more children. The adults didn't like this because the work was going to the children and they weren't being paid, but the Industrialists didn't want to get rid of the kids so the Government struck a deal with them. They said they'd look after the children during the day, and it'll be great because they'll train them to do as they're told and follow instructions so they will be easier to train. When they're old enough to go into the workplace, they'll know how to do the task they've been given and be judged by their manager or supervisor in the production line, who will decide if their work is passed or defective and must be done again (being in an office is just like being in an army, hospital or factory too). A literate workforce can also be advertised to and made to feel inadequate and missing out so they'll want to buy more of the things made by the Industrialists and work harder to earn money to stay in the system that keeps them. It's a beautiful lock-in really, and it extends to a uniform so how we look is as easy to process by the managers as acceptable or defective, and although today is a Mufti day for charity, we fear that your shoulderless top strays too far from the leash we have been given for this one day.

ON 6 YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER.

DAUGHTER:
I like what Mummy said better.

MUMMY:
You'll be cold.

DAUGHTER:
I'll get cold.

(With thanks to TU and Seth)

(See also... How can I get my daughter to say "Thank you. It's not for you.")

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My son wants a YouTube channel. That’s worse than a pony. Is creating better than spectating? #DadDirt


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Thursday, 6 April 2017

My son wants a YouTube channel. That’s worse than a pony. Is creating better than spectating? #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...your family wants to put your stuff out on the Internet too.


My son wants a YouTube channel.

I want him to have a YouTube channel.

He’s not even into double-digits, so yes, it's yet another thing to fear for his safety.

Dads before me struggled with giving their sons a bike.

It’s the same thing.

Except two billion people can watch you falling over.

Do I give him the super racer with the killer saddle,
or a three-wheeler with stabilisers?

I do this for a living, which means I can mess up at home and work.

He makes videos all the time, even when there is not a camera in the room.

It’s a generation who looks up everything.
My generation just wants to watch everything.

I want to be selfish - thinking that I can get him ahead with subscribers in his life.
Like some pushy Dad trying to monetize him before the channel's even got a name.

But these are the 3 choices I think I have right now:

- Set him up with a channel under my channel
Safe, completely under my guidance, with me editing things on there... but that’ll affect what goes out too.

- Create an anonymous channel.
Without his name on it. It’ll be safe, but his name’s not on it.
If he ends up being proud of it, will he regret that? What’s the point?

- Create a channel, in his name, to grow from scratch.
So it ultimately means something - putting stuff out there generously as “here, I made this.”

Will he be embarrassed at 12 about the things he did 4 years ago?
Or will that be normal, and everyone his age in the same position, and not a “thing”?
Is what he’ll learn better than any of the downsides?

Forward worrying never helps making things today.

What's wrong with me that all I can think of are the bad things and what could go wrong, instead of the upsides and generosity of sharing which he really wants to do.

All I know is that creating is better than spectating.
And getting it wrong is the only way to making it right.

I’ll make sure he’s got the right stabilisers.
And knee pads.
And helmet.

And some goggles.
For that first video that will almost certainly be a slow motion of a toilet being smashed.

Previous post...
Men's fashions. For me, it stops here, and it stops now. Again. #DadDirt


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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Men's fashions. For me, it stops here, and it stops now. Again. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when your wardrobe is done.


The button down collar shirts are now a thing again?

Like 1994 and 1998?

And after that I lost track.

I wasn't even on track.

This is where I get off.

I noticed but never cared, but now I actively want whatever is "not".

When I was growing up, the 40-something men on TV (and making TV) all wore Pringle sweaters.

Val Doonican, Tarby, Brucie, The Ronnies.

That is where they drew the (V-neck) line in what they wear and stuck with that for the rest of their lives.

If I could get my wardrobe down to a smock, I would.

But the High-Street brands would still try to put on some nonsense or buttons.

Smock hems are in.
Now they're not.

They know we're tired of fitting in, but don't want to be sticking out.


Previous post...
We can all learn something from Leroy from FAME #DadDirt


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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

We can all learn something from Leroy from FAME #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you teach your kids about the Greats.


The mention of Leroy in a previous post sparked a wave of Leroy love from my friends.

He came into our home with the Top Of The Pops 1982 repeats on BBC Four.

(A couple of weeks of the theme from Fame being at number 1, saw TOTP go to New York to shoot a video of Irene Cara miming while walking on the NY streets. Another 3 weeks of this it must have worn thin for the show. Not us, my girl and I watched this a hundred times. But they then put more clips from the movie into the walking miming video)

Which is where I got to show my 5 year old daughter the magic of Leroy.

Let us not forget that Leroy wasn't actually auditioning himself - he was helping his friend with her audition but got the space at the school instead of her because of his awesome dancing.

He can also perform with his vest pulled over his head.

I tried showing this to my daughter, but it did not go very well.

Now fully aware I'm competing for her attention against the powerfully-built man from 35 years ago.

Also, Leroy is a really great name to shout at Leroy when you're annoyed at Leroy.
LEROY!
You can yell both his names.
LEROY JOHNSON!
As in, I HATE YOU LEROY JOHNSON!
Even his surname is a word for manhood.
I wish I'd named my son Leroy now.
But there is only one Leroy.

Previous post...
What's on your stairs, right now? It is a window into your soul. #DadDirt #WhatsOnYourStairs


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Monday, 3 April 2017

What's on your stairs, right now? It is a window into your soul. #DadDirt #WhatsOnYourStairs



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...every time you walk past the stuff that's always got to be moved to somewhere else.

What's on your stairs? Right now?

For us it's £1.75 in silvers, Scotch satin finish giftwrap tape, jogging pants, and a table tennis bat.

Everyone has stuff on their stairs - to go upstairs.
Even if they do not have actual stairs.
(Every time I run this on Twitter, I get moans from single-level dwellers telling me how lucky I am to have stairs, but "What's in your hallway" is the Para-WhatsOnYourStairs... everyone can still play along. Except the homeless. But maybe they've got more pressing things to take pictures of.)

Deep down, we all have stuff on our stairs.
And we even walk past it - knowing that there will always be a better time to take the stuff up.

It is a job that will never be done.

So I ask you, in all seriousness. What's on your stairs.
May we see a photo please?

It's a snapshot of your upward flow of life.


Previous post...
My daughter called Mummy a Bum Monkey. Legally we can now use this and 127-133 other Dad Dirt


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