10. People who tell me “we had our summer in March”
Go away. Go and beat yourselves up. Go and self-harm. Go and run in front of a bus or a steamroller. (Do they have steamrollers these days?) Do anything but attempt to depress me with your nonsense, designed to elicit a similarly maudlin, self-flagellating, depressed response from happy old me. March was slightly sunnier and warmer than usual. That was all. Don’t kid yourself that we had some kind of mini-heatwave. We didn’t. Go away. Thanks.
9. Zombie shop assistants
Hello. You don’t know me. I’m in your shop, or at least the one where you are employed, in order to buy some things. I have now decided what I want, have put them in front of you, and it’s your job to scan them and tell me what I owe. I don’t pretend that these facts should form the basis for a lifelong friendship, but perhaps “Hi” “Hello” or “Morning” would be appropriate? Or you could carry on with the discussion you are having with your fellow assistant about EastEnders, or what you had for dinner, or what someone “turned round” and said to you the other day (why do people always have to turn round before saying things to some people?). Ignorant hag.
8. People who “call a spade a spade”
A self-styled, opinionated egotist who thinks that only he (and it is almost always a “he”) has that fantastic gift of saying what he thinks about something. Well guess what, thick boy? Most of us have that gift too. And we also have a number of social skills that tell us when the right time has arrived to spout our opinions, and when is a good time to shut our mouths (when we’re sober). Your opinion on the euro, or immigration, or any other number of issues is no more valid than mine, and no less valid (OK, actually it is less valid than mine). But stop trying to pretend that being rude and boorish and utterly lacking in social grace is some kind of blessing. It isn’t. You’re an idiot.
Dangerous territory as everyone seems to have them these days. What do they give someone that they didn’t already have, other than a reduced bank-balance and a nasty infection? A pasty-faced office worker from Basingstoke can get a Maori war tattoo if he so desires, and I have no wish to stop him. But why would he do this? What is his knowledge of Maori culture other than “I like the look”. What is this short-cut that he is taking and where does it lead? I’m genuinely confused. I can’t think of anyone that looks better with a tattoo than without. And I include Scarlett Johansson in that. (She’s gutted, the poor girl, but she’ll be fine in a few days).
6. Joey Barton
A man (probably) responsible for Manchester City winning the title, so he’s not all bad. But what a dope. What an utter coward. A member of the twitterati who cannot see what the rest of us can. Someone who went on Newsnight, and all of a sudden revealed that he has as much to say as the next man, but only if the next man is a dumb mute with the IQ of a wheelbarrow. Someone who, I suspect, prides himself in being someone who “calls a spade a spade”. OK, fine, just try not to elbow the spade. Or headbutt it. Or get sent off because, deep down, you know you aren’t good enough to retain possession of a football. Even against a whole team of garden implements. Dipstick.
5. “City have bought the title” doughnut-brained idiots
In a society where, if you want something, the generally accepted way you go about it is through purchasing that same item, this seems a strange opinion to have. Actually, it’s more of a whine than a real opinion. You will hear it from fans of the quaint old cottage industry that is Manchester United. With all those home-grown players like Berbatov (£30 million), Carrick (£18m), Rooney (£25m), Ferdinand (£30m) and Nani (£25m) or the players who were huge transfers at the time, like Pallister, Keane, Stam, Cole, Yorke, van Nistelrooy and Veron, these people seriously expect sympathy for their half-arsed “opinion”, based on the fact that another club has more money than them. Oh dear, what a shame.
4. Men who ride their bikes on the pavement
It may be my imagination, but the amount of thirtysomething men who have taken to the pavements on their mountain-bikes recently seems to have increased. Usually wearing a baseball hat, chewing some gum, maybe munching on a burger, slurping from a can of lager or making an important call on their mobile (the number of ape-like grunts increases the more important the phone call) these are real hard men who will fix you with an icy stare if you and your three-year-old toddler don’t stand aside immediately and allow them clear access. Yet they’re not so hard that they would dare put their lives at risk by cycling on the road down one of Southsea’s leafy side-streets. They might get hurt by one of those nasty metal contraptions with four wheels. Or they might break a fingernail. The poor delicate flowers.
3. Cashpoint queues
OK, no-one particularly enjoys queueing. My problem is not with queueing at cashpoints, it’s with the queues that go “out” rather than “along”. Don’t queue out onto a busy pavement, queue along the wall of the building. What’s so bloody difficult about that? Who has a problem with that? Why are you all queueing out into the middle of the pavement and (I swear I have seen this) into the road? Just queue along the side of the building, you’ll be out of other people’s way and you’re also less likely to be hit by a bus. Hey lemmings, it’s still a queue. You’ll get to the cashpoint in the same time. You will lose nothing, I promise you. Try it. It works.
2. Alex Ferguson
“He’s graciously congratulated Manchester City” they told us. Really? Oh, what a guy! Was that the one where he couldn’t stop himself referring to the five minutes of injury-time in which Manchester City scored twice, to leave the arrogant old pillock dazed and confused, as if his team had never benefitted from injury-time drama? What’s happened to his famous “mind games” that he’s so expert in? His media toady friends seem to have gone quiet on that subject. “We’re going nowhere” he said. Well, he’s right. Not to the Premier League Title Winners’ Dinner and Dance. Not to Wembley for the Cup Final. Not to Munich for the Champions League Final. Not even to lovely old Bucharest for the Europa League Final. Well done, Surralicks.
1. Paul Whitehouse
He does the Aviva ads. A selection of comedy “characters” designed to sell Aviva products (they used to be called Norwich Union, but “Aviva” sounded so much better, according to the marketing men). I don’t buy Aviva products. And I never will.
I have no idea how long he spends perfecting each comedy character until it’s just right, but my guess is somewhere between seven and eleven seconds. The funniest one is a Scottish dancer, followed by a Welsh “goth”, and some useless old bloke with a metal detector is a right hoot too. Though none could ever be as funny as watching Whitehouse being tortured for three days before being disembowelled by a cricket bat and then decapitated with a teaspoon . Now that, I must say, would be “stoating”.