Ask James: We’ve got nowhere to go for the summer

As part of my ongoing DOMINATION of the rugby pitch, the internet and the whole fucking world, I occasionally feel incumbent to demonstrate that I am not a cruel tyrant, rather I am a benign dictator who’s generosity is only surpassed by his sense of justice.

So, I’ve received this in my inbox, and the pleading and pathetic tone has touched me deep inside:

Dear James,

I’ve long been a big fan, and nothing has given me more pleasure than reading about your ongoing exploits in our fine 4th estate.

However, every summer I hit a  quandary. Between eating tofu and weaving wicker sandals, The Guardian is my paper of choice, not least because of your fine words there back in the day. However, every summer they decide to send Kitson and Rees off on holiday and refuses to open the comments up.

This is terrible, because how else am I able to avoid work and skive?

Help me Oh, Hask, I feel that you are the only one that can, short of me going to the Torygraph, which I really don’t want to do.


Modern Parent.

Well, this is a tough one alright. There’s only really one source on the internet if you want to know which Hungarian Cabinet Maker would make a World XV, and I can quite understand your frustration.

On one hand, though, I have to weigh up the balance here. You have made many sarcastic remarks about me in the past, describing me in less than glowing terms. One git in particular has even described me as The Dumbest Ape in the Zoo. I feel this is unjust, as I am not only a magnificent physical specimen, but my mental acumen knows no limits. Seriously, you can’t break out the WORLD CLASS BANTER™ as often or as effortlessly as I do if you’re a moron.

So, I’ve decided to help out. I’m not just about the DOMINATION you know, I believe in faith and good will towards all mankind (unless they’re Welsh), and so I am going to grant you a huge favour. I’m going to open up my diaries to you, so you can discuss the various pressing issues of the day.

I’ll even set you a topic to start:

Wales, why? Discuss.



Oh, and if any of you make sarky remarks about steroids shrinking your genitals, then I’m going to come for you and DOMINATE you good and proper.

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1,201 Responses to Ask James: We’ve got nowhere to go for the summer

  1. Kocktopuss says:

    Hey all, glad to see some of the stalwarts are keeping the blog going. No sign of the cat still. The missus must’ve finally done him in.

    I’ve been enjoying the boxing mainly the past week in the olympics. Katie Taylor – ligind. JJ Nevin – brilliant. Paddy Barnes – aggression personified today, wonderful and heartbreaking both. Conlon up soon. Can’t wait.

    And , although this isn’t from the Olympics it has recently been brought to my attention and it’s just fantastic and worth a look;

    Oh, and dibs!

  2. Michael448 says:

    Good luck with the sevens Larry, where is it being played?

  3. titimanionga says:

    Update please, Larry, are you in one piece? I must confess, to my eternal shame, that I only ever played a few games of rugger in my secondary school, football and GAA being the ones I played and trained for, week in, week out. When I moved over to Sheffield, I intended to give it a proper go, but then broke me leg in twelve places and that was the end of that. Kept playing GAA up until 23 or so, and play 5 a side on a semi regular basis. I pretty much managed to break most of my bones playing the aforementioned, so cycling and gym work seems to be a bit more sensible for me….

  4. KnockedOnBothWays says:

    I figured you never played much from most of your comments. You give off the impression of being small and having glasses.

  5. titimanionga says:

    You’re a gentleman, KOBW

  6. sagmog says:

    So, Larry’s dead then.
    He was a fine poster, and will be sorely missed.
    In other, more important news, is anybody else working today?
    Or am I the only unfortunate bastard?
    Thought so.

  7. titimanionga says:

    Just you, Sag. I’ve got me feet up watching the last day of the Olympics. I’m pretty sure I saw an Indian wrestler biting the ear of his opponent not too long ago. He won, too and the replays were inconclusive, but it looked somewhat dodgy

  8. sagmog says:

    I’ve got a mix of what can only be described as the worst band I’ve ever heard up on the desk. Who the fuck signs these people?
    If anybody here works in A&R, kick yourself in the balls for me.

  9. titimanionga says:

    Tell me more. How bad? What kind of shite are they peddling?

  10. sagmog says:

    Hard to describe, so I’ll give you a rundown.
    Out of tune bagpipes.
    Wasp in a jam jar fuzzy electric guitar.
    Out of tune sax.
    Bass played to what sounds like a different track.
    Very, very enthusiastic drumming, unfortunately with no ability.
    Recorded by a deaf person. (not me, I’m just the poor bastard having to mix it)
    And the singing, oh my dog, the singing.
    Three instances of Autotune on one vocal track, and it’s still wonky.
    And some maniac in A&R signed these numpties. (the songwriting is terrible as well)
    Long, long day.

  11. titimanionga says:

    That made me laugh. Sounds like quite the eclectic mix.

  12. sagmog says:

    I’m seriously considering returning my fee to the label and going on holiday, far, far away
    I may even give them a little extra to sweeten the deal.
    On the bright side, there is no way this will get a UK release, so my involvement should remain unknown.
    *mixed by Alan Smithee*

  13. titimanionga says:

    I’m off to the Black Forest next week for a couple of weeks. Your band sound like they could down well in Germany. I’ll be sure to espouse the virtues of the Somali pirate mixer

  14. sagmog says:

    I get quite a bit of work from continental Europe, and their musical tastes are “interesting” to put it politely. But even the Bavarians would struggle with this lot.
    Normally, when presented with something this bad, I’d just replace all the parts, so it’d still be bad, but in tune and tight.
    With this I’m stumped. I can play all the instruments except the pipes, and I have a tame piper for emergencies, but I can’t fathom what the fuck they’re trying to do.
    My assistant has went home to retrieve some herbal material to see if that helps…

  15. titimanionga says:

    I think you’re gonna need a bigger blunt, to paraphrase Roy Scheider

  16. Kocktopuss says:

    “and I have a tame piper for emergencies”

    Wow, Sag, just wow…

    I’m picturing something like The Gimp in Pulp Fiction; “Ah crap, this lot have a wonky bag-pipe section that I can’t sort. BRING OUT THE PIPER!” – assistant opens gimp-box in corner of the studio and piper emerges.

    Also, the sentance also doubles up as the most Scottish thing I’ve heard anyone say in ages.

    It works on so many levels.

  17. titimanionga says:

    I think he should have another gimp box for the non-tame piper

  18. sagmog says:

    Well, the herbal remedy hasn’t helped, if anything it sounds worse now.
    Going to be here all effing night with this.
    Thank dog I didn’t get landed with an album’s worth of this.
    Pizza time. Yay.
    Doesn’t everyone have an emergency tame piper?

  19. KnockedOnBothWays says:

    Everything can be fixed with more cowbell.

  20. KnockedOnBothWays says:

    Just walk into the studio bro and say “I’m the world famous Sagmog and I got a disease! And the only cure is more cowbell. Now lets lay this bitch down and hit a tittie bar”.

  21. Chekhovian says:

    Or you could put a bangin’ donk on it.

  22. Chekhovian says:

    The Olympics is finished. There is now a massive, BBC Sport-shaped gap in my working day which should be refilled by productivity but probably won’t.

  23. titimanionga says:

    I know the feeling – I’m going to miss 24 HD channels or entertaining stuff (apart from tap dancing horses). It feels a little like the passing of an old friend. Still though. We’ll always have here, and we have to find out how Larry went at the weekend. Now everyone in London can get back to being a bastard

  24. Chekhovian says:

    Larry’s probably sitting in traction in some Belfast hospital. Some kind family member may have brought in a laptop and found this page for him, but he can’t actually move to scroll down the page or type a post. Life’s tough for ageing amateur rugby players.

  25. sagmog says:

    Thankfully these maniacs didn’t appear to have access to percussion. Given what they’ve done with the instruments they did have, I am deeply grateful they didn’t have a cowbell.
    We have renamed the sax part “startled goose”, which I think conveys my point.

  26. titimanionga says:

    I think they could have gotten away with appearing at the closing ceremony last night, Sag. There were some fairly woeful moments. I don’t think a bangin’ donk or a startled goose would have made things worse. Or indeed a tame piper in a gimp box; certainly better than Russell ‘twat’ Brand singing I am the Walrus

  27. Chekhovian says:

    “certainly better than Russell ‘twat’ Brand ‘singing’ I am the Walrus”

    Fixed it for you.

    I fell asleep at about midnight when the Brazilians turned up for their little skit. The whole thing was nowhere near as good as the opening do. I mean really, One Direction, The Kaiser Chiefs, The Spice Girls? Unimpressed.

  28. titimanionga says:

    First half hour was fine, but then it just descended into shite when it became clear that all Britain’s best musicians were either dead or couldn’t be bothered to turn up. The Who gave it a good bash in the end, and the Brazilian bit was average. You could see all the athletes just checking their watches and dying to get out the door to the nearest club

  29. Kocktopuss says:

    Was it just me or did the whole closing ceremony seem to be nothing more than a celebration of Britain’s, and in particular England’s, obsession with celebrities (or at least their media’s obsession)? I mean, carting out Kate fucking Moss at an Olympics ceremony was pretty fucking offensive. The hell does a woman who’s never worked a day in her life and who’s only concept of proper diet and nutrition is self-starvation have to do with a celebration of some the fittest and hardest working people on the planet?!?

    And don’t get me started on George Michael being allowed to use the whole event as a launchpad to restart his career.

    And Russell Brand was there solely because he had his knob in Katie Perry at one stage and it was hoped he’d be somewhat recognisable across the world. Twat.

  30. LarryMilne says:

    Guys, thanks for all the thoughts/kind words/moving on in a heartbeat upon presumption of my death. The longer this thread grows the slower this page makes my crappy work PC so I will have to be brief.

    Prognosis: Larry is… OK. The sevens was middling though I’m still alive thus should declare it a positive result. But, wow, my body is a wholly different thing from the one I had a few years ago.

    The end of the Olympics completely changes the dynamics of my days.

  31. Chekhovian says:

    “And Russell Brand was there solely because he had his knob in Katie Perry at one stage and it was hoped he’d be somewhat recognisable across the world.”

    Sentence of the day, and it’s only 11am. Chapeau.

    I quite liked the George Michael bit, purely because of the word ‘Freedom’ flashing around the stadium in massive letters. Fuck you, Beijing.

    The presence of Naomi ‘I associate myself with war criminals and regularly punch people in public’ Campbell was infinitely more offensive than that of Kate Moss. She is the uber-bitch.

    But yeah, you’ve hit the nail on the head with the celebrity obsession, Kockto. Deeply, deeply depressing. At least no one sang Hey Jude.

  32. sagmog says:

    I’m quite happy I missed it all now.
    I was busy with my startled goose.

  33. Chekhovian says:

    “Startled goose” is actually a decent description of Brand’s performance.

  34. Chekhovian says:

    “The end of the Olympics completely changes the dynamics of my days.”

    Like actually having to do some work?

  35. sagmog says:

    I’d just like to say….
    I quite like Kate Moss.
    (It might be a musician thing, like faulty gene or summat)

  36. Chekhovian says:

    Anyone who hangs around with that tosspot Pete Docherty gets a big black mark against her name in my book. I’ve never understood the hype surrounding her, to be honest.

    But each to their own. One man’s startled goose may be another man’s bangin’ donk, etc etc.

  37. sagmog says:

    “One man’s startled goose may be another man’s bangin’ donk”


  38. Chekhovian says:

    Technical question gents – I’m thinking of cycling into work because if I spend any more time on London’s commuter trains I’m going to go postal. I know that at least one of you does cycle for their commute, but I can’t remember who, and can’t be arsed reading back to check.

    Question is, what bike do I get? It’s about 5-6 miles into work, pretty flat too. Is it worth getting a fixed wheeler and risk looking like a hipster, or do I shell out the extra dosh for some gears?

  39. titimanionga says:

    That’d be me, Chek. If it’s flat and you’re fairly confident, I it’s not a bad idea to go for a single gear one, but unless you’re supremely confident I wouldn’t go for a fixie as one mistake on them means you go arse over tit. You could get a single gear (identical except for it has something called a flip-flop hub, meaning you can freewheel) for the same price. I’ve got a hybrid which does the job perfectly, but it has 21 gears and in all honesty I only need less than a third of that. Make sure if you do go and buy one that they throw in puncture proof tires (like Armadillos or Schwalbe marathons) and bits and pieces; you can usually talk them into it.

  40. Chekhovian says:

    Flip-flop hub, eh? Keen to go for a single gear bike, so that might be my best bet. Thanks, dude. I do love to freewheel.

    I’ve done a fair bit of cycling when on holiday in Brittany – never needed more than one gear, so I’m a bit wary of bikes with a million of them. Also wary of becoming one of those jargon-spouting lycra-clad cycling weirdos (apologies if you are indeed one of these chaps), so I’ll probably never talk about flip-flop hubs beyond the confines of this here blog.

  41. titimanionga says:

    Sounds like that’s the way to go, Chek! The fellas in the shops are usually well clued up and can talk you through what you need. I wear lycra on the lower half (under shorts as the full look for commuting is just a bit odd), but mercifully I’m not a member of the jargon-spouting velominati, just learned to look after my bike down through the years and change the components when they’re worn, etc. With a single speeder, you’ll be laughing and they’re very cheap and easy to look after.

  42. Chekhovian says:

    I had to giggle at the number of yellow-jersey clad bike commuters that suddenly appeared on London’s roads after Wiggins won the TdF. I mean really guys, could you make the hero-worship any more obvious.

    I’ve been thinking about doing the commute by bike for a while, but my inherent laziness and the fear of being killed has warned me off it. But, there’s a decent route from my new flat that avoids most of the busier roads (and the Elephant and Castle roundabouts, mercifully). so that’s one excuse gone. We’ll have to wait and see whether the laziness triumphs…

  43. titimanionga says:

    Good lad, just be practical and extremely sensible on the road and you’ll be grand. I noticed the same re the yellow jersey; I also noticed quite a lot of new bikes on the road, which can only be a good thing – as long as they know what they’re doing. Oh, and Elephant and Castle is best avoided at all costs. Thing is a bloody deathtrap. I’ve cycling London for about 7 or 8 years now and it was the best decision I have made. Can’t stand the tube or overground and getting exercise and enjoying London this way is infinitely preferable

  44. Chekhovian says:

    My nickname was Captain Sensible at school. I kid you not. Mainly because I didn’t actually drink much, and was a bit of a geek.

    It’s great that people want to cycle, just a shame that London still isn’t a great place to do it. Crappy cycle lanes being the main problem. The Boris bikes are ok, but using the terminals for them is a bloody chore.

  45. titimanionga says:

    Crappy cycle lanes, crappy cyclists a lot of the time, crappy drivers some of the time and a road system does not take into account the fact that traffic is mixed, not just cars, vans and lorries. Sometimes it actually feels like the system has been created just to maintain bad blood between cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

    Bit of a geek at school? With a name like Chekovian? Get the hell outta town. I have also been called Captain Sensible on occasion. That and many, many other things.

  46. sagmog says:

    Right. S’finished and uploaded to my ftp server.
    Now just sit back and wait to see what the hell the A&R guy has to make of it.
    Please don’t make me remix it.
    Please, please, please.
    And for the love of dog don’t ask me to master it.
    (got my excuse ready just in case…too close to the project, needs a fresh set of ears etc.)

  47. titimanionga says:

    Well, you’re done, and that’s the main thing Sag. And no tame piper needed either.

  48. sagmog says:

    I did send a copy of the pipe track to my tame piper to get an expert opinion.
    Turns out sometimes he’s not very tame at all, and obviously not desperate for work.

  49. avsfan says:

    Hello Chaps

    Well done London. Managed to pull it off without a major cock-up, by the sounds. The Kiwis didn’t quite manage to win more medals than the Aussies, but gave them a pretty good scare.

    4N kicks off this weekend – Wallabies vs ABs in Sydney, I think. SBW filling in for the first two games for Conrad Smith. Richard ‘Eye Gouger, Nose Breaker’ Loe reckons the Wallabies will win one game.

    Toying with getting a single speed mountain bike. All the rage at the mo. Not sure it would be smart thing for a fifty two year old, but who knows.

  50. titimanionga says:

    Eh up AVSfan, how goes it? How was the feedback re the Olympics on your side of the pond? What’s the impetus behind the getting the single speed MB? You do see a few around London, but not loads; I guess they must be good for offroading, but tough on ascents

  51. avsfan says:

    Feedback from the Olympics has been pretty good, full of compliments to the hosts. Performances from our athletes were a mixed bag, but on the whole a good showing.

    The impetus behind the single speed is a new challenge, I guess. They are lighter and quieter, quicker up the hills but obviously require greater fitness / stamina. The town I live in is recognized as one of the best mountain biking destinations in the US. We have a lot of high altitude single track, up to 12,000 feet – starting at 7000 – and some downhill that drop 4000 feet at a time, so pretty fun.

  52. titimanionga says:

    That sounds pretty cool, AVS; I guess in your part of the world it looks pretty spectacular too

  53. Kocktopuss says:

    I was quite tickled at how much the BBC enjoyed pointing out that Yorkshire had won more medals than Australia.

  54. sagmog says:

    Been a bit of a running theme on the Beeb.
    Sue Barker sadly informing us that Aus has had a very poor games while grinning from ear to ear, unable to contain her glee.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that obviously.

  55. titimanionga says:

    It was almost on a daily basis – they loved it, didn’t they? To be honest, their coverage apart from Lineker was really excellent. And they always bring out a killer montage at the end.

  56. Chekhovian says:

    I thought Ian Thorpe was particularly good value – composed, informed and informative. Same with Claire Balding, she really knows her stuff. My man crush on Michael Johnson continues unabated…

  57. sagmog says:

    Having Lineker anchoring the primetime evening show was the Beeb’s only major misstep in my opinion.
    Note to BOA: thanks for embedding the theme from “Carrycots for Hire” into my brain on a relentless and daily basis.

  58. titimanionga says:

    That and the Beeb’s specially commissioned piece by Elbow for the coverage of the games, First Steps. My mind seems to wander back to it on a worryingly regular basis

  59. avsfan says:

    At one stage, Channel 9, the Aussie olympic channel, refused to show NZ’s position on the medal table, as it was higher than theirs. Good for a giggle.

  60. sagmog says:

    And whoever it was who did that arrangement of GSTQ with the minor counterpoint wants shooting as well.

  61. Chekhovian says:

    Whoever wrote GSTQ in the first place wants shooting as well. Dirge.

  62. sagmog says:

    French tune I believe, written well before the lyrics.
    And it’s bad enough when kept to a major theme, but adding a minor counterpoint to a not too jaunty tune, utter madness.

  63. sagmog says:

    Chaps, for Larry’s sake why don’t we just continue under one of the other posts on this here blog.
    Just pick one, and carry on from there, but without the 1400 post baggage.

  64. Chekhovian says:

    I’m moving across to it as we speak. Follow me if you dare…

  65. titimanionga says:


  66. Chekhovian says:

    This is the Pathfinder Task Force dropping flares for you all to aim at tomorrow. I’ve missed this place.

  67. avsfan says:

    Testing, testing, one two,three testing….

  68. Chekhovian says:

    Hey avs, looks like we’re the ones to get the party (re)started.

  69. Kocktopuss says:

    Pathfinder Task Force, Pathfinder Task Force, this is HQ. Operation Exodus inbound.

  70. Chekhovian says:

    Reading you loud and clear, Exodus. Follow my mark.

  71. Kocktopuss says:

    We see your mark, Pathfinder. Swinging about now.

    Enemy air strength non-existant, flak light to nominal. Coming in hard.

    See you on the ground.

  72. titimanionga says:

    Ten Four, rubber ducky

  73. Chekhovian says:

    Welcome to the Target Area, Bottom Paddock 1. Glad to see you could make it to the show.

  74. flair99 says:

    Allons enfants etc..

  75. Kocktopuss says:

    Bottom Paddock, get off the damn radio, you’re clogging up the communications channels!

    Argh, shit! They hit one of our engines! Going down…

  76. titimanionga says:

    Roger that, TB1. I’m ready, man. Check it out! I am the ultimate bad-ass! State of the bad-ass art! You do not want to fuck with me. Check it out! Hey, Ripley, don’t worry. Me and my squad of ultimate bad-asses will protect you! Check it out. Independently targeting particle-beam phalanx. WHAP! Fry half a city with this puppy. We got tactical smart missiles, phase plasma pulse rifles, RPGs. We got sonic, electronic ball breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, we got sharp sticks.

  77. meadesian says:

    Jesus, the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

  78. meadesian says:

    Sorry Claw, that was in poor taste given your area of work, apologies.

    You’re a bunch of giddy kippers mind.

  79. titimanionga says:

    Mr Meades. Nay bother. I work with people who are batshit mental.

  80. Paddyirish says:

    Glad to see so many making it across to the Hask side…

  81. Paddyirish says:

    Not quite ach mein arsch but I liked this…

  82. OK-

    All replies now disabled. Because I’m conscious of these being slow when they get heavy, I’ve also put some shit up to go underneath. Hopefully this will work.


  83. I love this avatar and regret getting banned on it.

  84. titimanionga says:

    I like that one. How does one embed a video?

  85. meadesian says:

    “I’ve also put some shit up to go underneath”

    This is a more cogent articulation of the development of this platform than anything that Julian (he’s got an MBA you know) and his cronies have offered.

  86. titimanionga says:

    I put comment 1000 up, fellas. No trespassing beyond that mark. Or be damned

Comments are closed.