My night out with Reidy

August 21, 2014 Leave a comment

I was recently lucky enough to be invited* out on a night out with football legend Peter Reid.

Reidy (to his friends) is a former player and manager who, despite managing the Thailand national team, and finishing 4th in the World Player of the Year in 1985, is perhaps best known for once referring to Professor Stephen Hawking as “the lad in the chair” live on television.

Here is full breakdown of the night on the tiles with Reidy:

(*For legal purposes I must point out that while Reidy and I had a whale of a time on our big night, he didn’t technically ‘invite’ me out. Nor was he aware that I was there or that I exist)

1. Reidy demonstrating his inimitablly rangey stride for a short man:

reidy5

2. Exchanging some classic banter about the standard of Thai football:

Reidy

3. A moment of reflection:

reidy3

4. This is where he told the story about the time Ron Atkinson and Howard Kendall had a fist fight at the PFA awards in 1986 (“Ron was squealing like a buggered pig, lad, honestly”).

Reidy2

5. “Ey ar lad, gizza drink there you fucking meff”. CLASSIC Reidy #banter

Reidy4

 

What a night.

Categories: Review Tags: ,

Spiders On A Tram – Letter To Metrolink

July 23, 2014 1 comment

From: Mark Jorgensen
To: Customer Services
Subject: SPIDERS ON A TRAM

Hi,

I live and work in Manchester city centre so I seldom have a use for the tram network. Nevertheless, I occasionally pop out to the suburbs on a middle class pilgrimage to seek the wonders of Disbury’s dried spice market, haberdasheries, or sometimes to just drink a lot and mindlessly hector passing students.

On such occasions, I always take the tram rather than buses, for the following reasons:

- They feel a little more futuristic and I like gadgets
– There are roughly 43% less twats
– I can gaze out of the window and imagine it’s a film montage of me undergoing some sort of intense introspection. It seems more authentic than being on a vomit and/or semen-drenched magic bus seat.

On Wednesday 8th July I travelled to Disdbury on one of your trams. Not for a wicker basket of kale, nor a steamed-dried filet of free range water bison, but to have a curry and watch football. Having been just in time snag the last remaining inches of space on the rush hour tram, I was hugely uncomfortable, but happy to be on board. I’m not being dramatic, they were quite literally the last inches; the door trapped my jacket behind me, my loin was too close to several fellow passengers and a curious man with a body odour I can only liken to sort of an ammonia-based underpants disaster had the nook of his armpit nestled roughly 0.7 inches from the receptor cells inside my nose.

I appreciate that running only 3 carriages at this time might cause consternation to many of the people who missed the tram that day, and they are probably right. But thankfully, I made the tram, so I don’t care. This is about me.

What I DO take umbrage with, is the presence of a huge cobweb. Just above my head. With offending spider present. See attached photograph.

Tram

I am a man, and as a consequence feel duty-bound to be macho where possible. I recently went fishing in Cyprus and conquered a giant crab. I emerged bloodied and victorious from the battle, with my Alpha male gland (metaphorically speaking, please don’t confuse with my glans), buoyed and blooming. So I am, technically speaking, not a quivering coward by nature.

Unfortunately, spiders are my kryptonite. I would happily sit in a giant wooden box filled with a variety of snakes, than have a little house spider anywhere near me. It’s a foible, not a phobia.

People who are terrified of spiders often get dubbed arachnophobes, but this is a little harsh. Being scared of buttons (Koumpounophobia) is a phobia. There are not tens of thousands of species of venomous buttons. Being afraid of spiders is a perfectly rational, limbic response to threat, harking back to millions of years of evolution.

So, to cut a long story short, I am disgusted, and admittedly scared, to discover you allow our multi-million pound tram system in Manchester to be riddled with spiders. This was an intricately built and vast web, it was not a throw-up temporary one for an idle-minded commuting spider (not a species). This guy was living there. I managed to not scream like a kicked weasel throughout my journey, but at the expense of my comfort and dignity.

Therefore, please can you provide me with the following information:

- Metrolink’s policy on spiders
– An explanation as to how/why this wasn’t cleaned, and the spider thrashed into a twitching clump by a Metrolink employee prior to the tram leaving that day.
– Your assurances that I will not be subjected to any arachnid-based trauma on future journeys

Thanks in advance,

Mark Jorgensen


From: Customer Services [mailto:customerservices@metrolink.co.uk]

To: Mark Jorgensen
Subject: Correspondence Acknowledgement

 

Thank you for contacting the Metrolink Customer Experience team.

 

We appreciate you taking the time to share your comments with us.  Our Customer Experience team will respond to your comments as soon as possible, but please be aware that this can take up to 15 working days if further investigation is required.  If we are unable to provide you with a full response in this time, we will contact you to explain why.

 

If you wish to speak to us in relation to your comments or if your enquiry is urgent, please call a member of our Customer Experience team on 0161 205 2000; the team will be available between 06.00 and 23.00 Monday to Friday, 08.00 and 20.00 Saturday and Sunday.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact Metrolink; we value your feedback.

 


From: Mark Jorgensen

To: ‘SEdwards@metrolink.co.uk'; ‘customerservices@metrolink.co.uk’
Subject: RE: SPIDERS ON A TRAM
Importance: High

I must say, even with spider issues left aside, your rate of response is pretty appalling. I was going to make some snarky comment about your trams being equally late and infrequent but seems too obvious. Although I kind of just indirectly said it anyway. Soz.

FYI – Popping an out of office warning you take up to 15 days (which is a ludicrous amount of time), doesn’t automatically excuse it. If I popped an out of office on my work email saying “sorry, it takes me two weeks to reply to emails”, I can imagine it would be received as well as me popping “thanks for your email, I’m busy servicing other clients. As is YOUR mum”.

Just some additional feedback.

As a customer.

You aren’t currently servicing.

As customer services.

Thank you again for taking the time not to contact Mark Jorgensen; we value your ignorance.


From: Customer Services [mailto:customerservices@metrolink.co.uk]

To: Mark Jorgensen
Subject: Correspondence Acknowledgement

 

Please find attached a letter of response.

Regards
METLETTER

 

 

Ad reply – John The Muggy Whip Thief

May 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Bored and hungover I replied to an ad…

Johns Alfa

 

********

From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Are you trying to mug me off or are you just stupid?


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Excuse me?


 

From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

You know exactly what I’m talking about


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Stop wasting my time.


From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Let me ask you something John, and try not to be a snivelling little mug about it, where and when did you get that car exactly?


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏What business is that of yours?

 


From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Don’t get lemon sunshine, it don’t suit you.

I’ll tell you why it’s my business John, that’s my car which was stolen from me and now you’re mysteriously selling it on fucking Gumtree? Mug.


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

What? I bought this at car auction in Birmingham over a year ago! How do you know it’s yours?

Lemon? What are you talking about?


 

From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

I recognise the car and the licence plate, smart dick.

Is that a pub?


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Is what a pub?


From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Jesus. You’re a pub, John. You are.


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!!!!!!


From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

The Auction. Where is it? Is that where you drink? I need to come down there and have a word with you and them. Nobody steals my car and mugs me off like this.


 

From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

A CAR AUCTION, THAT’S NOT A PUB. AN AUCTION WHERE THEY SELL CARS.


From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

YEA EVIDENTLY WHERE THEY SELL MY FUCKING CAR JOHN!

Are you mugging me off? I’ve Googled it and there is not a single pub called The Car Auction in the UK.

Hang on I’ll try Bing….


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

WHAT??????


From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

YOU AND YOUR MUGGY LITTLE MATES SELLING MY WHIP AT YOUR MUGGY LITTLE PUB.

Nothing on Bing either.  How convenient eh?


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Oh my God, you are incredibly stupid. A whip? I don’t know what you mean.


From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

A whip is slang for a car, do you not listen to hip hop?


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

No I don’t listen to bloody hip hop and I don’t know what that has got to do with anything.

This is getting ridiculous. If you’ve got a problem, you need to report it to Gumtree or the Police.


From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Yea you wish John. I’m not a Police kind of geezer, understand?

 


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

No I don’t understand. Are you threatening me?

 


From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Don’t start acting like a melt now sugartits, you and your muggy little pals robbed my fucking Audi, now you’re trying to sell it.

Nobody mugs me off like that.


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Audi? This is an Alfa!!!!!!

 


 

From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Fuck off is it. I’m not a prick John. I know an Audi when I see one. Especially my fucking Audi


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

What? This is an Alfa Romeo 147….. LOOK AT THE PICTURE YOU RETARD.


From: Mark

To: John

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Oh yea. Actually, my Audi was blue as well, not red. Sorry about that.

That’s not a bad looking whip you got there though, how much you want for it?

Does it have a log book? I’ve had some bad experiences with stolen cars in the past.


From: John

To: Mark

Subject: Reply to your ad: For sale

 

Fuck you.

Complaint Letter To Betfred

January 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Dear Betfred,

In my inimitably childish ‘payday millionaire’ weekend I was recovering from a night of making expensively bad life decisions by watching the FA Cup on a bed that, frankly, could probably do with a Hoover.

One of your adverts popped on offering a free £25 bet for opening an account. Why the Dickens not, the twat in my mind figured. With Chelsea and Stoke nearing a start I clumsily thumbed my way through the understandably interminable registration process. I popped a tenner in my account to put that, and the free £25 you kindly offered, on Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o to bag the first goal.

Arguably not the complete striker of old, Eto’o’s hattrick the week before prompted me to figure it was worth a flutter for a possible return of £151.67.

Now, don’t let my use of complicated betting spiel like ‘return’ and ‘flutter’ deceive you. I understand as much about betting as the average tramps dog hastily shaken awake in a piss drenched doorway.

That makes me your prime target market. An impulse-driven ABC1 dickwit with an approach to money that would make that patronising Money Saving Expert fella develop a worry hernia in his mind. If I won, I’m exactly the sort of guy who might think immediately that I’m some sort of footballing sooth sayer and plunder my future hateful children’s inheritance on risky accumulators in the Serbian Women’s 2nd Division while supposedly defecating at work.

Then I was notified that, despite taking my deposit, my account was blocked for a random security check. I was told it wasn’t an issue, I just merely have to provide you with photocopies of all of my major identification and financial documentation. That’s my Eto’o bet up the swanny isn’t it? I open betting accounts impulsively on Sunday afternoons, does that make me sound like I know where my passport is? Or that I have convenient access to a scanning printer?

I understand that post 9/11, everyone needs to be a little more diligent, but we needn’t be dicks about it. This felt like you were some sort of square-jawed American Immigrations officer screaming irrational demands for information based on the fact that I ‘looked a bit muslish’.

But who am I to question your process? So please find enclosed all requested documents, along with a scan of my face, a chest hair for DNA verification, a dot of my blood, and a schematic drawing of my body with all identifiable scars, blemishes, freckles and monstrous penises highlighted. I trust this wins your approval.

Please can you return the chest hair after the test, I’m making a scarf for a girl I look at on the tram.

Ta M

P.s. I’ve just remembered, it wasn’t Eto’o, it was Oscar. He’s just scored. You owe me £151.67

Image

 

 

Literally writing to the Oxford English Dictionary

October 1, 2013 1 comment

Dear OED

I’ve always considered myself a sesquipedalian sort of chap. My aunt once said I was the ‘Nigel Mansell of words’. To be honest I don’t really understand the relation and I think she got her metaphor a bit jumbled but I appreciated the sentiment all the same.

Imagine my dismay then, a couple of days ago, while casually padding around Facebook prior to work when a story popped up on my newsfeed that literally punched my brain right in its think bollocks. Literally.

The story in question was from the BBC news website (no less) heralding the adaptation of the word ‘literally’ to be used metaphorically. The example cited was shit-witted football jeggings mannequin Jamie Redknapp’s regular comical misuse of the word ‘literally’ during his frankly agonising punditry.

This causes several issues for me:

  •   The word literal (and literally) is pretty literal in its meaning. For something literal to be used metaphorically is a pointless use of this word and, at the risk of sounding like a word snob, is born out of stupidity rather than kooky modern adaptation. Similar to a tautology such as ‘a little midget’ or a ‘hot fire’, it’s just a casual everyday misuse which while rattles the brain of pedants like me, is just something that often does, and rightfully should, go unnoticed.

It should not – under any circumstance – cause the adaptation of the official definition of a word.

  •  Nothing Jamie Redknapp does, says or thinks should – for the love of bastarding crikey – have any impact on the Oxford English Dictionary.
  •  The reason cited by Senior OED editor Fiona MacPherson was “If enough people use a word in a particular way… it will find its way into the dictionary.”

This is utterly ludicrous. I know numerous people who use the word ‘Pacific’ instead of ‘specific’ as some sort of weird collective blind spot. Each time I hear this it kicks its way into my ears wearing shit-smeared army boots. Nevertheless a lot of people say it. Must we adapt the definition of both specific and Pacific to be interchangeable as any git sees fit?

In light of these reasons I would like two things from you:

  • A better explanation for your reasoning for the change in definition of the word literally.
  • Consider the input of a phrase popularly used by a lot of people. There have been many weird phrases just added to the dictionary willy-nilly of late (that too, probably) and a glaring omission of popular nomenclature is:

(Phrase) ‘Pipe me off’:

1. A sign of indifference/disdain i.e. “The Oxford English Dictionary can pipe me off after that literally thing.“

2. A literal meaning of sexual congress. “Louise, it’s me Jamie Redknapp, you’re going to have to peel these trousers off with an ice pick if you want to pipe me off”.

3. PMO (acronym). “OED? PMO more like”

I thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you. If I fail to get a response, I will literally kick myself to death.

Thanks,

Mark Jorgensen

Humble Pie With a 7-1 Defeat

January 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Originally written for and published on http://www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk in December 2010

Humble pie with 7-1 defeat

One Saturday morning in 2005, Blackburn were playing at Old Trafford and on a hung-over whim, I decided to go to the game on my own and buy a ticket for the United end.

In what I had previously perceived to be one of the harbingers of the Apocalypse, Blackburn won. Being a solitary Blackburn fan amongst all the furious United fans I stayed silent with a smug grin on my face.

Flash forward 5 years and I’m en route to a repeat of this fixture, this time at the hospitality of Manchester United for the VIP Europa Suite experience. In my previous forays into football fan espionage, this would be the furthest behind enemy lines I’d ventured.

I arrived at Directors Entrance where I was to be greeted by a club representative. As the other media guests arrived I was immediately outed as a Blackburn fan having forgotten that I’d admitted it in an email when making arrangements. With my cover blown, I was forced into plan B; adopt the guise of affable fan of the plucky underdogs fully expecting a heavy defeat. Little did they know that I’d secretly put a tenner on a Rovers’ victory that morning.

We were taken through the tunnel for a pitch side tour. As we stood in front of the United dug out, the guide treated us with an encyclopaedic knowledge of every possible fact about the ground, most notably that just below the away stand, United have a selection of cells for any wayward fans to be kept before being taxied to the police station after the match. We were advised that these were very seldom used.

It was then to the Europa Suite, a huge room laden with tables beautifully set out for the pre-match meal. The food itself was very good, four courses interspersed with helpful waitresses seemingly intent on getting me drunk. I shan’t fall foul of your ploy to soften me with drink, I figured, as I sunk my fourth glass of wine.

There was all sorts of entertainment put on with a compere, a pub-style quiz in which we performed abysmally. Just before we took to the stands, Gary Neville arrived, bizarrely through the gents toilets, to pose for photographs for all the adoring fans…. and me. Then it was time to take to our seats, with a great view adjacent to the half way line. A fantastic place to view a smash and grab Blackburn win.

Berbatov loves Blackburn Rovers

berbatov

Ok, bit of a nervy start but I think…GOAL. Berbatov.

Ah. Well not a great start but at least..GOAL. 2-0.

With each of my fellow guests greeting each goal with a wry smile my way, I respectfully applauded whilst my confidence began to wilt away like ice in a kettle.

Well if we just get to half time 2 down then we can….GOAL. 3-0.

The only solace I took was that after each United goal, a secondary cheer from the home fans greeted one Blackburn supporter after another being forcefully ejected by police and taken down to the previously under-used cells. By half time it was 3-3 by my reckoning; 3 goals to them, 3 arrests for us.

Back to the suite for half time drinks where our preferred tipple had been laid out at our tables waiting for us, a lovely touch. In search of alcoholic reprieve, I sank my pint in less time than it took United to score another immediately after we’d retaken our seats. Big Sam obviously gave an epic half time speech.

Goal after goal passed by with my seated ironic applause as Rovers capitulated until the score board taunted me with the 7-0 scoreline. No more arrests either. With 8 minutes remaining, I joked that we could just score one goal per minute to grab an unlikely victory and ALAS, in came a corner as Samba rose to nod in at the near post. My loud jumping celebration would, under normal circumstances, earn me abuse at the very least, but the prawn sandwich brigade merely looked on with pitying smiles.

Back to the Europa Suite I trundled for post match refreshments, which equated to lashings more wine in an attempt to drown my sorrows at the expense of my victorious foes.

Finally, the Man of the Match arrived, again confusingly through the gent’s toilets, as The Count from Sesame Street (Berbatov) posed with fans to celebrate his Premiership record-equalling five goal haul.

My only consoling thought as a Blackburn fan was that at least I’d been well fed and watered as I was thoroughly humiliated. Small mercies maybe, but something to hold onto.

Drivesafe Speed Awareness Course Review

January 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Drivesafe Speed Awareness Course review

Article originally written for and published on http://www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk

I’m a criminal. A no good criminal. It feels good to get it out there, but the absolution of my sins unfortunately does not end there.

No, like so many of the lawless renegades before me, it was only so long I could continue to flagrantly offend the laws protecting this fine nation before I was brought to swift justice.

The crime?

On occasion, I have been known to sometimes, perhaps, drive a little bit faster than the highway laws would like. Naturally, I would only do this in emergency situations like trying to get to the old warehouse in time to pay off Russian kidnappers for the safe return of my family, or if the football was about to start. I can already sense the palpable disgust causing your eyes to vomit disgraceful tears of rage and, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry.

My punishment? The Drivesafe Speed Awareness Course.

It’s hard to defend breaking speeding offences as the reality of causing someone else to suffer from your own selfishness in trying to get somewhere quicker shouldn’t be belittled.

As we arrived, there was a sign directing me and my fellow motor crooks to sit in a canteen to await the course. People sat in relative silence, exchanging bashful smiles and it regressed me back to school to the feeling of being sat outside the head teacher’s office awaiting punishment.

One thing I immediately noticed was that everyone else seemed to be holding copies of the Highway Code and I had nothing but my iPhone…I really should read letters every once in a while.

Not to worry, off to the classroom we went. “Right, welcome to the Drivesafe Course ladies and gentlemen, you’re going to be with us until 9.30 at which point you will have successfully completed the course.” It was 5.20. That’s four long hours ahead then…

The course was run by two chaps, both who admirably attempted to keep boredom from setting in with interactive questions and no doubt much-repeated gags befitting of a compare at the DVLA Christmas party.

We were taken through the process of different quizzes, educational monologues over a Powerpoint (with snazzy laser pointer), stringently dissecting every facet of safe driving and our lack thereof.

The attention to detail was astounding if not interesting. Much of it was common sense, other parts consisted of painstakingly mundane references to the Good Book (The Highway Code, that is), punctuated by little parables and mantras designed to capture attention and increase the likelihood of retention within our withering brains. Probably worked too.

Throughout all, my impulse to provide sarcastic answers bubbled away inside but with the warning that glib participation would result in being kicked off the course, £120 and 3 points in tow, I only cracked a couple of times.

Example:

“Does anyone see any potential dangers in this photograph?”

“Yes that crow looks a bit shifty to me”

“Mark, I’m not going to ask you again.”

“Sorry. Do carry on”

I did start to feel sympathy for both our tutors as we went along. The poor sods having to conduct a four hour lecture to a room of reluctant people about a dreary subject matter. A tough gig.

Nevertheless, I can’t deny that it was a bit of a shock as I realised how feeble my knowledge of basic road principles actually was.

The course itself is actually a good idea, introduced as a buffer of warning to the first time offender to retain a clean licence at the expense of an education in the implications of your indiscretions – the strong olive branch of the law. Seems fair and I’m glad I did it for the points if nothing else.

It’s important, however, to mention that my Grandmother, who I’ll call Mrs X for anonymity purposes, took this course recently due to amusing traffic offences and went on to get a speeding ticket a couple of months after.

Whether or not I’ll slip back into bad habits or give in to a possible innate genetic propensity to be a highway scoundrel will only become apparent through time, Your Honour.

Rating: 10.5/20

Food: 1/5
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5
Success: 2.5/5

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