Labour in crisis

The Labour Party is currently suffering a crisis. I’ll forget the fact this could have been written at any point during the past eighteen months and explain why. While ‘The People’s Party’ is doing its level best to elect a new leader, all it seems the previous incumbents want to do is hog the limelight. Tony Blair’s new book is out soon, although he was ordered to change the title from ‘The Journey’ to ‘A Journey’, presumably in case people were put off by the possibility of Blair quibbling on the merits of the 5.27 to Birmingham Central.

Meanwhile Labour’s leadership candidates jump up and down, trying to get the teacher’s attention. Ed Balls could promise to nationalise lap dancing clubs and he would only be given a cursory mention in the dailies while another New Labour apparatchik sells their story to the highest bidder.

Even the process of nominating MPs for the leadership contest remains a side issue, despite the frankly scandalous attempt to make sure Diane Abbott was on the bill for the hustings. Acting leader Harriet Harman declared she would stay neutral throughout the contest, except to vote for Abbott – a very strange kind of neutral if you ask me.

And everyone knows why she has been put through. She’s a vehemently socialist, black woman. She’d have more chance of leading the British branch of the Ku Klux Klan than ever be elected as Labour’s leader. The last time Labour was properly socialist, Human League were wondering why you don’t want me baby.

For all the talk in Labour circles of change and a shift of some kind to the left, Andy Burnham has been unashamedly staking his claim as the continuity candidate, which seems a bit odd considering recent election results. “Through a range of unpopular decisions and poor management, New Labour will strive to continue being distrusted by the public and score 29% in the next general election. Vote for me!”

Meanwhile, in coalition-land, Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) are set to be scrapped by the Home Secretary Theresa May – the one from Thunderbirds in a turquoise outfit reimagined as a Tory token woman politician – as the coalition government does its best to find other ways of ruining kids lives, aside from the usual mixture of cancelling school building projects and closing down libraries and youth centres in the name of fiscal austerity.

Introduced by a Labour Party desperate to be seen by the public as tough on crime, ASBOs were seen as an attempt to rid the streets of youthful nuisances. But the scheme quickly got out of hand after a slow uptake (just 241 were issued in the first year).

One extreme ASBO prohibited a woman from making excessive noise during sex, which must have been a dream for the Parole Officer. “Now, according to my instructions, in order for me to sign your probation sheet, you must show me how you have actively sought to reduce your noisy love-making. As we shag each other senseless, you must not scream above 85 decibels or you shall have breached the terms of your contract and will be taken to Wormwood Scrubs immediately”.

I want to hear the court case before she was banned from participating in noisy sex. “Your honour, Mrs. X has been consistently ignorant of her neighbours and I have the audio tapes to prove it!” The jurors, judge and witnesses all freeze in terror as the tape is played.

“Objection!” cries the defendant of the accused.

“Isn’t that the bit where you stand up and start waving bits of paper in feint outrage?” replies the prosecutor.

“Yes it is but, err… I can’t really stand up at the moment. Hold on, give me two minutes”. And everyone rolls their eyes and looks away, embarrassed.

Much is made by the tabloid press of how the ASBO is treated like a ‘badge of honour’, as if it’s something you can earn in the Girl Guides. “Mum, Mum, I’ve got another badge from Brown Owl! It’s my ASBO!” “Well done dear, how did you get that?” “First of all, I spat at Megan when she said I couldn’t have a biscuit. Then I took a plastic knife from the kitchen and hid it inside my shoes, just in case Pass the Parcel turned nasty”.

What will replace the ASBO? One idea that Theresa May is more than welcome to steal is to keep all the existing mechanisms of ASBOs as they are, but just shorten the acronym to BO (Behaviour Order). At a stroke, this will stop people being proud of their punishment. Yobs are hardly likely to strut around telling anyone that listens, “I have BO”. It would cramp their style.


Who loves London?

It must be that time of year again. Foreign students, numbering close to millions and hunting in dense swarms, arrive in our country with their identical rucksacks, rudimentary English and olive skin. Companies like E.F. bring these kids over from exotic countries so they can learn English and sample our decadent Western lifestyle, with our Nando’s, buskers and intermittent Wi-Fi connections.

Do the students really need to travel here to witness our culture? Have they not seen what happens to their own countries when rowdy British tourists visit? That would give a pretty accurate view of how most of us live. Destruction and rubble. Unfortunately, the poor kids seem to be under the impression that we saunter around wearing ‘I heart London’ t-shirts and drinking at Starbucks like dehydrated marathon runners.

Wearing such t-shirts creates more social divisions than any piece of religious headwear that people may find intimidating. Few things say “I’m an unintegrated foreigner” better than an ‘I heart London’ t-shirt. Any Brit knows there is nothing to ‘heart’ about London. It’s full of commuters barging people out of the way, tall buildings which pollute the landscape and pubs charging upwards of £4.50 a pint.

Furthermore, take a look at the students piled high in the shopping centre, waiting for their group leader to tell them where to go. Do they really look as if they could love anything? They seem to have been born with a perma-scowl, which may be the product of too much exposure to Primark or an unmistakable signal that the students in question are having a miserable time.

Think about it. You’re uprooted from your home country for months on end, losing contact with friends and family. You’re dumped with a bunch of strangers and sleep in a spare room bunk bed, with decent meals at the mercy of your host family. All of this just to learn a few verbs. It’s a harsh life.

Every time I venture into town, a group of the students crowd around me, asking question after question as if I’ve been taken aside at an airport security lounge to explain to armed officers why a packet of fertiliser and chemistry set is packed away in my suitcase.

Their group leaders set the kids a task to break up the boredom and help practise their English. My favourite query so far was from a young lad wearing an AC/DC shirt, asking if I knew, in a clipped Latino accent, “when Marks & Spencer’s was founded”. I felt tempted to answer: “When people were happy enough to pay £3.85 for a salad”.

But I can hardly scoff too loudly. I remember a trip in Year 7 to a charming little French town, Le Havre. Left to our own devices, me and a few others began laughing loudly in the town square, shouting to each other and generally being quite boisterous, as any kids given carte blanche on a school trip will naturally do. Little did we know that the town was mourning the passing of two war heroes and a full marching band were roaming the square as solemn onlookers bowed their heads and tutted about the crude English disrespecting their dead. It was the most excruciating culture clash since Jade Goody’s racist tirade on Celebrity Big Brother.

Step into any local greasy spoon cafe or pub during this time of year and it will be full of native doomsayers shaking their heads at the foreign invasion. But Britain is a multicultural nation and has forever been so. The notion of an antiquated era – in which the nation was run by chubby postmasters and overweight men getting centuries on cricket greens while the bells of a parish church ring around the village, while Rosemarie from the W.I. hands out freshly prepared carrot cake – is seen through rose-tinted glasses, and only ever a reality during Miss Marple repeats.

Yes, it is true the students are annoying. They have no concept of what a pavement is for, as they clog them up quicker than limescale on a clapped-out washing machine. I have to fight through large assembled group of them like I’m completing the Hampton Court maze. Trains and buses become a no-go zone as they overflow with talkative young urchins, running between the carriages to pass on messages to friends or lovers in a cosmic public transport version of Chinese whispers.

But I do not begrudge the students their opportunity here. In fact, I doubt whether the temporary tattoo shop outside the Arndale Centre would do half as well without being able to sell worthless tat to gullible tourists, so they do provide some much-needed economic simulation.

All in the past

History. Yeah, it’s all in the past but I’m sure a philosopher once said we can’t prepare for the future unless we understand our past. I would quote the philosopher but this is what wanky people with newspaper columns do. Also, I can’t be bothered to check.

Lessons on the subject are frightfully unimaginative, often listing the pros and cons of a narrow topic such as industrialisation. The teaching of history is controversial as much of it is objective, adaptable to any argument you may wish to prop up.

You could trawl through all the writings of the past three hundred years and form a convincing argument that Winston Churchill was an ahead-of-his time automated robot controlled by a gang of armed robbers living in Peckham.

History classes nowadays are textbook factories, simplified for the lowest common denominator and mindlessly uneducational. In the five years I have spent studying the subject in a bog-standard comprehensive and a medium-rated college, the subject is more predictable than a Saudi Arabian election.

Turns out the Nazis were bad. And slavery. And apartheid. Not forgetting BBC sitcom My Family, although many schools fail to update their curriculums with such modern day disasters.

Niall Ferguson, an entertaining if maverick historian, has been asked by the Conservatives to shake up history in the classroom, especially in the light of the number of GCSEs being taken in the subject: down to just 216,000 last year. Part of his battleplan is to let children make their own, err, battleplans.

“You can re-run World War Two, you can explore strategy, you can come up with a plausible alternative past. It’s exciting for young people” he says earnestly. He will do this through a game entitled The War of the World, where pupils will lead a nation, develop battleplans and remake history. Not wishing to abort an idea clearly still in the design stage but wouldn’t it be easy to kill Hitler at the start of the game? After all, correct me if I’m wrong, most textbooks say he’s the baddie.

Also, such a game would be highly unrealistic and unlikely to prepare any child for the real world, which is an important objective of education. How depressing would it be if after saving the world from a Nazi invasion and declaring an eternity of peace to dewy-eyed citizens, two years later you find yourself mopping up puke in Dave’s Kebab House?

Aside from live action computer simulations, he also says that more television should be bought into the classrooms. My old school must have had the same thought, as we spent numerous hours watching vaguely historical films, apparently so our stressed teacher could have a couple of hours rest, allowing him to sit in the corner of the class and mop his brow continuously. Try watching ‘Schindler’s List’ in twenty minute bursts over the course of a month and then try telling the government that we should be watching more television.

It’s the first law of school that any lesson which does not involve sitting in silence completing a mock examination is inherently good, a happy escape for one hour before heading back out into the jungle-like guerrilla warfare of a school corridor. Yet when it comes to lessons, children should not be allowed control of their own curriculum. “Yeah Mission Impossible. That’s a good film for social studies Sir!”

If television is supposed to get kids more involved and interested in history, why can’t we extend this to other subjects? For English, schools could show episodes of Blackadder, focusing particularly on his wordplay. For Maths, there is only one plausible show: Numb3rs, a CSI-type romp with a difference, in which crimes are solved with the help of a geeky mathematician writing ineligibly on a chalkboard. Nothing would make double Maths more exciting than the knowledge that your power to convert fractions in to percentages may give you the edge in a murder hunt.

P.E. would be easy; just show the latest Premier League match, preferably letting students drink beer and eat savoury snacks whilst doing so, giving them the real sense of what it’s like to watch football as an adult. Design & Tech should show episodes of Top Gear before the teacher mournfully says: “Sorry we haven’t got enough money to make anything you just saw, so you’re just going to have to use your imagination”.

My only worry with this novel new approach of teaching would be sex education. Still, the kids have gotta learn.

The modern music video

Have you seen any music videos recently? I don’t mean self-consciously cool videos from indie bands wearing skinny jeans and slapdash haircuts, mouthing the lyrics to the floor because they are too cool to look at the camera; I mean the guff currently loading the charts.

There is a canny way of knowing whether a song will feature on your next journey from the back seats of the bus, played at full volume by adolescent tit-mongers – watch the video. If the lead singer makes hand movements like he is trying to dry them in a public lavatory, while almost-topless babes rub against him as he looks nonchalantly at camera to mime the words, you know that within days the song will be synched to the mobile phone of every chav and chavette from every council estate, circulating quicker than a rude picture of a classmate on the internet.

Most music videos nowadays are simply soft porn. This astonishingly quick descent into depravity will mean that within mere years, hardcore pornographic action will be plastered over the music channels. The current slew of pornographic promos began with Eric Prydz’s legendary single ‘Call on Me’. It shot straight to number one in the charts, helped on its way by a video featuring a bunch of scantily clad women performing erotic yoga poses. Meanwhile a solitary bloke looks on in wonderment as the women shake their bums like they’re suffering a high impact earthquake. Subscriptions to private gyms probably trebled while that song was number one.

‘Call on Me’ was a landmark moment, because it set a new (low) standard for what can be classified as daytime viewing. Even Dizzee Rascal, who seems like quite a nice bloke, couldn’t help but feature in his video for ‘Holiday’ surrounded by women in various states of undress and bouncing at a poolside party to the beat.

Then again, such licentiousness has always been part of the pop star lifestyle and could be a reason why so many teens wish to be a chart-topper. It’s similar to what Peter Crouch said of his cash-cow career playing for Liverpool football club: “If I wasn’t a footballer, do you know what I’d be? A virgin”.

Snoop Dogg, the dreadlocked rap star, doesn’t exactly do his best to rebut allegations that pop stars are sex-hungry monsters. In a post-gig party held on July 4 in London, he told his bouncer to only allow attractive women into his lair. This ‘man-ban’ even extended to the staff. Here is what the source told The Sun: “Snoop was in his element. He had his own room towards the back of the club and there must have been more than 100 women in there.

“He had two huge security guards on the door that would not let any blokes anywhere near it. They were even turning away male staff ferrying all the champagne his way. Security kept their eyes open and if they saw any ladies they thought Snoop would approve of, they invited them in.”

What could Snoop Dogg possibly do with one hundred women? Even if he was getting intimate with three or four at once, that leaves an awful lot of women on the sidelines, bored. Did they just end up discussing shoes or the best way to wash a spaghetti stain from a white t-shirt, patiently waiting their turn? Was there a ticket machine like at the local butchers, with a small screen on the wall displaying numbers for when you can approach the counter?

These insane lifestyles could be the reason that people like Snoop Dogg look so nonplussed in their videos, even as women wearing next to nothing brush up against them seductively. To most of us commoners, having a woman push past us on a busy bus is as much sex as we are likely to get all week, which is why I can never emotionally connect to such songs.

The next time you see someone like Enrique Iglesias in a video, look at his unbothered expression. He is probably thinking “I had a party on Saturday with sixty women. My stupid record label could only afford twelve supermodels for this shoot, what a joke”.

No matter how much you love semi-naked girls gesticulating like they’re giving rude sign language lessons to confused pupils, if you dislike a song, you won’t buy it.

If The Beatles made a video for ‘Eleanor Rigby’ featuring a bevy of beautiful bikini blondes, whilst lingering shots of their breasts were interspersed with the Fab Four thrumming and drumming, it wouldn’t make ‘Eleanor Rigby’ any more of a classic, even if it would have raised a few eyebrows at the time. It’s a good song, and that’s the most important thing. Video directors take note.

Fall in that pool, fatty

Mild slapstick titters the senses gently, and no other show on television does this better than Hole In The Wall, judged to be amusing enough – or cheap enough – to have a prime Saturday night slot on BBC1, alongside the expensive Doctor Who, presumably to balance the books. It’s full of scary-looking aliens and has the whole family hiding behind the sofa. Doctor Who is relatively frightening as well.

The premise is strikingly simple, even if it is borrowed from the Japanese, a nation not exactly well-known for their simplicity. Slightly famous people (him from that thing, the woman who used a wine bottle to pleasure herself etc.) squeeze into tight Lycra outfits that leave little to the imagination and attempt to avoid a big white wall which seeks to push them in the water. As the rounds get harder, the less time the celebrities have to think about how they will position themselves.

It’s the human equivalent of those 2p machines at the pier, where sliding bars push money further and further towards the drop. Some see Hole In The Wall as evidence that the BBC has lost its touch and, if you watch it sober, this is a fair accusation. Nevertheless, should you be somewhere between tipsy and paralytic, it becomes the best programme in televisual history.

Dale Winton hosted the first series, a duty he performed with valour, even if his only job was to make jokes about crotches and shout “Bring on the wall!” in the manner of a Roman general leading his troops into bloody battle for the umpteenth time. Clearly, the producers were concerned that the show still wasn’t gay enough, so they enlisted Anton Du Beke as their new host, a man as camp as his frilly fru-fru surname suggests.

He looks and sounds like the kind of person who would have had David Cameron as his fag at the public school he doubtless attended, considering the future Prime Minster beneath him. But Cameron’s in charge of the UK and Du Beke is presenting Hole In The Wall, which is as complicated as a toddler’s four-piece puzzle. Who’s the fag now?

Having been made a household name on Strictly Come Dancing – an oasis of masculinity if ever there was one – he has been elevated past his role as dance coach to full-on demi-celebrity status. He is the kind of person that your Nan would pay £25 a ticket to see in a small theatre production, coming out half an hour later smelling of Liquorice Allsorts and saying “what a nice man”. He is one mouthful of hamster away from being as famous as Freddie Star in his heyday.

Anyway, it’s all done for charity, so even if the site of Vanessa Feltz’s cumbersome arse being pushed by a big polystyrene wall into a swimming pool puts you off masturbation for a week, there is little you can criticise about it. Indeed, it’s so crackpot barmy, it feels like a knowing in-joke. The inclusion of one fatty every week furthers the feeling of surrealism.

If you had Roger Federer, Usain Bolt and Lionel Messi on the same team, they could probably get in position to avoid a dunking even if the hole in the wall is smaller than the eye of a needle. Add a fatty into the mix and the whole thing should be accompanied by the Benny Hill theme tune, as lots of wobbly bits are pushed and shoved into painful shapes, all just to gain a little publicity and purchase a few mosquito nets for a worthy cause. It’s exploiting fat people. Although trying to remember that as a massive THUNK leaves another obese D-lister flailing around in the water like a punctured dinghy, and you deserve a medal for compassion.

That’s all that happens for half an hour. Thunk. Thwack. Bosh. Splosh. It’s for people who found It’s A Knockout too challenging, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as It’s A Knockout is one of my favourite shows of all time. It’s what I imagine tripping on LSD might be like, only Frank Bruno is laughing in the background like he’s trying to choke up a stick of celery that went down the wrong way.

Hole In The Wall is ultimately harmless television, which thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously. I would much rather have annoying celebrities making prats of themselves for my dubious entertainment than have them preaching on Comic Relief about how we should all give our life savings to charity just because someone in Casualty spent a few hours in an African orphanage, coming out weeping and saying how it has “changed my life”.

Thwack. Splosh. Fall in that pool, fatty.

Sexless drones rejoice

Loveless drones everywhere, rejoice! The makers behind Grindr, an iPhone application which helps gay people identify each other and has been hailed, amongst other things, as a “sexual revolution” (did the 60s never happen?), are busy working on a straight version. The product’s Wikipedia page opens with this rather forbidding sentence: “Grindr is a geo-social networking application available for purchase from the App Store on both the iPod touch and the iPhone. It is targeted at men who have sex with men”.

Grindr’s developers have stated that the inhabitants of 162 countries are using Grindr, including the notoriously gay-friendly Saudi Arabia and Iran. Ahmadinejad’s next speech could be interesting. “We will continue to build our uranium enrichment programme for the foreseeable… hold on. Who just sent me a message? And what are anal beads?”

But it hardly seems fair that the Stephen Frys of this world get to exchange no-strings pelvic thrusts just by tapping an expensive gadget, so the straight version is set to be launched soon.

Grindr allows you to see the profiles of the people nearest your current location using the app and you can interact with someone if you so wish. The creative mastermind behind it, 33-year-old Joel Simkhai, told The Guardian about his new venture: “This notion of: ‘Who is around me? Who is in this room now? Who else is like me?’ – this is not just a gay thing. Gay men don’t have the monopoly on loneliness and isolation.” Well said Joel. Although you seem to harbour the impression that connecting via Grindr with someone who is purely interested in emotionless rutting will cure loneliness and isolation instead of intensifying it.

Besides, women don’t need an iPhone application to work out which men around them want sex. They have eyes. We men hanker after women so clumsily that it’s blatantly obvious when we want a woman’s pants on our bedroom floor the following morning, no matter how much a pipe dream it may be.

For instance, during my college’s NUS election for President, I chose the best-looking girl. Sorry, I know that’s sexist and wrong on so many levels, but the politics was so bland. I wanted one candidate to be saying “I support the death penalty”, another to be promising the “nationalisation of the staff room” and a third to be jumping up and down with a gun in hand, screaming “Praise be to Allah”. What I got was a bunch of middle-class twaddle merchants as unique and electable as a Big Mac.

Any mildly attractive woman who logs in to their straight Grindr account in a public place will be subjected to a swarm of drooling men. This is why any self respecting woman would probably not purchase it. Men will be the first in line to snap up the application, but if women don’t, it will just lead to blokes hunched over their iPhone when they walk through the park or sit on the bus, not noticing that every other man is doing precisely the same thing, chasing a non-existent free shag.

You can see why it would work for gay people, as it must be difficult to know who is and who isn’t. But I doubt it could ever work for heterosexuals in a meaningful way. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly won’t be crying if it turns out that women are actually insatiably horny and do genuinely want plenty of fancy-free fucks, but from bitter experience, this appears not to be the case.

Perhaps you could link all of your social networking like Facebook and Twitter to the site, so someone who likes the look of you can discover whether you enjoy bird-watching, playing football, or having rough sex in a bush. In some respects, it does cut out the middle man, as you can simply walk into the Farmer’s Market on a Sunday afternoon and offer yourself up to the single ladies with straight Grindr, like a piece of processed meat.

If the old adage is true – that sex is always on the male brain – a mass take-up of Grindr may mean little else gets done and could precipitate a massive slow-down in productivity. After all, how could you concentrate on your boring office job, if you know that Chloe from accounting upstairs is gagging for it?

In all fairness, a straight Grindr is at least better than online flirting as you can see the person you’re interested in for real. All you’d have to do is match the profile picture to the person which Grindr says you’re near and bingo. Happy shagging!

Lots of pious worriers will tell us Grindr is sinful, but it has to beat looking for sex in a nightclub, where civilised conversation is impossible and the only whiff of action comes after the quaffing of dangerous amounts of spirits.

Prom season

Prom season is fast approaching for hundreds of thousands of excited teenage imps who will take to the sweaty dance floors of retro barn conversions to lay down some serious grooves and try, for possibly the last time, to cop off with the girl they’ve fancied for years, but have never had the guts to say. With GCSEs out of the way, sixteen-year-olds up and down the country say goodbye to the easy world of secondary school, knowing that life is very much downhill from Prom Night onwards.

My school’s Prom was held in a posh hotel along Brighton seafront as the Indian cricket team were checking out their bags. The girls were a little bit pissed off as it meant that the primary focus of the boy’s attention was on Sachin Tendulkar, not the glittery dresses being worn by the ladies. You could almost hear the girls thinking: “So he throws a ball at a person wielding a bat? Well I had to drop two sizes just to fit into my dress, and even then, I had to hire a compression tank from NASA just to get the zip done up”.

I did feel sorry for the girls at my Prom, because it’s much easier being a bloke. All we had to do was stroll confidently into Marks & Sparks, roll our eyes as the eager shopping assistant tries in vain to get us enthusiastic about our clothing choices, before leaving the store £100 worse off, but knowing that you can’t really go wrong with a smart suit, trousers, shoes and tie.

But girls have to be seen wearing the best. If one girl is having her pink dress sewn together by blind Venetian artisans, the next has to be encrusted with a bed of diamonds. If Becky is wearing a tiara made of pure gold, Amy’s parents will feel like they have to hire a hit man to steal the Queen’s crown from the Tower of London.

Mums and Dads know that their child cannot be seen in t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms for the final hurrah, so they feel forced into spending hundreds – sometimes thousands – of pounds just so that in twenty years time, when the inevitable school reunion occurs, everyone can remember the girl who had her dress delivered to her personally by Robert Pattison.

The girls all happily buy into this culture though. American movies like American Pie and High School Musical haven’t helped, as British Proms have become bastardised by our trans-Atlantic cousins. A prom, or ‘leaving do’ as they were colloquially known, used to be a shit school disco in the school hall, a bottle of Jack Daniels stolen from your parent’s stash and a quick snog ‘n’ fumble in the blacked-out drama studio, if you were lucky.

Now they are elegant dances, with strict dress codes and security guards at the front door, stripping everyone entering of their hip flasks filled with spirits. To be fair, if I had discovered drinking in time for my Prom, I would not go through the whole palaver without a stash of alcohol in my chest pocket, so I do have sympathy with the people who turn up to get drunk, even if they are sixteen. The mean-looking bouncers didn’t stop two lads at my Prom heroically pre-loading, meaning that they were seen slumped in their chairs at 8pm, red of face and sleepy of mind. Although they were still more attentive than at any point during Double Science with Mrs. Foster.

My cousin’s Prom was held in a rustic Sussex barn, where the year 11s ate a delicious six course meal for £25, before the pupils rose to their feet and danced the night away like a painting of a Victorian ballroom. I was fleeced for £30 and in return got two slices of cold pizza, a handful of cocktail sausages and a flat glass of diet lemonade, an outrageous rip off that would make any motorway service station baulk.

Prom Night is a time to reflect on five years of abject misery and speculate why it all goes by so fast. I remember thinking it only seemed like yesterday that the year 11s were towering above me and saying in mocking voices “I was never that small in year 7”.

And also to wonder why on earth you spent £650 on a limousine that turned up thirty minutes late, had been painted entirely in pink (“Sorry, didn’t realise you were all lads” said the sheepish driver, as we all looked on, aghast) and made you lean out of the window, glass of non-alcoholic champagne in hand, to shout obscenities at the people of Brighton going about their business. We did it when we were young.