First World Problems

I thought it time to blog about those small things that make life so annoying for so many people – and I don’t just mean Little Fella*

However, on the subject of Little Fella, he has been annoying people on MyFaceTube quite a bit over the last few weeks – since the election started to get into full swing actually. Regular readers may remember that Little Fella is a local councillor (of the blue variety), and was last seen being photographed standing in the road with the local MP (demonstrating that, with the Divine Right to rule, they could not be run over. That or proving that no-one used the bus lane, not even the buses).

As one of the many minions up and down the country who have been called to action by their chosen party to provide an unspecified number of hours work for little or no pay (remind me again which hypocritical party(s) is it that wants to ban zero hours contracts but is quite happy to exploit people when it come to their benefit), Little Fella has been banging the social media drum in an attempt to convince local voters to return the incumbent MP.

Now, in one respect, good on him. If someone has convictions they’re prepared to stand up for then nothing should stop them, not even a rogue bus using a specified traffic measure. However, he has fallen into the same trap as every politician up and down the country. Unfortunately this is not a big pit with spikes at the bottom, cunningly covered in palm fronds type of trap; no, this is the ‘slag off the opposition’ trap. So, annoyance #1, nobody cares why you think the other fella is shit, what we want to know is (1) where are we know, (2) where do you want to get us, (3) how will you do it, and (4) how much will it cost us.

Politicians – please use your charm and charisma to woo us, not make us have to duck the shit you are throwing in the hope that this will overcome our apathy and make us get out and vote. And, Little Fella, no-one cares how many times the reds have put a leaflet through your door, and how desperate you think this makes them – sell your views as above.

In fact, I would recommend that everyone takes the Policies not Personalities test. While it takes a bit of time, at least you will know what party is best suited to what you want, without the bullshit rhetoric that surrounds an election circus (for those who haven’t clicked on the link, it can be foind at

On more mundane matters, I’ve taken the Aldi Challenge. Now, from the adverts on the tellybox, I understood this to be a challenge to save 30% on your grocery shopping by swapping your supermarket of choice to Aldi. Little did I know that this was not the case.

It turned out that the challenge was not to go Falling Down at the fact that there were an odd number of aisles in the store. Annoyance #2: who thought is was a bloody good idea to design a store where, when a customer has finished shopping, they are at the polar opposite of where they want/need to be i.e the tills (I refuse to go all American and call them checkouts), and instead have to hopelessly fight their way through the incoming tide of other shoppers who have not yet realised that they too are about to enter a world where you want breakfast at 10:31, and you can only order from the lunch menu! All this, in the vague hope that, if the said customers can see through the red mist for long enough, they may buy an extra bottle of bleach and some toilet rolls to comfort them on their wasted journey.

I saved 64% on my normal weekly shop, although they only had 80% of what I wanted. Even so, once I’d been elsewhere to get the missing items, I made a mahoosive 37% saving – not sure if that makes up for the shopping experience though.

Annoyance #3 is one of my own making. Back in the halcyon days of Pining for the Fjords, I made a stupid and fatal mistake. To explain this, you need to know that Lucy has a job working on pan-European rallies – London to Barcelona, London to Ibiza, that sort of thing. Now, this does mean that she spends her time fending off boy racers with a shitty stick, but as it means I get peace, quiet and a break from the incessant nagging, I have no problem with dating a career girl.

What this did mean was that last week her mate Michelle popped round to do that photo with the whip. What a shitstorm that has caused me. I come home this week to this:


I mean, this is the last thing you need after a day at work. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Michelle, you’re married”
Michelle: “So are you”
Me: “But not to you”
Michelle: “You’re not maried to Lucy either”

Honestly, after ushering her out the door unsatisfied I had to go outside and check the rabbits were okay and everything. I can’t wait for Lucy to get home, it seems that I need to borrow her shitty stick.

This week, MyFaceTube has also had one of those annoying “what XXX character are you” – annoyance #4. Now, while I’m clearly Mr Darcy / Christian Grey / the bloke from Poldark, or whatever this week’s female fantasy is; this one was ‘What Marvel character are you’.

Electra* got Black Widow (and made sure that I knew this), while Black Widow* got Ultron. So, in the interests of keeping the peace in the America/Electra household, henceforth Electra shall be known as Black Widow, and the personage previously known as Black Widow shall henceforth be known as Ultron. And if either of them think I’m going back and making changes to previous blogs, they can think again. (Cast List has been updated though, along with the removal of Dark Angel, who is no longer romantically involved with Parker*, and whose like shall not be seen again)

Finally, I’d like to discuss the prevalence of voluntary torture in the modern world. Annoyance #5 is going to the gym. Now, I know the health benefits of being fit but, at the moment, I’d rather be one of Matthew Hopkins’ playthings, given the state of what’s left of my body!

I’ve now been to a number of classes including Pilates, Spin and RigFit (basically circuit training). On the face of it Pilates looked to be the best of them – lying down in a room full of women dressed in Lycra, what more could a man want? However, Eric Prydz it was not!

Lying down with both legs slightly raised, making slow circles with your feet for a whole three minutes is pretty much impossible for someone with non-working abs. And spin was worse than last week, as nice(ish) female trainer had been replaced with Herr Flick. He insisted on doing ‘hill climbs’, which meant that he came round and upped the resistance for you, whether you wanted him to or not – now I know what it must be like to cycle into a brick wall at 30mph. And this was still the pensioners class!

RigFit however was a whole new level of torture. Squats with a bar bell (10kg), squats with kettle bells (16kg), squats with some great big bag filled with lots of weight (15kg) – I mean, I understand I need to squat if I had the shits out in the bush somewhere, but in sub-urban Birmingham? Add to this steps onto a platform three feet off the ground (while carrying weights of course), planking, and boxing – bloody boxing, I ask you.

At that point I’d have settled for Steps on the platform and watching The Plank.

It turn out I also have something called DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (who thinks up these things?). In practice it means that the day after any exercise I can’t move, and the day after that I really can’t move. Apparently it gets no better either. As I’m always “challenging myself”, I’ll always do more and be stuck in the DOMS cycle forever.

It turns out that I’m also one of the blokes in this video – about 1 minute in. Nice! So, if I survive the twin perils of another set of gym classes and the attentions of Michelle, I may be back next week.

Footnote: I’m fully aware that Whammyburger actually serve breakfast until 11:30 in the film but, as previously said, I refuse to go all American on your ass. For those new readers who, having digested annoyance #3 consider me to be a little bit unhinged, you need to remember that, as a writer, I use the power of imagination as a literary tool and a device to link disparate blogs – do you seriously think I’d turn Michelle down looking like that?
For the uninitiated, Matthew Hopkins was England’s Witchfinder General during the period of the Civil Wars, ably portrayed by Vincent Price in the 1968 film of the same name – not to be mistaken for Frank Finlay as he was the Witchsmeller Pursuivant in The Blackadder. For those interested in this sort of thing, I would recommend “The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge”, an episode in the current series of Inside No.9, and challenge you to watch it without thinking of this song, but not this song, which has only been referenced to qualify for the Daily Post (Penzance* has told me the official word for this sort of thing – intextuality I think). It’s probably still available on iPlayer (Inside No.9, not Penzance’s Modern Guide to Intertextuality – that just happens at work)

*see Cast List


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