Category Archives: Social

Fatal Extraction, Part II…

I was more than a little apprehensive on the morning of my extraction, to the point where I began to wish she had just pulled one or both of my teeth out last time I had visited, so that I didn’t have a week to think about it.

Between the first appointment and this one I had told The GirlfriendĀ© about the possibility of being knocked out for the procedure, because I didn’t want to have to deal with the pain. I thought it was a pretty good idea, but she steamrolled over it so quickly that I figured she must have been on commission from the local anaesthetic supplier.

So, my mouth but seemingly her decision. Anyway, passive aggressive thoughts aside…

I accepted a needle to numb the offending area. One jab on the outside of the gum, and one on the inside. Not confident that the drug was going to take, I asked for a third injection, and the dentist was quick to oblige.

She gave me a pair of uber-cool glasses to protect my eyes from the copious amount of blood that was always a possibility, but she need not have bothered because I had them closed for the entire procedure.

It seemed to take forever for the tooth to come out, so long in fact that a few minutes in (once the fear had reestablished itself) I considered telling the dentist to stop – I was just going to keep the thing in my head after all.

But alas, I let her carry on… until I heard it snap. I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as loud as I thought it was, in the moment, but listening to someone wrench a tooth from your jaw is up there as one of the most unpleasant sounds you’ll ever hear.

After it was out she told me it had quite a lengthy root and asked if I wanted to see it. I guess they call that dental humour. No, I don’t want to see it! Throw it in the bin, take back these stupid glasses, and let me open my eyes!

Hopefully she disposed of it, but you can never tell with these maestros of the mouth… perhaps she has a collection mounted on her wall, of all the rotten and broken chompers she has yanked out over the years.

… to be continued…

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Ghosts – Michael Jackson’s Forgotten Masterpiece…

Yeah, time certainly does fly. It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire decade since Michael Jackson died – June 25th, 2009.

Controversy aside, Jackson is one of the most influential people of the twentieth century. You certainly don’t have to like his music, but you do have to respect the reach of his sound, his choreography, and his style. He is – in the true sense of the word – iconic.

Everyone can hum the tune to Billie Jean or Beat It along with many others, and because music is released less traditionally these days, Thriller will forever be the best-selling album of all time. This was helped in no small way by the title track – the music video for which is still, pound for pound, arguably the greatest one ever produced.

But here, on the tenth anniversary of his death, I would like to highlight a Michael Jackson master stroke that I don’t think ever got the attention it deserved.

Ghosts was released in 1996 as a special limited edition box which I bought as soon as it was in the shops. It was a long time after his heyday, but Michael Jackson was always a draw, so I thought this was going to be a big deal… except, it really wasn’t.

included in this deluxe collector’s edition was the remix album, Blood on the Dancefloor on CD, and the CD single On the Line. It also came with a glossy theatre-style programme for the main attraction, which was very nice…

…and the main attraction here was Ghosts itself, an extremely elaborate music video that clocks in at just under forty minutes. It was effectively a new take on what Jackson had achieved a decade and a half earlier with Thriller, and in many ways he was trying to recapture that old glory. There’s a little more of a focus on story this time around, and there are a few songs that help to fill the running time.

Of course, being 1996 this was packaged on VHS, and has not since been officially released on any other format. For what it’s worth, I still have my copy tucked away in the garage in case one day it’s worth a fortune.

Ghosts is actually pretty hard to come by in this modern, digital age, but it is floating around online. Check it out and let me know what you think.

The Sadness Never Leaves…

thumbnail_DSC_0231My grandad died in 2008, just after Christmas. Had he been alive he would have been 90 today. Although I wish he had been around longer – was still here now – there’s a corner of my heart that’s glad he wasn’t here to see me mess things up a few years ago. I know he would have been disappointed in me.

But the last time we saw each other – on Christmas Eve that year – I was happy and in a good place. I was moving forward with my life and trying to make my mark in this world. When he passed away a few days later, I know it is that memory of me he took with him, and I can find consolation in that fact.

I think about my grandad a lot, partly because there are only a few of us left to keep his memory alive. My grandma is still here – she will be 95 this year – but she’s in a care home and her memory is in and out, even on her best day. I don’t think she remembers him beyond a vague recollection of his name and connection to her buried somewhere in her mind.

But it’s mostly because I miss him, and his words of advice, even if most of the time I pretended not to listen or outright discarded whatever he told me as old-fashioned and not really appropriate for my generation. What did he know about being young anyway? But we all do that: we all think we know better than those who came before us.

My grandad was a strong and proud man who knew how to cry but very rarely did. He was staunchly Labour, and was the only person who ever made politics interesting for me. He liked to dress smartly, whether the occasion called for it or not, and he never owned or even wore a t-shirt. He hated the tattoos on his forearms and hands, that he had got while stationed in Singapore as a teenager, but refused to have them removed as a reminder that alcohol and needles don’t mix.

He enjoyed the long walks we would take on Saturdays when I was a child; and I loved listening to him tell stories about the places we passed, and how it had all been fields when he was my age.

I sometimes catch myself looking at places now – watching office blocks or student flats as they rise out of nothing – and I think about my grandad.

I’ve turned my life around, grandad, and I wish you could see me now because I’m happy again. I can still feel your influence on the things that I do, and the decisions I make, so I hope you’re proud of the grandson you helped to mould. I know I am far from perfect, and all the mistakes I have made are my own, but a lot of the goodness I credit to you, and the example you set for me.

So happy 90th birthday, grandad. I miss you every day.

Porn Stars and Blowjobs…

I don’t go out drinking very often, and I don’t drink all that much when I do. My days of getting myself tarted up and looking forward to what Saturday night brings (and potentially Sunday morning) are well in my past.

Today, I went out with a bunch of work colleagues for my first mixology class. Three cocktails, a couple of shots, and some finger food afterwards to soak up the booze.

It was a lot of fun, and I’m glad I did it, but because we started mid-afternoon I was quite merry by dinner time, and I was on the bus home with the sun warming my back.

I just don’t enjoy it much anymore. Nothing good ever comes from the consumption of alcohol. All you’re left with at the end of the night is a sore head and an empty wallet.

I Sense a Theme Here…

In one month The GirlfriendĀ© and I will be driving down south for a fun-filled four days in England. Hopefully the weather will be kind to us.

After we had narrowed down the list of parks and attractions from an initial collection of ten, the trip was all decided upon very quickly, and the rest just fell into place almost overnight. We’ll probably get to the other seven places on the list some day, but for now we’re taking in Drayton Manor, Alton Towers, and Chester Zoo – all places that I have never visited, and probably ones that should be on the bucket list of every British person who enjoys theme parks and animals behind bars.

I tried to find a way for us to do all this while also leaving her daughter at home, but there does not appear to be any conceivable way for us to do that. At approximately seven hours to reach our base, it’s a lengthy journey, so I’m just going to have to take ear plugs and a shitload of sleeping tablets instead.

Fatal Extraction, Part I…

Before this month began, I had not seen a dentist for years… certainly more than I admitted to the girl with the drill standing in front of me. I was embarrassed. I know, it’s terrible, and it’s one hundred percent my own fault. I just let the appointments slide and got on with my life.

Last year I decided I was going to get myself sorted with a dentist, and get any problems I had, fixed… and here we are in June, and I have now began my journey on the road to oral recovery.

I was extremely nervous for my initial rendezvous – a feeling which was to some degree, almost entirely unfounded. Except for Extraction ’06, I had never really had a bad experience in the dentist’s chair, and apart from that, my teeth had always been in pretty good shape.

But this time I knew I had problems, and the dentist didn’t disappoint me. She said I needed two teeth taken out, both of which were fractured. One was the upper left wisdom tooth and the second was an upper right, about midway round. I knew both of the teeth she was talking about, and I had mentally prepared myself for the extractions she was briefing me on.

She told me she could try to save the second one, but she wasn’t confident it would work… so I just asked her to use her best judgement and do what had to be done. She could tell that I was a little agitated, and asked if I wanted to be knocked out for it, a question which received a resounding “yes please” from me.

The good news – relatively speaking – was that apart from those two fractures, my teeth were in fairly good condition, and were just in need of a thorough clean.

So I booked an appointment for the following week, and the seven day countdown until I let that woman near me with a pair of pliers… was on.

… to be continued…

An Unexpected Laugh…

Last night The GirlfriendĀ© and I went to see English comedian, Bill Bailey. Full disclosure, we didn’t pay for the tickets – I have friends in high places – so it was not a show I had been looking forward to for any length of time. In fact, I only found out I was going a few days ago.

Bill Bailey has never been on my comedy radar. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy his performance when I was there, because as it turned out he was a lot funnier than I had previously thought. He’s a very clever man who utilises his wealth of historical knowledge to crack jokes and educate at the same time. He’s also a talented multi-instrumentalist, and there were moments when I thought he could just as easily rock out for a while, if he ever got tired of being funny.

He was on stage for ages too. Without a warm-up or support act, he introduced himself at 8pm and didn’t finish cracking jokes until very close to three hours later. There are a lot of comedians who would have been out of the arena and on the way back to their hotel when Bailey was just breaking for his intermission, so credit to him there.

So, Bill Bailey has a new fan, and the next time he makes his way up here… there’s a fair chance I’ll pay face value to go and see him.