Being Born (My Birth)

What is ‘Being Born’? Is it when an idea comes into your head one afternoon as you’re unblocking the lavatory? Yes. But it’s also how we come into this world. I was ‘born’ roughly 9 months after what can be best described as ‘intercourse’ between my mother and father. The relationship between my mother and father was a complicated one exacerbated by their deep distrust and hatred towards each other. Mother complained that father was a thoughtless, arrogant, deluded, violent philanderer while my father said my mother often smelt of  lasagna, a dish that would make my father violently sick, (you will have noticed that I’ve used ‘violent’ and ‘violently’ in the same sentence, I don’t know if this is acceptable in literary circles but I don’t play by the rules. Well, I do play by rules but my rules!)

Lasagne
A LASAGNA

But despite their utter hatred towards each other they were forced to remain together. Father remained with mother for financial reasons (mothers father, who coincidentally was also my grandfather, was a big hitter in the tortoise breeding world) and mother remained with father because of her lasagna stench problem making her deeply unattractive to any man. This situation led to a tense household which for a young child such as myself was very unsettling and led directly to me rubbing cocaine onto my eyeball at the age of 19 while staying at a B&B in Weymouth. But I digress…

I was born into this world on 25th December (also known as Christmas Day) 1974 in Harare Central Hospital, Zimbabwe at 5.30 am and weighed a very satisfactory 7 pounds 1 ounce, which is the same weight as about three-fifths of a can of soup. According to my father, who while not being present at my birth would phone the hospital every two hours for progress updates, my birth was rather easy for my mother and the labour only lasted 23 hours – a cinch! People have asked me if I was disappointed that my father wasn’t present at my birth to which I reply ‘No’ and the reason I answer ‘No’ is for two reasons. Firstly, it was a different era, many men didn’t go to the birth, in fact, 40 or 50 years ago many men positively hated babies, even their own. Secondly, my father was a very busy man and at the time of my birth was close to making a crucial breakthrough on his invention, ‘Bacon Bottles’. The idea behind Bacon Bottles is frankly, genius – replacing glass bottles with bottles made from crispy pieces of bacon. Bacon is cheaper than glass, easier to produce and if you eat the bacon after using it as a bottle, you cut down on waste. See, genius…or at least something very close!

Once I was out of the womb I quickly adapted to my parents routine, my mother spent her days cooking lasagna and instructing my au pair on how to raise me while father locked himself away in the shed, working on his many inventions. As time went on I grew older and began to spread my wings (a metaphor) and embarked on many adventures such as the time I fell in the River Dee after sniffing too much glue and when I ate a yoghurt that was a month past its sell-by date! But more of those and many other stories in the future.

 

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Henry Theroux: Explorer

There are 195 countries in the world, 196 if you include Taiwan, and I have travelled to over 7 of them in my lifetime, (8 to be exact). This number doesn’t sound very high but considering I misplaced my passport for roughly 10 years it’s not too shabby. I’d heard someone in Oxford public library say one time that travel broadens the mind, my initial thought was that my mind couldn’t be any broader but after watching a programme on TV one evening I decided that I had to travel and experience new cultures. That TV programme was Wish You Were Here with Judith Chalmers.

 

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Judith Chalmers Wish You Were Here

 

For those of too young to remember Judith she was the Marco Polo of modern society, discovering new places and regaling the nation with tales of wonder from far off distant lands. At her peak she travelled to distant shores such as Spain and Italy. On one occasion she travelled to Greece!!

As well as losing my passport for 10 years, the other reason I haven’t travelled too much is if travel really does broaden the mind then I worry as to how broad my mind will get. Will it get so broad that it can no longer be contained in my head? Will it start to come out of my ears and run down the side of my face? When I lay dying on the floor with my mind pouring out of me will people say, ‘His mind was just too broad for his head, poor guy’. Basically my mind is already very broad, metaphorically AND literally. Take an x-ray of my skull and you’ll see that my mind is abnormally broad.

Anyway, like I say, I’ve been to eight countries (apart from my own), USA, Poland, Switzerland, Columbia (5 times), Mexico (4 times), Thailand (138 times), Afghanistan and Peru. I would like to tell you more about my travels but it’ll have to wait until another time – all this talk of how broad my mind is has taken it out of me and I feel quit tired. I’m going to lay down to try to get my mind under control again.

FACT OF THE DAY!

In Bahrain, dogs are permitted to run for parliament but choose not to out of spite!

 

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The Dogs of Bahrain

It’s hard to know where this spitefulness stems from but look at the picture above and you’ll clearly see their negative attitude to the election process and their rights!

 

Henry von Stifle: Music and Me

I’ve always been very musical and music has played a big part of my life ever since my father threw an oboe at me when I was 6 years old. Up until 2006 I had never thought of performing music but after being so cruelly overlooked as a backing singer for Martine McCutcheon’s UK tour I decided to prove her and all my doubters wrong.

I started by forming a band and placed an ad in Melody Maker looking for like-minded people. Within two weeks I had my band. I was on vocals, Nigel was on cello, Tucker was on the glockenspiel, ‘Mad’ Dave was the kazoo player and we had Sophie on another cello. After much debate I decided to call ourselves Bon Jovi but two days later I found out that another band from New Jersey in America already had that name – where are they now?! After another lengthy brain storming session we agreed on the name Dexy’s Midnight Runners but that too had already been taken. Eventually we got it right and we were known as Abandoned Sandals.

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Abandoned Sandals

 

We started rehearsing with gusto and I managed to get us a tour of the pubs and bars of Torquay (the English Riviera). At first everything was as I had imagined being in a band to be, adoring fans packing out pubs such as The Bull and Bush and Ryan’s Bar, free bottled water, sandwiches and sex! Not that I was having sex but some people who came to the gigs or just lived in Torquay were having sex and I rode the wave. But slowly musical differences and tensions within the band began to emerge. Nigel and Sophie began to argue who was lead cello player. Then ‘Mad’ Dave accidentally dropped his kazoo into a toilet. The loss of the kazoo was too much for me to take and we disbanded later that day – no more Abandoned Sandals.

But I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream of being a successful musician just yet so decided to strike out on my own. Working on my own meant playing all of the instruments myself so I gathered anything I could play and set about recording. After a few hours I noticed how brilliant it sounded! Who would’ve thought that finger cymbals, a tambourine, a maraca and some spoons would have sounded so modern and  so full of vitality!

I called the piece ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout Them Blues (Sad Face)’ and the critics hated it. But the public, well they absolutely despised it. I’d never experienced venom like it.

With my confidence shot, I was about to give up the musical dream but fate was about to take a twist like the way The Sixth Sense ends with Bruce Willis turning out to be a decent actor. ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout Them Blues (Sad Face)’ was used for an advert on Romanian TV for a herbal nipple cream and BOOM! the song was suddenly being played everywhere! Bucharest bounced to the bass line, Vaslui vibed to the tambourine and Cluj cried to the sheer beauty of the finger cymbals. The song began to climb the singles chart eventually selling over 800 copies!! I toured Romania extensively and it became hard to walk down any street without being recognised, people would see me and say ‘Nipple Cream’ – I felt so alive!

I quickly recorded a follow-up single, ‘Hey, Hey, No, Put It Down and Smash the Melon (Rub It On)’ which was also used in an advert for Romanian TV but this time for a rival herbal nipple cream company. The country again went wild for this new cut and my place in Romanian pop culture was sealed. The Romanian people took me to their hearts and in return I took them to mine and I stayed in Bucharest for 8 months and became fluent in roughly 25 Romanian words.

But like all good things in my life, it came to a grinding halt one day. The repetetive use of the finger cymblas was starting to make my fingers a bit sore and sensitive. Eventually the constant friction caused my fingers to start bleeding and become infected. I was told I had a choice to make – stop playing them or risk losing my fingers. I empolyed other musicians to play them for me but none could ever match my intensity with them and I sadly lost my ‘sound’.

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Finger Cymbals. Cymbals for fingers

Henry von Stifle: World Record Holder

I am a great human. Like all great humans I have tried and succeeded in pushing myself to the limits of human endeavour. One of the ways I do this is by attempting and often setting new world records.

BUT WHY DO I DO IT?

I don’t do it to cover myself in glory, I don’t do it to massage my own ego and I don’t do  it to attract the attention of the opposite sex, (women already find me irresistible, more of which I’ll reveal at a later date)

I set new world records to inspire children, communities, countries and, in most cases, the entire population of the planet we call Earth. I do it to push the boundaries of humanity, to show all of us that if we dream big enough we can all be better people, YOU can be like me!

So here is a list of world records that I hold

  • Longest time spent sitting on a shoe – 12 days, 6 hours and 33 minutes
  • Longest time spent sitting on a penguin – 4 days, 2 hours and 6 minutes
  • Most packets of Scampi Fries eaten in 1 hour – 54 packets
  • Most cats thrown at a wall in 1 hour – 23 (For Children in Need)fallingcat_jpg_560x0_q80_crop-smart
  • Longest time pretending to be a Ninja in a Marks and Spencer’s Food Hall – 3 days
  • Most impersonations of Bruce Forsyth in a week – 786
  • Largest collection of Wooden Ties – 2
  •  Longest time anyone has had a snail in their underpants – 16 days
  • Most spoons thrown at aeroplanes at Heathrow Airport – 84 spoons at 67 planes
  • Longest journey on a train with a live horse – 2 hours

    I could go on but I don’t wish to sound arrogant.

 

  • Most occasions anyone has accidentally electrocuted themselves whilst trying to make toast – 43
  • Most Llamas insulted in Spanish – 88 (and counting)
  • Longest time spent standing on a roundabout – 2 days, 2 hours and 2 minutes

So there you go. Now, don’t feel intimidated by all of my success, use them to spur you on to greater things.