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diskant rewind: Honey Is Funny #8

Posted: August 12th, 2008, by Chris Summerlin

(Originally posted April 2003)

Honey Is Funny by Chris Summerlin

I work in a large office of people. It’s quite open plan so you can see what the person on the opposite side of the office is up to even though they’re quite far away. This has major disadvantages in that, well, people are annoying. Me included, in fact especially me. And living in each others’ pockets for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week means if you have the slightest chance of developing some kind of irrational hatred of someone or something then it will happen.

Since I started doing this column I’ve been dying to write one about my office. I only recently summed up the courage to watch The Office and sure enough it was frighteningly close to my life. But I always held back because, and this surprises me as much as will no doubt surprise you, some people who I work with read this column. And I never told them to either! Hi Christophe Dejous!

But this month I get to do it. You know why?

2 days ago I QUIT.

I have no job to go to and I have a 6 week notice to serve here but after that I will be UNEMPLOYED. It’s quite scary but at the same time so is the information that I have (at last count) wasted 2 years of my life working for a company that wouldn’t even exist were it not for Thatcher’s desire to privatise everything in sight.

When asked for the reason why I quit I said there were too many to list but I simply didn’t enjoy any part of my job. So I’m in a bad mood and therefore my column this month will be about the stuff that REALLY GETS ON MY TITS in my life. A Room 101 if you will. A pet hates list. So you can see what a mentalist I am. It’s not restricted to my working life and I will be adding to it month after month as well.

What are we waiting for? Lets go!

THE COUGHING MAN AT WORK

God. This one is the killer. This man (who will remain nameless) has broken me. I have worked in the same office for 2 years and about 18 months of that have been spent within earshot of this man. His job is to call people at home and ask them to read their gas meter. This means that for 8 hours a day I hear him repeating the same line over and over again. I ask myself if my annoyance is because his voice really is that grating or whether it’s the old saying that familiarity breeds contempt but the real reason he makes me want to cave his head in is that he coughs.

“What?” I hear you all cry. Go on, do it…

Sure, everyone gets a cough every so often. Especially working in a close environment like an office. No problem, cough away. But this guy has had a cough for 18 fucking months. EVERY DAY. EVERY FUCKING DAY. And he coughs in such a pathetic, crap way. And the worst bit is he tilts his head back a few degrees prior to coughing and then like some custom built germ-spreader he lets fly with phlegm. Where are his hands? On his desk that’s where. Now we’ve all seen those film clips where it shows germs flying out of a person’s mouth so I know and you know that putting your hand in front of your mouth when coughing really doesn’t do much. But, at the same time it does cover the gaping hideous chasm in your face and it also stops spit and god knows what else from flying into the air or worse still at your neighbour. Every day at 4pm he walks to the coat rack to get his coat and right as he gets there and is facing my coat he lets fly with the coughs. When I leave I’m going to buy him some cough mixture and a tissue. Or better still just wade over the 2 desks that seperate us and pummel him to death with a Wallis Elite Series office chair. And he’s a twat as well. Last classic quote from him was “I couldn’t really give a toss about the war. How does it affect me?”. If I killed him no jury would convict me.

STAFF ON THE TILLS AT SUPERMARKETS THAT DON’T STOP THE CONVEYOR BELT

Bastards.

You’re on your own, you’ve got a trolley load of groceries and you’ve carefully piled them up on the belt and now your turn is there and the belt is switched on and carnage ensues. The man or woman doing the beep beep beep can see that you’re having a nightmare – Brie is flying through onto toilet rolls and HOLY SHIT HERE COME THE EGGS but do they just click that button, turn off the belt and relax? Do they arse. They don’t even need a conveyor belt. A conveyor belt to my car yes but a belt to carry an 8 pack of Penguins about 50 cm – no. Next time someone does this I’m going to start throwing my groceries back at them, hard. And I won’t spare them the kilo jar of Ragu so they better start listening.

PEOPLE WHO SAY “OH…..MY…..GODDDDDD”

I blame Friends. Chandler specifically, the fucking nobber. Students out on the piss on a Friday telling each other gossip.

“BLAHBLAHBLAH”
“OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDD”

Soon you’re going to hear

“So I was out on Friday in a bar and I was telling Shanice about Judy and that guy and how she hadn’t even started her coursework and Shanice was like “Oh My Goddddd” and then this white Citroen AX just came straight through the wall of the bar being driven by this guy who looked like a weasel and ploughed Shanice down”
“Oh my Goddddd”

MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONNAIRES

Companies get paid to do “research”. I cannot believe this. Even the most unaware, stupid idiot knows that the beauty of the human race is its variety. No 2 people have the same finger prints, no 2 people have the same DNA. Wow. So why does anyone assume that one of 3 generalised answers perfectly corresponds to anyone’s opinion or worse still that any kind of realistic findings can be drawn from a survey’s results?
I once got phoned up when I was making my tea and got asked if I minded answering a few questions. Working next to a call centre means that at one time I had compassion for the person on the other end of the line so I agreed.

The person then bombarded me with snippets of different fictional radio stations and asked me which one I preferred. The first had some slow grooving R Kelly soul shit. The next was Primal Scream’s Rocks, the third was some classical stuff, the fourth was some trad jazz and the last one was Destiny’s Child I think. I said I liked the last one best. I know the way these surveys work. The next question was “which musical genre do you prefer – jazz, rock, soul, pop or oldies?”. Erm…well, I like rock if its Sabbath or the MC5 but I don’t like Warrant and they’re rock. Or Bon Jovi. I like John Coltrane but I don’t like Kenny G and they’re jazz right? And I like the Sugababes if they come on the radio but I don’t like Jason Donovan and he’s pop – or is he oldies? So I asked for more info about each genre which they couldn’t give me so I picked rock. See what’s happening already? I picked the pop song in the first category and then I picked Rock from the next. If they’re trying to invent a new radio station then this survey is going to be no help at all. She was getting well narked with me because I was trying to be as honest as I could but I couldn’t answer any questions. The last one was “What is your occupation?” so I said “Musician”. “What genre sir?”. “Jazz”.

PEOPLE WITH A “YOU HAVE TO GET TO KNOW THEM” ATTITUDE

Grrrrr. I went out once with some friends and they were meeting a girl from overseas who was a friend but that I hadn’t met. I was warned about her. They said “She’s quite abrupt but you have to get to know her”. WHY? Why do I HAVE to get to know her? Is she replacing my Mum as my Mum? Am I marrying her? Is she my new boss? NO. So why do I HAVE to get to know her?

Sure enough she was a bolshy twat. Really rude, loud and obnoxious and she said phrases like “I am what I am”, “I just act like myself”, “Take me as you find me” every 5 minutes. The implication in what my friend said was that under this exterior beats a heart of gold that would enrich me as a person to know. Well, maybe but I have about 5 close friends and I consider that enough. I have acquaintances as well that I can go out with, have a good time with. I am in no way Mr Popularity but I’m not really looking desperately for more friends so if I come across someone who’s going out of their way to be in a pain in my arse to “test” me or something then I’ll happily fail the test.

PEOPLE PUTTING LOADS OF SHIT IN THE PASSENGER FOOTWELL OF MY CITROEN AX

I pick someone up, they get in the passenger seat and rather than put all their bags, belongings etc. on the spacious, unoccupied back seat they cram it all in the front. Next thing I know I’m trying to change gear and the stick is caught on a bag handle. I’ve now resorted to covering the inside of the passenger floor with honey. Its not going to stop anyone cluttering it up but as soon as they get out of the car they’re going to get stung to death by bees.

MY CAR IN GENERAL

Nothing major ever breaks on my car, it’s just minor irritating things designed to break me. I will not break. Tape player chews up tape? Not bothered. Acceleration noise begins to come through the stereo in the form of a high pitched whine? So what. Passenger seat will not lock in one place so passenger rolls back and forward on castors with momentum of car? Not my problem. Rear window demister stops working? I WILL NOT BREAK.

THE GIRLS I LIVE WITH FUCKING WITH THE CENTRAL HEATING

The heating system is MY DOMAIN. Leave it the hell alone! The settings will change when I AM HOT or COLD and not at any other time. And don’t even THINK about using the CONSTANT switch. I come in from the boozer and Amelia has gone to bed and left the heating on all night. The house is like an incubator. Leaves are sprouting from the carpet. I am currently saving to have a lock system fitted to the boiler with one key which I will swallow.

THE GIRLS I LIVE WITH LEAVING THE TV ON STAND BY

Ever since a friend at work told me that you can save over £50 a year by not leaving a TV on stand-by over night I have made it my life’s mission to ensure the TV is OFF. I have left notes, I have written “NO” on the remote next to the stand by switch. But I get up in the morning and the TV is on stand by. It’s easier to turn the thing off as you walk past it on your way out of the room. But no. I am in the process of removing the stand by switch from all the remotes in the house.

BANDS FROM OXFORD

They’re all crap. Sorry, just telling it like it is.

BRASS MONKEY

This is a bar in Nottingham. I hate it. I have walked out of said bar about 3 times. It has a stupid reverse door policy thing where sometimes you can get in dressed like a tramp and then the next time you get turned away for the same reason. From a bar! My girlfriend Claire goes there with her mates from work so I always end up there. Its nowhere near as bad as Dogma (how shit is that name) because at least it doesn’t have trendy exposed brickwork and piping but it still gets my goat. They serve all drinks on little serviettes for christs sake. Claire was in there on New Years Eve and they wouldn’t let me in (mainly because I was utterly trousered and possibly reeking of my own urine). I tried to phone her but obviously you couldn’t get a signal so I proceeded to methodically destroy my mobile phone by hurling it at a wall. See what this place does to me and I wasn’t even in it.

THE DAILY MAIL

Pretty self explanatory this one.

WOMEN WHO MOAN ABOUT MEN AND THEN DATE IDIOTS

This particularly applies to one woman at work whose constant conversation comment is “Men: typical”. WHAT? YOU’VE MET THEM ALL HAVE YOU? I used to go to college with these 2 girls who would sit around all day and moan about men and how they get treated like shit and how all men are awful and only want one thing and then they’d get picked up after college by their boyfriends and you’d see these examples of chromosome deficiency and think “START GOING FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEN”. Also the woman at work has to be the single most offensive, annoying, hideous woman I have ever clapped eyes on. She offends me every day for no other reason than existing. She looks like a minotaur.

DRESSING LIKE A VAGRANT

What the fuck is this about? I particularly refer to the 50p haircut. You know what I mean, kind of semi mullet, semi mohawk. Usually worn with a suit jacket, a scarf, jeans that look like you’ve had an anal prolapse up the back (or you’ve been mining for gold all day) and a pair of shit shoes. Espadrilles for example. Me and my friend Steve were queuing up to get in a club once and some guys with this hairstyle were leaving and giving us some shit because obviously they were cooler and off to somewhere equally cool and we were plebs.
“NEXT TIME YOU CUT YOUR OWN HAIR LOOK IN THE FUCKING MIRROR YOU TWAT”
Was Steves response.

Recently my esteemed colleague Neil went one better and went up to a guy who was mincing around in a suit with a cockerel haircut and gave him 50p.
“Whats this for?”
“Get yourself a warm drink lad. Look after yourself. Stay warm”

Heh heh.

Actually this gripe can be filed under Brass Monkey.

THE MANIC ST PREACHERS

They occupy a unique position in the history of popular music in that they lost their focal point in Richey but because everyone knew he contributed nothing musically, they could carry on. So they remain unaffected but his disappearance adds so much weight to everything they do. If they recorded the Birdie Song people would find something tragic about it. They could cover We Are The Cheeky Girls and some twat writing a fanzine somewhere would be convinced it spoke volumes about the human condition. And they look funny.

GETTING LECTURED BY PEOPLE OLDER THAN ME ABOUT PUNK ROCK AS THOUGH I CARE

I recently played a gig in Brighton with Wolves Of Greece and afterwards we all went to a pub. In the pub we got lectured by a guy in a proper “hardcore” band about why our band were shit. And it’s always me and Phil who get lectured because we’re the youngest. I’d say the fact I’m sitting there, dressed like a regular john, enjoying a drink would be an indication that I don’t care but somehow people don’t see that. The first time we played in London me and Phil got lectured by some guy who was in a very popular very very loud hardcore band from the Midlands. He was saying that we need to drop this “emo thing” and that us “young’uns” don’t understand. “Fuck off grandad” was Phil’s perfect answer. It’s always these old guys who used to be in bands who love to get all heavy on the microscopic genre breakdowns anyway.

BUBBLEBURSTERS

My own term. It’s for people who come up and say “What did you think about…?” and before you can really answer them they say “I thought it was shit”. They sense you enjoying yourself and they burst your bubble. They don’t even care what you think, they just started the conversation (which you’re politely engaging in) to tell you they think the thing you like is shit. Next time someone does this, swing your foot back and kick them in the penis (it’s always men who do this) as hard as you can. Then sit on them and scream in their ear “I’M NOT INTERESTED”.
Then spit on them, then wet yourself, then set fire to your feet, BARK BARK BARK

PEOPLE WHO TALK ABOUT GIGS AT GIGS

I went to see the Dance Of Days DC hardcore talk by Mark Anderson at the Notting Hill Arts Centre last year. It was shaping up to be a seriously cool day as I was playing guitar for Econoline and getting to see all this amazing footage. Bad Brains came on and this woman next to me turned to her friend and spent the whole length of the segment talking about when she saw Bad Brains play. Fair enough, I’d talk about it till I died if I had seen them but you know damn well next gig she goes to she’ll be there talking over your favourite band about how amazing the Dance Of Days Bad Brains footage was. I am convinced these people never actually watch a gig but merely go from place to place talking over things and talking about how great the last thing they went to was – even though they talked over that. I don’t object to people talking over music. I used to but you soon realise it’s part of a live gig to have this. It’s just what people talk about that crushes me.

I strongly advise against going to see Will Oldham within a distance of 200 miles of London if this thing annoys you too. Will Oldham’s London based fans are a unique breed for talking crap 3 cm from your ear when Will is playing.

I am writing this at work and my eye has started twitching again and I’ve become aware that I am mouthing the words as I write them so it’s time to end this I think. May I add the following which all annoy me but bubbled under this list:

THE GLOSSY MAGAZINE SIEMENS METERING SENDS ME (THE EMPLOYEE) EVERY MONTH TELLING ME HOW HAPPY I AM
SKATEBOARDERS
GUITARISTS
THE “VINTAGE” BRAND OF ELECTRIC GUITAR
EBAY
RELATIVES ASKING ME WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC I PLAY AND THEN SAYING “IS IT LIKE NICKLEBACK?”
THE TRAM CONSTRUCTION IN NOTTINGHAM
PLAYING GIGS IN LONDON (AND THE SOUNDWOMAN AT THE HIGHBURY GARAGE)
MIDDLE CLASS HIPPIES

I intend to add more as I think of them month to month.

Its not all bad though, I’ve seen some great gigs this last month or so.

HIGH ON FIRE were tremendous at the Old Angel in town. The people who thought support band MASTERDON were better should be rounded up and culled. HOF bring new meaning to the words LOUD and INTENSE

Talking of LOUD, ISIS were ridiculous. It took me 3 secs of their set to realise the reason why the spot of floor next to the guitar speaker cabinet was strangely unoccupied. It was so packed I was trapped, screaming, blood running from my eyes, nose and ears as the guitar player hit me with riff after riff straight into my poor, naked cochlea.

NUMBERS blew me away. I was prepared to hate them. That US take on wirey post punk tends to be based more on the sound of equipment than any tunes but Numbers had both. THE ROGERS SISTERS version of ZIGZAG WANDERER by Beefheart was also awesome.

Recently played on a bill with PART CHIMP and TODD. ARRRRRGHHHHHH!!!! Both bands were killer. TODD do thick sludgy Melvins style riffery with weird little keyboard parts. Kinda AmRep styled. Part Chimp are the Lords.

Talking of the LORDS, THE LORDS is a my new thang. Might have to change the name (I can’t believe no one has used it – have they?) to THE LOURDES or THE DRUNK LORDS or DRUNK AS A LORD or THE LORDS OF QUIM (maybe not). Myself, Phil from Wolves Of Greece and Elvis from Twinkie/Aqua Vista in a bassless but bassy 2 guitar no distortion, slide guitar joyfest. Book us! Now!

Played an anti war gig on my own as LAST OF THE REAL HARD MEN and got drunk and played a grand total of 6 mins and just blathered on about nothing for the rest of my 40 minute set. At one point I confessed mid song that I was making it all up. I was! It showed! If you’re in Nottingham on May 7th I’ll be doing it all again with the wonderful JOAN OF ARC at the RESCUE ROOMS.

Finally got to see JOHN FAHEY in action. Not properly of course because he is dead as fuck but on some videos loaned to me by the lovely Paul Bryant, a Fahey enthusiast who luck would have it lives round the corner. My mouth was wide open for the duration of his 75 min set from 1978 on ROCKAPALAST from Germany. The man is beyond belief. I wish so much I could have seen him myself when he was alive.
The equally lovely Gavin Baker loaned me some Beefheart videos too which were enough to make me give up the guitar for good. If you want to find out why then check my ZOOT HORN ROLLO interview.

My guitar geekness continues with the purchase of the last type of guitar I have always wanted but never owned – a 1973 Fender Telecaster. Very battered (and currently at guitar hospital) it has broken my bank. So if anyone wants to buy my Fender Jaguar then please email me. Or better still, trade it for a Fender Twin.
So there you go. Anyone got a job?

My compilation Minidisc (how middle class am I?) is

WILCO – I Can’t Stand It
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND – Zig Zag Wanderer
THE LONESOME ORGANIST – Balloon Race Phenomenon
MISSION OF BURMA – Thats When I Reach For My Revolver
THE NEW YEAR – Reconstruction
CHRIS BROKAW – La Playa
PAPA M – Kentucky
PART CHIMP – Hitlers And Jews
BILGE PUMP – Timothy Moyler
ANTIBALAS AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA – Uprising
JOHN FAHEY – The Red Pony (Live on Laura Webers “Guitar Guitar” TV show)
SCOUT NIBLETT – Check Out The Maker
TWINKIE – TK1
BUTTHOLE SURFERS – Who Was In My Room That Night?
KYUSS – Mudfly
90 DAY MEN – I’ve Got Designs On You
BROWN OWL – Untitled
LED ZEPPELIN – Out On The Tiles
PW LONGS REELFOOT – (can’t remember the proper title for this one!)
PALACE – Work Hard / Play Hard



Chris Summerlin

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.

http://www.honeyisfunny.com

1 Response to diskant rewind: Honey Is Funny #8

  1. Jon

    Was it Discharge?