Us Brits don’t necessarily say what we mean…keep up, America!

If you’re an avid reader of my blog (and why wouldn’t you be?), then you’ll know that the last 3 years or so has mostly been content around the cultural differences between the UK and the US…and a plethora of fart and dick jokes too.

Anyway, I’ve noticed a few other small cultural differences; one of which I wanted to share with you.

This difference revolves around the phrase,“We really should get together soon and catch up”

 

In the UK

Me: “We really should get together soon and catch up”

(Translation: “I’m saying this to let you know I like you enough that the mere idea of us getting together socially is something I would enjoy IF we were to do it. But we both know that we’re unlikely to arrange it anytime soon, or EVER, because neither of us really feel like socialising with anyone to be honest. However, please know that if I WERE to socialise with anyone, the thought of doing it with you is tolerable and I wanted you to know that I value you THAT MUCH as a friend to suggest it in the first place”)

Brit: “We really should!”

(Translation: “I am subscribing to this social dance we’re doing. I like you too, but let’s not have this social anytime soon…or ever…unless we absolutely have to, but thank you for asking”)

Me: “Great!”

(Translation: “Phew!”)

 

In the US:

Me: “We really should get together soon and catch up”
(Translation: See above)

Yank: “I’m free this Saturday”
(Translation: “I’m free this Saturday”)

Me: “Shit”
(Translation: “Shit”)

You want beef?

It’s Sunday and I’m at work.  It’s actually my scheduled day to work, so this isn’t a ranty post about having to work weekends and the world can lick my sweaty bumhole.

Sorry.

Instead, this is a post about the baffling and idiotic mindset of one of my friends and colleagues who is also here today.

So, for context, we have a large bistro on campus here at work which offers all sorts of foods, drinks and dubious stains and spills on the floor.  Usually, when I take my lunch, I head down to the bistro and then text my colleague (let’s call her Numpty) and let her know what free soups they have on offer that day.  She then replies and lets me know which she’d like and I take one back to her.

I’m simply awesome like that.

Well, being a Sunday, there was only one choice of soup instead of the usual three.  Today’s soup was beef chilli.  Yes, I know it’s not technically a soup, but it resembles a soup more than a barrel of squashed frogs.

Actually, squashed frog soup sounds pretty good.

Anyway, when I got down there I sent her a text.  In fact, here is the ACTUAL conversation we had (my comments are in yellow).

twattext

There’s a lot of love between us

I deserved it.

But then again, so did she.  I mean, all she had to do was type ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.  In fact a simple ‘Y’ or ‘N’ would have sufficed.

This is why she’s a twat.

Goodnight, Sweet Prince.

Yesterday was one of the saddest days of my adult life.

Yesterday, Prince died.

prince in memoriam

I can’t even begin to explain in words what he meant to me growing up, so I don’t think i’m even going to attempt it,  But I feel that I need to say something as a dedication and tribute to, what was, the finest musician ever to grace this planet.

Firstly, I have to commend Las Vegas for their tributes to Prince yesterday.  A majority of the radio stations were playing his songs back to back, Fremont Street added a Prince tribute show to their famous Fremont Street Experience, and a few landmarks changed their lights to purple, including The Venetian hotel, The Palazzo hotel and The High Roller ferris wheel.

The Fremont Street Experience

The Venetian

The Venetian

The Palazzo

The Palazzo

The Linq

The High Roller

Thank you Vegas.

But for me, yesterday was both sad and contemplative.

As I drove home from work, listening to Prince on the radio and crying like a dove as I sang along with “Baby, I’m a star”, I started thinking about all the years I’ve loved his music and everything it has done for me.

One of the best things to have come out of my love for Prince was a friend who I met at college back in the UK.  We had a few things in common; we were both a bit nerdy, we both loved video-games, we both owned Commodore Amigas (showing my age now) and we both had a mutual love for Prince’s music.

That said, we were also very different.  He loved rock music – something I wouldn’t come to fully appreciate for another 10 years or so – and had enough face and ear piercings to warrant being cautious when walking past a fridge covered in magnets.

But Prince was the glue that held us together.  We even started calling each other ‘Cuz’ like Christopher Tracy (played by Prince) and Tricky (played by Jerome Benton) did in the film ‘Under The Cherry Moon’.  It was that ingrained in our lives.

In the 90’s, Prince opened a shop in Camden (Which is in London, in case you didn’t know), and my friend and I would visit regularly.

npg shopnpg shop opening

Usually we would drag girlfriends along with us, who were obviously as thrilled as we were to drool over any sort of crap that had the infamous ‘Symbol’ logo on it.

I can’t remember everything I bought from that shop, but I do still have my Tamboracca somewhere in a box labeled ‘Stuff For Las Vegas’.

I wasn’t leaving it behind in the UK.

No way.

When a Tambourine and a Maraca love each other very much

Over the years I bought every album, bootleg CD, bootleg video (VHS, don’t you know), magazine, book, cassette tape (look it up, kids), tambourine/maraca hybrid and whatever else I could lay my grubby little hands on.

It was an obsession.

Prince was a god amongst musicians and his music connected with me at a level I can’t possibly explain.  And this was without the use of any form of opiates or hallucinogens.

In your face, Pink Floyd.

And when I think about it, I can recall the exact moment when I discovered Prince’s music.  It wasn’t ‘Purple Rain’, nor ‘Sign ‘O’ The Times’.  No, my discovery of Prince was the most unlikely of Albums’; it was the ‘Batman’ album.

Seriously.

We were visiting family in Milan (Which is in Italy, in case you didn’t know), and my cousin was playing the Batman album on vinyl.  Straight away I asked her who it was.

As soon as we got back to England, I bought it for myself.

Back then I used to buy vinyl and then record it straight onto cassette tape so as to preserve the vinyl, not realising the loss of quality that involved.

I didn’t care.  This Prince dude was pretty awesome.

Soon after this, Prince released ‘Graffiti Bridge’ and it was monumentally different from the album I had listened to a thousand times, yet somehow, I still loved it.

What the hell?

This was the moment I realised I’d found something special.  Imagine my joy when I discovered there were ten albums before these!

But before I had a chance to go through the back catalogue, he released another album; something Prince did every year!

That next album was Diamonds and Pearls.  From that moment on, I was hooked.  What an album.  Still one of my favourites to this day.

So anyway, back to my story.

As with anything, life got in the way and in 2007 my friend and I went our separate ways.  I must admit that I often wondered how he was doing and what life had thrown at him.

Not magnets, hopefully.

So I bit the bullet and contacted one of my Facebook friends who I knew was still in contact with him and asked her if she would forward a message for me.

I wasn’t looking to reconnect or bring up old wounds, I had no hidden agenda or motive, I simply wanted to convey my condolences.  Even though we hadn’t spoken for almost 10 years, I wanted to reach out and make sure he was OK.

You see, to us, Prince was our friend.  He was the third person in our exclusive friendship. No matter what happened, he was always there, telling us how much he cared.

He was always in our hair.

And yesterday we both lost our friend.

He replied in no time to say he had been thinking of me too and reciprocated my condolences.  That was all I needed.  He was finding it as hard as I was and I only hope he gained some comfort from knowing he was in my thoughts.

And now, here we are.  It’s a day later and I still can’t believe Prince is gone.

No more concerts, no more albums, no more anything.

My only wish now is that Paisley Park makes the decision to release all the music and videos held in Prince’s infamous ‘vault’.

That would be the ultimate gift to the world.

Let us bathe in the Purple Rain, just one more time.

purple raindrops

 

 

Rest in peace Prince.

Thank you for everything.

Food, friends and fist bumps.

At lunch yesterday, a few of us went to a local eatery to spend time and catch up.

During our conversation we were talking about a recent work funded night out at a local nightclub

*cough* Hakkasan nightclub at MGM Grand *cough*

Anyway, one of our party was telling us how much she had drunk that night, concluding her tale with my favourite sentence of 2016 so far:

“I was forced to double fist.”

She meant this…

image

But the action of half choking on my drink, gasping for air and laughing like a busted lawnmower,  indicated to her that maybe…just maybe…I thought she meant something else.

 

image

I had to share this, it was two good to pass up.[1]

Stuff like this doesn’t just make my day, it makes my hole weak.[1]

 

[1] not typos.

Fa la la la la, la la la laaaaaAAAARRGHH!!!

Today is Christmas Day and I am at work.

To be honest, I don’t really mind; the commute to the office was easier, my colleagues are in a festive mood and the customers have reached new depths of unmeasured dumbfuckery.

It all keeps me smiling.

One of the guys (and a good friend) is playing Christmas music loudly through his computer.

How very festive.

I’m torn between my love for him, my disdain for Christmas music and the utterly overwhelming desire to shove his PC up his arse.

lube

America – will you ever be able to cut it?

OK, here’s an experience that a) happened about an hour ago, and b) I was not expecting.

Let’s start with some exposition…

Today I have friends coming into Vegas from the UK and, amongst my girly squeals of delight because they’re bringing Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate with them, I thought I should look at least half presentable for when we see them.  After all, they’re the first visitors we’ve had since we moved to Vegas almost three months ago.

I had a few things on my ‘to do’ list this morning to prepare for their arrival.  These included: Go to the gym, get petrol (gas), wash the car and get a haircut.

So I went to the gym, filled the tank (of my car; I don’t actually drive a tank…although if I did, my last post would’ve been a little less ‘ranty’ and a lot more ‘splatty’), took the car through a car wash (and vacuumed it out with the FREE vacuum cleaners they provided.  Yeah I’m looking at you, Britain) and headed to the barber shop to get the ol’ noggin [1] sorted out.

I found a place called ‘Great Clips’ which, to be honest, I thought may have been a film editing company.  I still wasn’t sure until I got close to the front door.

I entered and was immediately greeted by pretty much all the stylists.  You’ve got to love America for that.

Now for some more exposition…

In an English barber shop you walk in, maybe nod and say hi to one or two of the stylists (if they look up) and take a seat.  When one of the stylists has finished with a customer, they come over to the sitting area and say ‘who’s next?’.  At this point there are slightly confused and awkward looks amongst guys pointing at each other and saying “I think it was him” because no-one is entirely sure who was next.  That said, if someone, who came in after you, tries to jump in front they are quickly and politely stabbed to death with the closest scissors available.

Back to the story.

So I smile and say hi back to the stylists and turn around to take a seat.  At this point a lady came over to the desk and said “Hi, have you been here before?”

“No” I said, a little unsure why that mattered.

“Ok” she replied in a voice coated in vanilla syrup, “that’s fine, if you would like to fill this in”.

Note that this wasn’t a question.  She was telling me to fill in a slip of paper she’d slid across the counter with a pen.

This slip asked for the following information: Name, telephone number, address, zip code, Whether I was an Adult, Child or Senior (which is still an adult, isn’t it?) and the ages of my children.

I filled in my name and my zip code and then stopped.  What was I doing?  What is this?  I’m here for a haircut, aren’t I?  Is this so they can send me videos of my hair being cut, hence the name ‘Great Clips’?

The woman came back with her sugary smile and, me being me, I had to ask.

Me – “Sorry, I’m a bit confused here, why am I filling in all this information?  I only need a haircut.  I’m not unwittingly signing up for a credit card or something am I?”.

Her – “Ha ha, no it’s so we can send you coupons in the future, and the telephone number is so we can bring up your profile”.

Me – “My profile?”

Her – “Yes.  It’s so we have a record of how you like to have your hair styled and if you decide to use one of the many other Great Clips in the city they will be able to bring up your details too”.

Me – “Oh, so you’re a chain?  Right, gotcha.”

I said this in a tone that said “oh, right, well that makes sense then, of COURSE you can have all my personal and private details so that you’re better equipped to cut the hairs on my head!”….but more sincere than you’ve probably just read it.

After all, I didn’t want to appear defensive, despite this being a weird fucking practice for a haircut

She took the completed slip from me, still smiling, and started entering my details on her computer.

I took a seat and watched her type far more than the information I’d entered on the slip.  About 15 seconds went by and she said “OK, ready?”.

What was the point in suggesting I take a seat?

Anyway, I followed smiling Susan (or whatever her name was) to her chair and took a seat.

She smiled at me (or at least I think it was a new smile, it’s possible it was the same smile she’d been wearing since I arrived) and asked me how i’d like my hair.  I couldn’t help but grin because the next time they’ll probably ask for my telephone number so they can enter it into a computer and then look up the information I’d imparted to her in the last 5 seconds.

Grade two back and sides, and a bit shorter and choppier on top.

No technology, no slips of paper.  Just common sense.

She then put a strip of white tissue paper around my neck before fastening the usual black cape over it.

In fact, I looked like this.

bib

There was suddenly an elephant in the room.

Me – “I look like a priest”

Her – “What?”

Me – “I said, I look like a priest”

She stopped, looked at me in the mirror and then laughed.

Her – “Ha ha ha, yes I suppose you do!”

Seriously, you’ve NEVER made that connection?  Has no-one EVER made that connection before?

I’m not religious man (let alone a priest), but I was praying her hair cutting skills were better than, well, everything else about her so far.

And then we were off.

What followed was 15 minutes of company encouraged smalltalk, including (but not limited to): “How’s your day going today?”, :How long have you been in the US?” (at least she didn’t think I was fucking Australian), “So what do you do?” and my personal favourite “I would love to visit England but I haven’t had the chance yet”.

No shit?  Really?  Wow.

Also, I’ve noticed that over here the stylists seem scared to touch your head, either with their hands or the clippers.  Is it just me?  Do I have a greasy or gross head?  When I’ve had my hair cut in the past the stylist would actually press the clippers against my head, like you’re supposed to.  Here I barely felt them.

My ‘grade two back and sides’ is more like a range of grades from two to four.

Are they worried I’ll sue for physical abuse?  Will I have to stand up in court and show a jury ‘where on the teddy bear’ the stylist touched me?

Probably.

(rolls eyes)

Anyway, after we were finally done and she’d cut my hair from a distance of eight feet, my substandard haircut and I stood up, paid (with tip….which I still don’t really know the etiquette for) and left.

On the drive home I couldn’t help but wonder, what would happen if I wanted to change up my hair style in the future?  Would I be allowed to?  If I didn’t say anything, would they just go ahead and cut it like last time?

Also, do they store every different style I have in their computer forever?

Surely none of this is as efficient or accurate as asking the customer when they’re IN THE FUCKING CHAIR?

I can’t help but worry that my profile might get mixed up with a 65 year old lady with a blue rinse and a double crown; that’ll make for an interesting look!

So there you have it.  The haircut she’s given me is now what I can now expect at ‘one of the many other Great Clips in the city’ from now on.

After all, it’s on my profile now.

Yay.

bad hair

[1] Slang for head.  Not to be mistaken with the words ‘nosh off'[2] or ‘blozza'[3]

[2] Slang for blow job

[3] See [2]

What ARE they doing?

I want to know if this happens to anyone else.

Sometimes I’ll send a message to a friend on Facebook regarding plans for a catch up or something.  Well, actually it’s usually regarding plans we’d planned to plan, but hadn’t actually planned anything except planning to message each other about planning to arrange plans.

It’ll be something like:

“Hiya. So what’s the plan for tomorrow then?  I was thinking we could head into town around 11am, and then go for lunch around 12:30 at Pizza Hut afterwards.  What do you think?”

Simple enough.

I don’t use ‘textspeak’ BCOZ I H8 IT WEN PPL TXT IT 2 ME TBH. FYI. LOL.

So I send it and wait to a) make sure it sends and b) see if they’ve read it.

Soon enough this icon pops up…

typing icon

…to show they’re typing a response.

Great; not only have they read it, they’re replying.

Then it disappears.

Eh?  Where did they go?  Did they decide not to reply after all?

It pops up again.

typing icon

Aha!  Maybe they got interrupted for a second.  It happens.

The icon sits there for a bit before it disappears again.

Maybe they don’t like my suggestion for tomorrow and are thinking about what they would prefer to do instead.  That’s fine with me, I’m pretty easy going; I’ll go with the flow.

typing icon

It’s back again.  They’ve thought about it and now they’re typing their counterproposal for tomorrow’s plans.  I’m sure whatever they suggest will be absolutely….

….oh wait, the icon has disappeared again.

Did they change their mind?  Are they now worried that I might be offended if they don’t go with my suggestion?

They don’t need to feel that way.  I’m happy with whatever we decide to do.  It’s really all about us catching up anyway, so we can do whatever they want.

typing icon

Or maybe they just stopped to think about how they wanted to compose their message and now they’ve found the words.

Sentence structure is important in a sentence that you’re typing on a text that you really want the structure to be right in.

The icon disappears again.

Seriously?  What’s going on over there?

Maybe they’re driving.  Yes, that must be it; they’re driving.

Or skydiving.

This time the icon is gone for a longer period of time.

Maybe they’ve given up.

Maybe they want to cancel meeting up tomorrow but can’t bring themselves to tell me so have instead chosen to ignore the whole conversation and come back to it later.

typing icon

Oh wait!  Never mind; it’s back.

This time it’s around for a lot longer.

Maybe they’ve found the words to let me down gently for tomorrow, which sucks.  I was really looking forward to it.

Or….

Maybe they’re looking forward to it just as much as me and they’re putting together a string of ideas and suggestions for tomorrow that will blow my mind.

There are so many possibilities out there and, now I think about it, my plans were pretty normal and boring.  I can understand why they’ve taken the time to really consider how best to utilise the time we have together so we can both have a fulfilling and enjoyable time.

It’s nothing short of embarrassing to think about the message I’d sent.  I wish I could somehow take it back, but it’s out there now and there’s nothing I can do about it.  My friend is basing their whole elaborate and comprehensive reply on my recommendation for ‘a bit of a wander around the shops followed by a pizza’, but as I said earlier it was never about WHAT we do, but rather about us catching up.

So, actually; who the fuck do they think they are?  Who are they to suggest something else as if they’re so bloody special? What’s wrong with some shops and a pizza?  Hmm?  Are they too good for that? Are they too good for me!?  Maybe they’re not the friend I thought they were!  Maybe is should be ME cancelling on THEM!!

typing icon ok

Oh.