Tuesday, 28 June 2016

We have exited our house from The News #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you impose your will like the benevolent dictator that you know you can be.


Enacting an obscure piece of Common Law, I've taken the unprecedented step of removing our house from "the news".

Whipping down the sound of Radio 2 at the top of each hour is tricky.

But, gotta say, under my wise and firm Leadership, my family seems happier.

On speaking of the events in my home, I was quoted as saying:

"The hardworking people of this house have spoken, and I will implement their wishes".

"It is the right thing to do".

There will be an event later today revealing some of our other plans, with the main pledge emblazoned on the side of our family car.


(NB This is just a general indication of possibilities).

Did you know that even as I type this, there are people plotting to collaborate on sharing projects that benefit someone else?

Without profit?

Although they have already unleashed their reign of thoughtfulness, many deny that it is on the rise.

Some communities - right here in the UK - could even be seen as go-go areas.

In our house, we fret about the 50 lives that were suddenly and senselessly saved yesterday.

How can someone do something like that?

Where could it happen again?

Alas, with our news blackout, guess it's down to me to direct attention to where I want everyone to look.


My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is coming together here

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How to treat rude companies and brands like a Dad with a Toddler #BritishDadStuff


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Thursday, 16 June 2016

How to treat rude companies and brands like a Dad with a Toddler #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you end up telling off a multinational brand like they are naughty toddler.


I really want to share my dealings with companies with you - but fear that I'm the one who'll come off as an oaf.

Even though I am 110% in the right - I won't actually win anything.

And I think we all go through this now.

But how can I spread joy and further human understanding without airing my dirty laundry in public.

That's the trouble - that's how they get you, and that's how they win every time.

If a bank or energy company or car company or supermarket or train company stiffs you - and we've all been there - how do you get closure, without coming off as a petulant toddler?

It's funny isn't it, but what if we are actually a lot better than multinational companies and brands.

What is the point of telling them off?

It's doomed from the start.

You never feel better for it.

Because, deep down, for all their spending on social media.

They do not care about you.

So how you can feel better about feeding back to companies?

Do I think I'm trying to be a better Dad by making the companies better people?


















I think the answer is to overkill them with patience...

Like a toddler, maybe they'll get bored of this and find a new way to annoy you instead.


My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is coming together here

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Physical attraction or space invaded #BritishDadStuff


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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Physical attraction or space invaded #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when men choose to sit next to you closer than your own wife.


I was on the train - a near-empty carriage. And a man sat down next to me. There were 6 other people in there but he wanted to be right... next... to... me.

Still got it!

He's in a business suit and he smells drunk.
It's close but I can't tell if it's new booze or from last night.
Am I attractive to self-loathing old men who haven't come to terms with who they are?

Maybe I've got this completely wrong and it's the exact opposite of what I'm thinking, and he's a commuter going all Alpha at me, and insisting on sitting in the same seat each morning.
But there's a whole empty carriage?

Anyway - I moved over to the seats on the other side.
Not realising it's so that now he can get a much better view of me.

Maybe his wife died.


My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is coming together here

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Why can't I stop thinking up new cases for The Good Wife???


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Why can't I stop thinking up new cases for The Good Wife???



I've gushed before about my obsession with The Good Wife (link here)


Why I can't look at anything without thinking would this make a case for Alicia Florrick?

Here's one that looped through my head, so that I can let them go.

"A man scrawls a rant about a tabloid newspaper owner in Biro all over a newspaper on the train - about how he doesn't pay any tax in this country.

He leaves the paper on the train and pictures of it go viral.

The newspaper owner is forced to sue the guy who wrote on the paper for libel - to clear his name.

But maybe the Defence, sorry Defense, contends that it's not libel if it's written in Biro, or not intended to be seen by anyone else, or was private writing, or was an artistic act, or is just a minor littering offence.
Sorry, offense.

The final twist could be that it comes down to the literal wording: 'The owner of this paper avoids paying tax in this country' could mean the person who owns the newspaper - the reader - the man with the Biro - not the Mogul...
All they'd need to find was a skipping or delayed payment for local tax, or something."

Note for me-- don't forget the tenants' dispute one between 2 apartments on top of each other, and the cyanide child naming dispute.

By the way, always a good excuse for another airing of Alan Cumming's best spit take ever.




My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad isn't quite coming together yet, but the link is here

Previous post...
Being told off as an adult (or the rights of parents to wear their kids on their heads) #BritishDadStuff


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Monday, 13 June 2016

Being told off as an adult (or the rights of parents to wear their kids on their heads) #BritishDadStuff


"Monet, Monet, Monet... Monet!"

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you are told off in front of your kids and can't do a thing about it.


As an adult, I think I've been told off only a handful of times.

Obviously, I remember each and every one as a shameful dagger, and they include:

Being told off for taking a photo in WHSmith (link here)

Being smacked on the thigh by a lesbian lady for rocking back my chair at a dinner party. She hit me really hard, so I must've been really annoying.

Getting yelled at by an MP for filming on the street with a correct permit, but it happened to be her street.

We weren't anywhere near her, or facing her direction, or on her side of the street, or come to think of it even filming (we were just having a chat after walking around) but she went out of her way to come over and tell us off - and it was my job to just take the kaa-kaa shower.

But then it got really confusing because it turns out that she knew the presenter, so she stopped ranting because even she got weirded out by it (again, we weren't there there to have anything to do with her. I think that's what threw her).
But she still ticked me off.

It was great because it gave me an amazing insight into perhaps how all politicians' minds are wired. The world revolves around them, and everything is a fight.
They call it "debate", but it looks like it's about not acknowledging or being curious about other people.
Because that's "weakness".



But the one that rankles the most is the one pictured above in The National Gallery last year.

I had my daughter on my head.
So she could see more things, but more importantly so she wouldn't run around.
And then I saw the 4 Monets and thought that would make a brilliant Facebook status update.
(Yep. I can see my one mistake there clear as day now too).

So I got my camera out and framed up.
Obviously, I'm the first person ever to try and shoot a pic captioned "Monet, Monet, Monet... Monet!" to the point where the floor is worn from the best shooting position.

At this point, my daughter who has no fear whatsoever decides to throw herself around wildly to liven things up by riding me like a horse.

And that's when I got pounced on by The National Gallery Guard.

(Are they called Guards?
Warders? (no, that's prison)
Attendants? (no, that's toilets)
Let's call it Security.)

Anyway this Security Woman tells me off.
She had a gleam in her eye where she knew she'd got me.

Taking a picture on a phone - that must wind them up.
But they can't say anything because photography is allowed.
However dumb the framing.

Parents wearing their kids on their heads - that's not safe.
But it takes a brave guard to challenge that.
I've seen huge security guys torn-up by sleep-deprived parents giving two-barrels on their right to wear their kids on their heads.

No. I was doing both.
"Either take a photo, or carry your child safely. Don't do both."
Boom. You know, I just shuffle through this life trying to find minimum conflict.
I just want to stay out of everyone's way - it's much easier and I get much more done.
But man, that one hurt.
Do one thing at a time.

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is coming together here

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Why I built an IKEA play kitchen. Because its wrong. #BritishDadStuff


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Sunday, 12 June 2016

Why I built an IKEA play kitchen. Because its wrong. #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you're worried that you are letting your girl play with "girl stuff". (video link here)




"Hello, I'm Neil... and everything I do is wrong.

Today I'm going to show you how to build this - the IKEA DUKTIG play kitchen.

We bought it and I built it for my little daughter, and she loves it.

I KNOW what you're thinking - I know what you're thinking... but hear me out.

She absolutely loves playing with it.

And the idea to get it didn't come from us.

Believe me it didn't come from us.

But, do you know what, she loves pink...

and she loves shoes...

and she loves Disney "Crincesses".

All of it has come from her.

And if I think hard about it... maybe her... mimsy negative role model...

is me.

Maybe she is trying to emulate my level of girlyness.

But anyway, that's how to build the kitchen."



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Ideas for British baby names - we didnt try hard enough #BritishDadStuff


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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Ideas for British baby names - we didnt try hard enough #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you wonder if you tried hard enough in naming your kids.


We were at the soft play centre.
Which for me means staring into space for an hour, guarding the sweet, toy and tattoo machines from my kids who always manage to find a bit of coin (usually under the machines).

The loop of yelling from the other parents not boxing clever like me goes something like this: "Trinity! Bear! Stone! Roman! Bear!"
(Keep up, it's a different Bear).

What if we didn't try hard enough naming our kids?

We got through weeks of hospital staff snark about calling our first born "Male Infant Mossey" (which I still reckon has a ring to it)... But now I'm not sleep-deprived, I've got some places to get new ones:

“The Moons Of Jupiter.”
There's 58 to chose from.
Like Callisto,
Io,
Gannymede?

“Bits of Salad.”
Kale.
Chard.
Or Rocket?
(That one's good for the Dads blatantly "strong-naming" their son. You know the ones.)

“Dance Music.”

Desi - Nu-Prog,
Techno,
Emo,
EBM,
Zydeco, Dark Wave or Blip-Hop?

"Different words for backbone."
Pluck.
Spirit.
Spine.
Moxie, Grit, or Spunk?

“Designs of Sofa.”
Divan?
Sedan?
That's all I've got.

“Roads in Surrey”
B3000?
The rest are a bit fancy.

"Shampoo Science."
Liposomes (for a boy)
Nanosomes (for a girl),
Hexa-peptide,
Borage?

I'm done.
Imperata Cylindrica.
No.
Now I'm ready for the next one.
If it happens.
I've got to sort out this vasectomy first - a whole other ballache I've not got round to yet.
There's another.
Vasectomy.


My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is coming together here

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How to feel good as a freelance... The Diva Paradox and Glenn Miller in a muddy field


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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

How to feel good as a freelance... The Diva Paradox and Glenn Miller in a muddy field



I love working as a freelancer... because I have no control over how the people who would like to work with me, would like to work with me.

A friend of mine - an actor - said she worried about accepting a job, because the money was very low, even though the company was very big... and she was worried that if she accepted, would it mean that if she didn't respect herself... why should anyone else?

I'm sympathetic to the worry. Nobody wants to be a chump. But I'm also happy, knowing that nobody's holding a gun to anyone's head for whatever you want to do.

These two things give me bigger smiles though.

On being replaceable,
this post by Seth Godin post: The end of the diva paradox

"Great surgeons don't need to be respectful... you're not here for the service... you're here to get well...In fact, gruffness might be a clue to their skill for some.

Great opera singers don't have to be reasonable or kind. They sing like no one else, that's why you hired them, and why they... (are expected to) act like divas. Get over it.

...If someone was truly gifted, of course they didn't have the time or focus to also be kind or reasonable or good at understanding your needs. A diva was great partly because... she was a jerk. I think that's changing, possibly forever...

- state of the art is now easier to find. Word spreads about behavior and service faster than ever...
- so much easier to deliver better service (Dr. Diva, please send an email if you're running late!) - we're far less forgiving.
- any intelligent and caring person can use technology and a bit of humility to deliver better service (see above), we start to wonder whether that diva provider actually is intelligent and caring... it doesn't really matter if he has... skill, because uncaring hands are worth avoiding.
- With fewer great gigs available (even in opera), it's not so easy act like a jerk (or be insulated and uncaring) and still get work.

These are heavily edited extracts -- the full link is here:
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/04/the-end-of-the-diva-paradox.html


On why we do this,
that bit in "Comedian" where Jerry Seinfeld tells the story about Glen Miller landing in a muddy airfield and having to traipse with his Orchestra with all their instruments in the rain... (link here)



JERRY:
This is such a special thing.
This has nothing to do with "making it".

ORNY:
"But did you ever stop and compare your life and go, I'm 29, my friends are all married, they're all having kids, they all have houses... They have some sort of sense of normality?"


JERRY:
Yuckkkk. I've got to tell you a story.

ORNY:
What do you tell your parents?


JERRY:
What do you tell your parents? This is your... (FACEPALM) Your parents?
Let me tell you a story.
This is my favourite story about show business.

Glenn Miller's Orchestra, they were doing some gig somewhere.

They can't land where they're supposed to land because it's a winter, snowy night, so they have to land in this field and walk to the gig.

And they're dressed in their suits, they're ready to play, they're carrying their instruments, so they're walking through the snow...

...and it's wet and it's slushy.

And in the distance, they see this little house. And there's lights on in the inside, and a ball of smoke coming out of the chimney.

And they go up to the house, and they look in the window.

In the window, they see this family.

There's a guy, and his wife, and she's beautiful - and his two kids - and they're all sitting around the table, and they're smiling and laughing and eating, and there's a fire in the fireplace.

And these guys are standing there, in their suits and they're wet and shivering and they're holding their instruments.

And they're watching this incredible Norman Rockwell scene.

One guy turns to the other guy and goes:
"How do people live like that?"

That's what it's about.


And added this to my bunch of stuff for writers page here

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How can I avoid talking to my girl about true loves kiss? #BritishDadStuff


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Thursday, 2 June 2016

How can I avoid talking to my girl about true loves kiss? #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you don't know where to start in getting your daughter used the idea of the Miracle of Nature that is big hairy smelly men."


I read somewhere (and can't find the link now) that the traditional children's stories we know and love, and are public domain, being passed down the centuries, were actually a way to get children used to the terrible things they'll have to put up with in adult life.

So that Beauty And The Beast is a way to get little girls used to the idea that they'll pair off with a scary monster. But, you know, maybe it'll all be okay when you get to know him (or maybe her) a bit better.

For me... this is much better than having me trying to explain it.

My five year old daughter asked me, with a completely straight face, to put her hair up like Belle from Beauty And The Beast, after the Ball.

That's what I love about her - her boundless optimism and bravery.

So I had a go.
And it came out like The Little Mermaid, after the Tsunami.

And by the way, Disney...
Think you'll find "True Love's Kiss" is when your missus has a stinking cold.


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Previous post...
Hot women handing out leaflets trying to make us better people #BritishDadStuff


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