Thursday, 29 September 2016

Things I remembered when we left our house for the last time - BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you remember your gaff as a little bit more than a pile of DIY.

Sleeping on the sofa in an unheated house the day after my wife gave birth to our first child. I don't know why I was sleeping there - I think it was because it was next to the fire.
Sitting outside on the new decking before the slabs went down. We had breakfast on a table and with our baby in a high chair and the Sunday papers.
Our daughter banging her head on the wooden box.
Dancing in the kitchen to "The Candyman"
or the living room to the Village People.
Our son and daughter having baths together.
My wife in a rocking chair trying to feed our baby.
Our daughter shouting out of the window at random passers-by.
Mum lying on the sofa getting shitfaced during our wedding.
And the call, the phonecall I got in our bedroom to say that she had gone.
And finding a way through this in the red chair in my little room.

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

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How I got a load of Stikeez from the Lidl Basingstoke - #BritishDadStuff

Monday, 26 September 2016

How I got a load of Stikeez from the Lidl Basingstoke - #BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
... when you take the time to leave more reviews on Google+

This place is gorgeous - a pristine stand alone temple to the Germanic Lidl Ideal.

The car park couldn’t be bigger, but yet was rammed with eager Lidl addicts like us - parking on the very kerbstones around the building - because they can't get themselves any closer to the Mother, sorry Mutter Ship.

We managed to sail into a huge Parent & Child space while my wife popped in for some honey-roast peanuts, rocket, rolls and most important of all, Stikeez for the kids.

Where did the Stikeez come from?

Every Lidl I go to, I stand behind a long line of grown people who each - at the end of their payment - then have to sheepishly ask for their Stikeez allocation (1 for every 10 pounds spent).

They are more addictive than Nectar points.

And say what you like about the Stikeez, but they don’t data mine you like a Tesco Clubcard.

Woah, hang on - our Stikeez are talking to each other? If the Stikeez are Lidl informants, it would probably make us love Lidl only even more.

Anyway, I missed out on all of this while stuck (or Stikeezed) in the car with the two kids, watching the angry childless couples scowling from their white 4x4 BMWs sprawled all over the other Parent & Child parking spaces.

Why are they all so angry?

Why do they have to go everywhere so quickly?

They seem pretty pleased with their wheels.
Why don’t they want to go slower and spend more time in them?

They’re on “attack mode” in their Stormtrooper cars - so they think I’m frowning at them and their oafish parking, but I’m not.

Maybe I’m looking at them longingly as my kids roll around in the boot with their feet in the air, flipping the radio between Classic FM and Fun Kids Live.

Anyway, this Lidl must be really good because my Wife’s in there for 40 minutes to get the nuts, rocket, rolls and Stikeez. Which the brilliant checkout assistant supplied generously and bountifully.

Thank you.

Five stars.

The full review, photo and five stars are here.

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

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Getting a new computer and unboxing my dwindling manhood - #BritishDadStuff

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Getting a new computer and unboxing my dwindling manhood - #BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you start making unboxing videos for YouTube.

Our computer, for reasons too dull to explain, is right in the middle of our living room.

We are so lucky - we’ve never had a time like this - where we can get to - from our house - every single thing that’s ever been written... pretty much any sound and video file... and everything that’s being written right now... And, this thing, can also put our sounds and videos and things that we've made out there... to anyone... to last forever...

And what do we use it for?

Looking up fencing panels and the Mail Online.

It’s like - as a species - we don’t deserve these leaps forward.

It was probably exactly the same in caveman times... you know “Look Ugg, we got FIRE!”

“Great. I’m just going over there to stare at some sticks... and man look at that... she DID wear that same animal skin twice last season.”

Anyway, our computer died.

And it was very sad.

It was cranky and couldn’t do the things it used to do... it was losing its memory... needed a lot of help just getting around.

In our hearts, we knew it probably wasn’t going to make it through the next update and we had to face the fact that its time had come.

So we had it put down.

You’ve got to remind yourself that it’s just a vessel.

We had the files stuffed and mounted.

It used to be that I liked shopping for gadgets.

How cruel is that - looking for a brand new computer, on this doddery old thing that couldn’t even boot itself up in the morning.

We’ve got all this technology in the house - enough to send someone to the Moon (if NASA wanted that mission of “flicking through Facebook on “most recent” and checking what Lindsay Lohan’s doing right now”).

But when I last bought a computer, I was in my thirties.

So the urge to get a massive tower with blue neon lighting and kickass speakers is really strong.

But I know it’s fading.

The cushions in our living room could not be getting bigger.

And here I am looking for the smallest most sensible space-saving specs.

All know is that I don’t need a computer right now for that picture of my dwindling manhood.

Anyway, me and the boy filmed an unboxing in a desperate bid to up the hits on the YouTube channel. And another ten minute step towards living off the $1.29 from Google Ads.

And it’s really difficult making unboxing videos, for men.

Because right at the exact moment that all you want to do is tear into the box...

To get to the stuff, that’s in the box...

That’s the very moment that you’ve got to do all this other stuff.

Like “pointing the camera the right way” and “pressing the red button”.

And you’re trying to show the stuff, but you don’t want to show too much stuff.

Because people will do something with all the personal stuff about you.

That’s typical men isn’t it - you want to be generous and show the stuff but not too generous or too much stuff.

It’s just hit me that I’ve not made unboxing videos for all the massive cushions we've got.


Oh yeah, the video. Here it is.

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad will appear here, when I've read through it.

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Where the free stuff from the coffee shop ends - BritishDadStuff

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Where the free stuff from the coffee shop ends - BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you think of freebies from all angles.

So I'm sitting on the toilet in the coffee shop.
They're huge - like their mugs.
Coffee chains have got a thing about bowl china.

But I'm staring up at the lights - ones that are buried into the ceiling.
And I'm sitting there and I'm thinking.
"I wonder if they are dimmable?"

Because I really haven't been able to find LED halogen bulbs like that for my kitchen.
They've got 2 thin pins on the bottom, and there are loads of 2-pin LED halogen-style bulbs, but none of them are dimmable.

And now I'm thinking "will anyone miss a bulb?"
There are 4 of them.
It's brighter in here than the sun.

They give away stirrers. And straws. And toilet paper. And paper cups. And sugar.
I never take the sugar.
I'm sure, at the coffee chain headquarters, they've worked out some kind of allocation of sugar.
I've never taken any of it.

And I'm sitting there thinking is it wrong for me to offset my sugar - that I haven't had - for a lightbulb instead?

There has never been a list of rules - they could put them next to the menu. They charge extra for soya, and syrup. But nothing about the mug. It doesn't say "mug not included".

Don't tell me they didn't have some kind of lawyer meeting at coffee chain HQ - where they didn't work that out already.

So why don't we just walk out with the mug?

It has never occurred to me to take the mug away from the coffee shop.
That is how I know my mind is pure.

So how is it that my mind can leap to the light fittings before walking out with the mug?

But I know that it's wrong.

So where's the line?

If you need to use steps.

That's probably the line.

But if you stood on the toilet seat...

I can't do it.
It's wrong.
And I've blogged about it now.
People would know that it's me.

They're probably not dimmable.

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

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Avoiding human spam and how your art is about finding fellow knuckleballers... show your work - My fave things on the web

Monday, 19 September 2016

Avoiding human spam and how your art is about finding fellow knuckleballers... show your work - My fave things on the web

Love this video - and the book by Austin Kleon - SHOW YOUR WORK

I have no idea how I came across this - it was either Brian Koppelman or Tom Rath or Seth Godin, who knows. But here are the random bits I really like, if you want to jump around this video (which is pretty much the perfect overview of the book).

4:50 Vampires and Human Spam
How Picasso uses the energy he sucked from you and how to do the Vampire Test...

7:30 Human Spam
The ungenerous who don't put in the work to join in...

10:30 The genius myth
And all about the urge to keep your ideas secret.

11:15 Scenius
An ecology of genius - why supporting each other and contributing ideas might be a good thing.

15:20 Shut up and Listen - Don't be a hoarder.

20:00 How to meet fellow knuckleballers
Your real peers. You're not in competition with each other - there's something bigger happening.

23:35 Make a commitment to learning what you want to do in front of others, document your progress and share as you go, so that others can learn along with you. Work out in the open. Don't just share your products, share your process.
You ironically generate more interest for your work.

27:00 It's about who you know, but who you know depends on who you are and what you are doing...

28:30 "Connections don't mean shit. I've never had any connections that weren't an outgrowth of doing things I wasn't doing anyway."

29:30 Instead of maintaining secrecy... and hoarding their work, they're open about what they're working on, and they're consistently posting bits and pieces of their work, and their ideas and what they're learning online. Following these people its like getting all the DVD extras... while the movie is being made. They're taking advantage of their network.

Austin Kleon's site is here

Added this to all my fave stuff on the web

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Do I use too much email filler? #BritishDadStuff

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Do I use too much email filler? #BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British dad...
...when you worry if you use too much lightweight mimsy email filler.

This was always a tension between me and a friend.

How flowery is flowery?

"Hello. How are you? All good I hope. I hope your day/week/month is going well... All going good here. Keeping my head down. Staying busy. Keeping myself out of trouble..."

You get on with this person - enough to be emailing each other - so why all the hope?

If you had a choice between wanting their work, or their day, or their life to be going well... or not going so good... isn't it probably a given that... between the two... you're sort of likely to be on their side already?

Do they really need email confirmation of this?

"how are you doing? hope you're okay..." - it's so shorthand, how thoughtful is it anyway?

But then it's rude not to ask.

Maybe it'd freak them out to start getting specific.

"How's your mental health? Are you feeling horny? Do you have any issues you think you might be missing?"

And if they're going through loads of emails - isn't it less rude to keep it brief and to the point?

Wouldn't it be kinder to not fill their time with a row of needy easy questions?

Someone once showed me how their ultimate boss - the CEO of the company - replied to their very long and important email about their department and profits for the firm.

And this reply, from the CEO, it was barely eight words long.

It was beautiful.

A work of Art.

Like some kind of businessman haiku.

Do I want to come off all Alpha... just barking out the bare minimum?

Yes. Absolutely yes.

Because then I'd have more time and I could send more emails.

To all the people I don't care about and whose day I genuinely hope is going badly.

Hope it's all going well. Looking forward to seeing you again very soon. Speak later. All the best.


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

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All DIY is just about covering up stuff - #BritishDadStuff

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

All DIY is just about covering up stuff - BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you realise that all building work is just about covering stuff up.

Why can't you get funky coloured grilles?

Those vents at the bottom of walls...
...they only come in 3 colours - old couple brass, rental tenant silver and 1960's white.

They're in every room, so why sort of hide them?

I want to turn them into a feature.

A clear one... lit by LEDs... With your house wi-fi password on them...
Or even better - get your house wi-fi pumping out on them.

If you're good at DIY, it means you are good at covering stuff up.

All building work is, is hiding what's there until you stop.

You've got a trench?
Cover it in breeze blocks.

You've got some breeze blocks for the wall?
Cover them in bricks.

You've got some bricks?
Cover them in plaster.

You've got some plaster?
Cover it in lining paper.

You've got some lining paper?
Cover it in paint.

It doesn't stop.

Now I want to cover it with a picture.

Or a bed.

I forgot the grille.

I'll paint it weirdo purple.

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

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I Want To Be A Solar Panel Farm Farmer - #BritishDadStuff

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

I Want To Be A Solar Panel Farm Farmer - BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you imagine out a whole new career path.

Down our way, fields have sprung up, filled with loads of solar panels.

I'm going to put my hands up right now and call it.

I want to be a solar panel farm farmer.

My Wife saw straight through my plan.

She said that I only wanted to do it because in my head - the only work I'd do is wiping them down now and again.

And even then, I'd only do it if I'm bored.

Or meant to be doing something else.

But that's harsh, because she could be the Solar Panel Farm Farmer's Wife... and run our Solar Panel Farm Shop...

We could sell Free Range batteries... and solar powered calculators... and I've clearly not thought this through.

Right now, though, I worked out that I can start small and build up to it.

I'll start a solar powered allotment.

I'll get a load of garden lights from Poundland, and work my way up to a proper panel.

I know this dream is serious, because I stare at the panels on people's houses.

And it's the same every time - "Look at all that roof they've wasted".

That's how I know I'm gonna be a bad Solar Panel Farm Farmer.

I'll over-do it and cover the whole roof.

And garden.

And any bit of land I can put a panel on.

It'll look like a big bad boxy roof.

I'll have so many panels, I won't be able to see a damn thing inside it.

And then I'll probably start sending estimated bills to myself.

"Don't tell me you didn't put them lights on...
I know you're using them right now to read this Final Demand."

I'd be a horrible supplier.

I'd threaten court action... and disconnection.

Which'd be a pain because I'd have to get past all the panels.

But then I would win.

Because I can burn the letters.

And put myself a Duel Fuel Tarriff.

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

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My son's very first swear - #BritishDadStuff

Friday, 9 September 2016

My son's very first swear - #BritishDadStuff

(a Neal's Yard Rose wash for cleaning out that potty mouth)

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you are completely 100% responsible for your children starting swearing.

In the bath, my 7 year-old son asked point blank:
"Daddy... Is fuck a swear word?"

And then Daddy, "the Wordsmith", set off on a gabbled and most incoherent journey... taking in around-the-houses while side-dancing along off-the-topic... I then passed "very lazy" via "deliberate shock" and ended up somewhere so far from his simple question... I think I started explaining self-esteem issues to the boy.

"Okay." said my son, probably to try and stop my stream of drivel.

He'd been there so long, he was starting to get wrinkly.

"So I won't say the "F" word.
Or the "C" word".

The "C" word...

I'm still coping with the F.

He wants to take it to the C?

"Just to check... what... erm... what is the "C" word?"
(pronounced "ker" - not letter "C".
That's how they do it in schools.)

He covered his mouth, because he now got that this is the most controversial thing he'll say today, if not this year.

And then spelt it out, very quietly, in phonics - to show me he knew it was the worst thing you can hear, so with his hand over his mouth at least I'd not see him say it.

"ker - ruh - ahh - per."


He gasped.
Then giggled.

I mean... Yes, we don't say that either.

Phew. One more c-word to go.

But it made me think.

Why is it - given that this is the exact age they discover swear words.

(By the way, thanks, Youtube - in my day it was my parents' pub mates that did that kind of favour).

Given this is the exact age they discover swearing - why isn't it on the National Curriculum?

This really crucial part of our language, our culture, our heritage.

Why aren't we teaching about swearing, and its role, and its pitfalls, in schools at this age?

We can get through bad road safety and nutrition and environmental behaviour...
... and even put that on kids TV.

Is it because swearing would then be part of the government's schools literacy targets.

I could brag that my son's level of vulgarity is at least to the standard of Key Stage 3.

I will write to the Minister, to see if the Department of Education can help share this responsibility during his vital stage of development.

Will it f---

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

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Grandmaster Flash on how to be a DJ - fave stuff on the web

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Grandmaster Flash on how to be a DJ - fave stuff on the web

This is Grandmaster Flash talking about his Quick Mix Theory - basically, how he invented DJ'ing. He was driven by an obsession to find "The Get Down" bit of the record - a drum break or other solo where everyone would really get down for 2 or 3 bars of music. For some reason he really wanted to work out how to isolate that section and keep it going and going.
He called it The Get Down... "before it went back to the whack part".

Three years he was up in his room with different turntables, down to the type of stylus, trying out different components from Radio Shack... Then one day... with a crayon and two Technics SL-23's...

Grandmaster Flash Talks "The Theory" Of Being A HipHop DJ & The Beginnings Of Hip-Hop

At 16 mins in: His mother - a seamstress - helped him find felt as the perfect material to use as a disc below the record. And he nicked some of her starch to invent the world's first slip mat (the thing that DJ's use to cue up and scratch records - he called it a wafer).

At 20 mins in: "I did the most disrespectful thing you can do to a record... put my fingers on it."

At 29 mins in: My favourite one of his algorithms... 4 B (bars) equals 6 CCR (counter-clockwise revolutions) equals one loop.

Fantastic video - so I've added it to my all-time favourite stuff on the web

It's also... another great chance to add that blog where Grandparents accidentally tag Grandmaster Flash in family Facebook pictures.

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They should call the news "ongoing problems" - #BritishDadStuff

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

They should call the news "ongoing problems" - #BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad when... realise the time you spend checking in with the stuff that never changes.

They should call The News "ongoing problems".


The News just broke up Radio 2's lovely music with stabbings and shootings and a shareholder revolt. It's like we can't be happy for a whole hour.

So it'd be "BBC Ongoing Problems".

There'd be a BBC Ongoing Problems channel. For all that stuff that's just there, all the time. Because it's wrong. And you really want to know about it.

They could put "Breaking Ongoing Problems" on twitter.

(AS NEWSREADER) "Here's the Ongoing Problems at 1 o' clock."

"Because you can't be happy for the whole hour."

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

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Talking like Optimus Prime to get your 6 year old son to do something #BritishDadStuff

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