Tag Archives: opinion

Do something lovely for yourself this Valentines Day

This Valentines Day, why not do something good for yourself – instead of swallowing the marketing bullshit whole?


Love is in the air

There’s an adage that says you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.

But this adage says nothing about being obsessed or dependent or hopelessly devoted to someone else before you love yourself, does it?

And look around – there are so many dysfunctional relationships in this world aren’t there?

Just look at the Catholic parishioners who lust after their priest …

… The priest lusting after their altar boys …

… And the altar boys lusting after Minecraft characters.

Luckily, you don’t have to be in a dysfunctional relationship to show yourself a bit of love.

Here’s how:


Give up smoking: This is easy once you get over the anger, depression, physical agony, obsessive day and night-time dreams, rages, suicidal and murderous thoughts, etc.


Not sure he loves himself enough to cut down on his drinking

Cut down on drinking alcohol: This is easy as long as you can put up with losing your friends and social life, shaking like an ornament during a smallish earthquake and feeling a restless emptiness like the worst form of grief.

Stop eating so many sugary snacks: Again it’s a piece of piss as long as you can put up with virtually constant sobbing, dizziness and pure, unadulterated emptiness.

If these methods sound a bit extreme, you could opt for less ambitious options of showing yourself you care:

  • call a friend you absolutely love, but haven’t spoken to for ages (as long as they’re still speaking to you – and aren’t dead or in a coma)
  • on a cloudless night, just look up at the sky and stare at the stars (but not for so long that you crick your neck)
  • get a dog or a cat (unless you’re scared of – or allergic to – them, and don’t mind proximity to animal faeces)
  • there are loads of other ways to make yourself feel special – they’re littered throughout the http://simlington.com blog. So feel free to look around.

And if you do want to be nice to someone else, why not just give them a hug and say ‘I love you’.

And maybe give the money you were going to waste on a heart-shaped box of chocolates to a charity for refugees, domestic abuse survivors or the homeless – who really do need to be reminded that someone cares.

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Can we be united in our divided world?

The UK and US are divided to an extent many of us haven’t seen in our lifetimes.

These divisions have gone beyond the historic milk v dark chocolate controversy.

Communities – even families – are being ripped apart over the relative merits of semi-skimmed v skimmed v full fat cow’s milk v goat’s milk v soya milk v almond milk.


But if there’s plenty that divides us, is there anything that can unite us?

In short, can we hold out any hope for the human race?

Or should world leaders press their big red buttons now and finish us off now?

Here’s a list of things that unite us – things that perhaps could form the basis of a new optimistic future. Or maybe not.

We all want to be loved.

The only problem being that some people think they have the right to dictate who we can love. Keep your noses out of our bedrooms, you bigoted arseholes. Just because you’re not getting any doesn’t mean you have the right to deny other people the pleasure of a richly fulfilling sex life. Jesus Christ Alight!

We all get ill.

And in the UK, we still have a publicly funded health service that’s free at the point of delivery. The NHS is a shining monument to the absolute best of human collective endeavour. Some sphincters hate it on principle. These are often the same people who think the world is 8,000 years old and who believe Queen Victoria is still on the throne.

We will all die.

Indeed, several thousand Americans will die prematurely this year at the hands of gun-toting fellow Americans. Just saying.

So there we have it.

We’re all human.

And we’re all up shit creek – and if we had paddles we’d probably beat each other to death with them.

Why you don’t need booze, presents or Christ for a happy Christmas

I love Christmas.

This is weird as I’m not into presents, I don’t touch booze, I’m not a glutton, I don’t like the telly and I don’t do God.

When I was younger so much younger than today, getting a bottle of beer shampoo or a soap on a rope was actually exciting – and not in an ironic way. But why do I only remember the cleaning products? I think we’ll leave that one for my shrink in the new year.

I also really liked Jesus.

Midnight Mass, singing carols and praying were a way of life – not a pissed-up, nostalgia fest. I believed the whole thing – angels coming down from heav’n on a cold winter night that was so deep, trembling shepherds and their equally scared flocks of sheep washing their socks by night, the Virgin Mary wrapping LBJ in swaddling clothes and laying him in a manger after giving birth in front of lowing cattle and the most famous cuckold in 0th Century Middle Eastern literature.

On the other hand – and equally Christmassy – I’ve been known to spend every waking hour for several weeks either side of 25 December  as pissed as a fart.


I’ve also experienced severe meat sweats while overdosing on TV Christmas specials, downing After Eights dunked in brandy while simultaneously farting sprout fumes and chain smoking the 200 Marlboros I got as a present – and thinking I’m having fun. So much for a typical Christmas Day in the early 1990s.

‘What’s the big deal?’ you may be asking. ‘Most of this sounds like pretty average festive behaviour, TBH!’

Nowadays, I’ve stopped boozing and smoking and I’m not arsed about parties – even political ones. I enjoy eating without the sweating. I’m not materialist. I’ve been kicked out of the Catholic Church on the grounds of apostasy and heresy. And I don’t particularly like Xmas jumpers – whether traditional or sarcastic-ironic, Mariah Carey, Christmas crackers, Santa hats, board games or annual quizzes, tinsel,  smug round-robin letters, Quality St, Advocaat or even the Holidays Are Comin’ TV campaign.

So how come I’m still simply having a wonderful Christmas time?

Put simply, it’s just that – for however short a time – we’re nicer to each other. For a little while, we think about – and even try to help – people who aren’t the lucky bastards we are.

It’s pretty impossible to be unmoved by the humanitarian tragedies around the world – and Christmas makes us think about them more as charities do a great job reminding us about them. And making effective pleas for help.

These campaigns also remind us there are so many people doing good, brave, extraordinary things to make this barmy world a bit better.

The need to give a shit hits home especially hard after a year like 2016 that’s seen a concerted attempt to move the hatred and bigotry of the far right into the political mainstream. And when utter arseholes (even smellier more revolting than the usual ring pieces) have secured some pretty powerful jobs.

So Christmas is a much-needed kick up the arse to give something to people I will never meet in countries I will never visit who face horrors I could never imagine. Or to people I pass on the street every day who also lead lives of quiet torture.

It’s a reminder to stop worrying about the insignificant bullshit that tends to clog our brains and to work out what’s actually important.

So thank you to everyone who’s reminded me to stop and think. Thank you to everyone who is trying in trying times.

You’re my true Christmas heroes. And you’re why I still love Christmas.

Oh and the Christmas jokes

7 reasons why MPs deserve a 10 per cent pay rise


Controversial headline followed by a contradictory introduction. Please forgive me – politics makes me nervous and when I’m nervous I fall back on tried and tested methods of producing clickbait and encouraging readers’ outrage.

‘You don’t see an underfed MP’

Although MPs aren’t allowed to pay for duck islands on expenses any more, they still have a very, very, very cushy time.

Their free or heavily subsidised bars, restaurants, first class rail travel, accommodation and embossed writing paper are just the tip of an iceberg of freebies. MPs could spend their entire lives at receptions, dinners, parties, dinner parties, conferences, openings and meetings where nice food and good drink is always in generous, complimentary supply. You never see a knowingly underfed MP.

MPs are also allowed to do other jobs on top of their £74,000 (they’re getting a much-needed 10% rise, you know.) And by ‘other jobs’ I don’t mean stacking shelves at Aldi. I mean ‘consultancy’ jobs that pay £200+ an hour.

You don’t see an underfed MP. And you rarely come across an MP who isn’t financially ‘comfortable’. If they’re not minted, it’s usually because they’re being blackmailed, have a gambling problem, a drug addiction or particularly expensive tastes in prostitutes. Unsurprisingly, the MPs with all four of these attributes are particularly keen on ‘consultancy’ work.

Many ex-MPs are given a seat in the House of Lords – as long as they haven’t done something dreadful like having sex with children. Actually, some of its members have had sex with children, and continue to hold the ‘Noble Lord’ title. As Jim Royle would say: ‘Noble Lord my Arse.’

The Lords get £300 a day just for clocking in – they don’t actually have to do anything except turn up. Not a bad post-career gig, especially when you’ve got your gold-plated MP’s pension to live on as well.

An MP’s lot is not a happy one

But despite all this – if you look closely at the face of any experienced British MP – you’ll see they’re deeply troubled.

True, in many cases this is because the police are investigating unspeakable sex crimes, being rude to officers on the beat or perverting the course of justice (the three most popular crimes among our elected representatives).
But they are also deeply sad because of the very nature of the modern MP’s job.

An Oxford connection

I know – I worked for two MPs during a misspent youth thinking politics was a worthwhile thing to do.
I even went to a posh university to study the subject for two years.
My tutor – the improbably named and inveterately angry Vernon Bogdanor – also taught politics to David Cameron.
‘Nothing to brag about there then,’ you may say.
‘I wasn’t bragging. Just name-dropping – a subtle but important distinction in Oxford,’ I could respond.

Reasons to be miserable 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

So, here are seven reasons why being an MP in 2015 is a recipe for making you sad – and why despite despising our MPs, we should grant them their 10%. Good luck to them. They need it.

1. You have to knock on strangers’ doors during elections – and are usually greeted with less enthusiasm than a Jehovah’s Witness double glazing salesman who’s trodden dog shit up the householder’s path. On one occasion during my dabble in the political world, one of my fellow canvassers had his hand badly bitten by a dog called Vince – obviously brought up to loathe anyone who wasn’t BNP/UKIP.

2. You have to deal with the tediously obsessed, the lonely, the bored and the frankly insane. And it’s not just your fellow MPs and members of your party who cause you pain. An MP’s office is to obsessive mad people what a freshly laid lump of dog shit is to flies. And even if you spend most of the week in Westminster you still have to come back during the recesses and at weekends. And remember – these obsessives don’t have anything else to do apart from obsessing about their obsessions. Whether that’s the ‘injustice’ of their convictions, the ‘injustice’ of the judge revoking custody of their children or the ‘injustice’ of their next door neighbours owning a pet cat. Once they think you can help them (you can’t) they remain a deep and permanent pain in the arse for the entire span of your parliamentary career.

3. You have to argue all the time. You’re actually paid to be argumentative, obstructive and obnoxious – and you spend your time rehearsing the same tired arguments with people you instinctively hate from the other political parties – in TV and radio studios, at literary festivals and sometimes even on the floor of the House of Commons. Arguing – as anyone who has lived in a house where people hate each other – is intrinsically stressful. An MP is a professional arguer and therefore professionally and constantly stressed out.

4. Even though it’s your job to argue and make important political points, you’re not allowed to use your own lines of argument. Rather, party central command provides the slogans, phrases and statistics you must use if you are to be considered ‘loyal’. Staying ‘on message’ is far more important in modern politics than the ability to think or to have independent opinions. And the slogans must be intelligible to the average Sun reader.

  • We have a long-term economic plan.
  • A better plan for a better future.
  • Hard-working families deserve better.
  • We will govern for the many, not the few.

Are you asleep yet? I admit to nodding off after the first ‘plan’.

5. The modern MP has to tweet, update Facebook and keep the Instagram feed going. These updates must include a rubbish pictures of the MP with the most annoying obsessives in the constituency – with falsely positive captions like:

“Humbled by Arthur Pervis’ 46 years campaigning to get an oak tree planted on the roundabout near Tescos. Keep up the pressure, Art!”

No wonder MPs inadvertently post images of their naked genitalia on their parliamentary Twitter feed rather than on their personal Grindr page.

6. And even if you’re really good at your job – toeing the party line, keeping your constituency nutters happy, not posting pictures of your bell end on the internet and not stealing public money or having sex with children, you may still languish on the backbenches with no prospect of advancement.
Because promotion in politics is all about whether you can do seven-second soundbites.
People who enjoy talking in soundbites cluster in certain professions – marketing, sales, PR, the law and the media – silver-tongues crooks.

If you’re not one of them, you don’t stand a chance.

7. And finally. If you’re really successful as an MP and become Prime Minister, you end up on several Hit Lists. And it’s not just harmless lunatics who fantasise about killing you – it’s actual sadistic lunatics in ISIS and other terrorist organisations who may well actually kill you. And they’ll want to kill you even after you’ve retired or been thrown out of office. So you spend the rest of your life surrounded by secret service agents, wondering if a sniper is going to put a bullet through your head.

MPs – they’re vain, self-satisfied and sitting in First Class. But they’re not happy. Let them have their 10% – and breathe a sigh of relief you’re not one of them.

If this has depressed you, why not try my short jokes lists:

The best short jokes ever

The best cheese jokes in the world

The world’s best Xmas jokes