Frustration? I can’t be arsed.

cheWhen I worked for the Scottish Court Service I joined the union and became a representative for my office, primarily because I liked the thought of officially sanctioned time away from my desk, and indeed the entire building. It helped that most days out on union business consisted of 5 per cent conferencing to 95 per cent drinking.

Whilst installed as the office representative I became adept at asking meaningless yet persistent questions at conferences in a bid to justify my presence in the union flock. I’d say something like, “A few people in the office were asking if they could get some free pens. Well, can they?” and then nod sagely. I once half-heartedly participated in a strike for better pay conditions. I spent an entire day standing at the picket line limply clutching a sign, chain-smoking and nodding silently at everyone as they walked past me. I think I muttered ‘scab’ under my breath a couple of times, just as my hero Che Guevara would’ve done. A manager eventually brought me out a cup of coffee and a sandwich, which I accepted without hesitation. I think you’ll find that the Communist Manifesto has quite a lot to say about the importance of balancing worker solidarity with the delicious necessity of free cheese sandwiches, even if they do come from the hands of your bastard enemies.

Sometime during the steely reign of my short stewardship, our national executive issued a memo urging us to boycott Coca Cola. Coca Cola was accused of turning a blind eye to the plight of workers at its many sub-contracted South American bottling plants. Right-wing paramilitary groups – allegedly in collusion with the plants’ owners – were murdering, or otherwise ‘disappearing’, workers for the crime of organising unions. The workers were only trying to ameliorate their poor working conditions and make a better life for themselves and their families.  Coca Cola’s silence and inaction in the face of this horrific systemic homicide was taken as tacit approval of the paramilitaries’ methods. “COCA COLA? …Death-o… Cola… more like,” I’d mutter quietly to myself, before taking another sip of Coca Cola.


My personal boycott lasted less than four hours. 9am until lunchtime. Vive le revolution! I loved Coca Cola back then, you see. Drank it every day. Came to depend upon it. It was my fizzy heroin in a can; my daily hangover cure. “Why can’t they be killing workers at Dr Pepper factories instead?” I lamented. “I fucking hate Dr Pepper.” I was ashamed of my weakness. There were men in the world who would give up blood, freedom, family and oxygen for their principles, and I couldn’t even kick Coca Cola for four fucking hours. Thankfully, I’ve long since abandoned the drink. Not for any ideological reasons. I’ve simply arrived at the conclusion that Coca Cola is a black broth of tooth-taking, penny-polishing, pancreas-punishing arse-juice that leaves your heart flopping about like a fish in a bucket. And that’s a Scotsman saying that.

When something I own breaks, I tend not to fix it, but instead force myself to adapt to the new reality of its brokenness. I once had a TV that could only be switched on if the power button at the front of the unit was pressed in as far as it could go and held there at a constant pressure. Naturally, instead of mending or replacing the TV, I pressed the button in as far as it would go, and then used a rook from my chess set and a roll of masking tape to hold it in place. I then left it like that for three years. Check mate, TV. Check mate!

When the locks in my old Fiesta started to fail one by one, rather than have it mended I simply allowed my method of entering the car to evolve naturally. When the lock on the driver’s side seized, I clambered in to the car through the passenger side. When the passenger side failed, I went in through the back seats. When all of the locks had failed, I climbed in through the boot. Every time I entered my car it looked like I was either a) participating in an all-cripple version of It’s a Knockout, or b) in the process of breaking into it. Thankfully, in the part of town in which I lived, car-jacking wasn’t an unusual occurrence, allowing me to fit in as ‘one of the lads’.

I don’t think I suffer from apathy per se, or at least not all of the time. I have an incredibly low tolerance for frustration that co-exists with a fear of failure, an expectation of failure and a rage at the world for not doing what I want it to do. If I sometimes take the easy route, or hit the button for the ejector seat, it’s less about laziness and more about saving myself an exhausting, four-letter-word-fuelled explosive meltdown.

My mum said I cried and wailed at the age of four because I couldn’t write functional computer programs on the ZX Spectrum. When I was twelve, a faulty dot-matrix printer made me so angry that I snapped a fountain pen in half, leaving me with a big blue face that took an hour to scrub clean. If I hadn’t been wearing specs I probably would’ve been blinded, no doubt learning in the process some biblical lesson about the cost of anger: a pen for a printer makes the wee fanny blind, perhaps.

When my step-sister and I linked our Gameboys together and she beat me at two-player Tetris, I headbutted my Gameboy, smashing the screen to smithereens. I hid the evidence at the bottom of a toy hamper, and waited for the heat to die down. For more on this subject, have a read of this: ).

Don’t ask me to fix finicky things, or build up intricate items of furniture from Ikea. I’ll only end up hurling them out of a window. Or standing around with a big red face promising to murder myself in a series of increasingly ludicrous ways. “If this piece doesn’t fit I swear I’m going to puncture my lung with a toothbrush, and spend my dying minutes cracking my fucking skull open by beating it against my own knee! I MEAN IT, I REALLY MEAN IT, I FUC… oh, it fits. Excellent.” (strides off whistling)

If I’m stuck in traffic, I’ll swing the car around in a cloud of f’s and c’s and take a ten-mile detour in the wrong direction rather than confront the heart-pumping frustration of a very mildly inconvenient traffic jam. The modern world makes a Hulk out of me. I’ve almost ripped worlds apart trying to open tins of corned beef.


In my early twenties my GP referred me to a Stress Management group, which comprised a gaggle of cripplingly shy and shaky-handed people, including one old hippy guy who was in a state of terror because he thought we were all going to invite ourselves en masse to his house after the meeting. I don’t belong here with these fucking mental cases, I thought to myself, rather uncharitably, and wholly unrealistically.

Still, I thought it would be smart to keep going, in a bid to better understand my stinking thinking, and how to counteract it. Week two arrived, and I was cooking some chicken in the oven before group. I was starving, and running late. The chicken had been packaged in some sort of plastic tub, which in retrospect I don’t think should’ve been placed in the oven. The plastic warped with the heat, and when I tried to retrieve it it wobbled and wilted in my hands, sending globs of burning hot sauce all over my hands, and raining chunks of chicken down upon the kitchen floor. I hurled the floppy, half-empty tub across the room and aimed a hard kick at the oven. “THAT’S… IT!” I shouted, standing there with my arms hanging down at my waste, my fists balled in rage. “I’M TOO STRESSED OUT TO GO TO THIS STUPID FUCKING STRESS MANAGEMENT GROUP!” The delicious irony of this angry ejaculation caused me to laugh like a madman, my anger gone as quickly as it had arrived. I never made it back to the group… although I did try to break into the hippy’s house a few times.


The independence referendum in 2014 shook me out of my apathy a little. I genuinely cared about the political process again, and desperately wanted to do my bit to bring about change, even if my bit was just talking twaddle with strangers and signing an ‘X’ on a little piece of paper. I have friends who felt moved to canvass and campaign for their parties of choice in the wake of Scotland’s political re-awakening. I thought about it. And then realised I couldn’t be arsed. Oh, there’s a town meeting tonight. Right, I’d really better get along and… actually Monday’s not a good time for me. It’s Game of Thrones night. There’s one on Wednesday, too? Hmmm. I’ll probably be a bit tired by then… OH WHAT’S THE POINT, WE’LL ALL JUST GET CRUSHED UNDER THE WHEELS OF THE MACHINE, FREE WILL IS AN ILLUSION, THE ILLUMINATI CONTROL EVERYTHING ANYWAY. Plus I’ve got to take my missus to the bingo.

Yes, I’m crazy. But I think to campaign for things – to dedicate your life to an ideal – is its own form of craziness. I’m the wrong kind of crazy to change the world. I wish I could harness my rage and frustration and point it in the direction of a worthwhile cause, but I can’t (unless it directly involves my family’s health, happiness or safety, I’m not really interested). Thankfully, there are passionate people out there with the zeal of psychopathic stamp collectors who can fly the flag on my behalf across a whole range of issues. I salute those fucking lunatics, I really do. Half-heartedly, of course.

When I can be bothered raising my arm.

PS: I started writing this in February.

Independence: are we sick of it already?


A common complaint I heard from undecided voters in the early days of the independence debate was that nobody from either side was engaging with them. “Well,” they’d say haughtily, “Nobody’s sat down and told me why I should vote for them.”

What did they expect? Alex Salmond coming round their house with a change of clothes and a bottle of whisky? “I’m supposed to be at a rally tonight, missus, but screw that, me and you all the way. Right, I’ll do the first bit, and then Sean Connery’s coming round about half-ten to finish off. (clears throat) Now, we begin in 1270, on the day Mel Gibson was born…”

That’s if Salmond doesn’t get thrown off his stride by Clegg and Cameron rolling up outside the house in a tank, trailed by hordes of Labour voters, UKIPers and holidaying Ulster Unionists, while Alistair Darling hollers into a megaphone: “Step away from the voter, Salmond, you podgy porridge-eating separatist, she belongs to us now!”

Heaven forfend we should actually have to seek out, read, research, listen, watch, discuss, think or evaluate. In no other sphere of our lives do we expect answers to fall into our laps, or be spoon-fed the motivation to participate in a process. When you’re booking a holiday you readily accept that you’ll have to work and research to get the best deal. You don’t expect a phone call like this:

“Hello, Mrs McGlinchy, this is Turkey. I just wondered if we could count on your support this holiday season? I’ve also got some statistics here which prove unequivocally that Sunny Beach is a fucking shithole.”

“Huh. I’m surprised you’ve got the cheek to phone. Last time I holidayed with you I couldn’t concentrate on my Jackie Collins for all that prayer racket five times a day. Do you think you could ask them to give it a rest – at least for the first two weeks in July? Oh, hang on, got to go… that’s Spain on Call Waiting…”

I know, I know, political campaigners regularly carry out door-to-door and telephone canvassing so that analogy isn’t perfect, but you take my point, right? You wouldn’t rely solely on canvassing to help make up your mind on an issue, would you? You wouldn’t refuse to find the facts for yourself and instead sit in a vegetative stupor on the off-chance that somebody was going to hand you a piece of paper with THE ANSWERS on it. (“I’m no’ deciding anything till there’s a chap on that door. And if it’s a Halloween guiser, then I guess I’ll be votin’ Dracula this year, eh?”) I certainly hope not. In any case, I’ve always believed that canvassing’s more about having a greater number of troops on the ground to gain a psychological advantage over the enemy, rather than a genuine attempt to sway the undecided or win converts through talk.

A genius comedy character invented by the Better Together campaign.

A genius comedy character invented by the Better Together campaign.

The debate is now thundering towards its climax, and you can’t lift a newspaper, switch on the TV, or round a corner without encountering a YES or a NO. Whatever the result on Thursday, what’s happening now is a bona fide democratic miracle. Scottish people are talking and organising and debating and enthusing in a way I haven’t witnessed in my lifetime. And what do we hear from the people who before had complained of a lack of engagement? That they’re bored of it all. Now that they possess all of the information they could possibly need or want… they don’t want it. Let’s start the chant:

“What do we want?”


“When do we want it?”


In our modern age of 24-hour rolling news and social-media saturation we’ve become too used to news stories having a three-day care-by-date. I dare say that even if a nuke were to wipe out 9/10 of civilisation on a Monday, everyone would be sick of hearing about it by the Wednesday. I find it desperately sad that although Thursday’s referendum is the most important political event in our country’s modern history, already a large number of people are wishing they could just be left in peace to watch Big Brother. (While Big Brother watches us.)

It’s a good job we didn’t have such short attention spans, or indeed Facebook, in days gone by, else we might have seen a few social-media status updates like these ones:

“OMG Patty Hurst or sumthin has thrown herself under a horse. Am I da only one that’s soooo over it? Neeiiiiiggghhhh thanks, lov e!!! Lol!”

“So yoove got to give up yer seat on the bus? BFD. Getting bored of this now… shurrupaboutit! Yoove got speshal buses for YOORSELVES anyway, so get on dem!! Or walk, it’s betta 4 u anyway, lazy!!”

“So da Nazis have aressted yoor family and karted them off in da train?… YAWN CITY! Cheeseus, does evryfing have to be about politicks these days?”

Please don’t weary of one of the most important discussions, debates and decisions in modern Scottish history. This is a great thing. It’s not a fad: it’s a movement, and one that will have an influence upon every single facet of your life wherever it takes us. There’s no such thing as talking about it too much.

If it helps, just think of the independence movement as a giant picture of your own dinner.

Cunt of the Week (17th April 2013) by Jonny Seaton

t1I’m going to set my stall out straight away: I hate the Tories. I can’t stand them, in fact, but my first memory of them was a positive one. In 1975 I remember Margaret Thatcher being elected as the first female leader of a political party, and thinking, as a 6 year old, ‘That’s good.’ My main female role model at that time was my mum, and she was brilliant, a really positive influence on me.

Perhaps it was my doctor father’s left-wing leanings, or perhaps it was the 80’s and the height of political comedy with Ben Elton and Spitting Image vying for our attention at putting down those in power; either way, I realised that the Conservative Party were not the party of the people….unless of course the people you were referring to were ‘society’s elite,’ a phrase that was something of an oxymoron in the 80’s, as Thatcher had denounced society, and claimed that it didn’t exist. As she put it: ‘There’s no such thing as society.’ (‘Elite’ is also open to interpretation: by elite I mean the rich, or the wannabe rich.)

Major: like an old Clark Kent, minus the Superman.

Major: like an old Clark Kent, minus the Superman.

But after introducing the poll tax, the vicious attacks on the unions and strikers, the denationalisation of once great industries, the initial steps in privatisation of the Health Service and so on, Thatcher was eventually deposed by her own party. There followed a slight move from extreme right-wing, blue politics to closer-to-centre, grey politics with seven years of John Major – a man so dull that not even the later revelation that he had had an affair with Edwina Currie could liven up his image. And it was image that the next PM, Tony Blair, was all about. Tony will be remembered for a few things, most notably an illegal war; a war that I totally agree with, if I am honest. Saddam Hussein was a bad man who committed genocide against the Iraqi Kurds, and if that was the reason for the invasion there would have been a lot less of an issue. The official reason was Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), but none were ever found – they were never going to be found. What Iraq did, and does, have in abundance is oil; and with the USA calling the shots, we were always going to war.

Gordon Brown squeezing an imaginary Tony Blair heart.

Gordon Brown squeezing an imaginary Tony Blair heart.

The collapse of the financial services led to Labour’s downfall, despite a couple of years of a good man, Gordon Brown, whose biggest problem was timing. Blair’s legacy was that the next Prime Minister was going to be a Tory. A big reason for this was the collapse of the financial services and the plunging of the UK into recession; interestingly enough a collapse that can be accurately traced back to the US policies of Reagan, which had been copied by Margaret Thatcher in the 80’s: greed, self and money; a man mind thyself attitude.

David Cameron: even his own shadow thinks he's a cunt.

David Cameron: even his own shadow thinks he’s a cunt.

So on 11 May 2010 the public went to the polls, and nearly 30 million turned out to vote, which is a great turnout (about 65% of those eligible). The Tories won 308 seats, which wasn’t enough for a majority unless combined with the seats of the Liberals – and don’t get me started on that! Many saw this as a protest vote, but whatever the reasons the Conservatives were back in power.

So 13 years since we last had a Conservative Government we had another, and the ‘everything now’ society in which we live caused people to forget how bad it was the last time. There is a feeling amongst the electorate that all the parties are much of a muchness. The bland politics of Major and Blair did nothing to dispel that. They are wrong: Cameron is very much one of Thatcher’s children. He has been in power for less than 3 years, and what have we seen?

  • Cuts to the armed forces and an end to the Scottish Regiments, replacing them with one cheaper Scottish Regiment. In the best traditions of Thatcher, this is a Scottish-only thing.
  • An end to the separate Scottish Police Forces, being replaced by one force…. another Scottish thing
  • Cameron is continuing the gradual erosion of the NHS
  • Cameron is undoing all of the good that came from the Beveridge Report, which fought the ‘five giant evils’ of Ignorance (Education), Idleness (Work & Pensions) and Disease (NHS)
  • Iain Duncan-Smith claiming he could surive on £57 per week
  • The introduction of a Bedroom Tax, potentially forcing the most vulnerable in society to take in unknown lodgers
  • The phone hacking scandal, and Cameron’s disclosed closeness to Rebekah Brooks, the editor at the height of the scandal. She is set to go on trial in September this year but I doubt anything will come of that. Am I cynical, perhaps?
Thatcher's coffin being led to the ground by the BNP, who won the competitive bid to run her funeral.

Thatcher’s coffin being led to the ground by the BNP, who won the competitive bid to run her funeral.

So on this, the day that Margaret Thatcher is buried, you would think that my cunt of the week is the Conservative Party. Well, I am afraid you are wrong. Yes, I despise them; I hate everything they stand for and wish they did not exist. However, what they stand for is well documented: they are the party on the right; they are the party of money; and the party that likes to keep that money circulating amongst themselves….

My cunt of the week is… well it could be you? Did you vote? No. Do you complain about the Government? You do? Well, it is you then. Voting is the right of every free person over the age of 18 in the UK. It is a democratic right, and one that if you forego then you forego the right to complain that this party – which has always been composed of cunts – continue to do what they have always done.

Jonny Seaton

Jonny Seaton

THIS WEEK’S GUEST WRITER Jonny Seaton is fast becoming a regular and favourite on the Scottish stand-up circuit. Last month he reached the grand finale of Radio Forth’s Big Comedy Audition, and received great praise from the judges. Outside of comedy, Jonny works as a fluffer for the animals on David Attenborough documentaries. ‘When David Attenborough wants to see two elks fucking, then David Attenborough GETS to see two elks fucking,’ explains Jonny. ‘But sometimes they’re not in the mood. David won’t accept this. He’ll say things to me like, “I didn’t fly all the way to Africa and trek through bloody jungles and across deserts getting my arse bitten off by mosquitos just so that these two lazy cunts could ruin my money shot.” Oh, he can be quite brutal sometimes. That’s where I come in. Sometimes you need to be tough, with a vice-like grip, sometimes gentle, like you’re shaking hands with a brittle-boned Oompa Loompa. Yes, I love my job, but it can be challenging. You try wanking off a tiger.’

The cost of failure can be high. On one occasion Jonny failed to excite two apathetic rhinos into having sex, and so Attenborough ordered Jonny to put on a rhino costume, and fucked him himself.

Jonny once went to France. He liked it.

Not all of this biography is true… Jonny fucking hated France.