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Wednesday 19th February 2014


The swimming pool anarchy is getting worse and worse. If we can't keep society together at this low level, then what hope do we have when the world itself is flooded and we have to swim everywhere?

I got to the pool to find all the lanes with a couple of people in them, but fast people in the middle lane, so obviously I had to go in the slow lane. There were two women in there already, one old and very slow and the other dressed in all the proper swimming gear, going fast. At least medium lane fast. Maybe fast lane fast. But she was in the slow lane. Which is fair enough when the swimmer levels are this low. Bettter to have more room, regardless of your ability, if there are only two people in a lane.

Of course this pair had decided to ignore the arrows and just divide the lane between them, again this is their choice when there are just two swimmers, but as I may have mentioned before this can lead to disaster if a third person enters. Why not just follow the arrows people? Then this would never happen. I got into the left hand part of the lane, where the fast swimmer was swimming and started plodding up the pool. I assumed the fast swimmer would see me as she turned and move over to the other side, so was surprised when she just swam straight towards me. Perhaps she wasn't aware there was a third person yet (just one of the reasons why it's sensible to stick to the arrows). Luckily the slow swimmer was at the other end so I was able to go to the right. At the top I turned into the correct lane, though had to move out to overtake the slow swimmer. Surely by the time I was heading back up the pool the fast swimmer would have adjusted. Or moved up to the medium lane. But no, again she just swam straight towards me. She had decided that that part of the lane was hers and me and the slow swimmer (the two people who by rights should be in this lane) were going to have to somehow share the other part of the lane. I looked to the life-guard hoping they would see this unlawful behaviour and over rule it. But of course today the finnickity woman who had told me to move lanes was not on duty and the guy who was there clearly didn't give a fuck. When the world is flooded and people are just swimming wherever they want I hope he will hang his head in shame (and then lift it up again before he drowns). First they didn't come for the fast swimmers hoggiing the slow lane and I didn't speak up as it seemed insignificant. Then they didn't come for me.

I thought I'd have to sort this out myself and was worried that there might be an altercation. If someone cares so little for other swimmers then how will they react to being challenged. But finally the woman saw sense herself and moved to the middle lane (but only because one of the people in there had just left). What was going on in her swimming hat covered brain.

But later that woman would do something in the swimming pool that I had never seen in all my long days. She did a foot first backstroke or at least swam on her back with her feet pointing forwards. Like you, I have only seen people doing backstroke, backwards (or the correct way round really), but she started going, quite slowly ironically, up the medium lane with her back to the water, her feet to the front and her arms behind her acting as some kind of outboard motor. I couldn't really work out how she was doing it. I was doing backstroke (properly the right way round, backwards) and idly tried to make myself go in the other direction, but it was too much of a mind fuck (as well, of course as a transgression against the arrows). When I got to the top of the pool I decided to give it a proper go and did, with some difficulty manage to propel myself, feet first, back to front, but forwards, backstroke down the pool. I didn't float as efficiently as the strange arrow ignoring woman (I now wonder if she was an alien, unaware of our social conventions or that she was doing the backstroke wrong) but I did do a whole length, even though the unfamiliar technique (I don't think I was doing it the same as the freak-o alien woman) made my arms ache (so it can't use the same muscles as wanking).

I had done something today that I had never done in my whole life. I have the alien woman to thank for that at least.

It was a solid sold out gig in Reading tonight. Liverpool and Cambridge are also sold out this week (but check with venues for returns and released comps). There are still some tickets for Colchester on Saturday. All details here. I am, as you can imagine after all these years, delighted that so many gigs are selling out in advance. You can no longer be complacent about my lack of popularity. Book ahead so you can tell the newbies how you've liked me for years and how I am not as good as I used to be.

The Fubar radio website has been updated. The service stars on Thursday 20th (and you should be able to get a free trial) and my show is on from 7pm-10pm.

I've got another guest for RHLSTP - Alexei Sayle will be chatting to me on 3rd March. As that night also includes Greg Davies you might want to book for it now. Hopefully will pin down some of the other possibilities soon, but some tasty names in the frame for all the gigs, so worth taking a punt.

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My new stand up show, Oh Frig I'm 50 is at on tour from February til June 2018. There's also a new series of RHLSTP with recordings every Monday from February 5th to April 2nd All details of shows here.
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