Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Nothing Rhymes with Nothing: Belle & Sebastian.


Music for your listening pleasure...

I was surprised, I was happy for a day in 1975
I was puzzled by a dream, stayed with me all day in 1995
My brother had confessed that he was gay
It took the heat off me for a while
He stood up with a sailor friend
Made it known upon my sisters wedding day

I got married in a rush to save a kid from being deported
Now she's in love
I was so touched, I was moved to kick the crutches
From my crippled friend
She was not impressed that I cured her on the sabbath
So I went to confess
When she saw the funny side, we introduced my child bride
To whisky and gin

The priest in the booth had a photographic memory
For all he had heard
He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called
The state that I'm in
So I gave myself to god
There was a pregnant pause before he said ok
Now I spend my days turning tables round in Marks & Spencer's
They don't seem to mind

I gave myself to sin again
Myself to providence
And I've been there and back again
The state that I am in

Oh love of mine, would you condescend to help me
'Cause I'm stupid and blind
Desperation is the devil's work, it is the folly of a boy's empty mind
Now I'm feeling dangerous, riding on city buses for a hobby is sad
Why don't you lead me to a living end
I promised that I'd entertain my crippled friend
My crippled friend

I gave myself to sin again
Myself to providence
And I've been there and back again
The state that I am in


Quote, Unquote (Part 5th).


Reaction spills out of every nook...

"When you take into account the immense thought, and effort, that it's taken Cresswell to write this blog - you have to ask yourself (and him) "Why?"

"A visionary, like Orson Welles, Cresswell is not. He has more in common with Terry Nutkins."

"I garner more pleasure from smoking menthol cigarettes, eating cannelloni, and watching Perry Mason".

"How the hell is this man allowed to continue with this charade?"

"I left this blog in El Segundo."


The Orange Horse & His Pink Chair.

My lack of doing schoolwork was becoming a real issue.

At GCSE level you can pretty much bluff and guess your way through all the exams - common sense had got me through them.

This was bizarre in itself, considering that my powers of common sense are no better than my powers of levitation - but somehow I had got through them.

At A-Level you cannot use common sense. You need knowledge. Hard facts and real information.

I didn’t actually mind too much the act of sitting in a classroom listening to someone talking about Politics or History or whatever, in some instances it was even entertaining.

Indeed, we had one particular teacher who was a very intriguing figure.

A fossil from the late 60’s/early 70’s, he had leathery brown/orange skin that had witnessed the blazing hot sun in all its glory once too many times, and a large rectangular face, which looked as if it had been carved out of wood.

He wore garish velvet suits, garish velvet ties, and had wild, unruly hair - similar to that of Ludwig Van Beethoven.

First and foremost he was a politics and history teacher, but was also, inexplicably, a rugby coach.

Oddly, but not entirely out of character, he always wore a pair of white felt gloves whilst coaching (akin to those of a snooker referee) and even in the bleakest, coldest, wettest of winters, these gloves never saw a single speck of dirt on them.

He was known as ‘The Orange Horse’, and he had a study on the top floor.

His study was tiny.

Smaller than Danny De Vito, but perhaps slightly bigger than Ronnie Corbett in size, it had a scruffy, puffy, pink armchair which took up the majority of the space. This was positioned underneath the window by the radiator, surrounded by shelf upon shelf upon shelf, holding books on the history of politics, politics and history.

Over the years rebellious students had written various cunning remarks on the pink chair - small excerpts of graffiti that had cropped up over decades of sneaky fun-poking, covered the arms:

*"The Orange Horse = clever wizard of victory in madness."*

*"Horse Power to the people".*

*"Is the Orange man magic? Of Horse he is!"*

One day, the Orange Horse stopped mid-conversation, and stared at a section of scribbling on the left armrest.

He just stared.

And read some of the comments.

He then stared at the right armrest.

Before we knew it he proceeded to draw on his own chair, with a red biro.

We had to spend the rest of the lesson wondering what he could’ve possibly been writing. Then, when he left the room at the end of the lesson, we hurriedly peered over the chair to try and see what he had written:

“Please stop writing on my chair”, it said.

Blackadder III.


Yes. Immediately.

Opinion Onion (Part 6 of 365).


Both opinions and onions can make you cry.

But onions don't make me cry.

Nor do opinions.

Eyes make me cry.

So I say "keep your eyes, opinions and onions peeled at all times".




Imagine if someone asked you to name all the bands that you'd seen play live...how would you get on?

Not easy, huh? And yes, a pain in the backside to write down.

This is my list, so far, of stuff I can remember...


Click on the title of the post to see me at one of those gigs...(!)


Nothing Rhymes with Nothing: Glenn Gould.

This man knows his way around a piano...


David Wascoe.

Wasco is currently reading "Upholstery" at Leeds Carnegie University, and will be contributing to the "AZ of Good" project (more information on which can be found under the links to "AZ Good").

Born "Bernhard Jimenez" in Barcelona, August 1932, Wasco changed his name because he grew paranoid of people shouting 'Bern Jim! Bern Jim!' every Guy Fawkes night.

In 1972 Wasco had a golf ball surgically removed from his left ear following a stag-weekend prank that backfired.

He is a natural showman, and prone to extreme feats of alcohol consumption. "Some people sleepwalk, some people sleeptalk, I sleepdrink" said Wasco in an interview on the David Letterman show last year, "one night I sleepdrank 2 bottles of tequila and woke up in Tiananmen Square".

Wasco describes himself as 'quite good' at playing the guitar.

He took a year off work in 1974 to travel the globe.

His mission?

"To experience every known illegal drug".

He returned from his travels with a crude tattoo of the Sistine Chapel etched on his face and an excellent sense of smell.

Wasco, an experienced juggler, is known to juggle with garden peas, but finds juggling sweetcorn much harder: "Sometimes sweetcorn is still coated in brine, making it a tricky proposition to juggle effectively".

Click on Wasco's name at the top of this post for footage of him playing guitar, under his stage name...

Monday, 26 July 2010

Ducks (v.2).


I put my shoes on, and I went to sit by the lake.

It was a Tuesday afternoon.

A duck wandered up to me, so I took off my earphones and respectfully nodded at the duck.

"What you listening to?", said the duck.

"Belle & Sebastian", I replied.

The duck rolled its eyes.

"Their newer stuff isn't the best", it said.

I sighed, and nodded in agreement.

"What day is it today?", said the duck.

"It's Tuesday - all day", I said, and offered the duck some Haribo.

"Nah, I'm not hungry", it said, "but thanks anyway".

"Is it true that Woolworths has gone under?", it said.

"Yup", I replied, "it's true".

"Ok, see you later", said the duck, as it waddled off.

"Cheers, see you in a bit", I said.


I Am Trying To Break Your Heart {2002}.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Quote, Unquote (Part 4th).


Reaction concerning this blog flies into my office daily...

“He may be barking up the wrong tree, but I like the tree, and suggest that he continues barking.”

“This type of literature should not be encouraged under any circumstances.”

“An idiosyncratic well of madness.”

“I don’t like his attempts to confuse, by lying. It’s immoral.”

“This man is like a hamster on a wheel. Only he’s not benefitting physically, and he clearly doesn’t know when to stop.”


Nothing Rhymes with Nothing: Bon Iver.


Music for your listening pleasure...

Come on skinny love just last the year
To pour a little salt we were never here
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer

I tell my love to wreck it all
To cut out all the ropes and let me fall
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Right in this moment this order's tall

And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind
And in the morning I'll be with you
But it will be a different kind
And I'll be holding all the tickets
And you'll be owning all the fines

So come on skinny love what happened here
Suckle on the hope in lite brassiere
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Sullen load is full; so slow on the split

And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind
Now all your love is wasted
Then who the hell was I?
And I'm breaking at the britches
And at the end of all your lines

Who will love you?

Who will fight?

Who will fall far behind?


He-Man vs The Big Lebowski.

Holy Heart Failure!

"They may be drinkers Robin, but they're also human beings..."

Ian Stevenson.

Click on the title of the post for a whole world of fun...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Life On The Mean Streets.

Famous events that have occurred on 24th October:

1857: Sheffield FC, the world’s first football club, is founded.
1926: Harry Houdini ‘s last performance, which is at The Garrick Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.
1945: The United Nations Organisation is born – Allies of World War II ratify the UN charter at a ceremony in Washington DC.

1978: Nicholas Keith Cresswell is born in Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, London, England.

I weighed 10lbs 10oz at birth.

That is a fact.

No mistake.

There’s no disputing I was a large child. Women spit out their drink when I tell them my birth weight.

“Your poor mum” is the most common response when people discover my borderline-abnormal size as a 1 day old human being.

I found out recently that ‘Andre the Giant’, the famous French wrestler, who was 7ft 4in tall when he died, also weighed 10lbs 10oz at birth.

I’m proud of it. Plus it contains 2 double-digit even numbers.

I grew up in a ghetto of beautiful South West London, called East Sheen.

It was a town packed full of housewives, small children and old people.

Indeed, if you were travelling through Sheen by bus, every scheduled stop yielded a couple of fresh pensioners wearing greyish-brown coats, like a uniform of sorts, and a mum complete with manageable hair and a pushchair.

It got so bad that the oldies venturing onto the vehicle at each stop struggled to find anyone willing to give up their seat, as everyone already sat down was either too old to get up, partially disabled or pregnant.

(Out of interest, who wins the battle of ‘old vs. pregnant’ for a seat on the bus? Does it depend on ‘how’ pregnant the lady in question is? Or indeed how old the 'old' are? How do you decide which is which? Please feel free to debate this with your next of kin).

Well, given the lack of seats available, all I know is that outside the confines of your local “old folk’s home”, you will certainly never see so many confused OAP’s holding on for dear life amassed in such close proximity.

Wherever the elderly are gathered in large numbers you are guaranteed a healthy smorgasbord of charity shops. Sheen obliged handsomely, and was in many ways a real pioneer. Indeed, it was considered by some to be a Mecca of the charity shop universe.

It was also a trailblazer for independent ironmongery shops specialising in the deluxe "Is it a bag or is it a Zimmer frame, oh look…it’s both” market.

This town was simple. It was slow. It was archaic. It was normal.

I loved it, we got on really well.

Hundreds of residents spent their young lives dreaming of escaping the humdrum town, of finding somewhere more interesting and fun to live.

I dreamt of never leaving.

Or at least, perhaps, leaving for pastures new - just so I could return one day, when I was really old, to fight pregnant women for a seat on the bus.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Nothing Rhymes with Nothing: Yo La Tengo.


Music for your listening pleasure...

What's the matter, why don't you answer?
What's the matter with me?
Is it so hard to be
Free and easy, we'll disappear completely
Hardly as I've known it's glad

Your heart is broken, and the doors are open
As you're hoping to be
There's brighter places to see
Hands need warning, early in the morning
Hardly as I've known a surprise

No, don't warn me
I know it's wrong, but I swear it won't take long
And I know you know,
It makes me sigh; I do believe in love


No, don't warn me
I know it's wrong, but I swear it won't take long
And I know you know,
It makes me sigh; I do believe
I do believe

Another season, but the same old feelings
Another reason could be
I'm tired of aching, summer's what you make it
But I'll believe what I want to believe




Yesterday I took my shoes off and threw them in the lake.

A duck threw them back and said "don't throw stuff unless it's food".

I immediately apologised to the duck, blaming Kate Bush for my actions, and went on my way.

I came back later and threw a Twix in the lake, in order to make up for my earlier misdemeanour.

I then felt stupid, because I'd forgotten to take the wrapper off.

The duck wasn't pleased.

"Stop and think next time", it said. "It's not easy for us to eat confectionary unless you take the wrapper off first".

"Sorry", I said.


Man On Wire {2008}.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Quote, Unquote (Part 3rd).


Further reaction towards this blog, the year's most underwhelming success story...

“Although attempting to be honest in his dishonesty, Cresswell appears to be the bear that can’t shit in the woods.”

“It’s like…dreaming that you’re falling, freefall, in a falling lift, only to wake up, and realise that you’ve not only wet the bed, but are also late for work. However, when you get to work, someone makes you a hot beverage and gives you a hug.”

“If the 'best blog list' is a menu, then this blog is the freshest thing on the menu. Albeit a morally questionable menu, in a restaurant built on bullshit.”

"I like Christmas, but not when Noddy Holder sings about it. I like this blog, but not when Noddy Holder talks about it."

“A real rollercoaster ride – turgid, and at times even motionless, but a rollercoaster ride nonetheless.”


Nothing Rhymes with Nothing: Phoenix.


Music for your listening pleasure...

I'm a high school lover
And you're my favorite flavour
Love is all, all my soul
You're my Playground Love

Yet my hands are shaking
I feel my body remains
Themes no matter
I'm on fire
On the playground, love.

You're the piece of gold
That flushes all my soul.
Extra time
On the ground.
You're my Playground Love.

Anytime, anyway,
You're my Playground Love


Radiohead vs Buster Keaton.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Nothing Rhymes with Nothing: Jonathan Richman.


Music for your listening pleasure...

Well I was dancing at a night club one Friday night
And that night club bar was a little uptight
Yeah, I was dancing all alone a little self conscious
When some kids came up and said, "for dancing come with us"
And soon...

I was dancing in a lesbian bar
I was dancing in a lesbian bar

Well I was dancing in the lesbian bar
In the industrial zone
I was dancing with my friends
And dancing alone
Well the first bar things were alright
But in this bar, things were Friday night
In the first bar things were just alright
This bar things were Friday night

I was dancing in a lesbian bar
I was dancing in a lesbian bar

Well they took me to the lesbian bar
Way downtown
I was there to check the scene
And hang around
Well the first bar things were stop and stare
But in this bar things were laissez faire
In the first bar things were stop and stare
In this bar things were lassez faire

I was dancing in a lesbian bar

In the first bar folks were drinking sips
But in this bar they could shake their hips,
In the first bar they were drinking sips
In this bar they could shake their hips

I was dancing in a lesbian bar
I was dancing in a lesbian bar


Hedge Surfing.

"Fortune favours the brave - it does not favour the stupid."

In my teens I spent a lot of time with Big Ben and Bill Wood.

...And Byron Crystal.

No, not a sly code word for hallucinogenic drug paraphernalia, but a real living breathing human being, who was witty, sharp, fearless and crazier than Patsy Cline.

He called his parents by their first names, rather than ‘mum’ or ‘dad’, which I found very cosmopolitan.

He liked taking the piss out of the teachers at school. There were lots of worthy candidates, and he was really good at it. There was a ‘Careers Meeting’ one day. We’d hit GCSE-age, and our educational superiors had become obsessed with guiding us towards a life of opportunity and possibility.

We sat in a big room and the teacher told us that our "choice of career was very important".

“I’m still undecided between North and South Korea!”, Byron shouted.

He was very fun.

He was also a key protagonist in the noble art form of ‘Hedge Surfing’.

Hedge Surfing was a simple sport, and became extremely popular amongst my friends, and more amusingly…my brothers.

And all of their friends.

The idea was that you would jump into (or ‘surf’ on top of) a hedge.

That was pretty much that.

Any hedge would do, although the experienced hedge surfer would carefully check the foliage for prickles, firmness, thorns, stinging nettles etc. Not to mention whether or not there was a hidden fence or obstacle within the hedge, and also whether there was soft landing material, such as a lawn or grassy verge on the other side of the shrubbery, thus easing the process of the dismount and preventing unnecessary injury.

Some, like my middle brother, favoured "The Bastard", a form of leaping very similar to the attacking technique of your seasoned high jumper, sometimes with extraordinarily long run-ups to guarantee maximum purchase...

"The Bastard" - an example

This approach carried the most risk of personal injury, but also guaranteed high marks, not to mention the adulation of your peers for outright bravery.

Others, like my eldest brother, if memory serves me correctly, preferred "the Flop-Drop". This, as you can hopefully envisage, involved gradual extended leaning into the hedge with both feet on the ground, until you were completely submerged, or ‘swallowed’ by the hedge, often with a finishing position of having your feet up above your head. This was a style designed for maximum disturbance, amusement and impact, but some say it lacked the finesse and overall "je ne sais quoi" artistry of "the Bastard".

I once surfed the formidable hedges of a certain hotel in London, needing a leg up from both brothers to do so. I jumped up high before rolling off the other side, narrowly missing the bonnet of a parked car.

Amusingly, years later, I would spend my first night as a married man in that very hotel.

I can’t walk around certain parts of the town where I grew up without remembering, sometimes with visual evidence still left intact, our hedge surfing exploits of the mid-to-late 90’s.

Byron Crystal was a keen purveyor of jumping into as many hedges as he could find, no matter the size or risk to his general well being. He was braver than a film critic interviewing Russell Crowe, and as agile as a gibbon.

“You do silly things after a few beers, don’t you?” he’d explain, to the Police.

As you age, drunken exploits become more severe and carry graver consequences, due to your increased responsibilities as an adult. The loss of personal items, such as glasses, house keys or wallets, made you rethink the worthiness of your recklessness - as Big Ben, whose entire pocket contents remain somewhere in amongst a massive bush in the centre of Richmond to this day, will testify...

But when you’re young, cocky, and stupid, you’re up for anything.

One night, I was staying at Byron’s house, and having spent the walk home from the pub throwing ourselves into various hedges, we walked down a road and noticed the frame of a bed, in a skip by the side of the road. Upon closer inspection there was also a mattress, some pillows, and a duvet of sorts. Someone was obviously having a massive clearout, and had dumped an entire bed.

Perhaps, on reflection, a couple had gone their separate ways, and whoever was left in the house decided that new furniture was required.

Either way, we instinctively, mischievously, and some would argue foolishly, pulled out the bedding, and started to re-create an actual bed...on the roof of the nearest car.

First off was the entire bed frame, then the mattress, head board, pillows…

Then, the ‘coup de grace’, the moment of genius. We stuffed some bin bags beneath the duvet to make it appear that there was someone actually asleep, in a bed, on top of the car. I laughed so hard, I wept like a fool. Imagine waking up, getting dressed to go to work, leaving the house to jump in your car, and finding someone asleep, on top of your car.

In a fully made bed.

I seem to remember Byron then suggesting that we then filled the car with water and put some of his fish in it, making it a ‘car aquarium’.

We both decided that was going too far.

In more recent times I’m rehabilitated, and no longer pose a risk to your, or anyone else’s hedgerow.

It all came to a head when I drunkenly hedge surfed a massive 10 footer one night, leaving a (insert your own joke here) Nick-shaped void in the middle of it. Unfortunately, having been woken by my eagle-eyed landlord in the morning, it became apparent that I had surfed (and destroyed) my own hedge, outside my own block of flats, and was therefore going to lose my deposit.

Le jeu a été fait.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Nothing Rhymes with Nothing: Big Star.


Music for your listening pleasure...

September gurls do so much
I was your butch and you were touched
I loved you well never mind
I've been crying all the time

December boys got it bad

September gurls I don't know why
How can I deny what's inside
Even though I'll keep away
Maybe we'll love all our days

December boys got it bad

When I get to bed
Late at night
That's the time
She makes things right
Ooh when she makes love to me

September gurls do so much
I was your butch and you were touched
I loved you well never mind
I've been crying all the time

December boys got it bad


The Royal Tenenbaums {2001}.

This is my favourite film.

I love it more than Bovril...and that's saying something.

Quote, Unquote (Part 2nd).


This blog has garnered some interesting opinions from across the universe...

“Reading this book, I haven’t felt so frustrated since I last lost the keys to my van.”

“A mishmash of truth, half-truths, lies & ill-informed opinion.”

“He may be two-faced, but at least one of his faces is fairly intriguing.”

“When it comes to writing comedy, Cresswell is like a toddler carrying a hip flask – way, way out of his depth.”

“I have yet to fathom Nick. He is in turn enchanting, lacklustre, beguiling, frustrating, frustrated.”
Actual end of term school report, 1996


Howe Thyme-Fleiss.

Howe Thyme-Fleiss is an award-winning actor, author, designer and tree surgeon. He will be contributing to "The AZ of Good" project - more information on which can be found at the bottom of this page.

Thyme-Fleiss is currently in a coma at Knutsford Psychiatric Hospital.

He likes eating food and walking really slow, but not at the same time.

When not in a coma, Howe lives in a treehouse. He has 3 kitchens in his treehouse (one kitchen for breakfast, one for lunch and one for dinner).

Howe had never sworn or used a cuss word until recently, as he was told by his parents when he was younger that if he swore then his lungs would explode. He only recently cottoned on to the fact that this did not happen to other people when they swore, and it was therefore unlikely to happen to him. His first swear words were reportedly "C*cking Hell!", but this is unclear, as not only was he alone when he said this, but his lungs exploded immediately after he said it.

Doctors are confident they can use revolutionary new techniques to replace his lungs with bagpipes, but are concerned this will restrict his speech to sudden bursts of 'Mull of Kintyre'.

He wants to be an astronaut when he grows up, like his father, and mother.

If you, like Howe, also like 'short shorts', then click on his name at the top of this post.

Lars "Rinky Dink" Knudsen.

Lars Knudsen is a contributor towards "The AZ of Good".

When not winning late night 'apres-burlesque' dancing competitions, Knudsen can be found on the seafront in Littlehampton carrying a sandwich board saying "Will Dance for Sweet Juice", in reference to his penchant for fine bourbon, and dancing.

He claims to have been born in a volcano in Peru which has given him special powers - primarily the ability to climb ladders at pace, but also the ability to sleep unaided.

He gained the nickname 'Rinky Dink' from his exploits as an ice-skater (he is the current Commonwealth figure skating bronze medalist) and insists on wearing his ice-skating boots instead of regular shoes.

Lars's wealthy father, Mark, is a market trader who owns the trademark of the trademark symbol 'TM', but Lars spurned the priviledges afforded him and earned his own keep by auctioning off many of his family's possessions whilst they were holidaying in St. Moritz.

"Rinky Dink" formed his own company in 1989 whose trade was marking out vacant lots as car parks - named 'Mark Trading' in opposition to his father Mark's trademarked 'Trade Mark' firm, Knudsen Jnr's company has failed to hit the mark and has recently ceased trading.

Click on the title of this post for one of Lars's favourites...

Opinion Onion (Part 5 of 365).


Onions are in many ways like people.

They grow when nurtured, have a distinctive smell, and deteriorate as they age.

People have opinions.

So, given that we’ve already established that onions are like people, and that people have opinions (and onions), is it possible for onions to have opinions?

If you are an onion, and have an opinion on whether onions have opinions, or that, in your opinion, it is not possible for onions to have opinions, please get in touch.


Knee's Up.

I had spent the first 14 years of my life convinced that I would captain the English cricket team, play football for Liverpool or become a famous rugby player.

At one point I probably thought I could do all three.

I was wrong, and so were my knees.

Walking was uneasy, I was experiencing discomfort when I attempted to climb stairs and also when I tried to run. Something was very not ok.

I’ll spare you the history of mis-diagnoses and procrastination that I had to sit through to discover what was wrong with them, but so confused were the various professionals who tried to work out the problem, that I was the subject of a special investigatory meeting of medical examiners at a hospital located next to Lord’s Cricket Ground.

The sad, taunting irony of the location did not pass me by.

I was the star attraction at a knee freak show.

Nine or ten puzzled doctors poked, prodded and questioned me for nearly an hour. There was lots of head scratching and chin stroking, but no one could come up with any reasonable explanations.

One lady doctor invaded my personal space a number of times too often for my liking and for some reason spoke to me as if I had severe hearing difficulties. She had an unreasonable, unorthodox manner, and smelt like Toilet Duck (‘Ocean Fresh’).

“DOES IT HURT IF I DO THIS?” she enquired.

*Manipulates leg in awkward motion*


“YES!” I shouted in her face.

Eventually, after countless x-rays, it had been discovered that my left kneecap had actually split in two, and I had been walking around with it flapping around for months.

I didn’t realise it then, but as my heart sank quicker than a shopping trolley thrown into the Thames, so did my sporting career.

My surgeon’s name was Dr Mike Jackson. Quite why he shortened his first name I have no idea. He was tall, with a severe follicle comb-over issue and hands like baseball gloves.

Perfect for performing keyhole surgery, I thought.

Quote, Unquote (Part 1st).


"Never Punch A Gifthorse In The Mouth" has received some interesting reactions from humans everywhere...

“The greatest work of fabrication since men ‘landed on the moon’.”

“As comforting as turning up to school having not done your homework, only to realise that neither has anyone else.”

“A mawkish, and predominantly (seemingly intentionally) uneventful insight into the mindful workings of one of Britain’s least deserving literary luminaries.”

“With this blog Cresswell is way out of his comfort zone. Far from being like a pig in shit, he’s like a human being…in shit.”

“He’s dangerous, he’s a maverick. He’s like Dolly Parton on a bouncy castle.”


Saturday, 17 July 2010

Dr Malcolm Auchincloss.

Dr Auchincloss is one of the selected few who will be contributing to "The AZ of Good".

Dr Auchincloss's claim to fame is that he has no set nationality. He was born on a boat whilst sailing through International waters in the Pacific Ocean and is therefore legally unable to own a passport. This means that Dr Auchincloss is able to travel, at will, to and from any country in the world, as he is a citizen of each and every one of those countries.

Dr Auchincloss has amassed considerable travelling experience as a consequence, and is thought to own properties on every continent, apart from Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

Dr Auchincloss gained notoriety in 1971 when, having received an honorary peerage from the Queen, he was arrested outside Buckinham Palace for performing an unusual dance routine whilst wearing only cricket pads and a lifejacket. He was immediately stripped of his peerage, and disappeared from public life.

Dr Auchincloss re-surfaced in 1996, shocking the world once more - this time by winning gold in the 400m hurdles at the Atlanta Olympics.

Joseph Ouseph.

Joseph Ouseph will be contributing 20 songs to our "AZ of Good" project.

Ouseph claims to have gone to school with Phillip Schofield, and still insists that the 'Silver Prince' is in fact a natural blonde.

Aged 17, Joseph achieved some brief local fame by becoming the first Ouseph to cross the Fal Estuary unaided - something he would later claim was entirely accidental. It is now commonly agreed that he had in fact been attempting to divert the course of the estuary so that it would run within the perameters of the Ousephs' ancestral estate.

In more recent years Ouseph is perhaps better known for his controversial association with the clandestine Prussian organisation 'Sapere Audi' - answering only to the name 'Red Hawk', he can be found most Wednesdays in the beer garden at The Jolly Jack Tarr in Evesham, where staff comment that his extreme pronouncements on the late period novels of Jane Austen have contributed to an increase in the consumption of jacket potatoes and chicken goujons.

Jabs O'Clock.

I’m sitting in a doctor’s surgery waiting room in St.Margarets. Lisa is sat next to me. We are here to speak with someone about the injections required for our honeymoon trip to Africa, which is taking place in a few months time. I’m not very awake, and I’m wondering why I thought it wise to wear a pair of Spiderman y-fronts, given that there’s every possibility I may have to drop trouser for a couple of medicated jabs in the rear end, thereby not only revealing a hairy backside but also some highly immature undergarments.

Waiting rooms are incredible opportunities to enjoy my 2 favourite hobbies of people watching and eavesdropping. There are 3 other people sat here with us, so my ears are pricked and my eyes are peeled.

They are:

• Peter, an elderly gentleman with crutches and a t-shirt saying “Campaign for Surreal Ale” on it. I presume he is here to see the doctor about his severe wind problems.

• Bernice, a small old lady with a high waistband, who I presume is here for some light conversation, a seat and some foot ointment.

• Courtney, an overweight teenager with large unorthodox jewellery. I presume she is here to get her mobile phone surgically removed from her hands, as she seems unable to put it down.

Lisa gets called in first.

Whilst she is with the doctor, I can hear two female voices coming from behind the raised ‘APPOINTMENTS’ counter (if you are reading this aloud, I mean to say ‘raised’ as in ‘it is high’, not ‘razed’ as in it’s ‘burnt to the ground’).

One voice is common, cynical and gruff. The other is merely common and cynical.

The phones are ringing off the hook and the gruff receptionist’s customer service skills appear questionable. She varies from being abrupt to being soulless and monotone.

“You’ll just have to wait another week”, she says pointedly.

Courtney, chatting loudly on her mobile despite the withered A4 sign on the notice board indicating its prohibition, impresses me with the extraordinary randomness of her conversations.

Due to her volume, it wasn’t hard to overhear, and I could even make out a muted squawk from the poor sod on the other end of the line. Courtney was busy reflecting that whether someone liked baths or showers was rather like whether someone liked cats or dogs – “You either like cats…or you like dogs” she said, following this decisively with “But…I like cats and dogs… AND I like baths and showers.”

Next up, whilst admitting she’d spent many a sleepless night “watching UK Gold into the early hours”, Courtney also revealed that much of that time was due to the low-brow comic lure of “Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave Em”.

It’s always really nice to come across people who are their own unique comedy character. You can just sit back and enjoy.

I could listen to her all day.

Sadly I eventually get my name called out, by a very attractive woman who pops up from behind the non-burnt down appointments desk. Surely this pretty face isn’t coupled with the gruff voice I’ve been listening to for the last 30 minutes?

Why, it is.


She’s a diamond who seems to have actually swallowed the rough.

There I was expecting a burly arm-wrestler of a girl, capable of tipping cars with her breath. Once again I learn that I should not be so quick to judge. However, given my appalling lack of literary knowledge and tact and general awareness of what's going on, maybe some slack should be cut when I do judge a book by its cover. After all, I seldom delve any deeper than the cover, so it’s all I have to judge the book by.

I get shown into what appears to be a kitchen.

Indeed, someone enters at one point to turn on a kettle and grab some garibaldi biscuits from a cupboard.

My nurse’s name is Hannah. It becomes clear that she is not the regular nurse, but a stand-in, and is not even supposed to be working today. This becomes clear due to her obvious disorientation, her failure to locate the most basic of stationary and her complaints that she’s not supposed to be at work today because she is standing in for someone else. More worryingly for me, she is perplexed as to why I am here at all. When I tell her that I’m here for a lobotomy, she seems even more confused. I realise that for the sake of my health and general well being, I should cut out any inappropriate humour. Not only is Hannah a few chicken wings short of a family feast box meal, but also she has needles, jars of fluid, rubber gloves, and, I assume, a cold pair of hands.

Hannah reaches for some equipment: “I think this is what you need (holds up a small bottle of yellow fluid)...but, has it changed colour? It used to be pink, I’m sure.”

“I’m not a doctor, I have no way of knowing” I reply, perplexed.

Hannah giggles.

“Neither am I”, she utters quietly, amusing herself.

She asks me whether I’m nervous about injections, as some people can feel queasy, and even faint on occasion. I inform her that I quite like them, having built up a tolerance during years spent in hospital wards. As a means of conversation, I go on to explain that my brother does however always faint whenever he’s injected.

“My eldest does too, all the time, and he hates going to the doctors…but he still says that he wants to get into medicine”, she says.

“Maybe he’s joking when he says that”, I suggest tentatively.

Before I know it Hannah has injected me three times in the arm, with all the sensitive poise, subtlety and grace of a Fatima Whitbread javelin throw.

“You’ll need to come back for another round of injections on the 16th April.”

“Isn’t it the 16th of April today?” I ask.

“Sorry dear, I meant the 20th of May”.

Of course you did.

She also mentioned that we would need to come back in 2020 for certain booster injections, and that maybe we should make a note of that in our diaries. I told her that I might just write it on my hand instead.

On exiting the kitchen, I figure that the only way to alleviate the madness is to add to it, so I walk out into a packed waiting room hunched over and clutching my buttocks, as if in severe discomfort.

“You told me it was supposed to be in the arm”, I say mischievously, in Lisa’s general direction. She laughs, louder than I expected, as others look on in disbelief.

Peter the pensioner laughed too, whilst simultaneously slapping his right thigh, which pleased me.

Opinion Onion (Part 4 of 365).


In my ironic, anointed opinion, a neon nion anion is an un-ironed bionic ion.

A union of iconic onions.


Friday, 16 July 2010

Paul Ham.

Paul Ham was the 2nd individual that we asked to donate 20 songs towards "The AZ of Good".

Paul Ham likes making plant boxes, and balconies.

That is, he doesn't make balconies, he makes plant boxes.

He likes balconies, and he makes plant boxes.

Just to clarify - he doesn't make balconies.

Despite the name, Ham 'doesn't really like' ham.

He sees the world in black and white, like a dog sees the world. The only time he gets to see normal colours is when he watches black and white films, which appear to Ham in glorious technicolour. He therefore owns a large collection of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton & Harold Lloyd movies and featurettes.

If you, like me, trust and admire Paul Ham, then you'll click on his name at the top of this post...

Joe Violante.

Joe Violante will be contributing 20 of his favourite songs to "The AZ of Good".

First of a few trustees entrusted with the Trust, Violante's input was always going to be essential as he boasts an eclectic record collection encompassing such diverse acts as Yes, Wu Tang Clan and Kenny Rogers.

Joe won the London Marathon in 1982, and a local West London Caligraphy Competition in 1983.

He appeared on the first ever episode of "Mastermind", and carded an impressive 17 points on "Turkish pornography 1975-1978".

He fell out with best mate Alan Titchmarsh when they were both interviewd on Parkinson in 1987 - they traded insults before Violante threw a pint of milk at the gardener's chest.

He owns over 10 items of clothing and has 3 pairs of shoes.

He once famously said that he'd "rather sneeze than yawn."

Please click on Joe's name (above his picture) for a taster of what you might expect from him...

"Senator" Pitkin.

Pitkin did actually serve in the American Senate for 3 weeks in 1974 before being ejected for fraud. He was then subsequently tried for perjury in front of the Grand Jury.

Pitkin's reputation for being 'economical with the truth' was confirmed when he was thrown out of Bill Clinton's 60th birthday celebrations after it emerged he was not the son of Tiger Woods & Bette Midler.

Despite philanthropic attempts to restore his fragile reputation, Pitkin recently lost further credibility when he claimed that the Eiffel Tower was a gift to France from himself, and that 'Penguin' biscuits were made by penguins.

He fell out with fellow AZ creator Bauer when, despite Bauer never marrying, Pitkin claimed he was best man at Bauer's wedding.

Pitkin is currently CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Diego Bauer.

This is fellow "AZ of Good" creator Diego Bauer.

As a child, Bauer was fascinated by the hand gestures and posturing of Italian policemen, so he began his life by unsuccessfully attempting to direct traffic in Neath town centre using a small spade.

He soon discovered that he also enjoyed the sound of white noise, and decided to learn an instrument. He couldn't afford an oboe or a harpsichord, so started rhythmically cupping his hand over plugholes to create avant-garde masterpieces that have since been lauded by such luminaries as Phil Collins, Lord Owen and Desert Orchid.

One of the founding fathers of AZ Good, Bauer met Pitkin working nights at his local driving range in Seville and they have endured a spectacularly eventful acquaintance ever since.

The flamboyant Bauer is rarely out of the tabloids these days due to a combination of eratic behaviour and his 'creative' dress sense. He claims to have co-written songs with Neil Sedaka for an upcoming musical, based on the life of Jeffrey Archer.

Bauer is the godfather of Pitkin's 3rd child, "Mini Pitkin".

The AZ of Good.


What is the AZ of Good?

Why is the AZ...good?

It's a list.

A subjective, fairly extensive, collaborative list that attempts to chronicle the inspirations behind some humble music-minded folk. Created by myself and my good friend, Diego Bauer, whilst discussing our favourite music, we decided to hand pick some of these favourites for general public consumption.

This was then expanded into the cunning concept of an AZ ("of Good").

Derived from our communal record collections, it is an AZ of artists that we recommend you discover and enjoy, featuring 1 song by each in turn. We wanted some of our friends to get in on the act to provide further depth to the choices, and have asked them to contribute 20 songs or pieces of music each. You will hopefully find some reasoning behind the choices and also some links to hear them, if you so wish. It is not designed to be a 'best ever...' man-list, merely some songs we are fond of.

Whilst the site is under construction, over the course of several blogs, I will introduce you to some of the AZ Good team.

If you click on their names, above their profile pictures, you will get a special treat... from them... to you.


Opinion Onion (Part 3 of 365).


‘Nion’ is the Irish name of the fifth letter of the Ogham alphabet, ᚅ, probably meaning "fork".

‘Nion’ is also a world-class developer of advanced scanning transmission electron microscopes and other electron-optical instruments.

As mentioned before, an ‘onion’ is a belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof.

An ‘opinion’ is an ‘ion’ that has been opined.

It is also root vegetable.



Pushbikes are very important to small kids.

When you’re older, and see kids on bikes, they look pathetic - but this is to foolishly forget how incredible they were when all you had was short pants, no front teeth and a pocket full of trading cards.

I owned a pushbike called “Ella”.

I could lie and say it was named after Ella Fitzgerald, and I will…it was named after Ella Fitzgerald.

No, in truth it was a shortening of Argentine tennis siren and 1990 US Open winner Gabriella Sabatini, who I thought was undoubtedly the most beautiful (and, ahem…intelligent) woman in the world at the time.

I started naming my few possessions very early in my life, and continue to do so to this day. I currently own a mug called “Anthony” and a porcelain phrenological head called “Carlos”. For some reason all items of transport need to be Female. I think the word ‘ride’ and its subsequent openness to double entendre is to blame.

Where I grew up, children under the age of 16 were not encouraged to drive as they were deemed either too small or too irresponsible (in some rare instances, both), so in my infant years I had to make do with a bicycle.

My two-wheeled friend has been gradually upgraded over the years and now resembles an automobile with an engine and four wheels, which I find is able to travel at greater speeds than a bicycle and requires less physical effort to commandeer.

Making do with a bicycle was just fine, though. I was very young, and seeing as I didn’t really know anyone outside a 1mile radius from my house, didn’t have a job, and had no money to buy a car, pay for petrol, road tax or insurance, it didn’t bother me.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Rich Hall's "The Dirty South".

Rich Hall, described by Matt Groening as the inspiration for Simpsons' bar owner 'Moe Szyslak', shares his views on 'Musical Biopics'...

"The one and only Hank Williams!..."
(As billed in the biopic "Your Cheatin' Heart", 1964).

If Hank Williams is a "one and only" kind of guy, then why is someone else pretending to be him?

Of all the shitty things that Hollywood does to sell films, the absolute shittiest is when they try and crank out some musical biopic.

The musical biopic exploits the details of an artists life, and pigeon-holes them, homogenizes them, and in the end just lies about them.

Patsy Cline died in a plane crash near Camden, Tennessee - 80 miles west of Nashville. Yet in the biopic of her life ("Sweet Dreams") the producers decided to have her plane crash out in the American desert in the South West.

The screenwriters of a biopic are forced to attribute character changes to specific events in that artist's life. But that's not how life happens.

Ray Charles becomes a heroin addict in the film "Ray" because his brother died. When in fact, Ray Charles became a heroin addict because he kept shooting fucking heroin into his arm!

It's reductive lies, it's reductive emotions, it's reductive talent.

People do not listen to the music of Johnny Cash for any other reason than it allows them to tap into a greater depth of emotion. Watching Joaquin Phoenix pretend to be Johnny Cash is about as god-damn illuminating as if Johnny Cash had stopped a concert mid-song and started doing scenes from "Gladiator".

"But wait a minute Rich, wait just a cotton-picking minute..." (that's what you're saying)

"Didn't Joaquin Phoenix get an Academy Award nomination for playing Johnny Cash?"

"A-a-a-and didn't Jamie Foxx win an Academy Award for playing Ray Charles?"

Well yes, they did.

What that means is that Jamie Foxx did a slightly better job of raping Ray Charles' corpse, than Joaquin Phoenix did of raping Johnny Cash's corpse. Actors don't portray musicians out of some sense of honour, or admiration, they do it because it's Oscar bait.

"But Rich..." (you're saying)

"What if it turns some person on to their music?"

If you do not have the innate ability to seek out someone's music on your own, and you have to wait for a Hollywood biopic to do it for you, then you are some sort of hillside grazer of culture.

You are a sheep, a cow, or what is biologically classified as a "ruminate".

Fuck You.

(Please click on the title of this post to see the full clip...)

Opinion Onion (Part 2 of 365).


An ‘ion’ is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge.

An ‘anion’ (pronounced /ˈænaɪən/; an-eye-on), from the Greek word ἀνω (anο), meaning "up", is an ion with more electrons than protons, giving it a net negative charge (since electrons are negatively charged and protons are positively charged).

An ‘onion’ is a bulbous plant (Allium cepa) cultivated worldwide as a vegetable.

An ‘opinion’ is a belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof.

It is also a root vegetable.



The first rule of Chess Club is...


Second rule of Chess Club...


Everyone who was anyone went to Chess Club, and our school team was the pride of the borough.

Now, it won’t surprise you to find out that I was not the greatest chess player, I think that was clear to all. But I did learn a great deal about life, love and human behaviour whilst playing chess, for I found it to be a window to the soul, and I’m grateful for a certain amount of the unrelenting indoctrination that was provided.

There were many egg-headed offspring at my school that spent every available second of the day reading chess books, perfecting strategies, sage techniques and killer moves.

They was disciplined, and organised.

I had no special information or carefully planned tactics, but I had other skills. I was advanced emotionally, if not academically, and therefore used psychological tricks to put off or upset my opponents. Sometimes I would just stare at them and smile, to make them feel uncomfortable, or perhaps feign injury to distract, or garner sympathy. Other times I’d calmly ask them questions about their family to break their iron will, cause a loss of focus and force mistakes.

It was dog-eat-dog, and I was a Doberman.

I played at many tournaments, and was occasionally successful.

Chess tournaments are extremely strange. Partly because they are unusually lucrative in terms of prize money, but also because no parents are ever allowed there. Or at least, that’s what the parents told us.

Very clever, parents are.

If you’re not participating, chess tournaments must be up there with Rhyl, Chernobyl and Robert Kilroy-Silk’s house as destinations to avoid at all costs. When your kid plays conventional sports you can shout encouragement from the sidelines, chat to other parents, or bring the dog and take it for walkies. At chess tournaments there is no talking, and having a personality is like having cholera – unwelcome. Libraries, The Moon and graveyards have significantly livelier atmospheres, so for the poor incumbent onlooker, it must have been like walking on 10 miles of dead road.

My uniquely illegal tactics had proved popular with the ‘powers that be’ (if not my opponents), and I was a wild card selection to form part of a regional team to play in the National Chess Championships.

There were 5 of us, taking on all comers up and down the land:

• LARRY ‘Small Step For’ MANN

And me…

We were known as ‘The 5 Musketeers’ - by ourselves.

We were good.

And we won the whole competition.

You may remember reading about the famous victory on page 6 in the local newspaper.

“Smile, Nick, smile” shouted everyone, as our pictures were being taken. I was too busy concentrating on hiding from the camera to smile.

What happened to the successful Under-9 National Championship winning Chess Team, and where are they now, you may ask?

Well, I think Corbett, a clean living family man with teeth like a Grand National winner, is currently serving HM The Queen, as a royal footman.

Mann, a ubiquitous former ombudsman, is now serving up food in the café at M&S in Richmond.

Pickens, a charming former farmer, formed a firm of tennis academies, and is now serving up forehands as a professional coach.

As for ‘Chips’ Peterson, unfortunately he’s serving time in Wandsworth Prison for benefit fraud, having claimed substantial quantities of money over many years for his 6 children.

Chips Peterson does not have any children.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Birth, Marriage, Death.

“An End Has A Start” (Part 1 of 6)

I’m sitting in the foyer at Kingston Register Office.

Sat next to me is my future wife, Lisa.

I think we are here to speak with someone about the running order of our wedding, which is taking place in a few months time.

I’m not very awake, and I’m wondering why I thought it wise to waste away so many birthday cake wishes as a child on the desire for human flight, given that I have a fear of birds…and heights.

A man, and a woman cradling a tiny infant, shuffle past and Lisa interrupts my daydreaming by saying “how lovely it must be to work in such a place – you’d get to give certificates to the married and the newborn – happy, wondrous events.”

“Hmm, not so much, you also have to deal with the dead” I said. “Certificates for people who are unable to breathe anymore”.

This conversation spoke a lot for our collective roles within the relationship. Lisa is a shining bright light of hope and loveliness whilst I am a stick in the thickest of mud.

Inexplicably, I strike up a conversation with a tall, elderly; big-eared gentleman slumped in the chair opposite me. He was living proof, if it were needed, that a man’s ears grow substantially as he ages. Although, on reflection, he might have just always had big ears.

He said he spent his life working for Guinness, but I was unclear if he meant that Guinness employed him or that he was paid in pints of Guinness. I felt sorry for him, wondering if he was here to pick up his own death certificate, and indeed, if anyone else could see him sat there at all.

We left the BFG in the foyer, as we were ushered into a room, and told that someone would be with us shortly.

“I wonder why we’re here – what are they actually going to tell us” said Lisa.

“This is where you find out that I’m already married” I replied.

Lisa laughed, paused briefly in thought, and then laughed again with less vigour.

I noticed a large brass plaque on the desk that said ‘Melanie Cannon’.

“I think we’re here to see Melanie Cannon”, I said.

A middle-aged woman in business attire entered.

“This must be Melanie Cannon”, I thought.

“I’m Melanie Cannon”, she said.

Melanie Cannon discussed the details of the ceremony with us and asked us some questions that we had been asked a few times before, like the classic: “Are you Nicholas Keith Cresswell”?

“I do” was my well-received response.

Melanie Cannon’s style was relaxed and slightly ramshackle – loose and friendly, but yet somehow appropriate and professional. I warmed to her instantly.

Whilst discussing our honeymoon in Zanzibar, she asked me if I knew which famous singer was born in Zanzibar.

“Freddie Mercury” I said.

She seemed delighted, and spoke of how she’d learnt the fact from a recent pub quiz that she’d been to with her children.

“His real name was Farrokh Bulsara”, I continued.

Melanie seemed less interested by this information, which surprised and disappointed me.

She instead began asking Lisa about wigs.

I joked that ‘she hadn’t had time to make one for me yet’, which I regretted immediately, despite Melanie’s polite chuckle.

It appeared that all the necessary matrimonial detail had been addressed. Melanie gradually hit the wall conversationally, and started to talk about her friend’s husband, so we decided to leave. Lisa was hungry and I was bored, so we walked to the pub and ate fish-finger sandwiches by the river.

We talked about the superior merits of cloudy apple juice over regular concentrated juice, how it tastes better and looks less like urine, and also whether or not I should refer to her sister’s partner as my ‘brother in-law’s brother in-law’.

We left, and got in the car. Unfortunately, it appeared that a pterodactyl had decided to crap on my windscreen.

I took Lisa to work, then went home and listened to Yo La Tengo.

Opinion Onion (Part 1 of 365).


Does the word ‘onion’ look like the word ‘opinion’, or does ‘opinion’ look like ‘onion’?

Why…both, surely.

These words certainly look fun when written together, and appear to be happy next-door neighbours, but did you know that an ‘opinion’ is also a root vegetable?

Well it is.

At least in my humble onion, it is.



“You have to be doing something…”

I’d always believed in even numbers.

Maybe it was because I was born on 24.10.78, maybe it was because there are 12 months in a year, 24 hours in day or just that Liverpool had won the double in ‘86, I have no idea…

Against the odds, I had just bought a house at number 17 and on the 09.09.09, just a month or so before my 31st birthday, I’d decided to write a book.

I was on fire.

Not literally, you understand. Foot loose, carefree, drunk with ideas. When asked, at the pub, if they wanted a drink, I imagined people saying ‘I’ll have whatever he’s having’, whilst nodding with eyebrows erect in my direction. The clarity of thought bluntly punched me like an un-intrusive meadow of serenity, and the possibilities of what lay ahead blew my tiny mind.

I started looking up when I walked; I began answering phone calls and even managed to crack an occasional smile now and again. It was a magnificent moment of wonder and I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve, irritatingly impatient with excitement at the thought of the anticipated treasure that lay ahead.

This contentment naturally waned as soon as I realised the task in front of me.

The main problem was that I didn’t read books. For a man of 30 years to admit that if I lost my left hand I’d still have enough fingers to count the books that I’ve read, was, and still is, a source of subdued embarrassment.

‘I have no patience and find it hard to maintain concentration’ I would explain.

*Goes and pours himself a glass of red wine*

Moreover, I forget what has just happened on the previous page.

I forget what has just happened on the previous page, I have no concentration skills, and have to re-read everything to put myself back on track. It’s a frustrating experience.

‘In that case writing a book should be a walk in the dale’ was a typically sarcastic retort.

They were right, of course they were. How (or indeed why) would you write a book if you didn’t read books, a film if you didn’t watch films, or a song if you never listened to music?

‘Sure’, I’d say, ‘but are you saying that it’s impossible to catch a fish without ever having fished before?’

That response made me feel pretty smart.

Which brings me to my next reservation: my lack of brainpower. I was no great shakes at school, but having briefly impressed as a minor whilst sitting next to clever people I had managed to con my schoolmasters, and more importantly my friends and family, into thinking that I had half a brain. Coupled with above average sporting prowess I was deemed ‘a good all rounder’. The truth is very different. I was crippled by heavy, persistent OCD and a capacity for intermittent surreal daydreams.

I was, and remain, my greatest critic, but I was never ever destined to be an academic.

Whilst writing this book these problems have re-surfaced dramatically and I have had to overcome the urge to immediately (and continually) erase the line that I had just written. Indeed, the book was finished then taken away from my belonging so I would not be able to destroy it forthwith.

I had managed to destroy the first draft, though. The instinctive, spontaneous plan was to set fire to my papers and be done with all the nonsense. However, realising that setting fire to my work would be tricky (it was written on a computer, not on parchment like in days of yore), I decided to throw my computer out the window. It made an impressive double smash as it crashed through the neighbour’s conservatory.

Thinking about it now, I never should have even told anyone that I was writing a book. I think you should only tell people that you’re thinking about writing a book when you’ve nearly finished the book. Every time someone would ask how it was going, another hole appeared in the bow of the metaphorical ship I was voyaging in.

Writer’s block increased with every mention of the darn thing. In fact, if I hadn’t mentioned this to anyone I think that I could’ve finished it within weeks.

When I told people I was writing a book, I got funny looks, rightly doubting my credentials.

I would say: “Is this reverse psychology or do you actually think I can’t do this?”

Response: “It’s not reverse psychology – we actually think you can’t do this. Your vocabulary is bletcherous, and you’re in danger of becoming an autohagiographer. Please be careful of being too inaniloquent.”

Well, I guess I’m happy to be a philosophunculist, and will continue my pandiculation.

To me writing a book was not so much something that was desired, as it had become a genuine necessity. Frustrated by a lofty drought of creative activity, I was becoming sad, increasingly withdrawn from any social landscape and very, very boring. Plus, the fact that I was enjoying such isolation was concerning those closest to me. My legs were useless and often throbbed with pain, so I couldn’t participate in sports, and I hadn’t written a song or played my guitar for four years.

Furthermore, my membership card at ‘Le Gavroche’ had been suspended.

An outlet was required.

Part of my inspiration is and has always been human beings conversing. I love listening to people talk to each other.

Unfortunately I realised early on in my life that, more often than not, I myself was an overbearing nightmare to talk to. You just have to be doing something with yourself, and I was always doing nothing. Something either worthwhile or recognisable, to make you an interesting person to speak with, and I had nothing to say to anyone.

What made it even harder was that I was usually completely uninterested by them too. So I’d be wary of going out and meeting people, partly to save them from me, but also to save me from them.

I was the pub bore who hated pub bores.

It suited both parties, I would argue to myself, that I did not socialise. It was/is a difficult cycle to break, and if you choose to break it you need a talking point.

You can’t just say that you’ve been up to ‘this and that’. I’ve spent years shirking questions on how I’ve been or what I’ve been up to, and not always because I haven’t been ‘up to’ anything but often because I simply can’t remember what I’ve been doing or I don’t want to talk about it.

Q. “How are you, what have you been up to?”
A. “Erm…can I get back to you on that?”

My memory span of the last few hours is usually pretty water tight, but beyond that I find it very hard to remember events and happenings for the purposes of ‘small talk’. Occasionally I found myself repeating events and things I’d done whilst talking to people who were actually there with me when I was doing it.

It really is terrible, and I had become terrible. In fact, just call me ‘Ivan’ if you find yourself in my company and want to be in my company no more.

You must have a talking point, but you can’t make it sound too prepared. This is why I started making stuff up. It’s much easier to lie, and it almost always sounds more impressive than the truth. I found giving false accounts of what I’d been doing really easy to conjure up, and started to enjoy doing it. On reflection, perhaps (quoting Jeff Tweedy of Wilco) ‘my lies are only wishes’.

However, to avoid bullshitting all the time, which is silly, childish and ultimately counter-productive, you have to be doing something, something worthwhile, something people are either impressed by or can identify with, otherwise there is no conversation. Lies come back to haunt you and people will start to avoid you. But you do need to be interesting to talk to. If you’re not doing anything good then you have a problem.

To clarify…you have to be doing something.

Le voila.

When I told people I was writing a book (by means of small talk) they were always intrigued, often saying that they’d thought about doing that themselves before asking what it was about.

When I told them it was ‘about me’ the interest appeared to fade, before I told them not to worry because it was all made up. I had decided to write about myself, as it was the only topic I had good knowledge of and was qualified to discuss in detail.

‘Maybe he’s smarter than I thought’, they’d think.

*Top Tip: It certainly helps if you wear a pair of glasses when you tell people that you’re writing a book - it gives you an extra air of intellectual excellence (and in my case makes me look slightly less like ‘Minty’ from ‘Eastenders’.)*

I knew the only way to greatness in writing the story of my life was through fabrication.

Unless your life is actually worth recounting in a full truthful manner, like some of my heroes - Alan Whicker, Peter Cook or David Attenborough - writing an autobiography is repellently self-serving and grossly arrogant. Suggesting that your life is so special that people need to know about it, when it’s not special, and they don’t need to know about it, is awful.

It’s like a cyclist posing upright, without holding the handlebars.


However, given my gross arrogance, I figured that this project might actually be right up my alley.

Throughout my life I had experienced a steady flow of offbeat satirical ideas whilst observing human beings. I then conjured brief comedic scenarios that were either clumsily mumbled from my mouth (to the occasional amusement, but more often bemusement of others), or instantly, and oh too briefly, stock-piled in my sieve of a brain before naturally dissolving away, long before I could remember them or do anything with them. Little sparks of prose and creative trains of thought.

More like buses of thought, such was/is the irregularity of arrival.

The only possible route out of this depressing habit of continuously losing every grain of imagination, moments after the light bulb appeared, was to just let the brain explode onto a keyboard, or via hushed instruction to a dictaphone. Stream-of-consciousness writing, to be brought to life then reconstructed. Moulded like plasticine into something worthwhile.

I guess I was fed up with sighing all the time at the woes of the universe without capturing, and therefore perhaps expelling, some of my feelings about them. I still like sighing. I like to sigh, but I had reached saturation.

I mean, I like meatballs but I don’t want to eat them everyday.

So there we have it, I have my topic of conversation, for a while at least.

Q. “How are you, what have you been up to?”
A. “I’ve just finished writing a book. It is 88,888 words long.”

When I think of all the years wasted, pursuing other interests…Chess, Cricket, Women, Liverpool FC, then Chess again briefly, before Music and more recently Boules (see Chapter 20)…wasted, not doing what I should have been doing…well, maybe they weren’t wasted years at all.


I regret nothing (that couldn’t be further from the truth). When you’re young and you try to join the police they tell you, in a polite and overly familiar way that you need to come back in a few years – go away and get some ‘life experience’.
Well maybe that’s what I’ve been doing.


I generally admit that people should only release autobiographies when they’re moments away from death. People release them when they’re way too young, and the idea of releasing more than 1 autobiography before you’re 75 is simply unacceptable (unless you are Aled Jones, who can fill his boots).

So it’s not an autobiography.

It’s a biography that I’ve edited and then rewritten. In good time, I will update this blog with excerpts.

I, for one, am surprised, delighted and honoured that I have found the time and motivation to devote these efforts to writing about myself. After all, if I was ever going to choose a ghost-writer, who better than me?


PS. If you click on the title of the post, you will be rewarded.

Neu Kid On The Block.


"If you build it, they will come."

"I've built it, where are they?"

My name is Nicholas Keith Cresswell.

You may also know me by one of the following aliases...

Cres Dennis
Cres Crestofferson
Bon Nicois
Nicois Bon
Nicky The Crow
Chiswick Park
Linus Good
Senator Klaus Cresswell
Nick E. Wok
Miguel St.Andre
The Pitkin
Moses Arnold
Ted Baum
Sir Charles Dodgson

I am a simple man.

This is my blog.

A blog of love, music, humour, film, observation, thought, fact and wild nonsense.

Wipe your feet, come in, and make yourself at home. I will make you a hot beverage if you're reading this in the morning, some sort of refreshing fruit-based smoothie if you stumble upon it in the afternoon, or a large gin and tonic if it's the evening*.

*I will not actually do any of these things.

(Please click on titles at top of each post, and other links - there's lots of hidden extras and treats, don't you know...)