Punching Strangers

There’s something about seeing people bash their fellow human being’s faces in which really gets us all going…

I don’t know what it is exactly – perhaps it is rooted in our more animalistic side which we ordinarily stifle for the sake of being more civilised and not getting weird looks as we bulldoze through public places…or maybe we are just disgusting and should be euthanised for our cruel ways for the greater good…hmm, that’s entirely possible actually…

High GIF

But whatever it is, and whether you choose to believe it or not, it is there. And things like boxing, UFC, and horrendous fail videos are blatant evidence of this.

Now as you probably all know already, or if you don’t you can look at photographs and work it out by reading between the lines – I am an exceptionally skilled fighter. Not just a brawler but an absolute powerhouse unit, kind of like a really big refrigerator except there’s no ice dispenser in there, just huge uncompromising punches to stranger’s faces…well no, more like a rhino. If rhinos could stand up and didn’t have such laughable fists – because my fists are way more like a…like a ball. Big basketballs of violence that slam dunk your head until you cry and wish you never pushed in front of me whilst queuing for ice cream.

Ross GIF

So it makes complete sense that I went to watch UFC in Seoul the other weekend…and isn’t an odd out of place incident in the slightest. Thank you very much; just wanted to clear that one up before we proceed…

Yeah so someone got me tickets, and I went along with a few friends to see what all of the fuss is about – one of which who asked “so you’re a big fan then?” Well no, I thought, but I think of myself as a aficionado of the classical arts and I respect the culture of the Ancient Greeks with their love of the theatre, and the Ancient Romans for their imposing colosseums as bastions for gladiatorial showdowns…and…FINE – I’m lying, I haven’t the foggiest idea about it aside from that they try to hurt each other.

However I did have one question: “will there be lions and swords?” No?! Dammit…then we’re going to have to get a lot of beer in to make this half-way tolerable…

Beer GIF

And that we did. Despite a rule that meant the beer you bought at the stall you couldn’t bring into the actual viewing platform…”so you just want me to buy seven and drink as fast as I can before heading back in? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!” No qualms there…and anyway, it certainly added a different sort of energy to the experience. Running in and out between rounds, and then moments later finding yourself in the humongous stench of the bathrooms alongside a million other men attempting the same impossible task; to both pee quickly despite the pressure, whilst also holding your Budweiser high enough that a pee splash beer cocktail wouldn’t occur. A version of heaven some may say??

Anyway the fights themselves were entertaining, certainly took me back to the school days where much of the day seemed to revolve around punching and kicking humans for questionable reasons…or at the very least planning to. But this time it wasn’t on the schoolyard, in a park, or at the back lane of a corner shop at 3:15…it was organised and with thousands of fans cheering it on. Oh how times of changed, I thought to myself; perhaps this is what being a grown up is all about…

Grow up GIF

After the 100th kick to the 100th head I tired of the spectacle somewhat…well no, that’s not entirely true – I was probably just finding it hard to keep my eyes glued in one place. The friend who appeared to be somewhat of a self-proclaimed expert was sleeping with his left hand glued to his chin (that last drink was a bad idea I suppose!) So I took myself off on a little walk, as is often the custom when one is severely off their rocker – and bought even more beer for reasons I can’t be sure of.

I then proceeded to forget the rule (or just flouted it altogether) by attempting to brazenly thrust myself through the security so I could effectively multi-task in my seat…by watching and drinking at the same time; and who know? Possibly I could do some peeing too if I was brave/intoxicated enough.

Of course I was stopped – but the hand wasn’t one of a huge imposing no-nonsense type that would be better placed as a tough cronie of a supervillain mastermind…it was instead a young Korean lady, a student I imagine. I tried to be polite in my protests and naturally pretended like this wasn’t the 300th time I had been through: “OH…OH REALLY? EYEDIDNEVENNOO?!”, whilst making gestures that signalled I was totally unaware of the rules and it was all fresh new very interesting info she was giving me…“AHHH SOH-NO? AHHH RIGHT, YES”I probably looked ridiculous, but in my head I was the master of disguise and deceit.

POnder GIF

I then asked her how I would finish these four beers? A valid question! What should I do with them? Throw them away? Return them? Attempt to give them to the winner of the next UFC bout whilst saying “there you go, this is your golden reward!” Well no, of course not – that would be absolute lunacy.

So clearly there was only one thing for it…and after a very minimal amount of suggestion we chugged two each, high fived, and then continued about our business never to meet again. It was a beautiful moment.

The rest of the night is a blur – but I can say this, I enjoy watching punching a lot more than I do getting punched. That I can say with concrete confidence. 

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Strange Sunday!

Sunday should be a time for relaxation, a time to unwind with family and friends. put your feet up with a cup of tea and just chill out (all the while trying to forget you have work on Monday). Well this particular Sunday had all of these promising traits; I’d had a significant lie in, had a greasy brunch, chatted with family and piled enough carbohydrates in my body to run a marathon (naturally I didn’t do this, instead I took a nap even Snorlax would be proud of). Sounds perfect? Well it was. But what came after dinner shook my whole Sunday out of sync…

…as I fell out of my favourite Chinese restaurant clutching at my (now) spherical stomach, I saw three men sprinting at full speed towards me – one guy in a police/security/mall cop/traffic warden/YMCA outfit, another lazy Sunday clothes similar to what I was in…of course I just stood there like a rabbit in headlights – as usual you think about doing something, but the fear of tackling the wrong guy and then being labelled a massive dick by the local press freezes you to the spot. So yeah, I just stood there still clutching at my bump (but still thinking about dessert), as they advanced closer and closer. Perhaps this gross image freaked them out a little, as instead of running past me they darted into the Chinese restaurant instead! What came next was better than anything I’ve ever seen on Sunday afternoon telly…

Watching Tele GIF

As the three burst into the restaurant, it became immediately obvious which one was the antagonist between the three…it was the lanky, slightly more dishevelled one, who happened to have foam coming out of the sides of his mouth (no, this wasn’t obvious straight away! I was taught not to judge a book by it’s cover! Humph!) – anyway, so he started raving and screaming at the other two, as bewildered diners looked on or ignored him completely in favour of their noodles. It seemed he took exception to this; he demanded the stage, Godddamnit! So as the other two edged closer he grabbed a beer bottle from an unsuspecting pensioner’s table and smashed it to smithereens, leaving only a jagged shard in his hand as a make shift weapon  – cue shrieks and wild “oh my GAAAAAD” hands from the entire population of the restaurant.

By the way, yes – I had a fantastic view from outside…and had decided on triple choc chip ice cream for dessert once the show was over. 

Well anyway, as the crazed character (let’s call him Bobby) edged around the perimeter of the restaurant, he was met with more screams as he waved around the shard of glass defiantly in the air…I wasn’t sure what Bobby’s game plan was from here on in, but I was thrilled to be a spectator of this great escape…well, apparently his would-be captors weren’t quite as confident in Bobby’s abilities as I was, as they continued to advance on him…slowly but surely…

So, to increase the terror level to 11, Bobby decided to shift gears; try something different, it was do or die, fight or flight – it was a crazy plan, granted – but sometimes the crazy plans can provide new hope! (I’m not trying to relate this to Star Wars, this was of course nothing like Star Wars) As the cautious faux comforting arms got within reaching distance of Bobby, he grabbed for another larger bottle and smashed it again (cue more shrieks and hand waves of course), but this time placed the glass shard to his cheek, threatening to cut should anyone come any closer – I know, right? Bold strategy Bobby!

Clapping GIF

It was then that I wondered if I would get chocolate sauce on the triple choc ice cream, or was triple choc ice cream chocolatey enough without it?

This thought was interrupted when I saw Bobby, who was not getting the response he hoped for, held the glass a millimeter from his eye ball – this seemed to do the trick as people gave a resounding “whoa, whoa, whoaaa” as if Bobby was some kind of overzealous horse, it was this break that Bobby was looking for – so as soon as he spotted a gap he darted over tables and raced for the door. – only to be met with the heartbreak of some party pooper holding it closed from the outside (not me, obviously – I would never do that to Bobby), as he turned around in disappointment he held the glass to his cheek once more, but I could tell his heart wasn’t really in it this time, and he was subjected him to an involuntary five man game of pile on, until he dropped his make-shift weapon.

After seeing his defeat I continued my wander home. Later I was told it was pretty “normal” behaviour in Korea (using the term “normal” very loosely here of course), when a person has their backs well and truly up against the wall it is thought to be just mental enough to work…so much so that it is often parodied and satirized in Korean dramas!

Well that was my story from last Sunday…if you take anything away from this it should be this – there’s no such thing as too much chocolate, not on a Sunday anyway. 

p.s. FREE BOBBY.

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Fight Club

I would like to think I am a lover, and not a fighter…after all, usually physical conflict doesn’t really solve much when you think about it. Obviously some people make it very tempting, but more often than not, non-peaceful ways to shut them the hell up, are somewhat frowned upon!  Naturally if your dear old Granny was being mobbed by a set of escaped rampant ostriches, you’re probably okay to get the broom out. But in most cases, you’re just likely to get yourself into trouble…

But I was forced to think about this by a guy today – and thanks to his inane question regarding the matter, I’ve been mulling over past bouts ever since…

I only really had one big proper fight at school – which is quite a feat as I went to an all-boys secondary in the North-East of England – not sure how I escaped, I guess I was very good at running away. Anyway, I used to be very embarrassed about its living memory – but now that I look back on it, it was a pretty funny situation, and one which I should have laughed off immediately – rather than getting all defensive about;  you know – blushing, and shrugging whenever anyone asked me about it.

Godfather GIF

But back then I lived even deeper in my thoughts than I do now, I didn’t express much, apart from between my nearest, and dearest – stifled by shame, self-consciousness, and a bitter embarrassment regarding just about everything (like, literally.) So this is the first time I’ve told the story to a larger audience…so please bear with me…

It all started on an unassuming school day. I was with my friends on the smaller courtyard, where you could largely avoid the manic hustle, and bustle of the main schoolyard – by which I mean footballs being blasted off your face at every juncture, and/or birds shitting on you in passing, as they scrabbled for the scraps of leftover sandwiches.

That’s not to say it was totally peaceful where we spent our break-times. It was still basically a war-zone…

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Unwanted oranges, apples, and bananas (note: no chocolate was ever thrown) would fly from one end to the other – accompanied with blood-curdling cries, and bellowing swear word strewn sentences, that would even make Vinnie Jones wince.

On the day in question, it appeared to be particularly heated – and the various food items were flying with an increased ferocity. We huddled together, my friends and I, attempting to dip, and dodge any incoming missiles – before scraping them off the floor, and hurling them back. You could only pause momentarily to laugh, should it hit your target – because luxuriate in giggling for too long, and you can be sure that the dirtied tangerine segment would be SPLAT , back in your face!

Food Fight GIF

So it was quite a surprise when I was told that one of our sworn enemies (that day), now wanted to fight me…something about I had thrown a sloppy banana right off his forehead, and for whatever reason he wasn’t too fond of that fact. I didn’t even know who he was…so they pointed him out…of course, yup – just my luck – he was taller, and about four people wider than me. My friends didn’t care, the occasion had pumped them full of testosterone, and all of a sudden they wanted to see blood. A couple of them ran off to tell him I was up for it, as the others tried to make it seem like a great idea:

“He’s a year younger, man…he’s not even THAT big…well okay, he is…but you know – you throw like one punch, and then we all join in – then it’s like seven versus one! No worries  – YOU HAVE TO NOW!” 

NO! I wasn’t going to do it! No…but how to plot my escape out of this situation – could always go out the side-door, yeah…I began to walk away, with several friends still trying to convince me that it was a great idea – I wasn’t having any of it – “FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!” Someone randomly screamed to my complete horror, and disbelief – before I knew it a crowd had circled in, barring my way out – and there he was, this massive entity. There was no way out of this, I’d never live it down if I ran now…or perhaps I could fake a heart attack…nah, that’s be even worse probably. It was time to face the music. I turned to my fantastic friends, who had basically orchestrated this whole thing – the excitement level for them was clearly off the charts – on the other hand, I was so scared I felt like I may literally shit my pants.

Bloodthirsty GIF

I looked at my foe – clearly if he got his hands on me, he would literally murder me. One punch from him, and I’d be eating through a straw, for the rest of my life. Couldn’t let that happen. I’d obviously have to try some unusual tactics to avoid him caving my skull in with meaty fists. But what? I had no ideas, so just lunged in there – to no avail, thankfully he missed me too. I turned back to my friends, with a look that said “Jesus Christ – please fucking help you set of complete dickheads” – but no, they just made gestures for me to get a move on.

I was quivering with a fearful kind of excitement, everything was blurred in a mad frenzy – perhaps I would cry, that would be humiliating. Light bulb. I jumped in and booted him in the chest…I pretty much bounced straight off him, cue laughter from the blurs that surrounded me…I tried again, It was literally the only way I could think of to keep distance from this unnatural behemoth. It never worked, I just pinged back as if I was the pinball – and he was the strong flippers at the bottom. He attempted to grab me on numerous occasions, but never quite managed it.

So there I was – just flying in with useless kick, after useless kick. Like a demented version of Kung Fu Panda, but without any of the guile, or charm that makes him admirable. But I had no Plan B – I’d just keep trying this until a teacher would inevitably break it up…after all, there is NO chance any of the onlookers would do anything of the sort. That’d be way too mature, way too sensible.

“OI! WHAT’S GOING ON OVER THERE?!” 

“Oh, thank God” I thought to myself, with a sigh of relief:

Happy RElief  GIF

The crowd dispersed, in every direction – and we fled back to our respective corners. But there’s no real code, and soon someone, somewhere had snitched…and the teacher was over next to us, asking questions. “WHO WAS FIGHTIN’? HUH?”  Everyone insisted that nothing had happened, that he had been seeing things…“NO FIGHT? THEN WHY WAS THERE A MASSIVE CROWD? HMM?” One of my friends tried to cheekily claim that the crowd was to do with a Yu-Gi-Oh card, and that it was really rare, so everyone was crowding around to see…inventive, I’ll give him that – but the teacher didn’t buy it. And before long the truth came to light.

We were suspended for the day, the two of us. And while we waited for our parents, we had to sit together – which was awkward…I felt like at any moment he would smash my face through one of the glass cabinets, or at the very least strangle me to death with his banana stained tie. But he didn’t. Just stared at me non-stop, as I squirmed with unease.

Fortunately both my parents were out at work, so it fell to my Grandad to pick me up. Which was a lot less daunting. I slumped into his car, and he immediately wanted all of the details – did I get a good punch in? How big was he? etc, etc! I said he was massive, so I tried to kick him, but it didn’t exactly work out. I thought it best not to mention the fact that I was flying around like a terrible Hong Kong Phooey imitation. And that if I wasn’t so small, he would have probably crushed me to death…

Crushed Head GIF

Anyway, we drove on to my Grandparent’s house, where we had mountains of bacon sandwiches, and gallons of hot sugary tea. My Grandma fussed over me, as Grandmas do – whilst my Grandad made me laugh with Rocky impressions. Later on he called me up to his attic, where he showed me an antique crossbow he had kept hidden for years. “YOU BETTER NOT BE SHOWING HIM THAT CROSSBOW KEITH, IT’S DANGEROUS!” called my Grandma from the kitchen…

He lied, and winked at me – whilst trying to fight back a grin. Then we went back downstairs, and lounged around watching cowboy films for the rest of the day. I suppose in this life, you have to take the good with the bad – and this memory encapsualtes that message entirely for me…it was both the worst day, and the very best day. And for that reason I wouldn’t change it, even if I could. 

Well…perhaps…I wouldn’t have went with the lame kicking technique – would have been nice not to be labelled “Jackie Chan” for the rest of my school-days! But yeah, never mind…

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Please Wolverine…don’t stamp on my head.

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“Don’t stamp on my head.”

That’s probably something you’d expect people to automatically know not to do, it’s a given, it’s dangerous – and will probably leave you dead or with some kind of disability – so consequently it is not a thing most of us, as civilized human beings, get in the habit of doing…no matter how much fun WWE wrestlers make it look…

Continue reading “Please Wolverine…don’t stamp on my head.”