Dollop 31 – Happy Birthday Benjamin

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So Cancer claims yet another celebrity this year, with the death of Terry Wogan. I’ve naturally been inspired by him, being someone who presents podcasts and has always been interested in radio. Sadly I never met him and so his passing does not afford me with any points in a game of Death Top Trumps. I have however met Dermot O’leary, so I’ll be quids in when he finally kicks the bucket, as celebrity deaths are worth ten points. Fortunately for Jon Snow, he’s not in work today, so he’s got an extra day to think up a way of trying to anger or upset Gaby Roslin and Ken Bruce on tomorrow’s Channel 4 news. I suppose at this point you might expect me to offer some suggestions of the kind of jokes he could possibly use, but I am not so tasteless and insensitive as to do that kind of thing. That is definitely the reason, and is clearly not because I basically can’t think of anything. I have lots of ideas about how to insult the memory of Terry Wogan in front of his friends on television news – I’m into the 31st day of Dollops now so obviously I’ve reached the habitual unstoppably creative stage – but I am too nice for that kind of thing.

Today is my housemate Ben’s birthday. We were out last night and didn’t get back til late, but I thought it would be a shame if Ben missed too much of his special day, and so, even though I knew he would be seriously hungover, I woke him up early with the gift of music, which was a Happy Birthday Benjamin megamix, courtesy of Spotify.

As mentioned previously on a Young’uns Podcast and in Dollop 22, there are people who have used the digital streaming and downloads phenomenon to try and make as much money as possible by doing as little artistic or actual work as possible.

One day I typed Hartlepool into Spotify, just out of curiosity to see what would come up. I found a song called Get The Goal (Hartlepool United.) I assumed it was an official song paid for and recorded by Hartlepool United, but it soon became clear that this was not the case. Firstly, the singers were American, which seemed to dilute the passion of the song somewhat, although it soon became very apparent that there was absolutely no passion here at all. Not only where the accents American, but the terminology being used was also transatlantic, using words that aren’t even used in UK football: set play, overtime, score zone … They’d basically recorded the exact same song for every football team, not just in the UK leagues but all the world leagues, with the only distinction between the tracks being that they inserted the name of a specific team, although the passion was even more impaired by the fact that they got many of the team names wrong, calling Peterborough United Petersburg United, and proudly proclaiming Derby Country instead of Derby County. There are hundreds of versions of this same song on Spotify.

Typing Happy Birthday Benjamin into Spotify also brought up hundreds of results. There were Happy Birthday Benjamin songs in every genre: country, reggae, jazz, dubstep, even a blues Happy Birthday Benjamin, which seems a little odd given the general nature and mood of the genre.

There are happy birthday songs for every single name, and hundreds of them. It would probably take you a couple of months of solid listening to get through every single happy birthday song for every name in every genre. Perhaps this could be a sponsored event for charity. Or maybe this should be David Blaine’s next endeavour. He may have spent 73 hours stood on top of a 72 foot pillar while having one million volts of electricity applied to his body. He may well have survived 44 days without food or nutrients. But I doubt whether even he would have the endurance levels to tolerate two months listening to every happy birthday song listed on Spotify. And I’d let him have whatever food and drink he wanted; he still wouldn’t be able to get through it. I heard about five of them, and it’s torture.

Well there you go friends, I think I’ve proved that I am able to blog about something other than the act of blogging, which is what Bill was intimating that my blogs had started to become. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I am too arrogant to let this intimation go unchallenged, while on the surface it may seem that my blogs have fallen into the habit of merely referencing my previous blogs, this is not at all the case. Bill has clearly not understood that I’ve been using my blog as an elaborate metaphor. So when I reference my blog, I am in fact not really referencing my blog, but rather constructing a very complex and intricate tapestry of allegory. It will all become clear in the fullness of time. I’ve been planning this project all my life Bill. I have great truths to tell, but you must continue reading and deconstructing in order to ascertain them. I suggest you meditate before reading to best ensure the optimum mindset for absorbing the Dollops fully. For best results, I recommend the Samadhi meditation technique for about thirty minutes beforehand, preferably whilst naked. Good luck in your search. If you’re really serious about uncovering the truth hidden within these Dollops, then I recommend that you might want to listen to all the podcast versions of these Dollops in reverse. But I can’t give any more away than that. I’ve already said too much; my masters will be angry.

I am going to have to leave this Dollop here as we are going out for a meal and some surprise activities for Ben’s birthday. What amazing friends he has. Most people would be completely satisfied to simply receive a ten minute compilation of Happy Birthday Benjamin songs, unless they weren’t called Benjamin, in which case they might find it a little odd.

Back tomorrow, as we enter our second month.

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Dollop 30 – I’ve Got A Habit

Download today’s Dollop in audio form here

Last night I had a dream in which I was receiving blog comments on my phone, reading them and then thinking up replies. In the dream I was also aware that the day was drawing on, and that I really needed to think about something to write about for today’s Dollop. Then I was awoken from my dream by an alert on my phone. It was a comment on yesterday’s Dollop. Both my real world and the dream world are centred around this daily blog project. There is seemingly no escape.

When I do go out with friends I often find that the Dollops are still a factor of the evening. Last night I was out with some friends. There was a lull in the conversation, my brain was feeling a bit foggy, I realised I couldn’t think of anything interesting to say. The only thing I could think of to talk about was what I’d written about in yesterday’s Dollop. I started to talk about the weird game of Death Top Trumps that I’d played in the pub the day before with a completely different set of friends, but I only got a few words in before I was interrupted by my friends who told me that they already knew the story as they’d read the Dollop.

“er … right, OK. Well, what else. I’ve got this new kettle …”

“Yes we know, we read the blog.”

While I was glad that my friends were reading these Dollops, I realised that this meant I now had no actual conversation topics to bring to the table. Anything that was interesting that had happened in my life over the last few days they would already know about. I used to be bristling with anecdotes and conversation topics, but now I am bereft of anything interesting to say that hasn’t already been said in Dollop form. I also don’t feel as if I’m engaging properly in conversation. I am always assessing the merit of a person’s story or conversation topic on the basis of whether it can be used in the next day’s blog. If the story isn’t worthy of being written about then I’ll stop fully listening to that person. I’ll be trying to listen into the other conversations around the table, in case there is something more Dollop worthy being said somewhere else that I might be missing by listening to what the person talking to me is talking about. This project has really started to dominate my life, and it’s turned me into someone who I’m not sure I particularly like. Still, the one thing that hasn’t changed about me is my stubbornness, and so despite all of this, I will still persist with this for the rest of the year.

The comment that awoke me was from Bill.

“I am going to create a new art form. The new art form will be exclusively about the new art form.”

OK, point taken Bill. I know that I seem to spend a great deal of these Dollops deconstructing previous Dollops and talking in detail about the challenge of getting them written and released in time. But as I’ve illustrated earlier in this Dollop, my life has kind of become centred around this project, to the point that I’m even having dreams about writing them and replying to comments, before being woken up by the sound of a blog comment coming through on my phone which I then read and reply to, fall back asleep and have another Dollop dream. Also, because the process of writing these Dollops and releasing them can be so fraught with challenges, the Dollop creating process is probably the most intense activity of my day. Hopefully, the novelty of these challenges will wear off and I’ll get more used to writing and recording on a daily basis from a variety of distraction-laden locations. Then hopefully I’ll be able to just get on with it without feeling a need to talk about the process as much. Or maybe I’ll find myself more and more bereft of things to talk about, and the Dollops will just become more and more meta as time goes on. Is it worth sticking around to find out? Of course it is. That was obviously a rhetorical question.

Apparently it takes 30 days to build a habit in the brain. This should mean that this whole exercise will be habitual as of tomorrow, and in theory should get easier. But I’m wondering what habit I have actually appropriated. My hope was that I’d develop the habit of overcoming writer’s block and being able to quickly get into a mindset of thinking of entertaining, interesting things to write about. I hoped that I would build the daily habit of being creative and I hoped that my creativity would increase with practise. But perhaps this isn’t exactly the habit I have instilled with in my brain. Perhaps I have merely learnt the daily habit of sitting down, typing 1000 words of any old thing, and hitting publish.

Perhaps my creativity hasn’t increased at all, or maybe it has suffered. Or maybe this creative fog I’ve felt over the last few days is part of a neurological process. Maybe my brain is fighting against this new habit, knowing that if I reach the thirty day mark then it will be forced to do this habitually, and I’ll be neurologically wired not to give up on the challenge. If this is the case, then fortunately I have weathered the storm, and come tomorrow I should wake up, spring out of bed, switch on the laptop, my hands trembling with anticipation, barely able to control the urge to type, ideas seeping out of every orifice. I’ll have to clean up the mess that this has caused, but there’ll be time for that later, but right now my entire mind and body is configured to blog. Tomorrow, my friends, David’s Daily Digital Dollop will enter its next stage, one where you’ll be provided with even more spellbinding topics than my new kettle, hard as that might be to conceive. Until tomorrow friends\235/,=:,,=:=,!

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Dollop 29 – Death Top Trumps

Download this Dollop in audio form here

Yesterday’s Dollop posed the greatest challenge out of all the Dollops so far. Firstly, I was in a car with Sean Cooney and our friend Graeme. It was difficult therefore to not get dragged into conversation. I hadn’t seen Graeme since September, and ordinarily I would have spent the journey catching up and chatting, but I was also aware that I really needed to start getting to work on the Dollop. I thought that it would have been a bit much to spend the entire funeral service typing a flippant blog post about wheat intolerance. If I was chastised by anyone, I suppose I could have always claimed that it’s what he would have wanted, but I doubt that anyone would have really bought this. Perhaps if Les had been an avid Dollop reader or listener then this statement might have held some weight, but sadly Les died at the beginning of the year and so probably never really got the chance to read or listen to many of my Dollops, which makes his passing even more tragic. I hope you realise how blessed you are to be alive and able to benefit from receiving daily updates about my kettle, and my wrangles with music streaming services. You are truly blessed.

The difficulty was further increased by the pothole riddled winding roads, causing me to feel sick, as well as my laptop shaking to the point of nearly falling off my knee, plus I was frequently mistyping things due to my hands being shaken up and down while I tried to type.

Then there was the issue of recording the audio version. I had ten minutes at Sean’s house before our taxi came to take us to the pub where we were meeting with some friends. I didn’t have time to set up the tripod, and so I just slumped over the bed with my braille machine and digital recorder, and quickly read the blog post which I’d barely had time to proof read. The recording quality was pretty bad, the reading wasn’t my best, but I managed to get the audio uploaded just as the taxi rounded the corner and arrived at Sean’s.

In the taxi I realised that I’d made some mistakes when adding the link to the audio version of the blog. I then had to spend the taxi journey ignoring everyone and correcting this, which proved very difficult using such a small touch screen device. I had just about succeeded in making the correction when the taxi arrived at the pub. I left the others to sort out the money situation, while I republished the blog post with the correction made.

We entered the pub and were greeted by our friends. I didn’t offer to pay for a round of drinks, because I still needed to put a message on Facebook and Twitter about the fact that the new Dollop was now up. So I let someone else buy the drinks, even though I hadn’t paid anything towards the taxi, and it was therefore definitely my turn to contribute.

Perhaps I still had the poor banker in mind who I spoke to on the phone yesterday who was concerned about the lack of money going into my account this month. Perhaps subconsciously I was avoiding spending money, fearing that it might result in her poor children having to go hungry. My friends might have thought I was being stingy and ignorant, not paying for anything and spending all my time ignoring them and typing on a touch screen device. In reality I was doing all this through pure altruism. It was important that I didn’t let the banker’s children starve, and I was also imagining all the forlorn people sat at home at their computers, constantly hitting refresh, hoping with increasing desperation that today’s Dollop would land on their screens and provide them with that one thing they need to make life seem worthwhile.

After another five minutes of me being antisocial, I sent the Facebook and Twitter posts, and then was able to relax. Given that we’d just been to a funeral, we spent the first half an hour playing an odd but strangely therapeutic and enjoyable game of Death Top Trumps, in which we went around the table and counted up all the people we knew who had died in the last year. Because we’re on the folk scene, we know a lot of people who are in their fifties and older. I think it’s probably quite unusual to be thirty, and having about twenty of your friends die in the space of a year. Still, the advantage of this fact is that you can enjoy a lovely evening playing Death Top Trumps. You can play the straight version where you merely award a point for each dead friend, or you can award more points dependant on age of the person or type of death. I started to enjoy the evening and the game so much that I really began to relax, and wrecklessly bought everyone on the table a round of drinks. Perhaps this was my subconscious trying to get me to kill off the banker’s family, so that I could score some more points the next time we play a round of Death Top Trumps.

I really must go now, because I am once again being very antisocial. My housemate Ben’s parents have arrived from Bournemouth, and I have been ignoring them in order to write this. Fortunately, if anyone feels aggrieved by my ignorance, all they have to do is visit my website, read or listen to these Dollops, and they’ll soon see that the quality of what I’m writing is worth being ignored for. Surely, they will feel honoured to have been an integral part of the writing process, glad to have been snubbed in order to facilitate such quality work.

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Dollop 28 – Disjointed Musings From a Vomit-Inducing Car Journey

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I received a call from my bank today who were wondering if there was something wrong with my account, by which they meant that I hadn’t put any money in it for the last month. I assured them that all was well, and that it was simply because I don’t have any gigs in January. I tried to ease her mind by letting her know that we have a few things on in February, an Australian tour in March, and a UK tour in April. I do feel a bit concerned for her though, as she might be relying on my wages to feed her family. So, please, buy tickets to come and see us in April. Don’t do it for me or my fellow Young’uns, do it for this poor banker. It’s a worthy cause. There. That should help boost ticket sales.

We’ve covered many subjects on this blog so far: God, Richard Dawkins, erotic fiction, killer machines … but the subject that’s got Gary all hot under the collar is sandwiches. He sent me a lengthy passionate rant on the subject after he read yesterday’s Dollop. Gary is unable to eat wheat, and therefore became riled by my flagrant boasting about eating lots of free sandwiches yesterday. I sympathise with Gary’s plight, and have therefore decided that this blog, from now on, will be a sandwich free zone.

Gary is surrounded by constant reminders of his affliction. He lives near a bakery, and wakes each day to the smell of fresh bread. He sees people on his bus commute to work happily munching their way through sandwiches. At lunch time, his colleagues are all eating sandwiches. He cannot escape sandwiches. Finally, after a long hard day’s work he returns home, shuts himself in his house, puts on his nose plugs to block out the smell of bread from the bakery, and goes online to read my daily blog. It’s the one thing he’s been looking forward to all day. It’s his safe haven from the unrelenting sandwich assault. He’s already starting to relax as he wonders what the subject of today’s blog post will be. And then he sees it, flashing up on his screen, and the words cut like a knife. This was one of the few places left where he could feel safe and protected against the reminder of his sandwich troubles, and now even I was writing about the sodding things.

Well, rest assured Gary that from this moment on, I will never mention sandwiches in this blog ever again. Even if I have the most amazing sandwich related anecdote, and it’s the only interesting thing that happened to me all that day, I promise that I will respect your adversity and never mention the things again. I want you to feel that this is a safe place for you Gary, and from now on it will be. I would also appreciate it if you people reading and listening to these Dollops could refrain from mentioning sandwiches in any comments you may leave on these blogs.

The funeral service was really nice. It’s interesting what stories people choose to talk about in the person’s eulogy. It often seems to be the little things that people remember, things that might not seem special or significant at the time but then take on a new and special pertinence and are cherished after the person’s life. The man performing the service told a story about how Les (who’s funeral it was) would never use a map or a satnav, and insisted on working out the route on his own volition. The family fondly recounted that he would be so stubborn about this, despite the fact that they were hopelessly lost. I imagine that at the time this personality trait was not so appreciated by the people in the car. It probably caused arguments. But now, with the benefit of hindsight and because that person is no longer with us, we see the situation in a different light, and remember it with fondness. So it’s interesting that people choose these kinds of stories to fondly remember someone. Death suddenly offers fresh perspective, and we find ourselves celebrating everything about a person. We laugh and smile at their shortcomings, as well as celebrating their achievements. The person is aggrandised. And I don’t mean to suggest that this is in anyway insincere or untrue, but rather that the death of a loved one makes us fully appreciate everything about the person.

I am currently in the car with Sean. He may be feeling a bit put out that I’ve completely ignored him for the entire journey to and from the funeral. But when I’m dead, perhaps he’ll look back on my antisocial ways with fondness, and he’ll recount this journey where I completely ignored him at my eulogy. Although, if that’s the best example he can think of to illustrate what an amazing person I was, then, quite frankly, he should be ashamed of himself. I’d rather they just read a selection of highlights from my Dollops. I wouldn’t recommend using this one. I’ve found it very difficult to concentrate, as the roads are very winding and I feel sick. It’s going to be interesting to see how I manage to cope with this project when I’m on tour. I hope my on-tour Dollops will be more entertaining than this one, but it’s difficult to concentrate on writing when you are being shaken about in a car, and feeling sick. Perhaps if you listen or read this blog post while zooming along a pothole ridden winding road, you will gain an extra level of respect for my abilities. But don’t abandon me on the basis of this substandard Dollop. One day I will be dead and you’ll be looking back at this post with tears in your eyes, wishing that you’d appreciated me more.

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Dollop 27 – Free Sandwiches And Paper Boxes

Download this Dollop in audio form here

{I am writing today’s Dollop from the police station. I arrived at the focus group and was immediately arrested. Apparently, the Hungarian plumber that I was meant to be impersonating was in fact an illegal immigrant. I tried explaining to the police that I was simply pretending to be a gay dyslexic Hungarian plumber, because the actual Hungarian plumber had dropped out of the focus group that my housemate is running at her place of work. But they said that they weren’t going to fall for that old housemate’s focus group dropout trick. They’d been fooled with that one once before apparently.

I tried explaining to them who I really am. I pointed them in the direction of my daily blog, hoping to prove that I am who I say I am, but apparently my blog is too full of wild fabrications for them to trust anything I say, and so it was immediately discredited as supporting evidence. In fact they immediately dismissed anything I said to them, because they said that I’d spent my blog posts building up a series of false identities. As they pointed out to me, my blog post from two days ago was full of fabricated identities. I’d claimed that I was a pilot for EasyJet, and I’d faked a number of award wins, including World’s Most Sexiest Blind Man, and World’s Most Intelligent Blind Man. Stephen Hawking was contacted, and he told the police that he’d never heard of me and that my quote from him was bogus. Likewise, they contacted thousands of glamour models, but no one recognised my name. When they showed them a photo of me, most of them laughed derisively at the notion that they’d have considered me a worthy winner of the World’s Most Sexiest Blind Man award. As they pointed out to the police, they would have naturally given that accolade to David Blunkett.
They also knew that I was good at impersonating people, after they heard my George Formby impression on Dollop 16. Basically, they told me that, rather than helping me, my blog posts had created even more suspicion and doubt around my name.

They’ve also got in contact with Spotify to inform them that I might not be the real David Eagle after all, but a gay dyslexic Hungarian plumber. They’ve also asked Spotify to provide them with all the songs I’ve ever played, as they are looking to see if they can find evidence that I listen to an above average level of Hungarian music for a UK citizen. This is terrible news for me and my lawyer, as last Saturday I had a marathon Béla Bartók listening session. It’s an annual event that I’ve privately enjoyed on 23rd January for the last twelve years. I load up the ten hour playlist, and shut myself in my bedroom, bask in the music of this fine Hungarian composer, while munching my way through home-made Goulash. There’s nothing much going on in the month of January, and I find my Bartók goulash days give me something to look forward to after all the Christmas and New Year’s revelry.

Fortunately, none of this really happened. It was another of my wild fabrications that the police at the police station accused me of, except they didn’t because the police are also one of my wild fabrications – come on, keep up. I made all that up because I thought that a fictitious story about being arrested might be more interesting than how my day actually panned out.

There was no need to pretend to be a refugee or immigrant. The focus group was piloting some training courses and games that the company is developing. The day started with an icebreaker game in which we had to introduce ourselves and then make three statements, two true and one false. This immediately brought me out of my comfort zone because obviously I’m really not used to lying and making things up.

We then had to do a team exercise, which involved making boxes out of paper. There were all sorts of rules about the size and shape of the box, how the corners should be folded, how much paper should be used for one box. We also had to make decisions about how much paper we wanted to buy from the supplier in advance, calculating potential profit and loss. To be honest, I’d kind of zoned out a little bit, because it was nearly 3pm, and I still needed to get home and write today’s Dollop, and I didn’t have any ideas of what to write about because I was hoping that maybe the focus group might provide me with some material. But the only material I’d been given so far was paper with which I was meant to make boxes, although I hadn’t managed to follow the visual instructions about how to fold the pieces of paper, so immediately my team were one man down, as I had no idea how to make the boxes.

We were told by the course leader that we should treat this like a real-world task, and act in the way that we would if this was a proper job. Well, if this was a real-world situation then I’d be asking myself some pretty searching questions, like how on earth have I ended up in a job that involves making boxes out of pieces of paper? What possible use could these flimsy boxes actually be to anyone? Who is our customer? How the hell did I get this job? Surely I should have failed the interview. When the interviewer said “how are you when it comes to making boxes out of very thin flimsy bits of paper?” At that point I’d have realised that I’d walked into the wrong room, apologised for wasting their time, and asked them which floor the interviews for male lap dancers were being held on.

So, while my fellow team members made boxes out of bits of paper, I spent the time eating the free sandwiches, and thought about what I could write about today. When the task was completed, we were asked to rate our performance and say how well we thought we’d done. I thought I’d done pretty well. I’d eaten loads of free sandwiches and come up with a joke about listening to Bartók, while my hapless team mates had spent their time making boxes out of flimsy pieces of paper. In truth, I’d thought that I’d come out of this exercise with a lot more to show for it than my team mates. But I don’t think that was quite the answer she was looking for.

I’m not really sure how much my presence made a positive difference to the event, but Elsa seemed grateful and I sort of enjoyed the novelty of the afternoon. And I still managed to get back home and write – what I think is – a decent Dollop. Tomorrow, I’m off to a funeral, and there’ll be free sandwiches there too, so I think my life is going pretty well at the moment. Try not to be too envious.

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Dollop 26 – Dyslexic Gay Hungarian Plumber

Download this Dollop in audio form here

I’ve been roped into something by my housemate Elsa. The company she works for are doing a focus group, and someone has just dropped out at the last minute. Apparently the names need to be registered today, and so, out of desperation, she has asked me to fill the gap. So tomorrow I am going along to her place of work and participating in a focus group.

I have absolutely no idea what the focus group is for or about. She was just about to register the names when the person called to drop out, meaning that she had to quickly find someone else, and so all I received from her was a plea via text. I did point out to her that I probably wouldn’t fit her demographic, but she simply text back saying that she was desperate. This means that I’m probably going to have to do some acting tomorrow, as The company she works for provides training for immigrants and refugees. Is she expecting me to pretend to be a refugee? You’re probably thinking that this is highly unlikely, but you haven’t met Elsa. She is probably going to come home this evening and I’ll have to spend hours being prepped about the kind of person I am meant to be, my background, social and cultural status.

“So here’s the thing David. I need you to be a gay plumber who’s recently emigrated from Hungary.”

“You mean like when we do role-play when Ben’s away for the night?”

“Well, kind of, but not exactly. I’d strongly urge you to keep your clothes on tomorrow.”

“OK. Anything else I should know?”

“Yes, I also need you to drop the blind thing.”

“Drop the blind thing?”

“Yes, the gay plumber from Hungary isn’t blind.”

“But I am. In fact, as we established in yesterday’s Dollop, being blind is what I’m best known for.”

“Yes, but he isn’t. Keep up David, we haven’t got long. Now, let’s learn some Hungarian. Then we need to prime you with plumbing knowledge.”

“Could I not just say that I’m dyslexic, and I meant to write on the form that I am a Hungarian plumper, not a plumber? Then I wouldn’t need to spend the entire night learning about plumbing.”

“OK, good idea. So you’re a gay dyslexic Hungarian plumper. Drop the blindness, and get learning the Hungarian for fat, overweight and obese, and everything should go swimmingly.”

“Excellent. What could possibly go wrong? Except … as we discovered in yesterday’s Dollop, the Urban Dictionary describes plumping as when men go out to a bar or club with the sole purpose of hooking up with or hitting on fat, overweight, or preferably obese women. But I am supposed to be gay. And I don’t think we can get away with using the dyslexia trick more than once.”

“Well you could be a pioneer in the plumping world. You are a plumping revolutionary, campaigning to make plumping more of an inclusive, egalitarian pastime. Perhaps that could be your reason for coming to Britain, to take your campaign out of Hungary and to the rest of the world.”

“Yes, good one. A plumping pioneer; I like it. I am like the Martin Luther King of the plumping world. I am modernising this once sexist, heterosexual hobby, and making it more universally applicable and more politically correct. Well, as politically correct as going out and hunting fat people can be.”

On the plus side, at least I’ll potentially get another chapter for my book The Blagger’s Guide to Blagging. Chapter one, football, chapter two, dislexic gay Hungarian plumpers. I think chapter two might be a bit more niche, but still …

I am trying to write and record 365 consecutive daily blog posts and podcasts, but people and things keep getting in the way. Today it was my tax return. Tomorrow it’s pretending to be a gay Hungarian plumper, and on Thursday I’m going to a funeral. Elsa also wants me to watch the BBC television adaptation of War and Peace with her later tonight. You see what I have to put up with? It is very inconsiderate of people to inconvenience me like this, by insisting I pay tax, begging me to participate in focus groups, inviting me to watch TV adaptations of classic novels, and dying. What will they think of next to try and thwart my efforts? But I shall succeed in spite of it all.

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Dollop 25 – David Eagle Blind

Download today’s Dollop in audio form here

When you type David Eagle into Google (something which obviously I’ve never been so egocentric to do – I’m getting this from other people, you understand) you get a list of related search queries. These are based on what other people have previously searched for, in addition to the name David Eagle. At the top of the list is “David Eagle blind.” The same thing happens for the search term The Young’uns. So it seems that “blind” is the most commonly used word to follow after my name and the name of my folk group.

I’m not sure in what context these searches are being made. Are they watching the Young’uns live and thinking, “that one on the left looks a bit different. Do you think he’s blind? Well this ballad’s starting to get on my tits anyway, so a Google search will be a welcome distraction.” Or Are they typing David Eagle blind in order to be taken to the correct David Eagle. Is “David Eagle blind” viewed as the most expedient way of getting to me? I’d much rather it be “David Eagle sex god,” or “David Eagle genius,” rather than the majority of people plumping for the disability tag.

The spellchecker is unhappy with my use of the word plumping, and is telling me that it is incorrect. I started to doubt myself so did a Google search, and it’s David Eagle one, spellchecker nil, helping corroborate why “Davidd Eagle genius” would be just as valid a search term as “David Eagle blind.”

During my plumping search I also came upon the Urban Dictionary’s definition for the term “plumping”.

“(1) When one or more men go out to a club, bar, or McDonald’s for the sole purpose of hitting on and/or hooking up with overweight, fat, or, preferably, obese women.

(2) A great american pasttime, also known as “fat macking”
” Hey man, me and John are gonna go plumping tonight, would you like to accompany us?”

“I would LOVE to attend, I thoroughly enjoy plumping!”

I like the fact that they’ve included some dialogue between two characters to help us see how the word might be used. I don’t want to be snobby and prejudice here, but the way these two characters are speaking to each other seems at odds with the activity they are about to partake in. Their speech seems too formal to fit with the subject matter: “Would you like to accompany us?” “I would LOVE to attend, I thoroughly enjoy plumping!” Their way of addressing each other is rather formal and refined when you consider that they are essentially just about to crawl the streets to have sex with chubby women, unless they get really lucky and bag an obese one.

Hello to anyone who’s stumbled across this website when searching for David Eagle plump or David Eagle obese. You’ve got the wrong David Eagle, but you are very welcome. I am the blind David Eagle. That’s what I’m best known for – being blind.

Currently, when you search for “David Eagle blind” you get lots of interviews that I’ve done in which I am asked about being blind, as well as all the various blog posts I’ve written where I’ve referenced being blind. However, I’ve realised that there is scope for changing what comes up in search terms, and perhaps I can help create a better image for myself than simply being identified most easily by my blindness. Baring in mind that most of the pages linked to in the search results were written by me, I can set an agenda here. Obviously Google gives the searcher a bit of a taster of the content on the particular page listed, and so at the moment when you search for “David Eagle blind” you get a line of text for each result, such as, “So, baring that in mind, all that this exercise proves is that I am able to search an inbox, which ironically, a non-blind David Eagle imposter could more easily  …” which is an extract taken from my 21st Dollop. So here are some things I would like Google to show people when they search for David Eagle blind. Hopefully by writing this, my wish will become reality.

David Eagle has been unanimously crowned World’s Sexiest Blind Man, in a vote cast by thousands of the world’s top glamour models. That’s right, even sexier than David Blunkett.

David Eagle has won the award for most intelligent blind man for the 25th year running. “Thoroughly well deserved, the obvious winner,” said Stephen Hawking. “I’d take my hat off to him , but I can’t, for obvious reasons. That was a joke, and you can’t call me out for being sick, because I am Stephen Hawking who is saying this. If it was someone else doing a cheep joke about my terrible physical disability then that would be different, but I am Stephen Hawking, and I am saying this, which is therefore allowed. Remember to put this bit in quotes when you’re writing it up so that people know that it’s definitely a quote from me and not a sick joke by a journalist.”

David Eagle might be blind, but that hasn’t stopped him becoming a commercial airline pilot. “We are delighted to welcome David Eagle onto the team,” said Stelios Haji-Ioannou, boss of EasyJet . “He is the first blind pilot in history, and we believe that this is a landmark moment for equality of opportunity, and even more importantly, it means that we can pay him less because we get a special equality and diversity grant from the government. Being a budget airline, we are looking to employ more pilots who are blind, helping keep the costs down for us and our customers. We are also offering a voluntary blinding for all of our current non-blind pilots who are worried about losing their jobs due to our new pilot recruitment drive to find even more blind people. We believe that the voluntary blinding scheme should allay any sighted pilots fears about being made redundant by this new and exciting initiative. We are truly humbled and honoured to have the world’s most intelligent and sexiest blind man working for us, although we are a little concerned that he might distract our air stewardesses, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, providing David doesn’t crash into the bridge, killing us all.”

There, that should give Google something to work with, and should confuse quite a lot of people who search for “David Eagle blind.”

Feel free to leave a comment below with your own suggestions, as this will help increase the likelihood of getting this specific blog post to number one for the search term “David Eagle blind,” resulting in the confusion of even more people.

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Dollop 24 How To Improve The Beatles, Queen and Elvis With A Single Mouse Click

So yesterday we discovered that there is an online tool for bloggers designed to let you plagiarise from the Internet. All you need to do is paste some text from someone else’s blog and click generate, and the words will magically change and reorder to create a differently worded article, but essentially comprising the same content. Yesterday I tried this with some fiction, and the results were pretty good; you might even get away with it. So, with that in mind, today I take things further and write three pop masterpieces, simply by copying the lyrics of an established hit and clicking generate on the Article Generator. So I borrowed from the Beatles, Queen and Elvis and then recorded the results, changing the tune ever so slightly to further disguise the original. Here are the results. This time next year I’ll be a millionaire; or in prison for plagiarism.

Download my masterpieces here

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Dollop 23 – Exceptionally chilly grease and placated little cats

Download the Dollop in audio form here

Still no explanation as to whether me being listed as one of Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman’s favourite artists was deliberate, or – as I suspect – accidental, and they really meant to mention my folk group The Young’uns. A tweet has a limit of 140 characters, and so they were only able to list a few names, which makes my mention even more of an honour, especially since I am listed first, and given that further down the list is Maddy Prior. I included Kathryn and sean’s twitter handle in my tweet promoting yesterday’s Dollop. They gave the Tweet a like and a retweet, but did not make any further comment, so I am still none the wiser. So maybe I’ll just have to stop being so modest and accept that my solo work with all its pithy parodies is on a par with the vast catalogue of Maddy Prior, one of folk music’s most notorious singers.

I am writing this blog post on the bus. I need to get used to writing these Dollops on the move, given that I’m going to have to do more of this when we start gigging again. The writing process is impeded slightly by the bus being quite rattly, which causes my hands to shake and accidentally hit keys on the laptop. Perhaps there is something in the idea that if you put an infinite number of bloggers on a infinite number of shaky buses, then one of them will manage to produce a semi-cohesive blog post just from the random rattling-bus-induced keyboard presses. But I am not that blogger. It would be good if I could just sit on a rattly bus with my fingers poised over the keys and simply let the magic happen. But alas not, it seems as if I’m going to have to continue relying on the more conventional method of actually using my brain to write these blogs. Oh well.

I did however receive an interesting spam comment on my website, which may offer a solution of how to write a daily blog without having to be creative or putting any effort in.

“I see your website needs some fresh articles, i know writing takes a lot of time, but there is solution for this hard task, simply type in google: Mamjo’s article tool.”

Well, I have heeded this commenter’s badly written words and done a Google search. It turns out that this tool works whereby you take an article from the Internet, paste it into this generator, and it will change the order of words around, add different words and then create a new article.

“This is first multi-languages article spinner that actually understands that words have different meanings, for you as customer that means that you will be able to create human readable articles with single click of your mouse.”

Well, all that sounds very impressive, however you would have assumed that the people behind this enterprise might have wanted to make sure that there advert was written properly and grammatically correct, given what it’s advertising. It appears as if they have probably used their machine to generate the sales pitch for their product, which I think was a bit of a daft move. However, in fairness, it’s not terribly written, and with a cursory read and some mild correcting you could maybe get away with it.

Unfortunately, you have to hand over your credit card details in order to take advantage of this tool. However, there are other article generators out there that are free.

So, out of curiosity, here is the erotic fiction extract from the book Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan, as featured in Dollop 10. This is the original text:

“I slide my hand behind her head and bring my mouth down on hers in a hard, demanding kiss that stirs up a raw hunger. A kaleidoscope of emotions rip through me but the prime one is need. It spreads through me, not slowly, but like wildfire burning everything in sight. I feel the softness of her body pressing through the thin fabric of my shirt, the erotic slide of her tongue against mine, and desire escalates to a dangerous blaze. Her arms are flung around my neck and she purrs deep in her throat like a thoroughly contented kitten. Rock-hard, I feel her tug my shirt out of my trousers and slide her hands over my skin, clearly greedy to touch me. And I am equally greedy to touch her. My fingers now on her buttons, loosening them, giving me access to the smooth creamy skin revealed by the lace of her bra. My body craves hers. It is a visceral, physical need that drives all thought from my brain.”

And now here is the newly generated content from the Article Spinner:

“I slide my hand behind her head and bring my mouth down on hers in a hard, requesting kiss that mixes up a crude craving. A kaleidoscope of feelings tear through me yet the prime one is need. It spreads through me, not gradually, but rather like fierce blaze smoldering everything in sight. I feel the delicateness of her body squeezing through the slender fabric of my shirt, the suggestive slide of her tongue against mine, and seek raises to a risky burst. Her arms are flung around my neck and she murmurs somewhere down in her throat such as a completely placated little cat. Rock-hard, I feel her pull my shirt out of my trousers and slide her hands over my skin, obviously ravenous to touch me. What’s more, I am just as ravenous to touch her. My fingers now on her catches, releasing them, giving me access to the smooth velvety skin uncovered by the trim of her bra. My body pines for hers. It is an instinctive, physical need that drives all idea from my mind.”

Well, I don’t think that that is too bad actually. There is a creepy science fiction-like bit when the woman seemingly starts shrinking. “I feel the delicateness of her body squeezing through the slender fabric of my shirt,” although, the man doesn’t seem too perturbed by this turn of events. I quite like the plot twist that using this Article Spinner provides. While it may not be a full solution to creating an entire blog post, it has the potential to fuel ideas. Well, at least it’s given me something to write about today anyway.

I will leave you with one final modified extract from my 21st Dollop, in which I describe a dream I had where I was the victim of an anal cavity search by a member of airport security. Here’s the initial extract:

“The man put on his glove and lowered my trousers and pants. The man then began to apply some very cold lubricant to the parting between my buttocks. The man, slowly began to insert a finger into my anus.”

And here’s the newly created content courtesy of the Article generator:

“”The man put on his glove and brought down my trousers and pants. The man then started to apply some exceptionally chilly grease to the separating between my rear end. The man, gradually started to embed a finger into my rear-end.”

It sounds even more unpleasant now.

This is another example of machines trying to pretend that they are human. The sales pitch claims that you will be able to fire your writers, because the generator will be able to produce your articles as if they were written by actual humans. I am now being contacted by a machine which is offering to write my blog for me. If the machine had had the foresight to have bothered to read my blog, then it would know that I am on to them, having already uncovered their evil plan to eventually overthrow the humans and become supreme rulers of earth.

If you fancy having some fun with this odd little tool then you can find it here.

Thank goodness I can turn the laptop display off, otherwise the person sat next to me on the bus might have been a bit freaked out if they glanced over my shoulder to see a load of text about anal cavity searches. Or even worse, they might have been turned on by it, and wanted to meet up and be my “special friend.”

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Dollop 22 – My Genius Has Been Recognised

Download this Dollop in audio form here

I was given a nice surprise today when I got a notification from Twitter saying that I had been mentioned by the excellent folk duo Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman. They had been asked to name some of their favourite groups/artists, and I was cited as one of them. I assume that perhaps they meant to mention my folk group The Young’uns – given that all the other names in the tweet were folk – but accidentally mentioned my Twitter account instead, meaning that I am now listed as one of Kathryn and Sean’s favourite music groups/artists.

Perhaps it was deliberate, and I shouldn’t be so modest. After all, it’s not like I haven’t shown promise as a solo artist. Maybe they heard my George Formby parody from Dollop 16, and I was instantly catapulted to the top of their list. And I am top of the list, because my name is the first name mentioned in their tweet, suggesting that I was the first person they thought of when it came to naming their favourite artist/group.

Or maybe it was those jingles with my eleven-year-old niece Lucy that featured on the first four audio Dollops. Or perhaps they were taken by my generic football anthem.

Or have they listened to my album of meditation music?

Or could it have been when they heard my Eskimo Kissing song?

Or was it when they heard my Leona Lewis parody?

When I first received the tweet, I thought it was a bit strange, but now looking back through my impressive musical back catalogue, I see no reason why I shouldn’t be their favourite artist. Anyway, whatever their avenue in to discovering my musical genius, I am glad to have been recognised by Kathryn and Sean.

They will therefore be pleased to hear that I plan on releasing another song next week. It is all about a maths student dealing with relationship problems, which he tries to solve through the medium of maths. So just your average pop song then.

Given that I’ve peppered this blog post with a load of songs which you may have clicked on and listened to, it would be presumptuous of me to take up any more of your time with my usual 1700 words blog post, so I shall leave today’s Dollop here, and get back to work creating my next musical masterpiece.

Thanks for reading and listening. I’m now into my fourth week of dolloping, and it’s gratifying to see how many of you are still accessing them. A reminder that you can subscribe to the podcast version of these Dollops and have me reading it to you, and occasional extra bits thrown in as well. Subscribe with ITunes here, or here’s the RSS feed if you want to subscribe with some other subscribey thingy. Back tomorrow.

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