Goodbye Goodbye Goodbye, Let’s Not Be ‘Avin You

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When Theresa May and the Tory government sacked 20000 police staff, the police federation warned her how this act would put the British public in danger. Her response was to rebuke the police federation, saying, “this kind of scaremongering does nobody any good.”

Next week Theresa May will no doubt reassert her usual claim that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party are a threat to national security, largely because of Corbyn’s reticence to murdering millions of people in a hypothetical nuclear attack. Now you might be thinking that this is double standards from Theresa May, after all, surely this is an example of scaremongering? But in fairness to Theresa, her issue is with the kind of scaremongering that involves experts raising their concerns about the threat to our safety by axing 20000 police, and she’s right, after all, I challenge any of you reading this to give me one example of something that happened recently where more police might have been useful. Go on, wrack your brains. Exactly. It was “the kind of scaremongering that does nobody any good”, wasn’t it? In contrast, Teresa May’s scaremongering is clearly valid, because she is genuinely concerned about the important things like how we’d respond to nuclear Armageddon, and ensuring that if some maniac destroyed our country then at least we’d get our chance to kill millions of ordinary innocent people before we die – which is only fair, is it not?

Now, I’m going to let you into a little secret, give you a glimpse behind the curtain, and explain to you that what I did there was to employ sarcasm and a facetious tone to help make my point. I know, it was rather subtle and clever wasn’t it? Go back and read it again, and you’ll see what I mean.

Surely axing 20000 police is more of a threat to our security than Corbyn’s reluctance to carry out mass murder? Labour have pledged to increase the police force by 10000. These are the very people who have worked so amazingly over the last few months to protect us under the awful circumstances of Manchester and London. And these are the very people that Teresa May sacked because, in her own words, “crime is down.” So she axed 20000 police jobs to celebrate. Did she never contemplate that the reduction in crime might have had something to do with us having an effective police force? What next? “Pupil grades have gone up, so I’m axing 20000 teachers.” This kind of Tory logic is utterly risible, or at least it would be if it weren’t so serious. Obviously there’s no knowing whether more police could have prevented any of the deaths and injuries in London on Saturday night, but surely an increased police force stands more chance?

Anyway, my message to all of you is, if you want to prevent a load of nurses from losing their jobs, you better get ill quickly and stay ill for longer, because if Theresa spots that patients are getting better too fast, or that hospital admissions have gone down even just a bit, even if it’s only for a week, then she’ll start sacking nurses. Come on everyone, it’s time to get ill for Britain! In fairness though to Theresa, she doesn’t necessarily want to cut the number of nurses; she just wants to keep cutting their pay. And what’s wrong with that? We get to keep the nurses but we pay them less – bargain. I’m fed up with switching on the news and hearing nurses complaining about NHS cuts and pay. The way they keep wining on about it you’d have thought it was a matter of life and death. It makes me sick! Not sick enough though to go and see a nurse, because quite frankly, I’d rather stay at home and die than have to spend time in a place full of whinging nurses. Don’t those greedy money-centred bastards realise that times are tough? We had a recession, in case they don’t remember, and we spent all the money on important things like giving loads of money to the people who caused us to not have any money.

But what kind of a system is it where your reward for doing your job well is to be sacked? I suppose on the plus side, if the Conservatives do win the election then Theresa May will presumably respond by sacking a load of Tory MPs; that is of course providing they haven’t already been suspended for election fraud. In fact, maybe the police force is being slashed so that they don’t have the necessary resources and available time to properly investigate all these corrupt Tory MPs. She discovered that crime was down and started to panic, and had to act fast before the police found a use for all their newly-acquired free time. For awhile she tried going out under cover and bribing teenagers to do some shoplifting just to keep the bobbies busy and off the scent, but it was clear that this ruse wasn’t going to be enough.

Or maybe Theresa axed all those police because she genuinely thought it was what the British people wanted, or at least the Tory supporters anyway. Maybe she got confused when reading all those comments in right-wing newspapers from people ranting about how much they hate the “PC brigade.” Maybe this is all just a simple misunderstanding, and once we’ve explained the semantics to her, she’ll apologise and reinstate the 20000 police jobs.

David’s Daily Digital Dollop: Dollop 241 – Mumford’s The Word

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If you listened to yesterday’s Dollop including the phone conversation with my friend about plumbs, I want to point out that I don’t normally record my phone conversations and archive them, the recording only existed because I was recording the Dollop when she called. I don’t record every conversation I have just in case it comes in handy for a Dollop. If I did do that then it would be a bit tragic that in the space of 240 days, I have only deemed a single three minute conversation about plumbs worthy of inclusion in these Dollops, although, let’s be honest, it was a quality three minutes.

Most of the time I am not recording, including right now, unless you’re listening to the audio version in which case obviously I am recording, but only the sound of my own voice reading this out, which doesn’t count. What I mean is that I’m not recording what is going on as I write this Dollop, which is a discussion about van insurance. I am in The Young’uns van, and we need to renew the insurance in a couple of weeks. Sorry, I’ve reeled you in and got you all interested, haven’t I? But alas, you shall never get to hear the conversation, because I’m not recording it. Anyway, I won’t cruelly keep you in suspense any longer; we are going to renew it with the same insurance company we’re currently using. You can rest easy now.

Tomorrow we play Towersey Festival. I am looking forward to finding out whether they published my contribution to their festival programme. If you remember from Dollop 188 a couple of months ago (what am I saying? of course you remember) I was asked by the person putting the written programme together for Towersey festival to write something “quirky” for the programme. So I wrote them a very lengthy and elaborate pun laden joke about computer fonts, which I included in Dollop 188. For some unfathomable reason, I did not receive an email back from them. If they haven’t included it in the programme, then I have a good mind to get my own back on the festival by taking up a considerable amount of our performance delivering an extra long version of the joke. If, for some incomprehensible reason, the font routine fails to get the hysterical reaction it warrants, then I can just read out Ben’s text about plumbs on top of the fridge which seems to be a sure-fire hit.

Last week, I received another unusual request from a folk festival. The person responsible for compiling the written programme for Bromyard festival emailed some questions for me to answer. Normally, questions are along the lines of “how did you meet?” “How did you get into folk music?” questions about our festival appearance, upcoming tour or album, or they try to be quirky, “if you could be any animal, what animal would you be?” although they don’t like it when I out-quirk them with a lengthy and elaborate joke about computer fonts. I’m coming to you, Towersey festival, and there will be repercussions if my amazing font joke isn’t in your programme.

The person compiling the programme for Bromyard festival however has managed to enter uncharted territory with his line of questioning. Although he’s putting his questions to The Young’uns, I don’t think he’s particularly bothered about us; I think he’d much rather be interviewing Mumford And Sons. Here are the list of questions he’s sent me to answer for the programme.

1. Between 2012-14, the likes of Mumford and Sons brought folk stylings right into the middle of popular culture. Why do you think that this happened, and what was the impression among traditional folk musicians and fans?

2. Do you like the Mumfords?

3. Did you notice a change in the people who were interested in your music, due to the rise of the Mumfords?

4. The mumfords seemed to assume the role of pop/rock poster boys during that period on both sides of the Atlantic. Their 2015 follow-up seemed to fall flat, but pop music seemed to have moved on as quickly as it had adopted them and pop folk. Why do you think this happened? And why do you think it happened so quickly?

5. Do you look back on that time as a period that you miss? Or one that was always destined to come and go?

6. What has that brief window of popularity had on the folk scene?

7. If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?

Obviously that last question wasn’t genuine; it was yet another example of my amazing comedy skills. Their last question was actually: “what’s next for folk music?”

I don’t know who this person thinks I am. It’s as if he really wanted to get an interview with Mumford and Sons but wasn’t able to, so he just asked us the Mumford and Sons’ questions instead.

Or it’s as if he thinks I’m some kind of musicologist or cultural soothsayer, asking such broad questions as “what’s next for folk music.” He also seems to be under the impression that I owe my folk music career to Mumford and Sons, as it’s clearly thanks to them that I have an audience.

He also seems to imagine that me, and all the other folk artists on the scene, all look back wistfully at 2012 to 2014, nostalgically remembering those glory years of folk, where we all got helicoptered into gigs, and every folk artist had at least three groupies each every gig; before the Mumfords, we generally had to settle with just one groupy a night. But, even while we were in the middle of it all – eating caviar, having sex with beautiful fans who, let’s face it, only slept with us because they thought it might bring them closer to Mr Mumford or one of his sexy sons – we knew that it could never last. When we heard the Mumfords follow-up album, we knew the fun was over. The fans began to lose interest in the Mumfords and consequently us, the caviar ran out, the helicopters stopped coming and we had to go back to travel around in vans,, and we were back where we started, playing to old men with beards once again. Oh, how we yearn for those years.

Something tells me that I’m probably not going to be in the Bromyard festival programme either.

David’s Daily Digital Dollop: Dollop 217 – Everything, Including The Kitchen Sink

David’s Daily Digital Dollop: Dollop 217 – Everything, Including The Kitchen Sink

Today’s Dollop has everything, including the kitchen sink: there’s an epic drama involving watery mash potato, an anecdote about my trip to the shops earlier today, and a tiny preview of The upcoming Young’uns In The Mix taking place at this year’s Folk East festival on 20th August. Come join me in the kitchen my friends.

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David’s Daily Digital Dollop: Dollop 184 – Lost In Translation? Dolloping In Dutch

Today is an audio only Dollop from Belgium.

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David’s Daily Digital Dollop: Dollop 157 – Walk Of Fame

We go on another walk together, upon which you’ll notice that, as a result of my appearance on Springwatch last week, I’m unable to walk down the street with the same kind of anonymity as before.

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David’s Daily Digital Dollop: Dollop 139 – Social Studies And Psycho Cyclists

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After yesterday’s social experiment, in which I walked down the street at 3pm and said “good morning” to people, to see if they would unquestioningly say good morning back, I have been thinking about ways of developing this fascinating social study. Some ppeople would be happy to stick with the tried and tested format which has clearly been a massive success with the audience (I don’t want to brag, but I got 3 Facebook likes for yesterday’s Dollop) but I am not the kind of person who sees that sort of success and then becomes afraid to change and develop things, getting stuck in a rut; I am constantly reinventing myself and evolving. Who knows, the next time I do this new and improved version of the Good Morning game, I might even get four Facebook likes, or, maybe even five! I don’t want to get too carried away, still, I suppose it’s important to aim high and dream big.

“So yesterday’s results indicated that out of everyone who spoke to me in the street, all of them said “good morning” back. Oops, sorry, maybe I should have issued a spoiler alert for those people who hadn’t got around to listening yet, perhaps saving that particular episode for a special occasion; maybe you were planning on having a David’s Daily Digital Dollop party and inviting all your friends to join in the fun with you.

I think that next time I play the game, I should push things even further. The first part will be the same. I will go out onto the street at about 3 in the afternoon, and say good morning to people. Then, when someone says “good morning” back, I will ask them for the time, and then, once the time is given, thank the person and say “good morning” to them again, and see if they still respond with “good morning.” I think this will be both entertaining and a worthwhile social experiment. I would imagine that some people will still say “good morning” the second time, perhaps just out of politeness or maybe simply as an automatic, unthinking response. Perhaps I could then put my findings from this research to a psychologist and we could discuss them on the Dollop. When I first set up David’s Daily digital Dollop, it was very much with the Reithian philosophy in mind, of entertaining, informing and educating. And I’m sure that if you are a regular Dollop reader/listener then you’ll agree that you’ve all learnt some valuable lessons over the last 4 and a half months, even if what you’ve learnt is simply how much of your life you’ve wasted listening to and reading all these hours worth of Dollops; although I think some of you might have suddenly had that collective realisation yesterday – three Facebook likes indeed.

When I was talking to my housemate Ben about yesterday’s social experiment, he reminded me of something that happened when we were both at university together. We were on a walk, and there were lots of cyclists on our route. Every time a cyclist drew level with me, I would wait about a quarter of a second until they were just passing me, and then shout, “excuse me, do you have the time?” Most of the cyclists would look round, surprised. Some would give an apologetic shrug, and others would scowl at me. But quite a few of them actually tried to glance at their watches and shout back. Looking back now, I suppose it was a bit of a reckless thing to do, given that it could have caused a cyclist to have an accident, as they had to look back over their shoulder and then glance at their watch before shouting the time back at us. This is why I was surprised by the amount of cyclists who actually managed to do this.

Ben was trying not to let his amusement show, and kept hiding his face, brimming with tears of laughter at the sight of the suddenly startled cyclists. But then, one time I did it and a man looked back over his shoulder, completely surprised to hear a voice from behind him, and nearly toppled off his bike. Ben involuntarily burst into loud laughter and fell to the ground and began helplessly rolling around in hysterics. Ben’s reaction caused me to also start laughing really loudly. The cyclist threw his bike down and came running towards us, shouting and swearing, and saying that he was going to kill us. Ben, sensing the danger, tried to get up off the ground, grab me and make a run to safety. But he was laughing too hard to manage the getting-up-and-running part, although he did succeed in grabbing me, which caused me to fall to the ground, and we both promptly began to roll to safety, down the hill and into some bushes.

We both lay there while the psycho cyclist yelled that he would find us and sort us out. Fortunately, the man must have eventually got back on his bike, because the shouting stopped, and we deemed it safe to crawl out of the bushes.

Hopefully the man doesn’t find this Dollop and decide to come after me, because it would be very easy for him to find me, given that my gigs with The Young’uns are advertised very publicly all over the Internet, plus I broadcast what I’m doing every day in this blog. If the man does still feel angry about that episode and wants to get his revenge on me, then it would be simple for him to strike. If he was able to be a little patient and wasn’t in a big hurry to get his revenge, then he could simply wait until I was in his local area and strike then, saving him the need to even travel. I mean, he’s waited for twelve years, so what does another few months matter?

Please, if you care about me at all, then make sure you don’t mention this Dollop to anyone you know who is a cyclist, especially if they were likely to have been cycling around the Scarborough area in 2004. Thank you.

So, providing that I’ve not been killed by a psycho cyclist, (or by anyone else who wanted to kill me and decided that now was the perfect time to do so, given that they’d likely get away with it because all the suspicion would be focused on cyclists in Scarborough) I’ll be back tomorrow.

Dollop 78 – Young Irish Nuns And Experimental Jazz

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After my blogging marathon on the Wednesday, we headed to our Melbourne gig, which was taking place in a jazz club. There were signs on the building declaring itself to be the home of jazz in Melbourne. Looking down the list of other acts who had appeared at the place seemed to indicate that we were the first folk group to have played there. Had they gotten us confused with another group with a similar name? Maybe there’s an experimental jazz trio called The Young Nuns, and the poor dyslexic secretary is going to get fired tomorrow morning when her mistake is realised.

Are we going to have to pretend to be an experimental jazz trio called the Young Nuns in order to save a dyslexic secretary’s job? I suppose you might think that this would be far too difficult a task, given that we sing unaccompanied folk songs, but surely we could just throw in a few discords and do a bit of scatting. After all, I know a thing or two about the art of scatting, having read one of the most popular tomes on the subject, The Dooby Do’s And Dooby Don’ts Of Scatting. If anyone contests that what we’re singing is experimental jazz, we could simply argue that the fact that they don’t recognise it as experimental jazz proves just how experimental it actually is, so much so that they’ve heard nothing like this in the experimental jazz world before. A watertight argument.

But it wasn’t the fact that we weren’t a jazz group that we needed to worry about, there was another surprise for us. Five minutes before we were due to go on, we saw one of the programmes. It turned out that they knew we weren’t a jazz group, as the programme described us as a folk group. We breathed a sigh of relief, although I think we were all a little disappointed that we wouldn’t get to our flailing acapella jazz solos that we’d spent the last two hours practising. But just because we weren’t expected to play jazz, it didn’t mean that we were out of the woods yet. Closer inspection of the programme highlighted another area for concern. The programme didn’t just describe us as a folk group, but said in big bold letters that we were an Irish folk group singing Irish songs. This is completely untrue; we don’t sing any Irish songs. There was no time to practise a completely new repertoire in under five minutes; we’d need at least ten minutes to pull that off.

Our MC in Melbourne was completely the opposite to the Port Fairy MCs, who spent twenty minutes chatting to us before our gig, writing down as much information about us as they could for their introduction. Our MC tonight had only popped in fleetingly an hour before we were due to start, and hadn’t asked us any questions at all. We’d just been instructed to listen out for the MC’s intro and then come onto the stage directly from our green room. There wasn’t anyone around to correct them about the fact that we weren’t an Irish folk group and that we wouldn’t be singing any traditional Irish songs, and even if there had been someone to tell, we were due on in three minutes so there wasn’t anything anyone could really do. It’s not as if they’d pull the plug on the gig due to the revelation.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m afraid the gig tonight has been cansilled. We were going to fire our secretary who was meant to book the experimental jazz trio, The Young Nuns, but then we let her off the hook when she informed us that the group she’d accidentallly booked were in fact an Irish folk group, and that it would be the day before Saint Patrick’s day. So we went ahead with the gig. But now we’ve just learnt that they’re not even Irish, they’re English. I know, I can completely understand why your booing. Believe me, I am just as livid as you, and I’ll fire the secretary first thing in the morning. Now I could let the Young’uns come out and play for you, but none of us want that do we? We’re not having this place polluted by English folk.”

Surely, the MC would have read our biog and has realised that we’re not an Irish band?

“Ladies and gentlemen,” came the voice of the MC, “please welcome, all the way from Ireland, The Young’uns!”

Fortunately, it turned out that most of the audience knew more than our MC and the gig organisers, and were aware that we were English. We asked how many people in the audience were expecting an Irish band singing Irish songs, and no one said yes. In fact, most of the audience knew we were from Teesside, and there were quite a few people who originally came from North East England at the gig. It felt like we were playing to an audience who’d seen us many times before, even though none of them had. Quite a few people had seen us at the Port Fairy festival last weekend, and others had heard us on the radio or read about us. People were shouting out requests for songs, and gratifyingly they were songs that we actually sang, so it was evident that we were known by the people there. It was really heartening to note that we’d travelled thousands of miles to the other side of the world, yet eighty people had turned up at a week day gig to see us, and clearly knew who we were.

There was no mention from the MC about the Irish thing, even though we frequently joked about it on stage. His intro to our second half was simply, “ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back to the stage, The Young’uns.” I thought that he might have made a jocular reference to the error, and maybe introduced us by saying something like, “ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, all the way from Brazil, The Young’uns!” But alas not.

Having said all this, it was a great gig and a really good venue. Everyone at the venue was really friendly and accommodating, and fed us the most delicious food before the gig. The mix-up in the programme and with the MC didn’t impact negatively on the gig at all, in fact if anything it gave us something to talk about and served to get the audience on our side straight away. I mention this in case there’s someone from the venue reading, who has taken this blog as a complaint. It’s not. However, it’s more interesting to write about mix-ups and oddities than it is for me to write about nice food and friendly staff. But, if you do want me to blog about how brilliant a venue you run, then we can discuss a fee. I am also open to bribes if there are things that people wanted me not to blog about, to protect their reputation. For instance, if the MC didn’t want me to mention him then he could have bought my silence. It’s already worked for Jools. Notice that I’ve not said anything about her for a couple of weeks. Ah, damn, I shouldn’t have mentioned that, sorry Jools. I’ll issue you a refund.

Dollop 74 – What A Load Of Clap

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Well that’s our first Australian festival done. Our final gig was in front of 5000 people and they gave us an amazing reception throughout, and a standing ovation at the end. The Australian audience does seem to be much more prone to applauding things that other audiences wouldn’t. Our song A Lovely Cup Of Tea – about York’s Islamic community’s response to an English Defence League protest outside their mosque, inviting the protesters in for tea and biscuits, and a game of football – took three times longer to sing than usual because they were applauding every single line. When I got to the line, “we play football for planet earth united, because that’s how we all should be,” the entire audience erupted into raucous applause that lasted for nearly a minute. Then again, they also applauded our sound checks, so I’m not sure if I can really be too big-headed about their enthusiasm for my song. Although, in fairness, we did do a bloody good sound check. My “testing testing, one two one two,” brought the house down.

The festival MCs have also been interesting and different to the MCs at English festivals. They spend about ten minutes with us before we go on stage, asking us loads of questions about who we are, where we’re from and what we do. Some of them have also asked us to impart a funny story about something that’s happened to us, or something interesting that they can talk about in their introduction, before we come on stage. This over-zealousness doesn’t really happen at British festivals. The MC usually just has a few facts gleaned from the band’s biog, and they do a quick introduction to announce you onto the stage. Or, if they know you and are fans of what you do, then they will speak from the heart rather than just memorising facts.

Often, the MCs at this Australian festival have spent so long chatting to us and garnering information, writing down things that they might want to include in our intro, that they haven’t had time to memorise any of it. This means that many of the MC’s introductions have consisted of them reading from some hastily written scrawls, unconvincingly trying to recount a midly humorous tale which we’ve been forced to dredge up just seconds before, which has been feverishly transcribed into a hastily cobbled together shorthand that the MC then has to try and decipher and recall with conviction.

So our introductions have been very interesting. It’s also a bit awkward for us, as often we are stood on the stage at the microphones, ready to launch straight in, and we have to stand there while the MC attempts to read from a piece of paper that contains a semi-funny story that he’s completely got confused and incongruously frantically written down just seconds earlier. I tried to help out by joking along with the MC on the microphone, hoping to spice up the intro a bit and to make it seem a bit less formal, but that didn’t work, largely because the sound men hadn’t switched my microphone on yet. The microphone level was however coming out of our monitors, and so I could hear it and the MC could hear, but the audience couldn’t. This caused the MC to confusedly halt his speech, and then just continue, a bit flummoxed, and of course the audience had no idea what the heck was going on.

Another odd thing that happened was that the MC invited us up onto the stage individually, calling out Sean first. Sean then awkwardly stood there while the MC told the audience that he sang and wrote songs, and that he was a history graduate. The audience then gave Sean a round of applause, before Michael was invited to join Sean on the stage. The audience were then informed that Michael was also a singer, played guitar, and had recently been to New Zealand on holiday. The audience then applauded Michael, and I was invited to join the other two on stage. I was then individually introduced to the audience, who were informed that I also sang, and played the accordion and piano, and then, oddly, they were told that I have been blind since nine months old due to cancer, which was something that he asked me in conversation, although I had no idea that this would form part of my introduction. I was then given a round of applause, which was louder than the applause that the other two received. I’d like to think that this was because the audience found me the most attractive and interesting, bit ut was probably just out of sympathy after hearing the blind cancer story. And then we were eventually allowed to start.

It will be interesting to see whether this is a thing with Australian festivals on the whole, or if it’s just specific to those particular festival MCs.

I’m writing this at 10pm. We have to be away by 630, meaning that I need to have gotten today’s Dollop released before then. If you’re reading this and it’s Monday then you know I’ve done it. This means I’ll have to get up at about 4 tomorrow morning, to make sure that this gets recorded and uploaded in time. I’ve had solid WIFI for the last few days, but I’ve no idea what the WIFI situation will be like after tomorrow, as we’re heading to a new destination. Might this Dollop be the last of the consecutive daily Dollops? Find out tomorrow.

Dollop 55 – Revenge Is A Dish Best Served with Vegetables

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I’ve had another run-in with Jools. I’ve talked about Jools a few times in these Dollops. She has been a reader of these Dollops since the very beginning, and she’s commented on almost every one of them. I think she’s probably read them all.

Many of her comments have been suggestions about how I might want to improve the Dollops, and one of these suggestions was that I make the dollops shorter. I addressed this comment in Dollop 46, so I won’t go over it again, for brevity’s sake (you see? I’m learning, Jools).

Last Sunday, I was really tired after coming back from the wedding fair. I’d barely slept the night before and had to get up early to leave Manchester. I got back from the fair at about 4pm and still needed to write that day’s Dollop. But I could barely keep my eyes open. I wrote the dollop while lying in bed, periodically falling asleep, before waking again a few seconds later and continuing typing. As a result, the Dollop was a bit shorter than usual; 782 words fact fans.

Jools left a comment on this Dollop saying: “Well done on the precision of the shorter length dollop. Having to say things in fewer words concentrates the mind and the ideas. And it is easier to read.”

‘Thank you Jools, although, the shortness was more down to a malfunctioning brain and falling asleep during the writing process, as opposed to anything else. Perhaps I should try writing these Dollops while dosed up on sleeping tablets. I might eventually end up killing myself, but at least you’d get a decent run of short Dollops before I died, and on the plus side, when I’m dead my Dollops will be even shorter, to the point of non-existent.

The next day, I was back to my usual ways, writing a blog post that contained 1484 words. I expected Jools to be disappointed that I’d tantalised her with a shorter Dollop and then rubbed her face in an extra big Dollop the next day. But her comment was uncharacteristic.

“Yes. This is funny. I’d like to have heard more about the young girl and her bewilderment at the world of veg. You could have taken this for a longer walk. Or drawn her out more.”

Yes, I know, Jools is now suggesting that I write more. She’s mentioned on several occasions about making the Dollops shorter, and then when I write a lengthy Dollop,she starts intimating that I extend the Dollop even further.

For anyone who didn’t read/listen to Dollop 53, here is a brief extract of the bit Jools is referring to. If you have read or heard this before, you can either skip this bit, or relive the magic another time, and perhaps you’ll find new dimensions that you didn’t appreciate the first time.

“I’ve just come back from Sainsbury’s. Being blind I ask someone working at the shop to help me get the various things. Today’s lady had seemingly never seen a vegetable before, nor most of the food I was buying. She’d never heard of spring onions before, had no idea what a courgette was. Cherry tomatoes seemed to be a concept that completely bewildered her. “I’ve heard of cherries, and I know about tomatoes, but I didn’t know that you could buy them as one. I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice.””

There’s a lot more to the story than this; the lady’s lack of veg knowledge was just the scene setter, the tip of the iceberg, the iceberg lettuce maybe – another vegetable that the lady’s probably never heard of. I cited three vegetables that I wanted to buy, and explained that the lady hadn’t heard of any of them. I’m not sure how much more beneficial it would have been to continue naming vegetables and then continue to explain that the shop assistant had never heard of them. I thought three was enough, and ordinarily Jools would be telling me to edit and make the Dollops shorter, but when it comes to vegetables, she’s seemingly hungry for more.

I’m feeling a bit guilty about being too harsh on Jools. I genuinely do appreciate her reading these Dollops and she is one of the few people who actually leaves a comment, whereas the rest of you out there (and I know you’re there because I can see you on my web and podcast stats) you’re just take take take. But Jools gives something back. Granted, what she gives back is at times confusing and contradictory. But at least she’s participating. So, I don’t want to be overly harsh on her. So I thought I’d do something nice just for Jools,to say thanks. So here are a few more examples of vegetables, followed up with some comments about them by the clueless shop assistant. My original three examples from the 53rd Dollop were actually true, whereas these are invented by me as a special treat for you Jools. I hope you like them. The rest of you might find this next section a bit overkill. You might be of the opinion that three vegetables was enough. Feel free to skip ahead to the next bit. After all, this is not designed for you; I am exclusively catering for Jools now, to say thanks and sorry if I’ve been too harsh on her. OK, here you go Jools. I hope you enjoy.

“I need to get a cauliflower.”

“A Cauliflower? Never heard of it. I’ve heard of a collie, as in the dog. And I’ve heard of a flower, as in the thing that grows, but I didn’t know you could buy them as one. I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice. A flower that tastes like a dog? No thank you.”

“I also need to buy a jacket potato.”

“A what? A jacket potato? I’ve never heard of that before. I’ve heard of a jacket, as in the item of clothing. And I’ve heard of a potato. But I didn’t know you could buy them as one. I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice. A potato that tastes like leather? Rather you than me.”

“I also need some parsnips.”

“Some what? Pa’s nips? As in dad’s nipples? That sounds disgusting! Do they cut them off the dad’s when they die? Or do they do it when they’re alive? It sounds very cruel. Plus, I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice.”

That’s kind of the clueless shop assistant’s catchphrase Jools: “I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice.” I could do more, and I happily will if you pay me. But for the sake of everyone else and myself, let’s move on.

Jools’ comment from Dollop 53 continued:

“‘curiosity’ is piqued not peaked.”

Fair enough, she corrected my misuse of the word peaked over piqued, which is fine. I’ve never seen it written down before. I tend to have a screen reader reading things to me, so there are certain words that I’ve never actually read before. So fine, I don’t mind having my spelling corrected, although, let me tell you Jools that my spellchecker constantly gets irritated with me when I type your name, because it’s apparently not a correct spelling. So, get your own name spelt right first before you start pointing fingers. That’s my message to you, and you can’t argue with logic like that.

I replied to Jools’ comment in what I intended to be a jocular manner.

“My goodness, well, thank you, I feel as if I’m being marked by the teacher now. Whatever you do please don’t give me lines; I have enough writing to be getting on with as it is. Glad you enjoyed it. I like the fact that you’ve been suggesting that I expurgate the blogs, and yet you then request more detail about her lack of vegetable knowledge. Just imagine a vegetable, and then imagine that she’s never heard of it, and do that until you get bored. That should give you a similar result. Unfortunately, I only asked her for courgette, peas, spring onions and cherry tomatoes. Perhaps next time I will record my shopping trip, and deliberately ask for more vegetables, and capture her reaction. Feel free to suggest vegetables if there are any particular types you’d like me to insert, by which I mean mention – it’s not that kind of blog, not yet anyway, but you never know, if the money’s right. Have I piqued your interest perchance?”

Now, I wrote this, assuming that it would be taken as a lighthearted response to Jools’ critique. She’s correcting my spelling (which I really don’t mind) and she’s making suggestions about how I can improve what I’ve written, which is a little different to how anyone else interacts with these blogs, but fair enough, why not? I mean, it’s just her opinion, and I’m probably not going to change what I do on the basis of it, but still, it’s fine. So I made a little joke about her being like a teacher, marking my work. I assumed it would be taken as a joke, especially given that she’s not fallen shy of offering frank comment herself. Jools has probably read every single one of my Dollops, meaning that she’s had an insight into the way I think for seven weeks, so I’d assume that she’d know that I was merely joking when I made that comment to her. But, I think I’ve given Jools the impression that I am annoyed with her.

I received a reply from Jools saying: “Ah, that’s where I’m going wrong then. I thought it was any reaction you wanted, and that, sadly, was mine.”

So I think that Jools has taken um bridge with my reply. Fortunately, I’ve written this lovely blog post to help placate her and smooth things over between us, so we should be fine now. Are we cool Jools? How about one more vegetable scenario to help make things good between us once again?

“I also want to buy a pumpkin.”

“What?! A what?! Pump? As in, fart? Kin? What, like … a family member? A family member’s farts? I’m sorry, you’re just being stupid now. I’m sick of hearing about these ridiculous made-up vegetables. I’m not prepared to help you any more. Good day sir, I’m leaving. But not before I’ve said: I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice.”

Got to get her catchphrase in, eh Jools? Oh, and I made this Dollop extra long for you, just to say thanks.

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.