The redoubtable

living proof that beer is a fruit

On hiatus

I have a huge amount of affection for The Redoubtable.

It was a place to store the Biblo Blog.

It was a place to vent and distract.

It was a place to exaggerate for the purposes of entertainment – mine, yours, it really didn’t matter…

But I haven’t posted for over a year and now it feels wrong to post about a new life on an old site.

On the other hand – as I said – I have a huge amount of affection for the place, so it feels wrong to abandon it.

I just need to figure out how to match old with new.




I know this seems like an inappropriately public forum but, let’s face it, only three people will read this and the subject of this post isn’t one of them

Have you ever trawled through a job description and wondered sort of delusional HR department expects to find someone who has “experience in the field of neurosurgery, a good telephone manner, fluency in at least four languages; Cisco certification essential” for £12k, no benefits?

On the other hand, the most honest job spec I’ve ever seen was something along the lines of: “must have experience as a marriage counselor, bouncer, primary school teacher, nurse, psychologist and comedian. Formal qualifications not necessary. Must be able to stand for long periods of time without a break, have no need to eat, drink or urinate for up to 10 hours and be able to endure physical and verbal aggression without retaliating. Minimum wage.” In other words: barstaff wanted. (It’s why this guy’s ad is so good).

Then you have the reference process: as long as the candidate is who they say they are, worked when they said they did, isn’t in the habit of calling in sick every Monday and didn’t nick anything, what the former employer thinks personally of the individual in question really shouldn’t matter. An experienced interviewer knows that it is their responsibility to gauge the suitability of the person in front of them; whether the candidate’s soon-to-be-former boss thought they were a credit to the team really shouldn’t enter the equation.

In fact, both bar staff and interviewers need to be able to trust their instincts and rely on their gut. And as people can generally only fake it for about six weeks before their natural personality inevitably trickles out, the probation period / we-retain-the-right-to-refuse-service sign are perfect for rectifying any mistakes.

So as both a service monkey and interviewer (both former, but still), I have what I feel is a justified pride in my ability to judge a character. Not to know their hopes, dreams and aspirations, but certainly to be a quick study for the heart of a person. Turns out, when I get it wrong, I get it really really wrong.

You know that kid who used to throw a tantrum by holding their breath until they went blue? Eventually, everyone gives in for fear that the little shit will pass out and The Social will get involved. That kid has learned that if they can subvert their natural urge to exhale, they get all the toys. The kind of kid who – when they’re told ‘no’ – reverts to the tried and tested method of holding their breath until someone else cries uncle.

I have now met the adult equivalent. Well, I met them years ago, but their natural personality has finally trickled out. I keep looking for a sign that I was wrong about being wrong, but it just isn’t there. Oh, they’re still charming and funny, and can be good company when the mood takes them, but underneath the veneer of adult is a petulant child who has the willpower to subvert the natural urge to breathe.

And I have to say, I’m really hoping that the little shit finally passes out.

Because I have no intention of crying uncle.

Delusional fuckwittery abounds

I miss The Vom Cav. More than I ever thought was possible. Despite his loose approach to the idea of ‘reasonable volume’, or ‘reasonable hour’, or – indeed – anything involving ‘reasonable behaviour’, I miss him.

At least he acknowledged that he could be a pain in the arse.

He moved out last summer following an argument about a broken radiator and, after several months of my landlord thumping around up there, clearly under the impression that a mere hammer of emulsion would transform the place into a veritable gold mine, it’s been rented out again.

Viewings were obviously arranged to negate the risk that one of us might ask awkward questions about the long-standing maintenance issues in front of a prospective tenant. Or make pointed remarks about landlord responsibilities. Which might have included a pithy comment or two about the promised-bi-annually-since-2011, not-yet-delivered, windproof, waterproof windows…

Anyway, someone eventually moved in. And when I met him in the stair a short while later, he was very very clear that he was a low maintenance neighbour. Very clear. He made sure to mention it at least six times in the course of a 5 minute conversation.

And, as it turns out, just as ‘reasonable behaviour’ can be interpreted in a number of ways, so can ‘low maintenance’.

In this case, it obviously encompasses slamming doors, stamping on the floors, shouting at his girlfriend, being rude to everyone else in the stair and generally acting like an insufferable arse.

He apparently produced a ‘snagging list’ after he moved in, and was very very clear (when I didn’t make it into the house fast enough) that he would be expecting the landlord to act upon it.

Very clear.

God, how I laughed.

And wished that The Vom Cav was still here. Because he may have been a noisy fucker, but at least he was self-aware.

Who loves ya, baby

I just realised that I haven’t posted anything since January. The problem is, I’m severely limited in what I can write about.

I can’t write about work – my boss might read this.

I can’t write about my sex life – my mother will read this.

I don’t have the time, energy, cash or inclination to take up a hobby, and my viewing habits are now restricted to the first 3 minutes of any TV show on Netflix. It doesn’t matter what it is; I’m asleep before the opening credits have finished rolling.

I get up around 5am, enjoy a 2.5 hour commute, do my 9-5, then hit the house around 8 before falling asleep in my dinner.

Dull. As. Fuck.

I could, however – I suppose – tell you about how a challenge to name two of my feminine attributes led to an inadvertent Brazilian. And about how it all happened because I don’t really like chocolate.

I don’t make puke faces if I’m offered some, and I won’t say no to the occasional bite-sized Snickers, but it’s not my go-to snack of choice. I vaguely recall that on this particular day I had volubly lusted after a circular saw that I spied in Machine Mart, made scathing remarks about passive-aggressive message responses, and expressed loathing for the question “what are you thinking?”

I know.


Anyway, I eventually mentioned the chocolate thing and was asked – in a totally despairing tone – to name two feminine attributes…

Me: Ovaries!

F: I said attributes, Lou. Jesus.

Me: Fine. I wear make up and can walk in heels.

F: So do a huge number of men, and they’re all probably better at it than you.

Obviously I told him to fuck off and went back to my desk (wait, this is sort of about work) but when I was wandering past an open salon on the way home that evening, I took it as a sign.

Big mistake. Huge.

I should’ve known it wasn’t going to end well when the beautician greeted me with the words, “I’m going to give you a beautiful vagina!” Now, I’ve always been very fond of my vagina (wait, this is sort of about my sex life) and I certainly never considered that it required extensive reconstruction, but I put her enthusiasm down to nail polish fumes, and followed her into a treatment room.

Oh, the ignominy.

It is very hard to maintain your sangfroid under such circumstances, not least due to the blinding spot lights necessary for spotting errant hairs, the absence of any sort of dignity, and the alarmingly close-range inspection of your nether regions by a woman in blue gloves, wielding a boiling vat of wax and – if you’re very unlucky – tweezers.

Oh, the pain.

Like a tattoo, the agony radiates, Unlike a tattoo, you can’t really see what’s going on. Which means you have to trust that the contortions you’re being asked to undergo all have some purpose and then just pray she doesn’t accidentally rip anything vital off. The pain radiates, people. But it’s over in less than 30 minutes and anyway, if you stop them halfway through, you’ll be lopsided…

After limping home, I peeled off my jeans to see that a beautiful vagina is, apparently, a homage to Telly Savalas through the medium of a buzz-cut mohawk. And I think she was pissed, not high on Rimmel 60 Seconds Super Shine; not only was my ‘landing strip’ wonky, you’d be hard pushed to accommodate a glider on the sparse foliage, let alone a Cessna.

And, to top it all off, after a few weeks, I looked like I had mange.

Tentatively looking for a bit of sympathy, I discovered that 90% of my female friends have suffered similar experiences (and one male friend, who got the text in error, was so descriptive about his back, sack and crack wax that I haven’t been able to look him in the eye since).

I’m not saying never again, but next time I want dinner and a movie first. And a crash course in yoga. And a local anesthetic. And some sort of written agreement on the exact specification of beauty this vagina might be expected to suffer for.



In the immortal words of Lily Allen, Fuck You Very Very Much

New lives are hard. Just as you think you have a handle on the-way-things-are-now, the world tilts and you’re left flailing. Again.

The upside to a New Life is that you get to start again; the downside is that you’re not sure how. It’s hard to have unshakable confidence when it was clearly misplaced before – which is why, let’s face it, you’re in possession of a New Life in the first place.

But when your New Life encompasses all areas, it’s even harder. Job sorted? Check. Accommodation sorted? Check. Relationship..?

I is good

I is smart

I is special

I is back on the market after a decade.

A few things I have re-learned recently: a) if they say they’re single, confirm through an independent source b) reciprocation is everything and c) trust your instincts, but the occasional misjudgement as you find your feet again is to be expected.

Turns out I actually have a deal breaker – guessing games. Fucking hate them. I’ve just had the worst few years of the ground constantly shifting and I’m not keen to revisit it. That’s not to say that the delicious anticipation of a tension-filled flirt isn’t the best feeling in the world but, as a rule of thumb, don’t mess with someone’s head. It’s just arrogant cruelty disguised as ‘fun’.

So be blunt. Be honest. Give a straight answer to a straight question. And, as a somewhat connected sidebar, if you’re pretty sure that they’re only interested in the chase, lose their number.

Oh, and the 07.28 to Edinburgh Waverly is always late.

Take heed.

Catch the 07.24