Category Archives: Long Ago

Bombs Away

There’s a motorway junction somewhere in the UK with a small bomb under it. I suspect this because I put it there many years ago. These were more innocent times, when mention of bombs was a cause for interest among small boys, not a reason to avoid Pakistanis with backpacks on buses. Let me explain…

I had this friend called Nigel who led the kind of charmed life that only single children surrounded by lots of space and largely inattentive parents can hope to achieve. He was the envy of us all because he had his own shed in his parents’ huge garden; this was reason enough to admire him – learning that he had shagged a girl called Alison in it was just the icing on the cake. (I still vividly remember him explaining the term “pink meat” to me at a family bonfire party and pointing out how “some dirty sods like to lick it”.) He must have been about twelve or thirteen.

Nigel had also acquired one or two other interesting things along the way, among them an unexploded aircraft bomb. It was about ten inches long, rusty and the front had been pushed in, but he explained that it hadn’t exploded because of these pins in the side that should have been pulled out. Apparently he had had another one and had taken it along to the local aerodrome where they had detonated it. Either he was a lying bastard or the military had a much more relaxed attitude to small boys with live ordnance in the seventies. (I prefer to believe the latter, otherwise I would be forced to confront the possibility that he never shagged Alison at all, which would be a terrible shame.) Anyway, his terminally-relaxed parents had finally decided that he ought to get rid of it so he offered it to me.

I remember proudly bearing it down the hill from his house and presenting it to my mum by the side of a building site, where they had almost finished filling in a pond which was to be covered with a large motorway roundabout. Credit to mum – she didn’t scream, panic or call the bomb squad; she just told me that I wasn’t going to bring it home and to get rid of it. Fair enough – keeping it was always a long shot anyway – so Nigel and I took it over to what was left of the pond where they were pumping out water and threw it in. There, as far as I know, it resides to this day.

There’s something sad about a world in which small boys can’t give each other live unexploded bombs as gifts, or live vicariously through their shed-fornicating brethren. I’m not how many more times I saw Nigel before I moved away, but it can’t have been more than a few. Nevertheless he had a profound impact on my life. From that time on I was in no doubt that if you were ever lucky enough to encounter pink meat you should definitely consider licking it.

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison

Wednesday Afternoons

In the UK your time at school between the ages of 16 and 18 is known as the “sixth form” and this is when you sit A-level exams in order to earn a place at university. (Unless you were a thick twat and left at the age of 16, which is perfectly permissible.) This part of the school experience is a bit strange because you don’t have to be there, so the teachers are torn between treating you with a little more respect and acting like the same miserable, bitter, tossbags that they’ve been for the last five years.

Read the rest of this drinking story in Mr Bison’s Journal . It is cheaper than a bottle of Vodka

Fork In The Road

For many people the day they meet their future spouse is forever framed in soft-focus, with imaginary music playing and flowers scattered along the path of their life. In my case there was none of this, but I do clearly remember exposing my knob as I stuck my arse out of a car window.
Now that’s the way to a real woman’s heart…

Read more about how I met Mrs. Bison in Mr Bison’s Journal. her encounter with my arse will shock you


Top humor books of 2012: Nude Wedding Photos

The first of us to get married was Karl and we gave him a hard time for it, partly because he’d gone over to the dark side but mostly because we found his fiancée somewhat annoying. Nevertheless we showed up at his wedding, ate the obligatory cake and behaved about as well as could have been expected. A couple of weeks later we were in the pub when Karl confided in us that he’d taken some “candid” photos of his new bride on their wedding night…

Read more of this embarrassing story in Mr Bison’s Journal – buy it today or ask your spouse to buy it as a Christmas gift and stuff it in your stocking. It is one of the top humor books of 2012

Taking Sven Home From one of the Top Humor books in 2012

Mrs. Bison read my last two posts and commented acerbically that maybe I should change my tagline from “Mr. Bison – Opinions From Beyond The Herd” to “Mr. Bison – He’s Completely Pissed Off With The Herd.” Therefore, to reintroduce some humor I’ll tell you a short and gratuitously pointless story about Sven’s first bout of drunkenness.

Read the rest of this funny story in Mr Bison’s journal , one of the top humor books of 2012


Sven’s Party

What do you get as a last minute gift for a really good friend’s birthday when you’re a penniless student? Something he’ll really enjoy. A fire extinguisher! Sven was a mate from school days but he was at a polytechnic in Wales while I was at university in Coventry, so when he invited me to his birthday party one March I didn’t hold out much hope for getting there. By an amazing coincidence one of my university mates, Graham, was driving down to Wales that weekend, to a place not very far from Sven’s town (and equally unpronouncable) to visit his girlfriend, fish-face. (We called her that because she had eyes that appeared to be on the sides of her face; not a pretty girl.)

So I took another mate, Darren, and we drove down in Graham’s silver Vauxhall Viva. Only one problem: the heater didn’t work, so we froze our arses off for about four or five hours on the way down. Graham dropped us off on a Friday night in Pontypridd, outside a semi-derelict end of terrace house that Sven allegedly shared with normal human beings. The first night was just a dress-rehearsal for the debauched party on Saturday but we did some damage with Brains SA and Red Dragon and slept on the floor. The following morning I scoped out the bathroom – no bog roll. There were apparently two girls living in the house but they had abandoned it this weekend, and there were no signs of feminine influence. There was, however, a copy of the Sun newspaper that made serviceable toilet paper, except for the fact that it turned your arse black. Darren, though, could not bring himself to use it and consequently remained “blocked”.

That night at least a hundred odd people, mostly students, descended on the house. We presented Sven with his fire extinguisher, a powder model which we had liberated from a university residence hall, and he was delighted. We all drank to excess and Sven discharged his gift, partly from the balcony at the back of the house (which had, in fact, been condemned, and was at risk of collapsing into the sewer-like river below) but mostly inside the house. Almost everyone had a good time, even the supposedly lesbian girl that I kissed, thus winning a bet. The one exception was a fat bloke who seemed to have some mental problems, resulting in him punching out two large windows. We followed his blood trail the following morning down to the railway station where we later heard that the ambulance had picked him up. Dickhead.

So the next morning we woke up on a carpet that was beyond filthy when we started but which had, through the addition of beer, cigarette ash and fire extinguisher powder, now attained a measure of disgustingness seldom seen outside Mexico City slums and student accommodation. Last night’s fish and chips, plus beer, plus everything else, was making its presence known but my arse wasn’t ready for the Sun again. I theorised that no girl would live in that house without soft toilet paper and, on forcing the locked door to a room, I was rewarded with a blue roll, almost full. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life… Darren was now so backed up that he would have needed dynamite to shift it, and he remained bug-eyed for the rest of the weekend.

Eventually Graham turned up in the Viva and liberated us from the temple of filth. His weekend didn’t seem to have gone as well as ours, but I’m afraid we weren’t too sympathetic. If you date a girl who looks like a fish, don’t expect your mates to listen to you carp about it.

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison

Chemistry Lab

There’s nothing like leaving winter behind to make you appreciate the long daylight hours of summer. You get up and go to work – it’s light. You come home at the end of the day – it’s still light. Excellent! Even if you go in early and work late you still get loads of extra daylight. Years ago at university I used to take chemistry courses and we had two days a week of labs; this meant you worked all day in the lab, emerging about 5pm, knackered. During the winter it was dark when you went in and dark when you came out again. For all you knew there hadn’t been any fucking daylight.

The only way to get out was to take a lunch break while some reaction or other was bubbling away on your bench. All the experiments were planned in advance and, in theory, we should all have been studying beforehand and planning our work so we could get started as soon as we walked in the door. In reality I’d walk into the lab, pull out my yellow book and take my first look at whatever experimental procedure we had to follow, hoping that somewhere there would be a break that could coincide with lunch. In those days, as now, food was priority number one.

I remember one reaction that involved leaving some purple solution boiling for about two hours with a reflux condenser on top. Nice! Time to get over to the athletic club for pie and chips. University food was essentially an equation of quantity divided by cost, and the athletic club always gave you lots of chips. When I returned, two hours later, I looked at the next step in the process. The solution was now supposed to be some other color. Everyone else’s was some other color; mine was still purple. Oh well – maybe they all got it wrong…what’s the next step…turn off the heat and remove the zinc catalyst. Oh fuck! I hadn’t added the catalyst. The whole two hours had gone by for nothing.

We had ways of dealing with these occasions. Results meant running infra-red and NMR spectra of the compounds we (supposedly) had made, and handing in a small sample, so we could prove we made the right chemical. Spectra were easy – I could get some material from a buddy who had been eating pie and chips with me at the athletic club. And samples could be obtained the same way. If no-one had enough to spare, I had known people to hand in washing powder or chalk – one white substance looks pretty much like any other, so long as the consistency is checked with your mates’ samples.

Labs were a pain in the arse, the boredom alleviated only by inadvertently inhaling all the solvents we used that are now banned. We worked with pyrrhidine on the open bench – it smelled quite pleasant but one of the post-graduate demonstrators told us to put it in a fume cupboard as it would make us sterile. “So why didn’t the professor tell us to do that?” “Him? He’s as queer as a coot – it doesn’t matter to him, does it?”

Only one of us had the process sorted out. PK would come in, fully prepared, bang out his work and be gone by mid-afternoon. I’d be up to my armpits in flasks and liquids while he walked past into the daylight. I never knew how he did it, but he was a good bloke. Always handy with some samples when you needed them!

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison

Clean Car

The trouble with sunshine is that it really makes me realize how dirty the inside of my car is. It’s only dust, but I know I ought to clean it a bit. My old mate Rob used to be fanatical about the inside of his cars – he bought little “hot hatchback” cars when they were popular in England, back in about 1990. Peugeot 205 1.9 GTI, that sort of thing. When he got a new one it would be spotless and no-one was allowed to sully the interior with unsuitable cargo. I remember wanting to go and get a takeaway curry one night and he wouldn’t allow it in his car because the smell might linger.

Anyway, I was living in a small town about that time and Rob brought a couple of mates over in his new car. Fergie was an old school friend with a big nose who let us watch pornographic videos round his house at lunchtime when we were kids. (He eventually had to “lose” his dad’s video rental card in case he ever found out that it listed wall-to-wall softcore porn). The other one (let’s call him KC) was a mental chinese kid who liked a drink, but had no tolerance for it. He’d usually turn bright red and throw up. I remember him on all fours on a set of steps alternately puking and complaining that “it’s coming out my nose!”

So we had a few beers down the pub (except for Rob) and started adding vodkas. Fergie was out of practice and it soon started to show. We exacerbated the situation by having a foot race back up the high street, for a laugh. By the time we reached my flat he was hanging over a low wall, decorating the car park with his intestinal juices. Rob started to realize that he was going to have to take the drunken fuck home in his new car, and Fergie wasn’t going to be done hurling for a while. KC, meanwhile, was rolling a large spliff and seemed to be laboring under the misapprehension that I was going to let him smoke it in my living room.

Fortunately I had a plastic sheet left over from a car service that we could drape over the passenger seat of Rob’s new GTI. We installed Fergie, on strict instructions to vomit through the open window if necessary, and retrieved KC, who was standing under a streetlamp on the main road with an unfeasibly large joint in his mouth (think Camberwell Carrot).

A good time was had by almost all, but it just goes to show: greater love hath no man than that he would take his chunk-blowingly drunk mate home in his new GTI. Good one Rob!

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison

Grammar School

When I turned eleven I transferred to the local Grammar School. This was where the brighter kids went, the ancient buildings and idiosyncratic teachers supposedly compensated by superior academic standards. I suppose it wasn’t a bad school, although some of the older teachers exuded this air of dust and malevolence that seemed to come direct from the pre-war era. The German teacher, Beaky Edwards, was a case in point and the principal reason I took Latin instead.

For metalwork, woodwork and art, however, we had to travel by bus to a separate school building some miles away, called Grace Hill, where the facilities for these subjects existed. If the main school was a bit old fashioned this one was positively antediluvian. It was like the school that time forgot – they had teachers that had been overlooked for retirement (or committal to a secure institution) and who roamed the place like it was their lair. The art teacher, in particular, was a white-haired freak show, rather like the Quaker Oats guy would look after a smoking meth and feasting on a corpse. They used to make us line up in silence and walk up the stairs without stepping on the white bits at the side. When I transferred to a school in Bristol just after the riots I used to look back and wonder just what planet these fuckers lived on. Since I had no talent in any of these subjects whatsoever there was little to look forward to on Grace Hill day.

Nowadays, however, the whole thing seems so innocent. We all wore uniforms and behaved reasonably well (occasional fights excepted) and we learned stuff. No-one worried about our self-esteem. So here’s a few things I’d like to bring back from my grammar school days:

Staff vs Boys Rugby
Nothing compares to the sight of fifteen thin teenage boys getting ground into the mud by two hundred and fifty pound geography teachers for sheer entertainment value. It’s not as if we even played rugby the rest of the year; I think it was just a perk for the teachers to kick shit out of some kids for a laugh.

School Ties
Supposed to make us look smart, they just emphasised our scruffiness as we wore them with all different combinations of length, knot, dirt, etc. They also came in handy for strangling people during a fight.

The Cane
Bad behavior without consequences doesn’t take much in the way of balls. Fucking about with the cane as a potential punishment takes some spine though. Reintroduce this for the added frisson of excitement when you’re wondering if you’re going to get caught.

Real learning comes from a blackboard and chalk. If nothing else you can watch the dust swirl around on a summer’s day. When you have those blackboards that roll over you can draw something obscene on the board during break and hide it so the teacher turns it over in class.

Psychopaths with superiority complexes, these older kids would teach you that life isn’t fair but that if you waited long enough you too could become a psychopath.

Still, this was a grammar school, not a private school, so at least we all went home at the end of the day unscathed. I hear the lessons learned at English private school were more “life-changing” in nature. It must be hard to remember how to decline a verb in Latin with someone putting vaseline in your back passage…

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison

Camp Jokes

As a kid in England I did something that a lot of boys did growing up. No, not that – I joined the Scouts. Actually I joined the Cub Scouts first, until I turned eleven, when I got to move up to proper Scouts and wear long trousers. Scouts wasn’t bad – we played dangerous games, tied knots, saluted a lot and, most importantly, we got to go to camps.

Every Spring we’d go off to Tappington Hall Farm and camp in a field for about four days. We pitched tents, dug holes, built fires and cooked sausages in the rain. It was good wholesome fun, apart from the vicious hazing rituals (called “christening”) visited upon those making their first camp. In theory we developed strong character, discipline and useful outdoor skills. Whatever the reality of that, we definitely spent considerable time swapping dirty jokes. These were the kind of kid jokes that don’t seem funny now but which had us rolling out of the tent at the age of eleven. A typical example would be:

A man was traveling and needed a place to stay the night. He reached a remote farmhouse and knocked at the door. When the farmer answered the man asked “Have you got a room I could rent for the night?” The farmer thought for a bit and replied “Well, I don’t have a spare room but you could share with my daughter. Understand, though, if you get up to any funny business I’ll make you sorry you stopped here.” The man went up to the room and, well, the daughter was beautiful. He couldn’t resist, so he fucked her. The next morning the farmer comes into his room and drags him out of bed, down the stairs and out the back, into a small shed, where there is a workbench bolted to the floor. There he pulls out the man’s dick and sticks it in a vice, tightens it up and breaks off the handle. He then reaches up to a shelf and takes down a rusty saw. The man screams “You’re not going to cut it off are you?” “No” replies the farmer, handing him the saw, “but you are, because I’m going to set fire to the shed.”

This is what passed for Grade A humor in our tent. Well, that and farting, which was a fact of life after four days of sausage and beans, and was guaranteed to get a laugh. Even after all those camps, I still have no idea how to lash two sticks together with a rope. My sausages are always black on one side and pink on the other, and if you’re counting on me for first aid I’m afraid you’re probably going to die. The humor didn’t go away though. I don’t think anyone really forgets the jokes they leaned growing up. I remember my very first boss telling me the best camping joke I ever heard:

Boss: “If you woke up in a field, stark naked, with grass stains on your elbows and knees, and a used condom hanging out of your arse, who would you tell?’
Me (after thinking): No-one!
Boss: “Do you want to come camping then?”

If I’d known that one at age eleven I’d have been the funniest boy in the tent.

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison