She's Gone..

This is girlspeak for "I've found someone else, you're history."

This is girlspeak for "I've found someone else, you're history."

So, Valentine’s Day didn’t go to plan; in fact it was disaster. She stomped off in a huff / let you down gently / spontaneously combusted in a super nova rage / didn’t turn up. Now you’re alone, dumped, cast adrift, let go, tinned. What next? Well, you could shrug your shoulders and look forward to the green grass on the hillside, move on and be happy but that is the least likely immediate outcome. First you probably need to go through the wallowing in misery phase and that, while not good, is an almost guaranteed prerequisite for letting go.

An essential first move is to phone a friend. This won’t end well but you’ll do it anyway, (it’s all part of the cathartic cleansing process). Your chum will turn up somewhat mystified as to why you’ve chosen him and while his thoughts are full of the forthcoming Six Nations round, six pints at the Nags Head and a greasy kebab on the way home you just want him to say the words, “she’ll be back.” He’ll say a lot more of course and may inadvertently say the SBB sentence but actually, that’s all you’ll be listening for and the rest will go over your head. Big mistake; in amongst the rest of his verbiage there will probably be some well intentioned and well thought out phrases that go something along the lines of, “she never seemed wholly committed,” “she always seemed to be busy when you needed her,” “she liked mirrors,” “and James,” “she never did quite understand the importance of the pack and the beauty of the driving maul,” “she always got a lot of texts,” “that Diana flicking hair thing never worked for me.”

What you should mostly be doing of course is staying off the booze, going on a fitness kick, eating healthily, throw yourself into work and book yourself on an Amazonian expedition to give yourself something to aim for. Work for a charity and take up a new hobby. In short, be interesting and interested. You won’t though; all that comes later.

Here you are then, the sob-story-loves-lost-track list. Interestingly, when I dipped into my imusic cloudy thing I notice that generally, they do seem to make an awful lot more sad songs than happy ones. Here are some of the best................ (and just to counterbalance it I’m going to post some upbeat tracks later this week). Anyway, as you’re staring into the bottom of your whisky glass here’s some music to make you feel even more maudlin, (the really heartbroken will just play the same track on loop):

It Keeps Raining                                Fats Domino (need just one track? This is the one).

A World Without Love.                      Peter & Gordon

Without You.                                      Nilsson (makes most lists)

You Were On My Mind.                     Crispin St Peters

Song To The Moon.                          Lesley Garret

Lara's Theme.                                     Dr Zhivago (Mrs Flashbang cries like a waterfall whenever                                                                                     she hears this.. don't ask)

Rose Marie.                                         Slim Whitman (everyone needs some Country in their lives)

You Don't Know What You've Got      Ral Donner

Only the Lonely.                                    Roy Orbison

Take These Chains From My Heart.     Dean Martin

Take That Look Off Your Face              Marti Webb

Different Drum.                                       Linda Ronstadt, (Stone Poneys)

Lovers Cross.                                         Jim Croce

Stand by Me.                                          Annalaise Emerick

Ashokan Farewell.                                  The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall.       The Inkspots

She's Not You.                                        Elvis Presley

I Was The One.                                        Elvis Presley

Are You Lonesome Tonight                    Elvis Presley (my.... this guy did sad)

Elusive Butterfly.                                       Bob Lind

Mandy.                                                     Barry Manilow

Out of Time.                                              Chris Farlowe

Harry's Game.                                           Clannad

Unchained Melody.                                   Elvis Presley (best version)

Long Gone Lonesome Blues.                    Leon Redbone

I Fall To Pieces.                                          Patsy Cline

Where Do You Go To (my lovely)              Peter Sarstedt

The Dark Island                                          Various, (you'll be able to catch me at my funeral                                                                                                            leaving the church to this one).

I've Had An Absolute **** Of A Day             Kevin "Bloody" Wilson (18+ X rude, do not ever listen                                                                                           in front of your mother, (he's Australian)).

That's enough to get you through the first bottle of Aberlour, (do not compromise on quality of whisky at this point in your life; you've been through enough and deserve a decent dram). Then it's time to suck it up, man up and move on. We'll deal with recovery in a later post!



Valentine's Day The Crumble Way

That's my date sorted then.....

That's my date sorted then.....

So, Valentine's Day is upon us again. I've never been an enthusiastic subscriber to this kitsch rubbish. My line is "everyday is Valentine's Day in this house darling." Having started at the beginning of the marriage as I meant to go on if I turned up with a bunch of roses and a restaurant reservation it would be greeted with great suspicion by Mrs Flashbang who would immediately be on the front foot with the number of a divorce lawyer in one hand and a frying pan in the other. 

In fact, for those who feel boxed in Mole in this piece over at Slope has the right idea. He heartily recommends a number of options ranging from getting yourself arrested to getting kidnapped by Mexican drug lords. Actually, I would have though that getting the wife kidnapped by Mexican drug lords would be a more elegant and less intrusive solution. 

Still there will be some young, and old, blades out there who feel they just have to do the right thing and lads, good luck to all of you. For some of you, you will soar to the green sunlit uplands of romance; for the rest, there is only downside when you fail to meet her dizzy expectations and more importantly, those of her mother and friends. Your actions will be dissected, debated and discussed for weeks by text, phone and email. You meanwhile will end up confused and bewildered but yes, the best of intentions can blow up in your face just as surely as if she was an AQ suicide bomber.

Dinnae worry though, Crumble is here to help. Rule no 1, bin the restaurant. Go to a restaurant and you're setting yourself up for failure on an epic scale. Nervous, wine list anxiety attack, credit card limit scare, that being-watched-by-everyone-in-the-room syndrome, overdoing it on the cheap, (or stupidly expensive),  Red Aggravator from Chile and slurring your words........ it goes on. 


Instead, dine in. She won't care what you cook or how badly you do it. As long as you try your best, light some candles and make some sort of gesture to good hygienic practice she'll love you forever. There is no credit card or restaurant in the world that can replicate the warm glow she'll feel of her man taking care of her.

With candles we need music and here we go into overdrive. Just for you, the definitive track list for St Valentine's Day and love ever after and you won't, let me tell you, get this off your average radio DJ who spends his day gibbering utter rubbish like a Macau monkey.  

Chanson de Matin                                                  Edward Elgar

Salut d'amour                                                         Edward Elgar

Some Enchanted Evening                                     Rogers & Hammerstein

They Didn't Believe Me                                          Ambrose & His Orchestra

True Love (From High Society)                              Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly

Manhattan                                                               Ella Fitzgerald

C'est Si Bon (It's So Good)                                     Cyntia M.

The Way You Look Tonight                                   Fred Astaire

Hello Dolly                                                               Louis Armstrong

When I'm Sixty Four                                                 Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen

L'amore sei tu (I will always Love You)                    Katherine Jenkins

Oh Pretty Woman                                                     Roy Orbison

Can't Help Falling in Love                                        Elvis Presley

I'm Into Something Good                                         Hermans Hermits

Without You                                                               Harry Nilsson

You don't Have To Say You Love Me                       Dusty Springfield

The Wonder of You                                                   Elvis Presley

A World of Our Own                                                   The Seekers

Singing in the Rain                                                      Gene Kelly

We Have All The Time In The World                           Louis Armstrong

I Haven't Told Her, She Hasn't Told Me                      Peter Sellers

Nailed that then. Just pick up the ring on your way home and we've boxed that off. Tomorrow, I'll have a list for all those of you for whom it didn't work out. 

By the way, it's a full moon tonight. Why do I keep thinking of that Credence Clearwater Revival song...........

Onward & upward lads!


Mumsnet Pushback

It's been brought to my attention that the Mumsnet Taliban have swung into action against the occupier of the No 1 slot on our TMC list, (above). 


Well, we're not having that. Not at all, even though there has been some vigorous debate about the potential re installation of Nigella at No 1 after this was published, 

The TMC Top Ten is of course the well followed subject of many a lively but good natured debate in the hostelries and rugby clubs of these shores and indeed beyond. 

The definitive 2013 list will be announced in early November at the annual invitation only event to which all the list members will, as usual, be invited. To date, none have actually turned up but hope springs eternal. The Thinking Man's Crumpet List keeps many a candle burning bright.

Chelsea Mercs

In The Dating Game, I discussed how the rapid growth in use of social networks has created dramatic changes in the challenges faced by kids when they they start dating these days. 

They're not the only ones feeling challenged.  

I was standing at a Club bar last evening with an old chum who told me a quick and simple story that should be a warning to every middle aged man out there. 

At a party many months ago, he was approached by an engaging and elegant forty-something girl who had been taking photographs at the party. They exchanged cards with a "must have a drink sometime." Four months later they did and another three months after that they had a second drink. Nothing untoward happened and perhaps my chum was mistaken in not telling his wife, but he was then shocked to be in receipt of a series of emails accusing him of being a "typical arrogant, loud, aggressive, selfish ex public school ex Army blah blah..." Naively, he replied and some email piing pong went back and fore until eventually he demanded she leave him alone and sensibly cc'd his wife on the email.

Curious as to who this lunatic was he called the party host from when it all began and asked who she actually was, "never seen her before," he said, "thought she came with someone; don't worry, probably just a Chelsea Merc." 

You may well ask. 

He wasn't referring to German motor cars, not to Chelsea football players but to a certain type of women who apparently roam the environs of Chelsea social life aiming to entrap and blackmail married men. With so much easy-to-use electronic recording equipment available, like a mobile phone, the poor bloke whose vanity and ego needs an uplift quickly concludes any liaison with a large bill. The going rate is apparently £5-10,000. Not too big that it breaks the bank and probably small enough to hide from the wife but enough to make you feel a fool for the rest of your life.

It's probably been going on for hundreds of years of course and perhaps the most sensible thing for any man to do if and when he is ever approached by a stranger should be to ask the obvious question, "why me?" Single men meanwhile should of course pretend to be married and that is definite and absolute 180 degree turnaround from traditional behaviour.

Even better, no more salutatory tale than the one above should be needed to convince the average bloke to stay within the safety and sanctity of his Club when in search of refreshment.

The Dating Game

Like just about everything else, this too has changed.

Talking to the son of a friend the other day, (Crumble Kids wouldn't step near the subject with their father), it seems that the days of boys heading out for an adventurous evening in search of romance have been consigned to the dustbin. Most, if not all assignations now are apparently pre organised on Facebook. That's bad enough but whats worse is the prospective partner will go data mining and in about five minutes have enough material at hand, to make a snap decision as to whether a first date is a go or not.

That's sad because it would invalidate just about all the schemes I came up with to draw myself to the attention of young ladies, mind you, they were pretty rubbish schemes anyway.

The "wander round the Tate gallery looking interesting on a Sunday afternoon," was a total waste of time and which anyway, ended up round the corner in the Cross Keys over a reflective five pints. The landlord, Arthur, at least thought I was interesting. Nor was the "if I splash that girl then jump out of the car, apologise and offer her a lift," a very well thought out gambit. The bodywork repair bill resulting from an angry umbrella wielding lunatic was well outside my contingency planning. 

I wouldn't profess to ever have been a graduate of the Grant-Niven School of Charm but we did have fun. Moreover, the learning about one another over weeks and months, the likes, the dislikes, the moods, the experiences, the disasters was interesting and it kept you on your toes. Having the whole thing compressed into a few bytes of binary and read, absorbed and possibly discarded within a few minutes is I think, somewhat disheartening. 

oh do just fuck off Simpson, supercilious sod

From the users perspective of course, they see it as an opportunity to filter through a much larger catchment, waste less time and optimise their hits. I just think it's bloody sad but the saddest part is anyone not on Facebook is likely to be regarded at first glance a weird person so therefore, anyway fails the first test.

As if all that nonsense wasn't bad enough the earth truly goes spinning off it's axis when we learn from a Martha de Lacey that a "speed dating app is more addictive than crack."  Well Miss de Lacey, I haven't tried either and regard both with equal suspicion. Apparently, you download an app called Tinder, and it discovers other single's within a few minutes of you. The user selects one, pings them and if they accept, having run through the profile, you hook up within a few minutes. 

Miss de Lacey is taking a robust and industrial approach to Tinder having started conversations with 40 men up to the time her article was published. I just think it's sad. Get a life Martha and try the Tate Gallery on Sunday, there might be another chap wandering around looking for a vision to waft in before him. Who knows what you might be missing with your digital guillotine.