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September 13 2014 7 13 /09 /September /2014 12:05

Followers of my blog (which, as of now, equals ZERO - thanks for that!) might be interested in my latest YouTube shenanigans where I spend a good amount of time just burning magnesium. It was filmed in full 1080p HD! I used a tripod and all that sort of wizardry that's basically just jive to get you to watch. Have a look if you're that way inclined. Subcribe to my channel too...if you're that way inclined.

 

 

 


 
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September 6 2014 7 06 /09 /September /2014 12:43

I received my Oculus Rift DK2 yesterday...only about a month later than scheduled.

 

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Look at my finger on the left!

 

I bought the first Oculus Rift earlier this year. It was the first the time I've ever used VR and I was blown away by it. I had a chance of using a VR headset about 15 years ago at some science museum I visited but I declined to try it for two reasons. One was that the dad who used it looked like a first-prize idiot ducking and diving. The other reason was that I didn't really fancy standing on the pool of vomit left by his son immediately after.

 

The Oculus Rift DK2 isn't quite a world away from the DK1 but it's certainly from here to the moon in terms of a step in advancement. With the infrared LEDS in the actual headset being monitored by the addition of a motion capturing camera you can now actually 'lean' over things; in the Tuscany demo I actually felt as though I was going to fall off the balcony. Then I started to question why was there a fire burning on lovely Summer's day, why wheren't there any beds or a bathroom and, worst of all, how come there was no escape from the place? Answer? It was a torture prison set in beautiful surroundings. I digress...

 

So, overall thoughts about the Oculus Rift DK2? The clarity is unbelievable compared to the DK1 - the DK2 is 1080p. You can still see the pixels quite clearly but it's nowhere near as 'bad' as the DK1; an experience which is best described as almost like looking at a colourised version of the amber LED display of a 90s pinball table. It's a weird but brilliant feeling being able to lean over things to see over edges and suchlike. I'm a bit saddened that DK1 software is incompatible with it though; it can be easily fixed by the developers if they use the latest SDK but not a lot of it hasn't been touched yet it seems*.

 

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When you get dead close to the spideman's face you'll jump back, I assure you.

(Spirited Away - Boiler Room Scene: https://redofpaw.wordpress.com/vr-projects/)

 

Is it a sign that they've given up or am I just too impatient? I don't know but it puts my skeptical brain into a weird sort of overdrive of worry. Anyway, one of the most unbelievably cool demos for the Oculus Rift DK2 I've seen is based on one my favourite films; Spirited Away. This, my friends is quite remarkable in VR: http://redofpaw.wordpress.com/vr-projects/

 

As a Kickstarter backer of Elite: Dangerous I have the beta release of said game and I was so pleased to find out that they are supporting the Oculus Rift. I can't wait to give it a go and I'm going to give it a go right now. I shall report back here with my thoughts soon.

 

Overall I'd give the Oculus Rift DK2 9.5 out of 10.

 

 

*EDIT, 14th March, 2015 - A lot of the DK1 stuff has been updated to to support the DK2.

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August 2 2014 7 02 /08 /August /2014 11:14

Where do I buy my games from is a question I am seldom asked but I feel I should answer it nevertheless.

 

Many moons ago (yes, I still count time in moons - imagine THAT as watch concept; it'd throw Apple's rumoured iWatch out the window, I can tell you) I used to love walking into town and visiting my local independent game retailer. He'd stock all manor of games, be it from second hand to the latest releases for PC and on just about all of the (then) popular consoles. It was a nice little shop where you could go in, buy a can of Coke and have a chat and a look at games. The owner would even let you try before you buy which isn't something you'd expect to be able to do have done in Woolworths. A strange thing that I never did understand is why he'd balance the game cases on their sides with a diagonal viewing angle; one clumsy slip putting the case back onto the shelf would result in an impressive but somewhat embarrassing replica of a scene from the advert from Domino Alley Action Alley:

 

I couldn't be bothered to actually search for the right video. Oh

and whilst I'm on the subject of old adverts, can anyone, anyone,

remember Kangaboom? I swear it once existed and I didn't just dream it.

 

Unfortunately and, as bad harmonica player Bob Dylan once put it, The Times They Are a-Changin'. Hell, my latest computer doesn't even have an optical drive. Now I get my games completely digitally. There is one site that I always turn to before buying any game though, and that's IsThereAnyDeal.com - as the slogan says on their site, 'When the price is right, you'll play all night'...which isn't strictly true if you work a night shift because if you did, you'll no doubt be fired on the spot. Anyway, have a look there - I've found some excellent bargains because of them, not to mention they keep a list of the top offers and bundles at the top of the page.

 

Most of my games are downloaded via Steam but I seldom buy them directly from the Steam store unless they're on sale. Usually you can find them a lot cheaper elsewhere and I suppose my favourite online retailer of choice has to be Green Man Gaming. Not only do their prices usually beat the Steam store's by a decent if not considerable margin but they often have discount codes that typically offer 20% to 25% off your purchase at the checkout too. Check them out HERE.

 

Inside a typical Forbidden Planet yesterday.

 

Well, what became of my little local independent game retailer? He tried shifting his focus to second-hand DVDs. When that didn't quite work as expected he moved into Warhammer 40K stuff and second-hand Star Wars action figures territory. When that didn't work? Marvel and DC comics. In the end his shop looked like some sort of trashy knock-off of a Forbidden Planet (and that's pretty hard to do when you see what an actual Forbidden Planet shop really looks like inside). Well, that all failed in the end and he tried no end of progressions that saw little to no success. Currently he sells memory foam mattresses and 'marital sex aids'.

 

He's still got the same shop though.

 

Give them a go and support Gaming Mill a bit!

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March 30 2014 1 30 /03 /March /2014 11:12

I've got no idea how this game would work but hey, I've come up with the cover art so it's a start! Does anyone know anyone in the gaming industry that could make my game concept a reality? I've approached Team17, the makers of the Worms series of games (well, I mentioned them in one of them Twitter tweet things) but my request so far has fallen on deaf ears; they can't complain that they're too busy either, the lazy Flockers.

 

Anyway, behold...Grand Theft Gordon!

 

Grand Theft Gordon...you KNOW you'd play it.

 

 

 

 

Here's an interesting fact about Gordon Ramsay the chef - I didn't go to school with him. Enough fascinating facts about him though; here's one of the characters in the game. I don't know what he'd do or anything but I just think the photo is funny:

 

Big fat fella on a motorbike. I give this photo 9.5 out of 10.

 

 

 

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August 31 2013 7 31 /08 /August /2013 11:11
Me: "The smallest man ever to live was only seven centimetres tall. Welshman Dai Llandudno was killed at the age of 27 when his neighbour's cat climbed in through his bedroom window and stalked him down like a rat. His autopsy results showed that the cat tortured him for upwards of an hour before crushing his tiny little head in its jaws, resulting in his death."

My Smoking Brother: "Jesus! They didn't put the cat down did they?"
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July 27 2013 7 27 /07 /July /2013 11:09

The other night I was walking home from work. I'm not too sure of the time but it can't have been too early because the day had not long had its light show stolen by the thieving fingers of the night; I suppose it was about 9.30pm or thereabouts. My walk home is normally pretty uneventful and the journey takes me about an hour or so. Usually I take the bus but tonight just seemed like a really pleasant evening so I thought I'd give my legs a bit of exercise.

 

 

A lot nicer when hot

 

As a bit of a treat for the walk home I had bought myself a giant sausage roll to eat and a two litre bottle of orangeade that I'd secretly stashed in the walk-in chiller at work, to ensure it was nice and cool to drink when I had finally left. I say secretly, more realistically I had asked my manager if it was okay to do so and she said yes. I still felt a weird sort of pride though in the fact that my fellow workers all thought I was blatantly stealing something when I went to leave. It wouldn't have surprised me if Jobsworth Jackie went and actually told someone in senior management about what she had seen. I hate Jobsworth Jackie - she's the only person I know who always manages to clock out of work dead on time. She'll also do anything she can to make your day at work as uncomfortable or unpleasant as possible. She has something to do with price integrity or something and if I'm asked to print some labels for something she'll always come out from the back and find you to start moaning. "Who authorised you to print those labels?! This is messing up my system and is increasing my workload!" is a typical screech from her - it's as if she's constantly watching the computers out the back, ready to pounce. Strange thing is, she's got no authority whatsoever at work - she's effectively on the same level as me. Awful as it sounds, I was genuinely quite happy when I saw her sent home crying because of the pain in her back once.

 

 

After about a mile or so of walking I started on my sausage roll, and delicious it was too. I'm sure that if I wasn't quite so hungry it wouldn't have tasted anywhere near as good but hey, I was enjoying it at the time so that was all that mattered. I took a huge swig of my orangeade, at least a third of the bottle, then grimaced with watering eyes as the pain from the almost ice cool carbonated liquid did the thing that it always does in that situation. This really was a pleasant walk home from work!

 

 

I have memories of this, even though I hadn't been born

 

I took a short cut that for some reason I really like walking through. It's part of the 'old' Stoke on Trent and it really fills you with a strange kind industrial decrepitude, that for some reason I've always liked...it's like memories of which I'm too young to have but they nevertheless seem to be there. One of my best friends once pointed this out to me without me even realising it myself first. He pointed it out in a lot of my paintings and drawings; images of industry, fantastical machinery that served no obvious purpose than just to move huge quantities of heavy stuff around, smoke and pollution, pointless labour, filth and grime. I don't know why I like this sort of thing so much but I think that's one of the reasons I like where I live because you can find past memories of that sort of thing all around this area. Most of my old paintings and drawings have long since be lost to time like sugar in sand. It's a shame really.

 

 

What is there not to like about any of this?

Looking past the orange sodium street lamps up at the darkening blue sky, thinking about nothing in particular but just sensing a feeling of happiness and peace within my self it suddenly hit me. Full force and from out of nowhere. "PHLOOOUGHHH!" was the noise I made as I blew it out of my mouth. Blew what out?! The biggest moth I think I've ever seen in real life. The big dusty bastard. The force I ejected it with made it look like I was exhaling the smoke from a cigar made of moths' wings and man, what a big cloud of smoke it was too. Then, the secondary instinctive and involuntary action happened. A bottle of orangeade and a giant sausage roll made their way back up...that dusty bastard had caused a gag reflex of epic proportions. There I was, throwing up on a busy street, revisiting something that I was really enjoying just five minutes beforehand that wasn't anywhere near to being enjoyable in any way, shape or form the second time round.

 

 

A few days later my Smoking Brother telephoned me.

 

"I heard you were pissed up the other night" he said.

 

"Eh? I haven't been out for ages" I replied.

 

"Yeah, right. Dan from work drove past you on Spencer Road and saw you. He said you were in a right state! Where'd you been?"

 

"I had been at work! I was walking home. A moth flew in my mo..."

 

Big dusty bastard

 

"Whatever," my Smoking Brother replied sarcastically, "listen, I've gotta go. I'm playing DayZ with a few mates in a minute. Catch you later."

 

Conversations with my Smoking Brother are usually like that. I've since spoke to him about the incident and he still doesn't believe me.

 

Oh, the moth? It flew off with no seemingly ill side effects. The big dusty bastard.

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March 9 2013 7 09 /03 /March /2013 12:08

Hello!


Sorry about the lack of posts here but I've been very busy recently - I had to use up my remaining holiday time at work before the end of March so I've had three and a half weeks off. What have I been doing? Bugger all but eating junk and playing games.


Anyway, if you can just spare a minute I'll let you know about some pretty important news regarding myself and my YouTube channel.


I've got three videos coming up over the next few days (they'll all be online by the Thursday). One is a proper review of some software called CrazyTalk - it's got to be done with some sort of proper style because it's not exactly cheap, not to mention the fact that the publishers whom gave me the full version keep asking where my promised video is; I asked for a copy and promised to review it so I'm going to get it done in the next couple of days. What is CrazyTalk? Well, I made this horrific stuff of nightmares with it:

 

Lisa Stansfield. Possibly yesterday. *shudder*

 

 

 

If you want to find out more about CrazyTalk then drop on over to their website by clicking here (it'll open in a new tab / window). This video's going to be a real treat because there's going to be a right special cameo in it - Kylie Minogue anyone?



 

Would? Wood?




Second and third videos are slightly related in that they're going to be a couple of reviews of two really rather good games from the same publisher. What genre? Bridge building games! Yes, the first one is going to be Bridge Project (there's a free demo at that link too) and the second is Bridge It (again, another free demo from that link). Bridge It, despite its almost exact same name as the really quite rubbish old 8-bit Amstrad CPC464 game is also attempting to be the first bridge building game to be able to buy via Steam. If you've got a minute or two then please go and vote for it via Steam's Greenlight scheme...I have.



 

This is NOT the Bridge It that I recommend - this Bridge-It is dire.



And now for the biggy!


I've got a few competitions coming up. The prizes, at the moment, are games. Alas, they're just for Windows right now and are redeemable via Steam only but hey, even I can't do everything. I'm still working on the nature of the competitions but the first one will be for really rather excellent Just Cause 2. Yep, the full game. It's currently in my top five list of favourite games right now and believe me, I know about games. Hell, I'm Gaming Mill - what don't I know?!





 

Just Cause 2. You could actually win this! Why? Just cause! (Cheers Ron for that!)

 

 

 

I've also got a couple of Steam keys for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, again for Windows, that I'll be giving as competition prizes in the not too distant future. It's probably the best multiplayer kart games available for Windows right now. People have argued with me about this, saying that 'nothing beats Mario Kart' - they forget, this is for Windows! Some people. Anyway, whilst a few people on Twitter and Facebook have asked me about the nature of these competitions I'm actually still working on ideas but trust me; they will be as fair as possible.

 

Oh, if anyone publisher / developer wants to donate a game for future competitions, please feel free to contact me.

 

Anyway, that's all for now and thanks for reading. Don't forget to spread the word to people about Gaming Mill and I'll end this with another pic of Kylie.

 

GM.

 

 

 

She still looks not a day over 16.

 

  

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February 21 2013 5 21 /02 /February /2013 12:07

It was August about five years ago and more or less 7pm. I was waiting at my house for Bad Feri. He was the landlord of my then local bar and he had taken the night off.

 

"So you've never been to a casino?" he said, somewhat incredulously.

 

"No. Never." I still couldn't see what he thought was so odd about it. After all, I wasn't really brought up in the ways of town life - I was more accustomed to sitting at home, playing video games and suchlike.

 

That was two weeks ago. Now I stood in my house, best shirt on, real trousers, polished shoes...what an effort. Bad Feri's wife was dropping him off at mine, we were going to walk into Stoke town centre, have a couple of pints and then get a taxi to the city for a night of gambling then drinking and 'womanising' - remember, Feri was married. Bad Feri. I was looking forward to it so much; I'd been out of work for months and was sick of being skint. I'd done a couple of days helping out Feri in his bar during a refit and had a few quid on me for the effort. It was the first time in ages I had money in my pocket. To be able to go out and do something different and fun felt like a holiday abroad.

 

The phone rang. Here we go, half an hour late because his dog's escaped.

 

"It's me. Get your shoes on. I'll be there in five minutes." It was my dad.

 

"Why? I..."

 

"It's your Uncle Dave. He's got a bad back. I've got to go down there to get him into hospital..."

 

"I can't, I'm..."

 

"...and YOU'RE driving. We've got to go. They won't admit him. He's in so much pain he might kill himself..."

 

"...but I'm..."

 

"SHOW SOME FUCKING RESPECT! Listen, we've got to go down. It's up to ME to sort this fucking mess out again" shouting now. There was a knock at the door.

 

"I've got to go, there's someone at the door"

 

"FIVE MINUTES. Make sure you're ready" my dad finished, hanging up.

 

Feri stood there grinning as I looked down from my front doorstep at him.

 

"I'm sorry mate it's off. My uncle's ill and I've got to help my dad in London with him", it all came out too fast, like a child unconvincingly lying, "and I can't say no you know what he's like". What an idiot.

 

"Oh. Alright mate," Feri said, trying unsuccessfully to hide his disappointment. I felt a sort of pity for him at that moment; I'd never seen him looking so...smart. "We'll have to sort it out for another time." I continued apologising for a while afterwards before I shut the door. I knew I sounded like I wasn't being honest.

 

Now to work out what was going on. Uncle? Bad back? London? Why does my dad need to go down there? Suicide? He never calls my Uncle Dave 'uncle'? Why am I involved? ...silly, silly thoughts: I know why I was needed.

 

I didn't need to wait for him to knock; I heard him mount the curb outside.

 

"You're driving" he said. I already guessed that before he had arrived, let alone watch him make for the passenger door. I got into his Discovery, £45000 of unneeded extravagance, the air ice-cold. I bet the bastard had had the air conditioning running for an hour on his drive before he left, just to make it 'right' for him.

 

"You know how to adjust the seat don't ya'?" he said, messing around with the multitude of buttons on my seat, tilting me backwards and forwards, up and down. Of course I knew - it was the same routine every time I had to drive. Oh, here we go - push the seat forward so my legs get crushed. Hilarious. The thing that I never mentioned was that, apart from my father's considerable extra weight we were more or less the same frame wise and I never needed to adjust the chair. This was just another one of those 'things' that he did...one of those 'things' that made your life just a little less pleasant.

 

"Quick slug?" he gestured towards me with his open Lucozade bottle.

 

"Nah, I'm alright thanks". I shook my head, trying to look like I was about to enter into concentration mode and doing my best not to show just how angry I was to have another day of my life ruined by him.

 

"Just as well, seeing as you're driving" he said, just before he winced in a fashion that would have been comical if I wasn't quite so very pissed off. "Fucking hell!" he cried, "bit too much voddy in that cunt!" he snorted as he watered down the already open bottle of Lucozade with added Smirnoff with a fresh bottle of the amber fizz, taking another quick swig to test that it was to his liking. I was glad it had brought tears to his eyes.

 

"Russ filled it up this morning," he nodded towards my side of the dashboard "so we won't have to stop. You know the way, don't you?"

 

"I don't even know what's going on" - I think he could sense my irritability.

 

"Oi. Pack it in." He had that stern, serious look and tone - the only sort you can learn and pull off successfully from having spent considerable time in the forces. "It's our Dave. Our Margaret's been on, he's in a bad way. He's had this bad back for months now, done it at work from lifting that boom. They won't admit him an 'e's on about killin' himself the pain's so bad." David worked for the BBC as a sound technician, "That's why I'VE got to go down there and sort this fucking mess OUT."

 

He didn't have to do anything. I could never understand that, but then maybe I could; he was already drunk when he rang me - this was just another one of his 'weird jollys', the sort that only happened when he was drunk and could only be justified by making some sort of crisis out of it.

 

It was now 7.15pm. This was going to be a tough evening.

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January 29 2013 3 29 /01 /January /2013 12:06

 

 

 

Noel's nightmare / My dream

For those that may not remember much about it the year 2012 was memorable for many reasons. Whether it be Megaupload being shut down in January of that year or the fact that Noel Edmonds did something weird to his beard colour to make him look like some sort of peroxide-headed Master from Doctor Who, it cannot be denied that the highlight of the year was when I released my number 1 none-seller hit Christmas single, A Gaming Mill Christmas (still available to buy!)

 

Free and really simple to sign up to

A number of people from YouTube ,  Facebook and Twitter seem somewhat puzzled as to how I got it released onto iTunes in the first place (and a number of other outlets - Spotify etc.) without having any sort of record label behind me...in fact, some people still seem somewhat puzzled how I managed to sell just over six copies in the first place with no discernible music talent. Here I'll tell you how simple it was.

 

Just sign up to TuneCore (link here!) That's it. It's free to sign up to and from there you just upload your stuff. To release a single through a hefty number of different places only costs $9.99 or just $29.99 for an album. They've got different pricing structures for all different needs.

 

How come this didn't make it to number 1 in the charts?

With this is mind I'm going to take my own music to the next level and hopefully have my own full album out by the summer, starting with some little teaser singles - A Gaming Mill Valentine's Day, A Gaming Mill Easter, A Gaming Mill 4th July, A Gaming Mill Saturday and A Gaming Mill Laundry Day; it should be a real treat!

 

So, if you're a budding musician or you've got a band and you're looking for a cheap and simple outlet to sell your music, give TuneCore a go...you can't go far wrong.

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January 11 2013 6 11 /01 /January /2013 12:05

 

 

 

 

NOT where I work

At the supermarket where I work there are a number of security guards that work for a separate security firm. I'm not entirely sure how their shifts work because sometimes there can be weeks gone by at a time without me seeing some of them and then suddenly they'll be doing daft hours like 14 days solid or suchlike; whilst they all seem okay I never really talk to them because I always feel like I'm guilty of some wrongdoing, even though I haven't done anything wrong. That said, given half the chance, they'll gladly try and spark up a conversation with me. One of them kept going on all summer about his 'two weeks in Vegas' that was coming up in October. He was a curious fella with a strange, light-ginger coloured hairstyle that belonged two decades previously and he always seemed to have an odd, white build up of something in the corner of his eyes. Of even more curious note was that no-one has ever seen him again since he left for Vegas.

 

Someone's gotta do it

Another security guard there is always talking about his children and how they run riot and how his wife doesn't do anything to try and curb their behaviour. He was once telling me how, after he'd finish that day's twelve hour shift, he would have to go home, cook his own tea then 'get to work in the spare bedroom' because there was a damp problem around the window and that the carpet and floorboards needed ripping up 'because they were rotten to buggery'. At a guess I'd say he was only in his early forties but the worry lines on his head and bald scalp with the remaining hair just hanging on for dear life seemed to betray his age. His stories about his home life always made me feel a little bit sorry for him and he said how he'd be cooking Christmas dinner again this year because his wife was going out with workmates on Christmas Eve and she'd be too rough to do anything the next day. He had a terrible sadness behind his eyes and I thought he was going cry.

 

It was about that time that my manager asked if I'd like to work on Christmas day. It was only from 10pm Christmas Eve until 8am Christmas day. I was offered double time-and-a-half in pay and was allowed to leave if I had got my jobs done early. These jobs entailed moving whatever seasonal goods were still on the shelves and moving them to another aisle ready for clearance. Oh, I had to shift a ton of booze from the main entrance too and replace them with TVs. I didn't really want to but I figured it was good money and that I'd be done by 3am if I worked fast. Only two other people were in - a young bloke who I'm sure had a glass eye (and if it was a glass eye then why did he put it in so that it was constantly staring to the far right? He look daft) and a security guard.

 

I know who ate all the pies

This security guard is known as Fat Idiot (by me only but others must think the same, I'm sure). About five foot six, shaven head, moustache and arms covered in faded shite tattoos that look like they'd certainly seen several years of service judging from the generic blue smudginess of them, the guy would either be sitting on his chair or, more usually, standing by the hot pasties and pies that were for sale near the entrance. He only stood there because he'd be waiting for them to be discounted at around 8pm...which always coincided with his break, funnily enough. When he wasn't by the hot pies he'd be talking utter bollocks to any of the female staff in there...stuff so banal I couldn't stand it if I was working where he was 'stationed'. One day I had to put a load of one litre bottles of Southern Comfort on some shelving near the entrance because it was on offer and I had to listen to him chatting to a nearby cashier. When she left for a break he turned his attention to me.

 

"HBO's up the spout again" he shouted over.

 

"Huh?" I quizzed. I didn't know what he was on about and the noise from the rest of the shop meant that we were both nearly shouting to have this 'conversation'.

 

"I said HBO's up the spout again" he said again.

 

"Oh" I replied, hoping this would appease his simple brain and make him think I actually had a clue what he was on about.

 

"Yeah, this place is on it's way out. How am I supposed to stop shoplifters if the security cameras aren't working?"

 

It was then that it clicked; by 'HBO' he was, rather unwittily, referring to his CCTV monitors.

 

"Yep. Nothing for me to do again" he grinned as I thought 'as usual you fat bastard'. He stood up and I was expecting him to go and stand by his pies again, even though it was a good few hours before he'd be able to gorge his swollen carcass on them - he honestly looked like an egg on legs. However, he walked over to me.

 

"Are you going to tag those?" he said, pointing at the bottles I was stacking up. By tagging them he meant would I be putting security tags over the bottle tops to help prevent them being stolen up by shoplifters.

 

"Erm...I've not been told to. I've just taken over from Emily for a bit - I don't normally do this"

 

"Well, let me tell you this - if you don't, they'll be gone, schwit, in half an hour..." he made a bizarre throat-slitting gesture that made no sense in this context, "...and I'll be the one having them too. I'm telling you, me at home in me La-Z-Boy in front of the box...I won't be sipping that, I'll be gulping it and believe me, that bottle won't even touch the floor until it's empty, an' then I'll start on another. Yep, I'll have the lot and this place can piss off. I'm telling you, I'll be having the lot and I'll drink it so fast it won't even touch the sides...and you just watch me."

 

Fat. Idiot.

 

I pictured him living on his own, sitting in a really dark lounge all alone and smoking cigarette after cigarette whilst getting smashed off his tits on cheap lager and watching VHS tapes of a dubious, German and many-times-pirated nature on a TV that was using an old beer crate for a makeshift stand. From then on I realised that nothing he said made any sense. I caught him talking to some other far younger staff members one evening whilst they were all having a fag break outside. A young and attractive girl from the checkouts walked past on her way home. My friend Toy Nigel (he works in the toy department) made a comment about her, nothing nasty, just usual laddish stuff you'd expect from someone with an IQ that can be challenged by your average analogue microwave oven.

 

"Oi. Leave it and back off" said Fat Idiot, somewhat sinisterly.

 

"What?!" Toy Nigel was taken aback by this somewhat.

 

"Leave it...and just back off" he repeated with added threat.

 

"Why?!" Toy Nigel didn't seemed threatened, more amused and bemused, "are you and her..."

 

"No. I'm not saying anything, but you don't touch that one. She's not for you."

 

It later turned out that Fat Idiot had been pretending to be seeing her 'secretly' outside of work. His stories about where they would go out to were always in towns miles away from where any of us would think of going and his tales would almost invariably end up with him 'stopping in a motel for the night'. I think he had watched too many America dramas from the seventies. The icing on the cake was when he was recounting one of his many sojourns with her one weekend up in Manchester - even though she was on holiday in Benidorm at the time.

 

Christmas 2012 had finally arrived and Fat Idiot was the security guard on duty. Jesus, my heart sank. I don't know where Fat Idiot was but seeing as there were no pies he'd probably gone for a sleep in the canteen or something. When it came to around 2am he appeared. He was jangling some keys in front of my face with a rotten, toothy grin to accompany it.

 

"Found the fuckers! Three hours it's took but they can't hide owt from me!" he beamed.

 

"What are they for?" I enquired, not all too interested.

 

Look at them go there - great fun!

"Formula 1, that's what! We're going for a spin, you in?"

 

He'd found the keys for the electric mobility scooters in a draw behind customer services and he wanted to know if I wanted to join him and Daft Glass Eye for a race around the shop.

 

"Not really - I want to get done and get home. Anyway, what about the cameras?"

 

"All sorted, look" he marched me to his monitors, "I've pointed them all to the walls and the windows!" He looked so pleased with himself.

 

"Nah, I'm alright thanks" I said, hoping this would be enough for him.

 

"Fair enough. You've got to be in it to win it!" he chortled nonsensically and bounded off like some sort of jolly imbecilic neo-Nazi Santa Claus that had spent a considerable time in the merchant navy.

 

About ten minutes later I heard a crash from one of the aisles, followed by silence for about 30 seconds, followed by shouts. Fat Idiot came round the corner faster than I'd ever seen him move before.

 

"Come and help! Come and help!" he said with a pitch that defined a desperate man. I followed him to the aisle where I saw what was distressing him. He'd somehow managed to crash his mobility scooter into a display, knocking off a 42" Samsung television leaving it with the screen resting and smashed on the basket on the front of the scooter.

 

"Right, you're gonna have to help me out here. Tell 'em you did it!" he pleaded.

 

"Bugger off! I'm having nothing to do with it!" I said.

 

"But you've gotta! I'll lose me job if they know it were me!" he begged.

 

"Yeah, and so will I!" I replied. This went on for ages until I ended it, "Listen, this has got nothing to do with me. I'm not involved. This was your fault and you're the security guard."

 

I've never seen so much panic in someone in all my life and I wish I could say I feel ashamed that I still can't stop laughing about his idiocy. I left him at that and didn't see him at all again that night. Oh, and I finished work at about 4.45am.

 

Viva Las Vegas...or Asesinado en Las Vegas?

Not a thing was said when I returned back to work a couple of days later. I can only presume he owned up to it - I didn't want to ask any questions about the evening because it would've implied I knew about the little incident. It's been over two weeks since this happened and I've not seen Fat Idiot once. He's either been sacked or he's on a weird shift pattern. I don't care.

 

Or maybe he's with his mate in Vegas.

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