When I was about eight years old, I was forced to share a bedroom with my brother. My bed was a huge great wooden thing, with the headboard carved out of an entire tree, he said exaggerrating. It was pretty bloody huge though for a small kid. And it spelt my doom.
Cause and effect. I’d seen a TV programme about the work of engravers and the intricate work they do. Carving metal, wood, anything. I can do that. So I did.
I found the first relatively sharp instrument I could lay my hands on - a metal cogwheel from my Meccano set, and got to work. With a deft and unshaking hand, and knowing not exactly what I was letting myself in for, I neatly engraved the word “PiSS” onto the headboard of my bed in eighteen inch high letters. I sat back and admired my handiwork. Lovely job.
Bed of Doom (artist's impression)
It was about ten seconds after this particular point-of-no-return that I realised something. I had written the foulest word known to my eight year old mind on the wooden headboard of my bed. And it won’t come off.
I rubbed it. I soaked it in a mixture of water, soap and spit. It came off. Ten minutes later, it had dried, and there was the word PiSS, back again, taunting me. I was mortified. And mum was coming upstairs. I draped the curtains over my headboard and announced “From now on, I want to sleep like this”.
“You’ll get a draught down your neck” was the wisdom-filled reply.
“I don’t mind, I get hot in bed”
And she was right. For three dread-filled months, I slept with a stiff neck, with the curtains covering the word PiSS on my headboard. For three months I did anything to cover it up.
I diligently made my bed each morning so mum wouldn’t have to. I slapped stickers over the PiSS, but was told to peel them off as they would “spoil the wood”. I cut out pictures of airplanes, pets and family photos and stuck them over the dreaded PiSS, only for them to fall off in the night, exposing my Nemesis for the world to see.
Every night was a struggle against discovery. PiSS was taking over my world. I was tired, stiff and my school work was suffering. I was pilloried by Mrs Jones at school for absent-mindedly doodling “PiSS” on the cover of a school book. It was getting too much. I was turning into a pre-teen crack-up.
PiSS. PiSS. PiSS.
Then came the glorious day. I came home from school one afternoon, and ran upstairs to make sure that I hadn’t been discovered. Instead of the two beds side by side - my brother’s World War II relic and the PiSS bed - was my saviour, a lovely brand spanking new bunkbed in gloriously white-painted wood. I danced with joy.
It gleamed. It sparkled. And best of all, the PiSS bed was already on its way to the dump. Gleefully, as older brother, I bagsied the top bunk and revelled in my new found freedom. And I got a good night’s sleep for the first time in months.
It was not long after that I noticed that my brother was becoming a little particular about covering up the end of his lower bunk. He’d always hang spare clothes, pajamas, dressing gown over it in a frankly suspicious manner. I took a peek. “BoLLockS”.
"End of the World news"
In the line of duty, I was asked to carry out a WHOIS net search on the Al Muhajiroun website. They're a group of extreme Islamists based around Finsbury Park Mosque, whose idea of commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 is this.
The WHOIS turned up their registered address as 748 High Road, London N17. That rang a bell. Ah yes, 748 High Road is only Tottenham bloody Hotspur football ground. And I always thought Osama was an Arsenal fan. Obviously, he's hiding in the Spurs trophy room, a desperately barren place where no man ever goes.