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The Joy of Being Board

April 4th, 2007 · post by Phil Chokeword · 1 Comment

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1. I roll motherfukkin snake eyes and wind up on Trafalgar Square, where Wilf is poised to bankrupt my poverty stricken ass. I cough up the cash and take another swig from the two litre keg of scrumpy we are sharing. It’s called Haymaker because it packs a punch and comes in a huge glass bottle, complete with a round finger hole so that I can swing it like right hook. Poor though I may be, at least I still got Mayfair and Park Lane. Oh and I’ve mortgaged Liverpool Street Station. Actually, this is starting to look bleak.

My excuse is that Wilf seems to know rules that me and Hannah never knew existed. He keeps coming out with things that seem like bullshit but when you check are right there in black and white. Like bidding on property. I swear I’ve never known anyone to play that rule in my life. Who knew that if you don’t buy property when you land on it, all the players can bid between each other to get it, possibly at a lower than card-value price? Not me. Or Hannah. But it’s there in the rules booklet. This attention to detail is why Wilf runs a shop to earn an honest wage and I stamp library books like the soon to be bankrupt mug I am.

Hannah rolls a 7 and winds up in prison, which is good because she owns the third of the board that Wilf hasn’t sucked into his vast empire. I won’t pay her rent whilst she rots behind bars. Sucker. I hope I can make it to Go before she comes out and buys more little green houses but it’s doubtful. Wilf’s go and then it’s mine. I cough up again and start up with the jokes about being an honest working man and how the odds are stacked against me, which is funny cos its Monopoly, not like I’m struggling to sell used cars – and in any case unlike real life, everyone starts with the same amount of money and the same opportunity, with a little help from lady luck, to be a fine venture capitalist and screw every last penny out of the competition. Which I guess is unhealthy in a sense, but then can you imagine it any other way? If everyone owned all the properties collectively and rent was scrapped on principle then you’d just go around the board doing nothing much except commenting on how great it is to be working together responsibly without landlords and bosses and commenting on the crime rates now we scrapped jails and reformed the Community Chest. Which would be a dog shit way to spend a few hours.

Anyhow, Wilf coughs up for another hotel and claims to be pretty much unbeatable, which is starting to look like the case. Although games of Monopoly tend to last roughly the same time it takes the moon to orbit the earth, I’m in free fall and the bottom is in sight. Hannah has paid her way out of the clink and I’m in trouble. I hit the bottle and roll three doubles and I’m in lock down and fukk am I paying when I can have three goes to collect my thoughts. It’s kinda reassuring in an odd way that I’m shit at competitive games and Wilf has been kicking my ass at board games since we were lads but it would be good to escape with some dignity. I have another drink. I’m now literally on my way to being a drunk loser.

I roll the dice, hoping not to get a double and I don’t and stay in jail. Hannah and Wilf broker some kind of deal where they swap their odd property to create sets so they can buy more houses and I ponder quitting. It’s been a long hard summer, working hard and organising and now it’s September and it’s dark and cold and wet and I wonder if there’s any soup left in the kitchen. There’s not and it’s my go again. Double six! Fukk I’m back in the game next roll. There’s no place to go that isn’t bought. I land on Pall Mall with an empty pocket and call time on my role in this sorry affair.

2. A couple of episodes of Peep Show later, and I pass out in bed next to Hannah. Wilf meanwhile bags the prize of getting to sleep in our kitchen on an icy lino floor. We aren’t sore losers and let him use the sleeping bag. I know from experience it’s no honeymoon suite but half a keg of cider and you can sleep standing up anyhow so comfort is all a bit fukkin irrelevant innit? And it’s better than making him walk home in the rain.

3. I sleep for about three hours.

Then I wake up. Then I go back to sleep. Then I wake up. Then I go back to sleep. Then I lie in bed and stare at the ceiling until I wake Hannah up by “accident” because I’m bored and want to make a cup of tea. Then Hannah tells me to get fukked and goes back to sleep while I read zines for four hours in the kitchen in my pants (thankfully Wilf has already left for work so he’s not traumatized). This is the standard weekend sleeping scenario. Five days out of seven, I wake up and get up and go to work instead where I drink ridiculous amounts of coffee and try to think straight and do my job without my brain falling out my nose.

I’ve periodically been like this for a while now, at least since I started working full time a few years ago. It comes and goes, depending, I think, on how stressed I am. If I’m worrying about a piece of case work, then that’s normally what’s going through my head at 3am when I wake up with a jolt. Either that, or I’m wide awake listening for the kind of imaginary bangs or bumps that make me think that a burly stranger I’ve no connection to is trying to get through two thick, locked doors to come kick MY ass and only MY ass. I think another factor in the equation is the endless cycle of drinking coffee to stay awake at work because I haven’t slept, then sleeping even worse as a result and having to drink more coffee the next day, which means I sleep even worse still the next night and have to drink even more coffee the next day, so I sleep even worse. Caffeine, like the good stuff, is a blessing and curse and a bad habit and makes me a paranoiac and seriously, what ARE you whispering about in the back corner of the library, you sneaky little motherfukker?

My local heath food shop has a half-hearted database which is currently serving as my “medical advice” on this particular issue. I have a sneaking suspicion my doctor, if I decide to visit, will either tell me to go away or prescribe some massively scary drug that I’ll be hooked on forever. This machine of all medical lore (which is probably infallible in any case like all computers) claims that I still have what’s classed as insomnia even though I never have a problem getting to sleep. I can still fall asleep in funny places and I still rarely make it through a film without passing out in the arm chair, missing half of it and deciding it’s a piece of shit that doesn’t make any sense. The problem is staying asleep which apparently is just a different, less common, type of insomnia. Which makes sense. So I’ve had a brief and unsuccessful dabble with some girly oils on my pillow that once worked for Hannah but now wake her up. And I’m currently trying an over-priced herbal insomnia remedy which comes in the kind of lilac packet that makes me look manly when I’m queuing next to waxed weight lifters with huge tubs of muscle growth powder.

It hasn’t worked yet. I still don’t sleep properly.

This is pretty shitty.


End notes
1.Corrections: Man, my journalistic skills are pretty sucky. Back in issue 13, I made the following typos: The Blatz 7” is called Cheaper Than The Beer, not Better Than The Beer. Its Drunken Boat, not Drunk Boat that Bent Outta Shape did a split with and the acoustic version on that split is of a song called Villain not Victim. I was going to say its all punk rock as if that’s an excuse but its not. It’s just tardy. Sorry.
2.These commodities improve my quality of life to the point where I can almost stomach working to pay for them: This Is My Fist! – A History Of Rats CD (No Idea), United We Stand by Alastair J Reid, Reducers SF – Raise Your Heckles CD (TKO), The Clash by Arturo Barea (£1.99 from Oxfam! Get In!), the Cock Sparrer tape Red just made me, Lets Just Pretend zine, Weston’s 2 litre flagons of scrumpy.
3.Marie-Antoinette? Irredeemable pile of shit.
4.Somehow, after watching X Factor, Hannah claims Rod Stewart and Robin Williams look the same and might actually be the same person and she doesn’t even do drugs. It’s a strange, strange world.
5.Write to me: c/o South Coast Zines, PO Box 1398, Southampton, SO16 9WX. Issue 4.5 of my zine Facial Disobedience is available for 50p and a SAE. Hannah has another awesome South Coast Vegan Cooking zine which is £1 plus an SAE. Finally, there’s a few copies of the free per-zine The Angels Share left which a bunch of local zinesters knocked out. It’s a double sided A3 sheet and yours for an SAE. All these can be obtained from this address. Distros get in touch too! If I don’t reply after Febuary, it’s because I’ve moved to Canada and I’m buried under a mountain of snow. You can also find me on the dreaded myspace at (unless you’re a shit metal-core or indy band).

→ 1 CommentThis entry belongs to the following categories: Columns

1 response so far

  • Tomsshava posted:
    Jan 22, 2009 at 2:10 am. Comment #1

    Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
    I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
    God will appreciate it.