Things I never look cool doing…

The weather has been good the last few days here in the north of England and people are slowly starting to remove their winter woollies and don sunglasses, vest tops and shorts. As you will be aware, I’m not a great fan of the summer (reasons given here) and although people are in favour of the warmer weather, I’m still looking forward to October when the darker nights and windy wet weather returns. As I walk home from work every night, I switch to what I call the summer route. This is a route, mainly consisting of different sides of the roads, which provides me with the maximum amount of shade in a vain attempt to keep cool. It is while I was walking home that I started to realise that there were certain things that I am not able to look cool doing and will never be able to do so.


Every Friday night I do a radio show on my internet station called the Musical Show. Every show features the songs from a couple of musicals and last night one of them was Billy Elliot. I’m always impressed by the grace and athleticism of dancers but, although I often wish I had their grace and poise, I realise that I am never going to be a ballet dancer due to my age, my flabby out of shape physique and the general deterioration of my joints. However, that is not what this blog post is about. The things that I am referring to within this blog post are things that probably require no effort at all and yet, I just can’t do them and look good while others appear to be able to pull them off with little or no effort. I realise that I am ‘weird’ but hopefully I am not the only one with any of these inabilities, so please let me know in the comments if you can at least relate to one of them!

  • I never look cool running…I’m one of these people who always starts up my gym membership when I am on holiday and then end up paying for it for the rest of the year, not daring to cancel it, in a vain hope that I will return. I really have two things that I can do at the gym, run and swim – if you saw my biceps you would realise why weights are completely out of the question! While on the treadmill, I run and run, at my peak up to 5K and although I go through the actions my ‘style’ leaves a lot to be desired. I see people in the street suddenly start off in a sprint and they look ready for action, smooth and sport like. Every part of their body appears to understand that they are about to or is the process of running, and the parts all work together to fulfill the joint aim – smooth, agile, quick locomotion in the forward direction. When I start to run, there appears to be some sort of miscommunication throughout my body. The initial sprint start is reduced to me almost falling over forwards as the top of my body sets off and my feet and legs appear to be preoccupied and join the activity just as I am about the fall over! Once they get into their proper place, under my body, they appear to lack the knowledge of how to run and often go off in random directions meaning that, if I was running in a lane, I would probably hit the runners on either side of me several times. Just as my legs take a while to get into the action, my arms appear to have never learnt the action at all! They either dangle by my side or I make a vain attempt to ‘pump’ them at my side. The latter action is only because I asked someone once what I should do with my arms and their response was to pump them – what on earth is pumping in any case! – beyond the literal meaning of course. The overall effect is some sort of an amble at speed, which means that the adjective cool would be far from anyone’s lips!

  • I never look great with a beard…Fashions come and go and, if you are lucky, you can still fit into the clothes from the first time they were fashionable when they came round the second time. I remember when I was at grammar school that the majority of the masters (teachers to most people) all supported huge and quite bushy beards – apart from the french teacher – but she was a woman! For the past few years, beards have become more and more popular. No longer are they the regime of the old man sitting on park benches, it is the realm for the young, the cool, and the trendy to grow and show off beards of all shapes, sizes and designs. There is even a charity month when you can participate in growing a beard, refraining from shaving, and giving the money raised to charity. Although I remember having flared trousers, not actually at the same time they were trendy – I am always behind the style, the beard trend is something which I had never been able to support. I once had impetigo (look it up! one of the occupational hazards of being a primary school teacher) and the doctor ordered me not to shave for a month. Well that meant that my beard grew…now…I use the word beard in its broadest sense there. When it does grow, and it takes several weeks to actually get into gear, my beard resembles some sort of dilapidated, thread bare rug. Some areas do their best and sprout forth while others appeared to be on some sort of rebellious strike and refuse to participate. Many people’s beards, when they do grow, support a range of colours – and they look good. Mine grows as if someone has clicked the grayscale option on an image! At times I am not sure whether there is actually two single hairs which are actually the same colour! Eventually, even after a month of growth, it resembles some sort of mucky, grimy rash over the face….definitely not cool!

  • And finally – I never look cool in hats… As I was walking home in the sunshine, well in my case in the shade, I noticed the increase in the wearing of hats. Within this post I’m referring to baseball caps, but the same does apply to woolly hats in winter as well. People are walking around, looking summery in their sunglasses, shorts and tshirts, wearing baseball caps. They wear them forwards, backwards and even off to the side, and they look super cool, trendy and as if the hat is part of their outfit and, in many cases, themselves. I have come to the conclusion that I must have a strange shaped head. No matter where or how I but a cap on my head it appears to instantly want to try and jump off. It either doesn’t sit low enough or high enough or often it doesn’t even sit at all! Even when I have bought a hat which is ‘big’ and I manage to pull it down onto my head (despite it resisting) I hit the second problem…my ears! I never really thought that my ears stick out, but whenever I put on a cap they do so. I’ve tried tucking them in or having them out – but both just don’t look right. I’m not sure whether my hair style (and I use that term very loosely) helps either. It either sticks out at weird angles or gets completely hidden that it looks like I am bald and, with a forehead roughly the size of Ireland, that is never a good look. As the trendy hat people parade down the street looking super cool – I look like some sort of modern art hatstand and, after a few sniggers , I often remove it and head for the shade!

  • I am more than willing to accept that I will never be a ballet dancer or an olympic sportsperson. Certain things have, at my age, passed me by and, even when writing this blog I wonder whether being a YouTuber, Twitch Streamer and Radio Presenter should be included within that list. I know we can’t have everything, but surely it is not much to ask to look cool in a hat, while running and supporting a beard. Or maybe it is…

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    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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