The dangers of bongos

February 14, 2013 Leave a comment

2999bongo_drumsToast

The talk last night went very well, and not just because we had bongos. There was a stellar line-up including brilliant original stuff from MyLoveLifeInYourHands, Joel Golby, Nell Frizzell and Craig Taylor. There was a lot of laughter and quite  bit of pity, especially the latter for the stuff Biscuit and I performed.

If you missed the show you can catch up on what we performed here:

Bongo fever

The bongos worked pretty well, although our bongoist Phil (who is a professional drummer that we met in the bar) got a bit distracted and didn’t quite bong as much as we would have liked. Still the rareness of the bongs made them all the more precious.

I also learned that when you own a set of bongos you can guarantee that you are the worst person on any form of public transport, FACT.

Someone having a loud conversation on a phone?  BONGO Not any more. Smelling the carriage up with stinky food? BONGO They’ll get off an the next stop. I even had some scary looking dude cross the road to avoid me as I bongo my way home from the bus. RESULT.

I’ve had to hide the bongos from myself so I don’t get drunk on bongo power, it’s a constant danger.

The Wed Or Dead Wager LIVE (Plus some other chumps)

February 12, 2013 1 comment

Toast

So here’s a thing. We’re doing another blog reading. This one won’t be a fierce competition and hopefully Biscuit won’t decide to read a long story about periods, but we will be live, reading some stuff and you can come and laugh at our faces. In fact we’d like it if you did.

Image

More importantly it’s being organised by the excellent Kit Lovelace of MyLoveLifeInYourHands fame (remember the dude we went to New York with) and will feature a load of other also excellent people reading funny things about relationships.

Not sold yet?

This will also be a rare chance to see proof that Biscuit isn’t dead and if you felt the need to heckle him about not writing more posts, well I wouldn’t have a problem with that*

If that’s not enough to tempt you there will be bongo action, a selection of hats and at least a couple of jokes that were considered too rude for Radio 4.**

If you say you like the blog we may even buy you a drink.

*Please do this after the show, heckling during a performance is an awful habit.

**True.

Dot-com idea: Date Adviser

February 6, 2013 11 comments

ToastImage

I’ve just had an amazing idea for a dot-com. It’s so good I’m going to put it on this secret blog in the hopes that a bored multi-millionaire spots it and emails me to buy the idea. That happens right?

Here is the problem: You never know what someone is like before you date them.

Solution: A website where people are reviewed by ex-girlfriends and boyfriends so you can find out what they are like before you agree to meet them for coffee. Sort of like Trip Advisor but with people.

Meet Datr

Just think about it, knowing the sort of reviews someone had got from previous dates would allow you to skip a whole category of berks. It would be like trying to find the perfect hotel, but with people ‘I’m looking for someone who has at least three stars on empathy with access to a pool’ or, ‘Good value for money, better than I expected and very clean.’

It would be brilliant, or at least better than Klout (which is officially the worst thing ever but people still talk about it).

The only real problem I can see with it is that by asking previous dates to rate them you’d probably get a lot of negative scores. (NEVER CALLED ME BACK -5 points). Oh well that’s a thing for someone else to solve, I’m just an ideas guy.

Vows, licences and churches

January 4, 2013 Leave a comment

ImageToast

I’m not dead or anything, it’s just there isn’t a lot of wedding news at the moment. We went to the local council offices to get our licences. Apparently you have to give the locals at least two weeks to object to you getting married before you can do it.

As part of this form you have to answer questions about each other and list the jobs of your dads. I found this quite exciting as I got to define my dad as ‘inventor’ after my sister rather boringly put ‘farmer’ on her marriage form thing. He was totes more of an inventor than a farmer.

Anyway we have the forms and they have been sent off to the place where we are getting married so they know we are allowed to do it. Phew.

Our ceremony is not going to be in a church and since we’ve gone down that route we’ve found out we aren’t allowed any religion in the vows or the readings. Not even a bit.

This means my ideal vow (By Grabthars Hammer) is out of the window, but on the plus side we aren’t allowed to play Angels by Robbie Williams.

We weren’t going to play it anyway but it’s nice to know it’s actually forbidden. If we can just get the rest of the UK to adopt this policy the country will be a better place.

Categories: Adventures in Dating

Wedding planning for morons

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Toast

I wasn’t good at dating, or meeting suitable girls, and now it turns out I’m not very good at wedding planning either. Oh well at least I am quite good at carrying heavy things and eating chips.

Previously I had thought I was super easy going and didn’t care about anything about you, know, winning the bet. *ahem* I mean marrying my darling fiancée, but it turns out I’m quite picky.

We’ve looked at a lot of wedding venues now. Whole weekends have been spent stomping around country homes, museums and even slightly rubbish castles while a salesperson talks to you about seat cover options or maximum capacity numbers. That bit isn’t fun, but it’s over now because we’ve got a venue booked in and a date.

Here is what I have learned

  • It is expensive, I’ve had to force myself to not think of the wedding in terms of motorcycles we could have bought because it breaks my heart.
  • Things I don’t want: A bland function room, feeling like I’m in someone else’s house, a tiny dance floor.
  • Things TP doesn’t want: A tent, seat covers, me to dress as a spider.
  • There is a fun bit later on where you have an evening of ‘testing food’ for the ceremony. I can’t wait for that.
  • Putting a deposit down on a venue makes this feel even more real than buying a ring. It’s really happening.
  • Some people book their weddings three years in advance. THREE YEARS! We could be ruled by robots by then.
  • Or sharks.
  • You can hire ice-cream bikes, jugglers and even choirs but even if you’re thinking of using a military museum for your wedding they won’t let you play on the tanks or hold a musket.
  • Don’t even bother asking about having an axe fight on the day.
  • It’s very hard to resist doing a stupid theme, not that stupid themes are out it’s just there about three dozen we want to try.
  • Choosing who to invite is hard, especially with couples because that instantly doubles the number.
  • Also while working on the list you get strange urges to invite people just because they gave you extra chips or let your cross at the traffic lights. At the current rate we are likely to have a table just of people who have served me nice coffee.
  • Deciding that you’re not going to invite members of your extended family because they are awful is lovely. I can’t recommend it enough.
  • All brides have spreadsheets of information on venues and they trade them.
  • Apparently the system is you get a rough list together, then venue hunt and then choose a date. Then you do nothing for a while until it gets closer to the time.
  • We’re sort of at that bit now.

Engagement achieved

September 7, 2012 9 comments

Toast

So I’m engaged now. I went to Paris and I proposed the SHIT OUT OF The Theatre Producer.

Here is what happened.

We were staying in a ridiculous hotel in Paris. Think a stately home plonked in the middle of the 16th (The posh bit of Paris).

TP had booked the room so that in included a ‘free upgrade’ which resulted in us having a ‘junior suite’ that was larger than our flat. I’ve not stayed in that many rooms with conservatories before but I am now a fan.

We dropped off our bags and went on a walking tour of Paris. It was a beautiful day, really sunny and we set off along the streets doing a long lap of the sights. I was a little quiet during this period because I was thinking about stuff.

Not regrets or anything just considering the enormity of what I was about to do. This would be the point when what started as a silly bet crossed into being an incredibly serious thing with legal implications. It’s a lot to take in. I was glad I had time to process it a bit rather than being on the end of a question.

The set up

When we got back to the hotel room we were both really tired (we’d walked miles) BUT I had a plan. So I suggested we have a quick drink in the gardens before retiring for a nap. Well demanded it.

TP wasn’t exactly pro this idea, okay lets be honest, she thought I’d gone insane and demanded to know why I was being so cruel to her by forcing her to put on a nice dress and some lipstick.

We went down stairs to the garden (with a bit of grumbling from TP about how tired she was) and I asked TP to pick a nice spot for a photo.

She wanted to just sit down but I was insistent that we had a seat with ‘good framing’. Again she’d thought I’d gone mad which wasn’t helped by the fact I had my bag with me for no real reason (real reason: holding a ring).

Once we were sat down I went off to buy some wine. I ordered two glasses of champagne and explained in pigeon-French how I was about to propose and how I’d like the waiter to take lots of photos.

The teenage waiter was so surprised when I started mentioning le proposal pour la marriage that he made the champagne he was opening explode everywhere and had to clean it up.

While he was cleaning that up I had time to quickly phone TP’s dad to ask permission. I got through to him and was so excited by me calling that he just wanted to have a lovely chat about PPI and India. I had to fight to speak and get the request in. He approved and I dashed back to the bar to pick up the waiter.

The proposal

We sat down and clinked our glasses for the camera but it didn’t work.

TP said ‘Oh never mind we can do it some other time, to which I replied, ‘NO WE MUST HAVE PHOTOS’.

She thought I’d properly gone mad now. She fixed the camera and dutifully posed for the photos. The waiter carried on taking pictures and TP only got a little suspicious.

Then I started the talk. I had been toying with the idea of doing a silly proposal but a friend had said that was a bad idea. So I instead I said how happy TP makes me and how much I like her, stuff like that. She looked at me very strangely and thought I’d caught too much sun.

Then I popped on one knee and pulled out the ring. POW. Only then did she realise what was going on.

She said ‘yes, of course’ and did a little cry, sort of ignoring the ring I had held out until I prompted her to open the box.

Then we drank more champagne and she looked at the ring a lot. We also texted a picture to Biscuit of the ring and called him a loser.

She then said,’Well now we’ve got to plan a wedding’

And I said, ‘Oh blimes, I hadn’t thought of that’.

Proposal success rating 100%

Forethought of what this means (apart from a life together being happy): 0%.

Back to the past! Then… BACK TO THE… well, present.

August 31, 2012 1 comment

ImageBiscuit

There’s been a lot of big news coming from Toast recently and you’re possibly wondering what’s happening on this side of the wager.
Will Billy escape from the abandoned mineshaft?
Will Susan discover that Jake is her brother?
Will anyone work out what that smell coming from the patio is?

There have been on quite a number of adventures, mishaps and ensuing hilarity but that’s not what you want to know, is it? Well most of it has been pretty awesome (even though it revolves around a girl, who’d a thought, eh?) but some of it has been really hard to write about, which is why I was dodging it for so long.

 

When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious shit

Let me take you back in time 9 months…
<flashback>Toast and I were living together in the 4 Xbox household. For reasons that I won’t go into we were faced with a deadline of either moving out in 4 months or buying the house we were living in. With the opportunity to expand the technological empire further we decided to go for it. In retrospect I can see how limiting this would have been on our developing relationships, but when man is blinded by the idea of a robot man servant, or even a robot DINOSAUR servant, it’s easy to get carried away.

This is the first time I had tried to buy a house and it turns out that it’s quite expensive. We spent about 4 months weighing up the pros and cons of Ponzi schemes, life insurance scams and train robberies (although I’m not sure that 13 boxes of Doritos, enough chocolate and fizzy pop to bring on instant diabetes and a train conductor’s hat would have helped us buy a house). Then our deadline was pretty much up.

This is when things got tricky. Toast finally realised that this was out of his reach and decided to make the big move in with TP. This is a pretty pragmatic and sensible decision and is probably what we should have been discussing earlier, however it came totally of the blue and the following day I found myself the sole occupant of the house.

It was a bit of a shock. I was reeling and wasn’t really sure what my next steps were.
With the previous prospect of becoming an eligible home-owner, I had obviously spent time musing about when Jen and I might move in together. In my head, her and TP would eventually move in and sitcom style hilarity would ensue. No… I hadn’t really thought it through. We probably needed at least one ferret and a drag queen to make it sitcom material.

Jen and I hadn’t actually talked about living together at that point. She was living in a shared house with two friends and her contract wasn’t due up until October. I knew that I’d love to live with her properly and we both thought it would be great, although October was a long time to be in limbo before we could find our own place to rent. It was time for some a serious huddle to talk strategy. Jen’s housemates were very understanding and were happy to let me stay for a while to give me a chance to find my feet again.

After a bit of heart-to-heart Jen and I came up with our ultimate plan: WE would buy the house, like motherfucking GROWN UPS!

There are some exciting decisions in life where you get to make grand gestures, big announcements and celebrate decisions by denting the kitchen ceiling with a poorly extracted champagne cork. Unfortunately, when the decision is forced prematurely due to circumstance it kind of takes the shine off the glory.

This is something that we both wanted to do and agreed that we would have been considering moving in together around October anyway but we’d had no time to even get used to the idea before we needed to make a massive grown up decision. It was definitely a much better plan than Toast and I buying together but we would have much preferred to have some time to talk about it, get excited and make the decision ourselves. There wasn’t any time for celebration as we were instantly thrust into the stressful logistics and finances.</flashback>

This is a lot to fit in to one post so I’ve had to skim most of the detail but I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about this decision. It was big and scary but we both really wanted it and were really excited. Having a deadline isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The whole point of this wager was to make Toast and I get off our posteriors and get us some o’ them there WIVES! Without that to motivate me I wouldn’t have learned so much about myself over the last couple of years, had such memorable experiences or met Jen.

DECORATE ALL THE THINGS!!!!

We’ve now been ‘officially’ living together for 6 weeks and it’s amazing. It feels like it’s been months. We’ve got some formidable relationship tests ahead of us including IKEA (the bane of lesser couples) and some mega decorating. Seriously, EVERY wall, ceiling and floor needs to be decorated but I know that we’re gonna lay a tag-team SMACKDOWN on that motherfuckin’ woodchip wallpaper like the Partners in Crime that are!

All our monies are now being poured into this project, which means that grand expensive life events (like expensive jewellery or parties where you dress up in pretty dress and 3 piece suit and get all your relatives and friends together to get drunk and dance to the Grease Megamix) are now FIRMLY off the cards for the foreseeable future.

However, this is the WED or Dead wager, not the ENGAGED or Dead wager.

In an unrelated conversation a friend mentioned that they had heard that Vegas do weddings with pretty much no notice. There’s no reason I mention that, I’m just saying in case someone else might feel like a Star Wars themed wedding but couldn’t wait for a Death Star wedding cake commission to be ready.

That’s the only reason.

Right, next important issue: does anyone know how to remove horrendous ‘70s gas fireplaces without a canary and armed with only a hammer and a roll of gaffer tape??

A starter ring, that means something but isn’t the main ring (also WE ARE GO!)

August 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Toast

Well we’re off to Paris tomorrow. I still didn’t have a ring, but it felt like a waste of a trip to a stupidly nice hotel in Paris (accommodation upgraded by an unexpected tax rebate) to not propose then.

So I contacted the art dealer for other suggestions and we concocted the plan of a ‘place holder ring’.

This is a ring that you buy so there is something to put on the finger when the question is popped and then you can have the ‘delight’ of picking the actual engagement ring together.

This has pros and cons

Pros

  • Since it’s only a stand-in ring you don’t have to fret about it as much.
  • It doesn’t have to be stupidly expensive (in theory)
  • It means I can ask the question this weekend

Cons

  • I’m not buying one ring, I’m buying two now. Diamonds are not cheap.
  • It means during the proposal I have to explain what this ring is about ‘It’s a stand-in’ isn’t very romantic. I need to come up with a better name.

So with this in mind I tramped across town (again) to near the diamond district to look at rings. This time with someone else who the art dealer said would be more in the price range of people who don’t own countries or haven’t invented Facebook.

The invitation only studio was super cool. It had a swing in it (yeah an actual swing) and leather backed chairs and cool art. I would have liked to have hung around for a bit longer but I was a man with a mission. Actually would have liked to live there.

Hot ring chat

I sat down and talked about the pre-ring ring to the lady. She completely understood it and apparently it’s actually quite common these days. It’s nice to know there are other chaps out there fretting over if they have the right sort of gem/setting/metal.

We looked at the sort of rings my chum recommended and there was one that I could just about afford (Who needs food really) so I got that.

It’s very pretty in silver with a small diamond in it. Not too shabby really. It came with a pouch but luckily the sales lady had one of those black boxes that rings go in (just a slightly over large one) so now I’m set. You can’t propose from a pouch, you’ve got to have a box. Everyone knows that.

We get the train to Paris super early in the morning tomorrow. I’ve got the ring. I’m set.

I just need to work out what I’m going to say.

Marriage percentage: 100%

Spending too much on pointless rocks

August 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Toast

I finally met up with the art dealer’s friend who is a diamond dealer. It was in a tiny little office tucked away above a shop in London’s diamond district.

He gave me sparkling water and then talked to me about diamonds. I showed him the picture of a ring I’d had recommended by a friend.

We talked for a long time while I sipped my bubbly water. He talked about diamond clarities, cuts, the benefits of different materials over time and trends. It was a 15 minute talk about everything you need to know about diamonds.

Then he started talking about the ring making process, consultation and all that. Apparently it would take weeks. That doesn’t work for me because we’re going to Paris in a few days.

He almost flinched when I suggested I’d probably need something faster and nearly vomited when I talked about my budget (his suggested range was more half a year’s pay).

It was a bit awkward. Then he said he’d help pick a good one from an antique shop and we tried to work out The Theatre Producer’s size of finger.

Sub note: When you start going out with a girl her shoe size, ring size and dress size should ‘unlock’ on her Facebook page so you have the information to hand when buying gifts.

I’d managed to work out that my little finger was roughly the same size as The Theatre Producer’s ringer finger so we used that as a guide (even though that’s basically nonsense).

I was in the tiny office, sat in a chair while this diamond dealer put a range of hoops on my little finger. The room was completely silent apart from when he’d mutter something like, ‘let’s try half a size up’.

It felt weird, and sort of like cheating.

Afterwards I went back to the office with no idea what I was going to for rings, and amazed that anyone could afford to get married, ever.

Stress percentage: 60%

Categories: Adventures in Dating

Call me Agent Toast, totally awesome spy

August 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Toast

This post, like all the ring related ones are made in real time and then posted much later to not spoil the surprise of the proposal.

Today I learned that I’d make an excellent spy. Now as we spies know talking about spy stuff is technically off limits but I think I’m allowed to share in this instance and they the ‘lay people’ or ‘civilians’ know what happened.

The Set-up

I want to get a motorbike, I had a vague plan to get one for the summer, but since we’ve not had a summer so it’s not been that urgent really. This is where the spying begins.

The Mission

I told TP at the weekend I was going to look at motorcycles. It was a lie, well a bit of a lie. I did go and look at motorcycles briefly, but also I went to look at rings. She has no idea! I spent the whole time sending her texts about how I wanted all the bikes when really I was shivering outside a window full of precious rocks.

That’s some serious spying right there.

Also learned today: Rings are not as exciting as motorcycles and I still have no idea what makes a ‘good one’ only that they cost a lot and don’t seem to do much. Seriously though what is with that?

Signing off

Double O Toast.