If you’re not familiar with the term, “shovel list” it’s sort of like a “bucket list”, only instead of things you’d love to do before you kick the proverbial, it’s a list of things you’d like to whack with a shovel. It comes from the delightful mind of Marian Keyes, appearing in her latest delightful adventure of the delightful Walsh family, the delightful Again, Rachel. And, always being the kind of person who is happy to take inspiration from delightful people (not to mention overuse the word “delightful” with reckless [and delightful] abandon), here is an extensive shovel list of my own to mark this horrible Friday the 13th.

It’s a list of things you’d like to whack with a shovel.

1.   People who wear black shoes, black trousers, and white socks.

You’re not Michael Jackson, and you’re not one of the Blues Brothers, so cut that shit out. Black socks with black shoes are the best choice you can make, but I honestly don’t care if you wear green, blue, polkadot, or ones clarted with cartoon sodding hedgehogs, just as long as they’re not white. DO NOT MAKE ME COME ROUND AND WHACK YOU WITH A SHOVEL!

You’re not Michael Jackson, and you’re not one of the Blues Brothers, so cut that shit out.

2.   Politicians who ignore the question and “pivot to message”.

This is the first of three entries from the political realm and something that drives me to apoplexy whenever I hear it. Usually on the radio, because I’m a classy, old-school kinda guy.

Interviewer:   So Minister for Lying and Thieving Stuff Whilst Being a Patronising Cockweasel, how are people supposed to take anything you say seriously when you’ve been caught lying on a daily basis since taking office?

Minister:         I think you’ll find that what I’ve been doing since taking office is delivering on our manifesto promises, because that’s what the great British public want us to do and I’m very good at doing it. Would you like to see my pot of jam?

Interviewer:   I’m sure it’s a lovely pot of jam, Minister, but I need to ask you specifically about all the lying.

Minister:         When I took office, I made a promise to the great British public that I’d deliver on the things we promised them and that they want us to do. I’m basically a genius and will you look at this jam: it’s terrific!

Interviewer: Can we please stop talking about jam, Minister, this is—

Minister:         As the great British public know, I’m a genius who’s been delivering our manifesto pledges to the great British public in a genius way, because that’s what they want me to do and I’m quite frankly getting fed up of the mainstream media and its anti-jam bias.

All done to a soundtrack of my yelling, “ANSWER THE BLOODY QUESTION, YOU SLIPPERY SACK OF ONANISTIC HEDGEHOGS!” at the radio.

What in the name of all that’s got holes in it is the point of these waffling spaffbags agreeing to do interviews if they’re not going to answer any of the sodding questions? Well, the answer to that one is that the point is to go on and wang on about the “message of the day” until a thick enough slice of the public accepts it as truth and then where are we? Up to our oxters in sodding jam. That’s where populism-politics gets you.



3.   People who listen to music on their phones, in public, without wearing headphones.

Can there be anything more egotistic and crappy to do than inflict your music on other people without their consent? And it’s not just music, these bastards will quite happily sit there on the train watching comedy programmes or sport or any other manner of rubbish with their phones turned up to full volume, blasting it across the carriage.

You know what? If you’re the kind of person that thinks it’s OK to do this, you probably have awful taste in music anyway and should hang your head in shame, not broadcast your half-arsed halfwittery to all and sundry.


4.   Tops that won’t come cleanly off bottles.

Wine is the biggest culprit when it comes to this, but anything else with a metal cap that won’t come off cleanly – leaving behind a jabby blade of pokey metal, sticking out of the little ring thing that stays on the bottle afterwards, perfectly positioned to lacerate the hell out of your fingers next time you try to close or open it. AAAAAAAAAARGH! It’s the Twenty First Century, for God’s sake, how hard is it to design tops that come off without requiring a visit to Accident & Emergency?


5.   Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

The arch prick himself. You could tell he was going to be a wrong-un just by looking at his name. What sort of tosser has a middle name that’s basically the same as their first name with a bit of scaffolding bolted on? You don’t see me running around, invading Ukraine, and calling myself Stuart Stuartovich MacBride, do you? No*: because that would be prickish behaviour, befitting only the prickish of pricks. And he’s not exactly doing the reputation of short blokes any favours, is he? And that suit probably cost a fortune, but looks as if he nicked it off the discount rack at C&A. And not a swanky upmarket C&A either, one of the ones where shiny people go to buy shiny things prior to committing war crimes and looking like a wank-faced, bumhole-sniffing, jacked-up garden gnome. May he suffer a catastrophic rectal prolapse on live TV.

You don’t see me running around, invading Ukraine, and calling myself Stuart Stuartovich MacBride.

WHACK, WHACK, and thrice times WHACK!

* Though technically I could if I wanted to, as my father’s first name is Stuart as well and that’s how this ‘ovitch’ thing works. But just to be clear: for all my myriad faults, I’ve never invaded an eastern European country in a fit of insecure arsemongery brought on by people laughing at the collapse of my beloved communist regime.

6.   Politicians telling us “the public aren’t interested” and “it’s time to move on”.

Yes we are, and no it sodding isn’t until you’ve faced the consequences of your actions, you bloviating pocket-billiardist. Why, oh why, oh why, do they think they get to decide what we’re interested in? Do they think we’re all thick as two breeze blocks that have been glued together with extra-thick breeze-block glue?

That is, of course, a rhetorical question. If these people think of us at all it’s as pond scum that can be manipulated by a simple three-buzz-word phrase.

They say we get the leaders we deserve, well, if that’s the case, we all must have been very, very naughty, because we’re clearly being punished for it. And that’s why we live in an ineptocracy.


7.   People who make up their own nicknames.

If you had real friends, they’d give you a nickname. The fact you had to make one up yourself is proof that you don’t. And it doesn’t make you sound cool, or like someone we’d all like to know. It makes you sound as if you smell of pickled eggs and cat farts (which anyone who’s ever had a kitten will tell you smell bloody awful).

If you had real friends, they’d give you a nickname.

You know the kind of person: they come up to you the first day you’re in the office and say something along the lines of, “Hi, my names Colin, but people call me the Acemeister.” No they don’t, they call you: “Weird Colin from accounts who smells of kitten farts.”

WHACK! WHACK! Then a run up and, WHACK! again.

8.   Coffee.

Might be a controversial one this, but it’s my list and I’m allergic to the bloody stuff so it’s getting whacked with a shovel. Normally it’s fairly easy to avoid, which I do, but some people insist on putting it in things it has no business being in. Like cake. “Oh, please do have a slice of my delicious chocolate cake, that will have you vomiting all over the shop and feeling like death for forty-eight hours. Isn’t it moist!”

Why is there this obsession with putting it in things? Barbeque joints in the US are terrible for this, slopping the vile substance in sauces and marinades and rubs and all the rest of that palaver, ruining perfectly good cuts of meat with their vile bumhole-flavoured drink. Have you ever seen a coffee bean? There’s a reason it looks like a dangleberry – it’s been scraped off the very arsehole of Satan himself.


9.   Fake “mwah, mwah!” air kisses.

Let’s get this out in the open, right here: I do not want to kiss strange people. I don’t even want to kiss normal people. I especially don’t want to pretend to kiss people of either persuasion. Nor do I want to hug people. LEAVE ME ALONE!

I do not want to kiss strange people.

And yes, that might make me sound deeply misanthropic, but I don’t care. I do not want to hug and pretend kiss people I don’t know. The only person I’ll put up with that kind of behaviour from is my wife, Fiona. Everyone else can join the queue to be whacked with a shovel.

When did it become OK to commit this creepy touchy-feely kissy-kissy assault on total strangers? What was wrong with a sodding handshake? Better yet, keep your distance and wave. Then avoid eye contact and go about your business.

Publishing is particularly bad for this. Going to a crime festival is like being dumped in a fish tank full of perverts, where everyone wants to grope and fake-smooch you.


10.                People who sniff.

Get a sodding hanky, you mucus-dribbling wankweasels! The worst ones are the ones on trains, where you’re stuck with them, snorking away every thirty seconds like a bogie-filled metronome. Which means you can’t even enjoy the small silences between the tossers from Point Number The Third’s songs, because there’s Snotty Simon (or Snotty Sandra – this is an equal opportunities shovel list) trying to inhale his own weight in phlegm and determined to let every single person hear it.

The only way they could be any worse would be if they were sitting behind you in a restaurant. No one can enjoy their Thai green curry when someone’s playing the Nasal-Secretions Symphony in GET A BLOODY HANDKERCHIEF major.

Whack. Whack. WHACK!

11.                Anyone posting spoilers about a book or film.

You get an extra whack from the shovel if you do this during a review. You’d think that people would understand that other people haven’t read the book (or seen the film) yet, wouldn’t you? The ability to understand that other people aren’t exactly the same as you is fairly key to getting on in life, most children develop Theory of Mind between the ages of four and five, so why do some cockwombles think it’s OK to post spoilers in reviews? Or even AT ALL.

Most children develop Theory of Mind between the ages of four and five.

Stop spoiling shit for other people, bend over, and prepare to be shovelled.


12.                That bloke off the “Go Compare” adverts.

If you’ve seen them, you’ll know exactly why he needs walloped with a shovel. It was bad enough before, when he was just being the annoying character in the full concert getup and stupid moustache, but now they’re trying to position him as a celebrity in his own right, on the Go Compare adverts, when his whole schtick is based on playing the annoying man in the Go Compare adverts. How bloody self-referential is that?

And if you haven’t seen these adverts consider yourself lucky. Go make yourself a congratulatory cup of tea and treat yourself to a nice biscuit – you’re winning at life.


13.                Politicians who won’t shut the hell up when they’re being interviewed.

You’ve all heard them, right? They won’t shut up to let the interviewer speak, they won’t shut up when they’ve got to the end of the sentence, paragraph, or chapter, and it’s not as if they’re giving a really comprehensive answer that takes all this time to work through, because: see Point Number the Second.

It would be easy to say that there was a special circle of Hell reserved for these people, but I don’t think the Devil would want them. All smooshed into a pit where they can bore the pants off the vipers by talking over the top of each other at as loud a volume as they can muster? Which is pretty sodding loud, considering the fact that their gastrointestinal track must act as a fairly efficient muffler – given where their heads are stuck 99% of the time.

It would be easy to say that there was a special circle of Hell reserved for these people, but I don’t think the Devil would want them.

Again, it’s part of that whole “nobody exists but me and I’m the most important person on the planet and everyone should listen to my opinions and blah, blah, blah…” on and on until we all lose the will to live. Or just give up, because its easier. Which, again, is probably the point of these massive bell-ends behaving this way.

Do they give these Womble-funting spudnuggets lessons in circular breathing at party headquarters or something? How can one bugger-faced wankspaniel speak so much utter bollocks uninterrupted for so long? And who do they think is interested in hearing them drone on and on and on and on.

It’s no wonder people don’t have a very high opinion of politicians, it’s a bit like being asked to listen to the gurgling septic tank behind a dodgy pub toilet the morning after “Two Prawn Curries for Two Quid!!!” night. Only less informative.

There’s a lot of talk about how difficult it is to get normal people to go into politics, and that’s probably because no one sensible wants to spend any time with these thunder-gonads, let alone work with them.

No one sensible wants to spend any time with these thunder-gonads, let alone work with them.


Here endeth the shovel list. I could go on, but there’s only so much spleen one man can vent at a time, before his wife calls the authorities and tells them he’s at it again and they should up his medication and cart him off to a nice padded room where he can wear that cardigan of his that buttons up the back.

Now I’m off for a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.

That’ll teach them.