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Friday 21st May 2004

Weight 13st 9 (I am going to stop putting this on the site - or maybe just weekly to add to the suspense!). CNPS numbers spotted 0 (720).

Brighton Pier was the exciting starting point for date 26. I had hoped to spend the first twenty minutes or so playing that game where little pretend gerbils pop out of holes and you have to hit them with a hammer (women love this kind of thing), but we couldn't find it anywhere. I considered trying to find a pet shop and a hardware store and creating my own real life version of the game instead, but thought that maybe that wouldn't be as much fun. I think I was right: women love hitting fake gerbils with a rubber hammer, but if you ask them to hit real gerbils with a metal hammer they get all indignant and haughty. Women are hypocrites in many ways. Men are at least honest enough to admit that they prefer the real gerbil version and that the false gerbil game is just a disappointing substitute for their true fantasies. I would set up my own real life version of the game on the pier, but it takes so long to train the gerbils to pop up through the holes and you get through them all so quickly. A few gerbils are quick enough to last for over five games (becoming renowned as true gladiators in the gerbil world), but most are stupid and slow and unable to cope with metal being hammered into their skulls with great force.
So instead of murdering gerbils we chose to visit Horatio's Karaoke Bar.
At least it was called a karaoke bar. I suspect it was in fact a holding pen for all of Brighton's (and possibly Hove's) mentally subnormal and alcholic inhabitants. A man was slurring and mumbling his way through "I want to know what love is." There was no joy in his performance, no animation, no-one in the crowd seeming to encourage him or to listen to what he was saying, or to put him out of his misery by going up to him and explaining that love is a metaphysical conceit, born out of the basest human needs or otherwise a score of zero in tennis.
You'd think that the atmosphere in a karaoke bar would be jovial and light hearted, but here it felt threatening and oppressive. The singing seemed to give no pleasure to either the person on stage or the audience, as if all these people were part of some Orwellian nightmare where they had to sing at least one song in an evening or be sent to some kind of torture chamber (and have their photos taken being humiliated, next to smiling American tourists with perfect teeth, mocking their exposed genitalia). With a threat like that hanging over their heads it was no wonder that everyone was paralytically drunk by 8 o clock.
Then suddenly a man who was both animated and (compared to the others) able to sing came on and started singing "My Way". He even knew to move the mike away from his mouth when he started singing loudly. He clearly thought he was the best singer in the world, rather than as was the case, the best singer in Horatio's Karaoke Bar for the mentally subnormal.
Perhaps he was a norm like me and 26, who had stumbled in from the outside world. Perhaps he didn't realise that his competent pub band singing would confuse the tone deaf morlocks who lived in this place. That the sound of harmony and slightly Americanised vowels would drive them to distraction and cause them to turn against him.
Thankfully he did realise and tried to punctuate the tension by singing some of the the song in a funny voice that I think might have been based on a Russ Abbott character (possibly the character that is in turn based on Tommy Cooper, creating a strange homage to something and made a mockery of his claims to be doing things his way).
I could stand it no longer. I felt like a gerbil that had gone eight rounds with a claw hammer and had to leave before I became one of them.
Who would have thought a date on Brighton Pier with a plan to hit gerbils would turn out to be a disappointment?

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