This is going to be a new regular feature, me doing my favourite thing; writing endless, pointless lists.
Do you ever wonder how many people came up with the idea for the light bulb, the telephone, the wheel, etc, before they were invented but just couldn’t be bothered to put in the work of turning their idea into a reality? For every Edison, Tesla, and Lamarr there are a thousand loafing geniuses, like me.
Here are some ideas I have come up with for books, apps, hotlines and business that you are free to use because I never will (I want 4% of the profit though).
- Night-time flavoured toothpaste. I’m pretty shitty at brushing my teeth before I go to bed. I know a lot of you will think that this makes me a disgusting human being, and worse than Fred West, but I go hard as a motherfucker on them in the morning, I’ve only got 3 fillings, and in my defense the minty flavour of toothpaste tastes too much like 8am on a Monday morning to have in my mouth just before bed time. Mint is an exceptionally stimulating flavour and smell, I might as well just cover the end of my electric toothbrush in meth (new business idea?). Luckily for every bothersome problem in life there exists a solution that you can monetize. “Night time flavoured toothpaste guys”. I had a hard time convincing anyone I spoke to (mostly people who moaned at me for not brushing my teeth at night, and wanted to know what I was going to do about it) about my idea, and I had an even harder time working out how to make a toothpaste that captured the taste of the night. I abandoned my idea and started using Kingfisher fennel flavoured toothpaste.
- Lonesome cowboy community centre. Spent so much time in the saddle shooting at the sunset, with only your horse and your gun for company, that you’ve forgotten how to talk to other humans? Once a fortnight you can leave the trail, wave goodbye to your cattle, bid adieu to those noble cacti, and play frisbee, bridge or pictionary with other lonesome cowboys.
- Nothing much hotline. A premium rate number for people to call up who like talking a whole bunch about nothing much and don’t have anyone who is willing to listen for free. You can always make a profit from loneliness. Working for a health helpline inspired this idea, for every ten calls about chest pain or broken wrists or fever there would be one from somebody who was just lonely and wanted to talk about nothing much. My bigoted balding pancake assed high trouser wearing elderly next door neighbour loves to talk about nothing much. I put my headphones in on the occasions when I don’t manage to avoid being seen by him completely but for £2 a minute I could listen to him waffle on for an hour and not want to impale myself on his fence. My nothing much hotline was really going to be reliant on the inherent loneliness of old people (whose life partners and friends are dying off like slugs in a salt factory) but some bloody bleeding heart liberal has made a free number for them to call when they get lonesome.
- Hoops near you. I agree it needs a catchier name, and I’m sure there is a great punny name out there but I’m just lazily skirting around the rim when it comes to actually coming up with it. An old tour manager I worked with had an app on his phone that always showed him where the closest strip club was whatever city we were in, this would be like that only it would be for people who wanted to shoot hoops for free and slam dunk like a punk instead of paying women to pay them attention. (addendum; if the strip clubs near you app hadn’t already been invented I probably would have thought of it, like my knuckle tattoo says, ‘ABPFL’ – always be profiteering from loneliness)
- Southern boys reading bedtime stories hotline. This one does what it says on the tin really. Four in the morning and you’re still tossing and turning in bed, fighting with your bed sheets, and wrestling with your anxieties. Just call 1-800 SOOTHE ME and some honey voiced babe from Louisiana or Alabama will lull you (me, it’s me I am imagining in this narrative) to sleep with the delicious melodies of his voice reading John Irving or Joe Meno to you until he can hear you snoring blissfully (not me now, I don’t snore. ever.) a thousand miles down the telephone line.
- A coffee table book of photographs of lonely people dressed up on Halloween. the 1am bumblebees and zombies waiting for ubers and lyfts home, on vomit covered sidewalks. Defeated expressions, make up rubbing off on faces illuminated in a lonesome blue hue by the light of their smartphones.
- Book of advice. This idea was inspired by a boy who invited me over to his house and then proceeded to cook himself chicken and chips (from the freezer) without offering me any. I took half the chips and all of his mayo anyway but my mouth was too full of outrage to taste the Hellman’s. How could a person be so unabashedly selfish, and to somebody they had previously had and were about to have again reasonably good sex with? The only conclusion I could reach (without having to get up and leave) was that he simply had never been taught (casual sex partner food sharing) etiquette. My solution? Make a book of advice, and include guidelines and helpful tips on everything, from saying thank you when people hold the door open for you, to not touching your genitals after handling chilli peppers, to sharing your goddamn fucking chips James. I’d get it published, it would sell better than the Bible, and nobody would ever have to go chipless again.
- “S/He’ll never text you again” fortune cookies. No lottery numbers, no cryptic yet poetic advice, no promise of luck just around the corner. Just the cold hard truth, inside a sweet treat. They’d sell like hot cakes.
- The burping machine. In an ideal world every meal is eaten mindfully, every mouthful chewed properly before being swallowed, and no drink is ever gulped down with a big old side of useless air. But we don’t live in an ideal world and if nothing else in life has convinced you of that fact then maybe the fact that sometimes I’m mildly physically uncomfortable because I need to burp but can’t will. I’m not unable to burp (like poor Adam* who didn’t learn how to until he was 25), I can and do on a daily basis but sometimes I eat and drink too fast and I swallow too much air and I just can’t burp it all out. I can’t be the only one with this problem. ‘The burping machine’ would be a bit like a human mangle*, you’d just feed yourself through it and it would squeeze all of the air out of you in one go.
- Shame that plate. Remember walking to school/work/a date/literally anywhere by a road and getting honked at by men in cars/vans/lorries, or screamed at that “I’d cum on your tits love”? If you’re female you probably won’t need to cast your mind back that far to remember something like this. With “Shame That Plate” you can type in their number plate (license plate) and what they did or said. Wanna see if your brother/dad/husband/workmate/date drives around acting like a piece of shit? Just enter his plate details into Shame That Plate. I got carried away with this idea the more I thought about it though. You could take it beyond the catcalling cunts, and grade people’s shitty parallel parking, complain about tailgating, tell people how much you hate their naff bumper stickers and personalised number plate. I abandoned my invention when I realised how much I was buying into a surveillance and snitching culture and how ugly it could become (not the original part of the idea, that’s valid).
*I know that’s not what mangles do/did.
I like the toothpaste idea. I understand why the flavour for moon time might be hard to pin. If I were to take this idea and make it my own. I think mince pie flavour (cloves nutmeg and brandy) or the little lavender sweets , parma violets.
The book of advice made me belly laugh. Thank you. Fucking share James! god sake.
I love all of this! Your writing makes me happy. Keep them lists coming.