FREE SPEECH

It used to be the case in this once-great country that British Citizens were allowed to say what they thought. So why is it I can’t ever think of a single intelligible thing to say?

I remember my dad, Horace ‘Horrible’ Hutch, used to say all kinds of things at the dinner table, the full arsenal of the British vocabulary firing a two-barrelled salute of epithets, racial nouns and cruel rejoinders across the aspic beef at all of his many adoptive children.

But now in my house, present day (where I and my wife live), meal times are terse, tight affairs, punctuated by the tip-tap of my hated children’s fingers on the keystrokes of their toy phones as they presumably send coded yellow emoticons into space.

My plastic wife sits bolt upright, shovelling peas against her pursed lips, staring unblinkingly into the middle-future of our partially-collapsed lung of a marriage. I sit dredging my enormous consciousness across my synapses, trawling through synonyms, neologisms, malapropisms and risqué puns, but try as I might I simply can’t string any of these words together into a catchy sentence. Who is to blame?

Alone in my study at night, the words flow off me like butter, dripping down my chin and pooling on the sticky keys of my private computer. Word combinations like ‘Japanese milk saleswoman vid’, ‘Hidden camera show tragic accident’, and ‘Safe search off WikiHow’ occur to me like button-mashing combos in a cosmic game of linguistic chance. But by day – be it on the bus surrounded by presumable immigrants, at the office talking at the temp girl, or even in my car listening to the sound of my car – I simply cannot carry a coherent thought from inception to utterance. Where’s my freedom of speech?

THE REPUBLIC OF DAD HOUSE

Following one of my partner’s tantrums after I spent our daughter’s dinner money on a fidget spinner with integrated radio, I’ve enacted my own separatist independence movement.

My wife returned from work on Monday to find the house partitioned into colour-coded sections, one half of the property in warm red colours and the other in cold winter blues. The blue side I apportion to the Ice Queen, the vain temptress who once ruled my heart, and to myself the kingly reds.

Unfortunately, the bathroom and most of the food supply is on the blue side of the house and my zone has become a hellhole overnight.

I’ve been trying to lure my daughter into my area using sweets and a fidget spinner that can only pick up Radio 2, but both the smell and my temper are keeping her firmly in the blue zone. When are young people going to look past political partisanship and help me sign into my Skype account?

THE HOUSE THAT AVOCADO BUILT 

This generation continually fails to take root and thrive by prioritising luxuries over shelter. Given the choice between some smashed avocado scraped over sourdough and the nobility of owning property, millennials invariably choose the former. If they cannot be wrenched away from their soapy green eggs, then the viable solution is a scheme that combines homefulness with fashionable imported fruit.

As an ex-joiner myself (license revoked in 1992), it’s not beyond comprehension that enough avocado smashed in bulk could form a wattle and daub type construction, or, in more modest projects, an igloo. A more industrious generation would see England’s verdant fields littered with these proud and rotting green estates. Of course, it’ll never happen. These blinkered youths will only ever eat their nest eggs, smashing them open with their smartphones and Instagramming the contents.

@seanmorl | @spinetrolley | @samnicoresti

Sean Morley, Christopher Delamere & Sam Nicoresti