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TRCH Classic Thriller Season

A Canadian in New Basford Returns

2 April 18 words: Rob Cutforth
illustrations: Rob White

For thirty-odd issues up until 2012, we gave over our page space to a ranty and hilarious man who had moved to Notts from Alberta, Canada. Then he buggered off to Manchester. Being our centenary issue, we thought we’d invite A Canadian in New Basford, aka Rob Cutforth, back for one more go. And bleddy Nora has he stored up a lot of angst…

As I was lying down on a hospital bed wearing a pair of blue paper shorts with a hole cut in the back, a camera rammed so far up my anus it touched my cerebellum, and the hefty weight of the doctor’s paunch on my back, I thought, “Yes. Yes, of course this is happening. Of course there is literally something being smashed into my ass; what better metaphor could there be for Britain in 2018?”

When I was young, I’d spend terrifically boring hours in social studies class carving anarchy symbols into my desk with a compass. I was always big on the idea of anarchy, you know, the kind espoused by punk rock guys in the eighties like Henry Rollins or Jello Biafra. Take down the government, man! Burn stuff! But now that actual anarchists are in power, well, it kinda sucks.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this whole Brexit shmoz, it’s that when the toffs and the plebs agree on something, that something is terrible. I cannot believe my way of life is being threatened by Lord Foo Foo Funglebump and Our Kid Dave from Ramsbottom. I liked it better when those two hated each other.

It’s easy to look at the Americans and say “Of course those celebrity-obsessed, hayseed dummies elected Donald Trump, what did you think would happen?” But then I open the paper to see Jacob Rees-Mogg being touted as the next leader of this country and I don’t know what to think any more. Imagine that for a second. Jacob Rees-Mogg in Number 10. Oof, did you feel that? A cold, slippery sensation like a two-foot slug slithered up your spine and barfed in your ear?

Remember when we thought we had it bad with the pig-fancier? Now we’ve got Theresa May, who is literally Senator Palpatine, and the next election will probably be contested by two more appalling Etonians: one, a moron with the face of a bleached bonobo ape and the false, bobbling charm of a date rapist; the other, a man who campaigns with his nanny, is anti-gay rights, and thinks terminally ill patients should tough it out. Who’s next? The re-animated corpse of Enoch Powell? Did you know that Rees-Mogg’s wife is called “Helena de Chair”? What even is that?

As if we’ve not got enough toff B.S. being ejaculated onto us by the likes of Boris and Mogg, we’ve also got the toffs in the castle blasting one at us as well. Jesus, what is it this time? The Queen’s Plutonium Jubilee? No, it’s another royal wedding, this time with added ginger Nazi. I heard a guy on the radio say letting the pubs remain open until 1.30am will somehow help us connect with the royal family. Oh yes mate, that extra beer I’m allowed to have in public will definitely make me forget these people are elbow-deep in the public purse and that Prince Andrew used to hang out with paedophiles. For the record, I would love to connect with members of the royal family; preferably my boot to their awful, horse-toothed heads.

Only in Britain in 2018 can the bride-to-be’s ethnicity be an issue when there are so many other things to despise about the royal family. Her being mixed-race or American has absolutely no bearing on whether or not she can fulfil the role of spending all our money on helicopter rides and lipo, doing absolutely F.A. on the day-to-day. Hell, being an actor from California makes her the perfect candidate.

And what is happening in this town? Is Nottingham even the gun crime capital of the UK anymore? What happened to the emos? Why is The Angel some hipster microbrewery? I am at least encouraged to see that the #MeToo and #TimesUp hashtags have had an impact on this city. Oh, no, that’s right, Hooters is still alive and well. If someone had told me when I first started writing this column that it would still be a thing in 2018, I would have… well, I would have totally believed you, because of course it is. #CynicalBastard

When I was asked to write this column for LeftLion’s hundredth issue, I thought I’d do a Google search for my old Goth Plumber Tony Napleton to see what he’s up to these days, and it appears that he has set up a Twitter page with zero tweets, which is about the most “Tony” thing imaginable. It could only be more Tony if he was following just one person and that one person was a company that installs boilers. Which, of course, is precisely what he is doing.

Despite the fact Nottingham voted for Brexit, Hooters is still going, and The Angel is done up like a dog’s dinner, I do miss your city. Especially in those moments when I find myself in the Stretford End standing beside a man with the actual Munich air disaster clock tattooed on his calf, or when I’ve been roped into the 6000th conversation about which awful Gallagher brother is best. I’ve been in Manchester almost ten years and I still haven’t found a pub as good as The Peacock, and there is nothing up here that is as good as the Nottingham Beer Festival. It makes for a better Christmas than actual Christmas.

It was fun resurrecting this old feature. I’ve been told that the magazine gets requests for its return from time to time and it warms my cold, black, Canadian heart to think that you lovely people even remember the silly thing. So thanks, I guess. I look forward to receiving that cheque. Incidentally, if you’ve been reading this column the whole time wondering “But what were the results of your colonoscopy, Rob?” You can relax; it’s not bowel cancer, but Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Just an annoying, uncomfortable constipation that comes on whenever I do anything fun. It’s like the Tories in disease form.

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