Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion 2013: he’s only gone and bloody done it!

One of those quick illustrations where you sort of wish you didn't own the Copyright

Sometimes you sort of wish you didn’t really own the Copyright…

As Wimbledon 2013 commenced and everyone started doubting *Andy Murray’s skills even when he played really well, such is (or was) the national past-time, various people said to me things like “you should go there and watch it in person, soak up the atmosphere and all that.” Except I am boring like that. The way I see it, balls to the atmosphere, and double balls (pair of balls?) to the sunshine and the sensations: more than anything I want to actually see the tennis without people’s big fat irritating heads getting in the way. For doing that, nothing beats watching it on the laptop screen, live as it happens, close to the essential amenities and food sources that I require at such a mentally punishing time. I know a lot of people would’ve set their own grandmother on fire and pushed her down a very large flight of stairs just to get a seat in Centre Court, but for me I simply cannot allow myself to be interrupted. Plus, the way life goes, it’s very possible that I’d need a wee just at a very crucial moment, potentially ruining everything. It’s a good thing I wasn’t there in person, then…else when Andy finally put Djokovic down, it might have all suddenly got a bit too much.

(Put Djokovic down. A very dramatic way of putting it! Almost as if Andy was the vet and Novak was a sick, tired dog who could no longer do the splits. Oh, what a thought. This analogy doesn’t really work, of course, seeing as due to their specific physiology, dogs can’t even attempt the splits, so I decided it was better off being in brackets. On second thoughts, it probably would’ve been better to liken Djokovic to a cat…on third thoughts, it was a crap analogy.)

I was a complete non-stop verbal nightmare, sitting there watching that relentless, amazing final. Firstly, I made my girlfriend Jen experience every moment of it with me, even though she isn’t the least bit interested in tennis (she had the optional choice of doing some sort of practical activity like Henna’ing her candles while we watched, but decided against it in the end – probably wise as I’d only have kept screaming “he’s winning, he’s still winning!” in Jen’s face, potentially leading to some very wonkily-designed candles), and secondly, I kept clapping like a toddler whenever anyone hit the ball. One thing nobody could say was that I wasn’t prepared. Twenty minutes before the historic final began, having forced us to return from the shops at a strict time to allow me ample minutes to get ready, I gathered the things I would need to not have to get up during the course of the thing. It would be bad enough that I’d have to go to the toilet every so often…I couldn’t have my desire for food and treats getting in the way of things even more.

It turned out I had planned things well. Meticulously, you could say. I was proud of myself. With two large glasses of water there within easy-reaching distance, I would easily stay hydrated, and with various snacks, I’d have things to comfort me when things got hard for Andy (and if need be, I could always send Jen off).

By the half-way point I was screaming and shouting and really getting on Jen’s nerves (even though she loves me, giving me plenty of leeway to act like a tennis dork as and when I wish to). When Djokovic started a) arguing with the umpire** then b) slipping all over the place***, you could see that Andy could be in with half a chance. I say half a chance because, let’s be honest, we all thought Novak would come back at him, creating a scenario almost as hideous as the one I described earlier, where a grandmother in dire circumstances was mentioned heading towards some stairs.

But he didn’t. He couldn’t. And with that Andy Murray actually went and won.

Andy Murray, the world’s least likely stand-up comedian, finally Wimbledon Champion in 2013. Brilliant! I just wish I’d had enough faith in his skills to put some money on him at the bookies…

* I was going to say “poor Andy Murray,” but learning about the £1.6 million prize money quickly changed my mind. Did you hear? He’s just donated it all to charity!

** The umpire was a bit thick, wasn’t he? Even though I wanted Andy to win, that umpire was definitely biased…

*** Up until that point, I had no idea that Djokovic was capable of losing his balance, so this was a shocking and lovely surprise!

7 Things To Forget/Remember While Murray Battles Federer

Andy, doing his version of a smile, looking a bit like a demented James Marsden

Dear Andy: Right now you have much bigger things to worry about in the way of the biggest tennis game/match — I never know what to call them — of your career and our English tennis history, so I highly, highly doubt you will read this before the game/match begins. Or ever, for that matter — I mean, the fact I just wrote that made me almost wet myself with laughter. Anyway, if you do see this post then that’s not my fault, you really shouldn’t have been on your phone in the changing rooms and I think you know that, what with all our hopes resting on you, no pressure, honest. Another thing: sorry Andy but if you ever see this post, it might annoy you, so you should probably resist the urge to continue reading beyond this point. Seriously, please don’t. I do not write this with that intention — the last thing I would want to do is annoy our great tennis hope — I assure you. The following are merely observations which I have had over the years, nothing more. I wish you the very best of luck in your massive, massive tennis game/match against the outlandish Roger Federer. May you kick his arse bigtime.

7 Things To Forget/Remember While Murray Battles Federer

1) This is serious business, so forget, please, that Andy Murray’s mum looks amazingly like Andy Murray wearing a dress and smiling a lot (the smiling is the give-away that it is not AndyMurray in drag, but I highly doubt I needed to tell you that…). I know it’s going to be hard, what with the camera people keep on showing us Andy Murray’s mum’s face over and over again, but you have to try. Like I said: it’s Wimbledon…it’s serious business! Andy is no exception, of course. On a school trip to Cromer when I was 13, some of my schoolfriends remarked how much I looked like this one donkey with a big nose. It hurt very much, seeing as my nose was yet to catch up with the rest of my body. You win some you lose some, I suppose. At least you look like your mum and not an unpopular farmyard animal that you never even see on farmyards anymore and you only ever find on beaches, and hardly ever!

2) Forget that Federer is more or less a softly-spoken-cardigan-loving robot who rarely ever loses. As Murray looks perilously close to losing that next point — come on, no matter how well he plays that is going to happen — repeat to yourself: he is just a man, he is just a man, he is just a man… and under no circumstances allow it to slip into …just a man who has only gone and won everything ever, Jesus, what chance has Murray got!!! Like I said: Andy, if you are now fuming about the whole looking-like-your-mum-thing and this second point, you really shouldn’t have read beyond the aforementioned point. You too, Kim Sears his girlfriend. That was very naughty.

3) Big upsets can happen and have happened. I don’t think I need mention Nadal…

4) If Andy Murray does win, he will still give the most boring post-match interview known to man ever — this is virtually guaranteed (and highly dependant on a line official slipping some Speed into his water bottle mid-match — stranger things have happened, right?). But it doesn’t matter! And anyway, you should really be used to it by. On the upside, if he wins then I highly doubt you and the rest of the nation will really give a shit.

5) Forget about the English weather. Ah, now there’s something I am looking forward to! At least for a while.

6) One day, Federer will lose a match and suffer painful, hideous defeat. Unless he retires before that’s able to happen…but come on, where’s your optimism? Stop thinking it cannot happen.

7) Federer is an incredible tennis player, one of the best ever, so if Andy Murray loses then remember that he lost to the very best there is and he still gave it a bloody good shot. I know it’s going to emotionally destroy a lot of people if Andy doesn’t win, but come on, worse things happen. For example, this morning I found a baby grasshopper in the bathroom and it only had one rear leg — its jumping days over before they’d even begun. No! What’s sadder than a baby grasshopper that will never have the ability to jump? Exactly. So stop moaning.

Liked this? You might like — no, you WILL like, where the hell’s my optimism today? — my debut novel, The Number 3 Mystery Book, available from Amazon UK here and Amazon US here. I’m feeling generous today as well, so here you go, here’s a review. Live in the UK and want a paperback? They’re available from

Du-Du-Du…Daddy Long Legs Attacks!


King of creeps!

I am not a Daddy Long Legs behavioural expert — and thinking about it, which I am now desperately trying not to as it gives me the creeps massively, I’m not sure how anyone could be, seeing as even they don’t seem to know where the hell they’re going — but I know one thing for sure: if one flies into my bedroom late at night just before I go to sleep, there’s NO WAY I’m closing my eyes until that Daddy Long Legs is either dead or incapacitated and ejected safely out the window (well, safely for me). You’d be mad not to! These creatures are experts at seeking out body-heat, as I will soon demonstrate. Sadly, incapacitating a Daddy Long Legs, what with all its awesome flailing stupidness, is extremely difficult, not to mention mentally taxing for someone who a) absolutely hates the sight of the Daddy Long Legs and b) is too tired to be gentle with a creature that just can’t stay still, so whenever I try to do this it nearly always results in instant death. Usually against one of my heavier paperback books (see? Hardback books do have some uses after all).

I use the word flies loosely. The Daddy Long Legs — even the best of them, if indeed there are degress of rubbishness — doesn’t really fly…actually I don’t think there’s a word for their kind of feeble, unpredictable maneuvering, and if there was then it’d probably be a daft one that makes about as much sense as their mad-scrambling-up-the-wall-technique — something unpronounceable like drftyuio0-0987hn!!!!!!!!!!!!, I suppose — so that’s probably a good thing. If you’re illiterate, best not think of Daddy Long Legs as a word. It’ll only confuse you even more.

I’ve had some bad nights with Daddy Long Legs’s, it’s true, but the night before last was particularly awful. My bedroom, which is already strewn with the corpses of the dead, was a frenzied warzone and at times it felt like it was going on forever! Or worse…like it had been going on forever, and all I was doing, stumbling around my bedroom in my boxers, book in hand, was reliving a terrible fight I could never win and had never won.

It all started as I turned over page 345 of Thinking Fast and Slow — the Rocky of psychology and economics books by Nobel Prize winning author Daniel Kahneman — at 2:24am. It was not a good time to be interrupted, seeing as my grasp of economics is awful, and I’ll tell yee one thing: when that doomed Daddy Long Legs came bumbling through the window with its arms and legs going agggghhhhhhhhhhhhh! everywhere, I couldn’t help but blame him or her or it — yes, it — for making me lose my place, again. This is not a good thing to happen when you are fighting a book which has much more brains than you do, and virtually every sentence is a test in mental endurance that feels somewhere between a near-mental breakdown and a dream where Stephen Fry in peak annoying-mode refuses to stop telling you intelligent facts while constantly poking you and saying “so do you think I’m clever, then?”. A test which feels a lot like those horrific GCSE Maths questions that haunted my teenage days and nights. You know the ones: Helga buys 6 oranges and gives 1 to Jeremy, but Jeremy drops hers [the clumsy fucker, he’s always dropping stuff!] and decides to make it up to Helga by giving her a banana…that kind of trivial facetious thing.

But I should be clear on something: in truth, this Daddy Long Legs was not the first to come through the window that night. Yes, it’s true, sometimes I am known to turn a blind eye to Daddy Long Legs’s (millions wouldn’t!), especially when my generous streak is high. For the 3 hours or so previous, various ones of various sizes had been infiltrating my bedroom and I’d managed to somehow ignore them by telling myself It’s only an insect, don’t let it get to you, Chris, you’re better than that! But this one I could not ignore, for the second it arrived it panicked its way through the air direcly towards my bedside light, making its vague buzzing sound. This was the last straw, and, having already been exceedingly generous by sparing the lives of 3 or 4 of my enemies, this time I had to take action. Take action now or forever suffer the consequences (it helps if I imagine that Daddy Long Legs’s understand the torment they cause me. This makes me feel much better when I go to take a book from my shelf and find, yet again, one flattened upon it).

Roger Federer’s head: it’s so big I couldn’t fit in this picture, and is a real hot-spot for daddy long legs’s

All this rage against the Daddy Long Legs is for a deeper reason, as you probably guessed. You don’t just develop such hatred of Daddy Long Legs’s, I don’t think. It has to be earned, and man, in the past had I earned it! They’d waged a campaign over many summers. This wasn’t just a one-summer-thing.

The inciting incident had occurred a few days earlier when I woke up with a funny feeling. If that sounds vague, it’s because I’m still trying to work out how to say what’s coming next without being crude.

No, I’ve thought about it, and there’s no way around it: I’ll just have to be crude. What had happened was this: where my biological sack of manhood meets my body, I had discovered the reddest of reddest volcanic bites! A serious insect attack mark which was easily worthy of being screened to millions of die-hard crude fans on Embarrassing Bodies. This was bad enough on its own — and it was, it really did hurt — but then came the vision of the moment it had attacked…the Daddy Long Legs in action. Enough. Enough of it! After that I couldn’t just lie in bed reading my psychology and economics book: I had to make sure no survivors were left before the lights went out.

Quickly, while the Daddy Long Legs in question was deciding between scampering up my wardrobe or landing on my carpet or heading for the ceiling or whatever else it had on its mind, I grabbed almost the first book I could find from next to my bed, where there is always a small to medium size pile. I say almost, because the first was The Beach by Alex Garland and that book is not and never will be designated for Daddy Long Legs massacre. Instead, I grabbed the second, which was The House of Sleep — a book I am yet to read which I think will probably be good. Then I carefully shifted off my bed and–

And the bloody thing had vanished. Its last location had been at the bottom of the bookcase near the end of my bed…but not so now. No creepy weirdness to be found!

I looked under the bed. I could not see it.

I looked on my mattress — it was not there.

I considered what I would do if I had been born a Daddy Long Legs. Then my face did something weird and I promptly stopped for it made me feel all giddy.

Then I didn’t know what to do.

It went on for a while.

When I knew more what to do, but still wasn’t quite there yet, I stood still for as long as 30 seconds, pretending to be the second coming of the bookcase (well, as much as a man without shelves can).

Nowhere did the Daddy Long Legs go agggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I even listened to the point where I could hear my own inners doing their thing, and still heard no buzzing.

Standing there with my book raised as a weapon, I felt silly and weird and annoyed and agitated. An insect which didn’t even know it was alive had got the better of me. I felt plain silly.

It was then that I saw it: no, the shadow of it…out of my left eye, down on the floor. It was heading for the light, the nonsensical thoughtless bastard! I lumbered over, stomping like the gigantic beast it must have perceived me to be, and–

It was gone again. I sat down on the bed and wondered if by the time I was 70 things would be any different. Would I have learned to out-smart an insect by then? Probably not. It was depressing. I wanted to be a child again, living a time that was only fun.

But I gathered myself. I wasn’t done yet.

Two can play at that game, freaky weirdo, I thought. You might think I’ve given up, but you’d be wrong! I haven’t done anything of the sort. Instead, I shall just lie in bed reading my economics and psychology book and wait for my time…

My time took absolutely bloody ages to come. Ages and ages. The more I scanned the room while simultaneously trying to read complex stuff, the more my room seemed a Daddy Long Legs Ghost-town.

Then, just when I was sure that this was it, I’d never get my chance, it happened: the intruder came back on the scene with a vengeance! Up I got, all at once, matter over mind, book in hand, pants gradually working themselves higher up my body, much like a grizzled old insomniac of a man.

But when I got to the wall opposite, the damn thing had vanished again. Imagine my surprise. I couldn’t stay up all night, so that was it. Back in bed I got, crying inside. Well, almost crying inside…if it had got me down there last time, what might it do next?

Update: I woke up and couldn’t find a red bump anywhere! I’m going to bed again soon though…so wish me luck!

New update: I survived, but only because I had the covers pulled almost fully over me. Even though I almost suffocated, it was worth it to not be bitten.

Newer update: I did get bitten. On the bum! How did that happen? It must have come through the mattress somehow! Now I’m really scared…