Posts Tagged ‘Me’

Usually, these Ten Things posts are of or about things I like.

Here’s something different. Ten things you may or may not know about me, some obvious, some probably less well-known.

Friends will immediately know, appreciate and understand why I caveated the ‘…about things I like’ with ‘usually, but not this time’. No surprise that I’m not a huge fan of, well, me. I don’t like myself very much and it’s a genuine but constant surprise that anyone else does. (Mind you, as I’ve said before, merely not liking something or someone isn’t the same as actively disliking something or someone.)


1. I’m 57 years old
Yes, a fairly obvious one to start with, given the two earlier blog runs, but let’s get it out of the way first. After I hit my mid-40s, I went through the usual birthday blues as I approached my birthdays, but afterwards, well, I started realising that I am an age that I never really considered before. Oh, I mean, it’s not like I thought that I’d die from natural causes earlier – although my brother died in his 30s, most of my other relatives have lived until at least their late 60s and some much older; my dad died almost a decade ago in his early 80s; my mum’s still alive, in her mid 80s. I just never thought that much about what I’d be like in my late 50s.

And when I did idly consider it, I’m pretty sure that how I am now isn’t what I pictured.

As for being 57, well I long ago resigned myself to the end of the ‘wow, you look much younger than you are‘, but I honestly didn’t expect that at any point in my remaining years… that I’d miss it.

And I do… just a little but definitely yes. Which surprises me, just a little, but definitely yes. Because it’s been a while since anyone’s genuinely (as opposed to being kind or taking the piss) thought I looked younger than I am, and these days I’m kind of grateful if anyone believes I’m my actual age.

For years, I’ve known that the vast majority of the people I hung around with, certainly in comics and comedy, are younger than me, much younger in some cases. But the past two years in particular, it seems in many ways that the gap has widened. I’m not sure if that’s reality or just perception; given the crazy world we all now inhabit, it could easily merely be the latter. But I guess with what’s been going on in my life, either’s possible.

2. I’m a father, with a son named Philip
Yeah, another bit of fairly common knowledge. I call him “Phil” most of the time, much as he calls me ‘dad’. Unless I’m ticked off with him in which case he becomes “Philip” or he wants something… in which case I revert to “Daddyyyyyyyy?”

He’s twenty-six years old, as of a few days ago, and I would say that I love him more with every passing day if I didn’t think that was actually impossible. I’m a very proud father with, to be entirely and unbiasedly honest, a lot to be proud about.

3. I live in London
Again, shouldn’t be a surprise to people that read the blog or follow me on Twitter. Or at least I would have said it shouldn’t be a surprise, until an American friend visited recently and didn’t know where I lived, or whether it was close to central London. Which is fair enough. Even if I knew someone lived in “New York”, I wouldn’t have a clue whether they meant the state or the city and how easy it was to get around.

But yes, I live in London, not far from Abbey Road recording studios; yes, yes, the Beatles, George Martin and all of that. And I like living here; in the area I mean. It’s a short walk into central london; about 45 minutes from me to Oxford Circus, about ⅔ of that to Baker Street. (And no, if you’re curious, there isn’t a 221b Baker Street, at least not a genuine one.)

But it’s a nice area, with decent (no, autocorrect, not ‘decadent’) public transport system and a very large, very nice park that I should visit at some point. Though after almost five years living here, I’d wager it’s unlikely that I’m heading there soon if I haven’t yet.

Yeah, we get tourists looking for the fabled Abbey Road road crossing. And yeah, they’re enthusiastic. My Gods, are they enthusiastic, and excited, and you know what? I quite like that. It adds to the day, somehow; it makes the day… lighter. Which is never a bad thing.

(Though I’m still entirely bemused, I’ll admit, how anyone can find their way more than 5.000 miles across the ocean, and a few dozen miles to outside my flat… and then be unable to travel the ¼ mile to the studio without help.)

4. I write
Not enough, but I write. Prose fiction in the main, but I’ve been known to turn my attention to comics scripts (I won’t bore you with what’s been published, it’s been a very long time since I’ve had anything published, though) and, on rare occasions, doggerell or free format poetry.

I’m least happy with my efforts on the latter as I’m not a natural poet. With prose and other fiction, I can look at something and know whether I’m on the right lines or not. And even with rhyming verse, usually comedic, I can tell. With free verse poetry, I’ve no idea, not a one. I think it’s because, to me at least, it’s less rational and more emotional.

And although I can write emotions well enough in prose, I struggle in verse, because I have fewer narrative tricks I can use. At least that’s my excuse.

You get some ‘fiction from the vaults’ every Tuesday here, and new prose fiction from me every Thursday.

But as I write this, I have seven unfinished long form projects (one graphic novel, one anthology of graphic work, one anthology of short stories, one movie screenplay and one novel… and two I’m not even hinting at in here) in draft that are screaming at me to get back to them. I’m studiously ignoring the screams.

I shouldn’t.

5. I never remember my dreams
Maybe “never” is too strong a word there, but I can’t remember the last time I had a nice dream. It’d be nice to remember a nice dream. I’m sure I have them. But I only remember the nightmares, which are a usually nightly occurrence.

That said, if it was a choice of not remembering any dreams or remembering them all, I’ll take the first option, please. I’d be quite content at that; I’ve no real wish to know what my subconscious is up to, thanks all the same.

6. I sleep on average about six hours a nightspread out over eight or nine hours.
I’m rarely in bed before around half one, and then I read for a while before lights out. I’ll turn those lights out when I’m too tired to stay awake any longer, usually indicated by me not being able to remember what the hell is on the page I’ve just read.

If I go to bed earlier, and just switch off the light, I don’t sleep… I lay there awake. And since I don’t share my bed with anyone, that’s never as pleasant as it sounds.

I take heavy doses of an anti-histamine to help me sleep; to be precise theyr’e supposed to help me stay asleep; they sometimes, occasionally, work..

About once every three months, I’ll crash out early, about eight, and sleep for almost twelve hours.

(One of the underrated benefits of getting older, though: I can have a late afternoon/early evening nap with no guilt whatsoever.)

7. I don’t speak any ‘foreign’ languages… including body language
I understand smatterings of german and yiddish, but body language is definitely a complete mystery. Someone scratches their nose? To me it means they’ve an itchy nose. It does tend to confirm, however, that when it comes to the opposite sex, as I’ve mentioned before, not only would any woman interested in me have to be carrying a plank to smack me around the head, but it would probably require several beatings.

And though I know I can pay women to beat me, while I’ve no moral objection, I’d rather go without the beatings, thanks.

8. I’m far happier talking (or being) one-to-one, and with someone I already know, than in a crowd or meeting ‘new’ people
Of all the things I envy some of my friends for, it’s their ability to walk into a room with fifty people they don’t know, and thirty minutes later, they’ve had conversations with at least a dozen of them and are at ease with every bloody one of them. I’m not like that. I’m neither a naturally sociable person in a crowd, nor a naturally social animal.

Once upon a time, I could have typed something like “I wish I wasn’t as happy in my own company, but I am.” That’s no longer true. I’m not happy in my own company; I’m just unhappier in others’.

9. While not hating my looks, I remain convinced that anyone who says I’m good looking, or some such… is taking the piss.
I spent the vast majority of my growing up suffused with the conviction that I genuinely was the worst looking fella in my town. (It didn’t help matters that my older brother was genuinely very good looking and was surrounded by girls from when he was about 14. I may have loved my brother and put him on a pedestal, but the shadow of that pedestal was a cold place to be at times)

After my marriage ended, and I became, at least in others’ eyes, ‘available’, well, I know I’m not the very worst of the worst out there, but I’m far, far, far from being someone who, when he walks into a room, attracts the eyes of people with an approving “mmmmmm.”

And linking this and the last two together, I’ve never successfully “chatted anyone up”. Ever. Never happened. Never been chatted up, either – or at least if I have been, I’ve never noticed it. To this day, if I did get chatted up while out, I’d assume that it was either a setup, or friends taking the piss.

Because – bonus 9a – I’m a huge advocate of extrapolating from previous experiences, and the only times I’ve recognised I’m being chatted up while out, it’s always without exception, either been a setup, or someone taking the piss.

10. If I hold a grudge, there’s [usually] a damned good reason for it
Once upon a time, it was rare for me to fall out with someone permanently. With the vicissitudes of life being what they are, I took the view that ‘life’s too short’. If you screw up, or offend someone, then unless it’s of crucial importance, or permanently changes your opinion of someone for the worse, it’s just not worth falling out with them forever. (I’m reminded of the comment that “it takes more muscles to frown than to smile… but it’s worth the extra effort.”)

That changed in the past few years. And antisemitism was the cause; either direct or indirect, either the active commission of it, or the excusing of it, or the trivialising of it. Sadly, I fell out with a number of people over it. I say sadly because yeah, it is sad when friends fall out.

That said I don’t regret a single one. And I hope they don’t regret it either.

So, yes, on those occasions where I do fall out with someone, I don’t fall out with them merely for the sake of it; there’s a reason, and usually it’s a damn good one. And yeah, I bear grudges. Hard.

OK, well, that’s that done.

If you enjoyed this Ten Things, I’ve done others, less ‘about me’ ones which are probably more pleasant to read…

See you tomorrow, with… something else.



Sixty-one days. Sixty-one posts. One 2022 slowly approaching.

I’ve signed up to, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of quid every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to the new year. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

Earlier on in this run, I wrote about skillsets some have for their careers that I don’t have, and that I wish I genuinely understood inside and out.

But of course there are other things – not limited to skillsets – that I either don’t understand and wish I did understand, or don’t understand and don’t really care that I don’t understand…

And then there are the subject matters about which people care hugely; they’re important to them in a way that not only are they not to me, but I don’t even understand why they are to people. On an individual sense, I mean.

Like fashion, say, but we’ll come back to that.

No matter what the industry, I’ll acknowledge immediately that they’re important to people who work in the industry. I couldn’t give a damn about the design of mass produced greetings cards, say. Not really. One’s the same as another in most cases, as far as I see. Except the ones you see, look again in disbelief, and then are terrified that someone actually got paid to design it.

But for those who work in the greetings cards industries, I quite understand why it’s important to them; to the government who collects taxation from the companies, the payroll taxes, the corporation taxes, etc. To those whose livelihood depends on that industry, yes, I get all of that.

That caveat needs to be up front and centre. Any industry is important to those working in it.

Like fashion, say. But we’ll come back to that.

Small – but relevant to what follows – diversion: this isn’t fishing for compliments, but I’ve never thought of myself as ‘good looking’. OK, I’ll admit that I’m better looking than I used to be (as the annually updated A Life In Pictures post proves) but… objectively ‘good looking’?


Not at all.

I’m… ok, I guess. On a good day, I might qualify for a bit better than ‘plain’. Again – not fishing for compliments here.

But I say all that I have above in order to now recognise that even I, looking like I do, am vain enough to not like it if I have a crappy haircut, or have a spot appear on my face.

I stress the above to acknowledge that there’s some, small, vanity, on minor things before going on to say that in a major way, vanity has affected my choice in clothes.

I’m not sure who first observed that clothes form an inherent part of your identity. But of course they’re correct, both in how others see you and how you see yourself. But despite the above, I’ve never much cared about how people see me, only about what they thought of me, and even then only with some people.

Going back a few decades, I don’t really remember choosing clothes to ‘look good’ before I got married. (Yes, yes, that annual post proves it. I know.)

I wore what was ‘appropriate’ for the setting (work, synagogue, pub), and b) what I felt comfortable wearing… but not really more than that.

Wasn’t fashionable usually, if ever. Yeah, fashion. We’re getting there, I promise.

Then I met the lady who became my wife. Yeah, a lot of stories start like that.

Laura had, has, far better taste than me in clothes, and it wasn’t uncommon for her to surprise me with a top, or a shirt or a jacket… In all the time we were together, maybe twice, maybe three times, I didn’t like her voice. Every other time, it was great; it suited me; I liked it.

When we split up, I dressed all-in-black for something… and for the first time – genuinely, the first time ever – pretty much everyone complimented me on how I looked. (To the point that I briefly but genuinely wondered whether they’d gotten together to take the piss.)

But no. I dressed all-in-black at work; got compliments. Dressed all-in-black for a social occasion… same result.

Huh. Weird.

I’ve said before those who are good looking, have always been told they’re good looking, genuinely don’t have a clue what it’s like to not receive those life long compliments. No more than those of us who didn’t get them have the slightest comprehension what it’s like to get those compliments through your life.

So me getting compliments all the time for how ‘all-in-black’ suited me, how much better I looked, astonished me.

Even weirder was how I felt about dressing all in black: very, very comfortable, very… ‘me’.

Yes, there was good natured mockery, the ‘goth’ comments, the “DarkBudgie” silliness. (Remember: I’m a huge fan of silliness.)

So, lots of reasons for me to continue: I liked it, it was easy, people seemed to think I looked good in it, and I felt comfortable as hell wearing it.

And here we go…

At no point was I wearing black because, say, it was the ‘in’ thing to wear; at no point was I wearing it because ‘everyone I knew and mixed with was wearing it’; at no point was I wearing it to ‘make a statement’, or to ‘make a point’.

Which brings me to fashion. Both as a concept, and an industry.

I don’t get it.

I mean, leaving aside the economics of it…

  • dresses that cost more to deliver than to purchase
  • wages paid to those who make the clothes that make people blush
  • built in short term obsolescence

…the very idea of social acceptance or otherwise thought wearing what has been decided is this year’s Thing… I’m utterly mystified by the idea.

It’s not just the actual clothes in the fashion industry, of course, that mystify and puzzle me. The ‘you can’t wear the same this year/season as last’. I don’t get it. The ‘you must buy new and newer and different.

I don’t have many pairs of shoes; a pair of trainers, a decent pair of brogues, a pair of plain formal shoes. and I’ve pretty much replaced them with identical pairs. (OK, I could excuse that because I’ve a fucked up foot.) But that wouldn’t explain why I also have lots of identical shirts, and identical pairs of plain trousers.

Having multiple outfits for multiple occasions, mixing and matching – and purchasing stuff in order to do so… not being able to, nor wanting, to wear the same clothes repeatedly.

Fashion: I don’t get it. At all.

I honestly wish I did.

Yeah, this didn’t start out as a whinge. I’m sorry it turned into one…

Well, that didn’t exactly turn out as planned. To reward you for slogging through it, I’ll let you know about the single best mass-produced greetings card I’ve ever seen, in Bermuda, in the mid-1990s. Die cut, so the front of the card was slightly smaller than the back of the card. The front of the card had a typical 1950s detective or PI. Low slung hat, raincoat.

The front of the card read: “There are eight million stories in the naked city. Somewhere, someone’s in trouble. Somewhere, someone needs to stroke a small animal. That’s where I come in.”

When you opened the card, you saw the same defective, his raincoat now open with:

“My name’s Friday. I carry a badger”.

See you tomorrow, with something more interesting.

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-fifth birthday on 17th August 2019. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

Blog post titles are an odd thing. I mean, I ask ‘how are you?’ up there but, let’s be fair, there’s no way for you to respond before I continue, so it’s entirely self-serving and unnecessary.

Welcome to my blog.

As mentioned the other day, I’ve done a few of these countdowns and usually I just leap straight into them, but it’s been over two years since I’ve regularly blogged, so, a reintroduction probably isn’t the worst idea.

OK, so who the hell are you, anyway?
I’m budgie. Hello.

All right, my parents didn’t name me ‘budgie’; they may have been odd in some ways, but they weren’t that odd.

My given name, the name on my passport, is “Lee Barnett”, but I much prefer ‘budgie‘ – you’ll learn why in a moment.

I live in London, very near Abbey Road Studios. Yes, that Abbey Road Studios; Beatles, that album cover, that zebra crossing.

How near? Well, as I tell friends – whenever anything notable happens in London – if the news story doesn’t start with the words ‘Less than half a mile from the world famous…’ it happened nowhere near me.

After growing up in Luton – a great place to come from, but a lousy place to go back to – I’ve spent most of my life living in various parts of London: Ilford, Finchley, a couple of decades in Barnet, four years in Richmond… and now, since early 2017, a couple of miles’ north of Oxford Street, Central London.

I’m divorced, from a very nice lady named Laura, and together we have a son, Phil, who’s now twenty-three. That’s us over there, on the right.

He’s a lovely lad, and I’m incredibly lucky that he’s my son. Of course like any father and son, we share some interests, (comics, comedy, a sense of humour – most of the time), but most decidedly do not share others. I remain entirely puzzled as to his fascination with video games, professional wrestling, and various bands. And he remains utterly mystified by me, on a daily basis.

I’m a writer; there’s more about the writing in a moment, but yeah, that’s how I spend most of my days.

But I used to be an accountant, and in that profession, went from junior auditor, to senior auditor, to audit manager – there were a lot of audits – then grabbed the commercial shilling and ended up as a financial director of a tv channel, one of those you scroll past on your tv’s programme guide. While I rarely discuss specifics, my old profession may come up occasionally over the next few weeks, so… fair to put it out there.

I haven’t been an accountant/financial director for the best part of a decade, though.

A writer friend of mine once introduced me as “This is budgie; he used to be a very good accountant; now he’s a very good writer. The world has enough very good accountants and not enough very good writers’. As compliments go, that’s one I’ll take.

budgie’s perch?
Yeah, suppose I’d better deal with this fairly early on. The blog’s called ‘budgie’s perch’ because it seemed an appropriate title for a blog run by a fella whose nickname is ‘budgie’.

Which doesn’t exactly explain anything, does it?

‘Budgie’ is a nickname I’ve had for – blimey – over thirty-five years, now. Over thirty-five years. I’d ask ‘how the hell did that happen?’ But I can already hear Phil responding ‘that’s the way the calendar works, dad’.

But why ‘budgie‘? Well, the full story’s here, but if you want the ‘long-story-short’ version? What now, sigh, would be called the ‘tl;dr’ version?

I acquired the nickname when I was studying at Manchester Poly, and the name stuck. And though I stopped using it when I left Manchester, it recommenced when I got online in 1995…

And now? Well, far more people know me as – and think of me as – budgie than as Lee. And I much prefer that, to be honest; never particularly liked my ‘first name’, and ‘budgie’ feels more like me these days.

The full detailed story involves – in no particular order – copious amounts of alcohol, freshers, a hypnotist’s evening, and an accountancy lecture.


It’s worth reading.

OK, but budgiehypoth?
For twelve years, over ten British comic book conventions, comics legend Dave Gibbons and I ran a panel entitled hypotheticals. It was fairly popular, and when I was looking for a new URL for this blog, seemed a good concatenation to use.

You can see the logo we used for the panel (over there, to the side) bears a strong resemblance to the icon I use for myself online, and for this blog; Dave designed the original, and he did a ‘budgie’ version as a parting gift when we wound up the panel in 2011.

But, hey, for twelve years, I got to say I wrote scripts for Dave Gibbons. You can’t beat that.

But still… budgie’s perch?
Be grateful; the braindump I use to kickstart the writing muscles every day is named Going Cheep.

Everything from being commissioned comedy for BBC Radio 4, the occasional bit for TV, a few comics stories (including writing an X-Men story) a novel entitled You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly and publishing two collections of very, very short stories in The Fast Fiction Challenge:

Both books are also available via and e-Versions (for Kindle, Sony reader, iBooks, etc.) can be obtained – email me and I’ll supply the ebook(s) in either .epub or .mobi version on request… Volume 1 (180 stories) is £4.00, or equivalent in local currency; volume 2 (200 stories) is £5.00

I also wrote three radio shows with Mitch Benn for Radio 4, and helped out with his past few Edinburgh shows.

What else?

  • erm… My alcohol of choice is single malt whiskey, neat: Jura or The Balvenie, or occasionally Glenfiddich. I can’t really afford that regularly, so a decent blended will do; never really got a taste for beer.
  • Oh, I’m Jewish; it’ll probably come up over the next few weeks at some point. I’ve never quite sorted out my relationship with my religion; I’m still figuring that one out, and have been for, oh, 40 years or so. That caveat aired, on most things, I at least try to be rational, I try to be a sceptic, to withhold belief in something until there’s evidence. I don’t always succeed.
  • That said, when it comes to my being Jewish, and given that this blog will comment upon current UK politics, it’s more than possible that Israel might come up in discussion. Just a heads up: if you’re looking to have some fun telling me that Israel has no right to even exist, you might as well quit reading now, and go off and do something we’ll both enjoy a lot more.
  • I’m in my mid-50s, so under the laws of blogging, my physical health will probably come up at some point. Other than my fucked up foot (about more of which here), it’ll likely just the usual health comments, scares and moaning.
  • Hmmm. Health. OK, I’ve had some mental health… ‘issues’, I believe they’re sometimes called. I have no intention right now to go into detail, publicly. That may change as the next eight weeks goes by. Let’s see how scared I am by the prospect.
  • Oh, and since I mentioned fear… I’ve a few phobias. Or do I? Phobias are irrational fears and I happen to think my fear of being stung by wasps or bees is entirely rational. But spiders bigger than teeny tiny in size? Yeah, ok that might be one of the tad irrational ones.

Finally in this list of stuff you didn’t need to know about me: there are things I genuinely regret not doing. Rarely, however, are they The Big Things that people are supposed to regret: lost loves, lost opportunities in life, that one person you passed in the street, never spoke to, but have thought about every day for years…

Mine are less grand. I wish I’d learned to use a slide rule; somehow never got around to it. I wish I’d paid attention during history classes at school, but then I’d have missed the joy in later life of discovering how much fun history can be. I have a mouth organ, purchased by friends of mine after I said I’d like to learn to play. I never have learned to play it, and I really should do something about that.

I think that’s about it for now. Anything else, ask away…

Oh, and see you tomorrow when there’ll be something much less about me and more about… something else.

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-fifth birthday on 17th August 2019. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

All about meme

Posted: 28 November 2011 in life, don't talk to me about life, personal

I mentioned a while ago that i may do one of these every often, in lieu of any actual content, and while i did have something ready to post, on reading it, I wasn’t happy that the arguments hung together well. And given that the subject was “lazy thinking”, I’d rather wait until I’m sure of my arguments.

And I’ve been busy today organising this (of which you’ll no doubt hear more about in forthcoming days), and babysitting for my nieces this evening, so haven’t really had the time to nail it down.

So instead, you get this…

100 questions, 100 answers

1. What time did you get up this morning? Just before seven. Had a bad night’s kip, tossing and turning most of the night, waking every hour or so – pretty much the usual. Not a good night’s sleep, no. And finally woke up with my foot hurting.

2. What is your favourite TV show? Right now? Still The Daily Show, which never fails to entertain. Over a period of time? Dunno. Drama? Probably The West Wing. Sitcom? A tossup between Cheers, Just Good Friends and Yes, [Prime] Minister.

3. What do you usually have for breakfast? A cup of tea. Or coffee. Sometimes I’ll grab a couple of slices of toast or a bowl of cereal. But a cup of tea, or coffee, is mandatory.

4. What is your middle name? Don’t have one. Despite what others may assume, my middle name isn’t “Budgie”. Honestly.

5. What food do you dislike? Yoghurt. Just the thought of it turns my stomach. Also anything spicy. I am cursed with a relatively bland palate. Yes, that means that I don’t like curry*. Or chilli. Or anything with what my friends would refer to as… taste. (I once broke up with a girl at college because she insisted that I’d “like this curry”…)

6. What is your favourite CD at the moment? I maintain that you’ve still got to go a long way to beat Hot Rocks 1964-1971 by The Rolling Stones

7. What characteristic do you despise in people? Intolerance. Everything I dislike in people (including, but not limited to, lazy thinking) stems from that.

8. Favourite clothing? Pretty much what you’ll find me in most days: black shirt, black trousers. If warranted, black jacket, either cloth or leather.

9. Favourite brand of clothing? Probably Burtons, since that’s where I get the nice black shirts and trousers. But if I had unlimited funds, etc.? I do like Hugo Boss suits.

10. Where would you retire to? No idea; haven’t a clue, except that it would be nice to be within easy driving distance of Phil though.

11. Favourite sport to watch? None. I’m not a sports person. At all. If I have to watch sport, then either tennis, darts or basketball.

12. What does the last text message you received say? “OK then. First I’ve been told.” Text from Phil.

13. Most memorable birthday? Can’t narrow it down. Any of them post-Phil’s birth. There are few things as nice as your son singing Happy Birthday to you, and giving you a card he’s made.

14. When is your birthday? In about eight and a half months.

15. So, what do you want for your birthday? I don’t. You won’t buy it for me, so no point in mentioning it.

16. Exciting news you’d like to share with us? See the link above… it’s news – up to you to decide whether or not it’s exciting.

17. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? See the link above…

18. What was the last thing you ate? Pizza – took my nieces to Pizza Express this evening.

19. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Phil.

20. What is your favourite soft drink? Dr Brown’s Cream Soda. But you can’t get it over here, dammit.

21. Favourite restaurant? Don’t really have one, but I’m quite prepared to accept that’s because I haven’t eaten in enough good ones.

22. Colour of your hair? Rapidly greying to the point where I’ve started to describing it as grey with bits of dark in it.

23. What was your favourite toy as a child? Lego. No question.

24. Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla.

25. What did you do last night? Helped Phil fill out his Sixth Form choices application form, went to Golders Green to buy some rye bread and a challah. Then home to listen to The Westminster Hour and What The Papers Say before bed…

26. What are you afraid of? Other than the usual thing of ‘something seriously bad happening to Phil’, it’d be wasps and bees, probably.

27. How many years at your current job? I left my last job a few months ago, after almost seven years as Director of Finance and Administration, but almost twelve years at the company.

28. Favourite day of the week? Don’t really have one.

29. How many towns/cities have you lived in? Luton, Manchester, London (Chadwell Heath, Highgate, Barnet)

30. Do you make friends easily? No, not easily at all. And I’m not an easy friend to have, either.

31. Was the first person you talked to today male or female? Female, a neighbour as I left the flat this morning.

32. Have you ever seen your friends naked? On occasion.

33. Are you nervous about anything? Lots of things. Nothing in particular right now, though.

34. Are you jealous of anyone? Can’t top a friend’s answer when she did this: The usual raft of envy regarding other people’s good fortune, intelligence, academic prowess, family relations, published writing, and effortless ability to be likeable, but not actively and specifically “jealous”.

35. Wallpaper on your cell phone? This:

36. When was the last time you were in a swimming pool? Couple of months ago. Swimming is sometimes a problem because of the foot. Not for the reason most people think, i.e. my swimming, but other people swimming by, when the wake snaps my ankle round…

37. Where does most of your family live? Parents live in Luton, my younger brother in Stanmore.

38. Could you live with roommates? I doubt it. I don’t expect to live with someone else again. Ever.

39. Do you have a flip phone? No, but I have in the past, a Razr.

40. What are you doing this weekend? No idea at all.

41. When is the last time you ate a sandwich? Made myself one last night.

42. When was the first time you voted in a general election? 2010 General Election.

43. How has the week been? Last seven days? Busy.

44. When is the next time you will make out? “Make out”? That’s something the young ‘uns do, yeah?

45. What’s a word that rhymes with “HI”? High.

46. What’s your favourite planet? Other than Earth? Don’t have a favourite.

47. Who’s the 2nd person on your missed calls list? Laura, my ex-.

48. What shirt are you wearing right now? Black shirt.

49. What do you “label” yourself as? When employed, my job title. Since work, “a writer”. When Phil’s with me, “Dad”. In comics, “professional hanger-on”.

50. Name the brand of shoes you’re currently wearing? Karrimor

51. Bright or dark room? Bright as possible… however, it’s not unknown for me to be working late and suddenly realise that the room is dark… Seriously, I like a really bright room at home. The reason I have energy efficient light bulbs at home is so I can stuff sockets designed for 60W bulbs with 30W energy efficient bulbs… each of which give off the luminescence equivalence of 150W “normal” bulbs. My living room has several lit of an evening.

52. If you’re alone in a room with two beds, which one do you sleep on? Assuming they’re identical, the one furthest from the door.

53. What were you doing at midnight last night? Reading.

54. What’s a word or phrase that you say a lot? “Nu?”

55. Who told you he/she loved you last? Phil.

56. How many drugs have you done in the past 3 days? Tobacco and cocodamol.

57. Favourite age you have been so far? No idea; there’s been good and bad in every year.

58. Your worst enemy? A few people I actively dislike intensely, but no actual enemies.

59. What is the last thing you said to someone? “Night.”

60. Are you photogenic? Lord, no.

61. Last song you listened to? Titoli

62. When was the last time you edited your MySpace page? I don’t do Myspace.

63. What are your favourite Pjs? I don’t have any.

64. What do you do when you pass graveyards? Depends which one. If it’s the one in which Mike is buried, I’ll nod to ‘him’ as I drive past.

65. Have you ever seen a shooting star? No.

66. Which hurts the most, physical or emotional pain? Physical, every bloody time.

67. Song lyrics stuck in your head? None at the moment.

68. List five things you want to do in your lifetime: (in no particular order): No.

69. Is a flat stomach important to you? [looks down]. Obviously not.

70. Do you eat raw hot dogs? No.

71. Do you like sushi? No.

72. How much salad dressing do you put on your salad? None.

73. Who are you waiting to call you? No-one, actually.

74. Were you named after anyone? Yes, for my mum’s maternal grandmother, Leah.

75. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you? The temptation is to say “no”, but I honestly don’t know; I’m hopeless at judging myself objectively in any way.

76. Where is your second home? Don’t really have one, although I know I’m always welcome at Laura’s.

77. What is your favourite dessert? Apple pie with ice cream.

78. What do you think of hot dogs? The owners should be prosecuted for leaving them in the car.

79. Have you any tattoos? No.

80. Have you any piercings? No.

81. Do you trust others easily? No. I find it incredibly hard to trust people when I first meet them.

82. What class in school do you think is totally useless? Geography.

83. What’s your favourite ice cream? Carte D’Or Banana. That they no longer make it is irrelevant.

84. Number of pillows you sleep with? Two on each side of the double bed.

85. Are you paranoid? Why do you want to know? Why? Why? Huh? Huh?

86. On what day were you born? Monday

87. What kind of hair/eye colour do you like on the opposite sex? No particular preference, but if the eyes are communicative, can send messages? I’m a sucker for that. However, even then I’m usually hopeless at interpreting such messages.

88. Do you speak another language? I speak fluent rubbish.

89. What do you get complimented about most? These days? Mostly about Phil or hypotheticals. It’s been a while since the writing was a major source of compliments, but it’s nice to hear them nonetheless.

90. How many children do you want? Just the one I have will do me fine, thanks.

91. What is the most pain you have ever experienced? Breaking my foot – felt like I’d plunged it into molten lava.

92. Favourite thought provoking song? Georgy Girl by The Seekers, for very strange reasons.

93. Do you have siblings? One dead, one still alive.

94. What is your favourite pizza topping? Sweetcorn, pineapple and extra cheese.

95. Who is the last person you made mad? Clinically insane, you mean? Oh, I don’t do that. Not anymore. Not since the court case.

96. What are your weaknesses? Way, way too many to list here.

97. Favourite Pets? I’ve never had a pet.

98. Do looks matter? Other than in “the Kingdom of the Blind?” Yes. Always, always, always, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.

99. What’s the last furry thing you touched? Boris Bearson. (and there are very few people reading this who’ll get that reference.)

100. If you had to live in any past time period, which would it be? 1960s

nFAQ (non-Frequently Asked Questions)

Posted: 8 October 2011 in personal

I’ve entitled this post non-Frequently Asked Questions simply because I don’t think there’s ever been a time when people have been so fascinated by me that they – in some manifestation of a gestalt entity – overwhelm me with the same questions again and again.

However, if – after reading the information below – you feel that there’s something missing, feel free to ask away. In the ‘where you can find me’ section below, I link to formspring and there’s a shedload of answers there to weird and not-so-weird questions that have been thrown at me from time to time…

Couple of things straight at the beginning though. Although I don’t expect this blog to necessarily be as “all ages” as the Livejournal blog was (in part because my son is substantially older now than when he started reading Livejournal), it’s likely that this blog while, delving into mature themes and subjects, will stay away from ‘adult’ topics. If you’re looking for a blog about sex, for example, you’ll search here in vain; look elsewhere.

Similarly, if you’re looking for a blog covering every item on the news, again there are hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs out there giving the writer’s opinion on the slightest item to make the headlines. Not here. Sure you’ll hopefully get my thoughts on some news items, but they’ll be the subjects that I’m interested in, not the subjects that for some reason people expect me to be interested in.

Finally, although it shouldn’t need to be said, it so often does: this is a personal blog. You’re unlikely to find any reference to my work, although I may tell the occasional tale from my past. I’m Jewish, and you’ll no doubt find references to that sometimes. I may even comment on Israel on occasion. If you’re looking to have some fun telling me that believing in any religion is wrong, or that Israel has no right to even exist, might as well stop reading now.

who am I?
My given name is “Lee Barnett”. I’m 47 years old, was born in Luton, Bedfordshire, and now live – in a nice two-bed flat – in Barnet, Hertfordshire.

I’m separated from my ex-, a genuinely lovely lady named Laura, and together we have a son, Phil, who’s now fifteen years old – almost sixteen. That’s Phil, over there, on the right.

He’s a lovely lad, and I’m incredibly lucky that he’s my son. Of course like any father and son, we share some interests, (comics, comedy, a sense of humour – most of the time), and do decidedly not share others. I remain entirely puzzled as to his fascination with video games, professional wrestling, and various bands.

Yeah, suppose I’d better deal with this fairly early on. My nickname’s “budgie”, a nickname I’ve had now for – blimey – coming up on thirty years. The full story’s here, but if you want the ‘long story short’ version, I was given it when I was at college, and the name stuck to the point where far more people know me as – and think of me as – budgie than as Lee. The full story involves alcohol, freshers, a hypnotist’s evening and an accountancy lecture.


It’s worth reading.

For about twelve years, over ten comic conventions, Dave Gibbons and I ran a panel entitled hypotheticals. It was fairly popular. When I was looking for a new URL for this blog, seemed a good concatenation to use.

The avatar I use here was designed and given to me by Dave as a thank you after we wound up the panel after ten successful years. It’s based on the design he created for the panel, over there.

For ten years, I got to say I wrote a script for Dave Gibbons. You can’t beat that.

budgie’s perch?
Yeah, I know it’s a conceit, but it was the name of my first website, now long since deceased, on compuserve’s ourworld domains. The Delphi forum I ran for a few years was named budgie’s cage, and the Livejournal blog was entitled “budgie’s squawks”. You’ve got to let me have a little fun occasionally. (be grateful – the readers of Pulse on were treated to a weekly column from me named Going Cheep.)

where you can find me
Well, apart from here, there’s my twitter feed – @budgie, my facebook, my formspring, and of course, much information at the old blog.

I’ll no doubt talk more about this as the blog continues, but yeah, I’ve done some writing over the years. Everything from being a commissioned writer for BBC Radio 4, the occasional bit for TV, a few comics stories (including writing an X-Men story) an online novel entitled You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly and publishing two collections of very, very short stories in The Fast Fiction Challenge:

Click on either graphic to be taken to

Both books are also available via and e-Versions (for Kindle, Sony reader, iBooks, etc.) can be obtained either from or from myself – email direct for details.

anything else?
Yeah – there will be some things I do transfer over from the old place. I usually post something on the anniversary of my brother’s death in January every year. It’ll be fourteen years this coming January, and that day I tend to maintain a bit of radio silence. And there’ll be the occasional repost of things I always enjoyed doing: Teach Me Something, Your Own National Day… and the occasional other… thing.

So that’s something to look forward to.

Ok, think that’s about it for now. Anything else, ask away…

Erm… Hello

Posted: 7 October 2011 in personal


[Waits for response. Response came there none. Battles on regardless. (c) Bluebottle]

Welcome to budgie’s perch. This is an experiment by me. You see, I’ve had a blog for about nine years on Livejournal. It’s here, budgie’s squawks. And from 2004, up until this year, it was a very rare day indeed when i didn’t blog something, whether it was a link to something else, some fiction, my thoughts about various political, social or just something that was in the news.

But 2011 has been a bit of a weird year for me, for lots of reasons and for the first time in very many years, I’ve not blogged that much.

And so this place.

I’m not entirely convinced it will replace budgie’s squawks at Livejournal (and I must admit, I’m amused in a weird way that I just mistyped that as Lovejournal), and maybe I’ll keep and use both, or even just cross-post between the two.

I haven’t made my mind up yet.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s time for a new start.

It’s also been a while since I’ve ‘introduced’ myself to folks online. The next post should take care of that, I think.

Anyway, welcome to The Perch. Grab a seat, and let’s see what happens when we chat.