So, I wrote a piece over at Munchies about the wonderful people who send their pictures into this blog.

Go and have a read, it’s not anything that’s been posted on here before.

I handpicked a few of my all-time favourite pictures, and then included one of my own in there because my ego is out of control.

I think the people who contribute to this blog are amazing.

I really appreciate receiving your stories and pictures and continued response to the blog!

Big announcement!

Dimly Lit Meals for One is becoming a book!

It’s scheduled to come out in autumn 2015 and will be published by John Blake which means I’ll have yet another thing in common with Charles Bronson.

Seriously, it’s like we’re living parallel lives.

If you were wondering why I hadn’t got around to publishing your submission yet, well, it’s probably because I’d like it to go in the book.

I’m aiming for it to be all new material, bigger, sadder, and even more dimly lit than ever before.

I’m confident it will sell more copies than Dianetics and be even more depressing than Jude the Obscure.

If you’d like to contribute please send pictures/stories to dimlylitmealsforone@gmail.com

I’d also like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has shared their sad solitary meals over the last few months!

dinner ”While all my other college-bound friends are spending their summers abroad and enjoying expensive dinners with wines and at least three courses, I’m stuck at home trying to complete my internship while coping with loneliness… and crappy dinners.

Here’s my dinner of spinach noodles (which aren’t even made of spinach) and a ham-and-cheese omelette.”


Nope, I checked, it’s not a quote from shit HBO show Girls but rather a genuine message from a young person interning in omelettes.

Interns, or ‘meat puppets’ as they’re called where I work, serve a valuable function providing unpaid labour to companies which could easily afford to remunerate them.

I would kill to be able to make an omelette with that much structural integrity, and to be young again, with career prospects, and friends.

Your faux spinach noodle sob stories earn no sympathy from this cold cold heart I’m afraid.


factory-floor
factory-floor:

I hate myself for buying these cornflakes. I hated the odious plastic sack sans cardboard housing even before I attempted to eat them, finding that they dissolve into shrapnel, actively attempting to murder you on the way down the oesophagus. Eating a bowl of these things for all their ‘8 added vitamins + iron’ is probably more harmful than chain-smoking 20 cigs. If I still had any respect for myself I would sue the co-op for these, but I’m just going to finish the bowl.

I really felt this poor sod’s pain. Sharp cereal, it’s the worst.

factory-floor:

I hate myself for buying these cornflakes. I hated the odious plastic sack sans cardboard housing even before I attempted to eat them, finding that they dissolve into shrapnel, actively attempting to murder you on the way down the oesophagus. Eating a bowl of these things for all their ‘8 added vitamins + iron’ is probably more harmful than chain-smoking 20 cigs. If I still had any respect for myself I would sue the co-op for these, but I’m just going to finish the bowl.

I really felt this poor sod’s pain. Sharp cereal, it’s the worst.

There’s a point at which you let go of ever getting back to the same waistline you had at eighteen.
You come to a state of numbed acceptance with your expanded middle, so you buy a few pairs of elasticated jeans, and resume the shameful solitary act of cooking and devouring a towering stack of Nutella and cheese toasties.
It’s not as if you spent the whole day dreaming about coming home and getting into your jogging bottoms to eat three thousands calories worth of cheddar and hazelnut spread.
No, there was a period during the afternoon where instead you were on facebook looking at holiday pictures of the one that got away and inwardly sighing at the company wide emails about new restrictions to the dress code seemingly aimed at making everyone look like a trainee estate agent.
That brief interlude was enough to fill the swimming pool sized hole of sadness in your heart and make you long for a post five o’clock umami binge which promised to momentarily abate the gnawing emptiness within you.
What will tomorrow bring? 
A new day to spend confused by Outlook calendar, staring at pictures of other people’s happiness, and dreaming important dreams about a bacon and jellybean filled muffin.

There’s a point at which you let go of ever getting back to the same waistline you had at eighteen.

You come to a state of numbed acceptance with your expanded middle, so you buy a few pairs of elasticated jeans, and resume the shameful solitary act of cooking and devouring a towering stack of Nutella and cheese toasties.

It’s not as if you spent the whole day dreaming about coming home and getting into your jogging bottoms to eat three thousands calories worth of cheddar and hazelnut spread.

No, there was a period during the afternoon where instead you were on facebook looking at holiday pictures of the one that got away and inwardly sighing at the company wide emails about new restrictions to the dress code seemingly aimed at making everyone look like a trainee estate agent.

That brief interlude was enough to fill the swimming pool sized hole of sadness in your heart and make you long for a post five o’clock umami binge which promised to momentarily abate the gnawing emptiness within you.

What will tomorrow bring? 

A new day to spend confused by Outlook calendar, staring at pictures of other people’s happiness, and dreaming important dreams about a bacon and jellybean filled muffin.

" I feel I’ve pushed so hard at the boundaries of what will go on a Chapati that now I’ve exhausted all possibilities.
Truth be told, I’m feeling so very jaded right now. I thought that cheese and onion crisps, avocado, olive, and a dribble of mustard and mayonnaise would be the one in a million winner, the golden ticket of improvised dinners, the shit that sticks to the wall.
But it wasn’t anything special, in fact, there was definitely something off about the mayonnaise.
I mean, it was off. It was quite disgusting in fact.
It’s just one more thing that’s gone wrong for me lately.”

Tim sent in this picture along with another he took from his disappointing Chapati wrap party.
In it he he holds the plate up to his world weary face which is locked in a craggy grimace. In his beetle black eyes you can see the light from his iPhone reflected back, but like radar bouncing back from an abandoned ship there’s no trace of life left in his sunken ocular sockets.
Tim tells me he’s recently single and adrift in the deep end of his forties.
A lack of career ambition and a fondness for wearing short sleeve shirts with a tie scuppered the last relationship he was in. 
Now he skippers his little boat alone, bobbing along on a vast ocean of indifference.
A man who despite the limitless potential of delicious Indian flat breads cannot be aroused from the waking nightmare of maritime metaphors that is his life.

" I feel I’ve pushed so hard at the boundaries of what will go on a Chapati that now I’ve exhausted all possibilities.

Truth be told, I’m feeling so very jaded right now. I thought that cheese and onion crisps, avocado, olive, and a dribble of mustard and mayonnaise would be the one in a million winner, the golden ticket of improvised dinners, the shit that sticks to the wall.

But it wasn’t anything special, in fact, there was definitely something off about the mayonnaise.

I mean, it was off. It was quite disgusting in fact.

It’s just one more thing that’s gone wrong for me lately.”

Tim sent in this picture along with another he took from his disappointing Chapati wrap party.

In it he he holds the plate up to his world weary face which is locked in a craggy grimace. In his beetle black eyes you can see the light from his iPhone reflected back, but like radar bouncing back from an abandoned ship there’s no trace of life left in his sunken ocular sockets.

Tim tells me he’s recently single and adrift in the deep end of his forties.

A lack of career ambition and a fondness for wearing short sleeve shirts with a tie scuppered the last relationship he was in. 

Now he skippers his little boat alone, bobbing along on a vast ocean of indifference.

A man who despite the limitless potential of delicious Indian flat breads cannot be aroused from the waking nightmare of maritime metaphors that is his life.

It’s surely not so shocking to discover that this was eaten in the remote sanctuary at the heart of a hoarder’s nest, the observation deck where a King or Queen of clutter can securely survey the full range of their filthy empire.

From the skyscrapers of stacked newspapers to the forest of used toothbrushes, past the gritty beaches of cat litter and up the glittering steppes of soiled takeaway trays.

In their very own Eagle’s Nest they feast on the remnants of meals gone by, snugly ensconced in tat, oblivious to the mouse droppings at the centre of their three day old chicken pizza.

It’s surely not so shocking to discover that this was eaten in the remote sanctuary at the heart of a hoarder’s nest, the observation deck where a King or Queen of clutter can securely survey the full range of their filthy empire.

From the skyscrapers of stacked newspapers to the forest of used toothbrushes, past the gritty beaches of cat litter and up the glittering steppes of soiled takeaway trays.

In their very own Eagle’s Nest they feast on the remnants of meals gone by, snugly ensconced in tat, oblivious to the mouse droppings at the centre of their three day old chicken pizza.

Anatomy of a super tweet

image

It started with a modest proposal, ‘If I post Will Smith’s face adjacent to a street sign near my flat which bears a similar, albeit not identical, version of his name then the interest it generates will bring Twitter, and subsequently the entire internet, to its knees’.

People seem to think ideas for great tweets just appear out of nowhere but they’re dead wrong. It takes a Herculean effort to come up with this stuff, usually it’s the labour of more than one mind.

You see I only decided on ‘closer than you think bro…’ after several painstaking days brainstorming potential captions with the staff writers here at DLMFO.

Rejected were ‘You’re damn right he is!’, ‘Well it sure as shit ain’t Jazzy Jeff!’,  and ‘Gettin’ shrubby with it!’, the latter for being in the words of our head writer ‘by far the funniest, but perhaps too niche…will our readers really get the reference?’.

My fellow creative was highly supportive and, as always, had some vital input to the social media content creating endeavor.

image

Hold your horses Richard, let’s not run before we’re walking.

First of all, I needed to print this Bad Boy off. image

As you can see, it wasn’t perfect. Something went wrong with the printer and Will was left with a dramatic scar running down the right hand side of his face.

I also seriously caned the ink in the printer at work. Thankfully I waited until everyone else had gone to lunch to do this.

Next up, laminating!

image

I love using the laminator at work. It’s not often that I have an excuse to do so. In fact, the last I time I retrieved it from the stationery cupboard was when I had some Nicolas Cage faces to preserve in plastic.

image 

Following on from the low level excitement of laminating came the high risk pay off to my content generating scheme.

I was very anxious that someone might stop me and ask why I was temporarily affixing reputed Scientologist Will Smith’s face onto a street sign. 

I had no ready reply and in my heightened state I messed up the first picture. The laminated surface was reflecting the sun’s hard glare, this was turning into a disaster!

image

I persevered and ended up with an acceptable photograph.

Even better, I managed to make it back to the office without being apprehended by a curious resident of William Smith Close or by a representative of the law.

It was now just a case of putting it up on twitter and seeing the retweets roll in. Brand awareness would surely skyrocket…

Wow! It certainly did. 9 people retweeted it! Pretty good going I think you’ll agree.

Admittedly one of them was another account of mine and another was the same friend I ran the idea by.

Nonetheless, I thought it was all well worth the effort as it stimulated DIALOGUE.

Some of the dialogue did linger on the similarities between this tweet and one from a few weeks earlier:


Personally, I don’t see it. The only major thing the two posts had in common was that the exact same nine people retweeted on both occasions.

But surely that just suggests I have a core audience who support me no matter what, and to that 0.09% of my twitter followers I’d like to say ‘thank you’.

In this cruel and uncaring corporate cesspool of a world a friendly face can be hard to find.
This is why you make your own friends out of ketchup and cheese.
They’re always upbeat and positive, they don’t subtly undermine you, and when you’re tired of their shtick you can just eat them.
That last one’s a big bonus, in fact, your drunken attempts at cannibalism are one of the main reasons you don’t have human friends anymore. 
Well, it looked like cannibalism. 
Leaning in your maw agape, drool dripping from the corner of your mouth, a terrifying stare of mad loneliness which could certainly have been interpreted as extreme hunger which, in a sense, it was.
Maybe you’ll steal a tomato flavoured kiss with your open face sandwich fulfilling your carnal desires with pleasurably unyielding processed cheese before satisfying your lunchtime urges and scarfing down the whole soggy mess.
Alone in the staff kitchen at work.
Sauce smeared all over your face like a drunk’s lipstick at the end of a long evening.
The aroma of over warm cheese wafting from you as you wonder if you’ll ever find love.

In this cruel and uncaring corporate cesspool of a world a friendly face can be hard to find.

This is why you make your own friends out of ketchup and cheese.

They’re always upbeat and positive, they don’t subtly undermine you, and when you’re tired of their shtick you can just eat them.

That last one’s a big bonus, in fact, your drunken attempts at cannibalism are one of the main reasons you don’t have human friends anymore. 

Well, it looked like cannibalism. 

Leaning in your maw agape, drool dripping from the corner of your mouth, a terrifying stare of mad loneliness which could certainly have been interpreted as extreme hunger which, in a sense, it was.

Maybe you’ll steal a tomato flavoured kiss with your open face sandwich fulfilling your carnal desires with pleasurably unyielding processed cheese before satisfying your lunchtime urges and scarfing down the whole soggy mess.

Alone in the staff kitchen at work.

Sauce smeared all over your face like a drunk’s lipstick at the end of a long evening.

The aroma of over warm cheese wafting from you as you wonder if you’ll ever find love.

It’s not high grade hydroponic skunk weed, as enjoyed by the ever so edgy Miley Cyrus, it’s mid range baby leaf spinach that’s been grown under normal conditions and made into a spinach mush.

A spinach mush you couldn’t finish because it made you feel a bit sick, but not sick like the like the last time you hung out with the choom gang and turned a whiter shade of pale after one drug spliff too many.

It definitely didn’t make you sick enough to throw out a perfectly acceptable packed lunch.

A packed lunch you’ll eat alone at work whilst convincing yourself the reason you do this every day is to save money.

But it’s not. 

It’s because you don’t get invited to the sandwich van.

Why don’t you get invited to the sandwich van? 

Because you stink out the office with your horrible leftovers.

What a vicious circle to be trapped in.

What a life.

It’s not high grade hydroponic skunk weed, as enjoyed by the ever so edgy Miley Cyrus, it’s mid range baby leaf spinach that’s been grown under normal conditions and made into a spinach mush.

A spinach mush you couldn’t finish because it made you feel a bit sick, but not sick like the like the last time you hung out with the choom gang and turned a whiter shade of pale after one drug spliff too many.

It definitely didn’t make you sick enough to throw out a perfectly acceptable packed lunch.

A packed lunch you’ll eat alone at work whilst convincing yourself the reason you do this every day is to save money.

But it’s not.

It’s because you don’t get invited to the sandwich van.

Why don’t you get invited to the sandwich van?

Because you stink out the office with your horrible leftovers.

What a vicious circle to be trapped in.

What a life.