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Saturday, 24 May 2014

Manly, frank and fearless

So I've been getting complaints about my recent prostate postsThey're too personal, friends tell me, too revealing and "not a suitable subject for humour". 

I don't agree. If you can't laugh when a woman sticks her finger up your arse, when can you laugh?

Also if nobody talks about prostate cancer, it's going to keep on killing men at the rate of one an hour in Britain120 of them get diagnosed with it every day. That's not far short of breast cancer's 130. 

But you know more about breasts than prostates, don't you pal? Like where to find them, for a start. And why is that? Because women talk to each other, while men get this powerful message to man up and shut up. 

I tried to talk to Al last week about the dreaded prostate biopsy. "What happens is this guy shoves an ultrasound probe up first, and waggles it around, none too gently. Then he starts sticking needles ...."

"Did you see the game last night?" Al says.

"Great game," I say.

"Helluva game," he tells me.

So here is what we want, guys - less strong and silent, and more manly, frank and fearless. 

If you're over 50 and your flow rate or frequency changes, or you get pain when pissing or in your perineum - the part between your scrotum and anus - go see your doctor. Lecture over. 

It occurs to me that Manly, Frank and Fearless sounds like the singers in one of those vocalist groups from my youth. Warbling wankers in woolly sweaters, who sang ballads when I was trying to listen to rock 'n' roll. 

Frank was the tall one in the middle. Fearless sported a pencil-thin moustache and a bad attitude. Manly had a gold medallion on a hairy chest. My sister thought they were sexy.

I mean ballads for god's sake. After two or three tracks of real music, with drums and lead guitar, the DJ would go, "Let's take the mood down a notch or two, and listen to Jim Reeves telling us his heart is broke in pieces and he'll never love again."

I used to shove things in my ears, but these soppy singers' voices were pitched at those low frequencies that travel hundreds of miles under the ocean. So two fingers and a pillow had no chance of stopping them.

What puzzled me was that the vocalist had usually died in a plane crash two years earlier, but was still making records. How could that be? I figured the music companies must be digging them up, all maggots and broken bones, and forcing them to sing. That's why they were so sad and their women kept leaving them. 

But I could be wrong. Maybe they were just miserable bastards even when they were alive.

I dunno if you saw him, but one of the most dismal of these droners was Engelhump Dinkerdonk, who I thought must long since have been murdered by a music-lover. But there he was last week on Later, accompanied by Jools on piano, singing Please Release Me, Let Me Go, and looking the size of a small Scottish island. 

Come rock-climbing with me son, and I'll release you all right. But I have to admit, the guy has a great voice. Not just for a 78-year-old, which is what Engelbert is now. He has a great voice, period. It's just a shame about the shite songs he sings.

I mean the Blues is real music born out of genuine pain. But these ballad singers would burst into tears if a seagull crapped on their sweaters. Until yesterday I thought they made the most horrible noise in the world.

Then in the Junction Inn, Southampton, I was having a quiet pint with my old pal Adam, the arable farmer, when a sound smote my ears with the force of a hundred hammers. It wasn't loud but it was exceedingly dreadful. 

"What the **** is that? I ask, my head buried in my hands. 

"Folk singers," Adam says. "They come here every Tuesday."

"Can nobody stop them?" I say. 

"I'm afraid not," he says. "We have a law that you can't molest Morris Dancers or interfere with folk singers. It's one of our basic English freedoms. Goes back to Magna Carta."

"I think there's blood running out my ears," I tell him. So Adam, who is a big, strong guy with hairy forearms, takes pity on me and leads me gently outside, and down to the far end of the beer-garden, where the folk-singing fades to the faint squeal of faraway souls in the ninth circle of Hell. 

"Last time I heard a sound that bad it was coming from me," I tell him.

"Good heavens, why?" he says.

"I was having a prostate biopsy and this guy shoved an ultrasound probe up, none too gently, and waggled it around. Then he starts sticking needles ...."

"Did you see the game last night?" Adam says.

"Great game," I say.

"Helluva game," he tells me.

Men United

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