Sour Times


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Stephen Irvine, 12 July 2013 Having relaxed into the surroundings of more exotic climes of late, it was a miserable journey back to Norwich for Sour Times this week, as another ridiculous story unfolded in the land that spawned Tim Westwood, Delia Smith and Alan Partridge. With the city still reeling from the recent dust-up at the sci-fi convention, there was fresh drama as a gorilla […]

Making a Monkey of the Dead


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Stephen Irvine, 22 May 2013 For those fascinated by the history of group violence in this country, from the running beach battles fought between the mods and rockers through to the rampaging football ‘firms’ of the 70s and 80s, there has always been a rich supply of references within popular culture to revel in. Whilst most people at least pretend to frown upon the conduct of […]

Is There a Doctor in the Building?


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Stephen Irvine, 19 February 2013 With another birthday lurking around the corner, waiting for me like a hoodlum in a dimly-lit alleyway, it suddenly became very clear this week that my best days are firmly behind me and vanishing fast in my rear-view mirror as I hurtle down the motorway of life towards my inevitable doom. Having quite literally rolled out of bed I spied the […]

Most Like Someone From Mauritania



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Stephen Irvine, 01 February 2013 With freezing temperatures, floods, brutal winds and Thatcher’s brave fight against illness testing the spirit of our great island of late, your humble scribe has been holed up a ’la Layne Staley in his final days; a weary recluse no longer able to fake any interest in the world around him. But, as some of your friends might well be inclined […]

Like Nailing Jelly to the Wall


Stephen Irvine, 18 October 2012 With the Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner freefalling from 120,000ft live on TV last weekend, viewers were treated to an event offering a fascinating hint of what lies beyond our world in the infinite wastelands of space, the shots of our hero preparing to jump particularly awe-inspiring. Crucially, the impact of this superb spectacle was heightened even further by the appropriateness of […]

It’s Tripe Jim, And Don’t We All Know It


Stephen Irvine, 04 October 2012 I’ll begin by asking you to step back into 1967 with me, dear readers – the year in which the police conducted a now infamous raid on Keith Richards’ Redlands estate. Picture stunned Bobbies bursting in to find members of The Rolling Stones in possession of naughty substances, and Mick Jagger in the act of eating a Mars bar out of […]

Spies, Lies and Melted Mars Bars



Stephen Irvine, 15 August 2012 This week I ask you, dear readers, to bear in mind the simple, well established refrain that applies to most aspects of life on this wretched rock of ours; ‘what goes up must come down.’ That may sound like teaching your granny to suck eggs, and the example set by luminaries from Leslie Grantham, Prince Naseem Hamed and Gary Glitter through […]

Back Down to Earth With a Bump


Stephen Irvine, 26 July 2012 Every now and then, dear readers, those who find themselves in the most pleasurable and privileged of positions are unceremoniously cast off and cut back down to size; relegated to a spot amongst the rabblement, jostled and jockeyed into the heart of the stinking throng and ushered along on a drowning tide of greasy hair, unwashed clothes and impatience. There’s nothing […]

Fighting Fire With More Fire


Stephen Irvine, 17 July 2012 The most curious of incidents visited Sour Times HQ recently as myself and two acquaintances were discussing ‘the good old days’ of the school yard and the strange cast of characters we encountered there. Interrupting my description of notorious tough-nut Gary Biffins was a text message simply saying ‘U got something to say bout me?’ and the panic and fear that […]

A Nightmare of Olympic Proportions



Stephen Irvine, 18 June 2012 If the audacity can be excused, dear friends, I shall begin by enlivening my own limited powers of expression with a few chilling words from the master, using the following passage from 1984: The nightmare had started…. There were times when his nerve so forsook him that he began shouting for mercy even before the beating began… Sometimes he was beaten […]

Strike While the Iron is Hot


Stephen Irvine, 17 May 2012 To explain my recent absence, dear readers, I ask you to look back almost 200 years to the epic journey undertaken by Captain George Pollard of the doomed whaleship Essex, as I too found myself clinging on to sanity in the face of unimaginable despair this week; the slow procession of time showing no mercy as the end of everything neared. […]

We Are Experiencing Turbulence


Stephen Irvine, 26 April 2012 Having spent many a recent night sleepless and cowering in fear under my blanket, the slightest hint of a snore or any kind of disturbance answered ten-fold with elbow, fist or knee by my beloved lady-friend, I realised this weekend that it was high time I started to fight back. Tired of being a trembling chicken but not really having the […]

A Storm in a Tea Cup



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Stephen Irvine, 19 April 2012 After the morning’s sun had teased me from my chamber this week, the afternoon skies suddenly blackened like a bruise on the fragile skin of the atmosphere, the violence visited there inflicted by the fist of God almighty himself, his omnipotence terrifyingly displayed in the suddenness of the darkening. With hail now drumming on my cranium I had to abandon the […]

Beware the Four Horsemen


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Stephen Irvine, 12 April 2012 The rain traced hurriedly down the grubby glass, a perpetual race between drops of all sizes as the contestants cut swathes through the grime, a display of randomness and disorder at once captivating and beautiful to the mind of the socially undernourished. This is the modern way it seems – I’m often to be found attempting to enjoy the child-like simplicity […]

Anyone Fancy a Brew?


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Stephen Irvine, 5 April 2012 The asylum teemed with the grey-faced and the hopeless; shuffling cardboard cut-outs no longer able to communicate with the world at large, each believing themselves completely alone despite taking their place in the most intense of throngs. To attempt to shatter their sense of isolation with the mallet of conversation was tantamount to waving into blind eyes. The uninitiated found whatever […]

A Gregg-ular Kind of Guy



Stephen Irvine, 27 March 2012 A woman whose beauty was matched only by her mystery, she took my hand in hers and it felt like a true awakening as the warmth of her spirit flooded into me – just feeling her touch I knew that this was an angel who could breathe life into lone dead stars, light years away, just by being present in the […]

The Broken Window Fallacy


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Stephen Irvine, 20 March 2012 With Mother’s Day following suspiciously quickly in Valentine’s tawdry wake, I grudgingly decided it was high time for me to venture into my local branch of Clinton Cards this weekend – their ‘Because it Matters’ slogan a particular draw, even for the hardest of hearts. Having eventually plumped for a card with a picture of some roses up top and ‘Happy […]

Your card has been marked


Stephen Irvine, 14 March 2012 As the last notes of Wishful Thinking by China Crisis drift through the morning air and the ensuing silence announces the end of Now That’s What I Call Music II’s third side, it suddenly dawns on me that I might be a little behind the times. With popular culture in the country of my birth unrecognisable since the salad days of […]

Modern love (or semantic sexuality)