holier than thou

hole punchers sm

This is a three-hole puncher. It’s very heavy and fairly large, taking up an excessive amount of space in my office for the little work that it does. It’s like the SUV of hole punchers. It’s even called a ‘Hummer’ as if to say, I may be made of steel but I’m full of irony. It was one of those days, one of those lunchtimes. I wanted to draw, but I am sometimes out of inspiration when drawing Davis on my lunchtimes these days. So I got the extremely filling Chicken Over Rice (Spicy) from Shah’s Halal food truck, took it back to my office, and drew this big hole puncher on an old brown envelope. It’s a beast. If you dropped it from high up enough it would certainly destroy a car, and maybe even threaten some smaller life forms with extinction. I don’t have a lot of things that I put into three-ring binders any more. I still have a few, and some that I keep on my desk and refer to because it’s easier than looking up on the screen, and I can bring those binders to meetings and show people, but that happens far far less than it used to anyway. In my old office there is still a range of ring binders, colour-coded by theme of what was inside, which seem to have been kept in there now more for the nostalgia factor. I use this hold puncher far less than I used to, but I still use it, so it stays. This was a big difference I discovered after moving to the U.S., the ring-binder system with three holes. In the U.K., we use two, fairly close together, middle of the page. That means that my handy little two-hole punch, the sort you get for a couple of quid from Smiths and is light and small so you can keep it in your backpack or your jacket pocket, is useless over here. People do have the single-hole pinchers, but honestly they can be a little crap. They never punch through that many pages at once, and if punching three holes in a page you’ll always get at least one hole just off. With this big puncher you can measure the edges better with a little sliding metal ruler that comes out, but the three holes are always the same length apart. You can really punch through a lot of pages at once as well, if you press down quickly enough, although I’m sure the mechanism has blunted a little over the years. The paper size we use in the U.S. is also different to the U.K. In America, it’s letter size, while in Britain we have the standard A4. It’s like we are completely different countries. Now I am used to the letter size, if I find old papers from England in the stuff I brought over years ago, documents and certificates and such, the length of them is a little jarring, and they are that bit narrower. I do like the letter size, it kind of feels a bit nicer, like an old TV screen. I see the benefit of the three-hole system though, because after a while papers in British folders tend to get pulled down a little at those top and bottom inside corners; not so much with my American binders. This has been here a while; it still has the name of a former employee, Prather, who I think left us at least a couple of decades ago, before even I joined the department. It’s probably been in the department a lot longer than that. This is starting to feel a bit like an episode of Time Team, like I have dug this out of the shores of the Thames or something. This thing could probably last the centuries too. In the 41st Century, someone may come across this and wonder about this ancient civilization where we needed to press little holes into things, perhaps in that ancient substance they called ‘paper’, or maybe in their skin, or as a way to identify animals, and there would be this major debate as to why the large devices they have found on the big western continent are designed to make three holes while the smaller devices on the eastern landmass only make two, and they would become known as the ‘three hole civilization’ and the ‘two-hole culture’. And of course there would be people that say no, people back in those days could not possibly have had the technology to create such a device and made their holes using sticks fashioned out of fish spines, and that these devices can only have been made by aliens. And people would believe it of course, because people in the 41st century are not that different from people in the 21st or the 1st, and they would still believe in aliens, and they still definitely would not have ever met one. Or maybe, and I’m wrapping this up now I promise you, maybe they would think this had some religious purpose. And someone would realize that ‘hole puncher’ sounds a bit like ‘holy puncher’ and, wow. It was a device to make things ‘holey’. There you have it. The Holy Hole Puncher.

Two Of Our Own


Another football related post. Yesterday, in our 1-0 defeat of reigning champions Manchester City, Harry Kane (above, right) scored the winning goal, which turned out to be his 200th goal in the Premier League, becoming only the third player in the Premier League to reach that milestone. More importantly, it was his 267th goal for Tottenham Hotspur, thereby becoming our highest ever goalscorer. The record he broke was that held by the great Jimmy Greaves, whose tally of 266 was, I always thought, impenetrable. Greavsie, above left, passed away last year and that’s when I made this little image of him. I also made one of Ian St. John, who also died, and was his long-term TV partner. As a kid in the 80s, the Greavsie of the telly and the Greavsie of the Spurs record books were two different people, I just would not believe they were the same guy. We loved Greavsie, he was this jolly bloke who made football on TV fun. Saint and Greavsie, the show the pair of them did, was genuinely hilarious, and Jimmy Greaves was this bubbly balding bloke with mischievous eyes and a bushy moustache, a cheeky chirpy Cockney chappie, cheerful and cheesy, while amiable Scot Ian St. John was his perfect foil, I wouldn’t say the Wise to Jimmy’s Morecambe, but Saint was very funny in his own right and they were a great double-act when talking footy, and Saint genuinely seemed to love Greavsie. We all did. (I loved Saint as well, and knew he was a Liverpool legend). When I would be shown pictures of this great star of Tottenham’s history – which in those days was less than twenty years before – I couldn’t believe it. this guy with short dark hair, thin serious face, no jolly ‘tache, and every time he got the ball he would race past people like they were not worthy of his time, before slotting the ball deftly into the goal, over and over again, for both Spurs and England (as well as Chelsea and AC Milan, from whom we bought him in 1961). It was injury that kept him from playing a role in the 66 World Cup Final, losing his place to a guy called Hurst who ended up doing quite well himself. After his time at Spurs ended he played for various clubs, and the drinking happened, and eventually he became the Greavsie I knew. He was a club legend though, one of the all-time greats, and even though he’s now only fifth on the all-time England charts, his goals per game ratio is one of the best, scoring 44 in 57 (current all-time best Wayne Rooney for example got 53 in 120, and long-term holder Bobby Charlton had 49 in 106; Greavsie was legendary). For Tottenham, that tally of 266 in 379 games seemed like something nobody would ever reach again. For one thing, even our legendary strikers tend not to stay for that long, or maybe wane a little. Clive Allen was the big striker when I was ten, eleven years old, scoring 49 in that one season, but even he didn’t keep that up and we ended up selling him to Bordeaux of all places (and bringing in Gary Lineker! Who scored a bunch before going to live in Japan). Great strikers like Keane and Defoe were never reaching Greavsie’s level, and when someone looked really good, a bigger team that was winning trophies would lure them away, your Berbatovs and your Bales. And then along came Harry Kane. Born in Walthamstow into a Spurs-loving family, he was actually on Arsenal’s books as a boy, but ended up coming through Tottenham’s youth teams before turning pro. He struggled at first to make that first team, spending time out on loan, and then being part of our Europa League campaigns, but not getting much of a shot in the Premier League. Until he did, and then he started scoring loads. He was branded a one-season wonder. He kept on scoring. He wasn’t a particularly fashionable name, but he kept on scoring. That Spurs team of around 2016, 2017, they were so bloody good, and he just kept on scoring. There was talk of other big clubs wanting him, but Spurs were not letting go. “He’s one of our own!” was the chant we would sing, being the local lad made good. He kept banging them in for England, but people were still all, “yeah but lots of them are penalties, they are against weak teams, blah blah”. He changed his game, dropped deeper, starting getting almost as many assists as goals, something ignored by people I would speak to who would always be “he just wants the goals for himself”. His price tag was so high that if anyone wanted him, they would probably need to build as a second new stadium to pay for it. He nearly did get to leave, when Man City wanted to snatch him away, but in the end he stayed, and set his sights on that Greavsie record, and maybe finally getting us a trophy. Well, we have no trophy, but Kane has finally reached the magic Greaves line, and whatever happens now, he’s a club legend for all time. Alan Shearer is perhaps Newcastle’s greatest ever name, with zero silverware to show for it (he did win the league with Blackburn, but kids would believe that now about as much as kids in the 80s would believe that Jimmy Greaves off the TV was some sort of amazing goal machine). Maybe now Kane has done this, if we don’t get a trophy this year, and  after his world Cup disappointments with England, maybe Kane will be given his leave to go and pick up a free medal at Bayern or PSG or dare I say it Man United, but it wouldn’t mean as much. Or maybe he will stay, and see us to the promised land? As Greavsie would say, football is a funny old game. Either way, Harry Kane, we salute you, the all-new Greatest Of All Time*. You deserve it.

(*though I still love Ossie Ardiles best)