Dental Poverty

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Have you tried to find an NHS dentist lately? My god, I swear it would be easier to find a virgin on a maternity ward. In the town of Cwmbran, there is just one dentist taking on NHS patients, and that practice has a six month waiting list.

I haven’t had a dentist since I moved to Cwmbran, and I moved here in October of 2014. And the other day one of my teeth started giving me hell, luckily it passed, but I still put my name on the waiting list anyway. So I began shopping about to see if there was anything reasonably near. Nothing. Except private dental care, which costs a hell of a lot of money.

It got me thinking though, there is a really high correlation between those on low incomes and those with poor dental hygiene. Cheap food is laden with sugar, and those from low income backgrounds are more likely to smoke (another thing that rots your teeth) and whilst yes those on benefits will be exempt from the charges of NHS dentist’s (tabled below) those in employment with low incomes, especially young people, wont be. I mean if you work for 40 hours a week on minimum wage, it’ll cost you almost two thirds of weeks income to get some proper dental work done.

Band Treatment Charge
1 This charge will include an examination, diagnosis and preventative care.  If necessary this will include X-rays, scale and polish and planning for further treatment.  Urgent and out-of-hours care will also cost £14.00. £14.00
2 This charge includes all necessary treatment covered by the £14.00 charge PLUS additional fillings, root canal treatments or extractions. £45.00
3 This charge includes all necessary treatment covered by the £14.00 and £45.00 charges PLUS more complex procedures such as crowns, dentures or bridges. £195.00

And it really is a bar to employment, missing or crooked teeth are something that is probably going to put off potential employers, or hurt chances of promotion, and whilst I know how shallow that sounds, its actually been proven to be true, time and time again. But the associated costs of travel and time off from work are also a factor.

So how do we address this problem? Well ideally it would be to increase the number of NHS dentists in Wales, which means the Welsh Government need to cough up a heck of a lot of money to entice qualified dentists to Wales while also paying to train a heck of a lot more. And since one of the Welsh Government’s priorities is “Promoting positive health throughout life” and that they are actively trying to improve health and reduce inequalities in healthcare. maybe its time that National Assembly of Wales put their money where their mouths are.

Men’s Cosmetics: What I use

The world of men’s cosmetics can be a tricky minefield, so here is a little look at some of the everyday essentials I use…almost every day.



Wilkinson’s Sword: Shaving Soap and Brush

Nivea: Refreshingly Soft Moisturising Cream

Right Guard Xtreme Invisible Antiperspirant Deodorant

Beverly Hills White Black Formula Perfect Toothpaste

Loreal Paris: Studio Line Go Create Sculpting Spritz

BEMO: Premium Beard Oil

30 Before Thirty (Comics & Graphic Novels)

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I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the Comics and Graphic Novels that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

Grant Morrison’s 18 Days


Camelot 3000


Miracle Man: A Dream Of Flying


All Star Superman 


Preacher: Gone To Texas


The Crow


Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes


Alan Moore’s: Saga of The Swamp Thing


Marvel 1602


Saga: Volume 1


 The Order: Die Mensch Machine

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The Complete Scarlet Traces 

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Button Man




Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow 


The Infinity Gauntlet 


Amazing Spider-man: Kravens Last Hunt


Promethea Book 1 


Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus 




Son Of Superman 


Hellblazer: Original Sins 


The Authority: Relentless 

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Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction 


Doctor Who: Emperor Of The Daleks

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Death: The High Cost Of Living  


JSA The Liberty Files 


Alice In Sunderland 


Daredevil Yellow


The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch


How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

30 Before I’m Thirty (Books)

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I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the books that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

A Princess of Mars- Edgar Rice Burroughs 


War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy 


Ulysses- James Joyce 


The Iliad- Homer


Journey To The Centre of the Earth- Jules Verne 

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Frank Sinatra Has A Cold- Gay Talese 


Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Dog)- Jerome K Jerome


The Time Machine- H.G Wells

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Lolita- Vladimir Nabokov


Animal Farm- George Orwell


The Last Of The Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper


The Man Who Would Be King- Rudyard Kipling 


Treasure Island- Robert Louis Stevenson 


Stardust- Neil Gaiman


A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court- Mark Twain

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Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years- Sue Townsend 


The Fight-Norman Mailer 


The Turn Of The Screw-Henry James


The Stand- Stephen King


Notes Of A Dirty Old Man- Charles Bukowski 


Children Of Hurin- J.R.R Tolkein 


Idylls Of The King- Alfred Tennyson


Confessions of an English Opium Eater-Thomas de Quincey


Little Women- Louisa May Alcott 


A Little History Of The World- E.H Gombrich 


The Mysterious Affair At Styles- Agatha Christie 


Who Censored Roger Rabbit- Gary K Wolf


Zen And The Art Of Motor Cycle Maintenance-  Robert M. Pirsig


The Day Of The Triffids- John Wyndham 

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Winds of Winter- George R.R. Martin (Because surely this’ll be finished before the TV series)


How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?





How To Look A Million Dollars, When You’re Worth About £2.80

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They say that looking good comes naturally, but dressing well takes a massive bank balance. I have often found this to be the case. A decent suit will cost in excess of £200, a good pair of shoes will set you back to almost 3 digits and that doesn’t even begin to factor in the cost of, shirts, boxers, socks and various other accessories that you need in order to look like a functioning member of the human race. It isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t cheap, to get a wardrobe from the pages of GQ. Here are some tips that should help ease up the burdens on those purse strings.

  1. Online Tailors: Using online tailors can save you an absolute fortune, to get a tailored suit in the UK, from scratch will cost you over £200, but using an online tailor, usually from the far east, you can get a completely bespoke, made to measure suit from as little as £35.
  2. charity shops: Vintage is always in, and charity shops are a great way of finding those vintage threads for rock bottom prices, to be honest, you may spend days routing through charity shops trying to find that one amazing item, and a lot of the time you will come away empty-handed, but its an immeasurable feeling when you do find that piece that is just you.
  3. Up-cycling: Sometimes you just give in and buy that hideous jacket from the charity shop, purely out of social embarrassment, Brenda behind the counter has been eyeing you since you walked in, so you snap and buy the old blazer in your size. So now in order to make this purchase wearable, you should have the thing seriously dry cleaned to get it looking as good as it ever will, then add a few elbow patches, change the buttons for some extra little bit of flash, and see if maybe you can add some sort of crest to the breast pocket and then you’ve actually got yourself something straight from the pages of Gentleman’s Quarterly.
  4. Cheaper Alternatives: Sometimes you’ll want those £4000 Brioni shoes, but lets face it, why on earth would anyone pay that massive amount for a pair of shoes? Especially when you can get a pair that look pretty damn similar for less than 1% of the cost? I mean outside of a Milanese fashion show, or a Parisian runway who’d notice?
  5. Hair care: Regular haircuts and styling your hair can go a long way to imposing your look on the world, being well turned out, with a haircut you could set your watch by is certainly a way to look like the proverbial big spender, even if you are only getting a £10 haircut once a month and using a Tesco value gel to style it between cuts.
  6. Grooming: Trim that beard, clip those nails, and for god sake pluck those eyebrows. Shave every two days, if you have a beard, define the edges regularly and don’t forget to moisturise. Use teeth whitening toothpaste and for the sake of everyone around you, please use an antiperspirant style deodorant especially if you use public transport, but remember no deodorant should ever replace a regular shower, even with 72 hour protection.
  7. Cologne: Use a nice smelling cologne, it might not make you look any better, but as any blind person will tell you, smell is a distinctive part of your image.

Hopefully these tips will help you to maintain or improve your personal look and even if you don’t quite hit the million dollar mark, at the very least you’ll probably look better than the 50 pence you feel like.

Thank You For Smoking


At the moment I seem to have a sort of love hate relationship with smoking. I haven’t really smoked properly since my daughter was born. The last cigarette I had was after my brothers funeral about six weeks ago. Today however I found myself really, really craving a smoke, it isn’t often I get a craving for nicotine, but this afternoon I was ready to chop off a finger for a drag. I know, I know, they cause cancer, they cause emphysema and various other health complaints from raising the likelihood of a cold to lowering the chance of having children.

That being said however, there are many benefits to smoking that don’t always get a fair shake, I mean for the sake of impartiality, surely printed on the packet should be the words “may offset Parkinson’s disease” or “may cause you to look cooler”. Or now that smokers are subjected to pictures of black lungs, maybe they should also have a photo of the Courtney Love, because studies have shown that people associate smoking with being cool.

Other benefits of smoking mean approximately £12 Billion a year in taxation coming to the country a figure that certainly helps pay for the NHS (at last count the money brought in from tobacco revenues covers the cost of smoking related illnesses four times over). Not to mention all the money that tobacco companies give to charity and cancer research, as it really is in the cigarette companies best interests to find cures for things such as cancer, because callous as it may seem, for every life lost, they lose a customer.  The money that is brought in, does go to good use,  taxation on tobacco covers the downsides of the industry and then goes to help people, it pays for hospices care, for benefits, for pensions, for social security, for defence, for the police and for meals on wheels. Its what pays for our children’s schools and creates thousands of jobs. I suppose this is my way of justifying giving in to my occasional cravings, and probably smoking way more than is good for me when I’ve had a bit too much to drink.

And to the rest of you people with nicotine stained fingers and ever so blackened lungs I say thank you for smoking.

The Lazy Ramblings of a Lazy Man (On Eating and Drinking)

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I was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  10. ON BABIES.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care).

On Eating And Drinking 

Over the last few days (it being the festive period) I have probably eaten my body weight in carbohydrates and saturated fats, I love to eat, especially at Christmas. The meats, the vegetables, the desserts, the wines and cheeses, the buffet spreads, all of it. I’m not really a fan of Christmas, but the food and the drink are what make it all worth while. Over the past two days I’ve indulged all my gluttonous appetites to the point where I can visibly see my gout throbbing and I have heart burn with an acid content so high it could eat through titanium.

But it isn’t just at Christmas, I am a bit of a foody the whole year round. I like to try new things, to this date the most exotic food I’ve ever tried is pickled baby octopus. Lately though this has fallen by the wayside, I’m travelling less and having a small child doesn’t really lend itself to dining out. However in my younger days I could recite the menus and wine lists from most restaurants in  south east Wales, and it was all borne from a love of food and drink.

Not only do I like to eat, but I also like to cook, I spent the most part of Christmas day in the kitchen, not only did I cook the whole damn meal, I also ended up doing the washing up as well. I like to cook, lots of little fiddly things that look impressive, as well other meals which adhere to the 4 main food groups, salt, fat, grease and burnt crunchy bits.  However I’ve never been one of those people who have to take a photo of their food and share it with the world, if I cook a nice meal I’ll enjoy it while its still hot, not arse around with instagram filters while the degrees slip away and all your left with is a bowl of cold mush, in the hopes of getting 6 likes on social media.

Then we come to the worst possible human beings around. Those people who pour salt or ketchup on everything, without even tasting it first. I am one of those people who rarely puts salt on food, and I do think it is incredibly rude when someone cooks you a meal, and then you don’t even try it, you just pour salt on, not only is that rude, but down right insulting. Sure saltiness is a personal thing and I don’t mind to much when someone covers their meal in the stuff, but only when you have had the good manners to try it first, and the same goes with ketchup.


This is the eleventh in a series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.