The man who stares at warthogs.

My name is Spencer Austin, and I wear khaki. All the time.

I’ve been living in the South African Lowveld bush savannah whatever-you-call-it for over two months now, and I invite you, suckers and muckers, to please just give me a call should you find yourself requiring clarification on the differences between lion and hyena poo. I’m your man. I’m your go-to scatman.

Have I adapted to life in the middle of nowhere? Yeahbo. Now, I properly fancy myself as a Lidl Steve Irwin. A Bear Grylls for the foppishly inclined. A Chris Packham with R’s. I am to wildlife what Kim Wilde was to the kids of America. I am to nature what Terry Christian was to 1990s pop culture. (The Terry Christian thing doesn’t quite work, does it.)

 

My previous scrapes with nature went barely further than the incident featuring me being chased by the orangutan in Sumatra (see earlier: https://www.spenceraustin.com/?p=122#content). But now I know where a pangolin has been walking, how dwarf mongooseseses anally drag on each other and I could wax lyrical about how many stomachs a great big stinking wildebeest has. I can refer to a rhino in that silly Latin language what they use for the animals. These are things I didn’t expect to know. I also didn’t expect to be able to drive a great big 10-seater Land Rover over the most unfeasible of pathways with almost the aplomb of a George Michael ride home. I didn’t expect I’d be able to tell the difference between over 40 different birds just from their calls. Tweet as a nut. I’ve had impala poo in my mouth. IN MY MOUTH. I’ve been woken up almost every night by lions roaring (and by an American with the snoring capacity of an aardvark with a tricky sinus complication). Talking of elephants, they visit the farmhouse I live in quite regularly – specifically to break things. Frogs live with us. Warthogs stare at me. And I stare at them back.

Having exchanged the city for the African wilderness; Starbucks for bushbucks, I have further awakened my capacity to genuinely regard animals as humans with cute tendencies. I have also become more scared of elephants than I thought was possible. They are mental, big, and much cleverer than me. I am utterly outclassed by them. I feel humiliated just being near one.

I have developed a particular fondness for the fork-tailed drongo…a bird with a chip Microsoft would be proud of. This thing will take on anything at any point. It is one feisty MF. Bring it on. I have thus decided that when I finally embark upon my much-anticipated hip-hop career, my street moniker will be Fork Tailed Drongo. Or FTD. Big up.

I have seen lions eating wildebeest, hyenas eating wildebeest bones (therewith a clue on the poo question) and then vultures clearing up the rest. I have seen things on an ordinary day at the office that no office in the world can offer. Right now, sitting in my bedroom, I can see a giraffe. That isn’t a lie.

My web-series about this Really Wild Show-inspired nonsense will be hitting the interweb at some point. I will re-post. At some point. But for now, this is the FTD signing off. Waddup.

 

My New Junglist Posse


A new adventure is about to put me from nuts to neck in khaki, and possibly into the jaws of some big stinking animal or other with a trunk or claws or teeth the size of Cornetto cones…

It starts in July – when I travel to South Africa to begin making a web series about my ups, downs, affairs with giraffes and punch ups with hyenas while training to become a safari field guide. Yes, a safari field guide. Possibly only slightly more dangerous than the Isle of Dogs, but still, me, as a safari field guide. Absurd.

Six months out in the bush, or field, or jungly effort, or whatever they call it out there. Six months of early mornings studying types of grass and clouds and zebra bums. I’ve already bought a book called ‘Scorpions of South Africa’…I could never have imagined something like that being in my Amazon account history.

Yup, it’s an ever so slight excursion from life in the docklands sneering at bankers, and I expect there’ll be a few elephantine mistakes with hilarious consequences. I’ll update this page with videos and links nearer the time, should I survive a rhino ramming its horn up my pipes.

It’s been quite some time since I was ITV’s Gloryhunter, and the subsequent book getting me nominated for Best New Writer at the British Sports Book Awards (at which I got drunk and booed Andre Agassi). What since? I rejoined the real world, whatever the by-jiggedy that means, to earn some of that money stuff. I don’t particularly belong in the real world, so after winning a travel blogging competition (see posts below), the travel company who ran it offered me the chance to travel around their resorts making video reviews of beaches. Life really has been a beach this year. But more about that when their campaign starts and the videos are released.

In the meantime, I’m running in that London Marathon…I don’t mean right at this minute, I mean in a couple of weeks. If you can muster the purse power to sponsor me, you’ll find my Oxfam page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SpencerAustin

Go on, I’ve put my body through all sorts of unholy, unnatural ridiculousness for this. I run like an ironing board. The other day I ran 17 miles and afterwards, I’m sure I weed out my spleen. In the words of Bob Geldof, ‘Give me your f****** money’. (Please).

NEW VIDEO!: Qype Word On The Beach

So we went to that Ibiza. And above is the first of three more vids all about it. The competiton, meanwhile, is hotting up here: http://onthebeach.blog.qype.com/ Also lots of written blogs. Lord knows what I’m wittering on about in them, but I’ve used all my favourite adjectives to help out the weaker nouns.

Just go and vote for me, for crying out loud, or I’ll punch myself up the guts and swallow a robin. Yes, that’s a threat.

QYPE Word on the Beach Competition…latest

Three days to go. Three days to go. I’ve raped my contact lists, molested Facebook and categorically fumbled all over Twitter. Vote for me! Vote for me! (I can now type those words faster than my own name).

But my reach is limited. I don’t rack up friends of friends of friends of friends of…(you get the picture), just to swell my address book…but now I wish I had.

I am the Tiny Tim of social networking. I am a ZX Spectrum trying to cross a busy road of shiny Macbooks. Even when I look in the mirror, it comes out pixilated. But I am trying.

MISSION: MANKINI

3 days to go until Ibiza. Mission: find a mankini.

I promised the online community (and several branches of the Salvation Army) that if on the first day of voting, I got to 200 votes, I will vow to don a mankini in a top Ibiza nightspot.

Do I regret pledging to do that? Yes. Will I regret it futher? Yes. Will Big Dave suddenly develop strange new feelings for me? Hopefully not. Do I like Caramac? Not relevant.

A fancy dress shop. Will they let me try one on? If so, does that mean some other sweaty oaf has already tried it on? Am I mixing groinal juices with a sweaty carbuncle of a man called Graham? OK, I won’t try it on. I’ll just trust it has the elasticity, integrity and sheer cubic metres to maintain the sum total of my manliness. Actually, looking at pictures of them, I suppose they are a sort of organ-hoist; a gravitational solution for the slabs; a slingshot for the holy walnuts. They’re designed to cope with reproductive stature.

How can I pay for a mankini on credit card? Credit cards are for proper grown ups, and here I am, with a face as deadpan as a slapped bulldog, paying for a piece of cloth that will make me look like a gay caveman with my grown up credit card. I hope this is all worth it…

Come on…you could vote for someone who buys a nice brown hat and films it…or you could vote for a great slathering hunk of white flesh wobbling like an uncertain marshmallow in a mankini…VOTE FOR ME!! http://onthebeach.blog.qype.com/?page_id=11

I’ve won something! Look, I’ve won something!

I don’t win anything. Never ever. EVER. The lottery? Nah. The bingo? Nope. Arguments with myself over which sock to put on first? No way.  The battle between good and evil? Not once. I couldn’t even win a nosebleed. Not even a kick up the pipe.

So…imagine my surprise…(you must have known this was coming) when having popped onto Qype – this great review site – to do a write-up of my favouritest beach ever (EVER), someone gets in touch to tell me I’ve gone and won something. Grab me by the nostrils and call me Edna…they’re only sending me off on holiday for nothing! For free! For nuppence! Nada! And it looks like, if the plane journey goes as most do for me, I might even win that nosebleed after all!

This is so much better than a kick up the pipe.

All I did was sit down and scuff out a few words…(click here please thank you)…about the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia…and suddenly, through On The Beach I’m taking my mate Big Dave off to that Ibiza…where we’ll most likely use dark sunglasses on the beach to hide the fact that we can’t stop staring at those floppy white boobs oozing like a warm brie off that large lady from Carlisle. (And other activities).

But that’s only the start of it, Gareth (that’s my nickname for you), I’ve now got the chance to become the Qype Word on the Beach Blogger! (oh, and to win another holiday). There are 3 of us left in the competition, and we’ve got to do all sorts of videoing, writing, eating and sitting on beaches being reviewers (I expect I’ll pull my reviewer face, which looks a little bit like you’d imagine Aled Jones to look like during a semi-serious car crash).

So, my first assignment is this video below – about all the preparations for leaving. I leave on 2nd August, with Big Dave sweating conspicuously like a big hairy grapefruit next to me, and there’ll be all sorts of blogs and videos to come. Then you have to vote for me (after 16th August, when we’ve got back). You’ll do that for me, won’t you Gareth? Oh, and if you’d like to leave comments, please specify which Gareth you are.

There’ll be another blog arriving soon, so if you wouldn’t mind waiting there until I’ve finished it, that’d be great. And I’d prefer it if you didn’t pop to the toilet – the thought of that would wreck my train of the thought. Thanks.

Uncle Traveling Spencer.

Qype Word on the Beach Blog 1 from Spencer Austin on Vimeo.

Spencer Austin’s first blog…a very brief guide to diagnosing whether you need a beach holiday…and then preparing for one.

‘I am The Gloryhunter’ OUT NOW!

Well poke me in the eyes with a pointed Pepperami and call me Leonard…IT’S HERE AT LAST!

My new book, ‘I am The Gloryhunter is walloping on the market today…available from good and terrible bookshops as well as being smeared all over the internet at the Amazons and Play.com and Waterstones and all those gaffs. Know the Score Books can dispatch immediately and the rest will have it in a week.

In case you missed the stupidity of my show on ITV.com…it’s the story of my year of wanton football slaggery, as I randomly drew a football team out of a hat and immediately threw down my life to live in the place and support the club until they lost…at which point I moved to whoever beat them. Ten months of travel taverns, pies and bizarre encounters with strangers (not in a George Michael sort of way).

Even if you’re not into football, please, for the love of of my weightless wallet and the subsequent new pair of Clark’s shoes I’ll use the money for, please forward this page to anyone in your group of friends, family, acquaintances or her from accounts who you had a fling with last Christmas, after which she got a bit weird and clingy way too early in the relationship and now you hardly speak at the watercooler, you dirty, dirty little sod.

And if you feel you need more words what I’ve wroted, my other book ‘Chasing the Eighties‘ is still available. In fact, I’m sure at Amazon you can buy both and get a very tasty deal, like a Boots meal-deal, but bookified.

In the words of Shakin’ Stevens, merry Christmas everyone.

Euro 2000 Nostalgia…(and Phillip Neville)

Why would we want to regurgitate that utterly Phillip Nevilled tit of a tournament back into our sick-filled eyeballs? No particular reason, other than the other day I dug out a documentary I made, just for fun, following my flatmate Bill, simply watching the games. Probably yawny, but I’ll be adding the other parts of ‘Walthamstow Bill an Euro 2000′ bit by bit, just for prosperity….and maybe you’ll be able to look back fondly at when Shearer stuck it down the Germans’ throats, I nearly got run over by a bus and Jonathan Pearce actually cried. Denis Norden’s brief introductory and ending voiceover makes it all even weirder…

I am The Gloryhunter…nearly

109031634_8284cc3875_oI am arrived back in England, I have taken up residence in Glory Towers once again, and I have filed my first complaint against Transport For London, using block capitals and slightly mental adjectives…I am, therefore, restored as a Londoner.

I hate the tubes. I hate the DLR, I hate the buses, I hate everyone on them and I probably hate everyone not on them. Or at least I do for those hateful ten minutes either side of the moment I discover signal failure has happened again, or that planned engineering works mean nobody is allowed to go anywhere, or that for no particular reason whatsoever, a couple of hundred people are standing around outside the station trying to decipher the armageddon of a sudden station closure. It happens to me every, single, day. It makes me breath seeth and desire harm to objects that are weaker than me. Like Lembit Opik. Or Morph. The only thing you can rely upon in this pit is your legs, and good job mine work, quite sleekly these days, may I add.

Anyway, ‘I am The Gloryhunter’ will be with you some time next month – I am finishing up on it now (just adding some better words that the dictionary is lending me).

And then? I suppose I’ll be saying words to the ladies and gentleman of the press about what I wroted. And then? You will will buy what I wroted (pleeeease…I haven’t eaten in these seven months  – all I’ve had is some Tesco Value crisps mashed up with half a block of marzipan I found in one of my old shoes. I hope it was marzipan, anyway…)

And then? I’ll be throwing myself around like a leaflet for penis enlargement, trying to get someone to like my next project enough to throw money at me (preferably not coins). Watch this space. Or one near it. Don’t just sit there staring here the whole time. Occasionally look to the distance – it’s good for your eyeballs.

Spencer.