17th June 2024

Marcus Atherton – ‘that cheat Captain Tom used a walking frame, where’s my guard of honour?’


Now, I’m sure you’re all thinking: ‘Classic Marcus. What’s he up to this time?’ 

Well, by the popular demand of nearly four people, I’m starting a weekly blog to keep the masses up-to-date on the lockdown experience chez Atherton.

Why, might you ask? Well, like all great ideas, this was the lovechild of both aggressive procrastination and pure, unadulterated tedium. As I’m sure you know, I used to make the Porter’s Log front page as a matter of routine with my antics, but given the current situation there are only so many shenanigans to which one can get up without ending up on the Met’s ‘Most Wanted’ list. And after my internet crashed from the sheer quantity of 4K porn I’d been watching, I found my agenda uncharacteristically devoid of culturally enriching activities.

There was but one solution, I thought: get back to my old ways of improving my social media image, no matter the cost to my personal dignity. How to do this, though, after *that* disastrous attempt at the Ticketbridge ‘Down It’ challenge, after my third repost of *that* photo of me in *that* elephant sanctuary in Cambodia, and with getting absolutely tanked and shouting ‘oi oi’ completely off-limits? You guessed it! A blog! Written from my unique perspective of the university student trapped indoors.

I thought I’d do something special for my first post, and it would seem fundraisers are trending right now. Therefore, after a quick wank, I looked online for some inspiration. There on the front page; Captain Tom Scott. A hundred laps of his garden at the fine age of ninety-nine. I was inspired.

Until I dug a little deeper.

I would never denigrate a hero – I’m very aware of my privilege – but the more I read, the more I began to question how impressive his walk really was.

The man used a walking frame. Let that sink in. An instrument specifically designed to aid in his chosen athletic endeavour. Parallels can and should be drawn to a certain Lance Armstrong. And to think, the authorities let it stand!

I was angry and disappointed. Almost as much so as when my parents told me that our beloved pet llama Wilhelm was actually an alpaca.

But after I stopped shaking, I had what can only be described as a flash of genius. I could top this! I could do a better walk – for charity, obviously, but think of the publicity, the followers, the heart reacts!

And unlike Captain Tom, I’d do mine with some fucking integrity.

Bravely, I set about my Herculean task. Which of my gardens should I choose – the Kensington balcony or my country estate? Both were larger than the pathetic, barely-even-allotment-sized scrap of grass behind Captain Tom’s house. Gritting my teeth in determination, I chose the estate, where I traversed a multitude of daunting obstacles – the long grass left uncut after my Dad’s bout of golfer’s elbow, the croquet lawn, the Cherubim water feature. I have only nineteen years of walking experience under my belt, although perhaps my gap year hiking in Asia counts as two. Captain Tom Moore has ninety-eight. Yes, parts of my garden effort were done on Segway, but the Woolsley estate stretches for furlongs. Literal furlongs.

Once I was done and mummy had kissed my feet better, I tried to make the public and influencers aware of my stunning heroism, only to see my ordeal fall on deaf ears. The Independent is apparently ‘uninterested’ and The Guardian is apparently ‘piss off’.

Now look, courage doesn’t require recognition or reward. I’d rather not have a nation’s ‘clap’; I got the clap three times in Cambodia and it’s certainly nothing to brag about. However, Captain Tom received a number one single for his efforts, carried not on the strength of his voice, but on his record as a ‘war hero’. I won ‘Most Improved’ at Wellington College’s Year 9 talent show and last week braved the self-checkout aisle at Whole Foods.  Where’s my number one single? And on that matter, the titular question. Where’s my guard of honour? Captain Tom, for his half-achievement, had two lines of soldiers saluting his hundredth lap. Where’s my motherfucking guard of honour?

And thus we come to the moral of the story: don’t get involved in charity work, kids. I gave my blood, toil, tears and sweat and got nothing in return. On what planet is that charity?

Anyway, back to my essay about the impact of collectivisation on grain production in Russian agricultural communities. Just kidding, I’m off for a wank.

Don’t be like Marcus – you can still donate to Captain Tom’s NHS fundraiser here: