Monday, August 31, 2015

The Afternoon I Helped Sara Blizzard Prevent The Death Of An Elderly Spinster — With A Weathercock


   It’s a rainy Bank Holiday Monday and everything is down in the world. 

   I know this in advance as I autopost on ahead not because I am a God or a precogGod or a precogGodbarometeroid — it’s just that when it comes to all things climatic and predictive, I owe everything to Sara Blizzard, weathergirl incarnate.


Sara_Blizzard 
Sara Blizzard: In All Likelihood The Most Accomplished Weathergirl On The Planet


   According to Wikipedia, Sara has presented the weather for the BBC since 1999, and viewers in the East Midlands region have lapped up her talents down the years, planning holidays, excursions and loft conversions on the basis of her sage advice.

   Taken this way, her story reads Local Girl Made Good or Great Dresser Nabs Top Beeb Weather Slot, possibly even Hairdo On Legs Ready For Any Tornado.

   But there’s more to Blizzard than meets the eye — as I found out for myself back in the day when I strimmed the lawns for the National Trust as part of their UK-wide turf maintenance S.W.A.T. team.


   Return with me now to a heady August afternoon in 1997 as I stand, scythe in hand, overlooking the architectural magnificence of West Wycome Hall in Buckinghamshire.


West_Wycombe_Hall


   Julie, the ice cream girl, is hard at work dispensing her home whipped Strachiatella to the tourist throng, and some juggler from the Black Country is going down a storm as the hapless target for infant-hurled missiles thanks to a combination of too many beers at lunchtime, a pollen-induced sneezing fit, and a glitch on his GP’s computer that substituted laxatives for his epilepsy medication.

   Even before Blizzard appeared on the scene, it was turning into quite a day.

   Little did anyone know that it was about to get even quiter.


   Just as I’m scraping a crescent of clogged grass from my scythe’s blade, a voice cries out from the National Trust promo marquee on the far side of the Hall’s sumptuous lawn and one of the marketing team streaks from between the bee-print tent flaps, her frumpitude bundling adults and children alike from their feet.

   “There’s a masked gunman,” she shrieks.  “Doris and I tried to stop him from opening up the till but he was too strong for us!  He overpowered Doris and stuffed the better part of £157.52 down his underpants — and I know this because I’d only just counted it up with a view to getting some more change from the cafĂ© inside the Hall.  Now he’s got Doris in an arm lock, with a pistol held to her head, and I believe he means to make his escape with the loot using my dear, dear friend as a hostage.”

   An angry Dad, primed to beat up the juggler for inflicting misery on his two daughters, steps forward, rolling up his sleeves to reveal the tell-tale signs of heroin addiction.

   With a flick of his head, he addresses the crowd.  “Come on, lads.  Let’s take the fucker out.”

   As several of the nearby men leap into action, along with a woman I’d presumed all afternoon to be a man on account of her waist-length beard, Doris’s friend urges caution.

   “Didn’t you hear me?  That masked gunman in there has got a gun.  And a mask.  He’s more than a match for any Dad’s Army of have-a-go heroes.”  She stills her flagellating breast.  “It’s a sunny August afternoon in rural England.  No one deserves to die.”

   “Ain’t that the truth!”

   (The Titan of Allure stepping forward was Blizzard, clad in the OTT Elizabethan attire demanded by the youthful exuberance of a fledgeling weathergirl starlet, but I didn’t realise right away.  No one did.  This was back in the days before she was famous.  The BBC were road testing potential new presenters for the Antiques Roadshow, and this sunny August afternoon just happened to be her virgin media audition — alongside Fiona Bruce, Claire Rayner and Jimmy Somerville.  Just sayin’.)

   The formidable figure surveys the scene, the rolls of her Elizabethan gown complementing her confident demeanour like whipped cream works with strawberries or ladyboy buttocks.

   “What we need,” she says, whooshing a 15th Century weathercock from beneath her bustle, “is for me to disarm this evil villain under cover of a considerable distraction.  I want all of you to start screaming — NOW!”

   Cacophony erupts, kids first, and Blizzard ducks behind the marquee.

   She's so heroic, so assured, like the first Queen of England herself, and I must have presumed it was game over because I lit my pipe and dug out some loose change for an ice cream.


   Then two very bad things happen.


   First, the masked gunman sneaks his head from the tent and proffers a gagged and bound Doris.

    “No one move,” he yells, “or the fat lady gets it.”

   Second, Blizzard trips over a tent pole and sprains her ankle.

   In that moment, as the superstar weathergirl-to-be writhes and moans in a bed of pansies, and Doris toys with the handle of a flick knife hidden in her ‘anti- cellulite tsunami’ corset, I knew I had to act faster than Sir Ian McKellen playing King Lear on amphetamines.

   I hurl my pipe at the gunman like a boomerang and dash over to where Blizzard lies writhing (her ankle clearly bruised, and her gown split along the midriff to reveal the best Haircut 100 tattoo I’ve ever seen).

   “Hit me with the cock,” I scream, as the dull thud of pipe on gunman cranium lofts o’er gasps to kiss my eardrums.  “Seems I’ve managed to stun the bad guy, so maybe now I can follow through with a spectacular impaling.”

  Blizzard throws me a distressed look, like a shot putter mis-tossing a rotten pumpkin.  “The beak is caught in my gown!  I can’t…prise it…free!”

   Quick as a flash, I summon all my ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline, and flex my innards till it squishes in miniature fountains from my skin pores.

   Before me, in the pansy bed, a rusted garden fork stands pronged into the sod, its mighty tines screeching to be used as a gown shredder.

   I grab the fork and twist the least sod-enclodded tine into the split in Blizzard’s gown next to Nick Heyward, and screw on down till the seam tears right up to her neck.

   The weathercock tumbles onto the feisty weathergirl’s outstretched thigh, and before you can holler Jack Robinson, I say, “sorry about the dress, missus, but I’ll make it up to you after we’ve fixed the villain thing” — then I wang the poultry-themed ironmongery at the concussed gunman.


   As it turned out, Doris had slit the guy’s throat while I was fumbling around freeing my weaponised cock from Blizzard’s Elizabethan finery, and Julie the Strachiatella girl took a hit to her arm which cost me £34.55 in replacement blouse fees from Fenwicks.  But that’s another story.

  Main thing was, Blizzard and I had saved the day, and it was all Fiona Bruce could do to nab the Antiques Roadshow presenter slot after Blizzard’s heroic performance.  Had the BBC’s all time favourite weathergirl not sustained a sprained ankle and not ended up inappropriately semi-naked after her heroics, I’m certain she’d have won out over the competition (Jimmy Somerville included) and gone on to thrill the nation with both her love of antiques and her beautifully formed shoulders.


   I still send a Christmas card every year, but to date Blizzard has not responded.

   My guess is that the ankle took a while to heal, and the day-to-day demands of being the BBC’s flagship weathergirl must necessarily take first place over looking up the random guy with whom she tackled crime so effectively in her youth.

   But that’s life — and this is another rainy Bank Holiday Monday in England.

   Whatever you're doing today, I hope it's exciting.

16851 033
 Jimmy Somerville in his Erasure and Pet Shop Boys Heyday
 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Down To My Underpants For Oscar


    It’s a ‘throw on the jazz and throw off everything but your pants’ kind of a day today.

    And remember — most of my current posts are prepared in advance like trussed boy bands hurled before the skinhead masses of some deprived and depraved fascist regime, so rest assured that no jazzery pantery is taking place at 10am on a Thursday morning.  Right now as I touch tippies to keys it’s Wednesday afternoon, and after a dull, rain-blitzed day, the sun has shown its face with Madonna on the cover of Vogue unashamedness and it’s all I can do to Duds Off and Peterson On Down.

    Some would call me an exhibitionist, but there’s no-one else here to witness my trill-inspired semi-naked cavorting, which kind of nails that analysis as bogus.

    However, as a writer, I have to get all this stuff down immediately, including the near stumble at the top of the stairs as my underpant hem snagged in the door.

    You want my take on all this?

    It’s a curse — a miserable, wretched, life-sucking curse.

    As for the pelvic thrusting to piano lick after piano lick, I’d do more if I could.  I’d get up and on and active and maybe even go and climb a mountain or something.

    But my combination of nature and nurture has marked me out as an instant vomiter of all I consume — the parabolic, projectile gusher of the moment.

    I’ve learned to live with the deal, along with crying myself to sleep most nights over how I’m so frequently stolen away from the heart of the action to write crisply about the throb of its pulse, but I content myself with the thought that the boppo dance halls of the world are being spared my juvenile cavorting.

    Last time I tried that squat thrust gymnast breakdancing shwmoodle, I snagged more than the hem on my underpants.

    But that’s another story.


Singalongelastic!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Barnacular Vernacular con De-Miracular Synapsia


    Experience is a weirdsy thing.

    Whatever field you’re in, the accumulation of knowledge (along with its practical and constructive application) makes great stuff possible.

    Whatever you have, you refine.

    Pump out, take stock, refine some more — and so the process goeses.

    Knowledge is what makes the killer difference when you ring round for guys to fix up your constipated horse.

    Don’t believe me on this?

    Then take a look at these two Klarify-4-U scenarios.


Scenario 1: The Horse Knowledge Expert

You: Hi. I need urgent help for my sick horse. She ate a whole bunch of cheapo noodles, and now she’s rolling around in the yard in agony and I think it’s some kind of blockage. Can you get here right away?

HKE: Sure.

[Screech of tyres, Venus flytrap gulp of emergency veterinary holdall packed with equine-friendly kaboodle slamming shut.]

minutes later...

HKE: Lemme see...lemme see...

[Horse Knowledge Expert applies four deft forefinger taps to horse’s stomach.  Horse whinneys, leaps to its feet, and does that thing with its teeth that our anthropomorphic stupidity interprets as a smile.]

HKE: Ok, mate — that’ll be a hundred quid please.


Scenario 2: The Noob Horse Guy (moonlighting to help sub his job at the pet food factory)

You: Hi. I need urgent help for my sick horse. She ate a whole bunch of cheapo noodles, and now she’s rolling around in the yard in agony and I think it’s some kind of blockage. Can you get here right away?

NHG: Sure.

[Screech of tyres, Venus flytrap gulp of wife’s old make-up bag rattling with a couple of biros and a bent nail file.]

NHG: Lemme see...lemme see...

[Noob Horse Guy paces around, prods and pokes the horse at random, Googles StrainedMuleSolutions.com and the Train Your Cat hotline, boils a kettle, strokes the horse, asks a zillion questions, works on through the night, pacing, pacing, pacing, massaging, massaging, massaging — and all the while the horse keeps grunting and straining and barking and rolling around till morning when a big ole bolus of compressed Ken Hom Shanghai Noodles pulses from the its backside au painful naturelle with the schloop of a comedy magician  regurgitating a “swallowed goldfish”.]

NHG: Uhm, this one is on the house. And I’ll throw in a free nail file.



    Okay — so do you see the killer difference? between the two scenarios?

    All the knowledge, experience and wisdom of the Horse Knowledge Expert condenses down into a kind of equine Spidey sense whereby he knows exactly what to do to solve the problem — and then he hits the nail on the head like a golfer striking a hole in one.

    As for the Noob Horse Guy, maybe he gets there in the end, and maybe he relies a little too much on luck, but what he lacks for certain is the killer instantaneousness of informed brain to fix the horse’s bowels right away.


    So why is this important?

    Because sometimes there is no constipated horse, and sometimes the solution to the problem before us becomes less available to us the more our knowledge snowballs like a noodle bolus along the digestive tract of our expertise.

    It’s why writing new stuff can be so difficult, and why this difficulty seems to flip over into the impossible the more we fill our brains with exactly the right information.

    The more we become writerly equivalents of the Horse Knowledge Expert, the steeper and more inaccessible the white cliffs of Blank Page Terrorville appear to be.

    Where once there were sparks whaooing onto the page before we even figured we’d thought ‘em up, now only calcified layers of knowledge and wisdom and certainty and experience remain, and the white rectangular void that seeks nothing more than to become a selected mirror reflection of all substance invites only scribbleswirls to knot and garotte every synapse pulse hidden deep and nowhere inside Expert So Expert Skull.

    For writers, knowledge can barnacle up the synapses like a diet of fried pigflesh atherosclerosifies the arteries of an obese hooker with a niche target market.

    It’s a horrible truth, but new, fresh, original stuff flees from the barnacles of certainty.

    So don’t get too hooked on what you know, don’t mainline on what’s been whupping round your cerebral bloodstream for centuries because that’s stupider than drinking your own piss.

    Remember: everything you know about not writing presents itself in the milliseconds before you go on to write nothing at all.

    Getting to this level of instantaneousness of informed brain takes experience.

    Weirdsy.



Monday, August 17, 2015

Twinklikins The Kitten


    Maddy squeezed her new friend hard.  “Thanks, Mum.  Twinklikins is so much better than a hamster.”

    “Happy birthday,” said Mum with a smile.  “But be careful how you hug her.  Kittens are very delicate.”

    Maddy’s brow furrowed.  “What do you mean?”

    “If you squeeze too hard, you might damage her internal organs.  Squeeze very hard indeed, and you might break a bone or injure her forever.”

    “I don’t understand, Mum.  I was only loving her.”

    Mum took Twinklikins from her daughter’s arms.  “Inside Twinklikins is a skeleton, same as yours, only smaller, and cat-shaped.”

    “You mean bones?” said Maddy.

    “That’s right.  And all around her bones are lungs and kidneys and intestines — and her heart.”  Mum gave Twinklikins a gentle squeeze.  “All cats like a bit of fuss but you have to be terribly gentle.  Squeeze them like this and they really don’t like it at all.”

    “What did she say?”

    “My point exactly.”  Mum wiped a trail of blood and mucus from Twinklikins’ wet little nose.  “Probably she was saying please leave me alone, because I ruptured her insides or something.”

    Maddy shook her head.  “I don’t understand, Mum.  It just sounded like a normal meaow to me.  What’s the difference?”

    “Listen,” said Mum, stroking Twinklikins’ head gently.  “She likes this.  That’s why she’s purring.”

    “Got it.”

    “But now, when I do this,” Mum continued, lowering herself onto Twinklikins’ head, “now she’s saying please leave me alone again because I’m placing too much pressure on her tiny skull.  Do you see?”

    “No,” said Maddy.  “It sounds like she’s saying get off my fucking head, bitch — you’re squeezing my eyeballs right out of my face and I’m struggling to breathe.”

    Mum tossed back her head and roared with laughter.  “Don’t be silly, dear.  Cats only understand very simple words.  They’re like monkeys that way.  Listen when I bounce up and down on Twinklikins.  She’ll just say please leave me alone again — only louder, and more insistently.”

    “No, Mum, she’s screaming fuck you, fuck you, fuck you,  meaooooaaaugh!  — and now she’s burst.”

    Mum lifted up a leg to reveal Twinklikins’ prolapsed eyeballs.  “So she has.  And that’s why you have to take extra special care of her.  Like I said, kittens are very delicate.”

    Maddy took the dripping moggy from her Mum’s hands.  “And so much better than a hamster.  Especially for my birthday.”

    “Time for bed now, Maddy,” said Mum.  “Sweet dreams.”

    “Same to you, Mum,” said Maddy, waving gently with one hand while dragging Twinklikins upstairs by her tail with the other. “I’m so glad I have a proper pet, and not some lousy rodent.”




Thursday, August 13, 2015

Baby My Rainbow


    Back in the day, when my hair was down to my ankles, making a trip to the barber was a biannual event — along with shaving, washing, and entertaining a thought.

    In recent times, necessity of smartness and sparseness of follicle have combined to transform my old ritual into a monthly commitment to the common good.

    But you know how it is with commitment.

    What masquerades as a single, overarching aim is sometimes but a small part of a swarm of competing virtues.

    So my appointment with Regular Haircut has taken second place to other pressing concerns like ironing, decorating, and having my scrotum inflated by rowdy hillbilly types.

    Right now, I have the look and feel of a mid-level pop star battling his way bravely through the third week of recording his fourth studio album.

    There are groupies, there is a monkey in a cage who’s gotten sick, and the studio manager smokes cigars way too big for his face.

    A bug nestles on my arm as I tune my guitar for the 6th take of Baby My Rainbow, and the manager calls out for someone to keep the monkey quiet.

    Don, my drummer, touches brush to snare, and I follow with a crisp E.

    Baby My Rainbow
    Take care of me.
    My shoes are worn
    And I don’t have a care.

    Girls, they wear buckles
    And braids all of gold
    But I’m riding out
    On a mare.

    Oh my Rainbow
    Baby My Rainbow
    Sun, sky, and water
    And death.

    Come, girl,
    Come lay beside me
    Come, let us kiss
    With our breath.




    So, yeah, maybe I should get a trim before the week is out.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Is Your Finger On The Pulse?


    Is your finger on the pulse?

    Checkin’ the beat? Checkin’ the beat? Checkin’ the beat?

    Feelin’ for the rhythm of your ACTION?


    Press down, pump up, ride on out.

    Tune in to your inner thrust.


    When the beat pumps on, ride harder.

    When the beat pumps on, pump harder.

    When the beat pumps on, press harder.


    Feel that pulse!

    Really feel it!

   
    Whup your fingers smack on the artery.

    And get yourself ready to party.


    Feel that pulse!

    Really feel it!


    Press harder as the beat pumps on.

    Love the pulse!

    Find another one!


    Thumbs!

    Toes!

    Ears!

    Nose!

    Get everything pressing on.


    Harder!


    Harder!

    Harder!

    Harder!

    Feel the pulse pump on and on!


    Can you feel it?

    Can you feel it?

    Can you feel it?

    Press on that pulse!

    And soak it all up!

    ‘Cos soon it will be gone!





Orville D.K. Hoolihan is the author of over 250 self-help books in 2,500 languages. He has helped trillions of people solve problems in their lives and his methods are taught all around the   Slovakia. He lives in Margate, UK, with his wife Bonnie and their two sons Gordon and Listerine.



Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sherpa Up The White Cliffs Of Inertia


    I discovered from a TV documentary last night that Himalayan Sherpas have the densest network of blood vessels of any humans on the planet.

    Makes sense, of course — the air is thin in that part of the world, and maxing out on Oxygen is as much of a premium for those guys as is snorting steroids for bodybuilding types.



    But here’s the thing.

    Some of these triply-lunged ubermetabolisers help out on Everest climbs, working with mountaineers to find the best and safest way forward to the summit.

    Just past the 5000' Base Camp, a live glacier spills its Gin & Tonic crush of ice down the slope at 80m per year.  (Or maybe Base Camp is at 80m and the glacier is a real whizzer — I don’t recall exactly.)

    It’s impossible to climb any higher until you’ve breached this wall of ice, unless you use a helicopter or something (and this is a no-no for most hardy climber guys).

    So the Sherpas navigate safe passage through the ice with the aid of ropes and ladders (along with the whole highly evolved cardiovascular shebang).

    The ice shifts constantly, and blocks of glistening white the size of buildings tumble down the frozen scree with the regularity of serial masturbators dropping their boxers.

    There are avalanches, crevices, impossibly unnavigable cliff faces, and the terrain morphs from week to week like plasticine Wallace and Gromits thrown into a kiln.

    All the Sherpas have is their lungs and their wits, plus no small amount of courage.

    The terrain they bravely explore is both known to them — and wholly unknown.

    They know precisely what dangers they will encounter, but they never know what to expect.


    So, writers, next time you’re complaining about writer’s block, and weepy no-sleepying about your inability to chop a few tiny crevices into the imposing white cliff face of your WIP,

    either

    Take a deep breath, and take a single step forward, one word at a time

    or

    Go fuck yourself.