Friday, May 17, 2013
like a horse
in a meadow.
like a chimp
in a stream.
like a hornet
on a sunset.
like a pelican
on a table.
like a fish
in a balloon.
like a stone
in a haystack.
Ilfracombe Primary School Koan Workshop,
Friday, May 10, 2013
I have no desire to blame the Coalition for the world’s ills, but right now I’m sitting in what was once a thriving bar (my favourite) in a thriving town (my home), staring into a vacuum of thin air.
Only a year ago, this place would have been packed, a crucible for a cocktail of adventure and sweat as some Kings of Leon lookalike band played Nirvana covers in Queen regalia ripped from a useless waxworks museum.
When the night club closed last year, it sucked the life out of the place, and though Friday and Saturday nights still boast the odd gang of lads out on the pull, the Thursday night pre-weekend throb of joy has withered to a cornified crisp.
I may have to pretend to give birth to an alien life form, just to break the mood of abject desolation.
Either that or I’ll operate the barmaid’s petrified corpse like a puppet and pop in a Specials CD...
Friday, May 3, 2013
It’s been a while since I’ve slirruped anything relishy onto a cheese sandwich (my recent penchant has been for onion and tomato, just in case you’re interested, sandwich fetish fiendikins) so today I decided to reacquaint myself with all things Branston Pickloid.
I have an odd working relationship with the old Branno, frequently blowing hot and cold while it blows cold and hot. Some days I can’t bear to be within a Neptunian moon width of this famed crispy crunchy slurry; other times, it’s as if I crave the services of a shrunken dwarven plasterer, lowered down into my gullet with trowel and bucket of Branno — and sufficient gusto to coat my stomach wall from fundus to pyloric canal.
Having done the whole distant planet moon thing for the better part of the last few months, I wondered whether the Branno would still be in the fridge. Girly of Whirly swears it works wonders on her skin and Son of Whirl always has some science project on the go involving miscellaneous projectiles (or maybe an imprisoned cat) so when I cast my hand into the fridge I was pleased as punch when it settled on precisely what I needed — a bit like when you throw out a hand to stroke an imaginary dog and there’s always one there.
I made to lift the jar, to convey it to my working top and gloopity gloop gloop its contents onto my sliced and ironed Edam, to whoop Yippee! Yippee! Branno! and perform the beagliest of Snoopy dances about the kitchen with the unrestrained glee of an easily pleased teenager blessed with his or her first pet hamster — when suddenly, unexpectedly, startlingly, I noticed another jar of pickle right next to it.
From the absence of label I knew right away that it was Mother of Girly of Whirly’s famed Marrow Pickle. Now, here was a conundrum!!!*
* ! (!)
Should I perform my Edamular sandwichiations with the aid of my original choice of Branno, or be swayed, almost zen monk on a swing-like, by the lure of pickle cultivated from marrows grown barely three miles down the road from where the remains of Richard III were unearthed?
In the end, the decision was an easy one to make: Behind both jars of pickle lurked a further jar of something clearly relishy and chutneyey whose screw top lid simply had to be unscrewed with immediate (wrench enhanced) gusto.
“Ah!” I yelped,* “this looks, smells and feels like the miscellaneous vegetable chutney given to me by my next door neighbour as a small reward for trimming her bush!”
* still kind of doing the Snoopy dance — the bit after the foxtrot sequence when he catches his tail in the door of Charlie Brown’s shed.
That’s when it came to me, the brilliant, brilliant idea. Why don’t I combine all three relishes? Spread them over Edam, over Hovis, in a layered spectacular to rival the Istanbul Rug Piling Festival?
I knew it was a brilliant idea because I got that whole lightbulb thing where the glow of synaptic perfection bursts through your skull and illuminates everything within a couple of feet of you — only it very quickly dawned on me that said glow wasn’t coming from my head but was instead pulsating from somewhere right at the back of the fridge behind a bag of cucumbers. I recoiled — a reflex all-body spasm I thought could only have resulted from figuring out that the main source of my chilled foods and beverages might be harbouring a miniature genius in the throes of post-eureka splendour. But it’s an easy mistake to make. What I saw when I pulled open my eyes was a tiny open doorway, similar to the portal to Narnia, only smaller (and, because it was close to the fruit tray, bananaier), in front of which a couple of elves were rolling out jars of all kinds.
“You got the Piccalilli?” shouted one (clearly the boss on account of his ridiculous stick-on moustache).
A voice called back from the rear of the fridge. “Two more to come, then a jar of pickled gherkins and some mystery jam with a rusty lid labelled, ‘proberbly blackcurrant, 1936'.”
I poked my nose between the glass shelves. “Is the Piccalilli going spare?”
“Might be.” The boss elf eyed my tri-layered Edam sandwich. “Going for the quartet of unbelievable flavours, are we?”
“Indeed — and the gherkins and the blackcurrant would be a bridge too far, I think, despite the absence of anchoring points presenting no kind of material problem.”
“As you wish,” said the elf, handing me the Piccalilli.
As I made — nay, constructed — nay, summoned almost magically — my sandwich, the elves worked on, rolling out jar after jar till my fridge was a-burst with more preserved vegetables than the House of Commons midway through a speech by Iain Duncan-Smith.
“Now you can go as crazy as you like,” said the elves, barbershopqueartetminusonely. The portal closed behind them and they were gone (with the exception of the boss elf, who was doing the post-foxtrot part of the Snoopy dance and caught the hem of his dungarees on a nearby cucumber).
I laughed, and chomped mightily on my sandwich. “Hey, don’t worry guys — I will.”
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Like my weekly visit to the post-rupture trauma clinic, the anniversary of Evil Editor’s blog never fails to bring tears to my eyes.
More than anything else, the tremendous fountain of hardcore writerly advice foamed aloft by said editor of renown has reduced me to the quivering heap of worthlessness I am today. As a consequence, I’m proud to call Evil Editor my Uncompromisingly Vicious Demon Lord from the Pits of Hell (Itself).
Evil Editor’s blog is seven years old on April 23rd. If that’s not the sign of irreversible world decline, then nothing is.
Why don’t you pay a visit right now?
Here’s what Hollywood starlet Goldie Hawn had to say about Evil Editor at a recent conference:
Click to enlarge — unless you're some kind of weirdsy bug-eyed superhero...
Thursday, April 18, 2013
There comes a time in every man’s life when the cultivation of nostril hair transforms from a gently ambient state of overall hirsuteness into an out-of-control nasal wig attack threatening to kill forever any hope of kissing (or feasting on soup without the aid of a napkin / 3000 Megawatt liposuction pump).
In my heart of hearts, I’d love to invest in one of those dinky battery-powered nasal hair clippers you sometimes see advertised in “miscellaneous everything” catalogues shoved through the letterbox — but the thought of my old dentist MR NUMMY,* looming over me like a bleached vampire with his drill and his mask and his anaesthetic, then drilling, drilling, drilling into my brain — well, it’s all kind of upsetting. Battery-powered whirring anywhere near my cerebellum is a no-no. It’s spared me a lifetime addiction to visiting sex shops but been fuck all use in most other regards.
* yes, that was his name.
So I’m sitting here with a pair of tweezers, trying not to poke out my eyeballs. I’ve taken out a few of the longer hairs close to the nostril rim, but now, like a mountaineer climbing an inverted Everest, I’m up to just below the level of my orbits, tugging away, tugging away, in the hope of finding the Queen.
All noses have a Queen. Kill the Queen, and all the irritating nostril hairs fall away. Kill the Queen, and all the bogeys and pools of mucus drain away, along with specks of dust and pollutant particles and anything else you may have up there.
But here’s a funny thing. I just tugged on something long and grey, right at the top where my searchlight beam tickles at the void. Remember that ear wiggling thing Stan Laurel used to do? I’ve never been able to crack it — so much so that I’ve always believed he had some animatronic apparatus tucked away beneath his hat. But now I can do it! My testicles jiggle at the same time, but I’m not complaining. Who knows, maybe Stan Laurel’s testicles jiggled too when he waggled his ears — after all, it’s not the kind of thing you’d confess to back in the 1930s, particularly if you were part of a comedy duo with a roly-poly fat man.
There’s a couple more hairs up there to experiment with, so maybe I won’t go for the Queen after all. Perhaps my future lies in cultivating a modest nasal hair array allied to a Vaudeville style selection of minor talents. I’m hoping for a van der Graaf Generator effect on my hair or maybe a pulsating nipple or two I can train to synchronise with a little Madonna.
Hmmm. Sounds good.
Friday, April 12, 2013
It’s promo time again, so if you’re here for news of the Wisconsin Newt Drive or the very latest lowdown on the forthcoming Margaret Thatcher corset auction at Sotheby’s, then I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place.
For one weekend only — April 12th to 14th — I’m offering an ebook for free over at Amazon. For one click and zero dollars, anyone can own it, read it, ruminate upon it, and subsequently gad about the planet in a state of moderately heightened merriment as a result of so doing.
Here are the details:
In the UK you can download FOR FREE here.
In the US you can download FOR FREE (especially on the West Coast — you guys are such slackers) here.
Best port of call for the rest of the world and places like Mercury or the Subterranicusse is my generic author page.
If you follow this blog and you haven’t yet sucked my contribution to the sci/fantasy genre into the bowels of your Kindle, iPod or peculiarly evolved giraffe, NOW IS THE TIME!
If you’ve downloaded and read, but haven’t left a review, NOW IS THE TIME!
If you’ve left a review, but haven’t raced into the street with a megaphone, sandwich board and tattooed dog, NOW IS THE TIME!
If you’ve raced into the street with a megaphone, sandwich board and tattooed dog, but haven’t put in a phone call to your Prime Minister/President/Monarch, urging them to book a prime time slot on national TV to make an announcement about this great, great deal, NOW IS THE TIME!
Meanwhile, are the St George’s Day flags up in your high street yet?
Are the Happy St George’s Day cards for sale in your local shops?
This is why I write, boys and girls: the world is fucking crazy most days.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Back in the days before this blog was fully formed, its embryonic thrashing in the cauldron of possibility produced some promising ripples.
Here's a series from 2008 that ran to one episode, re-aired courtesy of the Abysswinksback Max Reincarnatium Wazz-Dazz...
‘Turned out nice, hasn’t it?’
‘Yes, it has.’
‘Down, boy. Down. Don’t worry—he won’t bite. He’s just being friendly.’
‘What sort is he?’
‘He’s certainly friendly.’
‘Oh yes, he’s that all right. Only last week he—Christ! What are you doing...?’
‘It’s perfectly safe. Just an anaesthetic. You’ll be conscious again in approximately half an hour.’
‘Come here, boy. Come to Daddy.’
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Bzzzzt! Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!