Monday, June 30, 2008

To Here Knows When

Most of today I've been wandering around like the Bionic Woman prior to receiving her aural implant. I can hear nothing.
Nothing, I tell you.

Last night, I was in Manchester watching my Favourite Band Of All Time, recently reformed after nearly 20 years — and today I’m paying for it, in hammers and anvils.

One of the benefits of outliving Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Elvis is that you get to receive delicious birthday gifts well into your fifties, sixties and seventies, and my date with My Bloody Valentine at the Manchester Apollo was one such — along with a cucumber facial and several bottles of beer that smelled and tasted like they’d been brewed in some medieval artisan’s pants.

So — many thanks to my old mate, Dave, and his old world Scottish generosity. Next year I’m asking for a new pair of ears.

For anyone unfamiliar with crusty old gig haunts close to where Cristiano Ronaldo currently polishes his nipples, the Manchester Apollo is a converted cinema beached on the perimeter of a ghastly industrial wasteland (‘The North Of England’), and as Dave and I drove towards its welcoming maw across the Yorkshire Moors, passing the lakes where RAF boffins tested the bouncing bomb, I couldn’t help thinking, “blimey, I’ve got nothing on.” But that’s enthusiasm for you. My fave band — c’mon, let’s go! (Fortunately, Dave had an old tartan tarpaulin hidden away in the boot of his car which we managed to convert into a fashionable Goth toga. I have no wish to blow my own trumpet, but as we joined the queue to get in, the reception I received from the hordes of gathered fans was nothing sort of ironic.)

Once inside, we fought our way to the bar and fought our way out again just in time for the gig itself, convinced, thanks to the numbers of tattoos and body piercings on display, that we’d inadvertently wandered into a pitched battle between a tribe of berserking barbarians and the Armour Loving Dwarves of Doff Thwack Doff. As it was, the burgundy old-time-musichall decor dripped with the sensuous bloom of a giant pair of french knickers. Oh yes — I know my architectural heritage.

9pm precisely. Cue fifteen minute delay for band — and Spot The Attention-seeking Roadie Competition. I’d have wet myself with anticipation had I not sweated off most of my bodily fluids with sheer unadulterated excitement.

Finally — finally — after nearly 18 years, MBV came on. Last time I saw them was at Leicester Poly (as was) in 1991 and they were sh*te. This time round, their failure to disappoint was on a par with the scene from Miracle On 34th Street when Kris Kringle's mailbag full of letters slaps in front of the judge and the camera pans to...The Kid. For the next hour and a half, my ear drums pulsated deep inside my skull till they blended with each other like a bizarre 3D venn diagram in an orgy of alien sex organ wibblywobblywoobles inches from my hypothalamus.

Here’s the best song of the night. I don’t care if you fucking hate it...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Protrudio Says — Go Write! 2

In the spirit of internet blogging and cyber-hugging, Abysswinksback is pleased to announce its very second writing exercise.

“The door creaked open like the best eight seconds on a horror film sound effects CD. I reached for my...”

250 words or less, by 11.55GMT Friday 4th July.

Entries will appear some time over the weekend of the 5th/6th in the order they are received and Protrudio will take a break from his custard-guzzling exploits to reward any participants for their efforts.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


What a week it’s been — hot unadulterated puss cat action from the moment the final milliseconds of Sunday night blurred into Monday morning.

I say this, why?

Go here, to Robin S and her lostest cat, and here, to Fairyhedgehog’s joyous whoosh of youthful pusk akimbo.

When I started this blog three months ago (on April 1st, as a spurious joke) I had no intention of revealing anything about myself other than that I was a closet suicidal maniac who frequently dressed as a woman and mainlined on diluted Parmesan cheese — with trained chimps.

If anyone had told me then I’d be posting pictures of my dead cat and waxing purrical about his feline charms, I’d have said, “don’t be ridiculous. What a bizarre assertion. Pass me the Chlorpromazine — and fast.”

I really have no idea what I had in mind as I perused the day-glo loon shaft of oblivion into which my first post was ultimately — and blindly — hurled.

“Whatever I post,” I thought, “it has to be low maintenance, so I can get on with my life without having my shaving rituals and fingernail painting sessions disrupted.”

So — I prepared a series of posts, to be offered for public consumption every three or four days like stale digestive biscuits passed around in a tin at a charity jumble sale for Whack The Bewildered Quadruped.

I never envisaged much of a response.

Maybe some sad old spanner will chance upon me, looking for spare parts for all his old childhood Tonka toys, and maybe he’ll leave an anonymous comment along the lines of YOUR A FUCKBRIAN.

That you, my welcome visitors, have departed your worldly lives and fluttered as metaspecta to chirp here, forsaking briefly your clearly visible horizons, is, for a person like me — habitually cursed till now to play out my days in self-imposed exile — a treat. I don’t care if that isn’t a sentence.

Anyhow — to cats, and still echoing vacuums therof.

Plog was my first ever cat, and if I was an acrobat contortionist, I’d kick myself in the head for leaving it as long as I did to experience full honours Cat Enthusiasm.

Before Plog, I persisted in the nightmare world of hamsters, dogs and imaginary friends, deluded in my pre-cat naivety into believing that

a) Dogs were fun
b) Hamsters alone were borne from the Fount Of All Cuteness,
c) Imaginary friends had imaginary friends of their own, which they would toss aloft in a whirl till the tips of their tails flopped, loosely gripped, snug in the smuggest of grins.

Not so.

On his finest days, as I crawled across the kitchen floor, scrubbing up baby puke like a Dickensian washer woman, Plog would leap onto my back, demanding to be borne amidst the furniture like a benevolent emperor — exactly as he’s stood in the photo; exactly so yeah, I’m a cat. And when we left him for a fortnight, trusting our neighbour to operate the key to his private sanctum and locate the tins of Special Food For Cats, we forgave him his dimwit-inspired initiative when we came home to discover he’d been forgotten, and had snook in through the kitchen window, helped himself to a packet of Corn Flakes and unleashed a fortnight’s worth of foul-smelling Plog plop on every work surface bar the shelf halfway up the wall with the TV on it. Any lesser cat would have been throttled on the spot for magicking so disgusting a bacteria theme park from the coils of his rectum — but not Plog. As ever, I called to him and threw him over my shoulder, trusting his skeleton would turn to jelly in the interim, so he’d fall, like a cushion, against my shoulder.

Am I sad that he’s gone? Of course, and I celebrate him as a finite spectacle of goodness, realising all must turn to dust.

But that he’s here, on this blog — a phenomenon beyond the bounds of his catly cerebral wherewithal and briefly pusscatoonoid life — is an oar blade slapped against my idle, turned aside cheek, hoisting me from limbo towards days as yet unspent.

I’ll leave it at that for now.

Or, maybe not.

meaow meaow

Monday, June 23, 2008

Shmooshlin' Yer Smackers

Sometimes, it’s hard to lay your hands on precisely the repository of information you need.

The internet has helped in this regard, complementing bookshelf favourites like dictionaries, thesauri rex and atlases of haddock anatomy with all manner of reference materials — from the excellent Theoi Greek mythology website to 1001 Donkey Ailments And Their Practical Surgery-Free Solutions (I’d link to the latter but, sadly, the server is down).

Today, however, I find myself baffled, despite inputting more surf time than a VW van-load of tanned stupid men.

So here’s my conundrum.

It’s been many years since I slapped on a little lipstick, but I don’t suppose it’s changed much in the intervening decades. Assuming your aim is relatively good and your artistic expression conservative, you can cover most of your lips in a single swirl — two if it’s lipstick you haven’t used in a while (or if your lips are chapped or crammed with studs).

Then there’s that thing you do, isn’t there? Where you wiggle your lips back and forth like amourous eels aslither till the colour has spread right to the edges?

So here’s where you guys come in, my cheery visitorinioes. Most of you are female, so I’m hoping at least one of you can help. If it turns out that you all gang up on me in my ignorance, then so be it, but for the moment, I’m genuinely clueless.

I’m looking for the word that describes this lipstick-smearing activity. ‘Wiggle’ is close, but better suited to descriptions of baboon’s bums or Stan Laurel’s ears, and ‘pucker’ isn’t right either. I’ve tried making a few words up and so far, the best I have are flubbulate and shmooshle, as in “she paused to shmooshle the remains of her lipstick round her lips.”

Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

There's An Englishman, A Scotsman And An Irishman — 4,793 Camels And A Masseuse... 4

‘Knock knock.’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘Knock knock.’


‘No — you say who’s there?’

‘Who’s where?’


‘But I can see who’s here.’

‘Don’t start all that again, just do as I say.’

‘OK. Who’s there?’

‘Not now.’

‘But you just said—’

‘Wait for me to say knock knock first.’


‘Knock knock.’



‘Who’s there?’


‘Okay...come on in, Althea.’

‘No — you say Althea Who?

‘Althea who?’

‘Not now.’


‘Let’s start again.’


‘Knock knock.’

‘Nope. It’s gone. What do I say again?’

‘I say knock knock then you say who’s there? then I say Althea then you say Althea who?

‘And is that it?’

‘No. When you say Althea who?, I deliver the punchline.’

‘What — at the same time?’

‘No, just after.’


‘So are you ready?’




‘OK. Knock knock.’

‘Who’s there?’


‘Althea later, alligator.’

‘Althea in a while crocodile.’

‘No — you don’t say anything else.’

‘Sorry. I thought it was funny.’

‘Yes, but my line is the punchline.’

‘It’s not as funny as my line.’

‘Yes, but that’s not how it works.’

‘So what is my line?’

‘You don’t have one.’

‘What am I supposed to do?’

‘You’re supposed to laugh.’

‘Ha ha.’


‘Ha ha ha.’

‘Thank you.’

‘I still think my line’s the funniest.’

‘Shut it.’

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Supermarket Swipe

Thanks to Robin S for posting a short reading of her work over on her blog — here.

I've had a fun morning editing The Chapter From Hell and since the first 1000 words are done, I'll air a brief passage here.

Spoiler: vulgarity abounds.

The Library Generator

Chris Eldin, Blogless Troll and their merry chums over at Book Roast invite you to sample the contents of your must-have-done future bookshelves.

It’s a very generous idea and runs daily. Their own blurb is better than my hapless summary, so here goes...

“Each week we're open for business, Book Roast cooks up five authors from different genres. Stop by to hear about their books, jump in the oven and poke them with a meat thermometer to see if they're done.”

So, again — here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Heliotrope Hurl

We love them, but they have to die.

"His skin roared with the goosebump prickle of a downtrodden fifty year-old housewife gyrating onstage with her teenage heart-throb in her sexiest underwired bra."

This one's currently on Death Row, pending execution.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

There's An Englishman, A Scotsman And An Irishman — 4,793 Camels And A Masseuse... 3

‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’

‘What chicken?’

‘Any chicken. It doesn’t matter.’

‘How so? There’s millions of chickens in the world, all with different circumstances. Some are reared exclusively for human consumption, and of these, a few get to roam around in a field while the majority spend what passes for their miserable lives in an overcrowded prison cell. Then there are the wild chickens, spread about the globe in a variety of climates and cultures. The term “any chicken” is therefore meaningless.’

‘OK. Suppose it’s an imaginary chicken.’

‘Now you’ve made the situation even worse. Why would an imaginary chicken cross a road?’

‘Yes! That’s it! Why would it?’

‘Are we talking a real road or an imaginary road?’

‘It doesn’t matter.’

‘I think the nature of the road is almost as important as the nature of the chicken.’

‘And I think you’re just splitting hairs. The point is that the chicken — real or imaginary — is crossing the road — real or imaginary — to get to the other side. Get it? As far as punchline setups go, it’s pretty straightforward.’

‘Not to me, it isn’t. You’re presenting me with a conceptual nightmare, here. Unless you’re more specific, in all likelihood we could end up conceiving of entirely different imaginary chickens and roads — and that’s before we’re in with any hope of resolving the question of whether anything might exist on the other side, either in accordance with the geographical properties of the road, the genetic makeup and learned behaviour of the chicken and — for fuck’s sake — my understanding of what constitutes a joke. What is on the other side, anyway?’

‘It doesn’t matter.’

‘Of course it bloody matters. There isn’t a species of creature on the planet that wanders round aimlessly in some sort of perceptual vacuum. Even amoeba gravitate towards something. It’s blind instinct, yes, but underlying it, there’s a fundamental purpose. So why would a chicken — OK, any chicken — bother to engage in the tedious business of hauling its sorry plumage across a potentially dangerous road unless there was something on the other side, something it had seen or heard or smelled that it wanted, like another chicken, or a biscuit, or — I dunno — a fucking enormous chicken theme park?’

‘Did you just say chicken theme park?’


‘You’re full of shit.’

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Giraffe Hair Counter / Shoe

In my last post, I mentioned that I’d invented curtains. To this day I’ve received no royalties, but in spite of this, I’m no more bitter and twisted than can be expected for a man who now strangles two swans daily and whose hourly salivations of froth can be decanted by the gallon.

The indescribably furry McKoala notes in the previous comment trail that she invented bookshelves, and I'm guessing that, like me, she is not alone in her spectacularly mock-eureka creation of things that already exist.

“If it didn’t exist, you’d have to invent it,” as they say.

So, assuming the entire world is obliterated in an instant and the human race cast into oblivion, and then, eons later, an identical planet Earth emerges from the ether and there’s all that fucking about with the snake, the apple and the one working iPod, is there anything, second time around, that wouldn’t, shouldn’t or couldn’t get invented?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Tuesday!!!

This is the only Tuesday June 10th 2008 I’m ever going to have.

If I’m lucky, there may be replays, but the Oxygen — in this air, now — can only be burned once.

So, what of today?

I’m fortunate enough to have risen early — a combination of the heat and the emerging day’s rampaging sunlight. I look like I’ve been licked all over by a drooling terrier in a TV studio.

So, I have sun. But then what?

If I have no plan at all, there might be no breakfast. I might forget to eat as I gambol round the nexus of the world’s novelty and my own naivety. If I have too many plans, I may inadvertently strangle the day of all life, casting it in AnyTuesday wax. Funnily enough, I don’t fancy either of these options.

The best I can do is be prepared to be unprepared. Breakfast, yes — but today maybe I’ll mix a little brown sauce in with my corn flakes to see what happens. And for lunch, I’ll try levitating instead of sitting at a table. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I did once eat breakfast sat on the toilet having a shit. That was back in the days when I believed the briefness of our mortal lives demanded we rush around like twits. OK, so I was probably about 22 with more kilojoules of energy than sense. And, in case you’re wondering, it was a slice of toast. A bowl of corn flakes would have been a Yuck Factor too far — I drank the last of the milk from the bowl like it was a cup in those days. Disgusting.

But that’s all the Sluggy stuff — the Mere Slithering Requirements.

What else could there be?

This could turn out to be The Best Day Of My Life. After all, there has to be one for all of us, however we decide it. Or maybe it’s the day I discover that The Best Day Of My Life must already have happened because...

Maybe I’ll have a brainwave and accidentally invent something the whole world will come to rely on. I did once invent curtains (!) In my old attic attic room, bathed, as it was, in the full UV glow of the sun, I’d sit for hours not being able to see further than the end of my nose, let alone write or read anything. Then I had this great idea involving a tea towel, a hammer and some nails. For a couple of seconds that day, I genuinely believed I’d invented something new. The best I can hope for at the moment is to be knocked over by a bus, cryogenically frozen till 3825 and then pumped with viruses and fired into space to put the heebeegeebees up a fleet of invading aliens.

So, a philosophical question. Will writing this post turn out to have changed anything?

Second philosophical question. When Schopenhauer drew willies on toilet walls, did he sign them? And if so, could he spell his own name?

What’s interesting, now I’ve ended up here with this, isn’t so much that it’s the 10th of June, but that it’s a Tuesday. I’m reminded of a great improvisation game we used to play back in the hothouse days of my life as a Potentially Famous Actor. Maybe this is the solution to the conundrum (such as it is) of how to have some sort of plan in the face of the unfurling unknown when, in truth, if you were to fall under a bus, it would make no practical difference at all to The World.

The game is called “It’s Tuesday” and comes from the book Impro by Keith Johnstone.

He writes:

This game is based on ‘overaccepting.’ We call it ‘It’s Tuesday’ because that’s how we started the game. If A says something matter of fact to B like ‘It’s Tuesday’, then maybe B tears his hair and says, ‘My God! The Bishop’s coming. What’ll he do when he sees the state everything’s in?’ or instead of being upset he can become overcome with love because it’s his wedding day. All that matters is that an inconsequential remark should produce the maximum possible effect on the person it’s said to...this is a ‘make boring offers’ and ‘overaccept’ game...

I’ll be back later on in the comment trail to pick up on Tuesday June 10th 2008. When it’s gone. Over. Done. Lost. Dead.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Procrastinatorium 2

When I woke up this morning, I seemed to flibble around in a weird half-conscious dream state for slightly longer than my regulation 5.9 seconds, and as I lay with my head lolloped to one side on the pillow, I fancied my cat had spent the night propped up against my cranium like some kind of novelty wig. She does that sometimes. I reached out to affirm her status as Cutesy Pet Of All Pets with a gentle stroking motion, but instead of warm fur and the purring throb of pussiness I’ve come to know and love, I discovered a soggy lump of spongy pink stuff oozing dribbly goo onto the bedsheets. Worse still, it appeared to be hooked up to my head by a bundle of veins and arteries squishing from beneath my ear.

If your brain has ever fallen out in the night, you’ll know what an irritation this is, especially if you’ve set yourself the task of rising first thing to crank it up and thrash five hundred words of dialogue out of it — or even fix breakfast.

I made it to the bathroom okay, but while I stood counting the hemispheres in the sink and checking for the serial number on my spinal cord in case I had to call someone out, my cat burst through the doorway in a flurry of squawks and feathers and I slipped and fell into the bath. Luckily, my brain’s wrinkled curvature gripped the rim of the sink like a weighted grapnel, otherwise it would have been dashed against the wall as I flew through the air. Less luckily, this meant that while I did, indeed, fall into the bath, it was only momentarily, and when I rebounded very quickly back in the direction of the sink thanks to the elastic properties of my spinal cord, I smacked my teeth against the toothbrush holder. I say teeth, but of course, my spinal cord had yanked so hard against the base of my sacrum, what I mean is, a mouthful of ribs. Moments later, my legs turned to jelly beneath me and I fainted.

It’s nearly 3pm now and the ambulance crew are still trying to squeeze the top half of my skeleton back into my body without bursting any of my vital organs. That’ll teach me for treating myself to a spaghetti Milanese last night. They can’t tell which of my legs is which and the chief paramedic has fucked off for his lunch. I’m guessing that’s probably it for the day, and though it’s been fun watching my brain squirm around in a saline tank as it ponders where to begin with my pre-programmed dialogue challenge, I’d much rather have lain in bed longer till it rolled back inside my skull of its own accord.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hey Mr Tambourine Man — Shut The Fuck Up And Get A Harp

‘Hey man, fancy a smoke?’

‘OK, let's hollow out your head and use it as a chillum.’

‘Brainwave, man. You're like, soooooooo Urethra.’

‘Shouldn't that be Eureka?’

‘No, man. I'm talking Franklin. Greatest darn soul singer ever.’

‘Yeah. Yeah. Hey — what were we just talking about?’

‘Dunno, man. Who the hell are you anyway?’

‘Dunno. All I know is, I got long hair, tie-dyed Geronimo pants — and this here geetar.’

‘Whoa! And I'm like sat here behind millions and millions of crazy African drums!’




‘Are...are we a band?’

OK cats, put your hands together for the coolest sound in San Francisco....The Esoteric Lobsters!

(Thanks to Kiersten, for providing me with something interesting to inflate...)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Is Why, For Now

An afternoon that might go on forever — but for the impaling shardhints of a night to spit into morning.

I am shocked into life by the sunlight, cast in the day’s silent radiance like a walking monument — a vacuum of flesh transfixed into pulse by burst of instant life to instant death in the millisecond Phosphor flash.

Nothing stops.

Nothing, I can touch.

So I walk and burn as a phantom, slapped hard about the ephemera by the past’s hapless hoists and the future’s indecypherable dig crocks, wishing to be thrashed to life.

This day, this time is all, and it will not be held, nor saved nor spoken.

I will bear it into the blackest silence, believe — always — that I may greet each morning’s kiss unshrouded (and preferably bulging with spectacularly harmless hi-tech weaponry, the new day's hues to suck and enzap.)

I love afternoons like these.

Love them till I am tempted to dance and scream beyond the descriptive bounds of Total Bloody Arsehole.

Away, you Let It All Hang Out Naked Painted Bongo Twaddle Chanting Collective Unconscious Lost.

Away with you, you fuckwits!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bulbous Pumpkin Eyeball Toss

Picking up on recent posts in a few of my fave blogs (see right) about where and how we writers put pen to paper, I thought I'd add to the informed analysis/reportage with a few thoughts of my own, if only to provide you with a fun diversion from whatever chores assail you this Monday afternoon.

I'm sitting in a public library at the moment and I have to confess, it's harder getting the ideas to flow here than when I'm sat at my own desk — mainly because the desire to avoid arrest demands that I wear regular chinos rather than the fluffy bunny motif split-crotch culottes I typically don in order to summon the muse. The ideas are certainly there — 903 whole novels and a dissertation about Chaucer's anal plucking rituals (!) — but with no pinky ponky rabbit tail to twizzle after each full stop, and no rip cord to pull for an exhilarating Great Jaaaaaaab reward, entire paragraphs of gripping narrative and tweezered ping descriptions lie redundant in their cerebral bunker like unridden rides at a phantom fairground.

So I'm doing lots of staring into space, counting the specks of dust swirling in the air.

What's interesting is the bizarre genetic array of faces poking from behind the rows of monitors. Taken en masse, they resemble bulbous pumpkins grown for an ogre's vegetable show and if I wasn't so out of sorts about my chino-bound creative zest, I might have soldiered on, head down twixt Chaucer's plummy cheeks, and remained oblivious to them all. As it is, I'm fascinated by the individual displays of goofiness, the poorly chosen spec/tattoo comboes, and the red-faced expressions on one or two faces indicative of mid-fart distraction.

Maybe this is a scene — a small kind of nothing I happen to be witnessing quite by chance, whose merest whisker of a whiff will find its way halfway round the world c/o Blog Meme Enthusiasm Central.

If so, I don't imagine it's a groundbreaking image for a moment — a bunch of twats in a library, checking out their family trees or cruising for pictures of Britney Spears, for fucks sake — and neither do I seriously imagine anyone reading this will be inspired or moved or compelled to act in any significant kind of way. Nonetheless, a miraculous transmutation is taking place. As I impale the seeming vegetableness onto bent garden fences of letters and catapult the whole lot across cyberspace, the only thing of which I can be certain is that if anyone reads this, all trace of these goofy farty people (who I can reach out and touch, thanks in part to my chinos) will have vanished long before the pumpkin patches burst into view.

And yet — something of these people sat next to me must remain: a glimmer of themness. Shut your eyes for a moment and look around at the emerging pumpkin-head sprawl. Maybe at him there — that one. Impossible for me to describe his eyes and guarantee you see what I can see here in front of me. But who’s to say that one or both pupils don’t make it through, somehow?

Must dash — a threatening looking crowd has gathered behind me, and even as I type, they’ve made it as far as a bunch of twats...