Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Post-Yule Pre-Lang-Syne Titivations Of Wherewithal

It’s time to reflect. To assess. To weigh up. Like a woman with one tit bigger than the other trying to squeeze them both into a cleverly padded bra ironed by a fastidious Libran. Because you get them sometimes, those uneven body parts, especially if you’re a man of a certain age. And that’s what we’re all doing now. Juggling, juggling, juggling the mammaries of our hopes, fears and wishes into a workable factotum of resolution as we stand on the arbitrary threshold of another 52-week long onslaught of nonsense.*

* If you think that’s ridiculous, I nearly went with balls, but they don’t make bras for uneven scrotums and that would have ruled out the fastidious Libran gag.

This time last year, the future looked so, so different. Way more doom and gloom, as I recall. And no Susan Boyle to cheer us on our way with her sublimely disturbing warblings. Just Obama and Jacko. Sigh

Regular visitors to this blog will know that at the end of 2008, I fancied striding out into the darkness of the Noughties’ penultimate offering with the swoosh of a drainpipe trouser over a Twist Again leg (if you’re an irregular visitor, check for lumps — it could be the milk chocolate almond you thought you’d lost down the back of the sofa on Boxing Day). But it didn’t quite turn out that way. If anything, 2009 has been something of a backfoot year for me (that’s like a Bigfoot year, only without the Yetis) — a muted affair, a re-tread, a time of spectres.

But now I come galloping to the end (on a donkey! I demand a donkey!), I find myself weeks away from completing my novel (yes, I know it’s been weeks for months on end, but unless I contract some debilitating plague-2-Go, I reckon it’s the final furlong this time) — oh, and a freelance writing project to die for.

Striding into the darkness is all well and good but this year I’m minded to toss a few fireballs about the place to clear the obfuscating mist. That’s what’s needed, I think, to straighten out fate’s cruel brassiere. I’m no great believer in Yin and Yang — their range of instant noodles tastes like cack — but in a swings-and-roundabouts Universe, what goes around comes around, they say. And I certainly feel like I’m coming round at the moment...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sadly, Greg Lake Was Having His Hair Done...

With apologies to the partially sighted.

And Sir Cliff, bless him

Update — if you're having trouble reading the toons, open as a pop-out in Google Reader.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Deck The Malign Marsupial

The naughtiest, wickedest, most fearsome marsupial walking the earth today keeps stealing all my favourite festive tunes!

Call me original to the point of being an inspirational conceptual genius, but in the run-up to Christmas, I’d planned a few posts based on my favourite seasonal songs, complete with commentary, biographical notes and no small smattering of sentimentality.

But bugger me if she whipped Wizzard from right under my nose!

And today, Jona Lewie — my second favourite Christmas song of all time!!!

But you’re not having the bloody Wombles, you despicable fiend! You’d only rip the fur from their Beresford-inspired little bodies and poke out their beady eyes with your Mutant Quirk of Downunder Evolution spawned claws as you feigned a pelvic wiggle to their Batt-inspired melodies.

And leave Greg Lake alone. He’s MINE!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Directly Outside 10

Directly outside my window, a Stormkeep Flickermarch battlecruiser blots out every star.

Its psi-beam plays across the glass, and I’m sucked inside the hovering leviathan like an old trope abducted by a clichèd chestnut against a backdrop of hackneyed deja vus.

Today, it seems, I am Admiral Norman Gusty. And the universe stands on the brink of Armageddon.

“It’s Slim Whitman,” says my lieutenant, handing me a report.

My science officer tentacles me an update. “His Greatest Hits album, to be precise.”

“Track four,” adds the beautifully coiffured technician with the salt cellar grafted to her ear. “I Remember You.”

I study the reports. Seems every living organism with prehensile flaps and a larynx is belting out the chorus in unison, over and over and over.

“If it gets any louder,” says the ship’s computer, “the Cosmos as we know it will end.”

The technician eyes the hologram console with suspicion. “How can you be so sure?”

“Pack it in, the pair of you,” I say. “We don’t have time for a jealous spurned android / philandering computer love tryst retribution sub-plot. Pass me the greasy stick-on moustache! I’m going into the Vortex!”


Night falls on the furthest reach of the Universe. Another millimetre and it would have dropped off the edge.

I stand in my anti-plasma rhinestone denims, peer into the Vortex. Of all the misspelled celestial phenomena, the Vortex is the most mysterious. It monitors every unvoiced thought in the Cosmos and spins whole galaxies from the almost-whispers. But now it’s got hold of Slim Whitman. Scary music. Goosebumps. Sopping wet pants.

What was it my science officer said?

Never cast a clout till the flagellatrix’s second atrium turns a pale amber-blue and your bioscanner reads precisely 58.752% Methane.

No. That was over lunch last weekend. Before he kissed me.

“He said,” comes a bizarre yodel, “creep up on the imprisoned Whitman and perform a moustache meld, thereby sealing his mouth tight shut.”

I turn to see the slick-haired crooner emerge from the Vortex like a voodoo doll on a Brylcreemed water flume. “That’s exactly it. Thanks.”

“Too late for creeping now,” says Whitman. “One final chorus and it’s Armageddon time.”

I think about leaping through the air and wrestling him to the ground before he can open his mouth, but there’s a good twenty feet between us, and these rhinestones are tight enough to rupture me. But then — a brainwave.

“Not so fast, you foul pseudo cowpoke,” I cry — and fling my stick-on moustache at the inhaling villain’s mealy lips like a tomahawk. It lands — SPLAT — below the smooth fiend’s own neatly clipped whiskers and silences him, binds him tight. That’s when I leap. And rupture myself. And yelp into the Vortex.


I wake up in the Medi-Lab.

“You did it,” says the Doc. “You saved us.”

Something about his voice sounds familiar, like it was me talking and he was some kind of ventriloquist’s dummy.

“Who you callin’ a dummy?” he grunts. Oooops. Forgot he was a telepath.

The Vortex took a shine to me, it seems. And now the whole Cosmos speaks with my voice. Annoying, but better than Armageddon I suppose.

The crew throws a party in my honour, with sausages on sticks, paper hats and endless games of Pass The Parsec. Then the psi-beam pulses me back to my cell.


Every echo chitter chatters.

From wall to ceiling to wall.

Back and forth back and forth all day long.

Still, I am trapped in this place.

Doomed only to witness as the world spins by, directly outside...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Love Susan

It’s been over twenty years since I met my beautiful Susan.

The moment I laid eyes on her, I thought, optic nerves are a bit slack this morning (and later had to take to wearing spectacles to stop them falling out again).

That day, I heard the piiiing of romance, smelled the scent of love, tasted the burgers of passion.


Whirl 4 Susan 4 Ever

When I took her home, we made mad passionate shelving displays, with her perched high up on a strip of IKEA mock-mahogany and me spread akimbo from the top of a B&Q stepladder.

And the travels we went on together!

The bathroom cabinet! The bookcase in the living room! Even (thanks to an impressive lump of Blu-Tak) the extractor fan over the cooker!

But then Girly of Whirly moved in. Demanded Susan be locked in a box.

My heart was torn. As was my head. Both halves of me (if you believe in mind-body dualism) equally rent asunder (actually, it was mind-body dualism).

“A compromise...?” I ventured.

“Very well,” said Girly of Whirly, “I will permit Susan to be released from her confinement for limited periods on high days on holidays, but if she should so much as pop up spontaneously on top of the fridge or in my underwear drawer, I shall grate the very flesh from your body with my fingernails, laughing with sadistic glee as I so do.”

That told me.

But love springs eternal, doesn’t it? Summers infinite. Autumns forever. Winters like mankind’s undying enthusiasm for singing Elvis hits at karaoke parties. Needless to say, I’ve been near-terminally grated on many occasions, and forced to rescue Susan from the dustbin more times than I’ve had hot dinners — plus salads.

Susan, my Susan, I shall not forsake you. This is the song I sing.

And now the Christmas season is upon us once more, it is time once again for you to take your rightful place on the mantelpiece, resplendent in the glory of your 90s Woolworths tinsel....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pine Me On Up, O Yuletide Cherubs

Almost ready to go now.

The N.H.C. box stands poised, along with the tree, the lights, the candles, the tinsel, the baubles, and all the other festive tosh, ready to be strewn about the house in a Gok Wan meets Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen kind of a way.

On December 22nd, I shall be hosting a Joyous Arbre De Noel Festival, so if you would like your tree to feature in this seasonal spectacular — a seasonal spectacular for which there will be a Mystery Prize* come 2010 — then email your photos in advance of that date to, along with any blurbs/jokes/stories/comments you think might be FUN.
* of a crap crap crap crap crap nature

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


While we’re all idling around waiting for Santa (and he
will come again, on his big red sleigh, he will, he will, he will), here’s one courtesy of the delightful (and duly returnethed) Mom In Scrubs.

She suggested I do something with blereaka — one of those peculiar word verification non-words we all have to type out sometimes.

Best I could manage this morning was Tony Blair’s secret Twitter ID or a very salty pease pudding Scotsmen rub under their kilts to protect them from the cold.

Any more, anyone?

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Saint Nick Of Time

Is anyone else getting excited?

As I stood this morning, shaving in front of the mirror, and beheld my foam-splattered face, I found myself unable to stem a hearty Ho Ho Ho. Seconds later, I had a pink pillowcase draped over my head like a hood. Pink — almost red, right?

I’ll be sticking antlers on the cat next.

And, yes — I cut myself.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Noddy Holder's Cock

A week from now, I shall be running my fingers over Noddy Holder’s Cock.

This is the name I gave some time ago to the huge cardboard box of Christmas decorations tucked away in my attic. It’s written on the side in black marker pen, and I’ve even stuck some tinsel to the lid.

For what could be more festive than the mighty bird that graces said bizarrely hirsute 70s pop icon’s table every Christmas?

The only problem with naming my Crimble Dec repository thus is that I’m apt to be misinterpreted.

Picture the scene when I moved to Whirl Towers from my previous abode, Le Singe Du Jour.

A removal van full of burly men arrives — a trio of butt cracks to shame the dark void at infinity’s edge.

“I’ll give you a hand,” I say.

They chortle, in an openly dismissive neither use nor bloody ornament kind of a way — then fling the entire contents of the kitchen over their backs while I struggle with a wickerwork basket of manly scented shaving foam.

And so it goes.

Later, we arrive at Whirl Towers. I’ve helped the guys with a fridge magnet, a carrier bag of clothes pegs and some loo roll. I feel great.

The biggest of the guys thrusts a chest of drawers in my face and says, “where do you want this?”

“Bedroom,” I reply.

The hairiest of the guys stuffs a fridge-freezer in my chops and says, “where do you want this?”

“Corner of the kitchen,” I reply.

Then the boss guy — the one who looks like a perfect genetic fusion of Oliver Hardy and Freddie Mercury circa the Bohemian Rhapsody era — sticks a big cardboard box smack between my eyeballs and says, “where do you want this?”

It’s the Noddy Holder’s Cock box. The one covered in tinsel. That says NODDY HOLDER’S COCK.

A frisson of amusement plays my facial muscles into hard-to-conceal twitch. I feign a sneeze. A fly. A degenerative nervous condition.
“It’s OK,” I reply — reassuringly, like a nurse taking the pulse of someone just about to die — “I’ll take that.”

I can’t think the guy’s won a single Yuletide game of Pass The Parcel since.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

On The Couch With Sock Monkey

SM: You look down. What’s up?

WO: Are you trying to be funny?

SM: Helpful, actually.

WO: And how so “down”? What’s different about how I look?

SM: Hmmmm. Just a little washed out and grey. Like a pair of underpants that’s been in the wash with a dark towel.

WO: Hey, watch it. I’m always careful like that.

SM: I never said that actually happened. It was an example. My, you’re touchy this morning.

WO: Okay, so I fell off a chair.

SM: Crikey! Lucky you didn’t cut yourself. Armageddon time!

WO: I fell off a chair and banged my nose.

SM: New hobby? Or accident?

WO: What do you think, stupid?

SM: I’ll settle on both.

WO: And I’ll settle on pistols at dawn if you’re not careful.

SM: Whaaat? I only have one arm, remember? I’d be disadvantaged.

WO: You don’t need two arms to hold a pistol. You’re thinking of a rifle.

SM: How do you know what I’m thinking? And anyway, I’m the shrink.

WO: I never said you weren’t.

SM: And I never said you had a BIG FAT NOSE, but you pushed me too hard.

WO: Whoa. Hold it there. You never mentioned the nose thing when you compared my complexion to a pair of dyed underpants.

SM: Call me a charmer.

(Session ends. Consulting room is trashed. Whirl is hired to play the young Hulk Hogan in the forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster, Lycra, Pecs, And CRAP CRAP Hair.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Arbre Cadabra

My tree isn’t going up till next weekend.

I never like to start too early, and this year, that means being a little late. Oh, and before you ask “up what?” I should point out that in the run-up to the festive season, Abysswinksback is going to behave like a family blog. So — no pine cone twixt bum cheeks innuendo, if you please.

The great thing about decorating the tree is that everyone can get involved — especially Geoff, who (once again) will be gaffer-taped to a length of bamboo and hoist to the very top with her legs splayed out like a star. I have gold paint, tinsel, and a 100 Watt light bulb, so she’s going to look spectacular.

What’s great also is the annual rummage through the bauble tin for delights from Christmases past. Each year, one or two extra knick knacks get added, and we have pretty much everything going, from the old glass 50s globes that survived being shattered by the buttocks of great-grandparents, to the weird nylon 70s jobs that laddered like a stripper’s tights. But inside this box of wonders, there are a couple of items sadly absent. When I was still in shorts (at 7 — I’m no weirdo), we had a couple of birdees made of felt — a tit and a Robin, as I recall. They attached to the branches of the tree with wire and kept us all company with their silent tweeting right through till 12th night, by which time they’d be dangling upside down, looking thoroughly ridiculous.

No idea where they went.

Maybe Geoff ate them.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Scales Of Injustice

All this week, I am on Salmon Duty.

Son of Whirl is off cheese and ham at the moment, so his school packouts are having to be made up from the only other item on his list: salmon. And since we neither live near a leaping brook, nor include amongst our sticks of furniture a fully functional salmonery, it’s down to the stalwart hunter-gatherer-checkout girls of Tesco to provide us with huge tins of the stuff, caught by none other than Mr John West (or on occasion, Tess Cowzone) — and down to me to peel the soggy grey mush of dead flesh from said tinned salmon’s pondwater-soaked bodies at six in the morning.

Clearly, fate passed me over when it came to having both eyes sucked out by a trio of Mr Universes and a suped-up vacuum cleaner.

Maybe I’ll get luckier next time when I come back as a Yorkshire Terrier...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bob's Gloves

For some time now, I’ve wanted to write a post entitled Bob’s Gloves.

Because you get them, sometimes, don’t you? Evocative phrases that spring scenes, characters and moods from the trap like whippets chasing the stuffed hare of fiction.

That said, I’ve got no further with Bob’s Gloves than Bob’s Gloves — a disappointment for many of you logging on, no doubt.

Who is this Bob, and what’s so crazy crazy special about his gloves???

No idea.

Why he took up opera over refuse collection, why his gloves fire jets of acid, nor even why his wife left him for a plastic surgeon.


About Bob.

Or his gloves.

For all I know, he’s actually called Alan. And the gloves are mittens. Which don’t actually belong to him.


Bobfail...oh the shame...the shame...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Take Issue With You, O Classic Pop Lyric

Don't know much about geography


Don't know much trigonometry


Don't know much about algebra


Don't know what a slide rule is for

Whoa! Hold it right there, pal. I dispute that one. Given the evidence so far, I appreciate that you may not know how to USE a slide rule, but quite clearly, in choosing this mathematical convenience tool as an example of your supposed lack of knowledge, you demonstrate that you do, in fact, know what said trig ‘n’ algebra friendly implement is FOR. It’s FOR something you don’t understand. Had you said, for example, pop-up toaster I’d have been much more sympathetic to your heartfelt pleading. As it is, I get the distinct impression that you’re not as dumb as you’re trying to make out. Indeed, I believe you may be trying to cheat your way into my pants. So, in a moment, when you proclaim all that nonsense about a wonderful world, I shall spurn your faux romantic advances on the grounds that in addition to being spectacularly thick, you are a lying, cheating, duplicitous scoundrel who should be locked in a dungeon and forced to live on bread and gruel till 2072.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hey! Reachy-outy Up There Thing!

Stripped of their crowns of leaves, on a summery winter’s morn, the trees reveal their secrets.

Every branch, every twig, every whitherslungthing — always awayto to somewhere, somewhere, somewhere.

And the rooty toots — just the same, I suppose. I haven’t the heart to dig them up.

They’re like the vegetable equivalent of horses — and let’s not forget, each Midsummer, from the best of them, unicorns bound.

But we have plenty of these, don’t we? Us?

Unseen filaments of possibility, so insubstantial it seems sometimes they’re made of almost nothing.

Yet these are the best of all the skyward, earthward, anywhereward flings of mortal luminesticus.

And though they may meet in darkest gloom on occasion* with the most abhorrent of life’s shibboleths, I sign myself up as a willing witness to their fleeting flail.

On a brighter note, the countdown to Christmas begins tomorrow.

Bring on the music! The dancing ladyboys! The gruffly-spoken ex-wrestler convicts whose dreams of release from this mortal existence speak so crisply to every troubled post-Eurythmics era bemuscled poncey boy.


Forget the last one.

Let’s have some Best Christmas of the Decade kind of stuff. Right here, right now, on the YULE RUG.

Reminiscing, paying forward — or just the heck on here.

I don’t care.


* On occasion...of your doom!

Morning Music

This one doesn't move, sadly — but what do you expect first thing on a Monday morning? Usain Bolt athleticism?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Yeah...And A Woolly Hat...And Bedsocks...

Today, I've been like a frisky badger — rubbed precisely the right way with one of those nylon feather dusters that generates a lot of static, and filled to the tip of my sniffly-snuffly snout with a roaring cascade of Vimto.


I’ve had a productive morning’s writing, I haven’t killed anyone, and there are still plenty of chocolate digestives left in the biscuit barrel. Whoops. No there aren’t. Naughty

And now as the sun fades on the burned-out shell of a neighbourhood still visible through my window in spite of the smog, I feel a Cheery Grandpa Moment coming on.

I shall cast off these tired work clothes (that’s imagery btw — I’m actually referring to a pair of jeans and a reasonably smart shirt, both badger-sized) and wrap around my person some snuggly dressing gown affair, don slippers fit for a family of friendly mice, and sit myself before the roaring radiator (not as romantic as a log fire, I know, but thanks to the crappy boiler, it does roar when it gets going) with a mug of hot cocoa and a muffin soft enough to eat without my teeth in.

And there, I shall remain, contentedly snoozing the night away till bedtime, stirred only by the warmth of a friendly cat, a loving cuddle from Grandma (Girly of Whirly probably won’t dress up for this. Or thank me), and the gentle tick-tock of long-sighted lovebirds trying to peck each other’s eyes out. Okay, so I made that last bit up, but you get the idea — though now I think of it, some sort of avian addition to the household might be worth thinking about. Geoff can’t catch birds to save her life and I’ve always fancied a bit of that Song of the South / Snow White in the kitchen kind of thing. (Scribbles note to self)

So that’s my stall set out for the night, I think. I’m going to Grandpa it on up in downtown Twilightville.

How are you starting your weekend?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On Medical Students And Leather-Clad Sub-Dom Sex Slaves

I can't say I recall precisely what Monks Habit (no apostrophe, note) tasted like. It was one of the many speciality beers brewed by Marstons in the early nineties before the whole of Burton-on-Trent was snapped up by the Japanese (or whoever it is that's now responsible for the murky filth currently being cauldron-spawned there alongside all the Marmite). Maybe it was one of those "saggy, with a hint of diarrhoea-gorged baboon" real ale affairs, I don't know.

Anyway, there I was this morning, stood before a motley shower of medical students with a Monks Habit (no apostrophe, note) beermat gripped tight between my teeth in an attempt to induct them in the delights of the auriculo-nasal plane. If you've ever been on a foreign holiday, you'll know exactly what that is, of course — that moment when your ears pop and the spotty businessman next to you sneezes two whole nostrils full of swine flu all over your Not Particularly Appetising Plate of Utter Cack. You know — but they didn't. They're students. They're imbeciles like that.

The point is, some bright wag attempted to derail my exposition (which, as I recall, went something like gottle o geer...gottle o geer...) by pointing out a mystery trapdoor dangling from one corner of the lecture theatre. Likely, it was a removable ceiling panel allowing access to a hidey hole full of wiring or an anti-student mustard gas mechanism, but the moment I gazed upon it, my impish little brain sensed a fantastic opportunity for reviving what was rapidly turning into the least entertaining two hours of my life (with the exception of the night my Mum went to see Rod Stewart in concert and kept me up till three in the morning describing every last detail about how sexy he looked. Please, if I make it to Heaven — no reruns of that one).

So, I said, 'looks like someone has sprung the gimp.'

It was perfect. Really, it was. An open flap in the ceiling, and a gimp on the loose somewhere on campus. How hilarious is that?

NOT. Apparently. At least, if you're a medical student.

They responded with a look of bovine confusion typically reserved for a castrated bull pumped full of sleeping tablets and presented with a yoyo — in unison, like some synchronised Abject WTF team.

Had I the slightest amount of sense, I'd put it all down to experience, lock up the imaginary marauding gimps. But I'm not blessed with such sage wisdom. So I'm using that one again

Monday, November 23, 2009

Make Do And Mend For The Festive Season

Most days, I count myself extremely fortunate that I am a Man of Two Fridges.

It lacks the panache of King of England or Lord High Master of the Universe, I know, but two fridges are better than one, even on a freezing cold November afternoon.

My first fridge, I’ve had for years, and it stands in the kitchen in an uncannily fridge-friendly corner.

My second fridge, I inherited from my Dad. Old and battered, it lurks in the shadows of the scullery and feasts on little-used or unusually proportioned items deemed unsuitable for Fridge #1: jars of horrible jam I can’t bring myself to throw away, marrows, bottles of cider, bulk tubs of EZspredd butter, eggs, anchovies and the odd 1960s board game with half the pieces missing — and that’s just the top shelf.

Like all accessory 2nd fiddle appliances, it doesn’t receive the attention it should. Truth be told, it doesn’t receive any. Like a tired, unwashed tramp whose only aspiration in life is a clean pair of undies and a Thai bride with all her own teeth, Fridge #2 has sat in its designated spot for almost a year, watching J cloth after J cloth wipe everything else in the house clean a hundred times over, from the sink to the Wii to Geoff’s occasionally errant felinanus.

So today, I braved the carapace of cack bristling by the stalagtite and -miteload from its marrow-packed interior — with the broom from the yard, a half pint of rocket fuel and a selection of heavy duty shovels.

The grime, I’m glad to say, came off almost immediately. I even rescued a stray It’s Your Birthday Collect £10 From Each Player card, stuck to an old crust of Port Salut like a nicotine patch on Dean Gaffney’s face.

And that’s when I found it. The THING.

A compacted husk of blackness, it resembled no withered vegetable; no crisped nor mouldered slice of ham. What the hell could have spawned it (in conjunction with my own shameful idleness)???!!!

At first, I wondered if a giant had been in, and smeared a huge bogey on the side of the salad tray, but I can barely get in the scullery myself, and so dismissed the idea as fancy. Besides, the Giant Alarm slumbered noiselessly in its caddy.

I prised it from the fridge’s shrivelled antibacterial interior. With the weird-looking tongs Girly of Whirly uses to beautify her eyelashes. And the tweezers, don’t go there.

Turns out it was a walnut from last Christmas: uncracked, unloved — and unbelievably smelly. Any other time of the year, and I’d have thrown it away, but on this occasion, I may just spare it.

Hosed down with disinfectant and covered in silver foil, it would make a splendid point-less star (nay, ORB) for the tree come December...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dire Emergency Situations #36

Whirl reclines in the bath, traces his toe round the tap like a fledgling ballerina negotiating the dance equivalent of a bicycle stabiliser.

The doorbell rings.

Odd. Who can this be at a quarter to six on a cold November night?

Son-of-Whirl calls up the stairs. ‘Dad. There’s a man. With a parcel.’

Of course!.

The surprise Christmas Xbox from Amazon...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Too Much Mint Sauce

Bear with me a second, people.

It’s 7.32pm, I’m stuffed full of mushy peas, and I may be about to come over all logical. Or ill.*

So here’s how it is.

“Chalk and cheese”, right?

Like Vinnie Jones and Bonnie Langford. Celtic and Rangers. Black and white. Cannon and Ball (actually, no — they’re both equally crap). Willy and front bottom (I know, I know — Cannon and Ball threw me. And now I’ve just thought of Little and Large too, which is more disturbing. I wish I’d never started this. But yes — them. Equally crap. But the words ‘little’ and ‘large’, still like chalk and cheese, yes. So I’m back on track now...). Fire and water. Barbie and Ken. Okay, you probably get the idea now.


What’s the opposite of “chalk and cheese”?

Can’t just be ‘similar’ or ‘identical’, can it? To describe sameness using perfectly ordinary words while conferring upon differentness the most florid of metaphors would be to unbalance the Universe, surely.

Oh, but here’s the truly brilliant thing. It’s 7.39 now, and those peas have had a little time to diffuse through my stomach wall directly into my brain. I only mentioned them as a frippery, but it appears I knew the answer to this vexing conundrum (the chalk and the cheese, not my bulbous adenoids) before I’d got halfway through that second sentence.

It’s “peas in a pod”, isn’t it?

Great. Problem solved. I can get back on with my life now...

* Logical **

** Captain

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It's rarely I put pen to paper

with nothing inbetween
and yet — this inky darkness,
so resplendent, so unseen.

Enow! I am a pirate Lord
(with a beard
and a crew
and an octopus)

rattling my sabre heartily
'gainst grimmest writersblocktopus.

Set sail, me hearties —
Clods of salt,
may ye lick from fever lips!
Bernita rejoins the flotilla.
Let cry thee
with thy WIPs!

Monday, November 16, 2009

When zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Is Not For ‘Sleeping’

For someone who doesn’t drink a lot of coffee, and actively thinks every branch of Starbucks should be raised to the ground and replaced with an olde worlde tavern draped in vines that sells only flagons of the purest stout, I’ve drunk a shitload of the stuff today.

Thank heavens for the dishwasher! It’s obliterated an accurate cup count like the bottle-gobbling litter bin by a drunk’s park bench.

As a consequence, I whizz round the house with the manic energy of a Punch man choking on his swazzle. I’ve hoovered, ironed, peeled some potatoes, shaved, watered the cactus, been up in the attic (twice), scanned the cat for viruses, peeled the carpet, hoovered the cactus and replaced at least half a dozen light bulbs that didn’t need replacing, but oh, it was such fun, such fun, such fun!

Now, I wait for the next exciting thing to happen. The hairs on my hands curl into piggy tails and ping onto the desk. My teeth spin like seats on a walzer. The veins on my neck pound at the walls.

Write a list!

Write a list!

Write a list!

Tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Morning Music

Goodness knows how I missed this one when it came out.

Comes with not having my ear to the musical ground anymore, I suppose.

Anyhow — I heard this yesterday afternoon following one of my less-than-good days. And it whupped my ass back into shape.

Substitute your own number if you're not 19. Or just remember when you were, and you did that stupid thing.

Then go and wish Janey a happy birthday...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Some Thoughts On Writing

This post got me thinking about the Inner Editor — that irritating fiend that lurks inside me and gobbles up all the protein from my numerous mid-paragraph muffin breaks like a tapeworm coiled round my guts.

I wanted to post something in the accompanying comments trail, but the inner editor worm-thing’s constrictions squeezed only drivel from my keyboard (another great ‘ink & pen’ analogy ruined by the onward march of technology, btw).

In the comments there, the Inner Editor conundrum (and for those of you who don’t know it, it’s like Rubik’s cube crossed with the dire essence of a phantom Sudoku puzzle) was raised by the spookily chirpy JaneyV and picked up on by guest blogger Nate Graziano (who normally resides here).

I won’t reproduce the conversation verbatim as the words are not mine to quote willy-nilly, but the distilled essence of it is here...

Nate: Nice hair.
Janey: Nice beard. But what bothers me is this. I try to stall my inner editor so I can get the first draft out. Difficult, though.
Nate: Yes. Best to get stuck in and draft. You're still at the discovery stage. John Irving, I know, plans everything out first, but to me, that’s not so much fun.

(If either of you are reading this and don’t appreciate my paraphrasing, here are some other lines you can insert:

“Some days, I’m possessed by a literary wanderlust I can’t control.”
“Obama should grow his fingernails long, like an Eastern potentate.”
“I love the way haddock crisps up when tossed gently in a wok.”
“Get lost, Whirlochre!”

:) )

I have moments when I’m plagued by the Inner Editor, and I think I may have figured it out. What follows is not a hard boiled thesis on the craft of writing, nor a hissy dissing of others who favour different methods. Just a few thoughts I’m having now.

Most of the time, I think I’m with Irving. I separate out the thinking and the writing, casting for plot and character as I idle through laundry or tackle the hordes of alien invaders that battle daily to seize control of our tiny dimension from the portal over my bathroom mirror. Editing thoughts is easier than wrestling with gerunds and spatchcock advectival nethermewoes in a linear progression of words, and by thinking through the essence of what happens, beholding the images that hopefully one day will burst forth unaltered and still vivid from the page in spite of numerous subsequent chops at the language, I can arrive at a shopping list of things to write about. So, a while ago, I had this...

Haloumi and Dann-Glarr throw Orb Lorfd into the waste disposal. leg and a wing. He screamsto reveal plot thing with clock then is gone. H reconstitutes quiche and dg is a pain. H in boots“Might I suggest that thing you call moussing?’

Nonsense, badly written, and full of spelling mistakes, I know — but it crystallises the picture I have that flashed into my head as I ironed, without the tedious business of having to write it all out as a line-by-line narrative. When I have something like this, I can re-run the scene, and add in further detail, with no heed paid to the Queen’s English, and no need to be witty/pacy/descriptive/killer/etc. It’s as anal as trainspotting.

After I wrote that outline, I changed a few things, but it remained the same writer’s building block in essence — a summary of what I wanted to write ABOUT. Having an ABOUT is very useful when you’re trying to summon the words — like a showroom dummy for a pile of clothes. I find it helps to have a lot of work done before you put pen to touchscreen. Creating too much of a scene or character as you’re simultaneously involved with the psychomechanics of typing or scribbling, and trying to pin amorphous blobs of think-stuff to the blank page or document with hard fixed words is to engage in two different processes at the same time, I think. Chinese circus acrobats can do this kind of multitasking seemingly effortlessly, often with four different parasols and weird shaped vegetables grown only in the Yunnan Province — and maybe some of you can do this too. But I can’t. And as you saw from the last post, I’ve got big feet. And would look ungainly in a spangly acrobat’s uniform.

So my choices are twofold. Either I can write blindly and churn out loads of stuff I may end up not using, or I can find myself something to write, and layer on the detail, refine in subsequent drafts. A lot of the early stuff from my WIP was generated using the first method and I’ve got all sorts of stuff lodged into the fabric of the book like shrapnel that’s proving a swine (oink oink) to unarticulate/excise. With method two, I’ve produced clearer stuff, and quicker too. But the downside, as Nate noted, is that the potential for spontaneous fun is diminished by this draconian approach. Unless — you imbue the thinky-generaty moments with fun (and if you’re in any way theatrically-inclined, you can impro the voices, walk the walk — you’d be surprised what shocking stuff comes out); and in the draft notes like the H&DG one above, add frequent comments such as FUCK ABOUT WITH THIS, MUCH SWEARING or SOMEONE MUST DIE.

Hmm, a roundabout post, this. And not entirely nailed. In coming clean (or filthy as a heifer’s backside) about aspects of the writing process as I see them, I hope I’ve not bordered too much on the supercilious. As I said, I’m not in command of The Golden Rules Of Writing (though this radio-controlled beetle swarm — such fun when unleashed on my heighbour’s teenage son...).

Just to say, on reflection, I don’t think I’m a Dorothea Brandesque writer-into-empty-space. Looks like I’m a megalomaniac Stalinist overlord with shit taste in shirts and an addiction to linguine. But I think I can live with that.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

On The Couch With Sock Monkeys

WO: You little bugger!

SM: Tee hee hee.

SM2: And technically, it’s buggers...

WO: Technically — and actually — it seems, you duo of simian fiends.

SM2: I dispute that. Only one of us is a fiend.

SM: And with my missing arm, I’m only partially simian.

WO: Don’t split hairs with me—

SM: Okay, whaddya want us to split? Bananas?

SM2: Ba-dum Tiiish!

WO: You know what I’m talking about.

SM2: Ooooh. Simian, fiendish...

SM: ...and bizzarely telepathic!

SM & SM2: We could be the next Jedward.

WO: You could be the next Fucking Thumped Hard...

SM: Okay, okay, if you must know — we found your missing sock in the tumble drier.

WO: “we...?

SM2: While we were rehearsing.

WO: Dare I ask?

SM2: You may.

SM: Ssssh. Don’t tell him, don’t tell him. He pulls this great face when he’s angry. Like a horse with a thistle up its—

WO: What face?

SM: Your face.

SM2: Go on. Do it, do it.

SM: He almost is. Hee hee.

WO: You still haven’t answered my question. About the rehearsing. Hallowe’en is over and it’s still a long way to Christmas. What are you about to pull?

SM2: If you must know, we’ve formed a pseudo-ladyboy dance troupe.

SM: So our sessions will have to take a back seat for a while.

SM2: For an Italian celebrity TV show.

SM: Ssshhh! Don’t give it away!

WO: Ladyboys? I don’t get it.

SM: They already have two lots of monkeys.

SM2: And a puma.

SM: So we figured — put the boat out.

WO: Using my socks as sails, huh?

SM2: The Italians love that kind of thing.

SM: It’s the Vanilla & Strawberry Whip look.

WO: So you thought you’d just help yourself?

SM2: We thought it.

SM: We did it.

SM & SM2: We’re that kind of badass monkey duo.

WO: Okay. I’ll make you a deal. Seeing as I’m the one holding the bazooka—

SM: Shit! Where the hell did you get that?

WO: It’s a writer’s trick. And look here — a panzer tank!

SM2: Yipes! He means business.

SM: Okay, so what’s the deal?

WO: Eighty per cent of any prize money you win, with an option to terminate at any time if you attract the attention of the Pope with your lewd pseudo-ladyboy antics.

SM: Hey, who said anything about lewd?

SM2: Yeah. We’re a class act, us.

WO: Any antics, then.

SM: Hey, we’ve got to be allowed at least one antic.

SM: Too right. That puma can juggle underwater.

WO: Okay. One antic it is. But if the Pope so much as bats an eyelid, or Silvio Berlusconi becomes involved—

SM2: We get the idea.

SM: And anyway, time’s up, Big Boy.

WO: Hey. Since when was this a paid-for session? I only came in here looking for Geoff. Her tea’s ready.

SM: Ah. Geoff. Yes.

WO: What’s with the sheepish look?

SM2: We’re a mounted pseudo-ladyboy dance troupe...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mobbed By Undead Hordes

While Son-of-Whirl was out collecting all the gooey sweets that would subsequently compact inside his guts like a tumour the size of a horse, I manned the front door of Whirl Towers with my sackful of Haribo.

We never did this Trick or Treating lark when I was a nipper (and if truth be told, I never really nipped). The first time I came across it was in a Charlie Brown book — all that business with Peppermint Patty and the Giant Pumpkin. Gone are the days of Penny For The Guy and Bee Gees & Indians, it seems.

Anyhow, the trick with all of this, as I discovered, is NOT to have the sack of sweets in your hand when you open the door to the undead hordes mobbing your driveway. Keep them tucked away behind the curtain and reach over for one or two small bags from behind your anti-kid riot shield, I say. If you reveal the whole sackful at once, all those skeletons, cats, witches, ghouls, fiends and monsters DO NOT GO AWAY. They linger in the driveway, wailing like banshees, and texting like crazy, and before you know it, half the 5-11 year-old population of the country is banging on your front door with a lust for your wares to rival a flock of hungry swans descending on a picnic.

Next year, I’m going the whole hog with the horror theme and putting the little bastards to the sword...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en

unhappy, if you happen to be a blood-sucking ghoul with a penchant for human flesh (and weird taste in clothes).

On a lighter note, I'm happy to report that my cerebellum is no longer functioning with the synapse-pumping power of one of these babies:

Might actually get some work done today, so watch that ole WIPometer.

Meanwhle, enjoy your fiending...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Maybe I Should Wear Me Some Bear...

Sometime in June, I reckon July, August, September and October got together to discuss the future like cross-dressers relishing the luxury of a pantomime.

August: Why don’t I take October this year?
October : Great! And July can have September!

Now the summer’s over, the time has come to recalibrate the central heating in readiness for the chills of November. Assuming we don’t get December. Or January.

As ever, I’ve been way too enthusiastic with my anti-cold tactics, whizzing every dial up to max just in case the water pipes freeze or passing mammoths demand somewhere warm to thaw their mighty trunks.

So, instead of rising this morning with a spring in my step to rival a gazelle pumped full of amphetamines, I slithered from under the duvet having performed a 180 degree turn inside my own skin like a boil-in-the-bag ready meal. As I sit to type, my skin has the consistency of gravy licked by a slavering St Bernard, my head feels fuzzier than Sean Connery’s blow-dried chest, and I swear, if I’m called upon to do anything difficult today, I’m guaranteed to do it badly.

So, so glad I’m not a heart surgeon.

Or a wasp.

Today, I’d make a crap wasp...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Helmet Deal (Part 1)

It’s funny how things turn out.

My recent excursion to Hastings/Boulogne wasn’t terribly exciting in terms of hot Norman-on-Tourist action — though the weather was warm enough to melt a Cornetto and I did manage to insult a couple of anti-Darwin campaigners dressed up as gorillas.

Lucky, then, that I invited you (my glorious readers) to prod me in some sort of direction for this blog post. A pre-emptive strike muchly worthwhile in retrospect.

Sadly, cats and phallic vegetables didn’t thrust themselves upon my attention in sufficient numbers to warrant much of a mention (OK — the courgette team won 3-0), but I think I have everything else.

As it happened, we weren’t in Hastings itself, but next door, in Rye. For those of you who have never been, Rye is a small picturesque village whose streets exude Englishness like Britney oozes kickability. We saw lots of Japanese tourists scooping it from the gutter and drizzling it over their heads till cries of “tally ho” burst from their lips and they sped off to hunt a fox.

Down by the quayside there were more antique shops than you could shake a genuine Victorian shooting stick at, so Famille Whirl headed inside to look for bargains.

I love these places.

Filled with spoons you haven’t seen since you were three years old, odd rusty implements (purpose unknown), armless mannequins, saucers from long-since-shattered tea sets and brazen displays of golliwogs — all hung/perched in a perfectly random tangle, waiting to be upended by your elbow (or offspring). The best part is playing the game of Find The Shopkeeper. Is he behind that pile of Dandy annuals stacked on the Egyptian sarcophagus? Under the picture of the dogs playing snooker? Or is he the woman you mistook for a cushion who is now taking £20 off an old bloke for a tin whistle that doesn’t work?

Anyhow, that’s when I saw them, the helmets.

First these...

And then this one...

Having accidentally sat on the proprietor (and muttered, ‘ghastly, ghastly fabric’) I knew I’d robbed myself of the opportunity to try on any number of these magnificent bonce-cladders, and I had to wait till we dropped in at Bodiam Castle to avail myself of further photo opportunities. As ruined castles go, Bodiam is remarkably intact, and we explored its battlements and turrets like small fleas on a castle-shaped dog — only with a less incredible size:leaping distance ratio (and no innate ability to lay eggs).

Our long slog round the castle's crumbling interior was rewarded with a National Trust gift shop, complete with ice creams, Knit Your Own Family Tree sets and a lacklustre Morris dancing troupe whose pedestrian routine only became interesting when a lone wasp took a fancy to their handkerchiefs.

Inside the shop, I found this!

And within seconds, all manner of fantasy scenarios presented themselves, from the rescue of a damsel in distress... mortal combat with an evil knight clad in the mangled remains of two articulated lorries, and his fire-breathing credit-crunch-discounted dragon pets...

...and a BAT!!

I’d love to say that I battled fastidiously with all the foul beasts the National Trust could sling at me, hacking to death every 300 Piece Jigsaw Of A Horse, Interesting Pot Of Yorkshire Marmalade and Tartan-Style Beard Warmer that came marauding my way, but the woman behind the counter put paid to my adventures with a wearily dismissive incantation that robbed me of my strength
“Oi, pack mucking about you grett apoth.”

Drained of all my incredible superpowers, I hopped aboard a Eurotunnel shuttle bound for Calais, fearful of what grim fate awaited me...

(To be continued...)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Verily, It Slasheth It Down...

The rain in Spain may fall mainly on the plain, but in England, it seems, it hides away for six weeks behind serial panoramas of bright sunshine, and then, on the day before I set sail for Much-needed Weekend Break Land, bursts from the heavens like a dirty old man’s penis protruding from the flaps of his shabby overcoat.

Thanks to your suggestion in the previous comments trail, I am, however, prepared.

See you next week...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nudge My Creative Nodules; Tease Them, Please Them, Do...

I’m away next weekend — a short trip to Hastings and Boulogne to recreate the magic and mystery of 1066 (and stock up for Christmas at Auchan) — and, rather than simply turn up, have something happen , and then return to Blighty to write an amusing retrospective blog post, I thought I might do something of a pre-emptive strike (in the style of George Bush dealing with people he didn’t much care for) and invite YOU, my wonderful readers, to POINT ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

What shall I go looking for?

What sort of things shall I photograph?

What ferocity of mule shall I clamber atop as I shake my booty in the All Kent Big Butt Mama Mule Rodeo Sweepstake, dressed as a woman?

This is not so much a competition as a complete and utter waste of time, and I shall bear all/none of your suggestions in mind, depending on how inspiring I find them.

Let me be your eyes and ears; your nostrils, tongue and liver.

And yes, I’m open to poetry.

I promise to deliver...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Forget Yer Tsunamis And Yer Hurricanes — This Is An Emergency!!!

You know that tedious moment when you pull a bundle of warm clean laundry from the tumble dryer and begin separating out the things to be ironed from the hotch-potch of stray underwear?
And you bundle up the socks, one-two, one-two, one-two?

And you come across a lone slip of hose, tucked away at the bottom of the pile like a lost (and floppy) boomerang?

And you can’t find the matching sock anywhere?


Sock Down! Sock Down!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

There's An Englishman, A Scotsman And An Irishman — 3,973 Camels And A Masseuse 6

‘What did the big chimney say to the little chimney?’

‘Ha — I know this one! You’re too young to smoke.’

‘Fast forward a little.’


‘Everyone’s heard the joke right at the start, but later on is when it gets really interesting.’

‘Interesting? Aren’t jokes supposed to be funny?’

‘Hey, this is about smoking. Not a laughing matter. Thousands of people die from smoking-related illnesses every year.’

‘So why the chimneys?’

‘It’s just an illustration. They’re characters. Helps to get the kids onboard, you know, like Ronald McDonald.’

‘Do you mean the Ronald McDonald who lives down my street who’s kind to old ladies and never has a bad word to say about anyone, or the Ronald McDonald whose fatty, salty, processed garbage has contributed to the biggest rise in clinical obesity since—’

‘Okay. Bad example. What about Batman?’

‘What about Batman?’

‘He doesn’t smoke.’

‘You don’t know that for sure. If he’s clever enough to conceal the Bat Cave from the whole of Gotham City, he’s got to be capable of sneaking a crafty fag in the Bat Closet, surely?’

‘And this is the Bat Closet from which comic or movie, exactly?’

‘You’re missing the point.’

‘I don’t think so. You’re saying Batman is a smoker, right? So prove it.’

‘OK. In issue number...657 — the one from the late 70s where he’s against...the Joker...and...I dunno...the Pelican! — he ducks behind a wall on page five just as Robin finishes off some hoodlums in his fey trunks.’


‘That’s when he has one. A Winston.’

‘So where’s the closet? You’re telling me his secret smoking closet was right there behind the wall? Ha! Even if this was a pre-planned ambush on the part of the caped crusaders, I find that hard to believe. Surely Robin would have spotted it? “The Bat Closet: Robin KEEP OUT”?’

‘Robin, if I may remind you, is not the most astute of sidekicks. He probably mistook it for a shed.’

‘OK, you win on the cerebral prowess of the boy wonder. But a shed? In a Gotham City alleyway?’

‘Now you’re jumping to conclusions. I never said what was behind the wall did I? Could have been the Pelican’s back garden—’

‘Ha! In which case, how did Batman erect his shed-like closet without being spotted, huh? If it came as a kit, it would have taken him ages to put up; all those nails, and all that hammering. And if it was a prefabricated structure, he’d have needed a crane. Not the easiest thing to sneak into your arch-enemy’s back garden, is it? So how did he do it?’

‘He’s Batman, dummy.’

‘You said. But that doesn’t make the Hulk an opera singer. I know Batman’s got a utility belt, but that’s doesn’t make him superhuman.’

‘He was in league with The Riddler when he did it.’


‘Exactly. The Riddler. Maestro supreme of the perplexing conundrum. God knows how he did it, but he did.’

‘Batman? In league with The Riddler? Waitaminute...’

‘Have you read issue...482?’

‘You said six hundred and something!’

‘It was a reprint.’

‘Okay...okay — but having a concealed closet in the Pelican’s back garden doesn’t make Batman a smoker!’

‘His life’s a wreck, remember?’

‘So’s mine. But that’s no reason to blast off twenty a day just to get by. Or thirty, if I’m stressed.’

‘Hang on. Is that whisky I can smell on your breath?’

‘Georgio Armani, actually.’


‘And I was only joking.’

‘Fine. Can we get back to the two chimneys? I’m keen to go home and slash my wrists.’

‘Okay. So you get the joke at the start?’

‘Big chimney. Little chimney. Yeah. Hilarious.’

‘So, then the little chimney asks the big chimney why it’s too young to smoke—’

‘Spare me the line-by-line account. Cut to the chase.’

‘Okay, so as the big chimney is lying there in a pool of blood—’

‘What pool of blood?’

‘I’m cutting to the chase. Like you asked.’


‘So, he’s just coughed his lungs up, right? But he still manages to speak—’

‘Because he’s a talking chimney — a concept no more ludicrous, folks, than a closet—’

‘Shut it. He’s trying to make a point about the susceptibility of childrens’ lungs to the evils of nicotine. It’s a passioned plea, delivered as he’s literally choking to death. In the end, the kid sees sense, and saves the big guy’s life by performing an emergency tracheotomy with a biro. It’s a testament to the wisdom of mankind; a triumph of reason over habit, and all you’ve done is trivialise it.’

‘I trivialised talking chimneys?’

‘Yeah, that’s right. Ronald McDonald, remember? It’s a gruesome, hard-hitting message — all this lung cancer, emphysema and shit — and sometimes the world of metaphor reaches out to people more readily than brute reality.’

World of Metaphor? Is that a theme park?’

‘Get lost.’

Friday, October 2, 2009

Spooked By The Devil's Knickers

Why has the hoover broken? It’s Friday. I need it to work.

Whirl collapses in the armchair, clutching at his pinny like a maiden in distress. A maiden imprisoned in some lonely tower. By a ferocious dragon.

Geoff has been moulting all Summer, and every day, my living room carpet has needed two or three decent vacuums to prevent the whole household choking to death on furballs. And Son of Whirl, with his digestive biscuits and no plate has contributed to this sorry scene in his own inimitable way, dropping crumbs onto the carpet’s furry surface like a Lancaster bomber full of glue-sniffing teens with ASBOs.

Whirl waves his feather duster at the hoover like a wand. Pleads with it.
‘Useless object! A lame 70s cop show knows more about suction than you, you Champion of The Crap!’
‘Not my fault,’ the hoover says with a wheeze. ‘You never clean out my filter.’
‘What the hell are you talking about?’
The hoover turns in a circle on its tiny wheels and points to a small flap on its side with a finger-like loop of its flex. ‘In here, stupid. It’s like a sponge, only thinner. You take it out and wash it in the sink, like pants. Probably black as burnt toast by now...’
Whirl leaps up. ‘I do NOT wash my pants in the sink!’
‘Somebody does,’ the hoover says, wryly.
Holding the hoover at dusterpoint, Whirl wheels the wretched thing into the washroom, and there, on the drainer — My God! — a pair of neon blue skimpies that would shame a Soho prostitute. A Goldilocks and the Three Bears moment ensues as Whirl inspects the lewd motif on the gusset.
‘Too small for me,’ he mutters, ‘And too big for Girly of Whirly. And Son of Whirl may be stupid, but even he wouldn’t be seen dead in these.’
‘You had the mother-in-law round for dinner last Sunday,’ ventures the hoover.

So now, one emergency has blossomed into another. What began as a small maintenance nightmare has swelled, like a rat inflated with a bike pump by a cruel and wicked child, into a scenario with the direst of implications. In less than two days time, I have to walk my family into the jaws of Lingerie Death, there to eat a full Sunday Roast (and possibly a Walls Viennetta if Son-of-Whirl has done all his homework). Mother of Girly of Whirly is closet now — but what if she outs herself? Leaps onto the table between the spuds and the cruet and tears off her slacks to reveal an immodest thong? With lights? And a picture of Clint Eastwood from Dirty Harry?

If I suddenly go quiet on you all, it means the worst has happened...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Undulatory 'n' Celebratory

The 200th post is done and dusted, and with it, the associated prize draw.

I’m pleased to announce that the first name to be drawn out of the official Abysswinksback beret was...

[insert sound of bugles, 140dB grunge riff, massed didgeridoo grunts — or some other fanfare of your choice]


So — the crappest of crap crap crap crap crap prizes will be winging its way to you as soon as I can find an unmothballed Post Office.

In the meantime, here’s the poetic tribute you somehow managed to wheedle out of me...

Oh Oh Oh, It’s Scarlet*

Far from ginger,
oozing smut —
of alors, zut.

Ever may your
vistae twinkle
and your Smeg
all things enpinkle.

* Whatever happened to Pilot? Or Sailor? Or Smokie? Actually, I do know what happened to Smokie — a few years ago they released a Christmas album which I foolishly own. It’s vileness could shame a Lovecraftian demonspawn.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mr Do Something

I don’t know what the rules are for walking down the street with your dog. All I know is, some people break them.

As you may be aware, I’m an ardent perambulator, and can typically be found wandering up and down the street for no good reason, simply to perambulate. When I’m not bumping into One-arm Barry every five minutes, there are plenty of other people who brighten my day as they gad around my tiny corner of the planet inadvertently proffering the best and worst of their accumulated habits, characteristics and weird noses before me like gifts bundled free with my precious mortality.

From The Mock Rick Wakeman to Leggy Watson to Mrs Waiting To Be 47, I have a cast of thousands ready to leap out at me from their semis and entertain me with their gay wherewithal.

Mr Do Something, however, is in a class of his own. Ruddy cheeked like he grew up in a freezing cold farmhouse, and slight of frame like said farmhouse had no animals or crops and was 25 miles from the nearest supermarket, Mr Do Something is a treat to behold. I normally encounter him walking his overenthusiastic sheepdog in the lane where Maurice lurks. Maybe they have a thing going, I don’t know. You never can tell with Maurice.

Anyhow, the point is that although I don’t know Mr Do Something’s name (because, yes, that’s not actually his name), we’ve passed each other often enough to cotton on that we’re both

a) locals
b) not assassins
c) conscious

so the option of passing each other by without any sign of acknowledgement is a no-no. The neighbours would talk. Then they would form a lynch mob. Then they would most surely beat us.

So what happens when he comes round the corner with his dog? And we look up to see one another over a 20 foot expanse of tarmac, knowing that we must pass and have some sort of inane conversation? Or a loaded nod?

There’s a frisson to this, sometimes, isn’t there? When to nod, or when to say hello — and the whole sorry business of varying the peurile nonsense you said last time.

‘Nice out.’
‘Yes, it is.’

‘Decent weather.’

‘I can’t wait to find out what Santa is bringing me this Christmas.’
‘Rubber liederhosen, if I know you...’

Okay, so I made up the last example. But you get the point.

The rules for this (as far as I can see) are Apprehension-Perambulation-Greeting. But Mr Do Something can’t help himself. He has to do something between the Apprehension and Perambulation stages, like he can’t bear the long wait till the Greeting. So we’ll encounter each other between a couple of modest front gardens, and the moment he sees me, he’ll start whistling — not a tune or anything sophisticated; just a few notes of twiddle to cover himself till one of us nods or says hello. Or maybe he’ll call to his dog, or fiddle with his belt, or cough, or adjust his hat, or pretend to be looking somewhere, or do up his coat, or take something out of his pocket and look at it, or cough again, or anything anything anything that’s something; and though I’m a pleasant and respectable person not given to random acts of violence in the street, sometimes I just want to grab hold of him and shake him till his bones either fall apart or fuse together and shout, ‘for fuck’s sake, mate, why can’t you just walk down the street normally and simply say hello or nod? Why the hell do you have to engage in this extra, unwanted, supplementary activity that serves no purpose other than to annoy me? Why do you have to DO SOMETHING???!!!

Maybe, if we both moved to Italy, with its passion, romance and pasta, I’d be allowed to savage him with an uncooked linguine birch, but hey, this is England.


The competition announced in the previous post is now closed. I'l be alerting the lucky winner shortly.

Note 2

I'm pleased to reveal that it's now possible to locate this blog on Google by typing in "extract semen from goat"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The 200th Post Of Joy And Wonder (Includes Prizes)

Stalwart enthusiasts of this blog (and yes, I hear you chanting my name in my dreams as I tango with Morpheus’ hamsters), will remember that I ran a quiz for my 100th post.

A quiz with prizes.

This time round, the deal is similar, only without the quiz. And before you start foaming at the mouth wondering what wondrous treat I have lined up for you in place of a quiz, I have to confess that I’ve got my hands full this weekend with (metaphor alert) a multitude of juggling balls which I am struggling to keep in the air in an entertainingly polyparabolic way (simile alert) like the seat of the unicycle I’m riding has morphed into a rhino’s horn. So, no abyss-goer fodder this time round.*

Yes, I am that awful party host who lays on no food, no drinks, no nibblies, yet still has the audacity to demand everyone come in fancy dress.

So here’s the deal. Quick, simple — like having your ears syringed by Mike Tyson.

To be eligible for an unspecified crap crap crap crap crap prize, simply check into the comments to register a cheery hello. The only stipulation (and what a shame it is that this word came to mean ‘stipulation’. Could have been much better deployed as a medical complaint, like putting your hip out; or a word for describing that thing ants do to each other with their antennae as they’re raiding your larder for globules of damson jelly) is that you must include the word UNDULATE in your comment. No need to incorporate it into a witty sentence (though you know I want it, aaaaah, I want it baby). Just leave it dangling if need be. Dangling like a sloth.

This opportunity to fulfil your potential as a waste of cyberspace will remain open until the next post appears, whereupon I will select a winner by drawing names from a hat. De-lurkers get two tries. Previous prize winners may be treated to something especially crap if they get lucky again.

Meanwhile — have a fun weekend.

* And no hotline.