Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hodge Me No Podge

Recalling, once again, that this is supposed to be a
writing site, and not a spurious hodge-podge of posts about cats, socks, primates, cats + socks + primates, death, foliage, veiled pleas for free wrinkle cream samples, plans to replace Bill gates with a life-size rubber replica operated by Windows Vista (Speccy Humanoid Edition), ventriloquising woofs onto dogs that can’t bark, late nite woodland sex romps between warring factions of Sioux truckers, the flibbety wibbety flap of skin between your top lip and maxilla that gets blobs of squidgy bread stuck to either side of it whenever you eat a cheese and pickle sandwich, devices for measuring the amount of static generated by Batman slipping on his costume, the moment in Deliverance when Burt Reynolds and his three hapless mates paddle their canoe under the bridge with the crusty looking banjo kid on it, mustache braiding techniques, wasps, hovercraft, nipple-powered telekinesis, score sheets for Wobbchester Obvious, fizzy drinks, leather teddy bears, stick insect meccano, terrapin egg-laying footage, random grunting, the creatures living on Robert Plant, I...I...can’t remember what I was talking about.

OK — I’ll try again tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

On The Couch With Sock Monkey

SM: So, tell me about it.

WO: Dunno. I think I’m losing the plot.

SM: Your life is a novel?

WO: Not sure.

SM: A film?

WO: Maybe.

SM: And does it have an ending?

WO: Don’t be so morbid.

SM: No, I mean, do you have any dreams for the future?

WO: I wouldn’t mind another hamster.

SM : I was thinking, more like BIG dreams.

WO: A BIG hamster? I could save the world. Or destroy it.

SM: I think I see where this is going now. Let me just consult my library...

WO: “Megalomania”? Isn’t that in Spain?

SM: Hey, when you’re in the mood, it can be anywhere baby. So tell me, which of these hamsters do you like best?

WO: They’re hamsters?

SM: Yes.

WO: So why are they dressed like that?

SM: In analysis, we call them ‘types’.

WO: But why the hamsters? Why not just go with the types?

SM: You bought it up.

WO: But it’s your damn book.

SM: Just answer the question.

WO: Okay, if I had to pick one...

SM: Which you do.

WO: Watch it, buster. I’m the one who’s paying here.

SM: Said the potential megalomaniac.

WO: Ah! That’s it.

SM: Which one?

WO: Spain.

SM: No, which hamster, stupid.

WO: Number three.

SM: Three. The magic number. I see.

WO: So now you’re telling me it isn’t about types either. Are you making this up as you go along?

SM: Ssssh. I’m interpreting...

WO: You’re an anus...

SM: To tell you the truth, what I think is—

WO: Yipes! What was that?

SM: My Proboscis Monkey Buzzer. Time’s up.

WO: Already?

SM: That’s how it works.

WO: Like a cliffhanger.

SM: Like your unresolved problem. Same time next week?

WO: I suppose.

SM: We’ll continue then, then.

WO: You just said ‘then’ twice.

SM: You can take the Fess Up Hat off now Mr Ochre...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Life, Abundant Spray

In the weeks following my Dad’s death, we had so many bouquets and sprays dotted around the place, the whole house smelled of piss. Sounds horrid, I know, and maybe it’s just me with my sensitive nose, but there’s definitely a critical mass for all things floral. One minute, everything smells of roses (groan), but one emergent bud later, the scent of the world becomes distinctly urine-like. I can’t walk past sweet peas without wondering what foul creature has squirted the contents of its bladder closeby.

But I digress. This isn’t a post about my nose. Or even piss. You may dab the sweat from your brow and remove your head from the oven.

So: flowers. All around. And, being mortal like my Dad, one by one they withered, and got rearranged into ever smaller bunches until the last bare stems were thrown to the worms (to whom I shall return in a later post. All you need to know for now is that they ate Conan).

Apart from one bizarre specimen.

It’s a leaf rather than a flower. Purely decorative (in a bouquet of decorative flowers, I know), it looked like a scale from an elven emperor’s armour and I popped it in a jug of water in the study, expecting it to brown along with everything else. But as I snook downstairs this morning to silence Geoff’s incessant meaowing (with cat food, note — not a brick), it occurred to me that, ten weeks on, it’s still there.

Given all the rot that was written about this year at the end of the last, this both amuses and pleases me.

And — not a whiff of wee wee.

Apologies for the darkness of the picture. It was taken in England.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

EE Is 3

My diary entry for April 23rd 2006 reads:

Had a premonition over breakfast this morning. Just slid from between a couple of sausages. As I prodded it with my fork, a dark figure rose from the smoke. Nothing ethereal: I always burn breakfast.

‘Who...what are you,’ I said, careful to cover all bases.

‘I am the inseminator of your creative mind! The needle to lance the boil of your hubris! The beautiful sci-fi heroine and star of a thousand fitness DVDs — no, wait, that's Jane Fonda.'

‘So...what do you want?’

‘A comb, if you have one.’

As premonitions go, it was pretty vague. No visions as such, no predictions. Whatever...whoever it was, he just fixed his hair in the mirror, muttering about going live in a few minutes. And then, like Kevin Spacey’s humility after he’d won one too many awards, he was gone.

I thought about that day long and hard, through 2006 and 2007, removing likely culprits from my list as I went. Clearly not Santa, and too bold for the ghost of Yul Brynner — and definitely more evil than Sacha Baron Cohen.

When I finally found Evil Editor’s blog, I realised by which benevolent spectre I had been visited, and though he never returned my comb, I still log on daily to follow his nefarious exploits.

I’m guessing everyone who drops by here knows what a incomparable force for evil he is, but if you don’t and you think you can write, blow out his candles with your mouse and get over there before you waste another second in limbo.

The 3rd Anniversary celebrations begin here.

And continue at Book Roast here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Old Enough To Be A Grandparent, Too Young To Blight The Globe With Arch-Lich Devilry...

And so, my marketing demographic transforms. Goodbye Friends DVDs and invitations to suck Liam Gallagher live on stage. Hello incontinence pants and discount fonts on headstones.

Oddly enough, for someone who cried over a curry when he hit thirty (the vanity of youth — appalling!), I’m surprisingly even-tempered about this current installment in my steady slide towards decay.

As ever, life could be better in a variety of large and small ways, but equally, it could be much worse. And having outlived Elvis, Hendrix and Jim Morrison, I might actually have something to say about life’s passage other than “I disappeared up it, then died.”

So how do I feel? And more to the point, am I still able to function without the aid of a rocksteady factotum?

All I know is that right now, I have a beaming smile on my face that could pass for a couple of leaping whales viewed through a Neptunian viz-o-scope (though you’d have to get the angle just right — which is tricky if your body temperature is capable of melting diamonds). What can I say? The sun is out, the Pelforth Brune is chilling and I’m blessed with the best bunch of blog visitors on the net. Who could fail to be glad?

More fundamentally,* I still have all of my teeth and most of my hair, and I don’t have three of what ought to be a pair or none of the necessarily singular. My skin isn’t too far past the baby’s bottom stage in terms of silky softness (apart from my armpits, which is just as well, or I’d be seriously weird) and despite the odd fleck of grey and a few unsightly nasal buboes from which my lungs are wont to swing like bloodied bagpipes whenever my oxygen allergy kicks in, I can’t complain. On balance, I’m managing considerably better than Shane McGowan.

Time to go. Sounds like Son of Whirl is about to rise early from his heap of cuddlies to festoon me with crap gifts...

* baby

Monday, April 20, 2009

Curse The Six-legged And Carapaced Of This World

Ants have invaded my laptop. They mock me from the USB port with their weedy antennae, clutching bottles of Newcastle Brown and Wii remotes.

Should I risk electrocution or loss of data by plucking them out with tweezers? Or go straight for the jugular and crack out the cyclonic hoover?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Slirrupuccio (Au Jelly)

I’ve just this minute slirruped a whole sachet of Prime Beef Chunks in Jelly into Geoff’s breakfast bowl like an oiled Michael Phelps sluicing from his lycra one-piece.

This I do because I love her, and have no desire to see her wither away for want of beef.* Nonetheless, I must confess to harbouring one small base motive.

I’d promised myself an extra ten minutes in bed this morning to float about on the kind of fluffy clouds posh airlines hang outside the plane whenever they fly over Wolverhampton, but sadly, Geoff pounced on me at crack of dawn and bounded up and down on my head for an hour till I rolled over and caved in to her demands. If I hadn’t fed her, I‘d have strangled her.

Anyhow, back to my main point. Jelly. Yes.

As I stood over her, watching her chomp (and you must know, I was sorely tempted) I couldn’t help noticing she was ignoring every last chunk of beef** and concentrating solely on guzzling the jelly. The manufacturers always talk up the meat in their glossy (and overly populated by hideous Siamese) adverts, but clearly, all these choice lumps of gristle and flesh aren’t the main event for Geoff, and from what I can gather,*** this is the case for most cats. It could be that in the current climate of enforced fiscal prudence (folks), I may just have found a way of saving the world economy a few bob. Ditch the meat in cat food and simply serve them jelly.

Then it occurred to me. Maybe I’ve discovered a paradigm for universal revival. Maybe jelly is the solution for everything. All those issues in our lives we don’t want. All those things we dearly need but can’t have. Why not replace them all with cheery inexpensive jelly? After all, Geoff isn’t alone in the mammalian world.**** Wasn’t the best thing about kid’s parties the moment when the half-eaten egg and cress sandwiches were cleared away to make room for the lashings of Rowntree’s jelly?

So, help me out here. How would your life be changed for the better if some or all of the things in it were replaced by jelly?

At very least, you could come out from behind the sofa for the mad axeman scene in The Shining...

* Cats hunt cattle in the wild, you know.

** Most curious — out on the range, they hunt in packs, like lions.

*** Intermittent telepathic link. I’ll tell you about it another time.

**** I realise this may not be the case for certain marsupial visitors — but that’s your own fault for messing with evolution.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Angels Do Wazz Upon Us, As If Through A Heavenly Colander

Not a good week for people with seasonal affective disorder, this — nor peanut allergies, I suspect. Personally, I don’t suffer from this dubious malady, and even if I did, I wouldn’t leave it till the middle of April to exhaust myself pondering whether the grey clouds in my head resulted from their counterparts in the heavens or vice versa. I’d get stuck right into the misery in the middle of winter. Or maybe just

I think the trouble with the weather here in the UK at the moment (and my heart goes out to Robin, Sylvia and Pete, all of whom are visiting the Land of Perpetual Shitting It Down this weekend) is that it’s particularly dire at a time when it ought to be particularly good, and there is a sense that we’re all being cheated — like coming across a free MP3 website only to discover that the free MP3s in question are limited to Black Lace, Gary Glitter and a selection of silicon-enhanced Tina Charles lookalikes. The start of February can be as chilly and rainy as it likes — that’s what it’s supposed to be like and I simply don’t care. But April? Grey for a run of three days is bad enough, but a whole fortnight is taking the piss.

Ah. Good news for the transatlantic trio is that the Sara Blizzard barometer swinging above my monitor like a meteorological Tarzan indicates much better weather ahead for the weekend, including sunshine and showers. No information about peanuts, however. Must fix that feature...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ferret Watch

It’s not every day that Son of Whirl comes running into the study as I’m massaging my pecs with a rolling pin and cries, ‘Dad! Dad! Come quick! There’s a ferret in the garden!’

With only swimming goggles, Wellington boots, gardening gloves and a sou wester to protect me, I dashed — nay, was pushed — onto the lawn to “sort it out.”

Maybe I was expecting a stoat, or something weasely-dragony-deadly, with huge fangs, sharp claws and an up-yer-trouser-leg whoosh to rival Graham Norton on a blind date.

What I discovered was that ferrets are actually quite cute. At least, this one was. It looked like a miniature albino badger that had been stretched by a couple of wrestlers, and when I found it rolling around in the fresh compost by the potting shed, several things were immediately clear:

1) It was cu-uuuute.
2) It had no intention of running away, launching a ferocious attack on anyone or doing anything other than looking cu-uuuute.
3) The sou waster was an overkill.

The RSPCA couldn’t collect it till this morning, so we got to have a ferret in our greenhouse for the night, safely tucked away in Geoff’s travelling cat basket.

Did she like this?

She did not.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Award Of Glyphing

Looks like some of the visitors to this blog have bestowed me with a couple of awards. I’d swing Sock Monkey round my head in celebration but sadly, Geoff has added him to the list of useful household items she’s taken away and hidden. So Girly of Whirly’s bra will have to do.*

First off is this one from Bevie and Writtenwyrdd...

And then there’s this from Freddie**...

I feel like I’ve not only had my cake and eaten it, but that a huge plum now inhabits my thumb. I could hitch a lift to Venus on the strength of this, and I’m tucking these awards away for posterity in my sidebar.

The second award, incidentally, comes complete with the following sentiment, which I certainly appreciate after this most bizarrely re-trodden of weeks. I was supposed to be celebrating a whole year of blogging — but maybe I can do that this week. Anyhow, the text...

This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY — nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.

Most of the visitors to this blog live a frightfully long way away and it’s unlikely that we will ever meet (unless an asteroid hits the earth, smashes it into a zillion tectonic plate shards, and spins us all off into space along mutually intersecting parabolae).

If it’s OK with everyone, I’m going to take a leaf out of Fairyhedgehog’s book (ouch) and forgo the meme aspect of both of these awards, mainly because the handful of people upon whom I might possibly bestow them probably have them already. And I hate choosing favourites — unless it’s pasta, beer, underpants, leaf tea, acrobatic mongeese, clocks, duvets, bullet ricochet sound effects, facial expressions of geese, hamsters, foxgloves, carpets, rollerball pens or cacti. And did I mention supermarket security guard uniforms?

Anyhow — the first part of my superhero story should post some time today over at The Legion of Online Superheroes, so do, please, jet over there in your capes and take a look around.

News just in via the comments trail is that I missed this one, from McKoala. Beats having your scrotum shredded with a pointy talon, I suppose...

* Shame she’s still wearing it.

** Let me know if you need a link here...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Day Grayson Slapper Helped Me Design My Kitchen

Saturday September 15th 2007 — a day I’ll never forget.

I’d travelled down South with some of the lads from The Ruptured Stallion to see Curvaceous Stilton take on Trudy Hair Warehouse Lads Brilliant.

As we took our seats, the crowd looked ready to rock like nits at an AC/DC gig, and from the moment the ref blew his whistle, we knew we were in for a treat.

Five minutes into the game, and I’d already consumed two hot dogs and downed a passion fruit smoothie. Game on.

Then, just as things were getting going, Davide Dix Entrees was brought down a couple of yards outside the Trudy Hair box. The physios ran onto the field with a stretcher, along with the Frenchman’s personal stripper, and began spraying him with muscle relaxant and cologne.

That’s when I spotted Slapper, edging over to a bunch of disabled kids clamouring for autographs. Precisely the same disabled kids whose seats we’d nicked.

‘Hey, Grayson,’ I cried, ‘over here, mate.’

Within a matter of seconds, I found myself face to face with one of the greatest centre forwards the world has ever known, and with trembling hands, plucked a rolled-up B&Q catalogue from the back pocket of my jeans, turned to the whitest available page and handed the big guy a biro.

‘You want me to sign a toilet?’ he remarked, his expression quizzical.

‘Yeah, sorry.’ I replied. ‘I’m planning my dream kitchen and it’s all I’ve got.’

‘You want to get your skates on,’ he said, inscribing SLAPPER on a slimline cistern. ‘Their sale ends in a couple of weeks. And have you seen the laminate offer on page fifty seven?’ I indicated no with the frankfurter poking from my gob. ‘Here we are, look,’ he said, flipping to the spot. ‘All of these are half price and come with free fitting. Are you looking for something with a marble effect? Wood? Or just a plain colour?’

‘Marble effect,’ I replied, chomping. ‘The missus wants a sort of Roman palace look.’

‘Aaaaaah,’ beamed Slapper, ‘then I know just the taps for you.’ Adjusting his shorts, he indicated a set of fixtures and fittings the wife and I had overlooked. ‘Order before next Friday and you could win a weekend away for three.’

‘Are they proper metal?’ I asked, ‘only some of the ones we looked at in MFI were plastic.’

‘Nah, mate. B&Q only use the best materials. Says here they’re an A grade stainless steel alloy sourced from Denmark. So you can’t go far wrong.’

I studied the pictures. Such a vast range. ‘Which one do you think...’

‘If it’s a Roman effect you’re after,’ replied Slapper with some confidence, ‘I’d go for these ones here. They’re a classic style, durable and clearly marked with shards of red and blue mosaic.’


‘Or you could try this Caesar and Brutus set. Christians and lions? Russell Crowe?’

‘Wow. They’re classy.’

‘Yeah, and they come with a ten year guarantee.’

As the crowd let out a huge roar, I brought up the calculator app on my mobile.

‘So...roughly eight feet of the laminate at twenty quid a foot times 50%—’

I dearly wanted to price up the whole kitchen and telephone an order there and then, but a loud whistle rang out from behind the mighty striker. Dix Entrees now sat cross legged glugging from a 25cl bottle of Pelforth Brune, and at the edge of the scrum gathered around him, some of the Trudy Hair lads were pushing the Stilton captain vigourously.

‘Listen mate,’ said Slapper, ‘I’d better get over there and hit someone.’ He dug his hand in the pocket of his shorts and pulled out a small card. ‘If you need a plumber, I seriously recommend this guy.’

Beaming with admiration, I watched him cross to the ensuing melee and lay out a couple of defenders. Tempted though I was with the taps, in the end, of course, I had to go with the wife’s original choice. Thanks to Slapper, however, I persuaded her to shell out an extra fifty quid on a Caligula towel rail embossed with images of Laurence Olivier and Tony Curtis. And I had the autograph blown up and made into a blind over the kitchen sink.

We lost the game that day, but whenever I replay footage of the brawl as I sit in my luxury Romanesque kitchen, I can’t help thinking that, in some small way, we won.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Casting Off Of Albatri 7

April 9 2009, 8.30pm

Sun gold glimmer on the window latch.

Opened into air
I watch
keys of chimneys
lock the sky.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cheer Up, You Miserable Bugger

What a fine week for melancholy this is turning out to be.

But before my brow furrows till theis vyle choler squeezeth from my ears, I have an announcement to brighten even the darkest corners of Jack Nicholson's heated swimming pool.

News just in is that the Legion of Online Superheroes is now live, which presumably means that mutant dinosaurs, disaffected shapeshifters and murderous villains with names like Walt Willy Winston Wayne Wahoo Wobbler Wilberforce Wankwonk are about to come screaming into the blogosphere to do battle with the forces of whimsy.

AbyssWinksBack Comix (I know — shoot me) is pleased to herald (pooooot) the arrival of a new superhero on the block. Even now, her ubercozzie sits waiting to be pressed before taking up its place in a wardrobe of unstably moleculed capes, leotards and armoured codpieces, all of which will no doubt shrink miraculously round the limbs of the uncanny over the next few weeks.

If it helps, I got the idea for this character over the weekend — ie before yesterday. Must be a theme...

light a candle in the darkness

Monday, April 6, 2009


Funny how things turn out.

1984, as you’re probably aware, was supposed to have ushered in a nightmare world of surveillance and street patrols of old men in flat caps.

Instead, we got George Bloody Michael and that other useless bastard singing Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. And Phil Collins to clear up the vomit.

Twenty five years on and the man from Google Street View has just let himself into my house to take a pee. So we’re all pals now.

Do I sound flippant and frivolous? Of course. It’s because I’m feeling sad today.

In spite of the wealth of information available “out there” it’s all too easy to miss out on important news. Not the earth-shattering stuff, like how Gordon Brown spends five minutes before Prime Minister’s Questions ironing his ears, but the news of one’s personal links with the world.

I now discover Adrian Mitchell is dead. His lips breathed their last three days before my Dad, as it turned out. December 2008 has a lot to answer for, say I — even though Son of Whirl bought me a killer Magic The Gathering deck and Girly of Whirly poured so much rum on the Christmas pudding, pirates turned up before the fire brigade.

In my student days, I worked with Adrian Mitchell on a collaborative theatre project in a primary school. The remit was exquisitely simple: spend five weeks getting to know a handful of kids, write stories, read stories, write poetry, read poetry, help the kids to put on a performance and round it all off with a theatrical spectacular in the college gardens culminating with a party with fizzy pop and jelly in a dance studio converted into a theme park.

Before the project began, I consumed a few of his earlier works and wondered how I was going to deal with this left-wing firebrand. As it turned out, I was moved by the strength of his compassion. Sure, he was angry — but he made it work for the common good. This, as history shows us, is one of our harder apeman tricks.

As you can see, the theatrical spectacular in the gardens was something of a washout.

Everyone in the photos is now half a century older, and I wonder what became of all those kids. They must be in their mid-thirties by now. I still have all the scrapbooks we made, all the silly drawings they did of me with my long hair and dressing gown, looking like some kind of Doctor Who That Never Was. Quite what prompted this sketch, however, I really have no idea...

Looks like today is going to be one of those when the past won’t go away — but in a good way. It makes me think of how much there is still left to do — up to and including the laundry. Is that really me, shielding myself from the cold in my purple cape? It seems like an age away since I took on the world with that particular mantle. From a writing perspective, though, there’s nary a fag paper between the slightly grizzled figure beating out these words on the computer and the manic fool sat cross-legged on the bed scribbling plays about superheroes and window cleaners onto a pad with a Platignum fountain pen. And sitting on a toilet pretending to be a woman...

A long post, I know. But I figure it’s going to be a long day. Time to break open the Joni Mitchell and slit my own throat. Actually, no — I’ve got a better idea...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Satan's Night Off

Ballad Of The Sorrowful Sock Monkey

Looks like Sock Monkey's constitution has taken a turn for the worse. It's a sad, sad day here at Whirl Towers.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Abysswinksback: The Annus Frivilis

Abysswinksback is celebrating its first birthday.

Please toss all cakes into the comments trail below.

The glut of celebratory posts commences on Saturday...