Monday, August 30, 2010

There's An Englishman, A Scotsman And An Irishman — 3,973 Camels And A Masseuse 8

“Why are pirates called pirates?”

“Is this a joke? Or a serious question?”

“It’s a joke.”

“Okay. But it’s kind of a serious question too, if you think about it.”

“It’s certainly a question. But serious? Are you serious?”

“Not about the pirate thing specifically. Just why — why call a teaspoon a teaspoon, for example? Why not call it a wazoogy?”

“Whoa. Too much going on at once there. A teaspoon is called a teaspoon because it’s a spoon for stirring tea. And it isn’t called a wazoogy, because that would just be stupid.”

“Point taken. But it’s only called a teaspoon because there’s such a thing called tea and such a thing called a spoon—”

“There’s probably more than just the one spoon.”

“Ha ha. My point is, why call tea tea and a spoon a spoon? Why not a waz and an oogy?”

“Because no-one would drink tea if it was called waz. And if Edward Lear had been forced to refer to a ‘runcible oogy’ in The Owl and the Pussycat, said animal combo would have ended up boogying by the light of the moon instead of dancing, which wouldn’t have rhymed, and in any case, the word boogy wasn’t available to Lear at the time.”

“True. But if the moon was instead called—”

“Don’t go there. And don’t — don’t — even think about messing with runcible.”

“You’re accusing me of messing with the runcibles? Hey, no-one messes with the runcibles.”

“Or pirates, if they’ve got any sense...”

“The pirates, of course. The pirates...”

“So can we get on with my joke now?”

“Okay. Fire away.”

“Why are pirates called pirates?”

“I don’t know, why are pirates called pirates?”

“Because they aaaaaaaaaaaaar

“And this is a joke?”

“It’s hilarious.”

“Okay, I’m going to pick you up on two things here. Firstly, it is not hilarious. A pirate is called a pirate because it just is? That would mean everything is hilarious. A spade is a spade — hahahahaha. A teaspoon is a teaspoon — whahahahahahaha. A wazoogy—”

“No,no, it’s not A pirate; it’s pirates, plural.”

“They’re funnier when there’s more than one of them? As in, here comes a pirate, out to kill me, haha — no wait a minute, there’s four of the bastards, why, I’m splitting my sides?”

“There has to be more than one pirate for the joke to work.”

“Crikey. If they ever graduate to changing light bulbs or squeezing themselves into a Mini, comedy’s had it.”

“Now you’re being facetious.”

“Okay, so how does it work then, this joke?”

“Because pirates are called pirates because they aaaaaaaaaaaaar.”

“Yes, but WHY aaaaaaaaaaaaar they? It’s a serious question. The whole of our language, our dialogue, our discourse, depends on the answer to this fundamental question.”

“Bugger you, then, Mr Serious Face. I might just as well have asked why ants are called ants.”

“So — why aaaaaaaaaaaaar they?”

“Because, like wazoogy, ‘pants’ would just be stupid.”

“‘Pants?’ Haha. Hahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahaha, that’s hilarious! Look, there’s a PANT crawling on my arm! Because I sat on a PANThill! Hahahahaha! And now I’ve got PANTs in my pants! Hahahahahahahhahah! That’s so funny! Hahahahahahahaha...”


Friday, August 27, 2010


I love it when the past frisbees into the present and zoinks your flaccid diaphragm with its glide-on-air spin.

This, distinct from all ground sucked from beneath your would-be footprints.

Which is, as I recall, how it was prior to the moment I heard this song.

“What song? What are you talking about?”

Sssssh, dialogetically untagged impatient complainer: I’ll get to that in a moment. And for goodness’ sake, take those ludicrous pantalons off. Somebody’s been at an old pair of chinos with scissors, intent on making you look a mug.

Briefly: I was 26 and almost a half, run ragged round a dim sargasso like a merman plucked of all his scales by some anti-crustacean tweezer fiend mistaking me for a cuttlefish. That’s right: run ragged like a merman.

And, yes, potentially irritated repeat phrase reader: by some anti-crustacean tweezer fiend mistaking me for a cuttlefish.

So now you’re thinking, but cuttlefish have no scales to pluck, at tweezerpoint of anti-crustacean hordes, or any other scale removing species/device.

“And the song! Don’t forget the song!”

Like I said, it’s coming. But I need to resolve the cuttlefish thing first.

Said undersea denizen was dressed up, for a Finding Nemo themed birthday party.

So: pretend scale tutu wrapped over budgerigar beak sharpening husk to-be. When you’ve a needle and thread, any act of transformation is possible.

“Thanks. Very much. For that explanation, neither requested nor needed. You promised music, flaccid diaphragms.”

Indeed I did, but I should point out that there were no cuttlefish in Finding Nemo — apart from the odd flagellate-on part. And certainly no mermaids. Which only shows how easy it is to be doubly wrong if you’re an anti-crustacean tweezer fiend.

“Very good — but I’m becoming impatient. 1989?”

Of course. Because this is a diary post, after all.

Where the past frisbees into the present and zoinks your flaccid diaphragm with its glide-on-air spin. Only my diaphragm wasn’t flaccid then, it was knotted.

And this song desheepshankulated my errant guts.

21 years on, it’s still about the future...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vlogahula, Vlog Vlogahula

Unable to decide whether to post some poetry, flash fiction or a vlog, I plumped for all three in one...

Jack Spratt could eat no fat.
So he bit the head off a starving cat.
Sucked the brain out just like that
In two and three quarter seconds flat.

"Wife," he cried,
"There's summat else inside this skull —
It looks like marmalade."

So she made a beeline
For the feline
Because it sounded
Most appealing.

"You're right Jack Spratt —
Inside this skull,
It's definitely marmalade.
And there's a slice of toast,
A cup of tea,
A great big waffle and a sausage sarny."

"Great!" said Jack,
"I'll have this toast and these two slices of bread.
You can have the waffle and the sausage
And we'll leave the cup of tea in the head —

It'll keep it warm, won't it?"

So they tucked in,
Using the legs as a knife and fork
And saving the tail for a spoon.
It felt like a bit of a party
So they blew the body up like a balloon.

"This balloon's going down,"
Said Jack with a frown.
"There must be a hole in it."

So he got his bike pump
And stuck it up the rump
And pumped for a whole minute.

"It's coming out the other end now," said his wife.
"I'll get the vacuum cleaner.
If you keep pumping I can stick it on blow
and we'll get the bugger up between us."

the cat exploded didn't it?

It's fur flew off out of the window
Like Bela Lugosi's pet bat.
The rest of it splatted on the ceiling and walls
Like the pattern on a sofa from Habitat.

But far from being angry
The Spratts were overjoyed.
"I won't have to decorate now," said Jack.
"And look!
This tooth has popped that massive boil on me back."

"That's great!" said his wife,
"And we can use this eyeball
To prop up the leg on the kitchen table.
I don't know what's attached to it
But you can keep your fags in it.
And won't this make a lovely little purse?"

"No it won't," said Jack.
"It's burst."

They tidied up their bits and bobs
And put them all away —
Some in tins marked 'Sunday Best',
The rest 'Membraney Day'.
And when the house was spick and span
They listened to the end of Terry Wogan
With the cold cup of tea
They'd rescued from its unfortunate host moggy.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rot The Casbah

Know that moment when you’re sat at your desk, wrestling with an unruly colonic vexatronic of punctuation, and everything wooden in a ten foot radius sprouts mushrooms, groans, and rots? When your monitor vapourizes like some laser-blasted asteroid, along with your skin, your hair? When your nostrils turn to dust, and unsightly mandibles of solid bone erupt from the sides of your cheeks to smother in a trice the exposed blowholes?

Of course you don’t.

For you, lucky reader, do not have to smell my son’s breath.*

* Unless it’s so bad, my lurker from Coventry has already choked on his own fleeing spirit.

I keep telling him, “son, you’ll never make it with the girls if you continue exuding odours that could shrivel any living creature in an instant.”

That’s when he does that doleful, doey-eyed thing kids sometimes do when they’ve figured out thanks to their history class that your 60s upbringing marks you out as a liberal softie incapable of wielding the rod. And he’ll say, “dad, why did you name me after the hottest celestial body in our solar system?”

Doey-eyes and flippancy: a lethal combination, and he knows it.

What he doesn’t know yet is how the “no rules” 60s ethic responsible for turning me into a lily-livered stick of floppy celery can overturn in an instant all the poncy new safeguards against child abuse enshrined in law by successions of governments — even those personally blessed by the bloody Queen.

Switching to Radiation Suit 2, I bundle my son into the bathroom by his ears. Whoops, no, sorry — ear. The other one tore off.

As he writhes in the basin, pinned down by a combination of brute parental anger and a soft-close toilet seat wrapped round his scrawny little neck, I hose him down with McCleans and Dettol; mouthwash, Ylang-Ylang shampoo.

Shards of grimy yellow plaque fly from his teeth like lapis lazuli prised from an ancient jewelled crown by ogres armed with tweezers. Clouds of bilious green fog hack into the air, as if the demon possessing his nasal assault anatomy is affording itself the luxury of one last fart before I break out the Toilet Duck.

Finally, the vapours subside, and with them, the foundations of four neighbouring houses and the once proud bust of the woman who regularly walks what up to a few moments ago was a dog.

I grab the mouthwash and the toothpaste, trace wild sigils in the air with the brush. “Twice a day from now on, Okay? I’ll even stand over you and do that grinning chimp thing you went crazy over when you were a toddler.”

He goes doey-eyed again, but this time no flippancy, no cheek. “Hey dad, that’s why I gave up brushing. The sight of you standing behind me, grinning like a monkey and waving your arms about was enough to put me off the whole personal hygiene thing for life. It was crazy bad and embarrassing, not crazy hey look at my crazy dad.”

Suddenly, I feel like the world’s worst parent. The world’s worst person. Ever.
All the justification I need for grounding him for a whole week...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pec Dobermann's Online Bookstore

Thanks to the commenters in this recent Trail d’Abyss, I’m alerted to a number of outstanding books c/o the recently launched Pec Dobermann’s Online Bookstore.


The Upper Bobbley Grammar School Companion To The Brain — Mr Duncan Wibberley
The brains of 1000 animals compared and contrasted using the author's own patented 'spaghetti maps’. Discover why the brain of a horse is bigger than that of a rabbit, why the brain of a St Bernard is somewhere in between the two, and why the brain of the author qualifies as a brain at all.
"Scientific to the point of being meaningless.” The Daily Mail

You Murder The Archbishop, I'll Pop My Buboes — Dicky Watts
Further irreverent historical romps from the author of "King Henry VIII, What An Old Bugger", "The Vikings Massaged Our Figures" and "William The Conqueror: Warrior, Leader, Screaming Transvestite".

The Beginner's Guide To Refrigerator Comparing — Mortimer Juxtaposie
An indispensable introduction to this fascinating new hobby. Compare your fridge to 150 classic models from 1951-2009. All the stats, all the wiring diagrams, all the multipack yoghurt placement options. A must for anyone for whom train spotting has ceased to be a challenge.

For business people, they have
You Are The Master, The Cosmos Is Your Slave — Conrad X. Poborsky
101 pro-active self-improvement techniques for stressed-out executives with no time to practice self- improvement techniques. Guaranteed to increase the gap between your bookends by three dynamite inches.

And for people who are slightly less busy, there's
1001 Things To Do With A Tube Of Glue On A Rainy Day — Stig Fast
"Unputdownable" The Daily Mirror

DIY buffs will no doubt enjoy
Home Snorkelling — Ely Froglike
Convert your bathtub into an amazing (yet compact) underwater paradise for less than £50. Includes free safety leaflet, luminous car window sticker and two realistic inflatable sharks (not to scale).

Talking of which, there's some great introductory kid's books for 25p each, including
* Harriet And Todd's First Pants
* Stavros The Amiable Goat
* Benjy The Bee Stings Grandma On Her Nose, Neck, Ears, Arms, Mouth, Stomach & Legs

Order all three NOW and you get a free copy of The Sylvia Plath Pop-Up Book (Hughes Machete Nightmare Murder Edition)

For sci-fi fans they have
Great Ex-Spock Dachshunds — Leonard Nimoy
The renowned alien actor recalls the lovable trio of sausage dogs that accompanied him on set every day during the filming of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

* * * BESTSELLERS * * *

I Fell In Love With A Gaelic Prankster — T.P. Hartbury
The finely-honed and riskily rumbustuous saga of an Egyptologist's daughter who enters into a passionate romance with a vacuum cleaner repair specialist from Ballyflippinbonkers before committing suicide on an ocean liner bound for the Orient.

Ripples Over Lake Superior — Aston Calibrese
A million-to-one collision between two jumbo jets full of American bodybuilders throws the 1978 Mr Universe Championships into turmoil. Another electrifying thriller from the author of Split Trunks.

Smart Horse — Jilly Ropey
The heart -wrenching tale of a blind skinless midget born into a family of sadistic salt merchants who finally escapes from his tormentors by undergoing plastic surgery and winning the Grand National.

The Mattress Salesman — Kenneth J. Petrol
Geriatric mattress stuffer, Albert Dalrimple, has his life turned upside down when a secret admirer finally reveals herself in the flesh after 62 years. It's true love at last — but sadly, she's a terrapin.

Diarrhoea Suzi VII: The Plume — Germaine Van Driver
A brutal multiple homicide sparks racial tension in the Bronx. Meanwhile, Suzi Dempster goes on yet another legendary ballistic buttock rampage, spraying all and sundry with the contents of her genetically modified intestinal tract.

The Shelf — Weston D. Guillarme
The final clue to a fiendish murder resides on a dusty shelf in the upstairs back-bedroom of a tumbledown Yorkshire cottage. Accompany Detective Kelvin Buttress on yet another testing house-to-house search — this time IN THE RAIN!

Jain Hair — Ram Swaroop Vidhyarti
Terrorists get more than they bargain for when a Buddhist heavy metal band foils their plot to nuke the Glastonbury festival.

* * * DEBUT TITLES * * *

Dwarf Eager — Pearl Labyrinth
#10 in the Mana House Fantasy Classics series, this Iliad-inspired epic tale follows a remarkable dwarven entrepreneur in his quest to bring cleanliness to the underworld.

Dwarf Eager studied the grimy faces of the orcs gathered before him. Soap would be quite hopeless, and a dunk in an underground river possibly more so — assuming he could even find such a body of water in this hellhole. No. It was time. He knew it. Time to crack open his tub of magic grease and clean up each and every last one of them.

The 10 Pints + 40 a Day Diet — Gruff Geezer
More survival secrets for the underclass from Lemmy’s outspoken ex-gimp.

Rawhide Days — Carvel Crackbottom
Follow the adventures of saddlesore Navaho rustler, Big Hank Weeping Butt, as he scours the Wild West for soothing anal medication and a pair of anti-chafe leather pants.

Intelligence Tests For Incontinent Paratroopers With No Sense Of Direction (And Acne) — E.Q. Piddle
Actually, I’m making this one up — but don’t tell me you weren’t fooled for a minute there.

The Gibbon Omen — Appercu Cowper
It’s the Omen. It’s gibbons. It’s scary.

The Inseminatrix — Francis Van der Klod
When the bodies of ten government ministers are found pumped full of custard and abandoned outside Tesco, Detective Chief Inspector Keanoonoo Reeves knows he must confront...The Missus.
Rex— Scrappy Longbottom
One postman’s crusade to murder the vicious pit bull terrier hellbent on ruining his trousers.
Felix Wankel: Inventor of the Rotary Engine, much-loved German closet bigamist, champion grower of sprouts — W.O.O. Hoo
Following in the tradition of Latitude comes this fantastically researched biography. Pulls no punches with the knob jokes.
Wangy the Mule — Barnaby Hottentot
Riding high on the success of his Hugo Hamster trilogy, Hottentot delivers the goods once again with this outstanding picture book for the under-2s.
Divided At Birth, Together For Life — Callum Nee
The reclusive Siamese twin brother of celebrity magician, Callum Num, spills the beans on the famous Great Teleportation Stunt.
And finally...

I'm indebted to Fairyhedgehog for this one — though why, I have no idea.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tan? I Can't Even Manage A Regular Pink!

As I sit before my rain-soaked living room window, trilling through the latest brochure from Pec Dobermann’s Online Bookstore (yes, it’s coming), I can’t help reminding myself that this is supposed to be August.

I should be romping around on a freshly cut lawn in a pair of Bermuda shorts, bat and ball in hand, oozing Factor 30 like a Sainsbury’s own brand beefburger oozes fat.

Right now, I’d even take a barbecue-ruining flash thunderstorm lasting a whole bloody hour.

So, hey, you bloody weather!

Why not go the whole hog with a monsoon of hailstones or an iceberg typhoon or an earthquake?

Okay, so that last one isn’t weather — but you would if you could, wouldn’t you, you fiend?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pseudonimbus Fluff Clouds

I’m so glad H.P. Lovecraft didn’t change his name to H.P. Bacon in order to curry flavour with the masses.

“You’ve got to read this story! There’s this huge octopoid demon creature, see, and he’s the embodiment of pure evil and—”

“Okay, okay, slow down. Who’s it by?”

“Some guy called H.P. Bacon...”

A lifelong career as a pulp fiction weirdo could have been squished overnight.

Ditto for the similarly unhappened Wardrobe Jagger, Stomach Di Caprio and The Doily Pistols.

As you may be aware, I’m resident in this online world of delights under a pseudonym, which I choose to be purely for reasons of temporary anonymity. It’s not that my real name is Thor Vagina, or anything similarly ludicrously embarrassing — and Thor, if you’re following as a lurker, and I’ve offended you, I’ll pay to have your name changed by deed poll to something more palatable like Ian, Vincent or Arey (or better still, send you a paper bag to wear over your head till the day your suffering ends).

Should circumstances arise when it is necessary for me to reveal my true identity, I can confirm that I will not be assuming another pen name. What I have is perfectly serviceable, and there are parts of it I truly like. Not bad for someone whose Mum nearly named him Dean Tracey, say I.

So what about you?

Do you plan to walk the line naked, or clad in the faux-show-pro* of almost onomatopoeic nomenclature?

* Got this off a Judoon...

Whatever the case — I’ll supply the debut novel titles of any suggested nom de plumees in a future post and design the cover for my favourite.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Pocket Hadron Collider

Remember clackers?

Those lethal duo-balls marketed at kids in the 70s?

That hospitalised hundreds, and left a trail of false teeth and removable cranial prosthetics in their wake?

Well, I have a pair, right here, right now. In my mind’s eye, at least.

From one string dangles a thumping big plot idea for my next project.

Next to it, an entirely different thumping big plot idea; a separate wodge of solid plastic nothingstuff.

Connecting the two is a slender slip of nylon twine, and in a moment, when I begin thrashing my hand in the air, those big ole balls of plot are going to SMACK SMACK SMACK against one another till I can smell the friction burns on every single collision-kissed particle of mutilation-friendly 70s chic...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Trillsome Pre-flash Whimsy

The open document stares from my monitor like a blank page with hidden eyes, a sheet of white pixels in a silver frame with wires dangling from the back near a potted cactus.

“If you won’t blow, I’ll suck,” the monitor says,

“That’s the hoover’s line,” I reply, “for when I can’t be bothered to do round the skirting board.”

“Well spotted. Let’s try again.” The monitor makes no attempt to cover up its embarrassment — monitors feel no embarrassment, they are robots. “Very well. If you won’t create, I’ll suck you into my vacuous sargasso of dpis; force you to pound at keys till you to intrude your imprisoned psyche on the bleak white limbo—”

I cough — an interrupty don’t-actually-need-the-Tixylixy kind of cough that says, “sorry to butt in, but you’re back on that whole suction thing again. Is there something going on between you and the hoover I don’t know about?” Then I actually say it — because suggestive coughs mean little to electrical appliances, even those positioned close to cacti.

“The hoover and I are as chalk and cheese to a wok and an underwatered hydrangea. It’s the toaster anyhow. What a hunk, what a hot rod, what a lover.”

I do that thing NLP practitioners call the Bruce Forsyth Cogitate Aloud Hands To Chin Stroke Gesture (but which I call Clutching At My Stubble For Want Of An Exit Strategy To This Horror Unfolding Before Me). “I’ve got to go,” I say, “and...find a horse.” It just comes out. Heh, if you’re going to blurt, blurt equine.*

The monitor loops its flex round my ankle as I speed to the door. “You think Toastie Woastie and I are weird?

I come straight to the point, before I’m boa constrictored. “To be honest, what I think is weird...” A pause for effect, till the ellipse's dut-dut-dut synch with the monitor’s sudden flicker. “ Toastie Woastie and Hoovie Groovie.”

The flex falls limply round my foot, like the hair extensions Ozzy Osbourne dropped prior to his 1997 Comeback Tour, and with a single mortal zuumf, the monitor shuts down, whisks away its open document.

I walk downstairs, make a coffee; wonder what might have been. On the cusp of my tongue/brain, just prior to all the sucky nonsense stuff, the butterfly wings of a poem fluttered.

From the pad by the phone, I grab a single sheet of paper and a pen, then sit, cross-legged in the window seat, bathed by an amber glow more Seville than Suburbia.

The ickle furry caterpillar
climbed up the ickle lettuce,
undulating like half a pair of tights
wrapped round an enfeebled midget go-go dancer...

* No relation to Burt Reynolds, btw.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Form Rejection Blues To Reds

It’s such a shame literary agents don’t go in for wanky old floral lampshades the size of a house and the colour of vomit.

I have one cluttering up my attic right now — a cast-off from a wanky floor lamp I de-wanked with a tastefully unwanky non-floral lampshade.

I could unwrap it from its dusty bin bag shroud; tuck it neatly into a jumbo jumbo Jiffy and bundle it to the finest literary agent in London, accompanied by a short, handwritten note which reads,

Dear Agent,

Please find enclosed a wanky old floral lampshade the size of a house and the colour of vomit.

WANKY OLD FLORAL LAMPSHADE THE SIZE OF A HOUSE AND THE COLOUR OF VOMIT is a 15" diameter, vaguely 40s style, faded, flappy crock of shite perfect for gracing any room in the house bar the bathroom, and guaranteed to be a talking point should you be inspired to make it the focus of a dinner party or assisted suicide.

I am an avid collector of wanky old floral lampshades the size of a house and the colour of vomit and raised £37.45 last year for Children in Need by jumping off a step ladder into a bathtub of custard with two such shades gaffer taped to my head like I was some sort of outer space beetle thing.

If this wanky old floral lampshade the size of a house and the colour of vomit is of interest, I would be happy to send more, along with two rolls of shitty wallpaper the colour of mucus and the texture of rotting flesh, and a crappy old rug knitted by a mewling old spinster with senile dementia and fourteen aging cats unable to control their own bowels.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I could, I could, I could: unwrap that shade and bundle it off so, so thusly.

But it’s a Sunday.