Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm Being Attacked By A Goat

According to recent research, if you're looking for a sure fire way of luring people to your website, the threat of a goat attack wins hands down over sex every time.

And now that you're here, this is a quick note just to say that my Novel tab is now active.

That's all.*

*Though if truth be told, there's a couple of bearded nannies prowling around on the landing looking very menacing indeed. No, waitaminute, it's the guitarists from ZZ Top...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

So — Where Did You Get Your KITTEN?

The great thing about playing host to gangs of unruly builders is the inevitable questions about your life.

“So, why the suit of armour at the top of the stairs, big nose?”
“Hey, watch your mouth — that’s my grandad.”

“So, when’s the baby due?”
(What’s disturbing about this one is that the builder in question was referring to my mother-in-law, which kind of upped the Insult Ante for all concerned. Still — a great opportunity to roll out my petulant huff).

(I think this guy was trying to say, “what the hell’s a bottomless pit doing in your bathroom?” but I let him try and figure it out himself).

Finally, of course, the one they always ask Any visitor, any circumstance, always.

“So, where did you get your kitten?
My stock answer runs something like this...

Interesting you should ask, Mr/Mrs
* builder
* postman
* political activist
* salesman
* lost rioter
* athlete
* bobcat tamer
* nun
* human-cum-horse graft nightmare mutant
etc etc
— I got her off my girlfriend’s brother, one of a litter of three. We used to have two others from the same litter, but one died in 1999, the other in 1996 (and this is where I wait for the look of incredulity, hung, moist and dribbly on the face of my interrogator like a jellyfish flung into the air by a trebuchet, on the cusp of its arc, travelling neither up nor down, just suspended in space in a translucent glob of confusion) — because, yes, my friend, she’s 16 years old and therefore technically not a kitten but a very, very small cat indeed.

At this point, Geoff normally performs her trademark Get A Load Of My Dinkiness purr, but yesterday, she switched tactics and got stuck under the floorboards for the entire morning.

What fun we had, the Bum Crack Battalion and I, trying to grab hold of her diminutive form and fish her out.

Because here are the measurements, Stat Cats...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Directly Outside 11

Directly outside my window, the vagabond slithery loop coils, suck nutrients from one other in a communal thrash of hunger, an incestuous end-of-species fuck of desperation.

But what do I care? I’m 857 today!

Granted, my confine permits me precious few freedoms, and likely I will perish here, forgotten. And yet, I count myself fortunate that I can walk on my two birth legs, unimpeded and unhindered, from wall to wall to wall, always in accordance with patterns, symmetries, and reflections of the same that I alone have brought into existence.

I tread the four four seven, now until the moment I am twice as old as when the six six three — phoenix brilliance — transformed this place from a tomb in waiting to a haven haven haven say it three times kiss the wall the wall the wall.

Those outside would gobble up these moments, gobble up each other, oblivious.

So light me no candles, extinguish for me no flames. I wish to shut out from here all sight and sound and smell and touch and sense of all but that which now sustains me.

Eight true corners, six square walls, is all I want and need.

I am glad I am trapped in this place. Doomed only to witness, as the world spins by, directly outside.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Shake My Fist At A Cosmos Turned Upside Down

Now the excitement has all but died down (apart from the feeble whistle of the odd balloon, dangling from the rafters like a bulbous scrotum), do I detect the emerging flush of a return to normal?

Not a chance.

Every floorboard in my house is currently less attached to the floor than a novelty performing dog act that’s just won three yeses from Simon Cowell on Britain’s Got Twats; every wall previously covered in wallpaper now stands stripped bare as an imaginary male stripper in the brain of a downtrodden housewife with a spare five minutes between the hoovering and the ironing; and every vitally important document, set of keys, mobile phone, tv remote, and jar of soothing anti-stress balm lies pining for its customary easy-to-find resting place, stranded in some infinite limbo of junk like that monkey the Russians sent into space in 1949.

And where is all my underwear, Mr Central Heating Refit Guy?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Evil Editor Is 4

Today is a very, very, special, special day.

I’d like you to join with me in celebrating Evil Editor’s Fourth BloggEEversary.

For those of you who don’t know who EE is, he’s a fat old curmudgeon with a wonkers menagerie who dabbles in harmless wordplay the greatest editor the world has ever known — and you can find him here.

What EE knows about writing and editing can be outlined on the head of a pin — the size of Jupiter. Can you see how I’m using humour here as a subtle tribute to EE’s own comic brilliance?

There’s so much more I could say, to honour the guy and his contribution to literature — but if I don’t get breakfast soon, my stomach is going to crawl out of my throat and murder some neighbourhood dog. So, to be brief, let’s just say that anyone writerly who shares any kind of anniversary with the birth of Shakespeare has got to be sort of special. And two guys with wacky facial hair! How crazy is that?

So here’s my vocal tribute. It’s moving, heartfelt — and undeniably painful. As regular visitors to this blog will know, I currently have the builders in, so singing a love song to an older man was never going to be an easy trick to pull off, but when they started making merry with their electric drills, I struggled to get a full take, which is why it kind of dies at the end. Maybe one day you will all thank them for this.

Anyhow — here’s to EE and his truly magnificent blog.

If you want to join in the public adoration, go here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Super Special Top Secret Project

In an earlier comments trail (and you must think of these like previous lifetimes, only much more fun), the ever delightful Kiersten confessed to wanting to “sneak under the umbrella of my funny".

That wee snippet of amusement stuck with me for most of last Thursday, almost as if some cosmic jester had superglued the feathers from Ken Dodd’s tickling stick to the bit of me that’s the most susceptible.

So I got to thinking — if ever Kiersten and I should get together in the presence of an umbrella, how would we re-create the essence of this sneaky brolly thing?

After all, I’m 6' 2" and she, merely two lots of two foot five and a half piled one on top of the other.

If I held the umbrella, rain clouds would swoosh in from the side and soak her, and if she held it, I’d be forced to kneel down in a puddle (and I’m assuming it has to be raining — I can’t see us sneaking under an umbrella of funny on a sunny day. That lacks all comedic effect. So, yes, it’s tipping it down. And instead of water it’s a blend of Dr Pepper and Earl Grey Tea).

That’s when I remembered the photo of me and the monkey.

Everyone of a certain age in England has one of these: a snapshot from some long lost holiday in Yarmouth, Skegness, Shitey Sands, and all those other seaside towns tucked between the ocean blue and the Kiss Me Kwik hat production plant. What’s scarier, perhaps, is that some of the monkey’s descendents have these too, and I know, because Sock Monkey has one of his great great great great grandad — taken in Cromer, I believe. With Harriet Harman.

Anyhow, you can see where I’m going with this. To save any argument about who holds the umbrella, we’ll sink it in the ground, parasol style. This will leave our hands free for any conjuring tricks to entertain the kids — because let’s face it, if it’s raining Dr Pepper, there’s bound to be kids. I envisage a special K-harness, strapped to my manly shoulder, which ought to support Kiersten securely for the duration of the Funny Sneak, a bit like the way the Queen rides a horse sidesaddle or a kangaroo tucks away her Joey. It would come complete with its own miniature laptop attachment, a pen and paper, and possibly a bean bag to provide her with the option of either falling asleep or doing that thing where you pretend to be a caliph in a silly hat.

We’d only need about five minutes to pull this wheeze off, and if it works (as I’m sure it will), we could patent the idea and roll out a stream of merchandise worldwide so everyone could join in the fun.

Fairy and McKoala, Scarlet and Wrobin, Blogless Troll and Latvialovedol1877 — why, the permutations are potentially very entertaining indeed...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Disembowel My Abode, Why Don't You?

I’m not sure how all-consuming my online presence is going to be over the course of the next month or so as all manner of workmen are due to descend on chez Whirl for a festival of central heating and bathroom refits.

A number of special occasions beckon, so I have one or two posts up my sleeve — and it may be that the current political battle here in the UK will provide something worthy of comment beyond the usual “Twat Cameron”, “Stuff Clegg” and “Could Gordon Brown’s ears provide the template for the pea green boat in Tim Burton’s forthcoming Owl & The Pussycat movie?”  If you’re lucky, there may even be photographs of plumbers’ backsides and informed discourses on a range of related topics — everything from stop cocks to U-bends.

In addition, I am reliably informed that Protrudio is currently lurking close to the thick-skinned surface of a nearby custard swamp and may burst forth at any moment with news of a writing exercise, complete with the usual crap crap crap crap CRAP prizes.

New socks, too. Stripy.

So we have it all to look forward to, you and I.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

There's An Englishman, A Scotsman And An Irishman — 3,973 Camels And A Masseuse 7

“There’s an Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman.”


“In the joke, stupid.”

“Hey, I know that — d’oh. I meant, where are they, in the joke world?
“A rodeo.”

“Which one?”

“Does it matter?”

“Of course it matters.”

“OK, we’ll say Montana.”

“What do you mean, ‘we’ll say’? You’ve just plucked that out of thin air. You could have said anything. Texas. Kansas. Peru.

“I went with Montana because it’s famous for horses — but if you’re going to be all Fancy Pants Johnny about it, I’ll Google it. There, look, in Wikipedia. Wyoming. The three blokes are in Wyoming. Satisfied?”

“No. What are an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman doing in Wyoming?”

“They’ve travelled over on a plane.”

“From where? I can’t think of a single UK airport that’s based in England, Ireland and Scotland all at the same time.”

“Ok. Fine. So they flew from Heathrow after the Scotsman had driven down from Edinburgh and the Irishman had travelled across from — and you’re going to love this — France.


“That’s right, he interrupted his family vacation in Paris to spend three days away with his old school chums.”

“So they’ve known each other for a while, huh?”

“That’s right.”

“And do they do this rodeo thing often?”

“No. This is the first year. Before, they’ve done Disneyland, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Berlin Wall.”

“The Berlin Wall? That’s not much of a tourist attraction.”

“The Englishman had a great grandad who died in the war.”

“So why didn’t he go on his own?”

“He gets lonely on long journeys. No wife or kids like the Scotsman, you see.”

“And the Irishman has a family too, you said?”

“Yes. And a dog. They’ve got a lovely big garden, and the plan is that when all three of them get back from Montana—”


“Wyoming, yes. Anyhow, when they get back, the Irishman plans to build a small stable and get a pony for his daughter. It won’t be rodeo but he figures it will remind them all of their trip.”

“Which they haven’t made yet.”

“That’s right. Because I haven’t told the bloody joke.”

“Ok. But before you go any further, let me get it straight up to now. So you’re saying there’s an Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman?”


“And they’re all going to a rodeo in Wyoming?”


“All without their families — because the Englishman lives on his own and needs the company, the Scotsman has left his family in Edinburgh and agreed to come on the trip so the Englishman has got someone to talk to on the plane over, and in any case he probably wants to go to the rodeo too because the three guys are old school chums and do this kind of thing every year, places like Disneyland, the Great Barrier Reef and the Berlin Wall, and the Irishman is tagging along too, kind of to be there for his pal, like the Scotsman, kind of to take in the show, but also because he’s something of an animal lover and wants to figure out the whole horse and stable thing so he can get his daughter a pony, and maybe because the family dog is lonely too. The Irishman is possibly the most committed to the trip because he’s taken a break from the family holiday in Paris to join his friends, and maybe he feels a soft spot for his English pal because his great grandad died in the war. Is that it?”


“Heard it.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sifting Through The Polyps By Odour, Texture, Gloopiness & Wibble

We’ve all heard of dangling modifiers, all made jokes about ladyboy dance troupes capable of swinging either way.*

* Why, some of us have even toured the shows, taken the tips.

If your WIP is full of these (and all the other bizarrely named horrors riddling the corpses of otherwise perfectly comprehensible writing manuals like buckshot up the backside of a life-threatening moose), then you can take heart that at very least you’re dealing with what Donald Rumsfeldt once described as “known knowns”.

The real problem lies with the unknown unknowns — those invisible obfuscating clouds that suck and spit unwanted moisture over the ink as it flows from your pen in such a way you don’t see you’re writing the opposite of what you think you’re writing. I realise this analogy doesn’t apply particularly well to the knick-knacks of the digital age, but if you lick your monitor/screen NOW, maybe you’ll experience analogy lite. If your webcam is on, it might even make a fun post for the weekend — My Chameleon Spirit Exorcism or Way To Go Barfing Basics. I’ve just tried it myself and that last sentence now reads like a lewd invitation to eat fourteen kilos of giraffe meat with Gloria Hunniford.** Anyhow, to summarise: unknown unknowns.

** Beats chopsticks...

And I’m not talking about grammar here. Or plot, pace, exfoliation — or even what has come to be known as “voice”.

I’m referring to that amorphous, blobby nothingstuff we*** get to work with most of the time that doesn’t truly exist till we start snorting it in plumes from our gushplunkles. But is it animal, vegetable, or mineral? High in H2O or tantalisingly short on polyunsaturated moodidoodads? Isn’t the problem that at the moment you’re forming yourself into a human conduit between its inherently nebulous pre-expunged zest and all those inflatable letters hung up in alphabetical order in your study/shed/lexirarium, it’s difficult to be certain whether the stuff you’re dealing with is possessed of precisely the same -ness as the stuff you worked with the day before — or worse still, the stuff you worked with a month ago, whose fully inflated letters, words, and paragraphs you’ve presumed to know enough about to begin EDITING?

*** By this, I mean writers. If you’re here looking for tips on plumbing or how to neuter aggressively oversexed bloodhounds, you are not my kind of “we”.

While I’m on the subject of exfoliation, btw, I’m pleased to report that as a result of being thoroughly wonderful prior to Valentines Day this year, I am now the proud owner of no less than four sachets of spectacularly gungy pro-beauty facial yumminess. It was originally five, but I used one last weekend, and I have to say that in addition to removing the somewhat dry top layer of my skin and revitalising the various other strata of derm, it made me look like a larval Sea Devil capable of making even Jon Pertwee’s hair stand on end (and if you’re not au fait with this particular reference, you may easily substitute the word “twat” without too much loss of meaning). This is not to confess that I’m any kind of advocate for excessively poncy male grooming, or even overpriced products cunningly marketed at imbeciles desirous of the same, but I do rather like having weird smelling stuff splattered all over my face, particularly if it takes a full twenty minutes and the smirk of pure joy to begin the process of chiselling it all off.

So, when you’re in mid-gushplunkle spurt, how can you tell what fits with what when you’re first starting out with a writing project? Whether you’re mining like seams — or the proverbial peas and carrots? Or — later on when it’s kind of apparent that everything you’ve written thus far in relation to a particular project lacks overall cohesiveness, or is a blend of many ingredients (each with the potential to blossom, with hindsight, into an obvious impurity capable of rendering all your endeavours null and void) — whether the squirming mass before you is simply an irretrievably formless gooage of drivel?

If you want my take on it, I haven’t the faintest idea.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Before you get overly concerned that you've stumbled onto a frank admission about my rhinestone cowboy alter ego — some guy in a bright orange stetson who serenades old and young alike with wild west tunes strummed on his banjo — don't panic. You haven't. I just like the word, that's all.

According to my Encyclopaedia of Potentially Useless Boomerangs, chunks of this visually appealing mineral score as highly on the Throw & Return chart as trussed budgerigars, microwave ovens and the Titanic — which kind of makes me wonder whether I have the starting point for a story here.

Yeah, yeah — a group of kids stumble upon a lump of Rhodocrosite while happy slapping some luckless pensioner. One of them tries to skim it across the canal. Because they're on a barge, the pensioner's barge, rifling through the drawers and stuff. Only instead of sinking, the Rhodocrosite comes back. That's how they know it's magical. And they find out it's a Narnia/Jumanji kind of portal openy thing, and that if you throw it just right, it reveals the secret entrance to another world. Crescent-shaped. Like the smile on a smiley badge. So they get to go on adventures, all three of them. Two boys and a girl. They're both twelve and she's fourteen. A tomboy. Ugly. And maybe there's a dog — no, ditch the dog. Too Enid Blyton. Anyway, something happens to make the boys turn evil. Maybe that's where the dog comes into it. There's no dog at the start but when they return home, they have one with them. The faithful mutt, Jimmy, who they think has been their friend for as long as they can remember. Jimmy, the family pet — or better still, Jimmy the dog that ran away from the circus. But it's an evil spirit in disguise. It corrupts the boys, and when they next skim the Rhodocrosite and open the portal, the smiley badge crescent is the wrong way up and there are dark black eyes now, one for each of the boys. And the faerie kingdom they've been exploring is consumed by flames and smoke. It's down to the girl to save them. And since there are armoured demons and dragons afoot, maybe even the whole world is at risk. Plus, she's got problem skin. Can't make it too easy for her.

Yeah, this has got potential. A sort of Bridge to Terabithia meets Enter The Dragon kind of thing. Because the boys are both mad about karate, and when they turn evil, it's really bad news for the planet. I see Drew Barrymore as the girl. In the eventual movie. I know she's technically too old for the part, but they can do anything with make-up these days. Or maybe the whole thing will be CGI like Avatar, and they can simply use Barrymore as a template. Add bits on and take bits away. Her legs, for instance. Too thin. Either way, she'll still get to do the voice. Unless she gets run over before then or trampled by a horse. If anything like that happens, they'll have to use a voice double. Or maybe I could read it myself and have the audio equivalents of the CGI wizardry geeks enhance the sound? Waitaminute, I don't need the actual Drew Barrymore at all, do I? That would leave more of the budget for the fight scenes. The morphing undead pumpkins and the evil gladiator horses. Plus, I'd get to dress up as a girl for the premiere. In an armoured bra!

Bloody hell, why didn't I think of this five years ago? I could be famous now, with a swimming pool — and more hats than I want or need. As it is, it's just this stetson and the wooly balaclava my mum knitted when I was seven.

"Two Hats" Whirl.

I'm a joke.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Personal Message To My Wonderful New Followers

Having a new bunch of followers is a terrible responsibility.

What if they log on and discover to their horror that the second post isn’t nearly half as good as the one that got them hooked? And what if they then re-read that initial post and think ‘what was I doing? I must have been some sort of idiot! I’m stomping round to Whirlochre’s house right this very minute to punch him on the nose for making me feel like a monkey!’
So I approach this post with the tentativeness of a Bambi, skating out onto thin ice. But that’s as far as the analogy goes, OK? I’m skipping the bit about his mum getting shot. Imagine instead that she was suffocated with a pillow. Or better still, poisoned so she didn’t suffer at all. Not the kind of poisoning where you’re grabbed and swabbed with chloroform, because technically, that’s almost as bad as being shot — unless the hunter just wings you, and you bleed to death over the course of a few hours. So we’ll say the poisoning is deliberate. Bambi’s mum has arranged to be poisoned, with something fast-acting and reliable, maybe with plenty of sugar added to take away any nasty taste and reduce the possibility that she might gag on it, swallow just the tiniest drop, and pass into that state of unconsciousness between full honours death and a life-threatening coma that leaves her permanently brain damaged. So she sneaks off into a fairy glen with Thumper and a bottle of the lethal draft. Thumper isn’t too sure about the whole idea, but agrees to go because he loves Bambi so much. In fact, it was his suggestion about the poison. Bambi’s mum had originally planned to go with the pillow thing, or a hanging — with drowning in the frozen lake coming a close third on account of there being no bricks to tie round her neck. Deep in the woods, he sorts things so Bambi never suspects it’s suicide by making it look like her Mum slipped up gambolling over a tree trunk and hit her head on a rock. Prior to administering the poison, Thumper uses a cheese grater to feign a graze on her forehead, then the two of them arrange her body next to the tree trunk just so and Thumper holds her down while he tips the poison into her mouth, because she does in fact gag, and when the muscle spasms kick in, it’s all he can do to stop her quivering body bouncing around on the verdant sward and emitting gutteral choking sounds. So, in the end, he does have to kind of suffocate her because he figures if Bambi hears anything, it will be far more emotionally scarring than any gunshot scenario, and he stuffs his bunny tail into her mouth to speed the whole asphyxiation thing up. So, yes, that’s it, that’s the analogy. Of me skating out, like Bambi, onto the thin ice of a brand new post. Tailored specially to appeal to my welcome new followers.
Maybe not.
Maybe I’ll have another bash after the bank holiday...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bloggiversary Celebrations Ahoy Ahoo Ahee

Today is my second bloggiversary.* Wahey.

Truth be told, I feel more forlorn than an amputee hairdresser who’s just had his entire collection of scissors, brushes, hair laquer, and specialised bionic limb attachments crushed underfoot by a gang of sneering skinheads.

And look! I’ve ascended higher, faster, and more perilously up the Ladder of Abject Misery than an actress who’s devoted the whole of her career to playing a much-loved character in a soap, only to discover at the age of 85, scant weeks before the Bafta ceremony, that her services are no longer required on account of her “looking like sicked-up portion of tripe, acting like a concussed drunk, and smelling like the underside of a particularly dirty horse”.

To add insult to injury, if, on this specialest day of days, aliens should invade and demand the pickled head of the Earth’s Most Miserable Wretch, the ease with which the majority of my fellow men and women would reach a decision resulting in every single finger of every single member of the human race being pointed at my sorry backside, accompanied by loud cries of, ‘HIM! HIM! HIM! HE’S THE ONE!’could be equalled only by the sense of disappointment felt by a captive elephant tossed a bun containing a flavour of jam it didn’t much care for at a time when a rare trunk and tongue paralysing disorder had rendered it incapable of separating said jam from said bun without monkeys in the neighbouring enclosure mocking it relentlessly.

The reason?
In two whole years of blogging, I have attracted unto my person but 35 followers.
Setting aside the whole question of precisely why my megalomaniac utterings have failed to secure the adoration of millions that is my birthright, I’m beginning to wonder what this says about those of you who’ve publicly hitched a ride thus far.

Averaged out over two years, thirty five followers makes roughly 72% of a person a month. [Note — it doesn’t, of course. It makes 1.45%. But I wrote out what follows late last night on the basis of three years, and as it’s relatively amusing, I’m leaving it in. Go ahead — taunt me for being a fool.] So...Averaged out over two years, thirty five followers makes roughly 72% of a person a month. Maybe you’re all amputee hairdressers, using the comments trail as a covert cyberspace meeting place to discuss your plans for world domination using the fabled Coiffure Code. Or maybe half of you have only one leg, while the rest make up for the imbalance caused by your colleagues’ 25% body mass loss by possessing 3% more of appendages you’re rather fond of? Or maybe all but a dozen of you are merely single organs, cells, while the remaining twenty three pulsate as a trio of Graft Beasts in a multi-limbed, multi-headed, multi-skinned celebration of shameless horror?

I wouldn’t care to speculate.
What I’m absolutely certain of (and stunned near to unconsciousness by) is that there are so many people out there with more followers than myself whose current lofty flitterings amongst the Ludicrously Adored Praiseworthy are owed to their having done seemingly next to nothing at all.

Take that Fairyhedgehog, for instance. 75 followers — and all she does is talk about cats.

Or what about Writtenwyrdd? She doesn’t display her figures, but we all know she’s got followers, and at dead of night, retrieves them from her secret hidey hole and polishes them, talks to them, pets them.

As for Kiersten freaking White, she’s got 630, and all she’s managed is to bag herself a three book deal with Harper Teen and engage, for two whole years, in the continuous sporting of healthy looking hair.

Which kind of begs the question — hey, all you people out there who don’t know what the hell you’re missing, WHAT DO YOU WANT? BLOOD?

It worked for the Romans, after all. According to my research, two hours before any gladiatorial contests in mainland Italy circa lunchtime, volunteer centurions were sent into the streets carrying monstrous sandwich boards made out of those bulky rectangular shields of theirs. In the same way that town criers of medieval England would later shout, ‘Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!’, they would bang their shields with ornamental brass spatulas (or spatulanorae), and holler (in Latin), ‘hey, all you people out there who don’t know what the hell you’re missing, WHAT DO YOU WANT? BLOOD?’ — at which point every Tom, Dick and Harrae for miles around would make a toga-clad beeline for the nearest colosseum, there to partake of the zestiest intestine hurling festival history would ever know till Alice Cooper played live in LA in 1973 after consuming two rancid hamburgers and an undercooked pork schnitzel.

And as I always say when my manic episodes tail off and give way to common sense: What’s good enough for Julius Caesar is good enough for me. PUNK.

So here’s the deal. Over the coming weeks and months I’m planning to engage in a series of spectacular online stunts (likely to be in the form of regular posts — hey, I’m no Evel Knievel**) in order to draw in a few more people. The more people there are, the more fun this gets. When I’ve amassed a gleeful horde that matches exactly twice the number of months I’ve been blogging — a unique celestial phenomena on a par with 01/11/10***, a conjunction of all the planets in the solar system, and George Michael having a proper bloody shave — the follower responsible for erecting, then crossing, this rubycon will be awarded a special Abysswinksback crap crap crap crap crap prize.

So — a competition for someone who can’t possibly know they’re entering it, to be held on an unspecified date, with unknown numbers of cartoon mice jumping up and down in the background cheering, ‘Ahoy! Ahoo! Ahee!’ Perfect!

With any luck, it will be latvialovedoll1877.

*Bloggiversary? Whoever got that one started deserves a kick in the teeth. With a pick axe.

** And this is not for want of courage, note. I just hate wearing flappy trousers.

*** Which, like most BBC broadcasts, will not air in the US due to them insisting on writing out the numbers the wrong way round.

NB — my first BV is here, my incarnation here.