Monday, May 30, 2011

The Simulacra Blackbird WHACK-YA!

Bizarre as it may seem, my understanding of my state of being in the world right now is that I am Right Off The Chart Bananas “Level 27" (!!!) delusional.

So — have I witnessed the as-yet-unborn spectres of my future offspring duelling in some timewarp mayhem scenario with remnants of my Viking ancestors, possibly with swords, possibly with psywarp face-morphing nonsense-twaddle CerebroKin?

Or accidentally clubbed to death seven clearly maniacal ninja types who turned out to be nuns on a makeover night?

Or even shaved what passes for the hirsuteness of my masculinity from my face despite it being a Lounge About The (Heck) Goddamn Vista bank holiday Monday?*

* For anyone not resident in the UK, “bank holiday Monday” is like a fusion of the worst ever monsoon, a stag night for Captain Misery, and that once-in-a-lifetime moment when otherwise optimistic souls cross over from the path of hope to the abyss of inevitable suicide.




It is none / not / nothing of any Base U-R Belong To Us kind of shenanigans.

Shamed though I am to say it, I am pecked into the corner of confound by a blackbird.


Again, A.

A blackbird.

Investigative flappy birdy inquisitors mass, cry “which a blackbird? Which a blackbird proclaimethest ye about?
Oh, to answer with a hearty bellow of, “that f*cking black one, you dimwits — the one tugging the worm from the hitherto undiscovered remains of some poor, hapless housewife buried in what was to become my garden in 1953!”

Or again, “my trained familiar, Zanzibar, for whom no mortal secret is secret and no TV remote control immune to being buggered up by dint of peck or faeces or wild avian sex romp.”

Which blackbird is this? That visits me daily? Friendlyly a-peck and with tail feathers a-bobbin’ like the tail of some overenthusiastic terrier reared on UberChum?

Is it A blackbird? My special,friendly blackbird? Whose tail feather motion I may dream of retraining in some Strictly Come Dancing Meets Epitome Of Michael Gambon’s Eerie Ruthlessness kind of way?

Or is it two or more individual blackbirds? Hopping about between the foxgloves and the dreamcatcher blasters like a posse of Whirl-confounding evolutionary miscreants dressed as a singular saint?


But he/she/them/they KEEPS ON HOPPING ABOUT MY GARDEN, tweeting like some tweety kind of crazy thing.

How many blackbirds are fooling me into believing my garden plays host to A friendly blackbird?




Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Teenager's Muffins

“They’re not too horrible...”

The moment I passed judgement on the chocolate muffins Son of Whirl had made in cookery at school, I remembered why I never became a high ranking diplomat.

To be fair, the texture was pretty much perfect — a blend of sponginess and fluffiness not witnessed since Dawn French experimented with a perm — and you couldn’t have asked for a more equal distribution of chocolaty lumps. But there was something missing in the overall flavour, some soupcon of taste, some zing, some ‘special certain something’.

After several minutes’ hard thinking, in which I tried to match my fake smile of encouragement to my son’s froglike droop of near-suicidal disappointment in the hope of forming between us a perfect circle of father/son bliss, we hit on salt and vanilla essence before moving on to the bald conclusion that the missing ingredient was, in fact, flavour*.

* Apart, of course, from the chocolaty lumps — which tasted of sh*te.

I’ve never before tasted anything that tasted of nothing, but my son’s dozen muffins did, and I have to tell you it’s a sensation on a par with trying to kiss a ghost. There’s something there, but there isn’t — a thong of remote possibility lost up the bumcrack of incontrovertible reality.

It’s sausage pizza next week and even if it turns out like some Heston Blumethal Dead Boxer’s Penis Flan (left for a month to go mouldy then used as a nest-cum-toilet by a family of virus-ravaged rats), I’ve resigned myself to praising its glories.

This is not out of pity, you understand. My son is so tough he can put on his Simpsons pyjamas all by himself and withstand the agony of brushing his own teeth for an impressive one day a fortnight.

It’s guilt, pure guilt.

Plus, I have no desire to waste another hour of my life on the Xbox playing a consoling game of Blow Up Undead Hitler Fanatics With Weapons That Never Existed In The 1940s Let Alone Now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mock Rick And I

Why do I live in a town of lookalikes?

Or is it simply that the human gene pool is shallower than we think?

Or do famous people only get to be famous thanks to of lots of similar people clubbing together to get their chosen MeeMee spotted by the media so they can bask in the reflected glory?

If it’s true that you have to speculate to accumulate, I’d better start clearing out the attic.

Anyhow, on to my point.

Just round the corner from me lives Mock Rick Wakeman. I’ve never seen him flouncing around in an ankle-length cape or loading the back of his car with a dozen Moog synthesizers — but those eyes! That hair! That beard! Truly, it is he!*

* I should point out that he doesn’t resemble Rick Wakeman in his dashing 70s prog rock sorcerer incarnation so beloved of the Human Barbie Doll League, for to gad thusly in this austere new decade would be tantamount to declaring a Steiner education (for which, I now understand you can be permanently LOCKED UP).

So, yes, some days in the street, it’s just me and Mock Rick, bumbling along minding our own business with nary a care in the world about the world (other than, perhaps, on my part, a moment’s reminiscing about whether Jon Anderson will ever release another pretentious album of his trademark hippy drippy castratio twaddle).

Mock Rick passes one way, I pass the other in a Yin/Yang dance of idle perambulation. One day, he is the Yin to my Yang, the next, the Yang to my Yin. Why we’re never run over, I have absolutely no bloody idea.

Is that a glittery statuette of Bach poking from his dungaree pocket?

Don’t be silly — it’s just a yellow label tuna ‘n’ sweetcorn sandwich from the supermarket, partially crushed but nonetheless edible, and no doubt when he gets home he’ll nibble it with relish with his feet up watching Bargain Hunt, possibly swigging a can of lemonade from one of his two fridge freezers (because even though he’s MOCK Rick and owns no array of Steinways, the laws of Look-ee-like-ee dictate that beyond the physiognomy there must be some small similarity, some quirk of replication in the fabric of the universe, all of which kind of explains why Dr Christian Jessen collects saddles).

So we pass.

We nod.

We idle.

Maybe I’ve said ‘morning’ to him, I don’t know. Maybe I’ve even said ‘morning’ to him in the afternoon and he’s thought what’s Mock Whatsit thinking? and as long as his Whatsit isn’t Bette Midler then I’m fine with this kind of Pavement Friendly. Maybe he’s not even generously mocking like me. Maybe I’m not even any kind of Whatsit — just That Bloke. You never know how it goes with someone you see most days but have never said more than ‘hello’ to.

Me and Mock Rick.

Mock Rick and me.

Bumbling along the street in our dungarees and our snazzy Hawaiian shorts as seasons pass and dogs shed fur and generations of insects come and go, sometimes with the irritating and ironic buzz of a Hammond organ on the blink.

So when Mock Rick got hit over the head with a crowbar the other week, naturally I was shocked.

To me, he’s someone I might get to talk to one day. Thanks to some chance accident with a fat woman on a bike, where we both run across, drape our cardigans over her immodesty. Some kid with a lost pet toad. Some Morris Men collecting money for the old folk, but one of them chokes on a Satsuma.

If we spoke, would I admit to harbouring a secret joke about him? That he reminded me of an ageing hero of pompous sub-Classical keyboard trilling? That every time we pass I think, “tee hee, there goes Mock Rick”?

Better that than being the miserable fucker who left him in a pool of blood for the sake of the contents of a till.

On sight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Prunes With Hatchets vs Cheesy Nibbles On Forks

Averse to editing?

As a suggestion, why not try meditating on this rewrite of Stevie Smith’s most classicalest lines:

All things pass.
Editing is fondue.

To keep things simple, it helps if you drop the first part.

No more dissection of paragraphs and clauses with the curling tongs of perfect form — simply immerse your chunks of prose in the sizzling oil of literary brilliance, coated in The Sublime’s savoury batter and pronged on The Ridiculous’ slender fork.

Gather round the non-stick tub with your writer chums and take it in turns to poke nuggets of succulent goodness about with the deftness of young children hooking funfair ducks — only without the need for snotty noses and headlice.

Invest in a top of the range tripod and a trussed baby dragon! Comb the oil from the hair of a seborrhaic Mexican wrestler! Procure a set of forks so sharp as to draw no sound from the piercing of a perfect pickled onion!

The long road from first draft to finished book/story just got a whole lot easier...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chapter Ten

The biggest problem with writing is that it’s a solitary affair — hours spent shuffling spectres round the arse end of nowhere hoping not too many of their non-existent heads need chopping off at the editing stage to appease imaginary agents and readers.

Some say writing can drive you mad.


I say it drives you to muffins —and my swelling midriff agrees.

If you’re a writer, every once in a while it does you good to take a potter out to the greenhouse and read aloud to whatever you have growing in there (even if it’s a corpse-shaped fungal aberration slumped in the corner by the dibber dispenser).

Even better, is committing yourself to video.

So here’s the start of a my current Chapter Ten — complete with irritatingly unfixable timelag and Depp-inspired quasi-bandana.

Storywise, all you really need to know is encapsulated in this handy blurb:

Hapless loser Duane Pistaine is all at sea.

The plan had been to crash a party and declare his undying love for Kate.

But that was before the courage-boosting booze and drugs.

Head full of stories from his favourite comics, he stumbles into town, unaware his goggle eyes are witness to a vomiting up of the town’s darkest secrets he will later wish he’d witnessed a little more clearly....

Would you read anything like this — or are you just after my bandana?

Repost c/o Blogger hurtling "up the Spazz".

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Muses, Crafting, Uncovering

In an infinite universe of infinite possibilities, infinite numbers of your stories exist.

Your sole task as a writer is to uncover them from the archaeological dig sites of the netherworld and deliver them intact to a finite shitball hooked on fuel and death and cash.

Remember this every time you are stuck for words, for inspiration.

Bring this thought to bear upon your every unfillable blank page.

All your characters say and do, all that happens in your story, is waiting to be discovered in this way.

So equip yourself with all manner of shovels and scopes and lenses and detectors.

There is no need to “make anything up”.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Normal We Back Back To

Apart from the subhuman demi-beard threatening to obliterate my face and upper torso, there’s not a great deal of difference between the pre-quadruple-bank-holiday fest and the post-Wedding barbecue clean-up.

Roaring sunshine, “charming” Pippae, weird looking sausages, the loss of Our ‘Enry and Their Laden — all these things look set to persist into the immediate future on the same uncontrolled wave of vacuousness upon which the driftwood of most of 2011 has thus far been afloat.

Here in the UK we now have to slither our collective synapses around a change in the voting system like cerebro-octopi mass hugging a hitherto unknown alien artifact.

Try doing that after you’ve spent four days burning vol au vents and watching 28 hour footage of undiluted pomp.

I’m reminded of the News of the World headline from when Katie Price first started dating Alex Reid:


Could be a fractious week.