Sunday, August 25, 2013
In my last post, I threw down a withered Marigold glove in the hope that some of you would mistake it for Le Gauntlet de Challenge and proffer suggestions for a future post (ie, this one).
Two great ideas winged their way towards me like the torsos of amputated ducks hurled aloft by a cruel and curious giant.
From Evil Editor came this:
Reproduce the key parts of the court transcript in which arguments were made for who should get Richard III's remains, and why.
And from this blog’s most stalwart supporter, Fairyhedgehog, came this:
You need serious kitten therapy; you should research LOLcats and DailySquee and other cute websites with kittens and your next post should be about why kitten pictures are an essential part of anyone's internetting routine.
Faced with an impossible choice, I opted for a potential conjunction.
And lo, thusly wereth spawned...
This Has NOTHING To Do With Gwyneth Paltrow — OR Her Useless Hair
In a dingy courtroom midway between York and Leicester (albeit c/o an impossibly isoscelesy triangle whose narrowest point pricks at the rings of Saturn..........ha, only joking — we’re right here on terra firma in WORKSOP), crowds gather to witness the fate of England’s last Plantagenet king, Richard “Played by Olivier like a bent saxophone, no less” III.
Some want him buried in Leicester, the place where he fell in battle; others want his remains interred in his birthplace, the city of York (that’s Richard III, not Larry, of course — said Icon of Thesp’s ashes are buried deep within Dame Helen Mirren’s left breast).
Strange as it may seem, the battle for his remains is turning out to be a bloodier spectacle than his original fight to remain alive on Bosworth Field in 1485...
Judge LOLBigScrotum prises his whiskery Manxness from between the polished aluminium flaps of a portable document scanner, pleased to have won 3rd prize in the latest Pets 4 Geeks “Scan Your Cat’s Genitals” competition.
The crowds gasp. “My, what an unfortunate kitty! That scrotum is the size of a beach ball!”
Judge: Silence in court! I will not have my supreme LOLcatness mocked during a trial of such historically significant proportions!
In the gallery, rival groups of the dead king’s supporters trade blows, outstripping the Confederates and the Unionists in their zeal for a punch-up featuring plenty of ludicrous hats, making a mockery of the heartfelt beliefs of crusading Christians and Moors, and pooh-poohing the whole 90s Brit Pop “Oasis vs Blur” shebang like it was a fake showdown between Britney Spears and Kerry Katona dreamed up by the intravenous antidepressant drug industry.
First to plead its case is the York contingent — in the form of Betsy Thripplethwaite-Thripplethwaite-Thripplethwaite (great-grand-daughter, twice removed, thrice operated upon for varicose veins, and four times winner of the annual Doncaster “Looks Like No-one In Particular” Competition), accompanied by an interpreter multitasking on 3 separate dialect-translating laptops from the comfort of a custom-built info-papoose.
Betsy: It’s only right and proper that our good king should be buried in the place where he was born. Back home, alongside the bones of his family and friends, the poor old soul can rest in peace without the echoes of Bosworth Field — the anguished cries of brutally wounded men, the yelps of cruelly dismembered horses — ringing in his ears. Plus, takings are down at the York Minster tourist centre shop and it’s traditionally rough up North, so we could do with the few extra bob that would be generated by having a dead King mounted in a glass cabinet.
In the gallery, the Leicester supporters engage in a fierce charge against their Northern opponents using a ten foot Walker’s Crisps promotional Gary Lineker inflatable as a battering ram.
Judge: *sighs* Why do I always bag the difficult legal cases? Back in Paw Law School, I had every intention of seeing out my days trying unscrupulous vets for miscellaneous mis-neutering misdeeds. Now I find myself at the centre of a pointless historical charade — and all because some dead King’s remains were dug up in a Leicester car park!
Interpreter: Fancy a comforting haiku? I can rustle one up for a tenner if it would help ease the agony of being a frustrated scrotal treasure lost in a throng of warring monarch fanatics.
Judge: Oh, would you?
A burst Gary Lineker flick flacks through the air like an anorexic 70s Russian gymnast as the York supporters load the gallery with catapults primed to fire oversized Tetley tea bags.
Interpreter: Your bag is giant / your laws compliant, and you / are a great Manx...cat.
Judge: You’re charging a tenner for that?
Interpreter: Sorry, pal, but it’s noisy in here.
As tea bags fly from the gallery and the Leicester contingent prepares to quote from the plays of Joe Orton and the songs of Showaddywaddy at the same time, Sir Richard Attenborough glides into the courtroom on an enormous jet-powered cushion, looking every bit the veteran director-cum-actor-cum-brother-to-a-famous-naturalist ponce.
Sir Richard Darlings, darlings, darlings! We simply can’t permit our good King’s lovingly unburied remains to be stolen from the place where he fell. It’s so disrespectful of the dead, treating their decayed bones like dog poop scooped away and binned in a scented bag. However, in pleading for Richard III to remain here in Leicester, I echo the points raised by the hump-backed midget woman with the rotten teeth—
Betsy Hey! That’s discriminatory and offensive!
Sir Richard produces a two pint tot of whiskey from a secret flap in his Jurassic Park T shirt and quaffs till its River Kwai bridge shaped pewter is sucked dry of liquid.
Sir Richard: Oi! I’m honorary president of MENCAP, missus! There’s nothing I don’t know about being fucking discriminatory and offensive! But to continue my point, let’s face it, Leicester is a cultural fucking desert compared to York, and we need every bit of help we can get. Compared to York Minster and all those bloody other churches, and those bishops and saints and all that shit, Englebert Humperdinck and Brucciani’s coffee shop are a slap-in-the-teeth pile of stinking mutton-dressed-as-lamb wrapped up in a fucking waste-of-space charade! Especially on a bloody Sunday and that fucking Eurovision crap!
Judge: Guards! Kindly escort this inebriated star of stage and screen from the courtroom!
Interpreter: It’s 2013 / not 1485, mate: / there ain’t no guards here.
Judge: How are you with a bent old gavel?
Interpreter: My sexuality is none of your business, good sir.
Judge: OK, then just twat him one with whatever you can lay your hands on.
The interpreter leaps from his papoose, another projectile in the raging aerial battle between the tea bags of York and Leicester’s Parker pen nib onslaught. Judge LOLBigScrotum raps his most misshapen testicle with his gavel
Judge: Right, you frenzied and possibly deluded tossers — I’ve made up my mind on this one.
A hush descends on the courtroom — like icing sugar sprinkled on a cinnamon muffin, a burst balloon flopping onto the head of a donkey like a weird swimming hat. Two photographers from DailySquee battle it out for the perfect shot using 33 megapixel cameras in the shape of cheeseburgaz.
Judge: On reflection, I have to side with Leicester. When you’re a young city trying to make its way in the world alongside historical heavyweights like York and Cairo and the suburbs of Kaniapiskau, you need more than being famous for pale orange cheese that tastes like soap and B-list celebrities like Biddy Baxter and Graham Chapman—
Voice from the gallery: Hey! Chapman was A-list, surely? No way is a Python playing Jesus any kind of B or C!
Another voice from the gallery: And don’t forget Una Stubbs and Gok Wan! Or the Elephant Man or Rosemary Conley! I lost an incredible 22lbs off my hips by following one of her diets!
Judge: Hey! I’m on your side, okay? I vote we give Leicester a leg up in the world by allowing it to keep its dead king. In a hundred years time, the world will thank us — even if we’re all speaking Chinese by then and genetically incapable of pronouncing Leicester.
Random dancing girls flood the courtroom, their frenzied can-cans signalling a kind of terpsichorian bye for now, folks while chaos and Jackie Chan back flip kicks maraud their way into life all around...
Friday, August 16, 2013
According to my Bloggo MacBlogg’s Bloggerly Guide to Blogging, serious bloggers are recommended to post to their blogs at least once every 47 seconds in order to maintain follower loyalty.
Over the years, I’ve tried to stick to a regular schedule, but the subtle relationship between input and output defies all strategic planning — much like the digestive habits of a man fed random meals ranging from the fibre-rich to the almost liquid and seriously fruity who braves the loo each day uncertain as to whether he’s a ‘pre-constipation cowboy’ or an ‘astronaut of impossible gastric splash about to blast off into the Diarrhoeaosphere’.
I’m taking in a curious blend of stimuli right now. Some, I’ve chosen, while others have been thrust upon me like invading Mongol hordes, and as my brain does that brain-specific trick of hooking things together and making links when previously there were none, I can only mutter as an exasperated monk woken from untimely slumber during afternoon prayers when it comes to being Schedule King — or even Schedule Mule Slave #254.
It’s a good job I’m not running the buses or organising Vladimir Putin’s kickboxing weekends. Those things are best left to the experts.
To correct the sloppiness of my posting schedule I’m inviting post topics in the comments trail. If there’s a choice, I’ll pick my favourite and post next week; if there’s just one suggestion then I’ll go with that (in a “Hi, Captain, they call me Bones — and I’ll be the only ship’s doctor on board this vessel for the next kazillion TV ‘n’ movie years...” kind of a way). If there are no choices, I’ll HURT A KITTEN.
So go ahead, slay me...
Monday, August 12, 2013
Anyone who has been writing for a while (and by this I mean ‘over the course of a few years’ rather than ‘continuously for 89 hours’) will be familiar with the following sound advice:
It helps keep your writing muscles in trim!
Seen from a different angle, what this actually means is that writing is not the same as riding a bicycle.
As my Grandma used to say, once you’ve learned how to do it, you’ll never forget — though by the time she’d lost her marbles completely she’d forgotten all about bicycles and this came to be used as a catch-all phrase for anything to do with her dentures.
You can learn how to write, and you can continue to practice writing (whether at a keyboard, or with pen and paper, or on horseback) — but it very definitely seems to be the case that if you stop for any reason, for any length of time, clambering back onto your writerly bicycle is not as easy as it ought to be (especially if you really do write on horseback).
As you direct your backside toward the saddle (and I’m not continuing the metaphor here because I dread to think where it will lead me),* the familiar 10-speed mountain bike you were expecting vanishes into the ether and is replaced by a mile high unicycle with squeaky wheels and no pedals.
* OK, I give in. The saddle is maybe an idea you have for a first draft and your backside is your brain. It’s the one time you’re allowed to think like an A-hole.
You teeter like a drunken hippo acrobat on a tightrope, and the blank page of the 1,760 yard fall to the ground bellows WRITER’S BLOCK! WRITER’S BLOCK! WRITER’S BLOCK! Even if you cycle bravely on, uncertainty teases the muscle memory of your legs, and instead of pedalling continuously, you pause to evidence a hop or a skip or a string of steps from your favourite Bavarian rumba — a process which makes teetering á la hippo seem as easy to remain poised and composed about as if you were a sleeping blancmange. Yes, I know I’m mixing my metaphors here, but this morning my postman delivered a mystery spoon from a mystery admirer in an unfathomably mysterious Jiffy envelope and I can’t stop myself from using the damn thing to make random stirring movements.
This I know (the problem with atrophied writing muscles, not the hippo or the mile drop or the crazy crazy stirring) because I’ve foolishly allowed the warmest and brightest UK summer for a generation to delude me into believing that stripping to the waist and inviting the sun to scorch my nipples is a worthier pursuit than the continuous ticcy-tac-tac of typing (or spraining my wrist with the aid of a Biro).
I’ve returned to my fictional desk (that’s the desk at which I sit to write fiction, not a desk that (like the hippo) doesn’t exist) only to discover that if there is such a thing as “the writerly muse”, it needs exposing to the atmosphere with the frequency of a habitual flasher’s penis or it will begin to wither, perish and crumble like the wings of a freeze-dried bat.
So, mes amis, write regularly — even (or especially) if it’s drivel...
Friday, August 9, 2013
Son of Whirl is home for the Summer and naturally (naturally) I’m as thrilled as it’s possible for a Parent of Zero Thrill to be.
In previous years I’ve been on hand to augment the childcare provided by various grannies, school-based play schemes, and prison-run straitjacket stress tests. Over the years Son of Whirl has taken part in plays, storytelling workshops, 100-a-side football games at badly staffed sports afternoons, adventure hikes, camping trips and wild elephant rides. Call me a blower of his own trumpet, but when my son was 3, I did make an excellent wild elephant.
This time round, he’s not interested in all that stuff. All he wants to do is chill out on a virtual bean bag of slack and mess his mates on Facebook. Maybe then he’ll go online as some ludicrously named monk in Dungeons & Dragons, mine a few chunky pixels of semi-tangible crap in Minecraft or catch up on the imperceivably peurile LOLs of every airhead and dimbo on YouTube.
The label on his clothes reads WASTE-OF-SPACE and his chosen eau de cologne is Nostril Assaulting Skunk Piss Hosedown From Hell. Spending more than a few minutes in his company has less to do with pleasure than if John Terry produced his filthiest ever jockstrap and pressed it against your nose, yelling, “let’s play a game of Anaesthetists & Trussed Gimps for the next 27½ hours!” At the start of the holiday it was a real effort dealing with Son of Whirl’s presence. My deep sea diving outfit took more than an hour to put on and the laser shields I purchased from Star Trek Spaceship Hardware Retailers RU R-UZ R-Everyone required shutting down the national grid within a five mile radius of Whirl Towers — for just a second and a half of protection.
Mind you, when you spend a lot of time with someone who’s usually out of the house all day, you do find out lots of interesting stuff.
How’s it going, son?
What do you make of the Chancellor’s decision to alter the tax threshold?
Isn’t it interesting how most IKEA wardrobes are unable to tell the difference between a moose and an elliptical galaxy 64 trillion light years away?
Even on a good day, having a conversation with Son of Whirl is about as productive and fun as watching an amoeba prolapse.
I close now to hoover and dust around him. Then I’ll open my front door in the hope that a passing ruffian might come over all opportunistic and steal him...
Son of Whirl, au laptop, au chair of my Dad's he loves to bits because "there's room for a mouse"...
Saturday, August 3, 2013
My relationship with sport is not a good one.
I’ve always possessed the competitive faculties necessary to compete at the highest level across a range of sports but somehow most of these got channelled into playing ludo or beating up kids who took the mickey out of me for sitting in a corner writing rubbish poetry.
As a result, for most of my life I’ve done precious little in the way of running, swimming, cycling, batting, ball kicking, rugby tackling, trampolining, diving, etc. Given my undeniable ‘foodie’ credentials and love of carb-packed foaming ale, by all accounts I should now be the world’s heaviest obese bastard.
As my cohort of minders wheeled me round Tesco on my converted articulated lorry chassis, girls I knew at school would mutter, “Christ! Look what’s happened to Whirl! He used to be thin as a rake but now he’s a hideous mass of quivering cellulite more repulsive than the rind of a zillion slices of bacon squeezed into a giant condom of pallid flesh!”
I daren’t think what all the kids I beat up would have made of this spectacle.
Perhaps they’d have descended upon my specially converted fat fucker bungalow, armed with sticks, and poked me till I popped like a slug pulled by its wibbly bits through a Rizla fag rolling machine.
“That’s for belting me one when I said your poetry was shit, you fat creep.”
Would I risk a riposte? Just to prove I ‘still had it’? “Hey, kid — I’m no creep. The last thing of which a 900 stone blob of lard is remotely capable is creeping.”
Maybe I’d simply back down. When you’re the size of a small terraced house, any movement at all is a sign of considerable courage.
As things stand, I’m 13 stone 13 lbs. Don’t ask me what that is in centimetres — all I know is that my doctor considers this just a tad over what’s ideal for a 6' 3" bloke with no extra arms or legs. Even better, all the weight is evenly distributed. It’s not like I’m a one ounce guy with a 13 stone and almost 13lbs nose (although it can seem that way sometimes when I catch myself in the mirror at a funny angle).
Conclusion? Not bad at all considering I drank 60+ units of alcohol every week for most of my 20s and early 30s and to this day favour dropping the dessert part of a three course meal for a second starter (typically more soup — and a roll).
The Olympics changed my view of sport like a blitzkrieg of poisonous wasps is considered the ideal bedtime companion for a crippled octogenarian spinster with hours to live. What really struck me was running for a bus and discovering, to my horror, that my movements were more laboured and awkward than those of a trussed paraplegic hopping over seaweed-covered stepping stones in stilettoes and an ill-fitting bandana. It’s not that there was no movement at all, or that muscles twanged and snapped — what I registered was the result of years of atrophy, condensed into the slo-mo groan of unseemly spazziness.
Since then I’ve invested in a pair of jogging bottoms and a T shirt with a lion motif. I can make it round the block in just over three minutes on a good day, nodding to Mr Do Something and Weird Dog Telepathy Guy as I go. I don’t deny that I’m practically breathless by the time I return home, but my understanding is that my metabolism will improve as I run farther and faster. It’s either that or I’ll keel over and die, thus rendering obsolete the agony and shame of breathlessness.
What this means is that sport and I are now new-found lovers, embracing one another in the sweat-drenched gusset of the Thrusto Briefs of romance. We’ve dated a couple of times and revealed one or two embarrassing tales of teenage puking, but the full-on Rubber Mask ‘n’ Mains Operated Dildo Play shenanigans are some distance off for the moment. As I understand it, there are pedometer phone apps for measuring a whole range of stats from steps taken to calories burned to Anal Massage Quotient, and you can even hook up with ‘friends’ from around the world via a sport version of Facebook and wince at the embarrassing hopelessness of your global ranking — but I say FUCK THAT.
I still can’t believe I’m doing this, but I suppose it’s proof that change is possible, even for the stubbornest of idle buggers.
Ha! Who knew?!