Monday, December 22, 2014

The Final Droobler

    They say time flies when you’re having fun — which is presumably why this year has  felt like the flight equivalent of an osmium-filled killer whale nailed to the bottom of the Mariana Trench with Eurotunnel drill bits.

    (These same people also say that the years go by quicker the older you get, but I don’t see things balancing out on the Lost Teeth & Hair vs Fun front).


    How does it all work?

    It only remains for me to wish followers new and old a heartfelt (actually, my heart is probably next after the teeth and hair, now I think of it) festive wassail before I pack up my writing gear for 2014 and make merry with the figgeridiggeridoo.

    2015 promises to be a year of conflict and consequence — all post-Reaper business as usual I suppose but I can’t help feeling that the hats & regalia will be a little disappointing if this year’s feeble Christmas lights are anything to go by.

    We shall see.

    Back in 2015 to pig out on the freshness of a raw, sub-zero January...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

When Santa Lifts Off

    Santa’s sleigh lifted off into the night, bells jingling, reindeer cheering.

    One by one, the elves returned to their igloos to rest their weary heads.

    The moon followed Santa across the horizon — and the North Pole fell silent.

    The writer leaned back on his chair, irritated that a whimsical festive story about Santa’s abandoned pet trout had become embroiled in evident shittiness after only three lines.

    The whole trout thing was a masterstroke, a flash of inspiration, but something about ‘returning TO their igloos TO rest their weary heads’ annoyed him.

    And in any case, if this was to be a story about an abandoned pet trout, looking on forlornly as Santa disappears, and the elves depart for their beds, then where — in THE NORTH POLE — would a trout call home?

    Any pond or stream or river would be frozen over.

    “Perhaps,” mused the writer, ready to edit all he’d written so far, “perhaps the fish is frozen in ice, and therefore trapped in addition to being abandoned.  It’s certainly a cool dynamic.”

    But the rules of fiction are harsh and unyielding.  Any fish in that predicament would be dead without the aid of magic or some kind of thermally heated all-body sock.

    So the writer began afresh.

    Santa’s sleigh lifted off into the night, bells jingling, reindeer cheering.

    (Yes, that’s a decent opener.  Nice image, and non-committal about anything fishy.)

    One by one, the elves bedded down in their igloos, snug and snoozy after weeks of toil.

    (The elves never featured much in the original vision of the story, but this line infuses them with such character that the scope may be on for a standalone elf-themed mini-series after the trout story is finished.)

    But Santa’s trout was filled with sorrow.


    Sure, there was now plenty of explaining to do, but the writer felt content with the precocity of his edits and poured himself a pint of coffee.

    As he stirred the brew, images formed in his brain, as if beamed onto a cinema screen.  Was this a potential CGI family Christmas blockbuster movie in the making?

    “So beautifully rendered you can see every fibre of the trout’s technicolour sock.”
New York Times???

    Now, the writer had the makings of a plot to rival Finding Nemo.  This was no longer some run-of-the-mill weepie about an abandoned fish who reconnects with its milieu: here was a fish on the run from a vile, sheep-eating demon whose lust for flossing with the hair of its victims knew no bounds.

    Finny (because that’s the name of the trout: eureka!) flapped his fins as the demon unravelled his sock.

    “Please stop,” he cried, “for without that thermally heated technicolour miracle, I shall surely freeze to death!”

    A grin played on the writer’s face like the All Blacks stomping over the Twickenham turf.  Here was an idea that could run away with itself.

    The coffee cooled in its cup as words flew onto the writer’s page.  The trout’s plight, the demon’s surprise arrival, the elves’ mutinous sublot: all was here, and more.

    For days, weeks, months, years, decades, the writer wrote, turning out quadriplegic trilogy after nintupletic heptapentathingummaserial.  He tapped every emotion, renewed every possible plot, sent shares in anything trout-related SCREAMING with every new release.

    But in spite of their dreams, all writers are mortal, and one day the writer awoke to find himself dead.
    He stood at his writing lecturn with pen in hand, another pulse-pounding Finny spectacular poised to leap from brain to nib to parchment, when an angel grabbed him full on round the neck and barked, “you shoulda been here in 2006 with influenza, pal, but this writing bug has been keeping you alive better’n vitamins, steroids and viagra.  But it’s time to go, now. Lemme take your arm and flap you up to Heaven.”
    A look of incredulity rippled over the writer’s face like a day old bowl of custard on the Orient Express.  “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

    The angel coughed.  “Yeah...uhm...and...great fish stories, btw.  Even Satan loves ‘em.”

    The air swilled like snow in a Santa sleigh slipstream.

    And the writer was gone.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gruel Log

     The gruel of the festive season is upon me.

    I’m not kidding: it actually is.

    So mucusbound have the other inhabitants of Whirl Towers become that even the spray of their infrequent animatory effuse is as poison.

    So I’ve taken to my bed with a sausage sandwich, the better to be better off than Scrooge at this stage of the game, at least.

    I happen to like sausages.

    They are lifebouys of phallusness afloat in a gruel sea of uninviting mucusy nostrilations of oblivion.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Joyeux Noel etc christ is it the 11th already?

My veins are a-pulse with tinsel,
my man-boobs are festooned with globes.
Soon I don my gay apparel
and dangle golden rings from lobes.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmoosey Musings

    I love the way software installs so easily these days.

    With the exception of iTunes, today's computer progs and apps have fewer seams than a voodoo doll stitched by a frugal witch.

    Gone are the days of DOS commands to rival a chapter from War and Peace.

    Instead, we have blissful instantaneousness of a kind only dreamt about by porn film directors in the flopdown moments between key shoots.

    What a shame our newfound app-titude for user friendliness can't yet be applied to Christmas.

    Please, Lords of MisYule, get your shit together and deliver me the perfect Figgy Pudding and Fully Operational Fairy Light Set combeau.

    I want all the flavour of a firm, rich pudding AND no fiddling about with piddly light bulbs, HERE, NOW, on the same festive plate —  along with a trained squirrel to write out all of my Christmas cards and an internet of things plugged in to Noddy Holder's bonhomie glands.


    I want THAT!

    I guess what I really want is for Christmas to be like it was when I was a kid.

    Back then, everything was laid on, and just happened, from Santa arriving dead on schedule (and looking uncannily like my Dad) to that surreal “New Hamster For Old” offer my Mum discovered when Fluffcheeks choked on a Malteser from the advent calendar.

    Adult Christmases are just SHIT.

    Organising everything is like a high-stress carb-busting de-tox workout —  of DOOM.

    And the kids these days are so fucking ungrateful it's untrue.

    I'm tempted to forgo the selection boxes and annuals this year in favour of miniature air pistols and a mash-up of famous TV and film suicides uploaded to their iPods, the bastards.

    It's been a while since I feigned constipation and earned a luxury pamper day, and if truth be told, I love all the fuss and palaver.

    Christmas isn't just about getting shedloads of presents.

    It's great to receive, but the best part is giving, saying THANKS.

    The great pity in this world is that precisely the same people who have no-one to receive gifts from are also likely to be those with no-one for whom to buy them.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Taking A Run-up

    It’s been a long Autumn.

    Leaves have remained fixed to trees like summer-lovin’ larvae had glued them in place with squirty stuff from their backsides, and all shades of green have hung on to their greeniness despite the mix n’ match yellow and brown allure of every womens’ fashion catalogue from Next to Clad-a-Trollop.

    But now, Winter’s gloves are off.

    Or on.

    Hmm, not sure here.

    All I know is, the Autumn burlesque is over, and Winter has cast aside its feather, the better to goose our eyeballs with its bleak and barren genitals.

    It makes sense for this to happen right now (uhm, yeah, Whirl — like you have a choice).

    The run-up to Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a little bleakness.  Or rawness.  Or darkness.  Or misery.

    It’s not bad right now compared to (say) 2009 or (say again) 1980, but 24 days from now, when the bleakness and rawness and darkness and misery has really set in (along with even cheesier adverts and the zillion bugle fanfare for the New Year sales), I’ll be more than ready for my roaring fire, my port and Stilton, and my inflatable Noddy Holder.

    This year, I plan to manifest as the Anti-Scrooge.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Vault Face: What To Expect From Saturn's Journey Through Scorpio

   You got two posts on Monday, so technically all that bonus material ought to mean you get nothing today, in a "pup eating two bowls of chunki-meet — and throwing up" kind of a way.

   But let it not be said that this blog lends itself easily to podged pup regurgitation scenarios!

   No way is Abysswinksback any kind of Two Bowler!

   So here's a predigested morsel from the vaults, still relevant, current and hip thanks to the movements of the heavens above.

   It's been a long time since I read people's horoscopes or divined futures from arrangements of leftover breakfast cereals.  Also, a long time since I was exposed as a con man — and threatened with violence.

   Truth be told, astrology is productless advertising, a feel-good narrative spun by seasoned dupers.

   And for me, this guy is the tops...

    Saturn began its journey through the murky depths of Scorpio in October 2012.  Wherever Saturn goes, he slows the world right down and challenges us to take a good hard look at ourselves.  When his heavenly motion is retrograde (as it has been since February 18th) it can seem as if the whole world has come to a standstill.  Nothing can move forward, nothing can be resolved — and for those who practice meditation, nothing can even come of nothing.  This challenging landscape is where most of us will find ourselves stuck until the latter half of 2015, and thanks to the influence of Scorpio, the difficulties presented to us will be of the life and death variety.  If we are to survive this phase, to grow and change and prosper, we’re going to have to get used to the idea that the time has come for many of our cherished beliefs and ideals to be abandoned.

   That’s why I’m giving up pork.  It’s been my favourite meat since I was a kid, and ever since I saw Burt Reynolds in Deliverance I’ve had a craving for the stuff.  Squeeeeee!  Squeeeeeeeee!  Hell, I hear that sound every time I bite into a pork rib or a naked piglet.  BUT SATURN SAYS I GOTTA STOP!  It’s a cherished ideal — BITE BITE BITE — and I’m crazy without it (16 GODDAMN HOURS NOW!!!)  But I have to grow I have to change I have to prosper I have to destroy and I’m giving up talking to my neighbours, writing my weekly astrology column for Transit In Vans, anything to do with wood BURN TABLES BURN CHAIRS BURN TREES THEY’RE OUT TO GET YOU and so then I can get full Saturn power, full Scorpio power to CRUSH THE INSECT HORDES UNDERFOOT they’re not laying eggs in my brain those ANTS in their hills crawling all over my face but I GET BIG POWER and destroy — oh, yeah I’m taking out the sausages too, all the beef ones, then its BIG TRANSFORMATION TIME BIF SATURN SCORPIO POWER TO CRUSH ALL THE ANTS DESTROY THEM BEFORE THEY EAT OUR CHILDREN AND RAVAGE OUR WORLD


Jacuzzi Spakkert is an internationally renowned clairvoyant and mystic.  He has written scores of bestselling self-help books including The Zodiac of Love, How The Stars Can Get You What You Want and The Coming Age Is Yours.  His latest book, DESTROY THEM DESTROY THEM ALL hit bookstores in May 2012.  Jacuzzi lives in a self-built temple in Virginia with his wife, Maureen, their two children, Izaak and DEATHTOTHEBASTARDCRAWLINGHORDES, and four thousand devoted followers/mercenaries.  The Spakkerts famously sponsor a neglected donkey called Tony.


Evil Editor said...
I knew nothing of this. Can I watch televised golf the next two days without causing a war or a plague?
Whirlochre said...
It's debatable. If Woods isn't playing then you might be OK, but if he's out on the green while the Syrians are arming missiles with bubonic warts then you'd be better off switching over to snooker or goat racing.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cosplay The 13th

    A bonus post lands this afternoon thanks to a flash fiction prompt over at Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds blog.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Chuck and his work, let’s just say — in a run-up-to-Christmas kind of a way — that he’s the other “guy with the beard”.

    This week’s prompt was a simple one:

    Get the hell up off of your scented bean bag, Whirl, and make merry with your writing paraphernalia.


    Write a 1000 word superhero story, mashed up with another subgenre.

    I decided to run with moderate horror on this one, and having “turned up” thusly, here’s what I turned out...

Cosplay The 13th

    Darkness invades my skull through pursed irises of terror.

    Was that a crash or a thump or a bump or a bang?

    I kick back my duvet and assume a defensive stance, midway between Rogue Gorilla On The Loose and Possible Vampire Alien.

    “It’s Cosplay Time!”

    My trademark costume on up catchphrase is met by the silence of a custom-built superhero mansion under threat.

    Where is my alter ego’s moulded carapace?  My matching boots and helmet?  All the fancy swishy swashing of automated hypervelcro?

    I throw on the lights and reach inside the bedside cabinet for my Standby Costume Putter-onner Device Array Container Pod — my SCPODACP!

    Dials buzz as I punch in my 363-digit encrypted security code and assemble the locater aerial, but in my fear-fuelled haste, I hellheck can’t remember who I chose as my favourite TV or movie star — and the pod dies.

    Everything about this scenario suggests INVADERS WITH EVIL INTENT, and without my costume I’m naked as a helpless babe: a bundle of fear waiting to be consumed whole by fear itself.

    Someone — or some thing — or some ONES — or some THINGS — or ALL THINGS — have breached my mansion’s defences, and now creep, en stealthy masse, about staircase and scullery, eager to unleash their uncanny devilry upon my helpless, costumeless form with the psychopathic zeal of Elvis lookalikes battling to outquiff each other to the beat of Heartbreak Hotel.

    I pull out my phone and call the emergency costume hotline.

    A thousand bucks a month buys me premier 24 hour access, but you never know when some intergalactic space war will drag those guys from their desks, leaving behind only a clueless goober and a pile of microwave oven instruction manuals.

    Tonight I’m lucky.  Tonight I get the stretchy head honcho.

    With one ear on every nook and cranny of my mansion, and both eyes popping from my skull, I run through my dilemma — like The Flash.

    “Hmmm,” says the guy, “sounds like you have a problem with the destablerized molecules comprising your costume.  Best thing is for you to hook up some kind of nuclear generation device to any two parts of your superbeing apparel you can lay your hands on, and perform a straight interdimensional particle swap boost. That ought to meld those costume parts and transform them into a magnet for the rest.”

    I thank the guy and rub my hands.

    Most other superheroes would be out on a limb right now, but if the sworn arch-enemy of Lieutenant Particle has learned anything from 30 years of superheroics, it’s this:

    Given a choice between making a hasty and triumphal post-combat exit from a Death Star, clutching either the plans for a nuclear generation device OR a rare beetle collection, you take the plans every time — then assemble what you find, in your basement, with a 24-piece screwdriver and spanner set.

    And, yeah, maybe you steal a few beetles also — and Snoopy Dance.

    My brain flips into Mission Plan Mode, cogs whirring, amygdala suppressant soup swirling.  All I have to do is figure how to make it through the shadows to the basement without being eaten or roasted, fix up my costume with nukes, then deal with the bad guys without being eaten or roasted.

    Do I take the stairs, the elevator, or the curiously superhero-width and ladder-rich ventilation shaft?

    Panic grips my throat like my heart had pumped right up inside my neck and made like a boa constrictor with my tonsils.

    It’s indecision like this that first led me to become AquaLaserPantherBoyForceMan, and my mind swills with images of the uncle I couldn’t save, the radioactive sea cucumber I felt compelled to insert, the Nordic hammer whose typo I couldn’t prevent myself from pointing out to the Gods (which they subsequently had tattooed all over my body) — and the $3,795 bill for badly sewn spandex.

    But there’s no time for origins now.  This is the finale.

    Preferably not mine.

    Flesh creeping about my knotted sinews, I take the pole direct to the basement, cursing myself for letting Flapdancegirl slip from my life.  I still hear her leather apron’s skid against the pole’s cold steel, feel the lash of her forty foot tongue against the undersides of my toenails.

    What a fool I was to throw her away — to lose her, leave her flailing in Dr Murkswamp’s devillish Sargasso of Doom to die.

    I hereby dedicate the forthcoming mortal combat to the memory of our love — just as soon as I retrieve my aquahelmet from its curious new semi-resting place above the basement door.

    Its sequinned chrome glints in the candlelight’s twisted shadows as it shakes from side to side, neither levitating, hovering nor flying.

    Next to it is a glove, vibrating like the pixels of a frozen DVD movie.

    It’s a mis-atomized costume assembly glitch, just as the tech guy said!  

    A chill waterfalls down my back, but there’s no time to figure out the what, when, why, how, who, where, which, whatever of it all: I have precisely the two parts of my costume I need to reassemble the whole thing.

    Heads up!  It’s time to kick open the door and make with the nukes!

    Or, because I’m still in my exoskeletonless pyjamas, maybe I should just use the door handle.

    Lieutenant Particle’s nuke device throbs before me, its Master Booster Power Switch clutched tight by — the coils of Flapdancegirl’s prehensile tongue!

    She pounds the switch, hard — and laughs.

    My aquahelmet spins onto my head.  Gloves and trunks and belts and panther pelts fly in a haze all around me, velcro into place, one by one.

    From a secret receptacle below my chin, my underwater protection mask rolls out over my nose and mouth, sealing my costume tight.

    But this time, no pffffft of oxygen!

    No flip-down titanium snorkel!

    Flapdancegirl fixes me in her sights and grins her cruellest erectile dysfunction grin.

    Uh oh.

    It’s Cosplay Time...

Crease Me Please Me

    Cups of coffee come and go from my desk like a succession of acrobats cavorting on a trampoline, each one secretly borne through the wormhole between Humdrumville and Writing Central by my inner procrastinator.

    I dare not test my pulse for fear of reaching 1000 before I place fingertip to wrist.

    On my writing slope, words buzz from crisp white paper, traced in black ink with the purpose of a gramophone needle let loose on a polyparobolic groove of indeterminate rpm.

    My characters are trapped here, behind swirled bars.

    They clutch at ink, rattle the paper, rumble with muffled voices.

    No rubber ring strikeouts can save them.

    No megaphone corrections can make their stories heard.

    No turn of the paper can uncover them.

    More coffee arrives, and so pumped is the vessel at my elbow’s crook, I swear a feisty terrier could leap through the hymen of skin twixt blood and bone more readily than a dolphin stunting with a hoop.

    I must not look for this dog.

    His muddy paw prints will smudge all I have written, his eager tongue will bathe my aching muscles in the saliva of Downtoolsmania.

    He may even beguile me into knitting a woollen typewriter from his scraggy fur.

    Or bite me on the cock.

    My eyes roll to the ceiling, and spin, blurring into one the single lightbulb overhead and the retinal blind spot buried deep in my skull.


    Grey dog.


    “So, am I a dog or a bird — or what?”

    Whiskers twitch before me like strands of spiderweb coated in frozen chocolate.

    “You’re a figment, a mere figment is all — a sliver of hairy nothingstuff as phantomy of anatomy as all these characters whose words and deeds hang helplessly from obfuscation’s  fuzziest hook here on the page.”

    The dog winks.  “Yeah — but I might just know something.”

    We talk — I, with the air of a sceptical 79 year-old negotiating the mis-selling of a dubious pension, and he, with his dopey dawgie look powered down to zero for maximum Sound Canine Advice effect.  He fetches a couple of sticks between his orations, which is weird because I neither throw any nor have the faintest clue where he’s getting them from.

    Cats don’t pull stunts like this.

    When the dog is done, I fold my paper like he said, making triangles, squares, weird obliqueys.

    It’s half origami, half screw-into-a-ball, and as the dog woofs further particulars, a figure forms between my fingers  — a figure I fall in love with instantly.

    “I’ll call him Foldy.  He can act like a kind of conduit between the spirit world of my imagination and the real world of punctuation.”

    “Sure, if you can get him to stand up.”

    “I’ll fix up a stand.  From chapter two of this nouveauness-free novel.”

    “Why limit yourself?  Go for the whole podium.”

    I pluck paper from my drawer, eager to transform WIP-fodder into a podium, a skyscraper, a whole world of adventure for Foldy to discover and enjoy and...maraud around in.

    The dog flips over with excitement.  “I’ll construct an underground labyrinth from all your rejected scripts, and if we make like crazy with maybe your Daphne Du Maurier collection, between us we can fashion a narrative for Foldy and his friends!”


    “Sure.  We can rustle up a perfectly serviceable sidekick from all your 60s Spidey comics.” 

    It’s an approach I’d never thought of before.

    But I never had a fictional furball-cum-sidekick of an Origami Worlde enthusiast before, licking at my face and burying his cold, black nose deep into the folds of my punctured elbowaic hymen.

    If truth is stranger than fiction, it plays in a different cinema today.

    I have no need for celluloid or expensive nacho-burger hybrids; less still do I crave a miscellaneous fruit-flavoured mushy-slushy shitswamp.

    It’s days like these that make writing worthwhiler than usual.

    Dogs, whiskers, Foldy: all is bliss.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Incubatteyries Recharged

    Most writing advice goes like this:


    Write till your fingers bleed and paramedics avoid you for fear of drowning!

    Write till your backside is number than a paralysed octopus!

    Write in the face of a Godzilla / alien horde team-up — but make no reference to this in your writing!

    And so on, and so forth, and bleurgh.

    I did try to follow this advice on Monday morning, really I did.

    I did try to ensure that the Abysswinksback Family Online Writing Advice Facility failed to default on its commitment to splonk forth something vaguely wordy at 9.59am every Monday and Thursday.

    But you know how it is sometimes with necks and waking up and swellings and pus and spider-like fish things that crawl from open wounds above your jugular notch and writhe, writhe, writhe: there’s only so much you can do with cheeks blown out to Kim Kardashian proportions and an Adam’s Apple the size of a tumour bulldozered from a fat guy’s stomach during an episode of Bizarre & Disgusting Ailments & Afflictions.

    I haven’t so much nursed this condition as wrestlered it.

    Fuck writing — I couldn’t even brush my teeth or see my willy to piss straight.

    As for my volunteer hour at the old people’s home down the road, let’s just say that when I phoned to cancel, my voice was so gurgly and weird that they evacuated (then torched) the place, fearing Satanist attack.

    That’s why nothing got written on Monday.

    No blog posts, no fiction, no sonnets praising Victoria Coren-Mitchell’s sensational hair.

    But none of this means that my writerly brain failed to work.

    Behind the wall of pustulent fish-flesh masquerading as my face and neck, sufficient synapses flickered on with the delayed zeal of damp fireworks.

    Ideas came, links were made — some of which were completely unrelated to my neckular tumescence and its associated throbbing agony (and spider-fish bunjee displays).

    So the hard part of writing continued — the plunge into the dread pool of uncertainty, the kiss of idiosyncrasies, the (ok, so, yeah, this sometimes happens) farting.

    Now that I’ve more or less recovered (bar the odd red lump and the occasional random pinhead-thin fountain of clear yellow liquid), it only remains for me to w-r-i-t-e-i-t-o-u-t.

    So maybe that’s my writing advice for the day:

    Speculate!  Incubate!  Speculate!  Incubate!

    The marks on the paper will come in the end.

Sorry #197 — on Monday, I won at Neck

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Curse Of Pre-Christmas

    It’s gettin’ to look a lot like Christmas.

    Not actually Christmas, as in stacks of tinsel and reindeer everywhere you look.

    It’s just LIKE Christmas.

    I’ve always been bugged by the way shops roll out the Santa with the prematurity of knee-jerk ejaculators, but at least in previous years they’ve been honest.

    We believe Christmas begins on November 21st, which is why we have our tree up and our elves gadding, cute n’ perky.

    Customers were then free to grumble or cheer as they shopped, the reliefmongers cussing the Twelfth Nighters for their traditions of misery, and much hissing of they’re completely ruining the spirit of the season on the ditto versa.

    The new pre-Christmas decorations throw the whole thing into disarray.

    The small Christmas is coming notices (compwete with twee iwwustwation) dangled tantalisingly in the red wine and dog food aisle the moment the hallowe’en stuff got binned are merely REMINDERS, as in

    * Your electricity bill is due.  Please pay within 30 days.
    * It’s time for your six-monthly dental check-up.  Please call the surgery at your earliest convenience.
    * We Sommaly piratts.  We hav ur parants.  Pay 1m quids or thay dye neks fiday.

    “Too early to put up the Christmas decorations, Sir?  Indeed it is, which is why you’ll see nothing of the kind in any of our stores for at least another week.  What you see is what you always see: informative, helpful in-store publicity, all of which serves to highlight our forthcoming offers.  We sincerely believe it is in our customers’ interests to provide information that might interest them.  We all have to stock up and keep costs down, and our promotional information reflects this.  We think it’s good news for customers, good news for business — and good news for Christmas.”

    At which point I wrestled the guy behind the counter into the freezer cabinet and clubbed him to death with a pack of frozen beefburgers.

    Regrettably, they were not “2-for-1" — or I might have pummelled his brains out.

Monday, November 10, 2014


    I’m no big fan of multitasking.

    Sure, I can breathe AND remain upright AND look at Lolcats simultaneously, but juggling bananas while flicking pound coins into tigers’ mouths is mercurial ambidexterity too far for this cack-handed writer, let me tell you.

    What interests me right now are the shifts in thought and deed (same thing, actually, but I love a good shorthand cliché) that must necessarily take place as we move from one activity to another.

    One minute, you’re gardening; the next, you’re cooking dinner — till finally, you’re on  your hands and knees cleaning baby sick from the living room carpet or shopping online for novelty leather motorcycle pantees.

    The point is, there are some activities that lend themselves to easy transitions while others remain problematically clunky.

    Sometimes this is simply the result of incompatible physiological states being bundled together in too short a time frame, as anyone who has tried to connect with their yogic wherewithal after running a marathon will testify.  Riding a horse while drunk is another clincher.  Ditto allowing a drunk horse to ride you as you perform brain surgery on an unanaesthetised epileptic chimp.

    Other times, a change of clothes, equipment or surroundings is required to make the transition, and any self-respecting bunjee jumping naturist will know the deal with this one.

    What’s interesting for writers is that very often the biggest leaps take place (and are necessary) between one version of sitting-at-a-desk-thinking-and-writing-and-looking-out-of-the-window and another.

    There’s no actual leap here, as might be the case if you went from (hot, sweaty) NAKED GO-GO DANCING ON THE BEACH to (calming) GURUCRAFT ATOP MONT BLANC (AVEC SNORKELS).

    The scenario for most forms of writing is the same: chair, desk, pen & paper / gadget, window.

    The physiological state is the same too: broadly calm, sitting posture, no stress on heart or breathing, pyjamas — and so on.

    And yet, somehow, the shift from NOVEL to POEM, REPORT to DISSERTATION, TRADING CARD FLAVOUR TEXT to BLOG ARTICLE rarely happens in the kind of instant you might expect would be the case for transitions from one form of writing to another (for me, at least — you might be a flickermercurial genius).

    What interests me right now isn’t so much the brute fact that these so-called “changes of mind” or “changes of mindset” should exist (and take odd amount of time they take) but what goes on in these transition states.

    Assuming you made an immediate change from NOVEL to POEM, then what would happen?

    You’d stop thinking all your NOVEL thoughts — all of them — and start thinking all your POEM thoughts — all of them — in an ON/OFF electric switch kind of way.

    For this to happen, these thoughts would need to be concrete, known.

    Bird.  Oiseau.  Bird.  Oiseau.

    When we KNOW things, we can switch quickly between them.

    And maybe this is the deal: the fuzziness of creativity is hardly concrete.

    Who knows what constitutes a NOVEL?


    Even the experts don’t know everything about their chosen specialities, and there may not even BE an “everything” to know.  Novels, by definition, don’t actually exist until they’re written, after all.

    Whichever way you think of it, there’s clearly more to juggle in the moment here than mere versions of birds.

    And maybe that’s a good thing for creativity in general.

    Because Bird Oiseau Bird Oiseau simply demonstrates a minimal grasp of French.
    It’s a statement of fact, with little intertwixting of shibboleths — a more easily leapable chasm than the maw of a gulf between my dystopian novel about meerkat vampires on a Death Star (as a vehicle for a contemporary take on the philosophy of William James) and my sonnet about a belly dancer with floppy boobs who slims down to a size 10 after doing battle with her mirror reflection and love for Jamie Oliver’s new hairdo.

    When our oiseaux bulge and swell thus, any kind of intertwixting could well strike us as an inconvenience.

    Grrr!  Go away Fluffy da Meerkat Gunner, with your talk of free will in an inherently fascist universe!  I badly need a word to rhyme with GAZONGAS!  Six syllables!

    Or, you might end up beached in mid-twixty, doomed to write stuff like this:

    Fluffy da Meerkat Gunner peered down his boomer lens at the Imperium’s latest monstrosity.  Its hulking form blotted out the stars like a giant titty, mighty cannons poking from its armoured carapace with the pertness of nipples teased erect by a minimally sexy Southern plonker.”


    when you dance, you entrance, my one true love,
    as Vader, hypnotic’lly dangerous

BUT, if you can bear to wait till things settle down, and actively pursue this moment of hinny twixt hinnies, viewing it as a momentary “one thing” in its own right, then notions of any kind of multitasking vanish.

    The singularity of intertwixtyness lives!

    Let there be Hinny2volition!

    It’s just a thought — as is NOVEL and POEM and DISSERTATION ON NOVELTY MOTORBIKE PANTEES — but we so often miss/dismiss it whenever we journey through the hinny hinterland between other, seemingly more important, concerns.

 (For more equine-themed writing advice, go here)

Monday, November 3, 2014

WTFzat: Rhododendocrosight


   A view of the world made possible when the rose-tinted spectacles have been thrown away and the resultant disappointment and misery has vanished into the ether.

   A form of optimism based on what exists, independent of over-reaction to unhelpful or negative stimuli.

   The witness of matter in bloom.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nanowrimo Is Wasted On November

    As swathes of 1/11ers prepare to do battle with their muses in the name of the novel, the written, and the uncustomarily evidenced, it’s time to silence the dreaded INNER EDITOR and flash about the burg the almost penis-like snake of all our OUTER HOSEPIPES OF WANK.

    This is not to say that NANOWRIMO is baaaaaaad, or that everything that comes of it is a monumentally delusion-fuelled SHOWER OF PISS.

    Even though it MAINLY IS.

    But if (writers, writers) we are to afford ourselves the luxury of immersing our creative wherewithal in mammoth trunk sized squirts or urine, spraying upon ourselves the liquid of purest wank, burdening our wildest excesses of effuse with no condoms hewn of grammatically punctuated uberStrunk — then why insist on cramming it into one of the shittiest months of the year?

    July is HOTTER.

    May has, like,  a hidden command in its only syllable: “I may, I might, I must”.

    And for fuck’s sake, what else is going on in December other than allowing yourself to be robbed of every spare moment in exchange for things you never asked for, synapseslaving up a bunch of TV shows you’d never watch if you had the option of WRITING, and videoing a dessert the whole family is glad you incinerated?

    So, bugger NaNoWriMo MONTH — it’s time we paid heed to THE OTHER ELEVEN thirtysomethings.

    Our inner editors will (and must) catch up with us come December 1st, and outer editors beyond our control will muster degrees — worldes, calories — more scrutiny over our ejaculations LIKE OUR FEEBLE WORDS WERE CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS PRIMED TO FEED THEIR CARBONIZING WHIMS.

    So, let it all hang out for a month (a month!) if you must.

    What shibboleths fly unbidden from you the rest of the time, you wasters?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vault Face: How To Get A Black Belt In Nanowrimo

   This morning, I offer up an old blog post once again, shackled as I am to distracting irritations du jour whose ability to keep me from generating original material is on a par with David Cameron's zeal for mid-morning lip-cellulite busting yodel workout regimes.

   My one hope is that this regurgitation of yesteryear's Abysswinksbackery (October 2012, Time Stamp Buffs) thrusts wisdom in the face (or maybe adenoids) of every writer passing by this morning.

   Nanowrimo is soon upon us!

   But why wait till the 11th month of anything to act upon your "I've been whacked" insprirational zeal?

   What about the other 11 months, you half-of-twelve-and-half-again-and-half-again-with-time-to-spare-wits? 

  WRINO the 11+1.

   Meanwhile, let withered writing advice spill from my pen like blood from the gizzard of a hydra slain by Conan...

    Nanowrimo is almost upon us once more — like an overenthusiastic grandma smothering a teenager with lipstick-splattered kisses as she presses a pillow to his face and cries from the second you were born I’ve dreamed of this moment, you offspring of the devil, you hell-child! — so I thought I’d take a minute to pass on my own Number 1 Writing Tip of Alle Tyme for those of you possessed by the urge to jot down 80,000 words over the course of November and proclaim yourself at the end of it all to be “The New Jilly Cooper” (perhaps) or “shagged to within a millilitre of my life-giving spunk” (most likely).

   Advice on the use of unnecessarily numerous adjectives and equally abundant adverbs, you’ll find elsewhere on the internet (not to mention on every page of every classic novel on your bookshelf) so I won’t dredge those waters of wisdom with my ladle.  Neither will I advise on story arcs or plot — such things are best left to Noah and estate agents, possibly even clued-up acrobats with a penchant for reciting fables.

   Character, dialogue, genre, semicolons — these things also I’ll leave to other experts whose sage advice bulges from every browser window summoned by googling WRITER.  You’ve visited the sites, you know what they all say, you’re aware of the ones who never shave their nasal hair,  yadda heck dang hell heck yadda yadda

   What I present for you today is my own personal secret.  It won’t guarantee you success (such things are impossible for most of us anyhow — unless we’ve slept with Daniel Craig or licked ice cream from his back) and it won’t mean that your characters, plot and prose will sing like a trio of reformed harpies, but it WILL prevent you from making the one fatal mistake guaranteed to piss off your readers (some of whom could be literary agents or President Obama).


   Then here it is, my sage nanowrimo advice.

   Never, EVER, EVER

introduce, mention or describe a character called Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman of The Fallow Cloud Hive.

   To do so is FATAL, believe me.

   If you’re writing a detective story, he’ll kill it.  If you’re deep into romance or chick-lit territory, he’ll run your French kisses into the ground.  Even sci-fi/fantasy-cum-punk/garage/grunge buckles before the march of his entropic marauding.

    You want proof?

    Consider how his presence would have ruined every book you’ve ever read and enjoyed till your heart melted like a lump of chocolate...

    “I awoke in my own bed.  If it be that I had not dreamt, the Count must have carried me here.  I tried to satisfy myself on the subject, but could not arrive at any unquestionable result.  To be sure, there were certain small evidences, such as that my clothes were folded and laid by in a manner which was not my habit, and the Count’s manservant, Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman of The Fallow Cloud Hive, danced and jigged at the foot of my bed, shrieking, ‘Woo, jugular boogie, babyyy!’”

    “I was eleven when Aunt Fiona died; I remember feeling both peeved and cheated that I was thought to young to go to the funeral.  So I telephoned the  Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman of The Fallow Cloud Hive Hotline and said, ‘here, mate — can you come and fix my bloody family with your stunning weaponry array?  Maybe fire off a few lightning bolts?  Impale  some aunties and uncles on your spikes?’”

    “Hindley and Cathy contented themselves with looking and listening till peace was restored: then, both began searching their father's pockets for the presents he had promised them.  ‘You won’t find anything in there,’ said Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman of The Fallow Cloud Hive. ‘I’ve sucked everything into my uniquely grotesque gizzard, all ready to regurgitate into the faces of the rich and pompous.’”

    “In May 1945 the news spread around Jinzhou that Germany had surrendered and that the war in Europe was over.  Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman of The Fallow Cloud Hive, came amongst us like the weirdest kind of Santa we’d ever seen, squirting lemonade from his anal funnel and juggling fairy cakes into our mouths.” 

    “Throw physic to the dogs; I'll none of it.
Come, put mine armour on; give me my staff.
 Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman
of The Fallow Cloud Hive
doth his flabby stomach project
as the breasts of a comely witch
and I would flog him mercilessly
till his spleen, red raw, flyetheth from him.”

I rest my case.

Recognise the five excerpts of literature displayed here?  Note your answers in the comments trail and I’ll send you a personal (and possibly stunning) useless badge for you to display on your blog (or chest, c/o a suitably qualified tattooist).


fairyhedgehog said...
Thank you. This advice will make my novel perfect.
Whirlochre said...
I'm here to help, I'm here to serve (but never to dress up as a baboon).
Peter Dudley said...
Perhaps you are correct. But I posit that every novel, or at least every screenplay adaptation of a novel, would benefit from a run-on by LEROY JENKINS.
Whirlochre said...
Comment moderation is now enabled in order to prevent my penis swelling to the size of a dirigible thanks to accidental linky dinky supplement signup...
fairyhedgehog said...
Very wise. A penis the size of a dirigible would be a tad unwieldy.
fairyhedgehog said...
Oops. It's not comment moderation, it's the dreaded ReCaptcha. I'm having more trouble posting a comment than a robot!
Whirlochre said...
"A tad unwieldy" is a great pun.

Plus, I did, of course, mean ReCaptcha.

It's a necessary evil at the moment as I fend off the advances of Mwanga Zadangla and a certain amourous Latvian.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vault Face: To The Fish From The Fish

   Okay, so I'm hoovering up a few old blog posts this week because time to generate new ones is shorter than Tom Cruise standing in a hole dug to hide Richard Osman, but I hope this offering from June this year brightens your day more than anything I could write this morning.

   The Christmas TV adverts have begun.  They're not of the Full-on Tinsel and Rudolf's Fat Arse In Yer Face variety, but they're annoyingly premature nonetheless.  What's especially annoying is that they pretend not to be Christmas ads at all.  Instead of proclaiming CHRISTMAS IS HERE they whisper Christmas is coming, all in the name of subtlety I suppose.  A bit like Jack Nicholson AT the door with his axe rather than THROUGH it and ALL OVER YOUR STOMACH in The Shining.

   So, Merry Christmas, DFS Furniture.  May you rot, and the vessels of your circulation clot.

Dear Mr & Mrs Greetings Card Shop,

Can I


have a Christmas card that just says

“Merry Christmas”

on it?

Click to enlarge.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vault Face: The Two Fifteen From Havana To The Midlands

   As half term rumbles over the horizon alongside full metal jacket and half nelson, I break from my routine Monday blogger's generation of new material to regurgitate an old furball, all in the hope that excitement and fun may be brought to your day, dear reader, as I suffer horribly at the hands of fate.

  To quote Emerson, "those who have nostrils will remember; those who owned pre-War wardrobes too tiny to host a pair of skinny jeans let alone a suit will clutch at throat and gasp for air."

  I love it when Emerson played evocative instead of his usual brain hack poseur.

  Anyhow, you'll be wanting your blog post, won't you?

  Here's one from August 2011...

   Weird things happen on crowded train journeys.

   I never meant to make one yesterday; it was supposed to be a regular journey complete with space to stretch my legs and no requirement that I be breathed on from a distance of less than six inches by a fat woman whose ludicrous layers of slap somehow failed to disguise a Tolkienesque beard.

   But so it goes with trains.

   It only takes one points failure, one delayed connection, for an otherwise pleasant experience to be transformed into a weird kind of torture. Add to that a dead husky sled team on the line and you’re talking torture orchestrated by a sadist savant.

   So as everyone is jockeying for space in the aisle — those fortunate enough to have bagged a seat pretending to be more disabled/ill/dead than those standing — this old black guy sidles up.

   Actually, ‘guy’ is the wrong word — he’s more of a gent.

   Struggling to hit 5' 6", he’s dressed in a smart jacket midway between lime and sage with a neatly folded handkerchief sitting elegantly in the top pocket. His trousers are pressed, his shoes are smart, and atop his head is a straw boater
— all of which gives him the appearance of a man bound for Havana rather than Walsall.

   He perches his slender backside on the edge of a table, somehow managing to maintain his poise and composure among the assembled throng of the twisted and stiff, and had it not been for his distinctive scent, my curiosity would have passed on to some other traveller, maybe flitting back to my mystery gent from time to time but certainly not remaining with him for most of the journey.

   It was an odour I haven’t encountered for thirty-odd years — an unmistakable whiff from days gone by when football shorts were made of real cotton and chafed the insides of your thighs.

   This smart little gent smelled of mothballs.

   I’m tempted to ask what became of mothballs but I suppose the answer is obvious because they make your clothes stink. But it does beg the question: whatever happened to moths? Why did they stop inhabiting cupboards and wardrobes some time around 1977? Personally, I blame nylon underwear.

   While my nostrils are busy processing this new old information, arranging it next to the ming of sweaty bra, bearded lady and inevitable egg and cress sandwich, Mr Havana takes out a book and proceeds to read, his hands cupping its hardback cover like a polished lecturn. It’s a book about trades and shares — a very ‘on the money’ topic given the number of world economies suddenly on the skids. Problem is, it looks like it’s been lifted from the dusty back shelf of a failing Oxfam where it’s resided for the past half a century between the 1911 Pears Cyclopaedia and a margerine carton full of ear wax bound for Ethiopia.

   The remainder of my uncomfortable journey lasts another half an hour and I can’t take my eyes off this strange man. He doesn’t move and he doesn’t shuffle about but I can tell by the slight shrinkage of his jacket and the fixity of his knees that he’s working very hard to maintain this posture, poised on the edge of a table on a crowded train with book in hand. He reads it with a studious look on his face, like he’s weighing up these facts and figures of yesteryear and applying his new-found knowledge to today’s financial woes. There are graphs, which he traces with his finger like he was stroking a fluffy caterpillar prone to eczema, and he goes back to the words again and again as if re-evaluating their import in light of insights flashing beneath his boater.

   All the way to Walsall, in a haze of mothballs, he reads

   This out-of-date hardback book about trades and shares.

   All the way from page 7 to page 7.

   When the train finally groans its way into the station, I’m tempted to follow him, to see where he goes, but having been barred from the loo for the final part of my journey thanks to the crush, I badly need a wee.

   Disappointed to let this curious chap slip away, I follow the bearded lady into the Gents...


Old Kitty said...
You have loos on your train station!??!! Take care
fairyhedgehog said...
Cedar and lavender. That's what's taken over from mothballs, thank heaven!
jjdebenedictis said...
As far as possible scents to discover upon your train/bus/subway-mates are concerned, mothballs is quite acceptable.

Page 7 of 7. Now that's disturbing.
Whirlochre said...
Old Kitty

Loos, yes — with hand dryers a foot off the floor. I reckon they must have been installed by a hobbit.


How lucky we are in this brave new millennium...


Very odd, yes.
Sylvia said...
What an intriguing man! I wonder where he was going. I wish you could have followed him...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

One Parrot Fiction #6

Click to enlarge.  If you must.

Monday, October 13, 2014

In Praise Of Tech

    Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m no great fan of technology when it comes to the act of writing.

    I don’t believe any arbitrarily designed software will help me to sort my material better than my own capacity to organise my thoughts and the links between them.  Truth told, I think the people over at Scrivener ought to rename it Straitjacket.

    As for hardware, I’m with the many philosophers, neuroscientists and discount horse meat vendors who assert that “the brain is the most complex piece of matter in the universe,” so I’m glad to trust the generations, associations and manipulations of my own grey matter over any amount of finite resources that the good folks from Apple seem hellbent on reconstituting as shiny, unaffordable wank.

    And smartphones?  Fine as long as you have no inclination to be forever declining (or being enslaved by) ALERT after ALERT for zilcho.

    That said, there is one good thing to have come out of the populist technological advance now preparing the ground for cyborg-pumped Singularity Central — something that makes it easier to be a fully functioning writer out there in the wild.

    Back in the day, it was impossible to innocently inhabit the corner of a pub (or a café or a park or maybe a shallow duck pond), equipped to the hilt with all you could ever need to help you morph thoughts into words, and NOT be assailed by The Dumbfounded.

    “What are you doing?”

    “I’m writing.”

    “What for?  Is it a diary?”


    “What are you doing?”

    “I’m writing.”

    “About ME?  It’s about me, isn’t it?  Why are you writing ABOUT ME?”

    Then The Dumbfounded would sit down, or ask to read what you’d written, or otherwise  not fuck off and leave you the hell alone.  No kidding, in my time I’ve been more surrounded by bodies than a busking hermaphrodite beating out Bohemian Rhapsody on a guitar with its zest-gorged undercarriage.

    These days, everyone is more than familiar with the concept of people perfectly happy to ignore what’s going on around them — all thanks to the genius of the technoJobsworths who have shrunk horizons onto screens the size of a vain harlot’s compact mirror. 

    With their noses wedged between canyons of worthless gems, or their attention grabbed by some stranger-buddy’s cats giving birth in a newly redecorated kitchen on the other side of the globe, the Previously What For? Brigade flout all the rules of social conduct ever established by mankind, occasionally “levelling up” audibly or accidentally ordering ten grand’s worth of hamster bedding while ogling photos of naked acrobats.

    For writers in public spaces intent on being left alone to write, this new development is a dream come true. 

    Glory, glory!  The Dumbfounded have found New Dumb.

    (As a bonus, shotguns and strangling equipment remain unpurchased; snug room lino plays host to no gallons of blood.)

    And so I sit, unencumbered and unhindered, before the max brightness glare of my local ale hostelry, subjecting thoughts to paper with a view to spewking them out online a week from now.

    How blissful it is not to be secreted at the edge or in the bowels — I hide here in plain sight, undigested by owls.