Monday, November 21, 2016

Deep Coma, Big Karma

Just winding down for the moment.

The Blogosphere is not what it was in the Two Thousand And Somethings, and discourse has largely morphed itself off elsewhere.

Naturally, I’m in the thick of that stuff, up to my neck — which means this kind of AbyssWinksBack output is done for now.

These are new times, and we need new rascals.

So I’m doing that thing you see so often in sci-fi movies where robotic hands inject astronauts up the pooper with cryogenic sleep drugs before tucking them into stasis pods for a million years.

And I’m packing sugary sweets for the wake-up call.

(Don’t ask me how I intend to inject myself up the pooper.  How rude can you people be?)

So the Abyss must slumber for a while, and with it, dearest days of Protrudio, Geoff, Sock Monkey and all their friends.

May your very best demons be biddable.

Turns out they weren’t so bad and evil after all.

Drill over.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Vault Face: Ferret Watch

Bank Holiday is with us again, and I'm feeling sentimental for days of yore when my garden was filled with playthings — and my hosepipe squirted more than an ineffectual dribble.

So here's a post from 2009.

It's a day that feels like the perfect Bank Holiday Monday, even though it actually wasn't.

Ferret Watch

It’s not every day that Son of Whirl comes running into the study as I’m massaging my pecs with a rolling pin and cries, ‘Dad! Dad! Come quick! There’s a ferret in the garden!’

With only swimming goggles, Wellington boots, gardening gloves and a sou wester to protect me, I dashed — nay, was pushed — onto the lawn to “sort it out.”

Maybe I was expecting a stoat, or something weasely-dragony-deadly, with huge fangs, sharp claws and an up-yer-trouser-leg whoosh to rival Graham Norton on a blind date.

What I discovered was that ferrets are actually quite cute. At least, this one was. It looked like a miniature albino badger that had been stretched by a couple of wrestlers, and when I found it rolling around in the fresh compost by the potting shed, several things were immediately clear:

1) It was cu-uuuute.
2) It had no intention of running away, launching a ferocious attack on anyone or doing anything other than looking cu-uuuute.
3) The sou waster was an overkill.

The RSPCA couldn’t collect it till this morning, so we got to have a ferret in our greenhouse for the night, safely tucked away in Geoff’s travelling cat basket.

Did she like this?

She did not.


writtenwyrdd said...
Ferrets smell rather musky and their piss reeks to high heaven (worse than Geoff's if she were to eat asparagus, even) but they are hilarious little clowns. A friend had a pair and they are great pets if you give them the attention they need. Hopefully this guy's owners will recover him (her?) soon.
Kiersten said...
We nearly got a ferret as a pet when I was a girl.

I still suspect the whole "we're getting a ferret!" was a ploy on the part of my dad to make my mom finally cave and let us get a dog.

It worked.

Also, that last picture with Geoff is priceless.
Anna Claire said...
Awwww. Too much cuteness in one post. Did you get any "can we keep it?" requests?
fairyhedgehog said...
Oh poor Geoff!

That is just amazing though. I take it that it's someone's pet ferret that escaped. I hope they manage to get it back - do you get first dibs if they don't?
Whirlochre said...
It definitely escaped from some civilising hidey-hole and if it's owner hasn't contacted the RSPCA by now, I'd be surprised.

As for reeking piss — only the worst French roadside squat thrust troughs have equalled the ming left in our greenhouse.

Current list of pets for when Geoff pops her clogs includes snakes, snakes, snakes. And tarantulas.
Litgirl01 said...
Awwww! Poor little thing. :-(
McKoala said...
Ferrets are cute until they sink their teeth into you.

Long Live Geoff.
Robin S. said...
Ohhhhhh! Ferrets are darling!

I had friends who litter-trained theirs, and they walked around their house with it draped across their shoulders.

Keep it. Keep it! And name it James or Janet or Jamie or whatever - something that sounds schmaltzy yet nice with the name Geoff. Pleeeeeeeeeease.
Scarlet-Blue said...
Ahhhh... I always wanted a ferret.
JaneyV said...
I blame Richard Whitely for all the bad press given to ferrets. They are cuuute.

Not as cute as a dog but then again … what is?

Geoff! Of course Geoff! Yes indeedy Geoff!

Geoff is waay cute.

And she's probably spitting in my direction now...
sylvia said...
I laughed out loud at Geoff glaring at the intruder.

Are ferrets not vermin, then?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Seeded & Juicy

    The worst thing about being a creative person is the whole business of trying to get your pup to eat from a plate.

    It is in the nature of expansive and combinatorial thinking to spill out and on and over, and in its way, this bounty is harder to deal with than the physiological forlornscape of being stuck.

    At least when you’re stuck, you can get started.

    You can focus on finding focus, and though it may take a while to find something to lift you from your momentarily paralysing funk, maintaining a singular narrative at this stage is relatively easy (if not immediately enjoyable).

    In contrast, creativity has no bounds.

    It offers unconditionally, and you must learn always to say YES.

    Never overlook a single offer, always pursue, always seek catalytic symbiosis.

    The problem is not that this stuff will run out or dry up or stop coming — unless circumstance or sublime personal folly should become a temporary obstacle — the problem so often is Where does this belong?  What is the best use I can make of this shapeshifting morsel my brain just threw out?

    This is not to say you cannot generate ideas to order along the lines of Henri Poincaré’s diligent conscious input.  All of that is possible, and good thing too.  But greenery always flourishes between the tramlines.  Always.  Like an unyielding spirit that refuses to be controlled or shaped, it exists and mutates as part of an ever transforming cosmos, and though we desperately want more work dogs sometimes  — to guard our treasures, herd our sheep and lead the way when we are blind — the more we put down the food, the more the puppies keep on coming, happy just to roll around and lick our faces.

    I  should maybe throw in a jelly metaphor alongside the emergent foliage and slobbering pooches here, but perhaps jelly is a topic for another post.

    Jelly — with a strawberry on top.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Duplo Berlinno Burrito

    I’m glad I’m not the world’s most successful construction guy.

    History’s greatest ever architectural project may be just around the corner, waiting to dwarf anything mankind has built to date.

    But whoever might become responsible for making the magic happen has a whole bunch of imponderables upon which to imponder.

    That’s the deal with undertakings on a grand scale.

    See, building a wall around Mexico is not the easiest thing to pull off, even when you are at the top of your game.

    This wall has a very specific purpose, and when something uncannily similar was pulled down in 1989 with the consent of most everyone on the planet, anyone riding high on a lifetime of successful construction has to figure whether they are about to commit personal and professional suicide.

    But hey — this is only PR.

    Since when has that ever mattered?

    If the Mexicans need keeping apart from all those non-Mexicans of Dutch, English, Italian, Spanish ... (using ellipses and parentheses here to speed things up, and though this may seem like it is turning into a lengthy aside that kinda blows the reason for including it here in the first place, actually, it isn’t) ... and native American descent just down the highway, then a towering fuck off wall simply has to be built.

    I’m no expert in economics, but I reckon this whole scheme poses two fundamental questions.

    1) Where are all the raw materials going to come from, including the people needed to throw them all together into a purpose-built 2000 mile long wall to exclude greaseball lowlife murderers and rapists (and their friends)?

    2) Wouldn’t all those raw materials (including the people) be better deployed on other architectural projects?  Like housing and transport and infrastructure?

    I can only assume someone better qualified than me has done the maths.

    So let’s shoot forward a few years to 2029, when the wall is up, the champagne bottle  of completion has been smashed against its triumphal brickwork, and all the Mexicans are now living it up in Alaska.

    (That last part was a joke, btw.)

    For the construction people, that’s another 15 years of casting their eyes across the pond to see what folks are doing in Europe and Africa, cos like the old adage goes: “Anything cracks off in Europe eventually gonna happen here.”

    If they can keep their eyes on the ball while they are piling up the bricks, they can factor in killer features to take account of all eventualities — like how to cope with boats out there in the desert.

    Because that’s the big deal right now in Europe: boatloads of people loading up from all over the goddamn shop and traversing vast stretches of cruel ocean to reach freedom’s shore.

    Hey, if I were a Mexican, I’d get a head start on the deal and start taking the notion of a dream life in Alaska more seriously.

     I’d forget any notion of setting out into the desert with climbing equipment and a bolt cutter (I assume they have mail order in Mexico, so they can probably get hold of this sort of stuff — or, being resourceful types, make it out of cactus), and simply hop into a canoe on one of the two stretches of shoreline close to the Mexican side of the wall before sailing out to the corresponding stretch of shoreline on the US side of the wall.

    Should take no longer than ten or fifteen minutes.

    Best of all: any boats so used would almost certainly triple in value, even if sold for firewood.

    But why am I helping out the Mexicans here?

    Isn’t this supposed to be a post questioning the likely problems to be faced by the construction guys building the wall?

    Call me stupid, but if they were to let those ignorant Mexicans in on this little secret, they could save themselves a whole lot of time and trouble and money, and maybe protect their reputations along the way.

    So maybe PR is the big deal after all.

    Bombing the gringoes would be quicker and cheaper than building a wall, that’s for sure.

    Better still, the chemical composition of McDonalds coffee is only a few ions away from being the most dangerous poison known to man, and if you could get that into the Mexican water supply, they’d be fucked.

    Only problem is, the Mexicans don’t have a great deal of water, which is maybe why they are all running across the border to the US.

    Perhaps they’re not murderers and rapists after all; perhaps they’re simply thirsty after eating all that spicy food and want to get their hands on more Dr Pepper.

Burritos: beyond plain old murder and rape lies invigorating deep throat suicide.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sombrero On Up In Sans Mere-o

    It’s another Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK — and like the best stuffed chickens prepared by the world’s best chefs, I’m squeezing the sage and onion hard up the nose of this blog post ahead of time.

    If the planet is swept away overnight by floods originating in Leicestershire, no one will ever bear witness to my diligence.

    In its way, my preparedness is the very least I can muster to convince you that I’m not a master criminal.

    So thank me kindly on the way to the abattoir, metaphorical poultry all.

    By the time this post slaps onto the internet’s front bottom like a tongue of smoked salmon released by a spinning terrier, we should all know whether or not Leicester City have romped home with the Premiership trophy by crushing a navel-gazy Manchester United with zero display of mercy.

    There is a reassuring swagger about the City right now.

    Neither cocky nor throbbing with bravado, it’s more the kind of funky, knees-bent experimentation of a recently vasectomised ballet dancer testing his legs for movement in a pair of Oxford bags.

    We had Richard III dug up a while back, and now the start-of-the-season’s no-hopers are Ranieri-ing away with it.

    It helps also that the City has been positively multicultural and super diverse since before the dawn of time.

    You can walk out pretty much anywhere here — apart from in the middle of the road, which is a stupid thing to do anywhere, especially fucking Italy.

    Cats abound, youngsters cavort, and couples smooch with the openness of skyscraper lift shafts.

    It’s divine.

    Maybe I’ll go shopping today, I dunno.

    Prolly the windows of BHS could do with a good licking.

    And it’s been a while since I burned my insides through to my skin with the treats on offer at McIndians.

    What a fine concoction of possibilities upon which to base all Bank Holiday speculation!

    I hope you are similarly blessed, dear readers — though take care if you’re out and about, and be sure to nail down any hats you’re wearing because Sara Blizzard has given out wind...

Monday, April 25, 2016

Everyone Full

    As a zen master of the highest order, I’ve taken to scrolling through what passes for motivational bling on my Twitter feed every Monday.

    Like the #ff brigade before them, and the #throwbackthursday people 24 hours before that, the #motivationmonday mob now stands poised to flex its inspirational genitalia before our eyes and perform future-creating miracles simply by tugging deftly on any loose skin.

    Occasionally, there are gems, but mostly these are verbatim quotes, ripped from the lips of dead sages.

    We are parading our laundry right now, occasionally setting chemise against panty and hinting at a whole new spiritual outfit.

    But for the most part, no one is saying anything inspiring or incendiary  — like “what happens when we’re all super motivated as can be?”

    I figure that could be a real hot potato.

    Or is it po-tar-to?

    Uh oh.  Bloodbath.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

EE Is 10

   Is it really ten years since Evil Editor started blogging?

    Yes — yes it is.

    Only bizarre Caribbean terrapins and multiply tucked Hollywood celebrities shall outlive  him!

    If you’re driving by on a frantic tab cruise between shower breaks right now, why not check out his first ever post.

    It’s a masterclass in how to suck in the links ten years later, though I suspect at the time EE was merely trying to be funny...

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Legitimise Your Obscenities

    There is a moment when words, pre-written or pre-spoken, meet their do-or-die flashpoint.

    Either they will pass into some form of public domain, or they will go unspoken.

    And herein lies the dilemma.

    What if what you want to say is provocative or challenging or offbeat?

    I have known many times when I have held thoughts of this nature and refrained from releasing them.

    We all do this: have these kinds of thoughts and these kinds of responses to them.

    Sometimes it isn’t apt or appropriate to voice heresy, and sometimes intimidation forces your hand, and I wonder what happens to these unspoken words.

    (And by heresy here, I do not simply mean calling Christ a cock — I refer to the thought that doesn’t quite smooth with the moment.)

    My guess is that these words slither back down your penthroat and redouble their efforts for the next time.

    Perhaps they dress a little different, the better to be heard, or perhaps they strip to the waist and prepare to do battle anew.

    Whatever happens, all this reincarnatory lifepulse counts for nothing if they duck out again when they get the next chance.

    And by them, I mean you.

    Make a habit of this, and what happens to your voice?

    Your inner wardrobe of reinvigoration?

    Your epiglottal punchbag?

    Perhaps language affords us an opportunity to add finesse to our obscenities so the intrinsic awkwardness of being singular can count for something.

    Bit by punctuated bit, we learn to give voice to our passions in ways that endear us to the people we need.

    It’s either that or hanging out alone, with nothing to say.

Monday, April 18, 2016


    Picking up from my last blog post, I got to wondering about a book I read a while back (as in probably when no one had heard of Nirvana.)

    The book in question was called Six Thinking Hats by Edward “Up My Own Arse” De Bono.

    As I recall, he argued that business meetings and discussions would be more productive if people took on roles, in much the same way that the successful busting of fantasy dungeons depends on a symbiotically constructive spread of fighters, healers, mages and dubiosity specialists.

    (If that’s not what the book was about, then so much for the power of its lasting impression.)

     Anyways, I always figured the book was junk because you don’t need people to adopt roles in that way if you first of all ensure that you have the right people on your team.

    And — only six hats?

    What is this?  Magic the Gathering with a canary?

    But, like I say, I have been thinking...

    I suppose, in its way, this blog requires me to don a “hat”.

    (Prolly it is more of a snakeskin belt, ooh ooh, yeah — with a chunky pirate-themed buckle, puh-lease.)

    And I suppose what I was saying last time is how it is sometimes difficult to distinguish which hat you are wearing.

    I was writing specifically about writing, but I realise now that this point applies to everything in my life.

    Like, yeah — I have my Writing “hat”.

    Also my Dad “truss”.

    My Partner “straitjacket”.

    My Wasp Cooking “tights”.

    I have multiple interchangeable wardrobes of being, and it’s not always possible to dress consistently.

    Hence the sporadic nature of my blog output right now compared to other stuff I’m writing.

    Why, those varmint projects are sucking the life out of my platform here as Whirl!

    How they conspire to offer me up as a crisp and withered phantom!

    My suspicion is that any concept of “hats” (or whatever) is a momentary illusion.

    For a time, we may be drilled down on one thing or directing our output along a particular channel.

    But it is in our nature to transform.

    It’s in our genes to mushy out on the combinatorial.

    And let’s not forget good old procrastination!

    How bizarre it would be if we struck out on a single path and just kept going.

    How weird if we did not meander like caponised ganders.

    I know it’s a big deal these days to BE MOTIVATED.

    To get a fix on your direction, and head on out in spite of all obstacles.

    But, like De Bono’s Six Hat junk, I suspect this POV will look ridiculous in 20 years time.

    Kinda looks ridiculous to me already.

 Boy George: An icon of purest mustard in a cosmos aswill with sin.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Twin Cup Whiplash For Pipebusters

    When it comes to channelling literary fluids along my various pipes, I’m typically pretty vigilant.

    But not this week

    Such is my intermingliary confluence potential right now that I can’t be sure I’ll even make it to the end of this sentence without going off on a tangent unconsciously summoned by some other project.

    Thing is, I much prefer things this way.

    It is how stuff works in real life, out there in the pre-socmedpoopscape where the analogue myth of quantum living re-analogues itself in a kind of perceptual slurry.

    People are impossibly moody in this place, and competing narratives channel hop the poncey doncey out of one another beneath the blancmangeclouds of Celebrity’s eerily fixed personas.

    If writing is a net trained on the sensible, it surely allows the juiciest stuff to escape, preserving only eels strung out along the strings — or fish so stupid they endeavour only to swim for freedom backwards.

    (Probably, in California, there are gold nuggets, and even the odd Icelandic nomad must own a nettable mobile phone, but you get my point.  Or do you?  My literary fluids per-lump round my network as if plumbed by a pan-flow cocktail enthusiast.)



    Out of my system.

    Time to go and write about BRAS.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Feely Popsicles

    The internet feels very pixel-crisp right now.

    Sharp images and even pointier narratives cavort like serial hussies, elevating big ideas for the benefit of all shared mankinds.

    It’s a pulse of gamified glitz, the opening shot in a spectacular mass unfurlment of spirit.

    Also: increasingly meaningless.

    I am reminded of the moment in every lock-in reality show where the contestants announce their arrival in a flash of pre-prepared grandeur.

    Every tooth gleams, every hairdo swishes, every cleavage ejaculates — all before a single gratuitously unbearable word has been uttered.

    This persists for any number of self-reincarnating agonies, till the squeak of anal contraction threatens to rip all muscles from spines in an orgy of post-splurge awkwardness.

    Then everyone gets cagey, edgy.

    That’s probably where we’re at with the internet right now.

    So — what next?

    2020 looms, and with it, all manner of unflaunty fluffing around.

    Assuming it doesn’t take everyone forever to work out who sleeps where, the main event of the “first night in the house” happens right here.

    As masks are peeled back to the skimpies, the twin behemoths of SNORING and FARTING stomp their way closer to their inevitable exit holes.

    Now comes fitful sleep — and the exercise of isometric rictus.

    Millennial feely popsicles will almost certainly retract deep into flesh, their antennae probes replaced with embarrassing wisps of gas and sound waves only an elephant seal could interpret.

    Playtime soon gonna be over, kittens.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Me Is Has Was 8

    Blogging is such a weird thing.

    I am reminded of my friend’s all-body courgette tattoo.

    She’s had it now for just short of 58 years, and though it always comes as a surprise to strangers that she isn’t descended from a line of subterranean lizard people, those of us who know her forgot long ago that she is green and pseudo-warty from head to toe.

    It’s just how she is.

    So, hey — it’s my 8th bloggiversary today, and I almost forgot.

    Maybe I should spend the day checking for lumps.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


    Easing yourself back into blogging after a sporadic semi-absence is like forcing a policeman into an old helmet using only a truncheon.

    Truth be told, a golfer’s hole-in-one is nothing compared to prodding a constable home.

    Forget the audacious skill involved in planting the ball just so, and consider instead the ease with which it circles and stills inside the hole thereafter.

    Even if you manage to maneouvre your prone copper back into his headgear, there is no guarantee it will still be a perfect fit for his bonce.

    Policemen’s skulls change shape subtly over time, and even the best constructed of helmets is not beyond expanding or contracting a little with the change of seasons.

    Caps and wooly hats may be worn casually, tossed over a head like a limp penis atop a tin of beans in an overly sexualised Heinz Chicken Soup advert, but the same bohemian freedoms do not apply to the headgear of life’s enforcers.

    A hint a of tightness here, a touch of looseness there, and when you sit your policeman upright, he will evidence one of two ridiculous stylistic errors: the “Perched Half Walnut” or the  “Ear Bender of Dopeyo”.

    (This applies equally if your policeman is a woman man, in spite of the easier-to-don apparel — though you would want to think carefully about your truncheoning strategy in the first instance.)

    But, hey — the rozzery here is only included as an analogy.

    If a gulf exists between the potting of a golf ball in a single shot and the truncheoning of a policeman into his (or her) headgear, then the canyon between rozzer rehatting and returning to regular blogging is even deeper and wider.

    Am I up to the task?

    I don’t know.

    To paraphrase William Carlos Williams, so much depends on my ability to consume oily fish and refrain from knocking back the Cripplebutt Scrumpy.

    Let’s see how it all looks next Monday.

    As a principle for life, the only thing I’ve seen so far to better this sentiment is DO NOT BUGGER A LION, EVER.

Monday, March 28, 2016


    When you envisage the ideal Easter Monday Bank Holiday here in the UK, you would be a fool not to consider the possibility of a little drizzle intruding upon your 24 hours of ‘chocolates & rest’ bliss.

    We are hardened survivors of the “brief downpour”, stalwart tolerators of the “torrential blast from the heavens”, and valiant acceptors of the “nightmare storm so bleedin’ wet and windy it had the roof off me shed and ruined me £200 bloody gazebo”.

    But, people — who asked for fucking snow?

    Which one of you sent off the request a few weeks back as we were all basking in the melanoma-spawning heat?

    Wost part is, not a single flake settled.

    At least then we could have waved goodbye with good heart to any hope of sunbathing as we munched on our pre-melted melt-in-your-mouth chocolates till the heavens oozed with tangerine radiance and simply spent the day making Easter Bunny snowlapins.

    Instead, all we got was a despoiling flurry offering zilcho other than ruined dreams.

    I would not be surprised if we lose another 70s pop icon by nightfall.

    Come on, God — I know the whole “Son of...” deal worked out really badly for you, but for fuck’s sake, leave off willya?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Blendzinio Limbopips

    Where once I brushed, now I merely tweezer.

    It is a sad fact of the blogging hairdo scene right now that I am destined only to drop in and pluck random follicles rather than make with any kind of broad, flyaway sweep of full on styleeesteuapomp.

    My excuse is that I am busy, but while this is perfectly true, I have always been busy — if only by virtue of indulging in an ambient exfoliation of skin cells primed to last a lifetime.

    Why, thank you, Mr Peno — that sums things up rather neatly.

    I may stand on one leg as a guru contemplating balance in an inherently unsettled universe.

    Maybe after that, I will hoover the living room and write a splash of fiction...

Monday, March 14, 2016


    I hate it when gathering your thoughts resembles two octopussies battling to fold one another inside out but such is life this morning.

    Today calls for incisive exactitude, and I am bound to fail horribly in everything I do.

    If only it were possible to say, “please hang on until tomorrow, when I will possess the cerebrum of Professor Stephen Hawking — and a dragster,” but time waits for no man (especially one made polyoctopussialar).

    So I am wobbling here as a writhing mass of undersea wibblies in the hope that I may inspire others in a similar position/pool.

    Monday, you demand of us that we shake off the liquid detritus from the weekend’s gay abandon and leap into the working week maelstrom with diligence, enthusiasm, and fucking plenty brandy.

    Oh, but we are mortals, and we are feeble!

    We writhe and squirm and spit ink at random into the salty swill...


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Murdock The Cat

    I love poking around in vintage shops.

    There is no sense of adventure finer than wondering what might be around the next corner, and these places are unusually heavy on available corners.

    As a bonus, the opportunities for discovering the mouldering bodies of previous owners  are plentiful — and the same applies to soggy biscuits.

    Here’s my latest find, somewhere in Liverpool near Central Station.

    I lost all track of time for over an hour as I perused the dinky glassware, overpriced jackets and Carlsberg pub ashtrays.

    Murdock the cat (seen pictured here atop a wooden Chinese dragon) (and pronounced meehrdoch, cos this was Liverpool) eventually gave up his place overlooking the door and made his way to the counter where he just lay.

    People buying incense or mugs or old vinyl (I’m trying to give a flavour of the place here — it had everything) would fuss him as they paid for their stuff — and he responded by doing absolutely nothing.

    I’ve never beheld such a trustworthy cat.

    As it turned out, I left the shop with precisely nothing.

    Deeper into the Scouser maelstrom, I encountered Sports Direct and stocked up on underpants against a lurid panorama devoid of cat, dog, budgie — even spider.

    No kidding — I am turning into a Philistine.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Nowhere Street

    Here’s a thought experiment for you.

    Or maybe it’s a writing exercise.

    Possibly, it may even be a cool way to chill out on the unfolding universe.

    Today, you are bound for Nowhere Street.

    You’ll take in its sights and sounds, drink deep of its fulsome odours, and stroke the furry backs of its abundant wildlife.

    You’ll do all of these things for the very last time today — until exactly a year from now.

    (Trust me: some of the best thought experiments and writing exercises are slower burners than the Human Torch’s favourite suspenders and stockings.)

    Pick a street close to where you live.

    To make things super good later on, it helps if it is somewhere you visit often, preferably long(ish) rather than short(ish).

    Better still, it must lead somewhere you occasionally need to travel but is not essential for reaching that particular place.

    It is a familiar street you may visit, or you may not visit.

    Once you’ve thought of such a street, it is time to slip your on your shoes.

    Make a note of the time as you stroll out into your immediate panorama.

    Train your senses on your surroundings as you walk, paying heed to the time travelling  visions of yesterday and tomorrow that momentarily interrupt your business du jour.

    What is on your mind as you walk?

    What is going on in the world around you as you muse?

    Why in hell did you come out in your slippers?

    Some time soon, you’ll arrive at one end of Nowhere Street.

    Forget what it was previously called — none of that is important now.

    Today, this street is going to disappear, returning only annually like some doorstep Brigadoon.

    Today, this street will drop from your everyday life into Nowhere.

    Deep breath, best foot forward...

    The weird thing about this place is how much you take it for granted.

    You pass by in a blur, noticing only the bigger changes — new lick of paint on a door, tree chopped down, broken window — or momentary incidents like man with a huge stomach, loud car racing past, and random goose attack (if you actually notice anything at all beyond the end of your preoccupied nose).

    Today, you must endeavour to take it all in.

    Cross-reference the scene with the immediate temporal carpet bombing of the moment.

    Did I lock the door?

    I can’t wait to see Squirting Hosepipes III at the cinema this weekend.

    Where did I put my favourit hat?

    All of this, mushy-mixied up with

    Number 32 has a nice garden wall.

    The pavement is uneven.

    Ooh, look — a Honda.

    Mushy mixy, mushy mixy, all the way to the end of the street.

    Do not be tempted to look back.

    This is Nowhere Street, and it is gone now.

    You won’t see it again until a year from now.

    Next thing to do is to race home in your slippers.

    Find a pen, flash up your tab, turn the crank on your computer.

    Jot everything down that you can remember.

    Every detail, every thought, every whatever.

    Name this piece of writing NOWHERE STREET, and be sure to fix the date, and the time you set out.

    Now, forget the whole thing.

    All you have to do with this project for the moment is to NOT VISIT Nowhere Street.

    For the next 360-something days, do not go there, do not think about it.

    If you must pass by, do not gaze upon it.

    My own personal Nowhere Street clocked up its eighth visit this year.

    Like you’re about to do, I set out with deliberation, senses primed to suck in all stimuli I could vacuum from the place before blotting every iota of its existence from my sensorium.

    In those eight years, Nowhere Street has changed more than anywhere I know.

    Most of my familiar haunts morph before my eyes in ways that are spectacularly forgettable.

    Broken windows, missing trees, paint slapped on the woodwork: all these things switch and change and become part of the view.

    One day blurs into another, as men with huge stomachs are pecked to death by mobbing geese, and entrails dissolve into the pavement with every to and every fro of my meandering.

    Nowhere Street is not like this.

    Obvious changes to its annually exposed facade are glaring in the extreme, but everything else is open to question.

    After eight years it becomes almost impossible to say what has changed and what is still the same as it was.

    Has the house with the red door always had a red door, and if not, what colour was it before?  And when did the change happen?

    Something is missing here, but what is it?

    The more times you visit, the weirder are the tricks that Nowhere Street plays on you.

    This is especially true when the immediate temporal carpet bombing of the moment is interrupted by its predecessor(s).

    It is as if some of the thoughts I had on my first outing have been frozen in time forever,  hidden from me until the one moment they can flourish with spectacular brightness.

    Themes emerge, some even die.

    My walk feels like my walk — but is it different now to how it was, way back when in 2009?

    What was I wearing?

    What thoughts would never have occurred to me if Nowhere Street was still Whatever Street and I came here all the time?

    All I know is, I do not return from my adventure with nothing to write down.

    I can’t predict what will happen to you as you set out to create this deliberate hole in your life.

    Indeed, it may seem to you that I am the worst kind of buffoon, preoccupied with trivial nonsense and walking round in circles in my slippers for the sole purpose of wearing them out so I have a viable reason to ask for Fluffy Snoopy Lounge Bootees for Christmas.

    Do not be fooled by my evident stupidity!

    Get out there now, and book yourself an annual encounter with surprises sublime. 

 Image c/o quicksandala @Morguefile

Monday, February 15, 2016


    I am minded to write about an eruption of reptiles, such is the paucity of excitement in my life right now.

    It is 5.37am on the morning of Valentine’s Day, and I am beset with a hideous fever.

    Truth be told, I am being melodramatic here — it’s only a kind of weird infection paralysing my skull down the right hand side.  There are no shivery-wivery bugs grasping at my every platelet like a Twilight vampire sucking on a neck.

    However, the upshot is that all I have right now for inspiration is reptiles, bursting onto the page with scaly circus bravado.

      If I am honest, I would love to keep lizards...somewhere.  Not big ones, not the ones the size of your leg or a dalmatian.  That is an uncomfortable amount of reptile, and I would be looking over my shoulder all the time to see if they were communing with the spirits of long-dead T Rexes with a view to ushering in a New Age of Dinosaur Terror.

    I like the small ones, the wibbly flibbly ones — the kind that inhabit sunny French walls and go eeee eeee eeee like poorly kittens or newborn mice.  That is what I miss so much about France — the incessant, locust-like chorus of lizard squeaks, lofted into the warm night air like an exuberance of eggy farts.

    Perhaps I should invest in an enclosure first, just to be sure I am happy with the overall concept.  I believe reptile enclosures are like glass versions of rabbit hutches, and while most are designed to inhabit shelves and purpose-built tables, I would suspend mine from the ceiling by delicate lengths of chain, possibly metal ropes weaved from the necklaces of virgins.
    I estimate that an enclosure of this kind would need a test run of three to four months.  I’d want to be sure I could maintain the core temperature at a lizard-friendly level without burning the house down as I incinerated paper and cushions in the furnace built onto the side, and I’d have to ensure that the dangle factor of the overhead structure did not prohibit my taller  house guests from standing fully upright.

    But, after this, the lizards could go straight in, there to erupt

    It is my sincere belief that I have begun this Valentine’s Day in good heart and displayed considerable imaginary generosity to mankind’s least furry friends (other than fish).

    It only remains for me to direct one and all to a cool new blog threatening to take the internet by storm with its unfolding glories.

    The effortlessly fun Jane Volker is walking round Ireland, documenting her adventures as she goes.  Compared to tales of me shuffling around my living room in my slippers, it is certain to be an exhilarating read.  Hey — compared even to Arnie shuffling round his Californian bunker retreat in his slippers while alien hordes bomb the fuck out of Los Angeles,  Jane’s new walking blog is certain to be an exhilarating read.

    You can pick it up here.

 (This is what I got when I googled 'irish lizard'. Isn't the internet such a deliverer of unbridled excitment?)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Please Leave A Message...

    I was wondering today about Babs.

    You know Babs — she’s that girl.

    Time was, I never so much as gave her a call.

    She did not exist in my life.

    But things move on, and one day she showed.

    This is how it happened.

    We all know smartphones are inherently stupid.

    No matter how many times you switch them off, or transform them into cunningly encrypted vaults thanks to nefarious lockscreens and passwords, they always try to bust themselves out of the loop by making the next call.

    Back in the day, pockets and handbags served only as passive receptacles for loose change, keys, and every shade of lipstick, but since the advent of the smartphone, they have blossomed into entities blessed with basic powers of initiative.

    These vacuous sink-spaces can dial numbers.

    And when that happens, all charge whaps out of your phone and bulks out someone’s answerphone with two hours of unremitting mmmmmmfkkfkfhhhhhffffhpppphhffffkfkpfffhfhfh.

    Worse still, it’s always the same someone.

    He or she is right there at the top of your Contacts list, the default option for any calls made by your keys or sneakily hidden chocolate bars.

    “Hey, Whirl,” comes the eventual reply, “just calling to let you know it’s happened again.  What are you doing?  Swimming with dolphins?  Suffocating with elephants?”

    (This is Baz, btw.  He believes himself to be amusing.)

    “Fuck off, Baz,” I say, deleting the message as a Mongol executioner would dismember the bodies of his enemies.  “I’m renaming you Twatface.”

    That’s when I had a much better idea.

    Shuffling Baz deeper into the alphabetical pack would only mean subjecting someone else to occasional bursts of prolonged mufflepocketry.

    And because that someone else was Carl’s Muscle Studio, no way was I about to risk revealing my muffles to a tattooed maneater from Galway.

    Fate dictated I needed someone else at the top of my Contacts list — someone who would never, ever mind if I called them every five minutes.

    So I keyed in Babs’ number.

    No idea why I didn’t run with Aaron or Aardvark Carpets — that would have made much more sense.

    It’s as if I heard a hint of a whisper, breezing through a gossamer figment of flyaway blonde hair.

    Babs is as fictitious as her accompanying string of random digits, and now, whenever the contents of my pocket collude with chance and animate my smartphone, my muffles greet only an undisturbable abyss .

    Three or four times a year, I call up Babs for an accidental heart-to-heart.

    And three or four times a year, she never calls back.

    But I got to thinking this morning — what if Babs is actually out there?

    This blonde haired girl who would love nothing more to be the recipient of my muffles?

    Perhaps she also has a smartphone.

    Perhaps she also rings out, quite by accident, from her handbag.

    And perhaps, like me, she has a non-amusing amusing friend.

    Might even be this guy’s name is Walter.

    And instead of renaming him Twatface, she keyed in a fictitious guy named Whirl, who she rings from time to time for an accidental heart-to-heart.

    Only he never calls back.


Thursday, February 4, 2016


    You can’t move on the internet these days for writers offering writing advice.

    Seems everyone has a take on everything from the creative process to the particulars of publishing.

    And what about all those successful business entrepreneurs with big bucks businesses showing everyone else to how to become successful business entrepreneurs with big bucks businesses?

    They have the motivation, they have the aspirational funnel, they have the raw material to stuff down the wider end of the tube.

    Plenty of copywriters also will tell YOU how to WRITE to CONVERT.

    Their $3k mentoring programs transform noobs into sought-after professionals — all in the space of three 10 minute phone calls.

    More chefs than ever before have swapped the kitchen for the classroom in their zeal to grace more of the world’s dining tables with the perfect canapé or ocelot jus.

    Their online stores are filled with signature hats, aprons, ladles, garlic crushers, chopsticks — and more.

    And let’s not forget all those masterclasses with prominent ex-polititians — if you can afford $30,000 for fucking dinner.

    What has happened to people actually doing things?

    When did we all become such gurumaniacs?

Monday, February 1, 2016


    The first snowdrops of Spring now dangle their blooms like Quasimodo swinging naked from Notre Dame’s pendulous clappers.

    In time, more will come — to be joined by daffodils and crocuses in a medley of floral abundance.

    Even for those of you who are cactus shaving enthusiasts, warmed only by the cultivation of indoor succulents’ beards thanks to technology’s finest hand-held buzzards, there is something so alluring about the snowdrops’ sprout that it is almost impossible not to want to race out amongst them and lick the rainwater from their petallic shimmery.

    Cold, wet, windy days await us as February marauds its way through Winter’s final moments, but we must all endeavour to brave her cruel lashes with the fortitude of sprouting bulbs.

    Our time to flower and flourish will come again when the Sun’s rays flick across the horizon like a porno star’s tongue tip over eager flesh, but for now it is necessary simply to snuggle down in the dungarees of bulby crustiness, the better to survive the icy cold and all the worms mistaking us for underground hotels offering cheap B&B discounts.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


    Desiring danger, I boiled me some eggs.

    This is big news right now, because I am knotted and en-bolused by the worst kind of intestinal mutiny.

    Too many eggs boiled too hard, and I will surely be sporting a camel hump below my rib cage just in time for Valentine’s Day.

    At the moment of pan-2-boil, such was the available narrative — uninterruptible, and spooling on into the future like a tapeworm playing red carpet — that I gladly cast eggs into water, unthinkingly consciously retrieved eggspoon from cutlery array, and readied the salt and pepper with the pre-emptive gusto of a pop hunk who insists he will “never dye” his ‘hair’.

    But this is not how things play out in the real world, where metaphor is as an Aussie simulacrum of Christopher Biggins — only with subtler florals.

    There was never any risk of increased abdominal bulgiture.

    Not from these eggs!

    Because these eggs were unpeelable, so fresh and spunky was the plasticity of  the membrane twixt shell and pre-breakfast.

    If babies got born this way, they would end up skinless, and pocked with more gouges than tentative chisel chips on a boulder intended to become an international monument.

    The future of my pseudo-alcoholic laxative guzzling spree went tits up the moment I committed albumenic genocide in my desire to neutralise the devastating effects of an overenthusiastic membrane by using the only available equipment.

    Because, yeah — I think on my feet like the rest of you.

    Quick as a flash.

    Bang on the moment.

    So, I grabbed the grapefruit spoon from my Cutlery Array (previously italicised, now it may be capitalised), and screamed Buggerpipes!!! Blitz the shell from the egg from the membrane from the fucking bastard fucking thing!!!

    ‘Twas warfare such as I have never known, the peeling of these eggs — danger on a par with deep throating a Mars bar in the company of wolves — but as I swell on here, cannonballular, I cannot help but think  that the poor baby’s lungs and kidneys I mangled in my wrath (the unseen feathers of some bright, new Miracle Drudgehouse Farm Bird) —  cut from my gut by petulant fancy —  constitute an inspired absence, an unsquirting of the previously constipated narrative so as to prompt subsequent future advance.

     I write here in the hope that perhaps you may be able to capitalise on my plight, just as I have capitalised on my own misery and stupidity to help me write this inspired blog post instead of leading with the one-size-fits-all pre-Valentine’s villanelle I had planned.

    Ever must we pluck our chances from the jaws of pre-happenstance, lest only previously written scripts be sung from eyries.

    (Someone tell me — is that hyperbole, or catastrophe?)

    I am blocked by abdominals to the point of being unable even to slip on my trousers without appearing to be a gymnast racked by poison, but, as of this suspended moment, all I submit here appeareth to be true.

    Even the fucking flash. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

How To Fix Up Your Plot Threads

    Plot threads are the worst kind of monsters to breed up.

    On the one hand, you roll a ball of narrative along the ground for a while, just like you were preparing the body of a snowman.

    But your other hand is free also, and because it pays to make with the ambidexterity deal from time to time, you roll another ball of narrative along the ground with it, figuring maybe you have the snowman’s head, or the beginnings of a whole new snowhorse.

    When the balls are rolled, de-leafed and de-turded, you can hang them up alongside one another on lengths of string — and this is where the weird stuff happens.

    So, in the spirit of weirdness, let’s leave those snowman parts aside and consider a more generative option for our analogical wombcraft.

    Because hanging from your creato-hooks right now are a couple of prime, bulbous testicles.

    Forget the scrotum for the moment, and all of the accompanying hair.

    Forget (even) the penis, or any possibility of an accessory hunk hung off the end of it by his pubic bone.

    All that matters right now is that you have two independent bundles of plot, attached by strings to a hook.

    So let’s fetch ‘em down and see how they swing together.

    If you hold your ball strings firmly between thumb and forefinger, gravity will take the weight of your orbiture, and the testicles will naturally kiss one another.

    Where they kiss is equally random and pre-determined.

    Depending on the angle of their dangle, each testicle presents a different aspect of its surface to the other.

    But in a more general ‘properties of physical objects’ kind of way, all dangled plot testicles obey the same rules.

    Such is the interwoven constancy and flux of ballpark science.

    Now you must jiggle your fingers and watch the testicles roll and bounce.

    It’s the only way to begin analysing their properties as you try to figure out how to merge one plot ball with the other to form a more complex and unified narrative.

    Looked easy when you thought you were rolling parts of a snowman (or -men) (or -women) (or even -horses), but now you have two live semen generators thumping and thwamping together —  unmasked — it’s a whole new jeu de ballon.

    And, who knows — perhaps magnetism will figure in the equation.

    Because these plot balls have their own unique gravitational properties — both to move, and be moved.

    That’s why sometimes, when the balls swing together, perhaps they kiss for longer than they should, or remain momentarily fused in place as if glued by viscous drool or possessed of Velcronic hook and fluff.

    Or perhaps they avoid one another, like each contained randomly strewn lumps of repulsive matter prompting only a need to flee from what they see coming.

    You’ll see that I just threw in testicular eyeballs there, because these plot balls are not blind.

    Only the finished product — your novel or story or poetic epic — has the luxury of blindness.

    Signed, sealed and delivered in a scrotum of self-contained completeness, your finished work has no outlook, and persists as a sightless salamander in a dark cave, waiting to be plucked  from the shadows and examined by the forces of Eyeball Central.

    At the plot stage, your plot balls are hoovering up all the available information, picking themselves over for holes and scouting around for anything to make them complete.

    So, yes, these are balls with eyes and ears and noses and trunks and tentacles and hairs and all the other sensory stuff —  thumping and thwamping together, tongueing out one another’s earholes, nostrilling one another’s spiracles, cornea charging one another’s muff tufts, all the time seeking out




until noses break off and swap over, rolls of velcro peel from one ball and layer over the other, glue squirts into holes and solidifies,







Finger Jiggle

Finger Jiggle

Finger Jiggle

until you are swinging a single, fully formed ball, with a few weird shaped blobs no longer featuring in the uberblendo.

That’s how I see the breeding up of plot threads right now.

As breeding goes, it’s not so much about getting adults together to produce children as rounding up the children and squishing them together into kind of human haggis, reaching out for the next available dangling testicle.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


    You are driven.

    You are a fiend.

    You are a writer

    You exclude everything in your world apart from butting proverbially in “the seat” and hacking fictional adventures from the cliff face of your keyboard with an imagination blunt and bold as a cloud.

    You do not eat, you do not breathe, you do not engage in unnecessary peristalsis.

    You are oblivious to the world and her machinations other than that they provide you with an interface for the delivery of your fiction, along with the occasional glimpse of a sparrow or hang glider or cat or blur of fence and lawn through the momentarily evident distractosphere you believe is called a window.

    You do not know who the latest hit boy bands are, and haven’t done so since 1677.

    You are a shaggy, unwashed monolith of permanently flexed shoulder muscles, feeding off photosynthetic organisms growing on your nostril hairs.

    You will never be abducted by aliens or have sex with members of your own species.

    You will die writing, and carry on hacking out page after inspired page long after other humans would have perished, like you were a wasp buzzing crazily round the room after being swatted, or a chicken running round the yard with its head cut off, or a jet that flies into a mountain after the pilot has choked on a bag of peanuts.

    You are a fool.

    You are a fool.

    You are a fool.

    You are a fool.

    You are a fool.

    Stop for a moment.  Take in the air.  Drink something other than your own frothy saliva.

    Chill out.  Brave a salad sandwich.  Masturbate.

    You are in danger of becoming more swivel-eyed and self-obsessed than a money market guy juggling 257 mobile phones with 763 overhead monitors spitting dollarbabble.

    Get the erectus out of your rictus, and scoot round a park in your hot pants.

    Procure and style a bear.

    Feel the whoosh of tree bark against your bared stomach as you jiggle subtly.

    There is more to life than swinging from loop of g to dot of i like some thrusting parcour enthusiast of the blank page.

    There is Boy George, atom bombs, a hundred different types of glue!

    Bagels, duvets, unnatural looking breeds of dog reminiscent of undersea shrimps!

    Toilet paper inscribed with hieroglyphs, peculiarly shaped bananas!

    All the stuff you used to enjoy so much before you encased your brain in the poly-layered limescale husk of drilled-down, wordcount-obsessed, writophilia.

    So, c’mon — take a break, willya? 

Monday, January 18, 2016

The #1 Drink Boost For Writers

    It goes without saying that you should drink plenty of water while you are writing.

    Water is vital for life, vital for health, and vital for avoiding the kind of dehydration that prevents joints and muscles from functioning at their best.

    Face it, none of Shakespeare’s plays were written by a withered husk, and even Auden feigned something resembling movement when he scribbled out his impenetrable drivel.

    The last thing you need when typing out your opus operandum is any kind of joint stiffness, muscular tiredness or atrophy, all-body decay, imminent petrification or psoriasis.

    (Point of fact: that last one is a real stinker.  Keyboards are cheaper than they used to be, but there is no point eating into your measly writer’s income because your flesh has fallen from you as dust and clogged up all your keys, over and over, like an unstoppable snowstorm of exfoliated rot.)

    So — are we all agreed?

    Water helps to keep you mobile, functional, and free from atrophy or death.

    Also in the mix: brain power (which I will come on to later).

    It may seem like you can get away with drinking coffee, substituting nature’s crushed turd of a bean for pure water, but from a writing perspective, drinking coffee is full of more no-no’s than a failed Yes Man forced to divulge his expertise at gunpoint.

    Fact 1: Coffee contains caffeine — even the de-caf stuff, because the entire coffee industry is erected, one percolation at a time, on a sham.

    Drink just one molecule of coffee, and your brain will be whooshed into a nightmare arena of jittery agitation, there to do battle with a giant, pulsating maggot.

Fact 2: That last fact wasn’t actually a fact in the strictest sense, but I reckon you would be a fool not to trust me to be half right, especially the part about the maggot.

    All I am saying is — don’t drink coffee while you are writing, or you will churn out the most unbelievable nonsense, dictated more by the chemical aberrations cracking off in your skull than the intersynapsory full-on sex demanded of an act of creation.

    Also: coffee is more expensive than keyboards.

    Stick with water, and you’ll go far on the productivity deal.

    Water invigorates your body’s sub-cellular electrolytic fancy, and factors in automatic pee breaks throughout the day if you drink it by the bucketload.

    We all know how important it is not to become stiff while writing at a desk (because if you don’t, the only solution is to write at one of those funky new standing or treadmill desks and die 10 years earlier than you otherwise would have), and regular pee breaks kick in after the first hour if you are generous with your water.

    Truth is, if you hit it right and get into your stride early, your pee breaks will happen naturally every ten minutes, and last 3-5 minutes apiece, so you can save even more money by dropping the desk and chair, and typing everything out on the toilet.

    Fact: no one ever developed stiffness while sitting on a toilet unless they were taking part in a porn movie.

    (As an alternative, you may want to make like an astronaut and utilise a purpose-built urine retention sac, colour co-ordinated to match your study curtains.)

    Final word: Water is a vital component of brain power.

    In spite of history’s greatest ever philosophers and today’s life hack gurus, we still don’t know how consciousness works exactly, but if one thing is abundantly clear, it is water.

    Without it, brains shrivel and die, planets ossify, and fruits turn black and decidedly unsavoury of exterior.

    When you are writing, the number one bundle of anatomical kit you need to keep functioning at its best (after your fingers, your backside, and your lungs) is your brain.

    If you’ve ever been chained in a dungeon and deprived of water for two weeks, you’ll know how difficult it becomes to think clearly and cogently.

    Same goes for writing, only in miniature.

    Skimp on the water, and you lose the plot.

    It’s as if your brain flails helplessly around the inside of your skull, crying, “Noooooooo!  Help me!  Help me!  Urrrrgggghhhhhh!  Urrrrrgggghhhhh!!!”

    Do not do this to yourself.

    Do.  NOT.  Do this to.  Yourself.

    So: drink water while you are writing — and plenty of it.

    Stay productive, stay conscious, stay alive.

Image c/o typexnick @morguefile