Friday, July 27, 2007


Boiling Tom Petty's fans' faces off politely

Whilst blogging, I have come across Kylie’s body. It is a scientifically demonstrable fact that stones have souls. (In a pig’s eye it is.) Nuclear waste reduces the numbers of hydrofluorocarbons by a third. Conjecture, of course, but well worthwhile; you think I’m drunk, don’t you? The time to appreciate the genius of prog-rock acts like King Crimson has been and gone – it was the late nineties, if you must know. But as the grandfather clock of time swings its pendulum, the wand of reality flickers. If you have managed to keep up thus far, you’re a saint. And probably you’re a weirdo or a geek like me. Yet know this – the Soup Dragon protected his charges in ways God cannot begin to imagine. Life; so be it. If I’m expected to turn tricks on Sunset Boulevard then I’m goddamned tootin’ well going to be paid handsomely for it! And going to submerge myself in the nothingness of being, while I’m at it. It’s to the tower that you’re turning, and I don’t blame you, my chum. Let’s take the entrails out of the beast’s machinery, if you will, and devour them whole. While a motor may singe and an engine might hum, let’s ignore them all in our metal mouths. Don’t break the china, for God’s sake, whatever you do. For from the earth-apple spurts a fountain of Spring, even in these dismal autumnal Summer days. Like blogging, this year’s life blooms and withers at the same time. And for the sake of all our generations’ children – Peace, prithee, and no more nuclear threat. For a while, anyway. So, while the phantasmagoria spills its sexual torrent into the gorge, might we grapple ourselves back over the rim of sanity? I see dead people, said that predictable film. Did you see the twist coming a thousand miles off, as I did? If in, you are one of us; if out, you are not. And the band played on, hellishly. Does Winter hate hidden messages in blog posts as much as you do?

Er... Ciao.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


...And another three...

Deus ex Machina

Phoebe cringed from the fiend. ‘Save me, somebody!’

A huge hand plucked her away.

I chuckled. As The Author I could do what I liked with my characters.

I’d started draft two when I felt the twin pressures at my temples, like the grip of an enormous finger and thumb...

The Mission

Roger swam as if his very life depended on it. His target was a giant egg. Yes, Roger was a spermatozoon.

He thrashed his tail frantically, trying to blot out the terrible reality of what he’d seen: the tonsils a moment ago, and the moustachioed lip on the way in.

Shirley and Derek

They met, made love, married. He drank, she cried, he hit.

She hacked. Then walled him up.

He rotted. Neighbours complained. She disinterred him. He lived (well, sort of). He bit. She turned.

They lurch. They bite. They spread their contagion. In their undead way, they still love one another.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Two more

Vengeance: Chapter One

‘Your native,’ Carstairs had sighed, gin in hand, at our first meeting after I’d arrived in the country, ‘is basically a barbarian.’

I thought of his words as I stared down at his headless body, thought of my ‘barbarian’ wife, butchered by his sort; and, numb, I went to wash.

Bad Boy

‘Fuck,’ said two-year-old Brian, ‘fuck, fuck, fuck.’

His mother, shocked, sent him to his room and locked the door.

The f pushed one end ever further between his lips but the glottal ck failed to dislodge the bulk of the hairball, and in the morning his mother found Brian choked.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Four dark tales

I once entered a competition to come up with an original story that was exactly fifty words long, excluding the title*. Sadly, I did not get anywhere, but I reproduce four of my entries below. Try it yourself; it’s fun.

*I've just remembered these 50-word stories are called 'mini-sagas', and were invented by author Brian Aldiss, so credit where it's due.

The Wager

He woke, squinting into the morning sunlight slanting between the blinds, and laughed. A hundred quid was his. One night in this supposedly haunted house and he’d survived unscathed.

He strolled downstairs. As he passed the large mirror in the hall he glanced at his reflection, and began to scream.

Letting Go

Bert was trying to say something, and Enid, weeping silently, leant closer to listen. It sounded as if he were whispering I love you, but it was only the rasping of his tongue across his desiccated lips. No, not his tongue; an insect. She supposed she’d better bury him. Again.

William and the Mushroom

William scrambled down the slope. It was dusk, and normally Mother would be calling him in now for supper. He knelt by the tree and stared at the mushroom, a tiny copy of the enormous mushrooms that had appeared on the horizon last week before everything went ashy and quiet.

The Last Call

This was it, finally. The end. In a few minutes, blissful peace. Suicide: a noble act or the coward’s path? Whatever. It meant nothing to him now.

He lifted the handset and paused. Should he make the call? Yes, said his conscience.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking…’

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Day of reckoning

Back in February last year I presented in lightly fictionalised form what I considered a watertight case supporting the notion that El Barbudo and Kim Ayres were one and the same person. I made the profound mistake of putting it to the popular vote, and lo and behold, you the people got the answer wrong. Once again, democracy proved itself a failed system. Since then I’ve been doing some sleuthing – the details needn’t concern you; suffice it to say there were hidden webcams involved, as well as confidential technologies kindly and unwittingly lent to me by Interpol and the National Security Agency – and I can now reveal the definitive guide to who’s really who on my link list. This time there’s no vote.

Starting with the Emerald Bile: Noreen is really Fat Sparrow. ‘They’re’ ‘both’ wives and mothers with an attitude and ‘they’ ‘both’ swear a lot. Cunningly, they link each other on their sites to try and throw me off the scent. But it didn’t work. Ball Bag, on the other hand, is really Harry Hutton. There’s no evidence, I just know. Dr Maroon is really Gorilla Bananas. Not only does the crafty blighter assume another species as cover, he also employs two very different writing styles: slick and straightforward as Bananas, elliptical and slightly deranged in his Maroon guise. Dr Joseph McCrumble is the third identity of this troubled being and his style sits somewhere in between the other two. Arlington Hynes (Bogol/HA HA HA) is a tough one to finger, I must admit. There’s really nothing like him. However, his collaborator Helen Harridon is clearly Noreen/Fat Sparrow with cleaned-up language, so that would probably make Arlington Ball Bag, aka Harry Hutton. Harry has lavished fulsome praise on Arlington in the past and this is exactly the kind of self-aggrandisement one would expect from a blogger, so, yes, I reckon I’ve got this one right. As always. El Barbudo is Kim Ayres is Jokemail, that’s easy. He’s probably the Anti-Barney too, as he’s gone to ground. And let’s throw in Dr E. Scientist for the same reason (plus he’s got a beard). Which of these five people is real and which are fakes is anybody’s guess. Probably all, or none, or somewhere in between, or vice versa. Philip Challinor’s another slippery customer. I used to think he was Noreen and that he got some sort of perverse thrill out of correcting his own spelling and grammar in the comments, but I now believe he’s far weirder than that. His gravatar is ancient, decrepit and wrinkly… does that suggest anyone to you? Yes? Old Knudsen, perhaps? Brewski and Binty McShae are both Brits who live in the Far East (yes, I know Brewski claims he’s moved) and drink heavily – by their own admission, don’t shoot the messenger - so no difficulty there.

Most of the rest are who they say they are. The ladies generally tell the truth: Lindy, Sam, FMC, Sarah, Boudica, SheBah and Andraste are themselves and no-one else. Kav and Kieran are, natch, one and the same person, and are probably Jagd Kunst too. Hungbunny admits he lives in South London and nobody would do that - the living there or the admitting - even in the guise of someone else, so he’s unique. SafeTinspector and the intolerable Monstee are quite clearly anomalies, brown crusts clinging to the bowl after the filthy swirl that is the sentient being collective has disappeared down that great S-bend in the sky. Ivan the Terrible chickened out of blogging ages ago and shouldn’t even be on the list but I’m too lazy to remove him. Eddie Waring might be Ivan in a new shirt, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Which leaves yours truly, dear reader. No word of a lie – I appear in that sidebar. Can you work out who I am?

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Me! Me! Meme!

Philip Challinor has stung me with one of these things, just like a bee, except Philip hasn't died, I assume. I'm required to come up with eight items of autobiographical trivia. I usually resist doing these things because I can never think of anything amusing to make up, but this time I thought I'd just tell the truth for a change.

1. Being Welsh, I used to ride to school on a sheep.

2. I went to school down a coal mine.

3. I have oculus inversus, a rare condition in which my right eyeball is in the left socket and vice versa.

4. On my tenth birthday my father made me sing an assortment of Nye Bevan's speeches set to the tunes of sixth century Celtic war chants. If the volume of my singing dropped below a certain level he threw legs of mutton at me.

5. I was once bitten by a snake and hospitalised. While my delirium was real, the snake proved to be a rubber replica of the sort that can be purchased in any high street toyshop. The hospital was a model and the doctor who treated me was also false.

6. Since the age of thirty I have had more hair on my palms than on my face.

7. I cannot eat more than two Weetabix at a sitting without vomiting blood.

8. For over a year I have had troubling visions of a life without blogging, a life that is rich, fulfilling and meaningful. These visions are becoming less frequent, thank God.

I gather I now have to 'tag' people, so I'll make it Hungbunny (because there's no way he'll do this), Sam, Philip (nobody said you can't tag people back), Kieran, Garth Marenghi and Eddie Waring.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


'Fourth Doctor Arrested As Terror Probe Widens'

Oh dear, it's looking a bit bad for us. Still, it's often said that unemployment breeds violence.

Dr Maroon has a go at what he calls 'not real' doctors and paints such a crude picture of us that I nearly choked on my roast swan's wing. He even resorts to juvenile name-calling, labelling us a 'shower of shite', the Nessie-bothering knob jockey.

I suppose we'll all now have to undergo re-interviews for our jobs, carefully designed to assess us for suicidal terrorist tendencies, just as we currently have to give an assurance that we're not new versions of Harold Shipman.

Mind you, some of us do behave badly. I once had a colleague who admitted to me that he'd had sex with one of his patients. I'd have reassured him that this wasn't such a bad thing if he hadn't been a forensic pathologist.


Read this, Maroon. You'll love it.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I grovel at your altar

While I'm supping, I might as well celebrate the departure of Patricia Hewitt, and welcome as my new boss Alan Johnson, who is an ex-postman and in his most recent post as Education Secretary came up with 'new ideas and proposals', one of which is 'parents spending more time with their children in a bid to help them progress with their literacy and numeracy skills.' Quite the policy genius, then, and one admirably equipped to lead our fair nation out of the morass its citizens have got it in over the last ten years.


A shit joke with which to return

It's 1969, and there's a groovy party happening in the Hollywood hills. Everyone who's anyone in the world of showbiz is there, Daddy-O. The Byrds are snorting coke with Jefferson Airplane, Bob Dylan is having sex with the Velvet Underground, and Andy Warhol is spiking up with Sandy Shaw and Twiggy.

Janis Joplin appears in a swirl of ganja smoke and starts giving Jim Morrison head, before moving on to the the rest of his band. Then she goes down on John Lennon and satisfies him orally, repeating the performance with Jimi Hendrix, David Frost and Marlon Brando.

Whereupon Michael Caine stalks over and yells at Janis: 'Oi! You're only supposed to blow the bloody Doors off!'

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