Thursday, 28 February 2013

Leviticus 19:28

Tattoos, they're great aren't they?

I realise that that might have sounded sarcastic, but no, I think they're great - I have tattoos, Mrs Dandy has tattoos, the Mini-Dandy wants tattoos. I've even designed the odd one (the very odd one in some cases)

Tattoos, tattoos, tattoos...

There are a few things that are still legal that are so divisive, there are two standpoints, you either love them or you hate them. No, hang on, that's Marmite... Marmite AND tattoos? Actually no, there are three standpoints, People either love, hate, or have no strong opinion on them at all.

Sorry, I came over a bit 'Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition' there didn't I?

Right, today's Blog's going well so far isn't it? Do you get the feeling that I haven'y really thunk it through?

Do you know someone with a tattoo? I don't mean one jabbed into their skin with a pin melted into a toothbrush handle by someone called Fat Malcky in the exercise yard of your local Government internment Centre during Exercise Hour. I mean a work of art, often costing hundreds or even thousands of pounds, performed by a qualified, registered artist under sanitary conditions with some degree of skill.

Is that person a baby-eating psychopath? Chances are that they aren't, chances are that they're well adjusted people who would not think twice about giving you their last carrot if you were short of one for your Sunday Lunch, or for use during a quiet night in on your own (Either way, they won't want it back).

So why the general vilification of the tattooed?

Well, I think it might be because the general populace, the huddled masses, Jane and Johnny Vanilla, can't tell the difference between tattooed people and people with tattoos.

What do you mean you don't know the difference either? C'mon people, work with me here!

Tattooed people are those who think about it first, ponder long and hard whether they should get some ink, think carefully about the content and placement, decide how it can be covered if that's a concern for them in their chosen sphere of employment, save up the money, listen to the artist's opinions and suggestions about subtle changes that can be made to improve the design, sit quietly and still, biting their lips as the job is done, then religiously following the aftercare instructions and ending up with a product that they're all to happy to show off.

People who have tattoos are those who, for instance, after Jeremy Kyle has finished, think 'I know, I'll have a duck tattooed on my eyelid'. Hunt down the back of the sofa, fail to find enough cash, raid their kids' piggy-banks for the fiver required to get it done by 'Our Sonia's boyfriend's brother' who does it in his bedroom at his Mum's house with a kit he bought from eBay, get the bus to some dismal Council Estate, wait for the shell-suited scrote to get back from scoring himself some weed, find out that he doesn't know what a duck looks like and then get convinced that what they really want is to have his thirteen year old, pregnant, girlfriend kiss your backside and then get it tattooed over, Manage to get the price down to three-fifty by showing him their cleanest Primark bra (But not doing what he wanted them to do to get it for free, because even they have standards), then going back to their council flat, letting it get infected and scratch at it until it looks like Nigel Lawson.

Easy mistake to make for the uninitiated I suppose...


As is becoming traditional, I leave you with a story told to me by a tattooist of my aquaintance.

One, quiet, sunny afternoon, a squaddie came into his shop and asked for his unit's insignia to be tattooed on or about his person. First of all, he didn't have a copy of what he wanted, so the artist Googled it and printed it out. He couldn't decide whether he wanted it black and white, or full colour, so the artist quickly did a black and white copy so that he could choose.

Then he couldn't decide where he wanted it, and after about three quarters of an hour, he decided to have it on his bicep. He took another half an hour to decide how big he wanted it.

After all of these questions, the artist thought that maybe a tattoo wasn't for this particular person and tried to convince him to go away and think about it, but try as he might, the squaddie was immovable, he wanted it done, and done now, so that it was healed for when he was sent back to... Erm... Afghanistan or wherever.

So an hour and a half later, the deed was done, the squaddie was happy, the artist was happy that the squaddie was happy, money changed hands and they went their seperate ways.

All was well until the next day when the phone rang at the studio.

'Hello, Circling Dragon Tattoos, how can we make you more attractive?'

'Oh, Hi, I came in yesterday and you tattooed my unit's insignia on my arm?'

'Yes, I remember... Is there a problem?'

'No, no, it's great, really, there's just one thing...'

'OK, what's that?'

'Well I've tried on my fatigues shirt, and it won't roll up high enough to show it off, so I wondered if you could move it down onto my forearm, .'

The tattooist was still laughing when he put the phone down, walked out of the shop, and threw himself under a bus.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Maybe they explained it badly?

You know what I've never understood?

How aeroplanes fly.

I mean, I used to work for the UKs largest manufacturer of Aero engines, and I had it explained to me, in great detail, sometimes with diagrams, by engineering zealots all the time and at the end of it, I just looked at them like the Grumpy Cat meme that is so popular nowadays, shook my head, said 'Nope' and walked off.

I mean, let's examine the facts. Air, the things that aeroplanes swim through, the stuff that surrounds us, is light - it's the stuff that lightness is measured against, things are either 'Lighter than air' or 'heavier than air'. (Although I guess, in fairness, things are also either 'Lighter than an elephant' or 'heavier than an elephant' - but that's not a very popular comparison, well, not in the UK at least, maybe they say it a lot on the Indian subcontinent... But in their local language, perhaps - I don't know.)

Aeroplanes, even what they laughingly call 'light aircraft' are pretty bloody heavy. You wouldn't want one landing on your head. They weigh anything up to five tonnes (Strangely, lighter than an elephant - who'd a thunk it?), and the big fellahs, the Jumbo jet for instance can weigh anything up to four HUNDRED tonnes on takeoff (about fifty-seven elephants if you wanted to willingly flog the analogy to death - Which is something I'd never do, especially not to an elephant ).

So, you've got something the weight of a medium sized zoo, floating in something that weighs effectively nothing - Can't happen, sorry... Just doesn't make sense.

The textbooks say that it's all to do with the speed of the air going over the top of wings travelling faster than the air going underneath the wing, generating low pressure and effectively 'sucking' the plane into the air. You're relying on, what Einstein called I believe 'The Weak Sucky Force' to keep a metal tube full of precious, precious human beings up in the air for hours at a time. (o.O)

If you ask a proper physics type if that would actually work, they look all sort of uncomfortable, fidget in their chair, pick their nails, and then say 'Err... Well.. Kinda.. but no, not really' They'll tell you that it's actually all to do with something called 'Angle of attack', which you can experience yourself if you stick your hand out of a car window when it's travelling at speed. Hold your hand flat, parallel to the ground, and it will just feel a bit windy. If you imagine it's a plane taking off and angle it upwards a bit, the wind will hit your palm and it will lift your hand up, and depending on the speed, and whether there's a lorry coming in the opposite direction - It may well get torn off in a horrificly bloody fashion (If this happens, remember to tell the nice policeman/paramedic that I told you not to do it, but you went ahead and did it anyway).

So, the really scientific types say that the wind 'blows' planes into the air. Shyeeeah, riiiight! Next time you find yourself next to an aeroplane, do me a favour... Blow on it really hard, see if it leaps into the air, in fact, get some of your friends to help you - if you can get it into the air even a little bit, I will buy you all a Yorkie (and Kit-kats for the girls obviously).

Would you trust your life to something that even people who say they understand them can't decide whether they work by sucking or blowing? I know I wouldn't. Does that make me a Luddite? Probably - Does that bother me at all? Not in the slightest.

I would trust aeroplanes a lot more if their wings flapped like a bird's, at least that's a technology that's been perfected over millions of years - And it would look totally cool!


And here's a quick story from the anals of my Engine Manufacturing Company history - I must point out that this happened 'before my time' and is one of those stories that everyone gets told.

Our final assembly building was due to be visited by one of the Royals, and as happens before such an occasion, Special Branch, or whomsoever it was who looked after Royal security at the time, came to site and poked their noses into everything that could have an impact on the visit.

They walked around with one of the management team and had things explained to them, asked intelligent questions and gave instructions about how we should prepare for the visit.

At one point, allegedly, the rozzer walked around the room where almost completed engines were hanging in gantries above the ground, awaiting some small but very important parts being connected to them. He noticed that they were fixed to their frames by just four bolts, and commented that 'I'm glad that that's not how the fix them to the wings!'

The employee looked at the bolts, smiled, and said 'You're right, when they're on the plane they're only held on by three, and they're smaller and designed to snap easily.'

'What?' asked the Five-oh,

'Well, if the engine gets hit by something solid, it'll start to vibrate, the bolt's will snap, the engine will fall away, and the plane keeps flying.'

'And if the bolts don't snap?'

'Well, once the engine starts to vibrate, the wing will start to vibrate, and then it will break apart, and they're full of jet-fuel...'

'Boom?' suggested the Poh-poh, making the expanding explosion handsignal with both hands.

'Aye... Boom!' Said the Engineer, doing the same.

He took a nonchalant step back, whistled nervously, and carried on with his inspection.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Just call me 'Sinestro'

Good Afternoon...

My name's the Chimping Dandy, and I am one of the 10% of the population effected by one of the most under-reported and misunderstood syndromes in the history of Mankind.

I am left-handed.

Now I know that a lot of you will be sat there thinking 'So what? - I had a red tricycle when I was a kid, I really wanted a blue one, but I don't go crying about it on the Internet saying it's some kind of disease' And you'd be right, in the grand scheme of things I've not lost a leg or anything. But you normos (as Righties are often referred to by Lefties) don't appreciate the daily handism, that we have to suffer.

It's not a new thing, it's not one of the things that the modern age can claim to have invented. It started thousands of years ago probably. You all know the word 'Sinister', right? But do you know what it means? Let me save you the trouble of consulting a dictionary:


1. threatening or portending evil, harm, or trouble; ominous: a sinister remark.

2. bad, evil, base, or wicked; fell: his sinister purposes.

3. unfortunate; disastrous; unfavorable: a sinister accident.

4. of or on the left side; left.

Hang on a minute! Just wait one second! - 1.. Yeah, that's what it means, 2.. More of the same, 3.. OK, I get it, no need to ram it home, 4.. Sorry, what? It doesn't stop there, if you look further down the page you get this little gem:

1375–1425; late Middle English (from the) Latin: on the left hand or side, hence unfavorable, injurious

ON THE LEFT HAND - HENCE UNFAVOURABLE? - I should write to my MP! If I thought for a second that it would make a difference.

OK, so not only are all Lefties evil, base and wicked but we can't use scissors properly - Scissors made by the right-handed majority, for themselves, purely to subjugate us! We can't write with ink-pens because our left hands keep smudging it (Why is why, if you look, a lot of lefties will turn the paper through 90 deg and write downwards), Corkscrews and screwdrivers are a bit of a faff, and don't get me started on tin openers!

I was going to search the Internet far and wide to secured some deep, meaningful scientific study of left-handedness, but because I'm threatening and ominous, I decided to just shout 'Buggrit' and check Wikipedia - Look what I found!

Other reported associations that may have decreased evolutionary fitness include shorter adult height, lower weight, puberty at a later age, possibly a shorter life expectancy, increased risk of accidents, increased risk of certain neurological and immunological disorders, and decreased number of children

INCREASED RISK OF ACCIDENTS? - What the actual Frak?

You can picture the scene, you're standing on the platform at the railway station, a Leftie walks up to you, you say 'Good Morning', he offers completely the wrong hand for you to shake, which makes things awkward to start with, then he trips and falls under the 07:53 to Chipping Norton, stopping at Penge, Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch (No refreshment car on this service)

Who knew? according to the fount of all knowledge I should be a tiny, skinny, under-developed in the trouser department, multiple trauma victim with a nervous tic, a runny nose and a single, ginger child called Phillip who wears National Health glasses and has abandonment issues.

Whereas friends and casual observers will know that I am a tall, fat bloke with fully descended testicles (thank you very much) who, despite being heavily scarred and susceptible to colds (due to losing the use of a lung to pneumonia) had to be spayed to avoid spontaneously impregnating people walking past the house!

Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs! as people used to say when the world was in black and white.

But it's not all bad...

Lefties are supposed to be more artistic - I'll give you that one

There are a higher proportion of Lefties in what we generally accept to be the more 'developed' cultures, than in the more 'primitive' ones. (Does that mean that Lefties are the next stage of evolution? - I think it might - Are you ready to open wine bottles for your Sinister Overlords?)

We were even prized historically for being the most effective first wave of footsoldiers to be sent into a recently breached, enemy castle... Why? you ask, well, let me explain: Most spiral staircases in castles go clockwise upwards, giving the advantage to the (usually) right handed defenders, above and causing (usually) right handed attackers to flail about and not be able to give it the old hack, slash and stabby movements because their swords keep banging against the 'hub' of the stairwell - For Lefties, not a problem! - Much hacky-slashy goodness would ensue.

But the most bestest thing about being a Leftie is this little known fact... At birth, all left handed children are given a gift. A sacred present, that is non-transferrable, does not wear out, cannot be sold, traded or removed by force.

You might not believe this.

A lot of people don't

But all Lefties are impervious to Polar Bear attack

No, really, in all of recorded history there has not been one confirmed Polar Bear attack on a left handed person - Google it if you don't believe me (you might not want to Google it too closely in fairness)

This is because all polar bears, or at least those that have been studied, are Lefties and they can recognise this 'handedness' in others, by scent - They treat you as an honourary Polar Bear, which is why you might not want to visit the Arctic Circle in mating season unles you're VERY broadminded.

Anyway, to sum up, being a Leftie is a bit debilitating sometimes, but we're not disabled, we don't want your sympathy, we just want to be left alone to live our lives in peace, away from the finger-pointing and the chanting.

Until we become the majority of course, and we invade your cities on our Polar Bear mounts... And then you're all stuffed, sorry!

Monday, 25 February 2013

It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen

And suddenly... Monday!

Well, I don't know about you guys, but that last weekend just zoomed past. I got the precise total of no things done at all, watched a bit of TV, ate a wonderful roast pork dinner, Sat through 'Battleship' with liam Neeson and that geezer what played Gambit in the X-Men film - I hope you guys did nothing of any import too.


So, today's Blog is a character assassination of my Brother, well no, it's not really... I love my Brother, if I had to make a list of the people who've helped me out most over the last forty years, he'd be at the top of it. But when we were little and everything, he was a monster. (At least, according to my Mother, who relayed these stories to me, although she did have a reputation for embellishment - So, whilst they are, to the best of my knowledge true, there's a possibility of artistic licence in the details.)

Love you Man!

Let me do a little scene-setting. My Brother is ten years older than me, born in the fifties, grew up in the sixties, went to Uni in the seventies, got married in the eighties, rode the promotion rocket in the nineties, retired in the noughties and now lives in his hollow volcano, super-villain hideout in the Mediterranean eating Greek food and playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.

My earliest memory of my brother is, of course, one of torment and torture. (quelle suprise I hear regular readers gasp) When I was but a mewling, pewking, babe in arms, he was my babysitter whilst our parents desperately tried to have a social life. Remember this was the seventies, and parents having a social life was not yet frowned upon. As my Brother was a fairly normal pre-teen, his brand of babysitting often involved putting me where I would be least trouble and continuing with... Whatever it was he did... Watching TV, eating more walnut whips than was strictly good for him and suchlike.

His safe-place of choice on this particular occasion was a doorframe mounted baby-bouncer. If you haven't seen this kind of contraption, it comprises a clamp, attached to the top of the doorframe, then a long spring, some 'safety' straps and a seat, with holes for the feet, sort of like a plastic nappy. (One wonders if this is how fetishes start?) I was a needy child, which in fairness hasn't changed that much, and I enjoyed this contraption, but only if it was moving. Every once in a while my brother would wander over to me and give me a push, that would see me bouncing, or swinging, depending which way he pushed, into paroxysms of happy gurgling.

I guess on this one occasion, I had become particularly needy, and there was possibly some frustration on his part. But the next thing I knew, he'd taken hold of the 'gusset' of the bouncer, took a few steps back and let go. I went shooting into the other room, the spring stretched, then contracted, and sent me shooting back into the living room. I understand that I quite enjoyed this... Initially. Until he tried it again, and on this occasion took a few more steps back.

This time, I performed the same repeated trip between the two rooms, but at a higher speed, with my head snapping back and forth like an acid-fuelled Woody Woodpecker, and... Are you familiar with the latin phrase ad nauseum? - Seemingly, I went slightly past that point. Well, let's say that I'm glad that I didn't have to pay for a new carpet.


The second incident is a Christmas story, one overflowing with comfort and joy. Our Father, at the time, worked at an electrical shop, and as such was the go-to guy for Christmas lights. We had everything it was possible to get; Flower-shaped ones, Snowflake-shaped ones, Cold-cathode ones that flickered like candles and, my personal favourite, a string of fairy lights where every bulb was a mini lava lamp - I poop you not! - All running on 240 volts, no transformers, no 'Ideal for outdoor use' labels, proper man's electricity, with all the danger and fire-risk that that suggests.

The setup for this story is the same as before, parents out, Brother babysitting, although I think I was a little older, maybe four or five. And I'm not sure how the subject came up, I think we were shining torches up each other's noses to make them glow red. And then 'someone' suggested that if I were to put a fairy light bulb in my mouth, my whole head would probably light up.

I think he paniced when he heard the crunch of broken glass, and ran to get a towel from the kitchen and 'encouraged' me to spit the razor-sharp shards into it. I can't remember that there was a lot of blood, which was definately more by luck that judgement. It's not an experiment that either of us were in any great hurry to repeat - And I suggest you do not try it at home, or at B&Q or Asda.

(And to clarify, the bulb had been removed from the light fitting, I mean, he wasn't mad or anything)


My final story for today is one of mayhem, death and destruction. It is the tale of a young child, sadly robbed of his innocence too soon, cruelly snatched from under his Mother's wing and thrust into the harsh, actinic glare of the real world with not a thought for his wellbeing, future trust issues, or length of his limbs.

The stairs at my parents house were (and still are for that matter) very steep. My Dad would often arrange for Chris Bonington to come around to the house and give us tips on how to scale them safely. (Especially the difficult overhang on the West face) There was a family of goats on the third step from the top that you had to give a portion of your packed lunch to before they would let you pass. Standing at the top, you got the same view that Hawaiian cliff divers get just before they take a deep breath and make like a Puffin, only the sea is made of deep-pile berber that the landlord got cheap after one of his other tenants 'tripped and fell'.

Steep, right?

Anywho, we used to play a mean game of cops and robbers, did my Brother and I. Well, I say cops and robbers, it was more sort of beat the poop out of me (in a brotherly and loving fashion), tie me up, stow me somewhere where I wouldn't be found too quickly, and then wander off and do something more exciting. On this occasion however, there was some 'Escalation' as I believe it's called in serial killer parlance. There was the standard light beating, as one had come to expect, possibly a chinese burn or two, and then my hands were tied together with one of the many ties that my Father regularly got for Christmas but never wore.

Then the other end of the tie was loosely tied around the banister rail... As I am a kind and loving person, who never holds a grudge, I'll describe what happened next as me 'losing my footing'. Have you ever fallen downstairs? it used to be a weekly event for me when I lived at home. It involves a kind of rolling motion, designed to spread the trauma over your whole body. That can't happen when you're tied to a banister. So my ass took a real pounding.

No, there might be a better way to say that... Aw hell, you've read it now anyway.

He was very apologetic, once he'd stopped laughing and came downstairs and untied me.


So there you go, my Mother couldn't stop interfering in my life even after she died, my Father made free and easy with the Lords' little feathery creatures and my Brother was, well, one hesitates to use the words 'Fratricidal Maniac' doesn't one?.. So let's say, just a completely normal Big Brother - He even painted the number 101 on our shared bedroom door.

Friday, 22 February 2013

My Interview with iBazinga Magazine

A few weeks ago, I was approached by absolutely nobody, and asked if, as I was a rising star of the Internet, who regularly attracts double-figure numbers of page hits on his Blog, quite literally, almost every day, I would like to do an interview for a completely ficticious Technology Magazine called iBazinga.

At first I refused, partly because I am, by nature, a very private soul and do not like to talk about myself, but mostly it's because the magazine doesn't exist and it was just the voices in my head making me the offer, which is better than the normal 'Burn this, the duct-tape will quiet her filty noise' style advice I normally get from them.

So, on a rainy Wednesday, in the past, I didn't find myself in a suite on the 30th floor of the Park Lane Hilton, in London, talking to a made-up journalist about myself.


So, Mr Dandy, thank you for agreeing to this interview, I'm sure a lot of our readers would like to know a little bit about the man behind the T-Shirt with the amusing Pangolin motif.

Well, thank you Brian, may I call you Brian?

My name's actually Tracy...

Righty-ho, so, Brian, I'm glad that you asked me that, it's nice for me to finally get to set the record straight. I mean, there are people out there who think I'm just a megalomaniac with a God complex who somehow thinks that his opinions are more important than anyone else's.

I'm sure nobody thinks that, all of our readers who bothered to send questions in were generally very complimentary about your writing style, and didn't find it to be syrupy self-aggrandizement at all.

Ah, good, you say that people sent in questions? For me? How very lovely.

Yes indeed, we have one here from Michael Stibberly in Kuwait. 'Do you have a big family?'

Big? No, not really big as such, There's the Wife, Mrs Dandy, my Daughter, the MiniDandy - who has her own Blog, my Son, who has asked for his name to be witheld because it might impact his scrap metal and drive tarmacing business, my pigeon shattering Father and very occasionally the Ghost of my Dead Mother, who may, or may not, be scared of the Hoover. We've also got family who live on a little island in the Med and still more, just around the corner. Actually I guess it is a fairly sizeable brood.

Miss Sybil Von Daniken of Poole in Dorset writes 'You speak of GodS all the time, rather than God, the Saviour, The Father, The One True God... Did you know that you are going to Hell and will spend eternity in torment, pursued by Satan's imps with their constantly stabbing pitchforks?'

Nope, I think I'll be fine. I'm all about the whole Supreme Being idea, but whether that Being is the Judeo-Christian God, a Bowl of Spaghetti & Meatballs or a bunch of guys with oversized heads wearing a lovely tinfoil ensemble designed by some 'Space' Vivienne Westwood then that's OK with me. I mean, imagine the feeling when you get up to Heaven and there are as many Gods as there are people, and we've all got one each.

Marion D'la Plume D'ma Tante asks, 'We all know that you are something of an IT Guru, but have you ever done anything else?'

Funny you should ask that, I was talking to one of my ex customers only a few months back, I have spent time as a licensed Door Supervisor, a Fetish Model and a card-carrying Superhero - I'll leave it to your imagination as to exactly which one the person was a customer of. And I've recently also become a published Author.

A quick one from Simon Whatstandwell all the way from Rutherford, New Joisey. 'Do you really think that Pandas are the next big worry, greater than global warming, greater than Earth being hit by a comet, meterorite or alien spacecraft full of marauding, Oh, I don't know, flesh eating... Ermm.. Cats with spiky helmets?' - I'm sorry, I think that that question might have gotten away from the asker there a little bit!

That's fine Brian, it happens to me all the time! - Yes, I seriously believe that Pandas are the furry mammal equivalent of the Communist sleeper cell. At a pre-arranged time, they will rise up, take control, and subjugate mankind under their little part-formed thumbs. It'll be quick, bloody, and the cupcake shops with probably fall first. And just for completeness, I believe that all cats have spiky helmets.

Yes... Quite... Only a couple more questions, and then we can let you go. We received this one, written in crayon, which is very odd when you consider that it was sent by email, it is signed, but the signature is sadly illegible. Going by the address of the sender, it comes from Frankie.D' and reads 'When you is growing up and stuff, who is it you wanna be, like, innit?'

Ah, little Frankie, I remember her well, Beautiful plumage... In recent times I have come to realise that the person I want to be when I grow up is me, but with a lot more cash, and some pet killer whales. But when I was but a young slip of a Dandy, and Chimping was the furthest thing from my mind, I wanted to be Martin Shaw off of Judge John Deed.

And finally, Cyril, Haha! Francoise Goebbels from the lovely province of Alberta in Canadiashire has asked the question that is on the tip of everyone's tongue, 'Dandy, how did you, mild mannered IT professional by day, pay as you go doppelganger and haddock worrier by night, become the Chimping Dandy.'

Brian, Brain, Brian... It's a well known fact that secret identities are secret for a reason, they protect the families and loved ones of the... erm... person who has decided to have a secret identity, for which I'm sure there is a proper noun. So, I have changed the names, crossed the 'I's and dotted the 'T's to make sure that the story is as safe as I can possibly make it. I can't be held responsible, well, for anything really, as I'm a bit infantile, but mostly I can't be held responsible for any personal harm that may befall you if you read.... The Origin of The Chimping Dandy.

Well, that was informative, thank you very much Mr Dandy, we'll be sure to let you know when the interview is published. The readers of iBazinga magazine thank you and hope you a long and happy Blogging experience.


And that's where the interview ended, I looked around and realised that I wasn't actually in a suite, on a non-existant floor of the tallest hotel in London, I was lying on the carpet, in the lounge, with a trickle of Irn Bru coming out of my nose and a very puzzled looking cat breathing its fishy breath into my mouth and licking my teeth.

Another normal day at Dandy Towers, I'm sure you'll agree. Enjoy your weekend, and if you do something exciting, don't forget to tell me about it - It could make you famous.

Yes, I realise you've seen all this stuff before, think of it as the Mid-Season Clip Show - If it's good enough for NBC then it's good enough for you lot.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Celebrity? - She's a bit of a cult

A chance, part-overheard comment in the office yesterday gave me the idea for today's Blog. I'd give the person credit if:

a) I didn't think she was a vacuous waste of skin.


b) I actually knew her name.

We were all trying to leave the training room after an office meeting, you know, where forty people all try to cram through the same doorway at the same time? When I overheard the young lady in question say 'Why is Kim Kardashian wearing that dress when she's pregnant?' (And yes, I did have to Google the spelling, I was going to put Cardassian, but I figured that that would be unfair on Gene Roddenberry's memory.)

This got me to thinking, why in the name of little curly tailed frogs would anyone in their right mind care what some celebrity was wearing whilst they were pregnant? What was their reasoning behind it? Asking the person who made the initial remark is out of the question of course, as I have to suffer enough blank stares and open mouthed drooling from people whilst I'm doing my day job as it is.

I Googled the poor, pregnant, lady in question and read that she had found fame through a leaked sex-tape about six years ago, which netted her $5m, then took the standard route to celebrity of reality TV, nude modelling, promoting other people's products, releasing a fragrance range, supporting popular charities, 'designing' clothes and freakishly short-term marriages. Apart from guest starring in a couple of TV shows that were trying to alter their demographic, or featuring her ironically, and parts in three films that I've never heard of and are even less likely to ever watch, I can't see a single thing that's she'd actually done to earn all of this worldwide attention.

Don't get me wrong, I can see her appeal as what used to be called 'Something for the Dads' on Saturday evening TV, but short of shallow objectification, I just don't get it. Maybe she's aspirational? I guess that she's rich, lives in a nice house and drives a selection of nice cars. She wears clothes designed by some very talented people, shouldn't it be those people that we aspire to be? The Do-ers, the people who produce things - And by things I don't just mean people who make a physical object, I mean people who provide services, or educate, or entertain.

Although, maybe it's jealousy on my part, if for a moment I thought I could surf through life on a sea of money generated by a grainy nightvision film of myself making sweet-sweet love to a blurry vaguely feminine shape in the background. (It would have to be a montage obviously, produced over time, as no-one in their right mind would pay $5m for three minutes of video) - I would. But I know it wouldn't happen, so I don't. For which you should all be very thankful.

I know I seem to be targeting this Kardashian woman, but you could equally replace her with anybody appearing on the cover of any number of 'Celebrity' magazines, Heat, OK, Now, Then, Yes, Faff, Plib - They're all choc full of people I don't recognise who are famous for precisely nothing, being photographed taking their dog for a walk, or having a cup of coffee, or wearing last season's clothes or even, Gods forbid, wearing the same clothes twice!

I guess it's nothing new, celebrities have captured people's imaginations for thousands of years, but this is the first generation where people are happy to make a fuss of people who are famous, just for being famous. And they say that this is the generation that's going to have to save the planet...

I'm sinking my meagre savings into the Space Program, how about you?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

All that - AND Brown Sauce?

I was driving to work this morning, through the drizzle and the greyness and the occasional four-car pile up, wracking my brain for a subject for today's Blog.

Then it struck me, why not write about something incredibly close to my heart, a subject that has helped to get me through the bad times, and helped the good times feel so much better.

Then I realised that adult ladies gyrating whilst wearing Catholic schoolgirl uniforms probably wasn't very politically correct, so I quickly switched to the Gods given taste explosion that is the cooked breakfast.

Not your namby-pamby continental breakfast, beloved of Johnny European and those who consider themselves upwardly mobile, but the large plate of animal parts and fried accompaniments. To paraphrase the great Mel Brooks - 'A Full English Breakfast is like sex, even when it's bad, it's still good'

Is there anyone out there who doesn't know what constitutes a Full English? (or Full Scottish, for the hairy caber tossers amongst us, or Full Irish for the bog-trotters) Well, if you now are, or ever have, resident in the UK, and you don't know, then I suggest you report to your nearest tall building and commence with the jumping out of the window and the uncontrollable screaming. It's one of this sceptered isle's signature dishes, it's up there with Fish & Chips and Cottage Pie. (Note, it is not up there with Chicken Tikka Masala - Although I'm regularly informed that this is the most popular dish in the UK, and I enjoy it myself, that is Indian food, the clue's in the name.)

For those of you who are still with us, and have geographical reasons for having been excused defenestration, let me describe the standard ingredients:

Sausage: A tube of at least 80% minced meat, encased in a natural skin (OK, there's no way to say this nicely, intestines), bulked up with herbs and bread (Sometimes called rusk), vegetables or cheese. In Scotland this is sometimes replaced or accompanied by Lorne Sausage (or 'Slice') which is pretty much the same, but square.

Bacon: Now, for our American readers, what you term bacon, really isn't what I'm talking about. Over here, we call that 'Streaky' bacon and it's mostly used for cooking with, not eating on its own. I'm talking about what you might call 'Canadian bacon' and can be cooked anywhere between just opaque to 'you can hammer nails in with it', a good breakfast cook will always ask you how you like your bacon, if they do not, you are quite within your rights to roll your eyes, sigh, and find somewhere else to have your breakfast.

Eggs: You cannot have bacon in a breakfast without eggs, it's the law, whether they're fried, scambled or poached (although, in fairness, if you ask for poached, there's a very good chance that the cook will spit in the water as they are a right faff to make properly.)

Beans: Not your normal everyday green fellahs - But, Baked Beans - Oddly, these are usually stewed, not baked, and packaged in tin, with a sweet tomato sauce.

Tomato: There are two camps here, and it can provoke arguments of Blefusucian proportions. One, quite rightly, says that the style of tomato that should be supplied is the skinned, tinned, plum tomato. Meanwhile, heretics and people of reduced mental faculty maintain that you should be given half a grilled tomato, which has the taste and consistancy of a stale slug. Luckily these people are dying out due to the application of the laws of 'survival of the fittest' and food poisoning.

Now, you can sometimes be asked whether you would like beans OR tomato, the correct reply to this is to slap the person across the face and tell them not to be so bloody ridiculous.

Fried Bread: There should always be fried bread and plenty of it, it should be at least an inch thick and cooked in the fat rendered from the sausage and bacon (Which have been fried, not grilled, or griddled, or steamed or microwaved). Those amongst you who have ever been offered fried bread and have opted instead for its insipid cousin 'Toast'... well, I'm afraid you're dead to me now.

There are a number of optional extras that can be offered as part of the breakfast. These include, but are not limited to:

Field mushrooms, Sauteed potato, fried onions, Black pudding (or white pudding if you're squeamish about blood) Hash Browns (For those who have been to America, or shop at Iceland) and bread and butter.

It should also be served with a cup of tea (under no circumstances should you serve it with coffee, this is an offence punishable by flogging, and not the good, Public school, please sir can I have another? kind).

Once you find somewhere that does the perfect breakfast, you should guard it jealously, never tell anyone but your closest, trusted cadre - When places get 'popular' the quality of food often suffers.

You may think that no-one needs to have the cooked breakfast explained to them, but let me leave you with this cautionary tale of a cooked breakfast gone horribly wrong.


I was sat in the breakfast room of the Croyden Hilton enjoying a buffet cooked breakfast which I would say probably ranked about 47 in my top 100 cooked breakfasts. There were many people staying at the hotel that week, including a couple of professional netball teams and a contingency of oriental types who, true to stereotypes, were very quiet and very polite.

My colleague and I were discussing what the day had to offer workwise when I noticed a small, fragile looking oriental girl, probably in her early twenties, approaching the buffet. She looked up and down the selection for a while, then took a large plate and put on some mixed fruits, peach slices, pears and mandarin segments - you know the type of stuff. She then bypassed the cereal, went to the cooked section and loaded up with bacon, eggs and baked beans. I have had meat and fruit before, it's traditional, very popular in fact in Tudor times. But her next addition was a bit of a dealbreaker, she went to the... Well, I'm sure that there's a proper name for them, but they're effectively a bowser that holds the fruit juices and milk, and proceeded to pour the latter onto her breakfast.

She then took the plate to her table, sat down and ate the lot - she had a fairly disgusted expression on her face, and will probably never eat British food again - But you have to admire her tenacity.

So there you go, Quintessentially British food as it should be - Tasty, fattening, comforting and capable of flummoxing even the most inscrutable of foreigners.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Les Invalides (Pt4)

'When? how do you feel?' Asked the Captain, her hand resting on the recently cured First Officer's shoulder.

'A bit groggy still, and itchy, very itchy, but I'll live Ma'am.'

'You'll need to do a damn sight more than that if we're going to get out of here, we need to catch up, Russ sounds like he's having far too much fun on his own!'

They raced out of the room and into the corridor, following the sound of blaster fire and raucous laughter. When restarted his chainsword, revved it a couple of times and ran headlong into the fray, sweeping it to and fro at waist height, chopping guards in half with gay abandon. The Captain stayed back at the junction, where she had a clear view down three corridors and contented herself with putting holes into the skulls of any constructs that came into view.

'When! Russ! Stop playing soldiers and clear me a path to Secure Storage!' The Captain yelled, so that she could be heard over the mechanical mayhem.

The Brigands looked at each other, grinned hugely and pushed forward. When's chainsword became stuck in the gears of a particularly large construct, four of its six arms continued to try to crush the life out of him as the toothed chain snagged and the engine stalled.

'Ooof! - KillIt!-KillIt!-KillIt!' Yelled the Doctor.

Russ reached under his Wolfskin cape and pulled out a siege bolter, which most people require two hands to use, and aimed at the contruct's head.

'Hang on, let me get out of the...'

There was a deafening noise and the construct's head simply disappeared, along with part of When's luxuriant moustaches and a significant portion of the bulkhead in front of them.

'Which part of no siege weapons didn't you understand? How about Sudden loss of buoyancy? or Plummeting to a watery grave in a mass of tangled metal?' Barked the Captain.

Russ looked sheepishly at the Captain and then back to When, who was still trying to put out his smouldering facial hair. He holstered the siege bolter and continued forwards just using his blaster to clear a path. A mass of constructs was building up behind them and the Captain was doing her best to hold them off, but they were closing through sheer force of numbers.

'How many damn guards do you need on a medical boat?' She asked the empty air, whilst shooting a hole in the head of the nearest enemy.

'Door's locked Captain!' Yelled When from around the corner, 'As you'd expect I s'pose in somewhere called Secure Storage!'

She reached into her pocket, grabbed the Dentrassi lockpick and threw it over her shoulder. She heard it hit the wall and roll, then the familiar musical chirps as it started to work.

'Russ! come here and give me a hand whilst the Old Man does the technical stuff!'

The reply came in the form of a dozen blaster bolts whizzing from behind her into the broiling throng of mechanical defenders in front of her, exploding faces and shattering bodies into clouds of brass and copper, which seemed to buy them some breathing space.

'Thank you!'

'Captain, I've found her, she seems OK.' Said When's voice in her ear.

'OK, get her back here, we'll make our way to the docking bay.' The Captain thumbed the switch on her communicator, 'Teach, this is the Captain. We are making our way to the docking bay now, prepare for depature at best speed once we're aboard.'

'Captain, this is Landry, as soon as you started the rescue, the Hellingly severed the docking tube, we're holding station about 50 feet below the port bow.'



'Nothing, hold steady, we'll come to you.'

'Aye Ma'am, Landry out.'

When chose that moment to come into view with an unconcious Dorys draped over his shoulder.

You're making a habit of that Doctor,' Smiled the Captain, referring to her unusual forced exit from the base on Chandra Island.

'Aye Ma'am, I'm a sucker for a lady in distress, or dat dress, or any dress for that matter.'

'Mr Russ?' Announced the captain, ignoring the Doctor's gallows humour, 'Make me a hole in that wall there, We need a way out'

Russ, slowly raised his blaster and aimed at where the Captain had pointed.

'No Mr Russ, I think that something with a little more bite is required.'

He grinned and pulled out the siege bolter from behind his back, braced himself againt the wall and started to fire repeatedly into the bulkhead in front of him. The explosive shells made short work of the wood panelling and the steel behind it. The sudden drop in pressure signalled that he had breached the hull, he stopped firing and spat on the glowing barrel.

'Now we go - Teach, this is the Captain, can you see the new hole in this nice shiny boat?'

'Yes Ma'am, on our way.'

'Good, position yourself as close as you can get, we're going to jump.'

'Aye Captain!'

'We're going to what?' Said When, looking at the limp form of Dorys.

'Russ goes first, you throw her, he catches her, then you jump and I bring up the rear - simple.'

They made their way through the damaged section of the ship until they reached the outside skin. The Edward Teach was just taking up position, ten feet away and five feet below.

'See you on the other side!' Yelled Russ and then he jumped. He managed to catch hold of one of the chains connecting the gasbag to the hull, slid down it hand over hand and took up position on the deck. He beckoned to the Doctor, 'Toss her over!' He yelled, trying to make himself heard above the wind.

When moved Dorys from his shoulder and held her in his arms, 'Lovely Theya, I'm going to apologise in advance... I never was very good at throwing, I was always picked last for the cricket team. Here she comes!' He took a run-up and launched her across the gap to the waiting marauder. As he let her go, her eyes opened, she looked at the hospital ship, and the sea far below her and started to scream, a scream that didn't stop until she landed in the paws of the fanged monster, braced on the deck.

A shot rang off the steelwork next to the Doctor's head, 'We need to get going!' He yelled to the Captain, who was busily laying down covering fire.

'You first, I'll follow you.'

'But, no you should...'

'When, if you don't jump now, I'll shoot you myself and use your liver as a parachute!'

'See you onboard!' He replied, flinching as another shot took a chunk out of the floor. He jumped the distance, landed heavily on the deck and rolled to a stop. Looking across at the massive bulk of the Hellingly, he watched the Captain firing shot after shot into the depths of the ship until her blaster ran out of charge. She threw the now useless weapon at the oncoming constructs and jumped.

She sailed through the air for what seemed like hours, and was only a few feet away when she realised that she wasn't going to make it.


'NO!' Yelled When, forgetting his vertigo and rushing to the side-rail. But the Captain was nowhere to be seen. He stood there, unbelieving until Russ grabbed him by the shoulder.

'We need to get underway now, there are interceptors coming, don't let all this be for nothing!'

When nodded, took one last look over the side and went below.

'Full reverse, hit them with Daisy a few times to slow them down and then set a course for home, best speed,' Commanded When as he took the vacant Captain's chair.

'Where's the Captain?' Shouted Landry as the Helmsman scrambled to obey the Doctor's orders.

When looked at him and slowly shook his head. The forward viewscreen lit up as the shots from Daisy found their mark and the lights started to go out all over the Hellingly.

'Bring us about and rig for best speed.'

'Belay that!', came a feint, crackly voice from the Intercomm, 'Send someone to haul in the remains of the docking tube, which happens to have your Captain tangled in it and THEN rig for best speed. Oh, and When?'

'Aye Captain?'

'Get your arse out of my chair!'

Monday, 18 February 2013

Les Invalides (Pt3)

Look, I know I said that this would be the concluding part... but it's not, that'll probably be tomorrow - Maybe I should take out all of the obvious plagiurism and copywright protected bits and write the story again in an eBook.  That should earn me enough for some bubblegum.


When sat in the operating chair in the middle of the Med-Bay, looking worriedly at the magnetised trays of medical instruments on the walls.

'What does that one do?' He asked, pointing at a curved, spiked blade around fifteen inches long.

The med-construct turned his head around to see where When was pointing, 'That's a Quanari birthing scoop, it holds open the...'

'Ugh... Doesn't matter, what about that one over there?'

'That's a number eight bifurcated Trunquor press, we won't be using that one, your species don't have a Trunquor, well, not one of any great size at least.'

'And that one?' When's voice was slowly rising in pitch and had almost reached the point where only bats could hear him. He pointed at a wickedly pointed lance, that was connected to the wall by a thick cable.

'That's the one I use to give myself high-voltage shocks when no-one's looking, it keeps my pincers steady,' He turned and whispered to the Captain, 'It's not Ma'am, it's an emergency defibrillator for people wearing body armour.'

The Captain shook her head, turned to When and said, 'Look, we won't be needing any instruments, we're just going to give you something that will make you look like you've been poisoned,' She turned to the construct, 'That can be reversed instantly?'

'Yes, in this,' he produced a syringe full of poisonous looking green and orange liquid, 'Is a mix of a weak synthetic Tubocurare and Variola, I can mix in an emetic if you require projectile vom...'

'No, thank you, the mild paralysis and boils should be enough I think.'

'As you wish. I will implant the curative in a capsule in his chest, a brisk blow will trigger it, he will be completely free of the toxin within ten seconds.'

'Excellent,' replied the Captain, 'I'll leave him in your capable hands.'

As the door slid closed behind her, she glanced back to see four of the Med-Construct's arms holding down the Doctor, whilst another waved the syringe, mockingly, around his face.

'Need to get that one's personality looked at when we get back to base,' she thought to herself as she headed back to the bridge.

'Mr Landry, have we heard anything from the Hellingly?'

'No Captain,' Replied the young Communications Officer, 'Nothing since they told us to await further instructions.'

The Captain opened a channel, 'Hellingly, this is the... Tydirium, our crewman seems to have taken a turn for the worse, we respectfully request urgent medical assistance!'

'Please hold,' Replied an obviously synthetic voice. The channel went silent for fifteen or so seconds and then a human voice said,

'This is-a Gianni Eduardo of de Company Medical Corps - What eez eet dju need?'

'One of our crewman seems to have been bitten by an unknown insect, he's come out in boils and he seems to be paralysed from the neck down, we don't have the facilities to diagnose it, we wondered if?..'

'Djess, eet would be simple for us, we haff de top of der range medical equipments, I vill clear it wiz our Ceptain now. Prepare to brink djour man aboard, dockink bay six.'

She smiled as she switched the Intercomm to internal, 'Mr Russ? Prepare an aggie for Doctor When, load the hidden compartments with our standard boarding kit, don't forget the Doctor's chainsword - He'll never forgive you.'

'Aye Captain, I'll meet you in the Med-bay.' Growled Russ, still getting used to speaking around his newly implanted tusks.

'Aye Mr Russ, and can we try to dress a little more like merchantmen this time? No longknives, no siege weaponry, no high-explosive grenades?'

'As you say.' The suddenly dejected marauder replied, in the background the Captain could just hear the sounds of dangerously shaped pieces of metal dropping to the floor.

The Captain turned to the Helmsman, 'Bring us alongside her, extend the docking tube to bay six and keep the engines spun up ready for a quick exit, and for the Gods' sake, try to remember that as far as they know, we're merchantmen!'

In the Med-bay, Russ was assisting the Med-construct place the unmoving Doctor onto the aggie, the already overloaded anti-gravity motors of the floating stretcher groaned as they took his weight.

'Could do with laying off the Suckling Pigs,' He commented.

'His Body Mass Index is well above the recom...' Replied the Med-construct

'Thank you Gentlemen,' Interjected the Captain, striding into the room, 'Can we not speak ill of the almost dead? Let's get him down to the docking bay.'

As they moved through the tube towards the Hellingly, The Captain turned to Russ, 'We're merchantmen remember, but be ready, the signal is me punching When in the chest.'

Russ nodded; As the door opened, they were confronted by six construct guards armed with pain sticks and a remote floating drone, effectively just a set of scanners and a speaker.

'Follow me, we will take you to Dr. Eduardo.' said the drone, turning away from them and moving towards the interrior of the ship.

The Captain and Russ shrugged, and pushed the whining aggie in front of them. As they followed the drone, the construct guards fell into formation, three either side of them. They walked down a number of well lit corridors and finally stopped outside a secure medical unit. The drone sang a short string of modulated beeps and the door opened. The group entered the room and the guards took up defensive positions around its perimeter.

'Zis iz der patient?' Asked Dr Eduardo, pointing at When's prone form on the aggie.

'Yes, he's my First Officer,' Replied the Captain

'He looks very bat,'

'Erm... yes, he's been getting slowly worse over the last few days.'

'Ve vill soon haff him up and about and doink whateffer it is First Officers do!'

'Good... Oh no!... He's going into cardiac arrest!'

'Cardiac? No, my instruments clearly show zat...'

'No! he's dying!' The Captain hammered on When's chest 'Don't leave me, you're the best First Officer I've ever had!'

'But, dear laydee, he iz not haffink a heart atteck!.. Oh!'

Dr Eduardo's exclamation was caused by Russ reaching underneath the aggie, pulling out an Ion Sprayer and de-activating all the guards and the surveillance systems with extreme prejudice. When eased himself upright and took his chainsword from its secret compartment, the boils on his face and hands quickly shrinking, but his head was still fuzzy.

'Where's my crewman you filthy patient molester?' Yelled When, waving his chainsword at the blurred shape in front of him.

'He's over there,' Whispered Russ, turning him to face the Company Doctor.

'Right, yes,' mumbled the Doctor, his vision clearing.

I... I... Don't know vhat... Please... vhat are djou talkink about?'

'You picked up a prisoner at Chandra, she was one of my crew, we want her back.' Explained the Captain.

'Prisoner? I don't know about zer prisoners, I'm an immunologist!'

'Damn!' breathed the Captain and delivered a blow to the side of his head that cleanly knocked him out, 'When, find out where Dorys is, Russ, clear us a route.'

When accessed a nearby computer terminal, 'She's in secure storage, just down the corridor, although we're about to have company.'

Russ grinned and pulled a blaster from the aggie, 'Follow the noise!' He laughed and jumped out into the corridor.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Les Invalides (Pt2)

OK, this would have been the final part of this little story, but I got a bit carried away.  Part 3 should be on Monday, unless the muse takes me over the weekend, otherwise sit back, open a bottle of vodka, and start your weekend early with the crew of the Edward Teach.



The assembled bridge crew turned slowly to look at the Captain. She looked at When, the corners of her mouth pointing upwards in a barely noticable smile.

'Dr When, you have something on your cheek and I pray to the Gods that it's lipstick.'

'Aye Ma'am I'll see to it, erm..' The first officer patted the pockets of his waistcoat until he found one containing a silk handkerchief, which he produced, furtively, and wiped away the waxy mark.


'Yes Ma'am?'

'When did you start buying handkerchiefs with gussets and waistbands?'

The hirsute privateer looked down at the scrap of silk in his hand, noticed the embroidered cog on the front and realised that he must have picked it up accidentally in his hurry to retrieve his clothes in the whore-pit. He quickly stuffed it back into his pocket.

'Frobisher, connect to The Great Cloud and look for reports of our little shopping trip to Chandra, specifically anything about prisoners.'

'Working...' The lights on the bridge dimmed slightly, 'No mention of the raid on normal channels, boosting power to access the Company network.'

'Be careful, this doesn't feel right...'

'Lines secured and encrypted, I am invisible to their security measures Ma'am.'

'If only you were inaudble too,' The Captain whispered, in a strangely good mood for someone who had recently lost a valued crewmember.

Frobisher's head turned towards her, paused petulantly and said, 'I have a report of a single captive, found unconcious at the scene with minor burns. She has been taken to the secure hospital aboard the Company ship Hellingly, currently en route to Nukuoro'

'Cut the connection!'

The lights on the construct's metal face resumed their normal cycling and the captain took a deep breath. Nukuoro was just outside the juristiction of the Democratic People's Republic of Australasia, it was a Company supply base during the first trouble with the Spiders. She'd visited there once, a long time before she was Captain of the Edward Teach, on a resupply raid. It was a barren ring of rock and sand barely four miles across, a few buildings, a fuel dump, and strangely, a small school.

'Helm, plot an intercept course for the Hellingly, take us high and quiet.'

'Course set, range just over a thousand miles, less than three hours at best speed,' The helmsman barked the numbers at they appeared on his display.

'No, take us slow, three-quarter speed at 20,000 ft. Make us look as much like a cargo barge as you can.'

When took a deep breath, opened the Intercomm and barked out his standard string of orders, 'All hands, make ready to leave port. Secure all lines and hawsers, we will be breaking dock in 30 seconds, anyone still on board who's not on my roster'll be thrown over the side the second I find 'em, let me remind you that water's as solid as concrete from the height we'll be cruising at. All Doxies, Merchants and Pox-Doctors, off the ship now! Repeat - We are breaking dock in 25 seconds.'

The deck below them shifted as the docking cables were reeled in and the sudden release of pressure on the gasbags lifted her higher into the air. The station slowly receded into a small dot below them, as they reached 20,000 ft, the fusion engines started and the ship leaped forward like a scolded porpoise. Everyone waited for the traditional thundering crash from the Galley, but this time it seemed that the cook had finally learned his lesson.

'Blades out, make us look fat and non-threatening.' Called the Captain.

All over the hull, molecule-thin carbon-fibre sheets flowed out from between the hull plates, they billowed briefly, then caught the wind and took on the impression of solidity, what had once looked like a traditional buccaneer's ship now looked like a bloated, unarmed cargo barge, painted in an independant haulier's colours.

They sailed westwards for nearly four hours without incident until suddenly the Helmsman called that they were approaching the position where the Hellingly should be.

'All stop!' Called When, 'Scan for the big shiny bitch.'

'Nothing on scanners sir, nothing for 200 miles.'

'Sky's empty Captain, she must have changed course, we've lost her.'

The Captain stood, reached under her chair for her respirator, looked at When and said, 'Get your mask, we're going on deck.'

The air rushing from the pressurised door helped the reluctant Doctor out onto the deck and the cold atmosphere caused condensation to form on the outside of his brass respirator. He stayed well away from the guardrail as heights were his least favourite thing, next to sobriety, celibacy and hunger.

'Out of the way you bloody Jellyfish', called the Captain, her voice sounding muffled through her mask, 'Pass me the Glass!'

When passed her the magnifier, and she put it to her eye, the view was slightly blurred through the fabric of the blades, but she could see well enough to spot the Hellingly, two thousand feet below them and floating in the sunshine as bold as a halibut.

'Sky's empty?' Asked the Captain, 'Weren't those your exact words?'

'Aye... Well... Maybe the scanners need an overhaul?'

'Maybe you're lucky and they're cloaked or maybe we're being jammed.'

'Why would a hospital ship be cloaked?'

The Captain shrugged, 'I have no idea, but I mean to find out, let's get below before we have to insulate ourselves with layers of your stolen underwear.'

The Doctor's face reddened and he quickly made his way back below deck. The Captain paused to take a long look at the large silver airship below them.

'Hold on, we're coming for you...'

Back on the bridge, the Captain settled back into her chair, cracked her knuckles and opened a communications channel.

'Company Airship, this is the Cargo Ship... ah...' The Captain looked desperately at When,

'Tydirium?' Suggested When with a shrug,

'Tydirium. We have a minor medical emergency and request succour.'

There was no reply.

'Company Airship, I repeat, this is the...'

'Tydirium, this is the Company Hospital Ship Hellingly, we received your transmission but are unable to assist.'

'Hellingly, we have a crewman effected with what we believe to be an unknown toxin, we require immediate assistance as per Company regulations, Book thirty-six, subsection eighty-seven..'

'I know the regulations Captain! Hold for further instructions...'

The Captain muted the channel and turned to her first officer.

'When, you need to start acting sick, well, sicker...'

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Les Invalides (Pt1)

Today's (and Tomorrow's) Blog are a request from a lady who isn't feeling very well - And has chemically induced dreams about me.  It's a welcome return for the crew of the Edward Teach


The flight back from Chandra Isle to Long-Pig station had been suprisingly quiet, they'd had to avoid some company interceptors that had been sent to investigate the explosion, but it seemed that the base had either not had time to get off an alarm, or had not wanted to for some reason.

The Intercomm buzzed,

'Captain, this is Torville, Dorys' bed hasn't been slept in.'

Dorys was one of her finest marauders, she hadn't had time to do a headcount in the drop-pod when they had bounced back to the ship as the base was exploding.

'Are you sure she's not just gone landside?'

'No, no-one can remember seeing her since we made way.'

'Right, get the crew back aboard, we're going after her!'

'But Ma'am?'

'Now, Mr Torville!'



'It's Dr When's birthday, he'll be celebrating.'

The Captain disconnected the Intercomm and performed a sliding face-palm, her first officer was known for his somewhat salacious personal life, finding him on Long-Pig was bad enough normally, but the chances were - he wouldn't want to be found.

'Frobisher?' She called, addressing the brass head in the corner of the room,

'Aye Ma'am?'

'Is When's locator functioning?'

'No Ma'am, it appears to be disconnected.'

'You mean turned off?'

Frobisher's immovable features still managed to look slightly embarrased.

'I don't suppose we can use the station's security cameras to locate the good Doctor can we?'

'I will try to connect.' The lights on his face cycled through the colours of the rainbow and settled on red, 'I'm afraid the security systems are significantly tighter than the last time.'

'Remind me why you're still connected Frobisher?'

'Ma'am, it's because the output from the old fusion engines that you insist on using fluctuates so rapidly that without me to correct the baffles, you would all die in a massive thermonuclear event.'

He was right, the engines were rated for a much smaller boat, that's why they had twice as many, but they were the only brass ones she could find, and they were beautifully engraved.

'I'm going landside,' She announced to the bridge-crew, 'If When comes aboard whilst I'm away, contact me immediately.'

The cries of 'Aye Ma'am!' were still ringing through the walkway as she reached the external door. Pressing the opening stud caused an alarm to sound and a recorded warning message to be played in Frobisher's voice,

'Danger, docking arm is currently located on the port side of the ship, attempting to open this door could cause personal injury or painful death. To reach the port docking area, please follow corridor A-24 to...'


'Warning, over-riding thi....'


'Acknowledged, opening starboard doors.'

The cargo doors opened with a squeal of protesting metal, she would skin the maintenance team alive when she got back aboard. She took a step back, breathed in deeply, and jumped through the still opening doors.


The ground was around two hundred feet below her, giving her about six seconds before she became an unpleasant greasy stain on the floor. She continued to fall in a graceful swandive until there was less than fifty feet between her and a sudden stop, she grabbed hold of the steel hawser that connected the Edward Teach to the ground and engaged the grip function of her power-gloves. As he slowed, she could see the upturned faces of the roustabouts below her. At ten feet, she disengaged the gloves, backflipped off the rope and landed, like a cat, on the deck.

She turned to the assembled men, gently blew the smoke from her palms and said,

'What? Have none of you swabs ever seen a lady get off a boat before?'

'Y... Y... You jumped!', said one of the dockworkers, a solid lump of off-green muscle. He pointed upwards, 'From up there!'

'Yes, yes I sort of did, didn't I? Anyway, have you seen my 1st Officer? Solid looking fellow, hair in a ponytail? Centauri accent?'

The assembled throng slowly shook their heads, or whetever they chose to keep their primary sensory organs in.

'He's in the Queen and Scorpion,' Said a tired voice from above, 'Behind the Governors building, follow the stream of tuppenny doxys, you can't miss it.'

'Thank you, Mr....?'

The wiry man perched on top of the tall pile of packing cases regarded her closely from under the brim of his hat , and replied,

'Preen, Criven Preen.'

'Thank you Mr Preen, a credit for your trouble.' She tossed a ten credit piece up towards him, he raised his hand, the coin stopped dead in the air and fell to the ground.

'No thanks required... Ma'am,' He pulled the brim of his hat down over his eyes and his posture made it clear that that was the end of the conversation. She gave him one last look, sighed, and set off for the bar.

Preen was right, it was easy to find, there was an almost constant stream of 'ladies of negotiable virtue' flowing in both directions, both towards and away from the establishment. The latter looking significantly more flushed than the former, although they also looked to have fuller purses.

Arriving at the main doors, a quick glance towards the sign above her confirmed the building's identity. It portrayed a buxom female wearing a tiara, presumably the titular queen, her armoured suit mostly torn away apart from a few choice pieces that protected her modesty. She was standing on top of a construct in the shape of a scorpion, whilst tearing one of its legs off with her teeth - A nod to some half remembered skirmish with the Spiders perhaps?

'Where you go?' A grey reptilian paw grabbed her shoulder.

She slowly looked up, and then looked up some more, and saw a face that could only be described as belonging to a lightly furred T-Rex with rotten teeth and a single, long eyebrow.

She pointed around him, as well as she could, 'In there?'

'Nope, men only, no little girl allow in there, you be in big trouble.'

The Captain, shuddering, plunged her hand into the Doorman's cloaca and squeezed. The reptile dropped to his knees and he started to cry, 'You go... go inside... no charge... please... let go... Try the... Veal... come... back soon...' She left the giant reptile rolling around on the floor and walked into the gloom.


'I got your When right here Bayb*urgh*' The stool caught the pruriant patron under the chin.

'When! Where are you, you stinking pile of kraken guts?'

'In there...' replied a familiar voice, 'Through the door marked Whore-Pits.'

'It seems that I owe you thanks again Mr Preen.'

With a deep bow, he disappeared back into the shadows. She turned towards the door, took another deep breath and turned the handle.

Even though she'd known When for many years, the sight of him naked, apart from some welding goggles and an odd pair of suspender socks, surrounded by over twenty women, in various states of undress, whilst what looked like a cross between a marmoset and a bagel played the harmonica in the corner was too much.

She unholstered her Sutter and Aitchinson Compression pistol and shot out the lights one by one.

The dischordant music stopped instantly and When turned towards the source of his interrupted reverie.

'Who the... Ah, Captain, I...' He tried to cover his shame with a sadly undersized one hundred credit note.

'Find your drawers, pay anyone who needs paying and get back to the ship, we've got a rescue to organise!'

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

You're not going to eat that, are you?

So, It's Mardis Gras!

Doesn't feel much like it to me, there's still snow on the ground, the sky's 50 different shades of grey, and no-one that I've exposed my chest to so far has given me any beads, maybe I should have shaved it?

It's much more like some kind of Shrove Tuesday, yeah, that fits better... Shrrroooooooove Tuuuuuuuuuesdaaaaaay! - How typically, boringly British.

Hmmm... How can I make, what is probably the most boring holiday of the year (other than in N'Orleans, obviously) even remotely interesting?

Nope... I got nothin'

We could do a bit of etymology I suppose, that's always good for a giggle *cough*

The 'Shrove' of Shrove Tuesday is the past tense of 'Shrive' which means, I believe, to confess, or to hear someone's confession - So, not only do you not get to eat any nice fatty, sugary food for the next forty days, you have to tell someone what a bad boy you've been first - Seriously? And they wonder why religious observance is on the decrease!

Mardis Gras is literally 'Fat Tuesday' in French, again all to do with the not eating of comfort food for the next six weeks or so. Which is decidedly un-French (I mean, they invented Foie Gras (Fat Liver), Creme Brulee AND collaborating with the Nazis)

The word Carnival (and in all honesty, I hadn't heard this before today) is believed, by some to come from the Italian phrase 'Carne Levare' meaning 'To remove the meat' (Stop giggling at the back) - again, all about giving stuff up for Lent.

There's another thing, I don't know if any of you know any observing Religionites, but I've noticed that very few of them actually give up traditional things for Lent, instead of not eating fatty foods (Unless they were planning to diet anyway) they'll often plump for (sorry, couldn't help myself) significantly easier things, like Sky Sports, chocolate biscuits, boiled sweets, beer (but not stout) or saying the word Brobdingnag in polite conversation.

Surely if you're going to re-create The Quadragesima, you should be out in the desert living off cactus and hamsters or it doesn't count? And what's all this about getting Sundays off? - It seems that Sundays aren't classified as your actual Lent anymore, which presumably why McDonalds tends to look suspiciously full on Sundays between Mid-February and April.

People just aren't as devout as they used to be are they?

Except the Fillipinos of course, I mean, they still crucify themselves on Good Friday - with nails and everything. Another place filed in the 'Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there' folder.

See you tomorrow kiddies, when I'll probably tell you how tasty my (made from scratch) pancakes were.

Monday, 11 February 2013

A bucket for Monsieur

I was sat in the pub with a very good friend of mine last night and something appeared on the TV in the bar that brought up the subject of 'Bucket Lists'.

A Bucket List, for those of you who've never heard the term, is a list of things that you'd like to do before you die. It usually comprises of things like 'Swim with dolphins' or 'Write the next Great, British novel' - Generally a list of things that are possible, but very unlikely.

Mine, as you can probably imagine, doesn't contain those things... It does however contain one that appears on a lot of people's lists, even though it's more of a wish than an activity. It's the 'trigger' that would enable many of the others to come to fruition, so I'll start with that one:

  • Win more than £100 million on the National Lottery. This one causes a bit of contention in the Dandy household, Mrs Dandy is a great believer in the idea of 'having enough' - She'd like to win the lottery, but just win enough to live comfortably and never have to worry about money ever again. Maybe just a couple of millions. I however would like to be so obscenely rich that it caused fish to spontaneously combust if they swam within 500 yards of me.

  • I want to own a house, with a private lake, that had a Captain Nemo themed, victorian cast-iron conservatory under it. So I could sit in a sunlounger, watching my killer whales swim by overhead.

  • Ah, yes, I want to own a breeding pair of killer whales (Maybe this should have been higher up the list.)

  • Over the years, I've developed quite a list of people I'd like to go for a beer with, these include, but are not limited to: Nathan Fillon, Sir Patrick Stewart, Kevin Smith, John Rezig, Robert Carlisle, Danny Trejo, Denis Leary, Hugh Jackman, Richard Dean Anderson, Jason Bradbury, Adrian Edmonson, Rufus Hound, Al Murray, Felicia Day, Peter Dinklage, Samuel L Jackson, Rob Brydon, Neil Patrick Harris, James May, Henry Rollins, Anthony Bourdain, Ron Perlman and obviously, Guy Martin - If any of you know, or indeed are, any of these people - feel free to get in touch. (You'll notice that there is only one young lady in that list, this is because I said 'go for a beer with' not 'Git jiggy wit' in a Hall Pass stylee.)

  • I want an 18th century pirate ship, and crew, with which I would sail around the pacific firing broadsides of chocolate and cream cakes at passing cruise-liners. I would call it the HMS Old Jamaica, and operate under a letter of Marque personally given to me by Bertie Bassett.

  • Have a fully working F302 (Google it) and use it as my day-to day transport.

  • Buy a brand new Lamborghini, in cash, from the dealership on a busy Saturday afternoon, then chainsaw it in half on the forecourt whilst dressed as Pennywise from Steven King's IT and laughing maniacally.

  • Build a branch of Domino's Pizza in my house.

  • Have a set of bespoke combination spanners made and tuned so that they played different notes when struck, I would then hang them in my twelve car, centrally heated and carpeted garage and have Sir Patrick Moore brought back from the grave holographically (Like Tupac) so that he could teach me to play the Imperial March on them.

  • I would buy a horse, a narwhal and a marabou stork and have a repatriated Nazi scientist combine them to make a unicorn pegasus, which I would then name Teal'c and train to stand on my F302 and act as a kind of 'lifeboat' in case I ever got into trouble whilst in the air. He would also have to be trained to say 'Indeeeed' and wear a space-helmet (presumably with some kind of hole for his horn).

  • Have a combat - ready AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, painted in the Louis Vuitton brown & gold luggage pattern and provide a vigilante traffic enforcement service, whereby I would blow up any car that seemed to be driven badly, by a chav, or pink...

  • And lastly, the thing I saw on the TV that fateful night, that started off this whole mad idea - I would like to render a midget unconcious with a single karate chop to the side of the neck. (Maybe Peter Dinklage could help?)

There are many other things that I have thought of that might one day make their way onto this list, but a lot of them will probably never happen, so I thought I'd just put down the ones that were most sensible and achievable.

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Barney Stinson of the animal world

So, following on (kinda) from yesterday's Blog - Bizarre animals and the suspect Gods that create them, I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about my most favourite of these weirdo, throwback, Friday afternoon type animals...

The Pangolin (whom I try not to challenge) specifically the Giant Pangolin of Central Africa.

If you've never heard of the Pangolin, you're not alone, they're not widely advertised, I don't think there have ever been any famous Pangolins. None have ever saved a burning bus, full of children from going over a precipice into the ocean as far as I'm aware.

They're just so Gorram odd!

Firstly, they're a scaled mammal, their scales are made of the same stuff as fingernails and hair (and therefore Rhino-horn - BooYah!), they're also sharp on the edges, and it rolls into a ball when threatened, kinda like a pinecone made of razor blades - Awesome!

Secondly, should you try to threaten a Pangolin and fail, because you are not awesome enough, it will excrete stuff from its butt that smells like skunk spray, but just happens to be acid - ACID? Who thought this up? - Doesn't matter - Awesome!

Thirdly, it walks on its fists, ON... ITS... FISTS... Because it is so hard! - And because its claws are so long and sharp that they make walking difficult - Again - Awesome!

Fourthly, it only eats ants, OK, so that's not so awesome, and it doesn't have any teeth and can't chew... however, it does have a tongue that's over a foot long and covered in glue - And if you don't think that's Awesome, well, obviously you need your head examining by an expensive professional!

It can be mistaken for a house eating alien monster from beyond the stars! In July of 2011, a small village in India saw a Pangolin crawling out of a building that had recently fallen down. Instantly, they decided that it was, and I quote, 'a dangerous and strange animal' and that the best thing they could do would be to tie it up and beat it to death with rocks. Then to prove their bravery, they hung it up (once it was safely dead) and beat it with shoes and then took its picture before cutting it down and dumping it for feral dogs to eat.

Nice... (Please note, this photo has forced perspective, the Pangolin is a lot smaller than it looks)

OK, maybe they do occasionally claw their way through the walls of insubstantially built houses looking for termites, but I mean, who among us can say that they've never done that after a night on the sauce?

Really? Just me then...

I've decided that, to honour this poor animal, I will make a humble Pangolin (whom I have dubbed Seedy) the official mascot of The Chimping Dandy - She will no doubt be gracing the huge range of Chimping Dandy merchandise that will, possibly, soon be available via mail order to selected clients at vastly inflated prices.

All hail the humble Pangolin!  Nature's razor sharp, demolition pinecone of doom!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Waiting for God-Oh!

Now, without wanting to get all metaphysical on your collective asses, I'm a firm believer in evolution. But, (Gods how I hate that word!) there are so many weird, wonderful, badly designed animals out there that there must have been an over-arching designer involved, probably on a Friday night, on the way home from the pub, in some celestial Kebab shop somewhere, and I like to think the conversation may have gone a little like this:


God1: Dude, nice work on that hoppity thing you did, with the long tail and all the (mimes foxy boxing) stuff!

God2: With the pouch?

God1: It's got a pouch? Where Man? What for?

God2: Totally on its stomach, It puts the babies in there, I put the boobs in there and everything.

God1: Wait, what? you put boobs in a pouch?

God2: Yeah... Awesome!

God1: Aww man, I spent ages on boobs, took me weeks to get the shape just right - (Mimes squeezing imaginary boobs) Honk-honk! shame to hide 'em really, they rock! - (to kebab shop owner ) Yeah mate, two tandoori chicken / shish mixed, loads of chili, no onion.

Kebab Shop Owner: Chicken? we don't got chicken my friend, what chicken anyway? ees kind of fish or somefink? Got plenny fish!

God1: *Paff* And on the eighth day, I did create tandoori chicken, and saw that it was good (Bucket of tandoori chicken appears in a cloud of Dogma)

God2: LOL! But, seriously man, I'm having, like, major trauma with my new project?

God1: What you workin' on Brah?

God2: Well, the kid wanted something cute, on the same island I did the hoppity boxing thing on, you know to kinda like balance out all the bitey snakes and spiders and stuff.

God1: Man, you and your fangs and your venom... You gotta remember to get rid of those things before we let those naked two-leggedy things loose, got a feeling they might wander about a bit. So what did you do?

God2: You remember that wombat thing you did? Where you mucked up the guts and it ended up taking it like, two weeks to eat anything?

God1: Yeah, I should totally look at that when we release the next set of updates.

God2: True Dat! So, I took that, streamlined it, made it semi-aquatic and gave it poison spurs.

God1: Poison?... Spurs?... You make a little furry thing, supposed to be cute, then give it poison spurs, You're sick dude, LOL! Totally off the hook!

God2: I know, right! Anywho, I give it to Iesu, and He just looks at me like I'm an idiot, shouts 'More Cute!' and goes back to making towers out of his Lego.

God1: Man! Kids today, don't know they're created... Whaddya gonna do?

God2: I'm, like, totally outta ideas, tried making it furrier, but the damn thing just sank to the bottom every time I put it in water, had to get my ressurection freak on a few times that day, I can tell you!

God1: Ha! I would have paid good sheckles to see that (Mimes drowning animal) Bloop-Bloop Help Me! I'm melting!... LOL! Have you tried mixing it with animals that can float?

God2: What, like cows?

God1: Man, cows don't float, I mean like ducks or something.

God2: I am totally giving that beeyatch wings!

God1: You want flying aquatic wombats stinkin' up the place? Nah, I mean, like, waterproof feathers or some shizzle like dat.

God2: Feathers? s'a mammal dude, it's got nipples and stuff, you can't do feathers on mammals, s'against the law or something, probably... 'Member we tried that with those flying mice things, with the fangs and the Scooby-Doo eek-eek-eek noises? We got that memo saying we had to put the fur back on before we released 'em.

God1: Yeah, I remember, those skin wings gave me the heebie jeebies, I made the big ones eat fruit though, just to mess with their heads!

God2: Way to stick it to the man!

God1: Yah! (The two Gods high-five) Why don't you give it a beak?

God2: A beak?

God1: Ducks have beaks, and they float... Maybe it's that that does it, I don't really unnerstan' it completely, I'm not technical at all.

God2: Yeah, that might just work dude, what if it layed eggs too? An internal floatation device, eggs float, right?

God1: Probably, you'd have to test it I guess, try it on the spikey anteater thing that was in the newsletter last week.

God2: Do they swim?

God1: Not very well, that's what'd make it a good test.

God2: Right! Yeah, oh-Oh! I know, I'll give it a big-ass tail too, flat like a beaver's

God1: Hahahahhahaahahahaaahhahaha!

God2: Whut?

God1: Hahahhahahahah *sob* HahaHahaahaHAHAHahAha!

God2: Seriously dude what? Don't make me smite you.

God1: *sniff* You said beaver!


So there you go, the complete story about how the Duck-Billed Platypus got it's singular good looks. Just as possible as any other explanation I think you'll agree?


He said Beaver!

(Dedicated to Maurice and Heinkel, my imaginary doorstops)


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Do you like boobs?

Afternoon Bloggerinos... after yesterday's tardiness, I thought I'd better get this beggar out on time - can't have the daily page hits dropping any more than they have already!


I was sat in the reading room of Dandy Towers this morning, you know, the one with the shower, handbasin and the porcelain seat with the hole in the middle? I was catching up on one of my most favourite websites in all the world - The Chive - For those of you who haven't seen it, it's one of those sites that collect photos from the Interweb, or user submissions, sorts them into themes and display them for your pleasure in easy to digest chunks.

The themes tend to be of the 'Scantily clad ladies from the front', 'Scantily clad ladies from the rear', 'How ingenuity pays off in the long run' and 'How awesome is that?' variety - Actually, I'm selling it short, I've never met anyone who's seen it that hasn't become instantly addicted. I'm reliably informed by the MiniDandy that there's a girls version, with shoes and cake and topless men on it... It's called The Berry. (They also do a lot of great work for charity - And it's run by John Rezig, the guy who played Deputy Kevin Ellis in True Blood - What's not to like?)

Take a moment to go and look at these places now, I don't mind...

OK, everyone back? - That took longer than I expected, never leave me again, I was worried!

Right, so, I was looking at a thread called Daily Afternoon Randomness (Which all the cool kids call The DAR) and I came across a new (possibly made up) word - I'd like to teach it to you, because I feel I'm not just here to entertain - I like to be educational too...

SonderThe realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own — populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness — an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

Sonder... Try and work it into a conversation today, it'll make you sound sexy, like me.

Now, that made me think, that maybe it's not just me after all - I really hope it's not, because it would mean that I'm a rampaging megalomaniac - But, when I look at people passing by I've sometimes thought, 'Those people's lives can't be anywhere near as complicated as mine - I mean, if everyone's was there'd be people exploding left, right and centre with the stress!'

For that word, made up or not, to exist - There must be other people who feel like that on a more or less regular basis.

Yeah, not just me... That's a real comfort.

I am though, as most of you know, what a lot of people might call 'a wind-up merchant'. I often say and do things purely for the devilment value, people getting red-face and foaming at the mouth are my Veuve Clicquot and souffleed wombat. All this Sonder business reminded me of a heated discussion I once had with one of my Sister-in-Laws (both of whom I love, sororally, very much).

We were sat in a little lego house in Luton (Bedfordshire, UK) in the mid to late 90's, it was the early hours of Saturday morning, we had all had waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much to drink and were talking rubbish. I think the topic had moved through several subjects... Freemasonry, Eugenics, Religion, Politics, Jingoism, Immigration, The National Health Service - You know, the stuff you really shouldn't talk about if you are opinionated, or drunk, or both.

I can't remember much of the actual details if I'm being completely honest, although I do have a vague vision of my Sister-in-law, pointing at me across the table and saying:

'So, let me get this straight... You honestly believe that you're the only person who actually exists, and we're figments of your imagination, just here to make your life interesting?'


'That's the most stupid thing I've ever heard!'

'I doubt that..'

'There's no way you could possibly think that was true!'

'I do,'

'But I've got my own thoughts, I live my own life.'

'Nope, you only think you do, it makes you seem more believable, therefore more entertaining to me.'

Then she exploded!*

I seem to remember that it was around this time that Mrs Dandy decided it would be better if we all got some sleep, which on the whole was probably the right move.

I wish I'd thought at the time to note that idea down, I could have written a screen-play, called it 'The solid matter in which a fossil or crystal is embedded' or 'A specific rectangular array of numbers or algebraic quantities subject to mathematical operations'

Note to self: Really need to work on my screenplay titles, need to be shorter and snappier.

Anywho, enjoy the rest of your day, browse The Chive / The Berry and K.C.C.O. Dudes!

*Katie, if my brother is reading this to you, whilst you sit by the pool, in your villa, in the Mediterranean sunshine, I'd say that you were probably right, I was wrong. And sorry for being a complete Knobhead.