Friday, 31 October 2014

Probably a Mutoscope

Well, it's Halloween, or Samhain, whichever you prefer; which makes it the perfect time for a short story.

Hope you like it.


When it came, the blow was brutal. It cut across the side of her head and the world just seemed to stop. Well, no, that's not quite right, it didn’t exactly stop; she could see the pearls of blood… Her blood, hit his sneering face, exploding in slow motion into delicate scarlet flowers that spread in a line across his cheek.  She didn’t feel any pain, there was just a burning sensation, but more like the feeling you get from touching a block of ice.  No pain, not really.  The strength faded from her legs and she started to topple backward, she felt the numb ‘pins and needles’ spreading down from the small of her back to her knees and smiled.

Richard had always thought she was odd, for enjoying the tingling feeling that restriction of the blood-flow sometimes brought.  In fact that’s why he left; he came into the shop one lunchtime to find her in the stockroom with the wire bound tightly around her wrist. Her fingers were swollen and purple, the veins standing out on the back of her hand like vines on some great jungle tree.  She hadn’t realised he was there until he spat the word, ‘Pervert!’ at her and slammed the door behind him.  By the time she’d composed herself and got back to the flat, he’d gone.  By the look of things he’d just shovelled his few belongings into a bag and left his key on the bedside table never to be seen again. It was no great loss.
She was still falling.  Her head snapped forward as she clipped the cabinet behind her and sent the credit card machine flying through the air. ‘Damn!’ She thought absently to herself, as it spun towards the floor, ‘That’s rented; it’ll cost a fortune to replace if it smashes.’ She saw the man that had hit her, his eyes wide and shining wetly, his cruel mouth lolling open like a panting dog’s.  He had dropped the baseball bat, but it had not yet landed on the counter, along its length, as it twisted in the air, she could see the glitter of metal sunk into the wood.  ‘Razor blades? No, can you even buy razor blades anymore? Stanley knife? Yes, they’re probably Stanley knife blades.  You’d have thought the bat would be enough, but then what do I know about current weapon fashions in the smash and grab industry?’ 

In time with her weakening pulse, her vision began to fade, the colours went first to make it look as if she were trapped in some terrible black and white film. Then the details started to blur, and the darkness began to seep in from the edges, constricting her field of view even more. It looked like an old-time silent picture now, the type where someone would be playing a piano in the theatre and every few seconds a card would appear explaining what was happening on the screen.

Her father had shown her a machine once whilst they were on holiday, where you put an old penny into a slot in the side and then wound the handle whilst looking through a lens.  Its real name was something odd, she remembered, but she couldn’t remember exactly what it was.  He called it a ‘What the Butler saw.’ But she didn’t really understand why, unless the butlers of the time often saw a set of dusty old postcards clicking past one after another.  Ornate white letters swam in front of her eyes, ‘Kally has been hit by a bat and is probably going to die!!!’ Her heart sank, from what little she remembered, three exclamation marks was never a good sign.

The man was grabbing jewellery from the case now; he used both hands as if he was starving and the diamonds were plates of gravy and potatoes.  Christ, she was hungry – She should have grabbed a sandwich from that shop next to the Tube station, but they’d only had egg, she didn’t really feel like egg, she was in a tuna mood.  She was going to die on an empty stomach, could this get any worse?

Her head continued to slide down the front of the cupboard, the muscles in the back of her neck getting tighter and tighter until she felt something tear and she heard a crack, ‘Owww! That hurt!’ She yelled, the words echoing around her head but somehow unable to escape through her lips.

Then it suddenly didn’t hurt any more.

And there was nothing to see.

And there was nothing to hear.

And as her last breath left her body, her nose was filled with the scent of her father’s aftershave. She’d not smelled it for years, not since she’d taken over the shop after he’d died.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Carry me back, baby, where I come from.

Well yes, as Messers Page & Plant might say, 'It's been a long time' (See what I did there?)

But what's been a long time?

It's been a long time (been a long time, been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time) since we've had a 'State of the Dandy Nation' speech.

So, what's happened in the last... Erm... four months maybe?

I'll start with the top ten posts ever. There are a few changes, certainly, but the most noticable thing is that there's a joint number one - Two posts have had exactly the same number of views as each other - Which is so unlikely that it's prompted me to have a go on the lottery this weekend.  (I'm not going to be giving it the whole Smashie & Nicey 'And straight in at number 10' business because I haven't been keeping track of the movement - Yes, this is bad, and I feel bad.)


10 - Our least best post, if that makes sense, is: And then I killed Bobby Davro - The story of a trip I took to one of our great country's theme parks.  Where there was screaming, rending, and the enforced fighting (probably to the death) between two innocent wild animals.

9 - A NSFW Tweet about a time in my life when I used to see live bands on a regular basis, this particular live band were pretty much all naked, and performed repeated coitus with a member of the crowd - \m/ Rockbitch are so NSFW that it's not even funny \m/

8 - Now, this one's deeply personal to me, which I why I shared it with a thousand people who I don't know on The Internet.  It's the story of my Father's death from Cancer.  It doesn't contain many belly laughs, but I've received a few messages to say it's helped people in similar situations, which is nice - Today, my Dad died

7 - You leave me bent and broken by the roadside - The story of the final days of the MK I Dandymobile. And it's repeated, abortive, trips to the car spares shop.

6 - This post is my finest moment, it is because of this that I realised that I'd become one of the true Twitterati, a God amongst men, a harvestman scything my way through a field, reeling in the sheaves of my devoted followers (Oh, and it also got re-tweeted by Rufus Hound and favourited by Al Murray, so I win the Internet, Ner!) - Pogonophilia is for everyone, even the young

5 - Oh blimey, more Death... I guess I'm just of that age where people I know are shuffling off this mortal coil with increasing regularity. - Sabian, the Token Yank - Describes my relationship with one of the nicest colonials anyone could ever possibly hope to meet, except you can't... Because, you know, he's no longer with us.  Holds the record for the most comments from people I don't strictly know, including his family.

4 - Learn to govern yourself, be gentle and patient - Is a 'Steampunked' description, of the workings of the very real Brookwood Cemetery, and British Funerary custom in the 19th Century (The title is a lyric from the glorious The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing's song 'Etiquette' - Which you should all rush off and listen to immediately.)

3 - I still don't get this one, - No, it is not a 'Slow News Day' - This particular post is very similar to this particular post... No, hang on, I mean that it's just the same as the post you're reading now.  It's a 'State of the Dandy Nation post' from September 2013.  You guys are seriously weird.

=1- The first of out two top posts, with more than a hundred more views than any other (Except the one below, obvs) is - You get me closer to God - Which is a no-holds-barred, blow-by-blow account of the events leading up to, and including, then entry of my Son, The MicroDandy, into the Kingdom of God via the medium of Baptism - If you're hugely fundamentalist, you might not want to read this, it does poke a little bit of fun at Mother Church, and the people who only go there once a year.

=1- The second of our first place entries is about Facebook, especially the people who blindly share sob-stories without checking their facts.  You know, those people who send you things with pictures of fly-covered children who will get a life-saving operation if the post gets 100,000 likes - There's one born every minute - Got a comment on this one from an irate, but anonymous American, which is worth a read on its own - He was very angry, I think he needs to eat less protein.

So, if you want a quick introduction to the sort of piffle I write, you could do worse than taking a look at those (Bear in mind that those are the best as voted for by you, the public, and you're notoriously fickle.)


We now come to the ever-popular 'What have people Googled to find the blog?' section... Depressingly, not as much as usual - I'm putting this down to more of my adoring fans bookmarking me, but popular search terms in the last quarter have included:

Dzit Dit Gaii - Which managed to find my post about Denver International Airport

Tiswas David McKellar - This pointed the seacher towards my review of the 40th anniversary party for TISWAS in Birmingham which I was honoured enough to attend.


As far as hits on the blog goes, in the previous quarter, we had 6,066, bringing our total up to 40,331 at the last count.

Which, as I'm not pretty, don't get my boobs out, don't advertise, don't provide a cogent service of any kind and am just really a fat, bald, bloke who's only just on the right side of 50, isn't that bad.

Nope, not bad at all.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

I feel that your hat-band may be slightly too tight.

It can't have escaped your notice, especially if you've read this blog on anything even approaching a semi-regular basis, that I write.

So far, I've written six books, four of those are finished and three are published, you can buy them on Amazon with real money and everything.  You should definitely buy some or all of them, they'll make you laugh heartily, at me, probably even out loud.  But enough of this ceaseless advertising - To the point in hand.

I've just posted something on Facebook, in reply to something that someone else, who I don't really know, posted. It was about a situation that this chap had found himself in that had caused him some confusion and discomfort.  It seems that someone had told him what could and couldn't be described as 'Steampunk'

I'm guessing that you've encountered Steampunk, especially if you've been on the Internet some time in the past few years.  As far as I'm concerned, it's a genre that's based on a Victorian style world where technology has moved on, but the facial hair hasn't.  That didn't realy describe it very well, did it? It's stuff like this:

This is G.D. Falksen, the stern God of Steampunks

And this:

This is Kato, she's the beautiful Goddess (and Welsh, which is lovely, Bach)

Everyone travels by Jules Verne style airship:

Random airship via Google

And there are an awful lot of top hats, goggles, brown leather and cogs all over everything.  I dabble in steampunkery to an extent, there are a lot of airships in my next novel. The Heroine of The Windspider Chronicles wears a brown leather jacket, but she's a sky-pirate, so she's allowed to.  I know people who daily dress the part as a matter of course, and whilst I don't have the financial liquidity, technical skill or wardrobe capacity to be as splendid as they are, I wouldn't mind giving it a go.

So, going off topic slightly there, back to the subject... This fellow was told, by a couple of people who are supposedly 'in the know', that for a story to be 'Steampunk' it MUST contain some anti-establishment social commentary.


I MUST include a chinless toff called Rupert who carries his Father's sword but has no idea how to swing it because the upper classes are all useless, spineless weaklings who are only fit to act as a transport system for excess moustache wax?

I MUST include a salt-of-the-earth engineering type whose parents only met that one time; but saves the day when the main gas-bag is holed by a lucky shot from a genetically-engineered hedgehog with a steam-powered rocket launcher?

I MUST include a simpering female of some sort who rails against the gender role that her father gave her but still couldn't pass the Bechdel test with a following wind and a team of Sherpas?

I'll be buggered sideways by a rabid Dutchman before I'll sit there and be told what MUST be included in a story to make it true to the genre.

I'll write what I want, thank you very much.  It'll be written with a sense of humour and it'll be original (Well, all the bits that I've not unthinkingly plagiurised will be at least).  More importantly, the stuff you write should be attacked in exactly the same way.  Write something you'd like to read; if you think it needs more cogs, sprinkle a few liberally about the place.  If you can see brown leather as far as the eye can see, then clad everything in your imagination with coffee-coloured-cowskin.

You want erotica? Write some erotica.  You want procedural piracy? Then put on your descriptive tricorn hat and have at it.

But most of all have fun, if you enjoy writing it, then there's a damn good chance someone else out there is going to enjoy reading it.

And who knows, they might even pay you for the privilege - Which is always a good thing.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Can you imagine?

Can you imagine what it's like to suffer with a disease that doesn't exist?

I don't mean things like 'The Red Death' or 'The T-Virus', I mean a real, honest to goodness disease that infects people who live in the real word.

I only heard about it last night whilst I was on the way home, it was on the Radio 4 program 'The Museum of Curiosities' Which avid readers will know that I have spoken of before. (There was all that kerfuffle about dead bodies and seeping juices, remember?) - The journalist / Writer Will Storr managed to freak me out with his gifting of Morgellons, a condition that he wrote about in a Guardian article back in 2011, to the virtual museum. Unfortunately, I pulled up in the west parking structure of Dandy Towers just as he was starting his description.  He'd said just enough to whet my appetite as Heckmondswycke, my trusty manservant, opened the door of the MkII Dandymobile and presented me with my ironed Radio Times and a delicate china cup of steaming-hot weasel tea. 

Now, if like me you've never heard of this condition before, let's do as we do traditionally and see what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

Morgellons (also called Morgellons disease or Morgellons syndrome) is a condition whose sufferers have the delusional belief that they are infested with disease-causing agents described as things like insects, parasites, hairs or fibers, but in reality no such things are present.[1]
Sufferers may exhibit a range of cutaneous symptoms such as crawling, biting, and stinging sensations (formication), unusual fibers in the skin, and persistent skin lesions (e.g., rashes or sores). These symptoms have been identified by a range of medical experts[2] including dermatologists,[3] entomologists,[4] and psychiatrists,[5] as consistent with delusional parasitosis (DP or DOP).[1] Some cases of self-diagnosed Morgellons have been more accurately diagnosed as known skin disorders.[3]

Ewww, right?

But did you see how early on in the description they got in the world 'delusional'? It was the sixteenth word they used!  You can tell that the writer of that particular article didn't hold much stock in the reality of the syndrome... Love that word... Syndrome, syndrome, syndrome... Sssssssyyynnndroooommeee!


Anywho, so these poor people have an itch and they believe that it's down to foreign 'things' buried in their skin.  Now, I'm the first person to admit that itches are a bitch.  We all get them, I've got one now in fact, but then I'm eating day old Doritos and a bit's gone down the front of my shirt. And apart from the whole 'Having to wait until you're not in polite company to scratch the really interesting ones' thing, they're usually more of a nuisance than anything else.  But imagine an itch that, as our colourful colonial cousins mught say "jus' won' quit!"

It'd drive you mental wouldn't it? And that does seem to apply to some of the people who have self-diagnosed themselves with Morgellons (Because a healthcare professional, one with diplomas and stuff hanging on their office wall, won't diagnose you with Morgellons - You'd be more likely to walk out of their office with a piece of paper that says 'Caution: This person has the galloping vapours' stapled to your forehead.) Is this right and fair though? Just because medical science can't prove something is real, does that mean it's not real?  I don't know, because I'm just an idiot who writes things that sometimes make you think, not a doctor, 

It's at this point that I'd normally stick in a few pictures that would show the sort of damage that an imaginary disease can do to you - But I'm not going to, because 99% of the pictures that come up when you Google 'Morgellons' are enough to put you off eating for life, so go ahead and do it yourself if you really want to, but I really wouldn't. I'll just say that some of these people have scratched themselves... A lot, for quite a long time.

One of the oddest things that I've read about it is that one of the main symptoms, apart from the itching that is, is that 'whatever' is under the skin exhudes fibres that look more than a little bit like the fibres you might find in things like clothing - Which I can imagine is difficult to explain when you're trying to get someone to take you seriously.

Patient: I have an excrutiating itch, I think it's caused by parasites under my skin that excrete these curly fibres.

Doctor: [Examines fibres] These fibres?

Patient: Yes

Doctor: But these are the normal type of fibres you get from clothes and pollution and stuff, I know this because I got the CSI boxset for Christmas.

Patient: No, they are the feaces of invisible bugs that live beneath my skin.

There have also been reports that say that these fibres cannot be burned or even melted by extreme heat (Although there are as many reports that say they behave exactly like the more mundane clothing fibres - Which doesn't really help the cause I guess)

You can see the Doctor's predicament though can't you? It's a bit of a grey area really.  But for the people who suffer with it, it's completely debilitating.  It has caused many of them to abandon their chosen careers and has provoked changes in their behaviour to stop them spreading the disease.

Ah yes, did I mention it was contagious?  If you were to find yourself in a confined space with a sufferer, the chances are that you will start to itch yourself.  In fact, I would lay money on the fact that since reading this post, you have started to itch.

Maybe your shoulder-blade, or your forehead just below your hairline, or possibly the crook of your elbow or the small of your back,  But somewhere, and it's not that usual itch is it? it's slightly stronger than normal... Just a little bit more sharp, and when you scratch it instantly moves.  Is it in your hair now?

Good Gods! They're in your hair! Scratch them out now!

(If you did actually start itching, the chances are that you've not contracted Morgellons, it's something called a contagious itch, it's similar to that yawning thing that happens, you know where you yawn when you see someone else yawn?)

If you did feel an itch it means two things:

1) You're a compassionate type of person, because they tend to be effected by these contagious behaviour things.

2) I'm a bit of a dick, sorry about that.

If it's any consolation, my beard is now itching like a bitch!

Monday, 20 October 2014

He grabbed my arm, but not as hard as Michael Parkinson

On Saturday the 5th of January 1974 a strange thing happened.  From a small cupboard in the studio that had previously bought the world Crossroads, two men tried desperately, and often failed, to do continuity between all of the normal Saturday morning selection of kids cartoons and suchlike - it was never meant to be much of anything (And there are some that'd say that that's exactly what happened) But the six-year-old Dandy was a devoted fan even if his parents weren't.

The men were Mr John Asher and a certain Mr Christopher John 'Old Strawhead' Tarrant (OBE, but not at the time) and the show was TISWAS.

Now you've all heard of TISWAS, well you will have done if you're based in the UK and happen to be of a 'certain age'.  For those of you who haven't, go and have a look on YouTube. What started as a mostly improvised bit of experimental segue-ing turned, over the next eight years into a world-beating, childhood-transforming, new-star-making slice of television that was to be the template for pretty much every 'anarchic' kids TV program that came after it. (OK, the last series was a bit pants, but that was why it was the last series I'm guessing)

Without TISWAS there'd literally be no SM:TV or Dick n' Dom - And I leave it to you guys to decide whether the world would have been a better place if that had happened.

It introduced the younger generation to more 'traditionally mature' performers like Frank Carson, Norman Collier and... Erm... Bernard Manning?

And, it launched the career of recent (at the time) New-Faces winner Lenworth 'Lenny' Henry. Who, along with his parody of newsreader Trevor MacDonald (the brilliant Trevor MacDoughnut) managed to sail his way through segments that would be considered almost illegally racist today with backdrops of african scenery including a native dwelling bearing a sign 'This is a mud hut' - It was a simpler time, before political correctness and the Belgians stamping all over everthing that makes Britain great.

There was also a pre-Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy - Still called Sylveste at this time in his career.

It's at about this point, you should be thinking to yourselves "But why is he going on about a kids program that was cancelled before most of us were born?"

Well, I'll tell you.

Yesterday, (or the 19th of October 2014 - If you're not reading this today (which is the 20th October 2014)) there was an event held in Birmingham to celebrate the 40th Birthday of TISWAS, and I was lucky enough to blag a ticket.  It was organised, as I understand it, by the great minds behind the two major TISWAS groups on Facebook TISWAS Online and TISWAS and Saturday Mornings on ITV, and it took place in the upstairs room of the Apres Bar in Summer Row (Which is a cracking venue for this type of thing as both the gents and ladies toilets open onto the dance floor, handy for filling buckets of water)

Here's a picture of us all trying to figure out how stairs work
(C) TISWAS Online
Should you know the true identity of your humble blogger, you will have no difficult in picking him out by his lovely lumberjack shirt and the shine coming from the top of his head.

So, what was it like?

Well, it was hot... So hot in fact that I spent most of my time out on the terrace with the filthy smokers (Which in fairness are exactly the sort of people that TISWAS should be attracting).  And everyone started off being very reserved.  John Gorman was there when we arrived.

John Gorman and 'A Fan'

And we had a couple of beers - To keep up with the 70's theme, the bar sold Tuborg Lager, that took me straight back to the days where waking up in a ditch with the taste of stagnant water and jubblies in my mouth was a common occurance.  We missed the entrance of Bob Carolgees, Chris Tarrant and Sally James as we were taking in the bracing Birminghamshire air on the verandah busily trying to be too cool for school.  But we heard the cheers, and they really were deafening, there were a lot of card carrying superfans there, for some of them it was the third or even fourth time that they'd crawled of of their parents basement and blinked into the bright sunlight. (This is not true, 99% of the people there were great, friendly people who were as normal as you or I, the organisers had seen to that.)

(Well, you anyway.)


There were some unexpected faces there too...

From Left to right: An unconfirmed shoulder, Lee Bannister, Ian 'Sludge' Lees, Rebecca Drury (Professional Compost Corner flower and partner of...) Matt Lewis (The little fellah that sang 'Bright-Eyes' dressed as a rabbit, who is now a fireman I think someone said), Chris Tarrant, Bob Carolgees, Sally James, John Gorman and Den Hegarty.

Some more beer was drunk (as I was being detained at British Rail's pleasure, so it seemed only right.) and the flanning started.  Now, if you're a 'flan' virgin, it's effectively the same as that comedy staple, the custard pie, or just a paper plate covered in eye-stinging-to-the-point-of-blindness shaving foam which caused a lot of people to spend the rest of the day looking like this:

My good friend and fish inquisitor @jamaallamaa
You'd have thought this was about as low as things could get?  Well no... Not really.  We were treated to fan renditions of popular TISWAS staples, The Dying Fly (A dance where you lie on the floor and wave your extremities in the air), and The Bucket of Water Song (Where you get wet, very, very, wet) and after another pint or so, it was time to wobble my way back to the half-complete New Street Station to stare in confusion at the Departure boards until one of the Rail staff helped me to my train.

It was a great day, one that I'll remember for a long, long time... Unless I go to near one of those magnets that you get at a scrapyard, then the plate in my head goes hot and I have to re-learn the words to 'Grandma we love you' all over again.

Thanks to the organisers for giving me the opportunity of getting innapropriately close to Sally James and for being able to tell Den Hegarty that he used to scare the poop out of me when I was a kid. (I also had a chat with David McKellar about who used to forget their lines most often.)

These were some of the reprobates that enabled my tomfoolery:

Marc Neun, Pete Thomas, Toby Riding & a couple of other people
If you see them in the street, you should shower them with money, flowers and assorted luxury food items (But be careful because at least one of them is a vegetarian)

P.S. Hastogs, the people who produce all the Chimping Dandy merch also produced all the commemorative T-Shirts for the day

P.P.S. The title of today's post is just something I over-heard from one of the other 'Guests'... Or at least I'm fairly sure that's what she said...

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Для чудових людей України

Перш за все, я можу тільки сказати спасибі за підтримку 'The Chimping Dandy'
так довго. Ви натхнення.

Насправді, ви натхненням для цієї посади. Мені просто цікаво, чому ви б читати відро для блог про випадкових речей, які часто не роблять дуже багато сенсу?

(Я, ймовірно, слід вибачитися і отримаєте мого жахливого українською, все це було переведено 'Google Translate'. Англійська мова є єдиною мовою я вільно говорити, з можливо трохи французька, німецька, іспанська та Клінгонською.)

Так що я б дуже вдячний, якби ви могли залишити коментар, просто дайте мені знати, що тримає вас, хлопці повертаються. Може бути, я міг би зробити більше?

У страшній українському можливо?

Або, можливо, ні.

Звичайно, є ймовірність того, що ви є носієм англійської мови просто жити в Україні, і це добре теж. Але питання досі стоїть, з якого дива ви читаєте цю впертий сміття?

Спасибі за читання. Я дійсно був би вдячний, якби Ви відповісти.


OK, for those of you who aren't as fluent in Ukranian as I am, the title of this blog is: 

'To the wonderful people of the Ukraine'

And the body of the text reads:

First of all, can I just say thank you for supporting The Chimping Dandy for so long.  You're an inspiration.

In fact, you're the inspiration for this post.  I just wondered why you would read a rubbish blog about random things that often don't make very much sense?

(I should probably apologise now for my terrible Ukranian, it was all translated by Google Translate.  English is the only language I speak fluently, with maybe a little bit of French, German, Spanish and Klingon.)

So I would really appreciate it if you could leave a comment, just to let me know what keeps you guys coming back.  Maybe I could do more of it?

In terrible Ukranian perhaps?

Or perhaps not.

Of course, there is a possibility that you are a native English speaker just living in the Ukraine, which is good too.  But the question still stands, why on Earth would you read this opinionated rubbish?

Thanks for reading.  I really would appreciate it if you would reply.


Maybe we'll find out why the Blog is so popular in The Ukraine - If it's as fruitful as when I asked why we were getting so many hits from Russia, we'll never know, because precisely nobody replied to my queries then.  Are people in The Ukraine known for being more chatty?

Maybe it's the same person?

Maybe they were in Russia, but are now in The Ukraine? - Ah... If that's the case... I wonder?

Maybe I've put my foot in it with the Security Services again?

But even if I have, I've learned that the Ukranian word for 'Klingon' is 'клінгонов'... Which is brilliant. Not that I can pronounce it of course.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

It never Raines...

The title of today's blog will make a lot more sense if you:

a) Read it in Christopher Eccleston's voice
b) Have seen the 2000 'reboot' of Gone in Sixty Seconds

Anywho, it's been a bit of a full day today, lots has gotten done, some of which I've even been paid to do... Which is a turn-up for the books, all things considered.


The main thing that's happened though is that my third book 'The Collected Children's Pangolin Primer' is finally available in paperback from Amazon UK.  Don't get me wrong, the Kindle version's been out for weeks (which you can buy for the princely sum of 77p or $1.25 if you are deeply geographically challenged) but due to some flim-flam, or possibly jiggery-pokery, the actual pyhsical book has been as rare as Marmite flavour trifle.

But that is all fixed now, you can buy as many copies as your heart desires! Buy one completely selfishly for yourself. Buy one for yourself and one for your loved one - so that you don't have to keep saying 'What're you laughing at?' every five minutes.  Buy one for your child as a massive cautionary tale.  Buy four and use them to level that table from IKEA that you put together really badly.

Doesn't matter why you buy one, just buy one, or some, or many - I won't mind, I'll positively encourage it in fact.  If you send it to me (or bump into me whilst I'm in the Wild, or at one of my many appearances at Southcart Books in Walsall)  I'll write in it for you, maybe even doodle, or just sign it so as it's worth a few more pence on eBay.

This is what it looks like:

Yes, that's the Micro-Dandy and his fabulous performing teeth

Get in on the ground floor, reserve your copy now.  Beat the rush!


And the other massively huge thing that happened today?

Well, why don't you see if you can guess (Although you'll never get it in a month of Sundays)

What? No, my head isn't flat enough for that to be practical.
Cheese? No, why would I do that with cheese?
There aren't enough badgers on the planet to pull that idea off, but I'll file the idea away for the future!

You guys are rubbish guessers!

I'll tell you, We had our first reader from the small island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

None the wiser?  Here's a map:

The Red thing on the right is Réunion, the bit of land on the left is East Africa

A tiny place, in the middle of an awful lot of water, which is technically part of Europe, where one confused chap (or chapess) stared at their computer screen and thought, 'qu'est-ce que je lis?'

Whilst we're on the subject, if you look at the top-centre of the map, you'll see the island of Comoros... See it?  That's where Long-Pig Station from the Windspider stories will be built (well, in about 500 years time it will at least).


And that's it for today,  Remember to buy the book, read it, lend it to other people to read, and then... Most important of all...

Please leave a review on Amazon, or Goodreads, or erm... Well, just on one of those places actually. Authors live and die on the reviews you people write - There is nothing more important.

See you soom Kiddies, and Mr/Mizz Réunion person? 'Merci, s'il vous plaît venez à nouveau.'

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

So, Gay Marriage… What’s that all about?

I’ve talked about people who enjoy the close company of other people of the same or similar gender before.  I remember discussing their traditional love of musical theatre, their almost superhuman ability to match superfluous, but to the untrained eye wildly different, sofa cushions, and also their general flamboyance.  Which is something I wholeheartedly agree with, if you’re gonna do something, you may as well do it fabulously!

But these tropes are only usually applied to gay people who have ‘outie’ reproductive organs.  What about those with ‘innies’?

Well, I’ll be the first person to admit that I have more experience with gay men than I have with gay women or [Whisper] Lesbians [/Whisper] as some like to be called. (I’ll tell you what, let’s get the jokes out of the way first, OK?)

Haha! I bet you have!
I can lend you a DVD if you like!
Experience? With gay men? Woooo! – you complete bender!

And so on…

But this is odd when you stop to think about it, because my niece is ‘one of them’ and in a few days she will be getting married to her female life partner (or they might be being ‘civil partnered’ I don’t know I’m not au fait with all the ins and outs of the process – All I know is that I’m probably going to have to dress up and not drink anywhere near enough at the reception because: driving, just like I would at anyone else’s wedding)

And that’s the thing you see – the thing that gets me, is that when you think about it there’s no real difference between ‘Same-sex marriage and Different-sex marriage… Apart from the details of what happens on the wedding night that is, possibly.  Again, no first-hand experience, so I’m not qualified to judge.  Keen readers will have noticed that I didn’t say Normal marriage either, because, like, I used to own an owl, so my idea of ‘normal’ is different from most people’s.

What I’m trying to say, in an ugly and, on-the-surface completely uninformed way, is that in my opinion, the union of two people who care deeply about each other is a marriage.  It shouldn’t confer any more or any less rights and responsibilities on anyone depending on the race, creed, gender, level of disability or even species of all the spouses.

Yes, you heard me right… As long as the haddock loves you and you love the haddock, they why not? (My more vanilla readers might wonder how the haddock can give its consent to such a union, but when a haddock really loves you, you just ‘know’ OK? It’s in the eyes…) It makes no difference to me, or you, or that guy behind you trying to read over your shoulder (He’s gone now, don’t worry, although he did look a bit shifty and I couldn’t really see what he was doing with his hands.)

There’s a quote you see sometimes on the Internet, often attributed to the Writer and Comedian Liz Feldman (as it is in the example below – I’ve asked her if she ever actually said it, and if she replies, I’ll let you know)

In case you have a smartphone with a tiny screen, it says, “It’s very dear to me, the issue of Gay Marriage. Or, as I like to call it: ‘Marriage.’  You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not Gay Lunch. I parked my car; I didn’t Gay Park it.”

And that sums it all up pretty well actually, there are people out there who’ve done the almost impossible, they’ve found the one someone out of just over seven billion, that they want to (initially at least, at this specific point in time) spend the rest of their life with in some kind of fulfilling relationship.   What business is it of yours or mine?  When it gets down to it – What difference will them letting the world how much they love each other make to you, or me?

Let me give you a hint… The answer’s none, despite what googly-eyed maddists will say it won’t bring down some random God’s wrath, it won’t cause floods or hurricanes, or confuse children, or infect the heterosexual majority and lead to record-shops selling out of KD Lang and Liza Minnelli.  It won’t lead to a global outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases, we won’t all get AIDS (Remember AIDS? It was like ‘terrorists’, but in the 90’s)

I’m incredibly proud of my niece and her partner; To be completely honest, I’m slightly more proud of them than I would be if my nephew was getting married to a female partner, because they’re doing something, out of choice, that’s difficult.

Something that really, really shouldn’t be.


P.S. My pride in them has nothing to do with the fact that I find it hugely funny that my father-in-law’s religion requires him to be staunchly anti-homosexual . He’s not homophobic, he doesn’t fear them in the slightest, he just treats them as Godless abominations… And he has no idea why, other than some guy, writing a book of rules to keep the populace in their place some time ago said that that’s how he should think.

Well, maybe just a little bit.



OK, so, remember how I said that I'd asked Liz Feldman if she'd actually ever said that quote? - Well, she didn't answer the question, but she did do this....

I can live with that I guess...