Tuesday, 20 December 2016

State of the nation 2016

You know when you're stuck in a rut? - When the tidal wave of fame that self-publishing a new book brings fades into the general background radiation of the Yuletide holidays.

(Christmas book-launches only seem to make sense if you have an unlimited advertising budget... Or indeed any advertising budget at all. Because people tend to spend their money on StayPlations and Microsfot Eggsboxes for their jammy-faced, unappreciative kids who'll be parents themselves by the time they're 15 - And don't give a second-hand fig about you. Because books are boring and old-fashioned and someone who gives a book for Christmas is second only to the Aunt who smells of urine and buys you socks or pants every year from the Pound-shop in the crappy relative stakes.)

But I digress... I was talking to someone today about my book.  I kept correcting her by adding a sibilant 'Ss' every time she said 'your book' - I thought it was a clever way of implying the plural, what with me actually publishing at least four books and appearing in many, many more short story collections and being the editor of a handful of books for other people... But she just looked at me funny, I think that she thought I was pretending to be a snake... Or that I had a slow leak - Both of which were technically true, So her concern was real.

But the one thing she said during our conversation that struck a chord was "I've looked at your blog and it's not been updated for ages." She didn't go as far as to say, "And you're an old, fat, man who obviously can't keep up the pace where the 21st Century in general, and social media in particular is concerned," but you could tell she was thinking it.

(Actually she wasn't, she's really nice and she has danced with Mrs. Dandy of her own free will on many separate occasions - It's best not to ask!)

That spurred me on to actually write something, hastily forgetting that I'm currently working on my ghost story for this coming Friday - It's called 'Box' by the way, the next self-published book 'The Morehouse Decoration' and Vol 2 of the Windspider Saga (or Chronicles or something) called 'Child of Space' - But anyway, here we go, one hastily thrown together blog post... Erm... 

Oh! Tell you what, We've not had a 'State of the Nation' thing for a while have we?  For those of you who can't remember the last one, it's a few facts and figures about what's happened to the blog in the past month... All these facts and figures are accurate at time of going to press...

This month has seen another one of our Soviet Invasions - You know the drill, when we get thousands (and I mean actual thousands) of pageviews from Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine etc... They bumped our all-time pageviews up to 66,365 - Which isn't bad for someone who has an over-inflated view of himself and seldom, if ever, does anything pornographic to entice views - I haven't got the thighs for it any more you see. - That two-page spread that I did for that German gay-porn magazine seems like such a long time ago now.

Anywho - Here are the ten most popular post this month... In no particular order... Feel free to play Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' whilst you go through their titles - Feel free to keep it on whilst you're reading the posts too, but you'll need to have it on repeat and it turns into a bit of an ear-worm - Sorry about that

10 - 'Leg godt' as they say in Denmark - A deeply personal sojourn into my relationship with LEGO, detailing how it has effected my family. (And for long time fans, no, it's not the one with the mini-skirt, it's the other one)

09 - One small para-diddle for a man… - About the time I became one of the most starstruck people on the planet... And I didn't even talk to anyone who's actually that famous - Oh, and I talk about Marillion for a bit too.

08 - A shiny tuppence for everyone? - This was about popular ladies' hair-styles... But not the ones they have on their heads.

07 - Bikers can be fragile little flowers. - This is where I prove how nice a person I am by holding another man's penis for him with my own hands... Well, hand... Well, thumb and forefinger. And I looked away.

06 - Deconstruction Complete - Hey! The other LEGO post... Who'd have thunk that two posts about the same subject, written a year apart could be popular in the same month with Russians?

05 - Today is the first day of the rest of your life - This is a blatant advert for my new book, Forever Girl - You should totally read it. (The Post and the book - There are links to Amazon and everything - It really is the shiznit - Plus I'm using the profits to put my daughter through tattoo school)

04 - Women are brilliant! Literally, the sweetest thing - This is a discussion about me finding out that it's not only me that doesn't fully understand the modern, fashionable definitions of gender and its fluidity. (But it's funny too - Don't get me wrong)

03 - A discussion of pornography, do not read - Oh, I didn't realise quite how often I talk about sex and sexuality, there'd certainly something Freudian in there.  But this post sort of covers the difference between naked men and naked women (yes, I know, innies and outies, but... ) and erotica and pornography

02 - Ah'm with ye Jacky-Boy - A post about lovely, lovely Scotland and how I like to pretend I'm Scottish to fox the tourists in Scotland... I also like to wear a kilt, but that's another post all together.

01 - Public Toilets are not as much fun as I first thought - There's an outward theme of deviancy isn't there? It's not intentional, these post are the ones that you guys found popular and interesting.  I've written hundreds, but theses are the ones you chose to read. This ones about me and some urine belonging to someone else... And it's on me... And I'm not proud.

So, there you are, the ten posts that you odd people found popular this month - Give them a read and see what you think. Tell your friends. You should buy some of my books too, they're cheap and you can definitely get them for Christmas- They make great presents!

Until next time kids - If I don't see you before, the Christmas Ghost story should be going up on Friday

Otherwise - Merry Christmas!

Mrs Dandy & Myself being festively debauched

Oh, By the way, it wasn't just Russia, we had hits from France, Germany, Spain, India, Kenya, Cyprus, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico as well as the UK and the US - So by reading this you're making yourself part of a planetary gestalt... Just think about that for a second - Have you got a warm glow yet?

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Bikers can be fragile little flowers.

No really, listen… ‘Fragile’ might not be the first word you think of, you might choose to think ‘Scary’ or ‘Smelly’ or ‘Fond of wholesale deviant sexual practices’ or ‘Annoying’ (especially when they filter past you whilst you’re stuck in a traffic jam – Which is perfectly legal BTW – And, whilst we’re on the subject, you’re not stuck in traffic, you are the traffic.) And you’d be 100% right 95% of the time… Bikers can be all of these things, I know, I are one sometimes… I used to be one a lot more often, but I just don’t have the disposable income anymore – it can be an expensive way of life, especially if you have the mechanical aptitude of a dead sloth.

But ‘fragile’? Well, let’s take a minute to think, when they’re barreling past you on their back wheel with their hair on fire, it looks like all fun and games, right? But (and it’s usually a big, hairy butt) it all comes to a shattering halt when the pedophile in the long-wheelbase Transit van at the front of the traffic queue turns right without checking his mirror because he’s seen a schoolgirl.  And because our Barnaby* is minding his own business, tearing down the white lines, with his wrap-around shades and the bluebottles bouncing off his chin, whilst he hums Steppenwolf hits to himself. He doesn’t have time to do anything about it. There’s a banging noise, a biker shaped dent in the side of the van and the insurance brokers start circling the site like pinstriped vultures.

Which also explains why a lot of bikers limp, or have interesting scars or bits missing… Arms, legs, fingers, eyes, that sort of thing.  And it also explains why there are a lot of groups who exist to try and get bikers riding again after they’ve taken a sideway excursion along the Queen’s Highway, or through that ‘wire and post’ safety barrier that the Highways Agency are so fond of, or under a steamroller… Most of them are great, but some are just money making cons – and the one I used to be involved with was a mixture of the two (I found this out later, I’m not saying that I was knowingly conning the recently badly crippled in their time of need… Not on this particular occasion anyway)

There was this one time, about 20-25 years ago, that this group had organised to have a trade stand at the Scottish National Motorcycle show… And because I was all bouncy and keen and just nodded when people asked me to do things, and at the time, I had a girlfriend who had access to a big van, the decision was made to travel the 300-odd miles north, in what became the ‘Support van’… I say 300-odd miles, because we had arranged to take a torturous route, picking up members (easy Tiger) along  the way, who would either ride their own bikes, or cadge a lift in the van – We’d also arranged to take in a rally or two that were not completely out of our way.  I can’t remember any names… And as the story unfolds, you’ll understand that that’s probably for the best.

Our first pickup was fairly close to home. The young gentleman in question had a wheelchair, but wasn’t permanently wheelchair-bound and he was the proud own of a ‘Nippi’ which to the uninitiated, is sort of a three-wheeled scooter that you could load a wheelchair into… There should be a picture around here somewhere.

He decided, quite rightly, not to attempt the journey in that and we helped him up into the van – I’d never met him before, but he came across as a bit needy.  Which is something you don’t usually like to say about people with disabilities as obviously there are things that they can’t do, or have difficulty doing for themselves – it’s the nature of the beast. But he just struck me as, well, ‘high maintenance’ (You all hate me now, right? Just keep reading – I’m actually a hero - sort of)

The next pickup was a brilliant guy… Really liked him – He had some terrible degenerative bone disease and I understand that he’s no longer with us… But nothing was too much trouble for him, If you saw him out on the road, riding his silver Honda Goldwing (I think) you’d never know that he was any less able than you or me (well than you at least, I’m falling apart and will probably be shot next time I go to the vets for a checkup) – You’d only know that there was anything different about him when he stopped for petrol.  You see, he used to seize-up when he rode for over five minutes.  We all do that to an extent, us old people, but I’d say about half the time, he couldn’t get his feet down in time… And… Well, he used to topple-over.  His wife rode a similar bike, and she used to pull up next to him, until he got the feeling back in his legs and could get off and fill up… She didn’t make it every time though, or sometimes she’d lose her balance and go over too – And it never ceased to be funny. Especially as when I suggested that he get a trike... He replied that they were 'For girls'.

This is a Goldwing

One of the other members had a false arm (you literally cannot make this stuff up) and because he’d had his handlebar controls modified in a particular way, he used to wear a hook, rather than a prosthetic hand (it was a different time) And… He would occasionally help this guy pick his bike up off the ground… With his hook… Now, I don’t know whether my mind has filled in this memory, or it actually happened, but I’m fairly sure that during one such forecourt recovery at a motorway services, his arm came off… We couldn’t do anything for a good few minutes then… what with all the laughing and the needing the toilets as our bladders thawed.

Our first night away was spent in the van, at one of the rallies that I mentioned… Now, I don’t know how many of you have ever been to a biker rally, but it usually involves music and beer and assorted idiocy… Importantly, sometimes there are Portaloos, and sometimes there aren’t.  On this occasion, there were, but they seemed to be miles from where we’d parked the van.  At precisely stupid o’clock in the morning, I got shaken awake…

“Dandy? Dandy? Are you awake, I really need the toilet!” – Now, I was in the front of the van, and our sometime wheelchair using friend (for it was he) was in the back. 

I said, “Right, hang on, I’ll open the back doors.” So, I got out of the van, went around to the back and opened one of the doors. He moved to the doorway, and then looked back into the van – His wheelchair was covered in people, only some of whom I recognised… He looked at me like a kicked puppy,

“There’s no time, I’m desperate – You’ll have to carry me.” So I took a minute to compose myself, he put his arms around my neck and I lifted him out of the van.  We’d gone about 50 yards when he said, “I need to go now… Find me a bush!” – So, being the caring, inclusive beast of burden that I am, I carried him to the nearest hedge and set him down, unsteadily, on his feet. He just stood there looking at me.

I said “What?”

He replied, “My fingers are numb and I’m wearing leather jeans…”

I stood there for a minute opening and closing my mouth for a minute or so, before snapping it shut like a pelican at a Wagamama as I realised what mixed messages I must be giving out.

“You’re going to need to give me a hand, so I don’t get it all over me.”

Now, I’m going to leave the next couple of minutes to your imagination, but I did fall back on all my experience gained from de-gibleting a fresh chicken.  He managed to do himself up afterwards, and – truth be told, I needed to do a similar thing myself, but I had no intention of manually operating ‘Little Dandy’ without giving my hands a good, hot bleaching.  I carried him back to the van, and then sat and had a cry before ‘Blutoothing’ myself (I relieved myself in the same hedge, but did it handsfree, which is a trick you learn if you’re often slapdash with superglue when you're repairing a carb-rubber)

The rest of the trip to and back from Scotland was fairly uneventful, we picked up a Goldwing a couple of times and had to tighten the straps holding someone’s arm onto their body more times than I would do normally on an average weekend.  In fact, the only real item of interest came at our next overnight stop… Which was at our one-armed friend’s house.  We’d all had more Jack Daniels that was good for us and things were getting decidedly philosophical.  He’d removed his arm and smiled at me.

“So, did he get you to get it out for him?”


“His d*ck? Did he get you to get it out for him so that he could…”

“Well, he was…”

“Having difficulty with his jeans? Was about to have an accident? Yeah, he does that – It’s like a rite of passage for people he’s just met.  He sees how far he can push them… He only does it to blokes though.” He saw that I was jumping to a conclusion about his sexual orientation, “Oh, no, nothing like that… We’ve just told him that we’d beat the crap out of him if he tried it with a girl. We warn them anyway, just in case he forgets.”

He touselled my hair as I sat there and then went off to bed, saying, “You’re one of the gang now!” with a huge grin on his face.

One of the gang? Maybe, but he didn’t think it was quite so funny when he woke up in the morning and tried to put his jogging-bottoms on… We’d sewn the feet holes up you see… he was hopping all over the landing with a hangover… Then he fell down the stairs…

If it taught me nothing else, it taught me that disabled people are just as likely to be little sh*ts as able-bodied people are.

*Barnaby Wilde – a fictitious ‘everyman’ biker – Like a ‘John Doe’ type character.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

No-one’s actually sure who originally coined the phrase, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” A lot of people, mostly hippies with a more than casual interest in recreational drugs attribute it to Chuck Dederich (Snr.) who started the Church of Synanon back in the late 1950’s as a drugs rehabilitation organisation. Before it disbanded after they started posting live rattlesnakes to media figures that disagreed with their methods and suchlike.

Anywho, that’s totally off-topic…

I think we can all agree with me when I say that Christmas nowadays is a bit rubbish, it’s a bit commercial and it’s a bit ‘pretending to be nice to people we don’t really like.’ And also more than a touch, ‘Buying random presents for people we don’t know anywhere near as much as we think we do, so they’ll thank us and feel guilty for not getting us anything.’

So few of us sit around the upright piano in the parlour, singing traditional Christmas carols whilst Papa swigs rather too much cognac and roughly avails himself of the downstairs maid’s back-scuttle.  I mean, a lot of that’s to do with it being the 21st. Century of course… A time of hover-boards, virtual reality and monorails.  Your family is more than likely going to sit around the turned off TV in the living / dining / entertaining / hiding behind the sofa when the in-laws come around room staring into your new Smartphone / Tablet and telling everyone what you’ve got for Christmas, whilst Mum’s boyfriend sits in the downstairs toilet with a can of Special Brew and watches Pornhub via his slightly moist Google Cardboard.

But I can help you, I can drag you screaming back into a pastime that will both educate and entertain you, ‘Entercate’ if you will. It’ll join your broken family back together as you cluster together and interact with each other more than you do when the new Argos catalog is released.  It’s called ‘Reading’ and it is the new best thing ever…

Now, I don’t just mean reading something random, like Harper Lee’s ‘To kill a mockingbird’ or the ingredients list on the back of some Happy Shopper Brown Sauce… I mean real literature, written by a physically immaculate but still medically incongruous author of some small local repute.

(We’re talking about me now, me… It’s my blog, so we’re talking about me! Do try and keep up.)

Today, the First of September 2016, marks the launch of my new book!

You might have heard me talk about it, I think I may have mentioned it twice or so.  Here’s the cover:

That's my daughter on the cover you know...

Isn’t it lovely? Doesn’t it fill your loins with a hot buttery longing to read it over and over again?  Should anyone with a literary bent, or some degree of ‘A’ List fame have read it, they would no doubt say that their eyes had enjoyed themselves so much that they had unscrewed themselves from their sockets and jumped under a steamroller in ecstasy, happy in the knowledge that they had read the last thing they ever wanted to read, That their experience was the zenith of their visual career, and it would be traitorous of them to even consider reading anything ever again.

“But Dandy, what can I expect when I open your newly bought book for the first time?” I hear you whisper… Well, there’s that freshly-printed new book smell for one, that’s worth the price of entry alone… Then the thirty (yes, thirty) hand-made collections of ideas will assault the senses with a gusto normally reserved for a liaison with a pliable, flexible, shiny-faced doxy - armed with an orbital sander and a second-hand Breville Sandwich toaster.

The stories range from hummingbird like 500-word flash pieces, which cram a week’s worth of high-quality fiction into the space of time normally reserved for a reasonably satisfying trip to the toilet. To 40 page plus potboilers that deliver their final denouements like a broken Chablis bottle to the larynx.

It’ll cost you £7.99 from Amazon if you want it in paperback… And I know that you want it… I really do.  But if you’ve succumbed to the delights of the Kindle, then you could save a tree and part with just £1.59 – One pound and fifty-nine pence for over a year of my indentured servitude? I’m too good to you people, I really am.

Here’s a couple of links – This will take you to the Paperback

I can even sign them for you… Ostensibly free of charge, but obviously, the more cash you drop, or lacy underwear you show – The better, funnier, or more lewd the inscription could be (Please note: After being bitten last time, I will not inscribe books to fictional people, ID will be asked for… Mike Rotch is not welcome.)

So, buy some copies, give them away to your friends… You will suddenly be everyone’s second favourite person… (I'm everyone's favourite person, you should keep that in mind.)

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Buy my book, seriously...

Thursday, 24 November 2016

One small para-diddle for a man…

OK, so a thing happened. I was entrapped in a chain of events that would probably have rendered a lesser man allergic to freeze-dried food for the rest of his natural life.  But it was good – I’m probably over-reacting… I mean I interact with famous people quite regularly on Twitter and sometimes on Facebook, and even less often face to face, what with the various restraining orders and suchlike… But this was something different… Anyway – It happened like this, and you’ll have to pay attention.

I listen to BBC Radio 2 almost every morning on my drive to work… I’m sat in the car for about 90 minutes between 07:15 and 08:45, listening to Chris Evans and his team bang on about stuff… I mean I turn over whenever the sports reports come on obviously, because sports are totally not my bag – But for the most part, you could certainly class me as a listener.

Yesterday (Here’s where is starts get all self-referential and cyclic, so ecoutez-la attentivement.) They played a song from back in the days of my youth, ‘Senses working Overtime’ by the band XTC – Now, this was originally released back in 1982, when I was fourteen. (OK, I’ll give you a hint here, use that information to work out my year of birth… I was 14 in 1982) and it’s great, you should give it a listen, it’s full of angst and 12-string guitars, you’ll love it... I know what kind of stuff you like – Trust me.

So, I got into work and searched for the track on YouTube (Other streaming sites are available) so that I may listen to it whilst reading my emails.  I found the song pretty easily, but also found a cover-version by one of my favourite bands of the time… Marillion.  Now, Marillion had provided the soundtrack of my own personal 80s journey… And I’d never really heard them play a cover before (Unless you count 1983’s Margaret, which is sort of a cover of the traditional “The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond” but with a modern twist) – Anywho, in the late 80’s the lead singer, Derek ‘Fish’ Dick left due to stress and management pressure.  In my opinion at the time, as a petulant teenager, and still today, as a petulant adult, that signalled the band’s demise. A lot of people deny this, but then a lot of people voted for Trump. (As it turned out… I may have been wrong)

The cover of ‘Senses working Overtime’ was by post-Fish Marillion, when the band was fronted by Steve Hogarth… whom I’d never heard of, and I still think looks a bit like a cross between Barry Humphries and Michael Hutchence – If I’m being honest I thought it was quite good, and went in search of other covers by the band.  I found several and posted them on Facebook one after the other.  Some were better than others, as you would expect – But the defining part of all the covers, and of Marillion in total, was the guitaring of Steve Rothery, who had been one of the founding members of the band, and he’s not too bad as hairy plank-spankers go.

Now, I’ve got a mate called Nathan, who I’ve mentioned on several occasions before… And amongst all of his other odd hobbies, is his seeming need to collect drummers as friends on Facebook – So it wasn’t long before he said to me, “Hey Dandy, let me introduce you to my mate Leon Parr, the sometimes drummer with Marillion and The Steve Rothery Band – Late of Mosque and he knows the Verve.”  Well, on any normal day, this would have exploded my kittens, but I played it cool – We had a nice chat and he said that he might be touring next year, and they’d probably end up playing some of the ‘Fish’ era Marillion stuff, so I should probably try and get hold of some tickets for that.

Now, great story right? – Famous people – Professional musicians… Talking to a member of a band whose lyrics I can remember word-for-word despite it being thirty years ago that I last bought an album (it was on vinyl too)

But no, that’s not where it ends… A new person started to comment on my post, a friend of Leon the drummer… He was hugely knowledgeable about Marillion and was seemingly at a lot, if not all, of the venues when these covers were being performed.  I didn’t know the gentleman in question but a very quick google search showed that he was a massive Marillion fan and the sometime live guitarist with ‘Edison’s Children’ the band that Marillion’s bassist, Pete Trewavas formed in 2011.

His name was Eric ‘Rick’ Armstrong who oddly knows another Facebook friend of mine, Simon Kregar Jr. - Who lives in the US and paints space-related paintings. He strikes me as a pretty nice guy who’s used to people being starstruck around him. His Dad’s name was Neil, and when I was a mere 1 year old – Neil Armstrong did a pretty cool thing that I really shouldn’t have to explain to you (Unless you didn’t work out that I was born in 1968)

Rick Armstrong talked to me on Facebook… Would any of you like to touch me? There will, of course, be a small charge - Which I may give to some charity or other.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Public Toilets are not as much fun as I first thought

OK, I appreciate that the last few blog posts have either been complete works of fiction, or opinion pieces… What there has been sadly lacking, is posts where I am either physically injured – or at the very least, suffered embarrassment so pure, so lurid, that it would cause a park-bench to spontaneously procreate with a Mallard.

This happened to me a couple of weeks ago, and it still makes my rectum clench and my eyes screw themselves shut when I think about it.

I am allegedly part of the senior management team for a multi-national service providing company… We own a few chains of hair-dressing companies, both famous, and not so famous… But it’d be a fairly safe bet that if you’ve ever been to a ‘chain’ salon rather than an independent – It was one of ours.  Our main head office is in Coventry, near Warwick University, and the office building we are in is owned by Tesco the retailer.

A couple of months ago we received a notification from the landlord that the toilets in the building were scheduled to be refurbished.  And it carefully explained that this was nothing to do with the set of catastrophic leaks we’d been suffering because the students in the flats upstairs (The top floor of our building is student accommodation) had taken to pouring pan-fulls of rice down their drains – And blocking them up… Anywho, so the day arrived and the toilets were shut – All at the same time, for a couple of months minimum.  Yeah, I know, that’s a mental amount of time to be without facilities and my plan to have those big, yellow rubble-chutes you get on building sites leading from everyone’s office windows down into some kind of septic tank was vetoed avec le grande vitesse – Although, they did provide us with Portaloos such as you would find on a building site. Now, these have (for they are still on site) upsides and downsides:

  • They are heated
  • They are segregated by gender
  • They are pretty clean, all things considered

  • There are two sets of two – to replace two sets of five
  • They are not just for us, we share them with the Site security team and the builders actually performing the work
  • They are locked, and if you wish to use the toilets, you must ask for the keys from the main reception desk (Only we need to do this, Security and the builders are considered adult enough to use the ‘knock and wait’ system).
  • They are built over an apex in the carpark – Let me explain what this means… The top-left and bottom-right corners of the block of four ‘stalls’ are higher, by quite a significant amount, than the other two corners. This leads to a rocking motion when people stand up, or sit down, or breathe heavily or perform any function that use some kind of repetitive movement. I’m sure you’re all imagining the hilarity.

Now, there are also public toilets on site. For the use of the public, as the name would imply and occasionally – If there are no keys available, or if there are keys available but the toilets are still full, or if the entire block of toilets is rhythmically moving backwards and forwards like Optimus Prime thinking very hard about a particularly lovely cement mixer… You can use them – I know now that this is purely for emergencies – Because the public are filthy disgusting animals.

A case in point… The case I was alluding to at the beginning in fact – Which would make everything up until this point the preamble, sorry. It was the week after payday, characterised by my ability to buy lunch that I didn’t have to rehydrate with boiling water upon my return to the office.  I was halfway through lackadaisically choosing my food from the vast display of everything ranging from Greggs to Subway when I had the feeling that I needed to ‘make room’ for what I was about to eat with a certain degree of urgency.  I travelled to the public conveniences and got out my smartphone (remember… degree of urgency, this becomes important momentarily) I checked Facebook and had a quick look on Twitter to see if anyone famous, or pleasantly semi-naked had followed me. I concluded my business and pulled up my hand-tailored Japanese Kendo trousers to be presented with an unusually uncomfortable feeling.  You see, in my haste, I hadn’t remembered to check whether some incontinent pensioner/juddering drug addict/tiny-penised gentleman with no feeling in his hands had urinated all over the floor like a toddler with a firehose.  So, the seat of my trousers was covered in pensioner/druggie urine. I sat back down and pondered my situation – After some thought, and someone trying the door a couple of times. I decided that the only thing to do was draw the sopping trousers tightly over my manly buttocks once more and walk the hundred yards to Tesco and buy a new pair.

Luckily, I was wearing a long coat. But still, I should just like to state for the record that there is literally no feeling worse than walking through a shopping center that features both a Wilko and a Peacocks, a Greggs and an Iceland with a unidentified old man’s urine squelching between your buttocks.  Tescos had one pair of gentleman’s semi-formal slacks in my size… I changed in the changing rooms, bundled up my defiled trousers and threw them in the boot of the car then returned to work (They have since been washed nine times, in bleach and fire).

Fast forward to last Friday – Same toilet – Different stall – no random urine, but neither was there any toilet paper. (Yes, I know, SOP is to check before you sit down).  Luckily I had some paper about my person.

Sadly it was a single A4 sheet of high-quality laser printer paper… It had the menu for the office Christmas party printed on it.  It wasn’t hugely absorbent… And yes, paper-cuts to the anus do indeed, sting like a badger.

Sweet dreams children!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Better wet than white

Another Birthday story today - This one is for the person whose stay in hospital started the whole idea of my Edward Teach Stories turning into the Windspider Chronicles... She's also the person behind the character Lee'Sahr - Without her, none of this would have happened, so there's that to thank her for... Well, I say thank. In this episode, we're introduced to Carter Landry, who is a Bostonian crew-member (From Boston, in America, not from the planet Boston - Because that would be mental) and I've always thought that he'd be played by the actor Luke Kleintank, should there ever be a film. (Even though he's from Ohio)


“I’ve tried that… We’re still all going to die.” Lee’Sahr shouted into the Intercomm, sounding calmer than she felt.

“Try it again, make sure you shut down the thrusters completely before you try the cold restart.”

“Why don’t you just…?” She hit the fire dampener button with the flat of her hand, the whine of the electric motor confirming that she had completely run out of foam. “If I could stop the engines, or even put out the fire, I wouldn’t be in this mess.”

“Roger Skimmer Four, hold for instructions.”

“She’s going to kill us you know.” Britt called from the rear seat, “When she figures out we borrowed the skimmer just to get more beer for your Birthday.”

“We’ll be lucky if she gets the chance… Are you making a den?”

Britt stopped jamming floatation devices into any gap he could find and looked up at her. “I’m assuming a crash position for when we splashdown.”

“At the back?”

“Well, unless you’re intending to jam the handbrake on at the last minute, spin us around and reverse us into the ocean, yes… I’m sitting at the back, surrounded by spongy things that float.”

“What about me?”

“You’re driving.”

“What ‘bout me?” Mr. Rax uncurled his orange bulk from between the seats, where he had been hiding his giant Pradilan head and trying to think of happier, drier times.

The Intercomm beeped. “Rax, I think it’ll take more than crashing into the sea at…” She looked at the airspeed indicator, “almost the speed of sound to crack your scaly hide.  Yes?” The last comment was meant for the person on the other end of the Intercomm, but it still managed to put a confused look on Rax’s face, so that was nice.

Landry’s relaxed Bostonian voice rang from the Intercomm speaker, “Skimmer Four, this is Sidi Ferruch base, Carter Landry speaking, are you receiving?”

“Yeah, we’re still on fire, how’re things working out for you today?”

He laughed, “Lookin’ forward to your party, hope you can make it. You have all the beer. Lady Dorleith’s genuinely worried about you… And her skimmer.” There was the unmistakable sound of him putting his embroidered cowboy boots up on the control panel and leaning back into his seat, “Yeah, mostly the skimmer to be fair, she says those things are, like, really expensive…”

Lee’Sahr shook her head, “Look, is this just a social call or have you any last minute ideas on how we might survive the next few minutes?”

“Don’t get your shipsuit in a bunch. I got an idea, used to do it all the time back on the ranch just to show off. Your problem is that your starboard engine is on fire, right?”

“Yes, starboard is right, well done. Is that important?”

“Well, you’re flying over the sea, and the sea is made of water.”


“And water puts out fire… All you have to do is dip the starboard air-intake into the water, it’ll pick up some water, shoot it through the engine and put the fire out. Then you can do the cold restart. Simple.”

“Yeah, thanks Landry, nothing to it. I’ll call you back when it’s done.” She flicked off the Intercomm, 

“You hear that Britt?”

A forearm with an extended thumb rose from the pile of floatation devices, then slowly disappeared back inside again.

“OK,” She stretched her fingers and grabbed the control stick. “Counting down to dipping a wing into the water whilst we’re going way too fast that will lead to us cartwheeling across the waves and disintegrating into a giant fireball of death in 5… 4… 3… 2…”


She shot a look back at Rax, “Sorry, dropped this.” He pointed at an obviously well-loved teddy-bear with six inches of glossy black claw, then held it tightly to his chest, screwed his eyes closed and nodded.

“5… 4… 3… 2…”


She turned around again to see Britt’s head sticking out of his protective mound. “What colour T-Shirt do you have on under your shipsuit?”


“Well, whether this works or not, we’re probably going to get wet, and if you’re wearing a white T-shirt… Well, it’s your reputation I’m thinking of you know.”

“By the bare-buttocked Goddess of inappropriacy… ONE!” She jammed the control stick hard to the right and they hit the water…

Monday, 14 November 2016

Women are brilliant! Literally, the sweetest thing

As we’ve probably discussed on many, many occasions before today… I love women. I think they’re bloody wonderful. No really – It might not be politically correct this week, it might have been decided over the weekend that using a word only containing the letters ‘W’, ‘O’, ‘M’, ‘N’ with an ‘E’ or an ‘A’ banged in near the end is misogynistic, or that you’re not allowed to use it as a massively descriptive epithet unless you have the open-plan reproductive plumbing that so traditionally identifies one as a woman.

But, in general – Absolutely brilliant.  Pretty much every one of us had had intimate contact with one at some point in their life (In some cases this can only been guaranteed around the first breath or so, whether you were squeezed or sliced out. But still…) – the same cannot be said about men – No matter how close you were to your Father – Not that I’m judging, it’s not my place.

There are, in my personal opinion at least, as many different kinds of women as there are women.  I know confident women, and ones who are very much less so. I know women who embrace classicism and strain to be at the upper limits of perceived physical beauty at all times, and I know ones who wear their onesies to ASDA/Walmart. I know award-winning female teachers and scientists and I know women who clean other people’s toilets and still manage to run a household with less energy than I expend changing my socks.  I know women who take off their clothes for money and fame. And I know ones are deathly embarrassed about going to the doctors with ‘Mimsy Issues’. I know women who front successful rock bands and I know women who married a lead guitarist.  I know women who drive Artic-trucks and eat Yorkies, or ride motorcycles and wear leather.

I know women who like me, and women that don’t.

I know… Well, knew… Women who gave their lives for the good of others, and I’ve known women who had their lives unfairly snatched from them by disease or thoughtless accidents.   I’ve experienced unbelievable selflessness from women, and I’d be wrong to say that I’d not experienced selfishness. They’re human after all you know.

What I’m trying to say is this… The people I’ve described in this are just people I actually know, people I’ve actually met and interacted with in some way in real life.  They’re not famous people (well, some of them are I suppose, when you think about it, in certain circles.) they’re real people, the type of people you’d find behind every front door in the world. (In the countries that traditionally have front doors that is, before you start) I know these people… And I’m a nobody in the grand scheme of things.  Imagine if I cast my woman net into a wider sea? If I included all the women that currently exist – What type of woman could I identify then?

Women who’ve gone to space, women who’ve raised huge families and fought against adversity, women who’ve survived (and fought in) immoral and illegal wars.  World leaders, farmers, members of law enforcement and rescue services. Sports personalities, Entertainment stars… The list is, quite literally, endless – The number of things that men can do, but women physically or mentally cannot do is bordering on non-existent.

So, bearing all this in mind…

Why did the women’s periodical ‘Glamour’ magazine, in its ‘Ten most influential women of the year 2016’ list, included a ‘ringer’? OK, last year, they declared Caitlyn Jenner Woman of the year – Which caused something of a furore as you might remember.  I have no real feelings on this to be honest, other than knowing for sure, in my heart of hearts, that that’s not how you bloody spell the name Kaitlin. Wait. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, here’s the list:
  • Gwen Stefani – Singer, Clothes designer, Mother to children whose names would make a Shoreditch childminder salivate uncontrollably and most importantly, woman
  • Simone Biles – (Although the Glamour website calls her Simon) Olympian, Gymnast, soon to be Writer… Also a woman
  • Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi - the Founders of Black Lives Matter *cough* women, all of them *cough*
  • Ashley Graham – Plus-Size model and Body Activist… See if you can take on punt on her sex – It’s not a trick question.
  • Christine Lagarde – The first female Finance Minister of France
  • Nadia Murad – ISIS survivor and Human Rights Activist
  • Miuccia Prada – You all know PRADA right? Yeah, all her idea
  • Zendaya – A mega-Instagrammer with 32 Million followers (Who I admit to never having heard of) She’s an Anti-Bullying advocate and soon to be Movie Star
  • “Emily Doe” – The girl who was savagely raped by Stanford Rapist Brock Turner as she lay unconscious behind a dumpster.

A shining list, I’m sure you’ll agree, I can see why all of those women have been named and I understand the reasoning behind it… But if you count, there are only nine names there. The tenth, I don’t get… I mean I appreciate it’s advertising, and that’s the kind of world we live in and innovation requires change… But… Well, I’m just going to come out and say it.

The tenth name, on the ‘Ten most influential women list’… And I shit you not loyal readers…


Bono, off of U2 – Now, I know that he single-handedly cured world hunger, and I know he once chartered a plane to bring his hat (or a pair of sunglasses or something equally meaningless) to a gig because he’d forgotted it and he was having some sort of self-righteous panic attack. And I know that he… Erm… He… To be honest, apart from him influencing the popularity of bug-eye sunglasses, I don’t know or care that much about him. I mean he’s done a lot for AIDS research, and he’s raised pots of cash and all but as far as I know, he still has a (and is regarded by many people as a massive) penis… He doesn’t even identify as a woman… He’s a man, a bloke, a geezer – If he wanted to be a woman he’d have to squeeze his nadgers between his thighs like Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs (or pretty much every boy in the changing rooms at school)

He’s not a woman!

He can’t be a Woman of the Year (OK, in his entry in the list it says ‘Man of the Year’, but the list itself is actually called ‘Women of the Year’)

Dear Gods, I’m a middle-aged heterosexual white male whose first language is English – I literally embody the patriarchy - And even I think this is mental... Am I just not getting it?
Am I too 'Mainstream'? What do you guys think?

Monday, 7 November 2016

It was great when it all began - And it still is

Back in the very early 70’s, an out of work actor called Rick, decided to write a bit of a play, just to keep his hand in whilst he was resting you understand.  It was a bit of a mish-mash of Sci-Fi, B-Movie horror and simplistic ‘Blues-Box’ Rock ‘n’ Roll – And it was alright really, you’ve probably heard a couple of the songs… You might have drunkenly ‘Timewarped’ at your Auntie Vera’s wake. Or repeated the words ‘Dammit, Janet’ over and over because you’re not really sure what the rest of the words actually are (Apart from some hypothetical river being deep that is – And how willing you are to prove that you’ve swam it. Maybe you’ve planned a future, because it’s ours – I don’t really know.)

But by now, you’ve probably guessed that I’m talking about Richard O’Brien’s Internationally-acclaimed Rocky Horror Show – The original version of which, one no-one’s ever seen (Unless you were one of the people who spent real cash money going to the dismal ‘Experimental Space’ above a dodgy theatre in Sloane Square in the summer of 1973.)

But you’ve probably heard the Original Soundtrack Album – Produced by everyone’s favourite (alleged) celebrity Peadophile, Radio 1 DJ (Obvs) and record producer Jonathan King. Who oddly, was also one of the original backers of the stage-play, so you’ve got him to thank – In part at least, for its popularity.

Here’s a juicy tangent… A cute girlie once made me a cassette-tape copy of the OST, She went as far as decorating the Memorex C120 with drawings and quotes from the album sleeve and I thought I was, what we used to call back then, “Well-in” with her, but this happened not two short months before she was discovered, in flagrante-delicto with the local (married) blacksmith/jeweler – I swear, unrequited lust and blacksmiths… Ah tells thee, I used to live in your actual 18th. Century, Henry Fielding novel. Feel free to insert your own ‘Hot Anvil/Hammer & Tongs’ joke anywhere around here that you see fit.

It only took a couple of years for 20th Century Fox to pick it up and turn it into a film, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Which every single human being and a good proportion of the world’s more patient farm animals has seen on multiple occasions.) – It contained a mixture of both the London and Broadway cast and it was quite popular, making $140 Million from its $1.4 budget.

Now, I’m not going to go into the plot of the play/film, because that would be redundant… You’ve seen it, you’ve probably sung the songs and you’ve had impure thoughts about Tim Curry. So, Aliens, Transvestites, Bikers, Rain, Floor-show etc. – You get the gist. Bizarrely (popular word when you’re talking about Rocky Horror), the film became more popular with audiences (more than critics) than the stage-show and it wasn’t long before people started dressing up as characters and interacting with the action on screen… There’s a whole list of prescribed actions, props and talk-backs that you can throw/shout out should the muse take you – There’s a guide here provided by Timewarp, the UK Rocky Horror Fan Club. This transferred (Bizarrely – See, told you it was popular word) back to the stage-play, which is pretty much always touring somewhere on this planet’s face – But with a slightly different set of rules.

If I can only ever give you one piece of advice – Apart from the time I explained what to do in case of a bear attack and how to change the timing belt on a 1974 Triumph Herald - It would be… If you’re going to get ‘involved’ take the time to learn the actions and get them right. Students have adopted Rocky Horror as their own; as a way to show how messianically bloody great they are, which in the words of my good friend Nathan, makes my piss fizz. But they will laugh at you when you get things wrong. Being laughed at by a 200lb Rugby-playing 19 year old who’s experimenting with sodomy whilst wearing his sister’s underwear and makeup is not something anyone really wants, well, not unless they’re paying extra for it.

Then, if we fast-forward to… Well… About a week ago (If you are reading this in early November 2016, which is when I’m writing it) the remake was released on FOX (Bizarrely)…

When you get right down to it, it was a pretty faithful recreation with an entirely new cast (With one deeply sanguine notable exception) but ‘brought up to date’ visually. It was pretty much universally despised by anyone who had seen, participated in or even heard of the original. Which, in my opinion, is doing everyone involved a massive dis-service.  I can understand people not liking it – Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I even agreed with people who hated the Phantom Menace when they first saw it. But this film has to get some kind of award for the number of people who were monumentally butthurt without actually seeing it. I’ve seen it called filth (and not in a good way) – I’ve seen it blamed for the reappearance of actual medical conditions – I’ve seen it accused of shitting all over the memory of the original… All by people who haven’t gone to the lengths required to actually watch it.

Let me take you through a few of the things that are different, to relieve the tension (see what I did there?):

  1. The general ‘feel’ – It was made for a new audience, it wasn’t aimed at us old, opinionated people who idolized the original
  2. Frank ‘n’ Furter is played by a WOMAN! – It might temper your fury somewhat if I said that the very talented young lady in question, Laverne Cox, used to be a guy – So, a real Trans-sexual playing an Alien from the planet Trans-sexual (Can you smell the irony people?) She does a brilliant job – Getting a lot of Tim Curry’s mannerisms cock-on (if you’ll pardon the expression) a lot of the time
  3. The guy who played Dorian Grey in Penny Dreadful does a great Richard O’Brien impression as Riff-Raff
  4. Magenta is BLACK! ZOMFG!!!1!!!1eleven – Played by Christina Milian (Whom I understand is a noted Popstrel, popular with the younger generation)
  5. Trixie the usherette is played by Ivy Levan – Who is, as I believe the young say nowadays, hot AF. and is not in the film anywhere near as much as she should be
  6. IT SHOWS (some of the) THE AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – So, there’s a clue there for newbies who want to go and see the show
  7. You don’t see any female nipples during the floor-show at the end, which is a pity, but I’m sure you’ll survive.
  8. It features 100% less overt cannibalism than the original
  9. There’s no Christopher Biggins – which is a crying shame
  10. Tim Curry plays the Criminologist… This is the only part of the film that I, personally felt uncomfortable watching – Mr. Curry had a major stroke in 2012 and is still suffering some of the effects, one of which is being confined to a wheelchair, combined with a stilted voice, made all the more heart-wrenching when you remember its strength in the original.

I’ve counted some of the major differences out for you, so there’ll be no big surprises to upset you and stop you seeing it. 

Look, just watch it, suspend your disbelief that anything could ever be better the original – It doesn’t try to – It’s a cover-version, an alternative – Well made by some very talented people who’ve done their best to capture the soul of the original and drag it kicking it’s tranny-shoes into the 21st. Century.

Watch it, then say you don’t like it… Or watch it, and say you do – But just watch it - I've watched it and it did me no harm.. See!

One of these people is me!

Oh yes, whilst I remember, Frank ‘n’ Furter’s Castle/Spaceship in the 1975 film was Oakley Court in Windsor UK – Which had provided scenery for many of the original Hammer Horror films of the entire 70’s so that was a bit of a cyclic reference.

Friday, 4 November 2016

With Eyes of Glass.

Another Birthday story today, it's for my Sister in law... She's a Doctor Who fan, so I've included a particular Doctor Who villain into her story.  She won't thank me.


“OK, they’re Quantum Locked, Scanner’s running.” She raised the telescopic lenses back onto the top of her field helmet, and rubbed at the smooth patches either side of her nose where her reading glasses usually sat.

“What are they doing?” the young soldier looked up at her, expectantly.

“They’re not doing any…” she sighed, and rolled her eyes, “Boy? Do you even know what 'Quantum Locked' means? Did they not cover that in training? This is level 1 stuff. My Grandkids know what it means. You’re gonna get us all killed.”

“Can I see them? I don’t know even know what they look like yet.” He reached up for the lenses that were attached to the tracks on her helmet by strong magnets, she batted his hand away.

“That depends, would you like me to have you shipped back to the cleansing post or should I just shoot you now to be safe?” she reached down to her waist, without breaking eye contact, and unclipped her Jackhammer pistol. The soldier shook his head. “Sergeant Trace, tell the boy why we don’t show people what they look like before they see one for themselves.”

Trace, who was a veteran of more than three engagements, put down his rocket-launcher and sat back on his haunches. “The Lonely Assassins have a couple of very interesting forms of procreation. Mostly they can just ‘Animate’ locally built statues – Touch them, kiss them, Something like that and there you go, another assassin. But the other way, the worse way, is that they can reproduce through images of themselves.”

The soldier frowned, “What, so if I drew a picture of one, one would appear?”

“No, not unless you’re bloody Michaelangelo, but a photograph or a scanner image would eventually turn into one. And more worryingly, like we found out during the last offensive, if you think about one for too long… Keep the image in your head.  Same thing.”

“I’d turn into one?” He looked back at her, and she noticed he was starting to look a little pale.

“If you were lucky.” She looked across at Trace and grinned, “Or it’d claw its way out of the top of your head and try to kill your entire unit. That would be what happened if you were to be unlucky. So, we don’t show you what they actually look like in case you have recurring nightmares.”

“You’re messing with me, that can’t happen.”

“Did they tell you about the attack on New Horizon Base?” The soldier frowned and nodded, “I bet they gave you all the details about it being a sneak attack in the early hours of the morning. Single Assassin, took out three whole barracks of sleeping draftees before some grizzled old Sergeant-Major bitch-fragged it? Well, the part they usually leave out was that the damn thing had pupated out of a trooper that had been having nightmares. They found him during the cleanup, curled up tight in a toilet stall, split open from his chest to the top of his head… Damn thing had crawled straight out of him.”

”What’s to stop that happening once you’ve seen what they look like?”

“Well, mostly, once you’ve seen one, you never want to see one again. Your brain doesn’t tend to let you dream about them. But if you start to, tell someone. It’s a crime not to, punishable by enforced re-education.”

Trace snorted through his nose, “And I wouldn’t wish that on you kid. You get to go back to the cleansing post, wear the shiny helmet with all the wires coming out of it for a few minutes, there’s a bright flash, and for the rest of your life, you’re wearing soft shoes that fasten with Velcro, and drinking through a straw. But at least you don’t dream anymore, not about anything, never again.”

“And if I do tell someone about it?”

“Well, in honesty, pretty much the same thing, only the handcuffs tend to be not tight enough to cut off your circulation. The service really cares about all us little special snowflakes.”

She took one, last look into the valley through the magnifying lenses, the small group of Lonely Assassins, clustered in their strange outward facing hexagonal formations so that they didn't accidentally look at each other, were still frozen by the overwatch scanner. She checked the ammo indicator on her Jackhammer and signaled for a couple more magazines. She looked at Trace and his team, “Ready?” the half-dozen soldiers picked up their launchers and pointed them down the ridge. “No hesitation, if we lose the upper hand with these things, you turn that valley into a lava-pit, understand? Don’t wait for us.” The entire team nodded as she turned to the young soldier. “OK, make sure your skin’s all covered, they touch your skin, you’re dead.”

“I thought they just…”

“Let me rephrase that, if I see one touch your skin, and you don’t immediately disappear into the past… I’ll shoot you. It’s for the best, trust me.”

“I don’t understand…”

“What’s the date today?”

He looked at the chronometer built into the wrist of his armour. “Friday 11th. November.”

“What year?”


She laughed, “I start on active duty for the first time tomorrow.” She looked as the confused expression slowly washed across the soldier’s face, “I'll get touched by an Assassin on my first raid, my chest was mostly uncovered, like the girl in the recruiting posters – Won’t make that mistake again, trying to be flash – showing off… The damn thing sent me back 20 years into my own past and  once I figured out what had happened, I just up and enlisted all over again. Guess they figured that 20 years was all the time I had left that they could feed on.” She pulled back on the slide of her pistol to chamber a large-caliber stone-piercing round. “And I also guess that this attack, 20 years later is my last rodeo. And it’s my birthday too.”

“Happy Birthday…”

She slowly turned to him, “No… Not really.”

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

I think ladies are nice

I came across (Easy Tiger) an old Facebook post just now... Originally posted by me on the 2nd November 2015. It struck me as odd that I'd published it as a Facebook post rather than a blog post - And I'm sure I must have had my reasons at the time... I'm buggered if I remember why it was - Maybe I did post it as a blog and I just can't find it. Maybe someone called me a Misogynist?

Seems unlikely though.

It's about ladies, and lovely they are - It's only short, but in my defence, it is currently quite cold, weather-wise

As ever, let me know if you have 'Views'


You know what I've never understood? I've never understood why a heterosexual male finding women attractive is in some way wrong. (I'm going to take a second to apologise to all the non heterosexuals, and non males out there... Usually I'm all about inclusion and suchlike, but I'm sure you have your own struggles that are equally valid and confusing - but it's just not what I'm talking about here)

What I'm talking about is how, on those occasions where a female person presents themselves objectively, (i.e. as an object of sublime beauty, perhaps in a provocative photograph or similar) the observer can be labelled as perverse for reacting in exactly the way it was intended for them to react.

Maybe I'm too old-fashioned, maybe I've taken my affected anachronism too far... Maybe I'm just missing something that is glaringly obvious to a more educated person but... Why is acknowledging something as beautiful as the female human form as actually being beautiful, wrong?

I'm not talking about pornographic images... They service a specific 'need' I suppose. I don't mean naked pictures either. Nor do I mean the 'lowest common denominator' amateur glamour shot as you'd see in lads mags (boobs and teeth sweetie, boobs and teeth - make love to the camera... Knees apart so we can catch a glimpse of your 2 for 1 Primark panties - no... leave the tags on, it'll be fine)

I mean a staged shot, of a beautiful woman, perhaps in an exotic setting, perhaps astride a powerful motorcycle - designed specifically to be attractive to heterosexual men...

Am I somehow less of a person because of my knee-jerk reaction? (finding my chosen complementary sex attractive) am I a misogynist proto-rapist for not acknowledging the struggle behind the scenes, the tears of the young lady in question as she brought up a young child on her own after being abandoned by her parents due to some imagined slight on their part?

I like women, women are great, there are women I find physically attractive, there are women I find psychologically attractive, there are women I find emotionally attractive (if I know you, and you tick two of those boxes, we have probably had some kind of relationship in the past... If you tick all three, I'm probably married to you as we speak) but why-oh-why am I considered to be a sad old pervert for finding someone attractive?

I know that I'd never have a physical relationship with these women, I'm fat and bald and almost 50 and to be honest, I'm not sure I could stand the drama anymore, but that's not the point... I know that none of these people would never even pick me out of a lineup if the question was 'if you had to be intimate with a man or be shot in the face by a terrorist which would you pick'. It's an entirely one-way, meaningless in the grand scheme of things, thing - so why is it so terrible? Does the interest have to be reciprocated to validate it?

If it is, then that's a really high bar... And I'm not sure anyone could clear it.

If I'm missing something, let me know... I'd love for this mystery to be solved

Monday, 31 October 2016

Pagan is as Pagan does

This years Halloween (Samhain) story is a little bit different from usual. It's not spooky, it's not horrific, and no-one dies... So I'm sorry to those of you who like that sort of thing.


“Happy Halloween, Leanne!” Chloe’s sing-song voice cut through the otherwise quiet office like a chainsaw in a china shop.

I looked up at her, taking in the orange wig, stuck-on nose and the black, pointed thing on her head, which was more Harry Potter Sorting Hat than it was Samantha from Bewitched. “What the Hells are you supposed to be?”

“I’m a witch! Mr Wells said that it was OK for me to dress up to raise money for the local children’s hospice.” She rattled a pound-shop plastic cauldron at me.

“You know Chloe, you’re really not.” In all my years working in the offices of Lovecraft and Wells Engineering Ltd. (Est: 1890) I’ve never really figured out what it is that Chloe does. I mean, she’s the office organizer, the fundraiser, and there’s that whole rumour that Old Mr. Wells still has an A3 copy of the picture she took sitting on the photocopier with her pants in her hand a couple of Yuletide Parties ago. But as to her actual job – I had no idea.

“Well?” She shook the cauldron again, from the jingling I heard, there sounded to be at least a few pounds in there already as well as some paper. “Dig deep, Leanne – It’s for a good cause!”

I fished in my pocket where I normally keep the change for the coffee machine. All I had in there was a five pence piece, which seemed a little stingy even by my standards, some unidentifiable fluff, and a chunk of rose quartz that had fell off the hilt of my athame during a particularly boisterous cleansing ritual. “I’ll just need to get my purse.” I let out a quick plea to the Father God, asking that there was a fiver in there – because I’ll be damned if I was going to give her a tenner, orphans or not – Threefold return my left teat.

“When you’re ready Leanne, your lot are supposed to love this time of year.”

I heard a gasp from Mrs Geddes in the corner. And there was the unmistakable sound of an idiot, who’d just realized what she’d said, clamping her mouth shut.

“My lot?” I dropped my purse back into my coat pocket and slowly turned around to see her trying desperately to become invisible, “and, exactly which ‘lot’ would that be?”

Her flusterment was approaching critical mass, “I… Erm... You know… I mean… Devil Worshippers!” She pointed at the pentagram around my neck.

Mrs Geddes excused herself and left the room, presumably to hide in the disabled toilet until things had all blown over, like she normally did.

“You’re going to need to try again Chloe, I’ve got no problem getting HR involved.”

“HR? Erm… You’re a… I think that…” A look of panic grew in her eyes, “I want to use the right word, I… don’t want to…”

“Give it your best try.”

“You’re a witch!” she cried, and her entire body sagged as if she was trying to hide behind her desk.

“Close. In fact, I am a card-carrying member of the Wiccan faith.” I looked at her confused expression, “And before you ask, no, we don’t carry actual cards.” Well, we do, but she didn’t need to know that, it’d just confuse her even more, It helped separate us from the Hedge-Witches.

“Isn’t that the same thing?”

“Wiccans and Satanists? No, not really.”

“I just assumed…”

“A lot of people do… Look, would you ask Mr Balil over there why he worships an Elephant?”

She seemed to be on firmer ground here, “No, of course not, because he’s a Sikh, not a Hindu.”

“Good, and what about Sven in the workshop, would you ask him about what he has to do on a day-to-day basis to appease the God Mars?”

“Well, obviously not, because Mars is a Roman God, and Sven follows the Norse gods.”

“Precisely! Which technically makes him a Pagan you know?”

“I didn’t know that, no.” She looked genuinely proud of herself as she was answering these questions, and I had the desperate urge to wave a biscuit under her nose to see if she’d sit up on her hind legs. “I have a GCSE in Religious Education.”

“And yet you don’t know the difference between Wiccans, Pagans and Satanists?”

“They weren’t covered in the syllabus.”

I shook my head, “They never are. As a matter of interest, which religion are you Chloe?”

“I’m a Christian.” She replied, her chest swelling with pride.

“Which type?” I asked, more for devilment than anything else, “Protestant, Anglican, Lutheran, Calvinist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Adventist, Seventh day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witness, Charismatic, Pentecostal, Millerist, Quaker, Unitarian, Apostolic, Christian Scientist or Nontrinitarian?”

She looked at me as if I’d just asked her to lick the tyres of my pushbike clean, “I’m C of E.”

“Do you attend every Sunday?”

“Not every Sunday, no.” she mumbled, “Mostly at Christmas and Easter.”

“Very Christian that… Not that I’m one to judge you understand. Each to their own.”

By this time, she was looking guiltily at the floor, “Can I ask you a question?” she whispered, looking at Mr Balil. I nodded and she came over and breathed it in my ear so as not to be overheard.

It was all I could do to not burst out laughing as I answered, “Yes, we sometimes do, but we call it ‘being skyclad’ and we only tend to do it in the warmer weather – Of course, I’ll let you know when the next one is.”