... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I was at  work the other day (as I often am, what with it being a day job). For the sake of argument (it's too early in the morning for arguing) let's say it was Thursday and be done with it. So I was at  work the other day, where I was stacking shelves, moving stock, answering the same customer questions over and over, just generally doing the things that most writers really do instead of writing. It was a day like any other and I had woken up in not so great a mood and descended into full-on minor irritability as the morning progressed.  I was quiet, surly, grumpy, short-tempered, passive-aggressive, all that shit. Then at about 1.30pm just before lunch time I bent  down to pick up some small boxes which were sitting on the floor. Something happened which changed everything.

A sound. A terrible destructive sound. A rip in the fabric of time and space. A tear right up the arse of my trousers, when all morning I had been quiet and grumpy and therefore ill equipt to deal with such a catastrophe. So do you know what I did, how I reacted? That's OK cos I'm about to tell you. I burst out laughing. It immediately cheered me up. It was a spectacular demonstration of how petty my little mood was and how silly I was being in taking myself so seriously. An eye opener, a consciousness raiser, a religious and holy thing. Get it, holey. The air rushed in through the hole, or out through the hole, I'm not sure. Either way I felt a breeze and got a taste of that freedom called kilt. Glorious.

A bit of trouser triage, triarse if you will - a few moments alone in a toilet cubicle with a stapler and my modesty was hidden and my freedom was once again shackled. And now that I need to buy some new trousers I will be stocking up on skirts and kilts. And stocking up on stockings. Actually no, no stockings cos that's just more restrictive clothing. Plus I think my leg hair would look nasty squashed against my flesh and viewed through a thin denier, don't you?

The trouser tearing incident seems to happen every six months or so to someone at work, and this is the first time that someone was me. It's a milestone, and it was timely too. It cheered me up no end, being so unexpected and ridiculous. And no-one was around to see it so I was not captured for eternity on video to be laughed at. No, I have captured it for eternity willingly in words. Here.

I can't think of a way to end this blog post so here it comes abruptl-

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I nearly wrote a joke in the shower this morning. It goes something like this (Imagine I am speaking to a crowd, perhaps on television or giving a speech at a wedding): "I've been told I'm not allowed to mention the C-word. It's a word that hates women. And the poor. And the unmarried, and foreigners, asylum-seekers, the NHS, the disabled... Yes, I've been told I can't mention the Conservatives." Hilarious, eh. Actually, it wasn't this morning, it was yesterday. I apologise for misleading the public.

In other comedy news I've spotted a new trend. It's jokes about South African pronunciation. First, on BBC Four's 'Boffins' episode of Some People Telling Jokes there was "Why did the South African in Greece put on weight? He got feta and feta and feta". Then on Channel 4's new series of 8 Out of 10 Cats does Countdown the first four letters in a word round were R, I, N and T. RINT. Jon Richardson quickly quipped "It's what South African's have to pay or they'll get evicted". Jimmy Carr marveled at the joke's ability to get us all thinking in a South African accent. (Which South African accent that is I don't know. There is not a single British accent, despite what Friends would have us believe, so I don't know, there may not be a single South African accent.)

It only takes two points to plot a straight line, and this straight line tells me that South African accent jokes are the latest hot thing in comedy. I'm looking forward to next month's Edinburgh Fringe, which I'll be experiencing entirely through twitter and podcasts, and all the new South African accent jokes that will surely be making the rounds. In fact I've just been down and put a bet, with Saffer Power* of course, that this year's dumb Joke of the Fringe award will go to a South African accent joke.

I've always been terrible at accents. When attempting them, which I do very rarely, I'm never sure what garbled mess will fall out of my gob. I can't even do an impression of my own Lancashire accent. I can say one word in a Welsh accident, which coincidentally is 'vowel' which I picked up from watching a Welsh contestant on Countdown years ago. (I accidentally wrote 'accident' there instead of 'accent', did you notice. It seemed appropriate so I kept it in.) I do a perfect impression of a Northern Irish person saying 'never' after seeing Ian Paisley ranting on telly. My Northern Irish in-laws dispute the quality of my Northern Irish impression, but I've heard their English one so they can't talk... At least not with an English accent.

In much the same way as saying the words 'beer can' induces a serviceable approximation of a Jamaican saying 'bacon', yelling the name of the actor Bill Nighy produces a more than passing homophone of a Northern Irish person impolitely announcing to the waiter that it is time to pay for the meal. Add to this my new-found ability to say 'rent' and 'fatter' in South African and you have my unabridged range of accents. Might not be much, but it's more than Les Dennis had.

*Like Paddy Power, you know, the bookies. I was going to make the joke Saffer Strength to keep the alliteration, but thought it too far from the source material. Saffer is someone from South Africa. I hope this is a relatively friendly casual term, but if not I apologise.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Corrie Rap

Now that all London-bred rappers are named after characters from EastEnders – Dot Rotten, The Mitchell Brothers, MC Wellard, Ian Beale-2-Real, Gobbie Jackson, B-Yanka & R'Kay, Lil Mo', LP Moon, Phat Butcher, and Pauline Fuckin' Fowler, to name but a few of the most popular – I think it's about time the North West redressed the balance.

We've got our own hugely popular and influential soap-opera, Coronation Street, but where are the super cool young rap stars named after Corrie characters? Manchester-based lyricists and performers of the Rap, I implore you, do not be intimidated by the Southerners with their grime and whatnot. Oh, it's grim up North, is it? Have you ever seen EastEnders? Not exactly a laugh a minute is it? I digress.

What follows is what I hope will become a valuable resource for Manchester rappers in need of a hip street name, all of them with a Corrie twist:

  • Emily Bash-Hop – for rappers combining Jamaican Dancehall sounds with the hip hop, and chintz.
  • Queera Duckworth – for rappers looking to cash in on the latest lazy-journalist-scum label of Gay Rap.
  • Norris Soul – for soul singers combining hip hop beats with petty gossip, interference and shit-stirring.
  • Ice-T Barlow – for rappers who know the real Ice-T was also called Tracy.
  • Ena Sharpest – for rappers who like it old school.
  • Dred Elliot – good one for horrorcore/acid rappers cos it's well scary and has a reference to a butcher... called Fred.
  • LP Tanner – kind of the same joke as LP Moon, apart from with Elsie instead of Alfie.
  • Blanche – just because.
  • Roy Crabber – for the proficient scratch DJ with a side-parting, an apron, a train set and a trans wife.
  • David Platt-a-tat-tat – for rappers with barely concealed psychopathy who enjoy putting childish gun sounds into their verses.
  • Gail Platt-a-tat-tat – for rappers who enjoy the same rubbish joke twice, but look kind of like a disappointed worm.*
  • Eileen Grimeshaw – for the rapper that knows what Grime actually is.
  • Bet Lynch – for rappers with a sick sense of humour and a perverse desire to recreate the cover of the KMD album Bl_ck B_st_rds.
  • Betty's Hot-Drop – for rappers who like beats that build up, pause, then explode dynamically yet predictably, and also enjoy traditional Lancashire grub.

That's it. That's all I've got. Feel free to suggest any alternatives/improvements. And together we can make Manchester hip-hop as popular, insular and self-referential as London hip-hop.

*the 'disappointed worm' bit was nicked from a ten-year old Charlie Brooker joke I have stored in the back of my mind. Soz.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I just sat down to write this and the first thing I did before my fingers touched the keyboard was let out a massive sigh. I'm back here on the ol' blog for lack of movement in the novel. Stuck at about the halfway point with the feeling of, well of being stuck. Distracted myself by deciding I would be better of writing a sci-fi comic/novel/recipe book and trying to fund production of it through kickstarter. Drew some characters. Spent some time vaguely thinking about a plot. There's the nugget of a good idea in there somewhere but instead I have, wisely I think, deposited on the 'LATER' pile.

I put the finishing touches on a few paintings, hung them on the wall, photographed some of them. Slightly updated my Saatchi Online profile but never got around to finishing it. It's a bit of a mess here and there. Even put a couple of prices on a couple of works. I really need to get better photos of the paintings, but I'll probably never be satisfied. Having colour vision deficiency doesn't help when trying to take an accurate photograph of a multi-coloured painting. Also discovered that my scanner makes really shitty 'hi-res' pictures.

Being doing loads of 'research' towards the novel. That mainly involves reading about Mongolia, Japan, wrestling, Kurt Vonnegut, science fiction, and anything else that temporarily wrests control of my attention. Sometimes I watch a documentary about art. Often times I stare out of the window, at a blank piece of paper, or my ears stare at music or comedy podcasts. After all that I look down at a no-longer blank piece of paper. It now has some doodles of an alien in a hat that looks like an evil Lumpy Space Princess with Predator's mouth. And a sort of squiggly line that could be a vine or a strand of DNA, or it could just be a line. A squiggly one. Depends how you look at it really.

What I'm doing here is just trying to clear the cobwebs from the writing quarter of my brain. They have settled, and around the edges can be seen little spidery egg-sacks. It doesn't look good. If by writing this piece of nothing I can edge back on course to starting the second half of my novel, then you know, just 'if'. I lost my train of though halfway through that last sentence. Oh god, it's not looking good. I'm going for a nap cos I'm a boring cunt. A sleepy one.

The Architecture Party

The Architecture Party. They sat and stood and moved about yar-yarring and clinking and drinking, congratulating each other on their collaborative arrangement of glass and concrete and steel. He peered in through the floor-to-ceiling plate glass window, in his pocket a crumpled drawing of his unbuilt vision for the future of the city's skyline. Their commission won and constructed; his dreams undone, destroyed. “I'll take my Mega Awesome Tree-house Castle elsewhere,” he shouted and walked away.

That was a short story which originally appeared online at Paragraph Planet (May 30th 2013), a fantastic website which features a never-ending daily string of original 75-word stories.

The title was inspired by a hand-written inscription inside the front cover of a second-hand book called Bible Road, Signs of Faith in the American Landscape. It reads, "To Roger & Sue. With thanks for a terrific architecture party! July 2009." 

Are you Roger or Sue, so quick to give away your gift, or the unnamed scribbler? Perhaps you'd like to get in touch with more information about exactly what your 'architecture party' entails. How does it feel to find out in this unlikely and roundabout way that Roger and Sue hated your stupid book of photos of religious signs in America, and couldn't give it to charity quick enough?