Friday 31 August 2012


The recent outrage seen to be outrageous by people that have read the word outrage has been explained today in a fit of stark innocence by Education Poobah Sir Charles Niceschool.
News that the goalposts have been moved in exams such as English and Mathematics - such that a mark in January gave a better grade than one in June - has been taken as evidence of the impact of the recent Olympics in schools nationwide. The use of goalposts aside the reason has been made clear by Sir Charles who has reasonably pointed out that in the six months between numbers have gotten longer and new words have been coined. ‘There’s just that much more of both,’ the Education Poobah said this teatime, ‘and so the percentage correct of either, whilst the answers are the same, has quantativally dropped.’
Children already long made to do course work (rather than under the previous GCE system where students were forced to piss about and then cram a bit the night before) have been marked down for not spelling the word ‘outrage’ correctly, or as in this piece, too often. Marks applied to the use of spelling and punctuation evidenced in Facebook posts (much lauded a year ago) has led more widely to a falling off of grades across the board. That of their parents now to be taken into account is hoped to amend this - but won’t.
This all ties in with rumours of an entirely new system of education (to be adopted by 2014) under which exams as a whole are to be done away with, to be replaced by an experience point system in which students will level up throughout their school life.

Wednesday 29 August 2012


Now then, I think we all know what I have to say?
I’ve been away for about a week now and I left the keys in the door for everyone to make use of the TARDIS, because I’m not one to claim some philosophical concept of ownership over a vessel that combines time and relative dimensions in space as a de facto law. But there comes a point when liberties are taken; and liberties have.
We invested trust in you to look after the TARDIS and you promised us that you wouldn’t be using it to simply hare about the universe and almost certainly having fun. And yet on the morning of our return we find what can only be described as a half arsed attempt to clear up. It’s obvious, and please show me the respect of not treating me like a fool, that you’ve been having a party when we expressively forbade you to do so.
This TT Type 40 Mark 3 vessel, as we’ve already discussed, is never to be taken to either building sites, or music festivals. People think it’s a portaloo. But a portaloo would be a welcome result compared to what sits there, even now, for all to see. It’s bad enough that policemen though well equipped with modern radios feel the need to try the door and scratch their heads at its appearance, but to have them come round at 3am in the morning because of all the noise is frankly beyond a joke. Oh, you may snigger – and that is not permission to do so, but when I find the singularity of an artificial black hole has not been used to create the eye or harmony but a platform for your avowed (and so far unsuccessful) ambition to become a banging DJ I have to ask myself, are you really old enough to be entrusted with the last of the TARDIS to yet roam the universe? I think the answer is no.
They don’t grow on trees you know. No, they are grown from a particular coral only found on Gallifrey. Is it acceptable can I ask you to find the Zeiton 7 turned into some sort of ‘bong’? Is the Huon energy really best used only to throw dazzling shapes upon the wall? And most upsetting of all, is the Trachoid Time Crystal really something best served by being used by Richard O’Brien as a minor reward for flustered housewives and frustrated IT engineers seeking to gain more time in which to sort gold foil from silver after a series of moribund tasks involving for the most part, balsa wood?
It was most upsetting to be contacted yesterday evening by the Shadow Proclamation informing us that our TARDIS had been found, on its side, on the hard shoulder of the M3.
Now you go to your room and think very hard about your actions in the last week. We are very disappointed with you. Very. I think for the foreseeable future it would be best if you stopped bringing girls around. They’re all far too young for you. The TARDIS is meant to appear in fondly remembered science-fiction programmes produced by the BBC. And not as it seems nowadays, to an integral part in what I can only assume now to be Hollioaks.
If the world calls needing saving again it will just have to do without you for a bit.
Now I have some sonic screws that need attending to, I hope my screwdriver is in the toolbox where I left it? 

Wednesday 22 August 2012

High Adventure!

And so away as once again I set out upon high-adventure! For the next week, a little less, I’ll be where there is no internet (1926 as it happens) where forging through the deep snows of the Siberian wilderness I’ll be following the map supplied by my peers in the Royal Society. The map is a blank piece of paper with ‘fill in as you go’ written in a tidy script in one corner so all promises well for pulp adventure somewhat far from home.
The Slide will be updated on my return but in the meanwhile feel free to browse. There’s tea in the caddy and muffins by the fire.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

New Stonehenge

Exciting plans were revealed today by British Heritage to make a visit to Stonehenge more awe-inspiring we learned today. Complete with a new visitors centre at Airman’s Corner the ancient monument is set to revel in an expansion to the site from being what even to this day is considered by many ‘just some stones in a field’.
I lived right near the henge for a few years, indeed just down and up the hill from Airman’s Corner in the lovely Shrewton. My beloved Q worked there at the same time, and they were happy times indeed what with me enjoying the odd conversation with an adult and once in a while going out. So to top it all I’m going to miss out on the plans that have been sent to me today. These set to change the views I witnessed there by tourists (who having come all the way from Salisbury to view the stones expressed delight in finding out that the stones, were stones, in a field). Whilst until late last century considered to be set there by the Romans, as was anything, ever (bloody Romans) Stonehenge was not as it happened made by aliens. Rather it was raised by people that having only stone to work with were in fact pretty good at it.
Now we are promised hourly dancing girls dressed like Raquel Welch that will catfight before wobbly rubber dinosaurs. Stone sleds will whip people across Wiltshire’s largest planned rollercoaster. Jobbing archaeologists will chase Tony Robinson in a JCB whereupon the hapless drama student standing in for him will be trowled to death for the delight of audiences. There will be beaker-cup rides, re-enactments of local people through the ages swiping bits for their cottages, and the A303 will be wrapped in brown paper for two miles in either direction so as to no longer give away the site of the stones, in a field, for free – and visitors will be invited to kick a hippy in the restored beanfield.
As a finale visitors will view Stonehenge as it was originally - lovingly restored as a landing pad for flying saucers.
I lied about the aliens.

Sunday 19 August 2012

Christmas Science

We found out today what this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures will concern. Further that BBC4 will show them. For the last I am extremely happy as I otherwise nervously scan the bumper Radio Times in December hoping that they’ll actually be shown at all. Because if they’re not to your mind a British institution (they are, it’s in the name, but) then you are wrong. That was very internet of me. For my next trick I will stay up all night scratching myself with green bacon fat because someone I will never meet disagrees with me. With multiple exclamation marks.
This year it’s chemistry. This year that means blowing shit up. I’m all for science demonstrating stuff by blowing it the shit up. If I had my way all science would be converned with blowing things up, shit or otherwise. Probably not biology thinking about it, but that’s not a real science. I did it at school. It was drawing. Science is about maths, which is why I should probably not have seen eye-to-eye to it – especially physics, but which because I had the same physics teacher for five years I enjoyed heartily, all the maths aside. He was a very good teacher (which neatly brings us back to the Christmas Lectures).
There is nothing wrong with taking important subjects and covering them in a way in which children can understand them. Hell, it means grown-ups can enjoy them because no one is an expert on everything. Even that person who I will never meet who ruins all the bacon rind in my house. No matter how many exclamation marks he uses.
My eldest had been watching them for the last two years. Yes, initially it meant staying up after her bedtime but firstly, it’s Christmas. And Christmas is a Big Thing in this house. And secondly, seriously, the Christmas Lectures. She might not follow everything – or not then at age six, but she learned enough. And wanted more. Which is great because she’s convinced that I know everything (and I’m not always that great on stuff normally covered by the Christmas Lectures).
So this year Dr. Peter Wothers is going to blow stuff up.
And if he doesn’t, well that’s all right too. Because I know that he’d like to really.
Roll on Christmas.

Saturday 18 August 2012

The Ghost Of Jayne Mansfield

I first read G. D. Holbourne when I was about thirteen. My ma has more books than anyone. Really, anyone. When she left school and until she was married she worked in the British Museum Library and may well have taken most of it with her when she left. I’ve mentioned the character Martin ‘fucking’ Luther before now and it was one of his that I first read, and have not read since. You can’t find the books anywhere, mostly because apart from a very few rough collections most of them appeared in periodicals in the 50s and 60s.
What stuck with me from that first read was that Martin fucking Luther was haunted by the ghost of Jayne Mansfield. I has no idea then who that was, but she seemed very annoying. And so she was, probably raised by Martin in a previous story and he stuck with her since. I say ‘probably’ because I honestly have no idea, as I’ve not read the story where that happened (or even know if it even exists).
Now I know that Jayne Mansfield was a film starlet famous for her chest, a blonde 50s celebrity of great fame, a regular in Playboy. But at the time the story was written it wasn’t common knowledge that she was also a member of Anton LeVey’s Church of Satan. Perhaps G.D did, or heard such rumours of it, but what is true is that the story was written before her death at age 34. There’s nothing eerie about that. He probably just found her irritating. Certainly in the story she is an unpleasant, unhelpful sort of familiar like some devilish version of Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeanie. The story was probably extremely satirical, but that all went over my head at the time – what I remember is a young magician stuck for the moment with a ghostly, extremely sexual familiar who wouldn’t (despite his best efforts as an aside to the main story) just fuck off.
I don’t have to rely on memory for that last. Martin said ‘fuck’ a lot in every story he appeared in. No one else ever seemed to swear.
And so another quick challenge-sketch. And this time of a devilish, ghostly Jayne Mansfield.

Thursday 16 August 2012

Beach Volleyball Legacy

Beach volleyball received record viewing figures in the wake of the Olympics, internet watchdogs have reported today. The statistics show that repeat viewings through the BBCs Sport iPlayer late at night, when the missus is asleep, have surpassed the best bits from war films and watching The Inbetweeners again. In the all important back-from-the-pub slot the extra slow footage capturing the athletic prowess of one team or another has broken some, or possibly more, records.
So much so that ITV (keen to grab a piece of the pie) has announced a series covering important beach volleyball matches, and in an effort to explain the sport to those new to the game a late night special where they basically do away with a ball altogether. The show set to bring the highlights of the superb sportswomen adjusting their bikini-bottoms, sometimes when they’re signalling to their teammates (but mostly ‘whenever’), is to be presented by Russell Brand. Brand, already said to be excited by his first sporting role, has been whooping and waving his arms like the lead in a rejected 1970s sitcom whilst running around to the Benny Hill theme tune.
‘It’s important that we consider the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics,’ one industry insider has been quoted as saying, ‘Especially the girls jumping about and pulling exerting faces whilst Brand fingers his many medallions with both hands behind his head.’
The show, to be called ‘Tug of War’, is set to arrive in early September.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

XXIIth, Act 1, Scene 2

They had nursed the bus along the Old Kent Road but dead in the shadows of London trees it was, at best, a wreck. It was nonetheless a fine sort of bus. A bus of colour (many), and reliability (little). Inevitably it had become the Magic Bus. It had crossed the country many times, by many hands, but for three years under one and that hand the Captain’s. As a man he was much like his bus. Older than others but cheery enough, and so too like the bus he had spent so long travelling no one was entirely sure from where he might have started. Where he had stopped though was the estate, and far from home Vi stretched, and yawned, and frowned at the long blocks that lined either side of the road. They were only a short distance from main roads and roundabouts but a whole world from both.
            “Where are we?” she said.
            The Captain stood as others left the bus. He rolled up a cigarette one-handed. It had taken him weeks to make it look so simple. He said, “The Rockingham.”
            “What the fuck do I do on the Rockingham? My brother’s still stuck back on that site. You think he’s still there?”
            “He’ll have got a lift.”
            Vi hoped so. Twins, she worried about him. Both slim as snakes he looked more girly than she, what with the hair and the pink leather. In contrast in her boots and tatty jumper it was difficult to say at times who was the manlier. Something the Captain had picked at all the day before so that her brother had stormed off. It had been he coming here, and so not doubting he would then here Vi would have to remain. “You think?”
            “Aye, but they might have a surprise coming if they do. Nothing like a toerag’ll give you a ride to sulk when he finds a nice girl is a boy. Nah, he’ll be right.”
            Vi handed over a little towards diesel. She said, “You know this place?”
            “I used to live down Kennington way. Came by not long ago. It’s all right here. Bit fucking arty,” he made to juggle in the air. “Guitars, and readings, and all that shit. Fucking wasters the most of them. Horse is all right though. Bit more go to him.”
            One of the others still sorting through his bag looked up. Of all those that had jumped the bus he was the happiest. He squatted round here and had only gone up to Wiltshire for the weekend.  It could not have worked out better, and feeling that luck should be spread about said, “He’s got a bone on for Livy.”
            The Captain didn’t know the name. It was Vi though who said, “Who’s she?”
            “There’s a load of them live up in this big old house on the edge of the estate. Big old commune thing, they’re all right I suppose. Livy’s sort of the leader they don’t have,” he stood up to shoulder his bag., “Pretty too, proper pretty. Not much for sharing it about either. Not snooty mind, just...” he made a face. “You won’t get in there in case that’s your thinking.”
            “And this Horse is mad for her?”
            The boy nodded, raised a hand and left them alongside the road.
            Vi watched him go. Before he turned into the blocks she bent to go through her own pack. She had a dirty smile on her face. She said, “We’ll see about that. You want to introduce me to this Horse, Captain?”
            The Captain could see no good reason why not.  

Monday 13 August 2012

June May

G. D. Holbourne’s many stories (most of them short) all tended to revolve about the same milieu and with little care for how they weighed up upon one another. In Kiss Me Quick little happens in the traditional vein. There is only a little conflict and that easily resolved, and the tale takes place entirely upon an unnamed British pleasure beach where a cult to the similarly never-named evil that was victorious some decades before suns itself and lives the life of a jaded Riviera in the height of what was then (the late 60s) provocative and fashionable beach wear. Living on chips and ice cream, whelks and brown ale the cult is never anything other than sunny, delighted and rather looking forward to the end of the world. Indeed, what conflict there is concerns quite why it is taking so long!
There is no Pepper Mint to be broken , dashing and dastardly. Martin Fucking Luther does not arrive to turn their occultist tables upon them. Barney Dunn never once wanders about as the everyman stumbling detective, and Miss π does not scowl at them and ultimately defeat them with the aid of her beatle-cut henchmen. Indeed, no one comes to sort them out and their traditionally cultist ways have become drab. In one memorable scene there is an argument as to whose turn it is to make the weekly sacrifice, since it is such a... chore.
It is the utter ordinariness of the cult that makes Kiss Me Quick so well rendered. Wake up, brush teeth, cut cheek, take a gin-sling on the veranda, kiss an octopus. The cultists very oddities are never presented as anything other than just another descriptive point. Like a hat, or the colour of the hair - and as ever with Holbourne always played very straight.

One for example (and here today’s ten minute sketch), ‘June May was dressed for Port St. Vincent with her hair eight thick ropes, Quant bikini, and snails.’

Saturday 11 August 2012

XIIth, Act 1 Scene 1

Misery when affected was unhappy when not in company.  Horse was never unhappy, but he had seen a very good opportunity to be miserable. Everyone else on the estate had tried it, often frequently. Nearly a week before Livvy had told him that no true poet was as constantly happy as he. That had worried at him greatly, for he considered himself a very great poet. He told Curious every time they pretended to rehearse how great a poet he was. Curious sat on the sofa they had rescued from Harper Road. Without any electricity they rehearsed. At least they sat with guitars in lap whilst Horse explained how very miserable he intended to be.
            “We could go to the Hart?” said Curious. Much slighter than Horse’s muscular frame only his sister still called him George. Two blocks over and Curious had electricity. He knew how to trick the wires from the big box where it fed all the flats across that floor. Curious had never told anyone else how to do it. He claimed his squat had been overlooked. With power and hot water his flat was always occupied by grateful women. The television was always on. Night or day people that would otherwise speak at great lengths about the evils of the box would sit and bathe in its glow. They watched a lot of childrens television. Curious looked nothing like a monkey but he did have a cowboy hat.
            “Livvy doesn’t drink there,” said Horse.
            Curious looked puzzled, “No, but everyone else does. Mostly. Sort of, and in this weather, with the girls playing pool?”
            “I am not interested in girls,” said Horse.
This was news to Curious. In a world where the boys were alike ill-fed, dark-eyed and hollow Horse was athletic, tanned, and took a pride in his appearance. If the girls liked the boys to be ill-fed, dark-eyed and hollow then what they liked better still was Horse. The boys had called him that because he left the girls like addicts in his wake. Two at least, Curious knew, would come to the flat to get their fix of his friend when the mood took them - and both had boyfriends. Horse never locked the door. He was extremely likeable, though not everyone liked him; one of those boyfriends for a start. Curious said, “Since when?”
The door that was never locked opened. Both men looked up. Carrying Red-Stripe Val found them with a face delighted with her day. She did not offer to share. Curious liked Val. She was just the right side of crusty from goth. All that stored up delight and laughter still washing over her from too many years of Alien Sex Fiend. She didn’t look at Curious; Curious was used to that. She kissed Horse briefly before looking out the open half of the sash window. Twenty years of paint on the frame and it had taken Horse and Curious an hour to chip it open.
Impatient, Horse said, “Well?”
“She’s not interested.”
Horse sighed. He had expected that. “See?” he said to Curious. “I feel miserable already. Livvy doesn’t want me. I’m appalled.”
Val finished her beer and found another from a calico bag. She still didn’t share. “Her father died recently you know. She’s upset.”
“We’re all upset,” said Horse. But he nodded. “I am especially upset. I was just telling Curious how upset I am. But I understand. She must be very miserable. I understand that,” then, “how long do you think she will stay upset?”
“Honestly?” said Val. Horse nodded. If he was going to be unhappy then he would have to plan it all out carefully. “I suspect she’ll find herself less upset come Glastonbury. It has that effect on people.”
Curious knew Val spoke from experience. Only last year she had herself been very miserable, in black and purple. The sun and her fishnets had left a white mesh upon her legs a day into the hot sun. Horse had helped her recover from that. They had recovered loudly and often. Curious knew that because he had been in the next tent over. “Let’s go to the Hart,” he said again.
But Horse would not. He had decided to be unhappy, and almost certainly to be in love.         

Friday 10 August 2012

Britain Leads Medal Table

The British Olympic Team soared into the lead on the medal table today when the women’s Violent Underpass four beat up anyone that wouldn’t hand them over.
Pictured here celebrating their win over... everyone, the four Olympic heroes (in the required uniform of Croydon face-lift and single, giant, tooth) twatted their way to victory using only foul language, mugging-bats, and someone else’s iPhone. Team Captain Shazny ‘Street Ripper’ Bell personally lifted seven gold medals after ram-raiding her own team after Jessica Ennis didn’t show her no re-spec.
The triumphant Violent Underpass victors are said to be celebrating in the local KFC, in hoodies, having melted already melted the medals down for hula-hoop sized earrings and gold sovereigns the size of dustbin lids.
The Daily Mail is said to be delighted.     

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Dinosaur Cloned

Not pictured; cloned dinosaur

The sort of scientists who probably wish there were a few more employers with their own volcano lairs announced today their success in the first reluctant cloning of a dinosaur. Long the real aim of scientists with little interest in engineering, the first living example of a creature extinct now for more than seventy million years, the announcement by Professor Challenger was followed by the admittance that the dinosaur in question was actually ‘a bit shit’.
The source of the DNA is still a closely guarded secret, but given the result it’s a certainty that the result itself is somewhat unique, certainly specific. ‘We would have preferred almost anything else,’ admitted Professor Challenger. ‘But we weren’t given the opportunity to be picky, so the Davesaurus it was.’
The little know Davesaurus, the first fossils of which were discovered in Arizona in 1992, was already one of the most remarkably intact of any thunder-lizard. Indeed the wealth of knowledge gleaned from it offers up one of few really complete stories of extinct life on earth. Less than a yard tall, composed almost entirely of arse, and capable of only a small waddle it lived entirely upon a diet of proto-slugs, defended itself through a perpetual fog of generated methane, and even in the gallery of lizards through the millennia is widely classified as ‘so ugly it’s mating ritual relied entirely upon a mutual hatred for all other forms of life’. Discovered by renowned paleoarchaeologist Dr. Wilfred Horne it was named for the man whom he knew full well had been shagging his wife.
Nonetheless, exciting news. Or not so according to Professor Challenger who already set to turn down academic prizes galore was keen to reiterate that the Davesaurus was rubbish. ‘Look, honestly, it’s shit. That’s not just me, that’s a scientific classification that was come up with just for the Davesaurus. It sweats oily stools, it attacks anything the least pretty without any intention of eating it, and it’s pink. Plastic pink. It doesn’t roar so much as whine, incessantly. It’s entirely nocturnal as that way it can keep everyone else awake. And it’s really good at bingo. It’s just a fucking awful dinosaur with no redeeming qualities whatsoever and frankly it’ll be the first living creature even to have become extinct twice.’
Radio 2 have expressed interest in the Davesaurus taking over the breakfast show.   

Monday 6 August 2012

Mars, Curiosity, and the Pound Shop

Breaking news this lunchtime as NASA lodges a very loud, somewhat formal complaint with lecturers at Leicester University over events taking place since the successful landing of Curiosity on Mars. Curiosity, the most highly advanced lander yet sent to the red planet initially saw jubilation in NASA when the signal was received confirming that Number 5, was indeed alive. Shortly into the historic deployment on the surface of Mars however Curiosity was forced to a complete stand still after loitering too long outside the Pound Shop it found there.
‘It was blocking the loading bay,’ Professor Challenger of Leicester University has announced by Twitter.
NASA are not said to be happy, threatening that if they had added the death laser as was originally intended they would have almost certainly lasered to death  the obstinate owner of the Pound Shop, Beagle 2.
Beagle 2 the British Mars Lander that arrived back in Christmas 2003 immediately set about it’s now revealed mission to create an environment suitable for a future manned mission to Mars. Having successfully deployed a Wimpy bar by March of 2005, in the time elapsed before the arrival of Curiosity branches of W. H. Smith, Clinton’s Cards and now the Pound Shop were all built according to plan. ‘It wasn’t originally a Pound Shop,’ Professor Challenger was quick to point out in a further tweet, ‘It was quite a nice little book shop, but we couldn’t have expected the impact the Kindle would have up there so after a few months as a charity shop for Scope it was deemed more financially viable to make some sort of profit out of watery superglue and giant boxes of rubbish washing detergent.’
NASA (whilst demanding the immediate release of Curiosity) are likely to have to accept that only customers were allowed to park there. Already top men at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are having to make tough choices as to what they will most likely need in Curiosities ongoing mission. So far the basket leaked includes three slightly grubby plastic footballs, a bag of bent nails, and a frankly awful bendy plastic toy that might, almost, be a tractor.
‘That’s all Curiosities allowance gone,’ NASA are reported as saying.
‘Pocket-money,’ Beagle 2 is said to have corrected the flashy newcomer.   

Saturday 4 August 2012

Miss. π

The third character I’ve plucked from G. D. Holbourne, Miss. π   appears briefly at the end of This Word Is Wicked, one of the earlier stories, but only named eight years later after two more appearances (or by description it can be assumed it is she), both in passing. By the 60s Holbourne’s ‘Garden’ was more commonly used and whether ret-conned or always intended Miss. π  became more central, albeit never the central protagonist in Scandal Scandal, and similarly so in the full length novel Jennifer Lions.
Competent, somewhat ruthless, Miss. π  was clearly someone high up in the Garden, and if she never had to fight she typically made sure she had a clutch of fashionably-suited henchman to deal with such things for her. Her first name is never given in the stories though when asked on the matter in 1973 Holbourne (doubtless pulling the interviewer’s leg) answered ‘American’. I like Miss. π   mostly because despite the time the tales were written, she could be male or female in her actions and attitudes. She’s still starkly feminine, and indeed a very feminist character, but without specifically being so. She is, because she is. Clever stuff.
Another ten minute sketch though to be honest almost twice that (as I had to redo an arm and the feet before I was happy enough with it).
From Jennifer Lions:
‘Her manner of dress fashionable, it was cut where her body was assuredly not. Her eyes if too large were not out of proportion to her head where that could be seen at all above the collar of her buttoned suit. Not by her mannerisms alone, but those about her, this was a woman used to authority. Hers.’  

Thursday 2 August 2012

Lay Grouter, Ten Clenched Tight

The Princess delighted to read of herself
In pamphlet, and gossip, and papers
Of her exploits quite often the night just before
Whose details quite gave her the vapors
For company each morning she had many mirrors
Where she’d dream with the utmost affection
Of the love that she held for the love of her life
Simpering back through the power of reflection
Her beauty so lauded in each printed word
Her beauty she’d cry, was a curse
The most wondrous creation in all of the land
(So it ought, since it came from the purse)
At times on inspection she’d let out a cry
At a wrinkle (a flaw that was barred)
It would be taken away with a cry and a curse
To be placed far below under guard

Not a clock was allowed, nor a calendar hung
Without time there could never be rot
Each day was the same so that she remained so
Her birthday she had ordered shot

Her hair was a mop that she kept in a hat
Her stomach a small jar of good prunes
Her skin she kept stretched on a rack by the bed
Her breasts were inflated balloons

Her feet ever pointed were ever well heeled
Her lips were a poet’s cliché
Her hips had been made of a rather fine vase
Her bum was composed all of clay

Her youth had been famous for decades now past
All that time in this city, she reigning
A nip, and a tuck, and a big bloody saw
Of the Princess there was little remaining

Where once she had struggled in corset and wasp
For her beauty then ever near fainting
Yet the mirror assured her, she remained ever young
Even if the mirror, in truth, was a painting
The Princess whose beauty a fact set in law
Was a singer, a writer, a sleuth
(All things really done by uglier hack
For beauty could make its own truth)
So she sat and admired herself through the day
Knowing not one minute a doubter
Ignoring the sounds from under her bed
Where lurked our brave hero, our Grouter!

The young man whom so far, you may well recall
We have swooned to his adventurous deeds
In his quest for that prize that beats in his heart
Or his trousers, to see to his needs

‘I come,’ he declared. And he had, as they say
On the carpet, the rug and veneer
‘Sorry,’ he said as he wiped on the wig
‘Is the Beautiful Princess not here?’

‘I admire your wit,’ the Princess declared
‘I admire your youth, and your pluck!
‘Tell me your quest, your desire, in a word...’
‘Nah,’ said Grouter, ‘I’ll be all right.’

The rhyming disturbed he backed under the bed
Like a fawn to the tiger, in a shrub
He hid until alone he might safely emerge
And creep like a thief to the Club

Where the Angel, the Boffin and Vixen had gone
To throw shapes on the brightly lit floor
To pray long and loud at the temple of dance
Though his name they had left on the door

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Unreality Television

I’m not saying that things in teleland are feeding off themselves like the serpent Ouroborus with tail firmly thrust into the mouth but the latest reality television show soon to hit the airwaves isn’t even set in... reality.
The Only Way Is Arioch (TOWIA) sees several members of the dying elder race of Melnibone thrust into a beach house where acting awfully they will be filmed for our pleasured hatred. Melnibone (overthrown at the hands of its own last true Emperor Elric after his cousin Yrkoon usurped the throne) a nation of decadent chaos-worshipping slavers would seem ideal to spark both controversy and debate. Early showings have not however garnered quite the reviews the producers are likely to have been hoping for.
‘They just lie around,’ said one.
And, ‘I think they’re screwing, but it’s all wormy and goes on a bit, and no one says ‘Oh yeah’ a lot.’
Then, ‘Cymoril is a bitch.’
Indeed, the grand cliff-hanger to this first episode has many confused. Having turned their backs on the vows made to the Lords Of Chaos (who’da’fort’it) the house mates ride out swinging howling runeswords, secure the Horn Of Fate and now look set to end the world. Also, they spent all their food budget on black lotus blossoms leaving the slaves they took in their Ivory Barges from downtown Margate to do all the cleaning. Also, their tasks. And, everything else.
TOWIA, coming soon.  
What else are you going to watch?