A new post…

… will be appearing very shortly and just in time for Christmas, like a brand new puppy. I am sure that you will all be mightily releived, or even relieved.

I just have think of something first, anything really, and then scribble it down frantically before I forget what it was all about… Then reject it, erase it, brutally dump it, before starting something else complete different all over again – having had a nervous breakdown between countless cups of tea and questioning my decision to stop smoking – and then do about 16 rewrites before deciding that the original post was the best one after all but now I can’t find it because I erased it and oh look I’m having a panic attack!!!!

A writer’s life is simple, and it’s not like it’s a proper job after all, is it?


A Review… Of sorts.

A Brief History of 7 Killings
Books are sacred to me, to the almost O.C.D. extent where I regret creasing their spines. With “A Brief History…” though, winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize and, according to the blurp, “The literary sensation of the year”, I didn’t so much want to crease it as to throw it repeatedly against a wall… Or stab it over and over again, as at the moment I don’t have easy access to a gun.

The book’s entirely ineligible. Unfathomable. Littered with words such as Bombocloth… What the hell is a “bombocloth”?
I kept reading it, often having to retrace my steps, ever quicker and quicker, in the vain bloody hope that my nightmare would soon be over, or praying for my life to end, whichever happened to come along faster.
“Please,” I begged of it. “For the love of all that is holy, please end!”

It’s totally incomprehensible.

It’s supposed to be a fictional account about the attempt on Bob Marley’s life in the late seventies, and especially about what happened to the 7 would-be assassins afterwards… Or at least that’s what it says in the synopsis on the back of the novel, and I use that word lightly, believe me. To be honest, it could have been about anything. I couldn’t understand a bloody word of it: words that are laced with and in a strong Jamaican accent and seemingly spoken by a whole confusing chorus of characters I never grew to care enough about to even loathe. Thanks Marlon bloody James. Thanks for taking a couple of precious weeks out of my life, precious weeks that I will never, ever get back!

But it does beg one simple question; why, how, did this book get accepted by a literary agent in the first place, never mind being successfully published and then shortlisted to eventually win the Man Booker Prize? And beating such brilliant novels as “A Little Life” and “The Year of the Runaways”?
Okay that’s three questions, mainly because I is hopping mad, but you get the drift.


Celebrity Prancing, Part II

No, no, no guys, what have you done? And we so nearly had it all sorted…
A week after some manufactured boy-band wannabe was quite rightly escorted away by security and thrown headfirst from the BBC’s most lavish set, paid for by the British taxpayer, poor old Ruth what’s-her-face was somehow voted out of “Strictly Come Dancing” last Saturday. This was a woman who didn’t so much have two left feet as two completely wooden legs, with an artificial hip and the use of an iron lung thrown in just for good measure.
If you weren’t aware, Ruth Langsford is, or at least was, the woman who threw caution entirely to the wind and, with all the enthusiasm and grace she could summon up at such short notice, promptly fell over at the end of a dance a couple of weeks ago, thereby squashing and then accidentally sexually molesting her dancing partner in a move that, I am led to believe, is banned in twenty-two American states and the whole of Manilla… The actions of a worthy winner, if ever there was one!!!
What have you done? Now Debbie McGee is among the favourites to win; the classically trained dancer, former ballerina and ex-magician’s wife, Debbie McGee.
I’m going to vote for the fat one.

There are now 3 days, more or less, to go before ITV’s, “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” starts all over again, and it has been revealed that one of the so-called “celebs” taking part is little cheekie-chappie Dennis Wise, the ex-footballer. Dennis, as footie fans will already know, is quite small and therefore, one would like to think with all fingers crossed, easy prey for all the Boa Constrictors that are already rumoured to be setting up home inside the camp and busy readying themselves with bibs, knives and forks. Yum, yum.

I’m A Celebrity on Strictly Come Prancing

For those of us currently residing in the UK and now hooked to our TV screens for the next few weekends, or at least until I’m A Celebrity… comes back on, can I just ask a quick question relating to the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing – for the rest of the world, ‘cos I’m popular in Somalia don’t you know, please bear with us or go and put the kettle on for the next few minutes, or pirate the next passing ship. Can we all, please, get together and cast our votes to send home the good dancers? The overly pretty ones with the long blond hair and the surgeon-created smiles stapled firmly into place. Those who have a performing background, or who were especially crafted and molded for the myriad of girl bands. The lovely mannequins who were, or are, regularly choreographed in or for performing careers, and those who were sent to various stage schools as soon as they emerged from the womb, by parents determined to live their lives through their precocious off-spring?

Can’t we vote them out so that the show consists of the more, shall we say, rotund and big-boned variety of our species, and those who have acquired at least two left feet somewhere along their journey? Those like the rest of us who are totally and utterly tone-deaf, and proud of it? The Ann Widdecombe’s of this land for example, who have absolutely no rhythm and who couldn’t carry a tune if it was nailed to their humped-over backs? Just think how much more fun and entertaining that would be as you eat your Saturday dinners in front of the gogglebox; people wobbling about the stage every weekend, dressed in nothing more than large smiles and gregarious sequins, with costumes bulging at the seams, their poor professional partners hanging on for dear life and who would pop a hernia at the mere thought of trying to perform one of those lift things on them. The poor mega-fit professionals struggling gamely to keep up as these celebs two-two wildly in zig-zags across the dance floor to the tune echoing around their head, a tune totally different to the one the band are currently destroying.

Louise Redknapp!

Well of course she was good, Mrs Brown from Scarborough. She went to an expensive stage school, to dance school. And she looks very pretty, granted… But she was in a manufactured girl band whose sole job was to frigging dance and prance about a stage. Bring back Brian Conley or even Ed Balls, anything to keep him away from any seat of power, and vote off Alexandra Burke and Aston Merry-something-or-other from some boy band I am proud to say I have never heard of.

And, speaking of I’m A Celebrity even if no one outside my immediate circle has ever heard of me before, let’s vote out the fearless ones as soon as is humanely possible, as soon as the “lines are open”. The brave ones who are up for everything and the ones who face an oncoming certain death with a quip and a devil-may-care smile, for what’s the worst that can happen? And let’s keep in the poor sods scared and scarred by their own shadows. Let’s make them scream and shriek as the spiders and creepy-crawlies are unleashed in their carnivorous swarms of thousands. So much more fun, I promise you.

So get voting folks and gather round with the popcorn.

Oh, as an aside, my lawyer has “suggested”, strongly, that I make it “abundantly clear” that I am not for 1 minute suggesting that all people from Cornwall are Pirates; just the odd few from Bude. I apologise if anyone was offended.

Just a quick reminder…

If you have an old pound coin and you don’t know what to do with it, because Sainsbury’s won’t accept it any longer, then please give it to a Royal British Legion Poppy Seller.

Apparently there are over 450 million old coins still in circulation and if just a small percentage of those were to find their way into the Legion’s collection tins just think of all the good causes they could be put to over the next few years.

Thank you.

Okay guys, so I need your advice…

The article below has been written for, and chosen for inclusion in, the journal “Notes from the West Country”. But, there have been mutterings from some that it is “inappropriate”, or that it could even be read as offensive, so I’d love your views. Please, tell me what you think? It’s called,

It Hadn’t Been The Best Of Times:

“It hadn’t been the best of times to be fair. In fact, if the truth was to be know, it had been positively the worst of bloody times now that I come to think of it; no wonder I wanted to kill myself.
It all started when my girlfriend left me in something that was rapidly approaching a “huff”, and for no reason whatsoever as far as I could see… or mainly because I had admitted at last, under great duress, that, “yes, your bloody bum does look big in that, now get out of the way of the telly!” Add to all of that the small measure of the dog being on fire, yet again, Q.P.R. having lost to Vauxhall Motors F.C., for the love of all things holy, and Leonard Cohen seemingly on Radio 2 repeatedly, stuck on some never-ending loop with Jeremy-sodding-Vine, and you can see my predicament. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, Westlife were still intent on making a comeback despite my very best of polite death threats scrawled menacingly in crayon! No, it was definitely time to end it all, once and for all and at exactly two forty-five-ish: after all, who the hell would miss me, apart from the dear old lady at The Samaritans who sounded somewhat put out that despite our growing relationship and burgeoning trust garnered over a somewhat tearful three hour telephone conversation, I was still somewhat intent on topping myself? I told her not to cry but she would insist.
“Go ahead then you selfish bastard!” she yelled at me. “See if I sodding care!” A rather novel approach I’m sure you’ll all agree. “Before you go though, can I interest you in a raffle ticket? Money up front obviously, given your current circumstances and intentions.” Apparently the first prize was Westlife’s greatest hits! Second prize was two CDs of Westlife’s bloody greatest hits!
Anyway, basically because I’ve got a word limit, and I’m trying to become disciplined, here are my Top Five Tips – or is it seven? – on how to kill yourself. Be warned though, and I better put this in block capitals to illustrate the seriousness of the situation, PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. If it goes wrong you can really hurt yourself.

1. Hanging Yourself
Always a favourite, especially with those just starting out, the newbies trying suicide for the very first time. Please insure though, that firstly the rope is nice and strong and, preferably, not from Great Mills. The last thing you need, believe me, is for it to snap mid-swing, just as you’re getting into your rhythm, or during that first initial step from either the ladder or off the chair – or, if you’re feeling ambitious, both, it’s completely your choice, don’t let anybody force you into doing something you’re not comfortable with. It is important that the rope’s thread does not, I repeat, does not, rapidly untangle itself, or that the chord just gives way and snaps without warning. It’s a bloody minefield. I know of someone who lost four teeth, dislocated his shoulder and broke his jaw as he was catapulted clear across the room, out of the conservatory doors and into his neighbour’s vegetable patch, just as she was planting those iceberg lettuces she loved so much.
“I don’t know who was more embarrassed,” he told me later.

2. Pills
I suggest learning from my mistake and trying something perhaps a little harder than Junior Aspirin. In my defence, it was all I could find at such short notice – for Jeremy Vine had just informed the nation that Westlife would be on, come what may, after the lunchtime news. On the plus side, they tasted quite nice and got rid of my headache, which was nice, although that started up again after just two bars of “Flying Without Wings”, which, incidentally, gave me a new idea and leads us nicely to tip number 3.

3. Jumping From A Bridge
It does not have to be a bridge. A tall building, for instance, should suffice just as well. Something higher than the frigging ladder you tried on suggestion 1 though.
This wasn’t to be my ideal choice on reflection as I have an abject fear of heights. Just thinking about it is enough to give me a nosebleed.

4. Shooting Yourself
Please be careful, as if you miss it really hurts. On the plus side, I now have a really useful skylight and a lovely parting.

5. Gassing Yourself
Please do not make the same basic mistake I made on my first attempt. In my defence I didn’t realise we were electric, I was there for sodding hours. Didn’t I look stupid when my mother returned home! It was nice and warm though, and I had loads of time to scrub the grill.

6. Throwing Yourself in Front of a Car
Another crowd pleaser but to get this right, for the correct satisfactory results, it is best to know a little bit about makes of car to begin with. Do not do the same as me and casually lob yourself in front of a Reliant Robin shouting “Jeronimo!”* I couldn’t walk properly for a week and the high-pitched voice wears a bit thin after a while.
* For clarity, I was shouting “Jeronimo!”, not the Reliant Robin.

7. Poison
For Period Melodrama Fans or Cleopatra Enthusiasts only, and definitely not, under any circumstances, to be attempted by the sane.
This is for the experts or show-offs amongst us, those who have successfully attempted suicide before and have now got the hang of it completely.
Several problems you may face attempting death by poisoning include the fact that it is now extremely difficult to acquire an asp at short notice, and that when they do finally arrive through the post they ain’t half in a bloody bad mood, hissing and spitting all over the place. It nearly took my eye out.

Anyway, those are my seven top tips about killing yourself. But may I just say, before my word deadline of 1,030 cuts in, that I… Oh, bugger!”

It’s that time of year…

When children, gawd bless them, are finally back at school and out of your hair… And let’s face it, because that’s what separates us from the beasts in the jungle, it could not come quick enough; six weeks you’ve had to put up with them, six whole bloody weeks! But, as you brush their hair, straighten their blazers or chase cat hairs from their hand-me-down polo shirts before attempting to drag them up the school’s driveway and push them into the school’s battle-scarred foyer, here are the thoughts and recollections of Horace Wimp.

We do hope that you enjoy:

“My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen.” A fanfare of ceremonial trumpets and the moving roll of accompanying drums… People, excited, scrambling hurriedly to their feet, clapping and cheering, homemade banners waving. The more creative ones amongst this horde, doing that whistling thing with their fingers: a few jolly, excitable and loud, “Hurrahs!”
“May I introduce…” Not a question, but a bold, brash statement of intent, the lavish Director of Ceremonies, resplendent in sparkling jacket and ludicrously ill-fitting wig, standing to one side, bowing ever so slightly as I make my gracious entrance, saluting the ever-growing cheers…
That was the type of introduction I was expecting. Instead, I was left to merely amble up that long drive. To push and squeeze my way through stiff double doors and along a drab corridor, the blue paint beginning to bubble and flake from walls bedecked with black and white photographs. Alone to follow the handwritten signs and the multicoloured arrows that led towards the noise of raised voices, and finally through creaking doors that swung back viciously, into a bright, white hall, dazzling just for that moment. Now, as I tried to catch my breath, heart pounding, I stood there, in the doorway… a doorway to a new and exciting future, so I’d been led to believe.
“The first day of the rest of your life,” they had said, smiling as they had tightened my tie and straightened my collar. “You have to look your best… First impressions count.” But I was crap at impressions. Anyway, they were obviously lying. Bastards!
I stood there alone, silently having convulsions, fighting the urge to stuff my head down the nearest available toilet. Alone, watching the melee around me, the mad scramble.
“Oh God. Oh God, oh God, oh God.”
“Don’t look to me. I can’t help you now, four eyes.”
A great hall, brightly lit. Loud footsteps echoing from the wooden floor: a wooden acoustic floor that shook violently under the weight of countless feet. Someone, I assumed a teacher judging by the awful combination of tweed and staid, tried to open the high windows with a long pole, twisting and pulling at small latches, cursing their stubbornness, children close-by stunned by these words.
Standing there silently, nervously, looking for any hint of a friendly face. I had this unmistakeable feeling that I looked a complete and utter twat, albeit a complete and utter twat in a smartly pressed blazer.
Shit! I’d almost forgotten about the bloody blazer, neatly pressed and sparkling under the strip lighting. First impressions?
Boys rushed about, pushing and pulling, pockets bulging with hidden sweets, even after all these years the main currency in any playground, for purchasing and bribing new best friends and fending off any unwanted advances from the prowling, would-be bullies intent on dishing out dead arms and perfectly symmetrical Chinese burns to the poor and unsuspecting. I was hyperventilating. And girls, that foreign and scary subspecies from another planet, far, far away, standing about and giggling from behind already perfectly manicured hands. Jesus, they were only eleven going on eighteen. They looked smart though, and ever-so-eager-to-please on this, the very first day. Flashing long eyelashes at every male teacher that dared to wander innocently through those double doors, most beating a hasty retreat back to the safety of a smoky staffroom while they were still attached to their fading corduroys, careers still vaguely intact. The girls’ blazers were immaculate, crisply starched, their red and black striped ties with their precise knots pulled tight, their hair freshly washed and brushed and shaped, tied in symmetrical pony-tails or held back by luminous head bands discreetly bearing the misspelt name of a fashion guru’s long lost, lesser known, slightly alcoholic brother. I was absolutely petrified. There were, seemingly, hundreds of them, all with identical pleated grey skirts and shiny braces fixed with huge dollops of cement to freshly whitened teeth. I was having an asthma attack… Well, either that or a stroke.
Back to those boys, still rushing about, trying to trip each other up and pulling at already loose buttons on once white shirts, now ruined. They reeked of puberty. Ties at half-mast, the bigger the knot the better from what I could see, from my vantage point in that busy doorway, children barging by as they strode to the middle of the floor in groups, following friends and shouting loudly at particular girls.
Boys were beaten about the head with sports bags bearing the name Manchester United or Liverpool FC in big letters. Girls poked out aniseed-stained tongues or flashed ever-so-polite V-signs at those whose attention they desperately wanted to attract, afterwards turning shyly towards their friends and blushing brightly.
“Well? Is he looking then, or what? Is he bloody looking?”
Shrieking, jumping up and down, the sound of their excited but dainty size twelve feet reverberating like thunder. Oh the joys of a State education. And this was a state.
I had died and gone to hell. Me? The bright kid from a small village primary school. The funny looking four-eyed kid currently having a heart attack while hiding behind that strange machine in the girl’s changing room – the machine that nobody mentioned in polite company without blushing.
“It’s… You know? A girl thing.” Boys would then make strange signs and giggle inanely to mask complete ignorance.

Taken from the upcoming novel, eventually, “Reluctant Country Boy“.