Friday, 24 December 2010

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Clowder filled browsing

Yup, you guessed it. I seem to have happened upon a lot, and I mean a lot, of web pages about cats lately. So, as I don't live with one at present, here – INPO - are some memories of things to do with cats.

a) Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat. T.H.E Cat. A TV show I watched when I was around 12 years old.
“A reformed cat burglar, former acrobat with the circus.  Years on the road taught him to be silent, stealthy and ruthless. Moving through the night dressed in black with only a knife for protection.” After each show I'd don my black woolly jumper – which itched like the devil - dash outside and practise springing off walls and fences then try, unsuccessfully, to throw my little penknife so it would stick in a tree. If I had a thrupenny bit for each time I had to reassemble that little penknife I could have bought the matching black pants.

b) When I was six, we, mum and I, lived in a flat attached to a private nursing home. The private nursing home was itself attached to a country manor. It was a serious country manor sporting numerous bedrooms, WC's and a huge team of servants. The owners of the manor owned the nursing home. Mr and Mrs Green. Lovely people who fed me on Sundays while my mum worked as a midwife. Anyway, the cat: it roamed the extensive grounds (as did I) was very fluffy, very white and deaf as a post. I would attempt to sneak up behind it - which was incredibly difficult – and touch its tail. My reward – when I at last managed the feat - was a loud mewling noise and seeing the cat shoot vertically three yards straight up in the air. Hey, gimme a break, I was six and the only kid for miles around.

c) I had a woman friend who wanted to go over to America to visit her parents. Would I house-sit and look after Mr Fussy her cat while she was away? As her place had a TV, a shower which sprinkled one with clear water instead of some brown substance, armchairs instead of deckchairs and mushrooms in the fridge and not growing from the walls, I thought about it for seventy-five milliseconds or so before saying, “Hell, yes.”
Morning one, after a wonderful night's sleep between crisp white sheets, I showered, dressed, cerealed, was careful to lock the door behind me as I left for work, then noticed the furry black and white and very flat carcass in the middle of the road.
I will never forget that phone call I had to make about the demise of Mr Fussy. “Hi Anne. What's black and white and lies in the middle of the road? No, not a dead nun ...”

d) Arthur is a cat I actually owned. I say “owned”, does one ever “own” a cat? He was white like the TV cat of the same name. He lived with me in a VW camper van is I toured the Groot Karoo in South Africa. His thing was to find a tortoise, wait patiently until it stuck its head out to see if all was well, then pounce and separate the aforementioned appendage from its body. He'd then sit and scoop out the meat with his paw. He'd sit on the dashboard as we drove along and even accompany me on foot when I went exploring. Arthur got sick when we were in the middle of nowhere. He began moving really slowly and had rheumy eyes. The last I saw of him he was being dragged away by a Cape Fox. I found a leg, buried it and cried. I stopped my 'walkabout' after that and headed north to Jo'burg.

e) When I was about ten, in England, mum got a black and white cat. She asked me to name it and I decided to call it Mrs Todd. Ten years later, in South Africa, mum met and married a Scotsman called Jimmy Todd. She became Mrs Todd. Cue the Twilight zone theme tune.

That's me and cats. So far.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Drunks I've known: Mr A

Mr A had a superpower. He could transform from sober to drunk in the blink of an eye. And the only way to tell, in the early stages at least, was his hair.

Mr A was a smart individual: bright, talkative, always immaculately suited and groomed. On occasion – usually a Friday evening – we'd go to the pub and stand, in a manly fashion, at the bar, drink beer and talk shop or bollocks or a satisfying combination of the two.

Around pint number four, I'd start to watch for the transformation. Almost holding my breath, daring not to blink. But, as always happened, I'd be distracted by a friendly greeting, an attractive face or simply someone wanting to get to the bar. Whichever, I'd glance away for a mere moment and when I looked back the previously immaculately coiffured Mr A would look as if someone had sneaked up behind him and ruffled their fingers enthusiastically through his hair. And I'm sure he didn't do it. One hand held his pint, the other slipped carelessly into his trouser pocket firtling with his keys.

Besides, it was too quick. I'd glance away for less than a second and whammo – his hair had fessed up, blabbed, snitched, proclaimed his inebriation.

Many, many times I watched, drank, and waited. But never ever witnessed the transition. I suppose it wouldn't have been a superpower if I had.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Lend me your ears - mine are in the wash

Earlier this year the we picnicked by the river Swale. A few other families had the same idea. One family had a toddler. The little guy was dressed in a furry grey rabbit suit with large ears inset with pink, a la Bugs Bunny.

I remarked, “What a mean thing to do. Dress the kid up looking like that. Look at the other kids making fun of him.”

My mother said, “I used to put you in a rabbit outfit just like that.”

I looked at her open mouthed as my wife, son and daughter snickered into their chicken sandwiches. “You did what?!” I said.

“Well, you were a runner,” said mum. “A nightmare on a crowded beach. You'd be off like a whippet. The ears helped me keep tabs on you. Another sandwich?”

“You dressed me like that on the beach?!”

“As I said, you were a runner. Would it have been better to tie a rope to you?”

So here I sit, four months after that conversation, as my darling son and my darling daughter hop around the living room sporting large pink ears and enormous buck teeth.

Thanks mum.

Oh, and kids? Happy New Ears.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Drunks I have known: Mr & Mrs B
I experienced the joy that was Mr and Mrs B on half a dozen occasions during my teens. It was always at one of mum's braais. (Braai is South African for BBQ.) Mr and Mrs B were Scots. From Glasgow apparently and perfectly nice people to boot.

Until the booze set in.

Mr B would be the first. He was normally very quiet. Reserved to the point of the standing dead. A Weltschmerz of pauses to talk to. Agonisingly shy. Even with me. A mere teenager to his adult.

An hour or two into the braai, we'd be sat among the debris - paper plates, empty lager cans, the odd body - and Mr B's right leg – always his right – would begin to dither. Only slightly at first. Then growing in intensity until it shook like a loose branch in a hurricane.

No one would show any concern, they knew the drill and stopped talking or dancing or whatever, and turned to face him.

What do you think he did, dear reader? He told jokes. Lots of jokes. On and on, joke after joke in his sandpaper Glaswegian accent. And not one of those jokes wrung so much as a titter from his audience.

After five minutes or so he'd run down. His leg would stop dithering and he'd be back to his normal, quiet – though clearly inebriated – self, graciously and unsteadily accepting a smattering of applause.

This was Mrs B's cue. At the top of her voice she'd describe life with Mr B as a complete farce paying careful attention to his extreme lack of prowess in the bedroom. She'd then turn to the nearest teenage boy – yes, me on occasion – and proceed to lavish on him her most unwanted attentions in a voice impossibly louder. “Run away with me, young-un,” she'd plea. “Run away with me and I'll take you places you've only ever - hic – dreamed o.” Thankfully, it was usually at this point her head slumped forward and she started to snore, a glass of whiskey in her hand magically refusing to spill. Mr B would take up a silent position alongside and wait for her to rouse and demand to be taken home.

Seeing the two there - her asleep and him standing guard, while all around them partied – was a touching sight which, even now, brings a moist glaze to my eye.


I know my spelling isn't perfect but a quick look at the last few postings showed up around twenty spelling mistakes with some words transposed and a couple of choice swear words added. I hope I caught them all. I've changed my password just in case I'm not in the Twilight Zone.

Also, my traffic spiked enormously overnight.

Hey, just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean I'm not a target. Right?

The puzzle is: why bother with me? Are my books really that bad? One too many sarcastic quips?

Anyway, if you're out there, let's talk.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

You think YOUR family's dodgy .. ?

I was feeling glum that a week's worth of writing hadn't turned out quite as I'd hoped, so I cheered myself up here:

Now my ribs ache.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Reviewlette - Brightonomicon by Robert Rankin

I picked The Brightonomicon up at the library after reading "The English Spike Milligan" on the back cover. I'm pretty sure I've read just about everything Spike wrote and even went to see him live where he beat seven bells out of his plastic 'frustration dummy' with a baseball bat if his jokes didn't get a big enough laugh.

This is my first Robert Rankin and, probably, my last.

Our hero, an amnesiac teenager, is saved from drowning by one Hugo Rune, a large, bald geezer who claims to have known Jesus and reinvented the Ocarina. They use symbols found in the Brighton A-Z to help find a missing device which can tune in to the past.

It's amusing, even funny, at times, but I found the relentless punning and fragmented plot a little tedious and had to force myself to finish it.

Mr Rankin has a huge fan base so I urge you to read at least one of his books if you haven't already. Just don't start with this one.  If you do read a Rankin, please let me know what you think.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Reviewlette - Tripoint by C J Cherryh

Tripoint by C J Cherryh.

Another book from my 'Dear Lord, I really must read that one of these years' shelf.

It's a space opera. And by that I mean it has people in spaceships whizzing about through hyper-space in a far flung future. Spaceships aside, it's more about how parents can really screw up their kids by using them as a free sherpa for all their personal baggage.

It's a good read, excellent characters and very entertaining. I really enjoy her style and liked ninety-five percent of the plot. Though I think it's probably wise to read Downbelow Station first as I had a feeling there were things I should have known already.

I found the end disappointing as one main character - a prime motivator from whom grown men flee in terror - suddenly seems to say, 'Oh, alright then. Fair enough. I'll stop trying to destroy you all now. Toodles.' I'm paraphrasing but read it, please. See if you agree.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Reviewlette - Teranesia by Greg Egan

Teranesia by Greg Egan

This book was sent to me by a mystery philanthropist in South Africa. (Actually, I have a pretty good idea who sent it.) It took almost three months to get here. Three months. Roll on quantatronic matter transfer machines I say.

This is lifted from the cover:
As a young boy, Prabir Suresh lives with his parents and sister on an otherwise uninhabited island in a remote part of the Indonesian peninsula. Prabir names it Teranesia, populating it with imaginary creatures even stranger than the evolutionarily puzzling butterflies that his parents are studying. Civil war strikes, orphaning Prabir and his sister. Eighteen years later, rumours of bizarre new species of plants and animals being discovered in the peninsula that was their childhood home draw Prabir's sister back to the island - Prabir cannot bear for her to have gone out alone and he follows, persuading a pharmaceutical researcher to take him along as a guide.

I'm undecided about this one. It was entertaining but - and this may be down to my appalling memory of whatever happened at the beginning - the protagonist somehow developed an intimate understanding of genetics by the end of the book. It is well written but there are times when I don't believe the cause and effect, such-and-such happened to this character so he reacts by doing whatever. I didn't quite buy it sometimes. And there's a scene with a snake which didn't seem to move the plot along or enlighten me at all.

The author seems to know a shed-load about genetics. Do you ever watch House? The TV show? Part of the pleasure for watching House, for me, is the bewildering language the doctors use when trying to figure out whatever is wrong with the patient. "He may have Fibro-hairy-mitosis, so start him on ten CC's of Streptro-fusion-olive-duplo-matt, stat." There's a bit of that in this book too - though about genetics and DNA strands and RNA re-combatant yadda-blah. Not too much. Just enough to make you me feel stupid.

All-in-all a pretty good read but erring on the side of 'meh'. I'd be interested in what you think.

I have another Greg Egan, Distress, which has been entertaining dust-bunnies on my shelf for several years. I'll read that shortly as the guy seems to have a lot of fans.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Reviewlette - Dead Famous by Ben Elton

Another book from my 'got years ago and really must read it' shelf.

A parody of the Big Brother TV show: a contestant is murdered in front of millions of viewers - but who did the dastardly deed? It's up to Inspector Stanley Spencer Coleridge - a throw back to polite, seemingly naive policemen of the 1950's - to find out.

A fast moving and, in places, very funny whodunnit. Liberal sprinkling of the c-word will put off some but, on the whole, it's a good read. Thought provoking and entertaining, and I'm pretty sure there are a few TV executives who'll recognise some individuals here.

If you like a good whodunnit and aren't easily offended by strong language you'll enjoy it.

Dead Famous by Ben Elton.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

POD is BAD Business

An interesting blog post from Bill Housley about how book shops are not stocking POD titles and why.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


The Thee Word Wednesday words are: gesture, immediate, treasure and they brought back a memory or two - I have no idea why - which I shall share.

Paul made a gesture behind Sarah meaning I should talk to her. He and Janet giggled and went outside to canoodle among the crickets.

We were left alone with a table tennis table between us. Sarah tipped her pretty face forward to hide her grey eyes under a blonde fringe.

Somehow, we spoke to each other through our shyness. Then we went outside and sat together on a wide swing under a starry sky. And we talked. And I knew what happiness was and that I should treasure these moments because even at nineteen, I knew nothing lasted.

From a caravan somewhere, Elton John came over a radio singing, "Daniel my brother, you are older than me .." and I told Sarah about a dusty, red, Angolan airstrip and hanging from the back of a Hercules transport plane, my arms extended, Dave holding my legs. I'm shouting, no, screaming for Colin to, "Run faster. Jump! For fuck's sake jump!" We'd been through basic together – fought in the bush back to back. Brothers in arms. Colin's eyes were dark brown – I see them now as they changed from panicked to dead - I see them now. A hole ripped out of his chest and something clanged into the ramp beside me. Colin took two steps as a corpse then collapsed like a rag doll into the red dust whipped into the flames of hell by the thunderous props of my saviour plane.

Any time I hear that song, Daniel, I'm immediately back in 1973, Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa, sitting with Sarah. Crying and falling in love.

A new ball game

(kw:Space warp strip cartoon)

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Disgrace - J M Coetzee

English Professor David Lurie is forced to leave his position at the University in Cape Town. He moves away from the city and in with his daughter, settling in to a simple life until something happens which further demolishes his world.

The story is, simultaneously, one of salvation and disintegration.

It is beautifully written. I was completely enthralled and transported, and read the work in a single session.

All I can do is urge you to read it. It's a master-class. Totally brilliant.

The Butt - Will Self

I didn't finish The Butt by Will Self . This is rare for me.

Set in an imaginary country: after carelessly disposing of his last cigarette butt, Tom Bridzinski's world is turned upside down.

It is cleverly written. Some great prose. Will Self's equine face emerged from the pages to read it to me. His voice was strong, but sneering, then relentless. Far worse is that I didn't care. I didn't give a fig about this made up world with its made up island,  vomiting clichés about all that's bad aprés colonialism.

Some words that popped into my head as I read: xenophobic, self indulgent, yawn-fest. A peculiarly English, middle class view of the world.

Read it. Tell me what I missed.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A Princess of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs

If you're thinking of reading the Penguin Classics version of this book then please, peruse John Seelye's introduction after you've read the story. It's probably just me but some of it - his lengthy, disjointed, often pointless, ramblings - annoyed the bejeebers out of me. Though, to be fair, some of the information about ERB's pre-writing days was interesting.

The book: Confederate officer Captain John Carter, a gentleman of Virginia, fresh from the civil war, finds himself naked and, luckily for the title, on Mars.

He has some heroic adventures where he falls in love with a beautiful princess, slays some nasty Martian monsters, brokers peace between warring nations and finds he has the jumping ability of an Earthly flea.

Although it was written around 1912, the language - apart from reintroducing me to the word 'unloosened' bringing back student memories of arguing the word should actually mean 'tighten' - was not a problem. Mr Burroughs writing simply stays out of the way. He tells a tale, paints pictures and transported this reader beautifully. The writing was sweet, flowing, easy ... a great way to chill and let Earthly machinations dissolve away for a few hours. I barely remember reading Tarzan all those years ago but I do understand now why he, Edgar that is, became such a popular writer. In a word: accessible. Some modern writers could learn a thing or two.

If you like a good yarn and don't want anything too 'heavy' to wile away a couple of hours then this comes highly recommended. And, if you care to share your thoughts with me, I'd love to hear them.

I've just started The Butt by Will Self. The reviews on Amazon are a little shy of generous but so far - I'm two chapters in - so good.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Soup deja vu

(kw: Space warp strip cartoon)

This is a scheduled post cunningly set up days ago. Right now, I'm in Scotland - probably striding over majestic hills wondering which will give up the ghost first: my legs or my lungs. Happy Halloween everyone.
See you in a few ...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Three word Wednesday - the words are: fragile, rampant, tremor.

As I watched my son at the supermarket earlier, he - and the words - inspired this:

The cute checkout girl's from Martinique
(Mustn't tremor or I'll look fragile and weak.)

I'll enhance her world with my rampant smile,
It's obvious she admires my style.

Tomorrow, God willing, I may even speak.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Blog Crusade

Rach at Blog Crusade has a fiendish plan to get all us writers who blog connected. The idea is we connect, exchange ideas, build our platform and generally help each other out. Take a look.

For me, it'll be an ideal opportunity to try and create the 'platform' we're all supposed to have. I have a tendency to use this blog as a break from writing by posting my cretinous cartoons, idiotic insights and daft doodles.

I resolve to be much more serious with my blogging in future and talk about things literate.

But first I have to come up with 5k words around super-high-rise habitats and the effects on residents, visitors and local ecologies ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... coffee it is then.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Thursday, 21 October 2010


The Three Word Wednesday words this week are: effect, immense, shimmer.

  My girlfriend's a girl of some class
  With breath not unlike mustard gas.
  The effect is immense
  But in her defence
  Her eyes shimmer like cut glass.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A little culture

I should be taken out and shot for this one:

(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon, Boy George, Culture Club)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

China Miéville is definitely NOT on Facebook

A note from China Miéville who's not happy at being ignored by Facebook.

Here's a copy of his letter:

1601 S. California Avenue
Palo Alto
CA 94304
6 October 2010

Dear Facebook People,


1) The short version:

At least one person, if not more, is/are impersonating me on Facebook, with (a) fake profile(s) claiming my identity. Despite me repeatedly bringing this to your attention, you have taken no action to remedy the situation. And I’m getting very annoyed.

2) The full version:

This thing you hold is called a letter. This is the third time I’ve contacted you, and I’m doing so by this antiquated method because, and I realise this may shock you so brace yourself, I have no Facebook account. Which means it is nigh-on impossible for me to get in touch with you. Kudos for your Ninja avoidance strategies.

Back when you had a button allowing me to alert you to a fake profile despite not having an account myself, I contacted you that way. I was answered with a resonant silence. Subsequently, when the problem persisted, I hunted lengthily for, found and left a message on the phone number you go out of your way to hide. Absolutely nothing happened. So here we go again: third time’s a charm.

I am being imitated on Facebook. I believe the only reason anyone is bothering to do this is because I’m a novelist (published by Macmillan and Random House), a writer and broadcaster, with a minor public profile. I think there are one or two community pages about my stuff on Facebook – that of course is very flattering and nice of people to bother. The problem is that there is or are also pages by someone(s) purporting to be me. This is weird and creepy. What’s worse is I know for a fact that some readers, friends and colleagues are friending ‘China Miéville’ under the impression that it is me, and that others are wondering why ‘China Miéville’ refuses to respond to them. And I have no idea what dreadful things or ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’ are being claimed as mine, nor what ‘I’ am saying.

I know lots of people enjoy being on Facebook. Great. More power to them. Vaya con Dios. Me, though: not my thing. I have absolutely no interest in it. I am not now nor have I ever been a Facebook member. Short of some weird Damascene moment, I will not ever join Facebook – and if that unlikely event occurs, I promise I’ll tell you immediately. In the meantime, though, as a matter of urgency, as a matter of courtesy, as a matter of decency, please respond to my repeated requests:

• Please delete all profiles claiming to be me (with or without the accent on the ‘é’ – last time I looked, I found one ‘China Mieville’, and one more accurately rendered).
• Please do not allow anyone else to impersonate me. I have neither time nor inclination to trawl your listings regularly to see if another bizarre liar has sprung up.
• And while you’re at it, please institute a system whereby those of us with the temerity not to sign up to your service can still contact you on these matters and actually get a [insert cuss-word] answer.

I appeal to you to honour your commitments to security and integrity. Of course as a multi-gajillion-dollar company I have absolutely no meaningful leverage over you at all. If David Fincher’s film doesn’t embarrass you, you’re hardly going to notice the plaintive whining of a geek like me. All I can do is go public. Which is my next plan.

I’m allowing a week for this letter to reach you by airmail, then three days for you to respond to me by phone or the email address provided. Then, if I’ve heard nothing, on 16 October 2010, I’ll send copies of this message to all the literary organizations and publications with which I have connections some of the many books bloggers I know; and anyone else I can think of. I’ll encourage them all to publicise the matter. I’m tired of being impersonated, and I’m sick of you refusing to answer me.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
China Miéville

Monday, 18 October 2010

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Monday, 11 October 2010

Cloth ears

Another of my daft cartoons - recommended by my twelve year old critic:

(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

That alien again

Click for a larger image:
(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Press any key - except shift, ctrl, alt, that one with the funny ...

I finally crawled aboard the third millennium with this, the first fully digital Space Warp cartoon. I used Paint because I couldn't figure out how to use Photoshop. It's not incredibly funny but, at the time, I was very proud of the chairs. Hey, when you can't draw for toffee, anything remotely identifiable is a victory. AND: it only took me 12 months to notice the 'Qudrant' typo!

Tip 678.9: Never poorf raed your own wrok.

(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)

Friday, 8 October 2010

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Three Word Wednesday morning.

It's Three Word Wednesday so soon?!
Where did the week go ... ?

The three words are: hint, lust, and sheen.

They inspired:
My Grandad did hint at his lust,
For Denise and her ample round bust.
Likewise, while doing the dishes,
One of Grandma's three wishes
Includes Charlie Sheen as a must.


Intelligent life as a survival strategy

(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Pranking machines

(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)

Writing to survive

How long do these blogs survive after our death? Six months? A year? Until the Internet's full and they need the space?

My books will survive me. The hard copy for a few years, and the electronic versions for a few more maybe? How long, I wonder.

I bring this up because it's time I 'fessed-up'. In answer to the question, 'Why do you write?' - a question to which I've provided many fallacious answers – the real answer, for me anyway, is to leave something behind.

The thought of passing away, fading from memory, and leaving nothing … nothing … suffice it to say I don't like that thought.

So! There are three more things I'd like to cast out and perhaps leave the tiniest of eddies in this great river of ours:

1) A song I made up and used to sing while bouncing a Teddy bear along the rail of the crib containing Alex, later Claudia:
My name is Ted
And I've got a big head
And I like to jump in the air-oh.
I spin around
When I leave the ground
So they call me the dancing bear-oh.

2) Another song I made up for the amusement of my youngest children:
Fratchety Dan
Is a strange little man
Who lives at the top of a tree.
He's got a white cat
And a big black hat
And he always shouts at me.

There aren't any stairs
Underneath those pears
So I have to use a ladder.
If I rattle a branch
The cat does a dance
And Dan gets madder and madder.

Oooooooh ..

Fratchety Dan
Is a strange little man
Who lives at the top of a tree.
He's got a white cat
And a big black hat
And he always shouts at me.

3) This is a twelve bar blues number I composed – also for the amusement of the youngest – which I'd sit and sing and play on my little keyboard (we have a small chocolate cocker spaniel called Lily):
Woke up one mornin,
my dog was gone.
Oh, I woke up one mornin,
my daw-awg was gone.
Her name was Lily,
and Lord did she pong.

My house smelled so sweet that I,
Had my friends around.
Yes, my house smelled so sweet that I,
Had my friends around.
But when they'd gone,
Lord I missed that hound.

I got so depressed that I,
Hung myself from a tree.
Yes, I got so depressed that I,
Hung myself from a tree.
I woke up in cotton
And my dog was licking me.

Now I wake up each mornin and I,
Know my dog is home.
Yes,I wake up each mornin and I,
Know my dog is home.
And I know I'm in Hell because,
Lord that dog still pongs.

Three things to remember me for.

I hardly knew you, but I miss you Kenny.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Elevated jealousy

This is the first time Pat the Empath and the lift which fancies the Captain meet.

Click for a larger image:  

I know it's uncool to chuckle at one's own jokes, but such is the extent of my silliness ...
(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Friday, 1 October 2010

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Thursday's Three Word Wednesday

In response to Three Word Wednesday's words: imminent, tamper and  engulf.

Word association.

Say, 'imminent'. I say, 'danger'.

Say, 'tamper'. I say, 'proof'.

Say 'engulf'. I sit in silence as I remember Miss Champion. The spinster who ran the children's home which housed me as a small boy. I can still feel her arms wrapped around me, pressing my face to her bosom, feel her kisses on top of my head. This, in stark contrast to the foster home, where I'd been tied to a wooden board for days at a time and humiliated, then made to eat cold porridge on the damp concrete floor of an icy basement.

Thank you Rene Champion. Champion The Wonder Horse to me. Thank you.

Death, taxes and telephone marketing

(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

That high velocity three pin plug

The Ardly Effect spoiler alert ...

Some 10% of the fan mail asks about the origins of the high velocity three pin plug which killed Vick in his space suit just before he could turn off the field projector:
Think back to when sergeants Arthur and George are captured by being transported out of their space ship which then exploded ... one of the sergeants held a plugless kettle from which he poured hot water onto his foot - the tea cup not being there, of course.

Call screening

My twelve year old critic has elevated this effort to 'the dumbest cartoon in the multi-verse'. High praise indeed.

Click for a larger image:
(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Monday, 27 September 2010

Slogans to avoid

After a weekend alternately striding the sunny Scottish hills then relaxing reading holiday brochures, I'd like to share this handy tip: For you marketeers out there - some slogans, no matter how you phrase them, just don't work ...

Click for a larger image:
(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)

Friday, 24 September 2010

The importance of tipping

Still haven't heard back from the three short stories (my babies) I have out there in submission land. Hence the distracting toons while I try to get my brain back into my WIP. Been almost a month I think. I really could do with selling more - need new cardboard for my daughter's shoes.

Here's another tip: get rid of all your dastardly adverbs and adjectives. How many can you leave out? Strong verbs and nouns rock!

(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A measure of success

If my success is defined by other's failure, I don't want it. Then again, if everyone is successful, no one is.

The message in The Incredibles - the 2004 computer-animated superhero film featuring the voice of Holly Hunter (rrrr) - was simply, if everyone is special, no one is.

How true.

Back to success: this is one of those mornings I suspect most writers experience. I'm crap, hopeless, can't do this, everyone hates what I do, the effort is lost, pass me the revolver ...

Then I open an email, from Paypal, saying someone in India has donated £6 after reading one of my free ebooks. The person added a note saying how much they enjoyed it and thanked me for putting it on line.
Someone from India sent me £6!

This catch in my throat is what success tastes like. This rheumy view of my screen is what success looks like.

Shake the bullets from the revolver's barrel. Save them for another day. I have work to do.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Three Word Wednesday

Today's three words from Three Word Wednesday are gait, nudge and ripen.

Inspiring this:
A friend's sympathy.
A nudge from Fat-Bob made me see
A horse pinching plums from his tree.
Bob's chasing gait
Made my stomach pulsate
And laughter ripen in me.

And the winner is ...

I won no prize for being the least incompetent at answering a Sci Fi quiz over at Woo Hoo! I'm so proud and would like to thank Steve my agent, Murray, Karl, Claudia, Alex and of course my mum, as well as Lily the chocolate cocker, and, I could never forget Fatima, the goldfish that keeps my feet firmly planted on the ground by looking at me every morning and saying, "And you are ...?"

Here's my no prize:

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Slime will tell

My twelve year old critic insisted I post this today.

Click for a larger image:

(kw: Space Warp strip cartoon)