Saturday, 30 April 2011

Heirloom


So what exactly had Heidi Headstorm found in the family cornucopia?
            A signed photograph of Jesus, taken shortly after his first album, “I Am the One”, failed to reach number one, and just before he decided to change his career from pop star to Son of God.
            A Google Earth image of Napoleon Boneparte building sandcastles on Elba.
            Jeffrey Archer’s conscience.
            The silence between the words in Hamlet’s soliloquy.
            Mother Theresa’s false eyelashes.
            Mittens knitted from the wool of the lost sheep.
            A collection of the Parables of Elvis Presley, written in his native Chinese.
            Martin Luther King’s scuba-diving suit, complete with shark bite.
            Two-thousand-three-hundred-and-seventeen motorway cones at a fancy-dress party pretending to be prosthetic limbs.
            Adolf Hitler’s porn stash.
            And a partridge nailed to a pear tree.

She buried this knowledge in a mass grave and exchanged the Cornucopia on ebay for a 1962 vintage sunburst Fender Stratocaster which turned out to be made from cardboard. It became the first item in her own, new cornucopia. 

Friday, 29 April 2011

Falling, Not Flying


Every day, Awesome Calamity, Tiger Mother, force-fed tears into her daughter’s well of happiness. These tears would sustain Awesome Calamity’s daughter on her path to true and meaningful and important and better-than-everyone-else enlightenment.
            Awesome Calamity had discovered the most important secret to successful and perfect and right and better-than-everyone-else parenthood. The most important secret to successful and perfect and right and better-than-everyone-else parenthood was this: the path to your child’s true and meaningful and important and better-than-everyone-else enlightenment began with the mortification of their childhood.
            Having discovered the most important secret of parenthood, Awesome Calamity, Tiger Mother, wrote it down in a book. “Kill Your Child’s Dream: Why a Child Should Only Be Able to Buy a Parent’s Love with the Currency of ‘A’ Grades” was the name of Awesome Calamity’s book.
            Within the book was Awesome Calamity’s plan to a child’s true and meaningful and important and better-than-everyone-else enlightenment. This was the plan:

Fail to get an A, fail to get a hug.
Ultra-study: how overwork leads to better-than-everyone-elseness.
Can Do Better! Must Do Better! Will Do Better!
Knowledge acquisition is everything.
Education = learning everything better than everyone else.
Make the grade! Make the grade A!
Understand how to pass tests of facts.
Perform better than everyone else in every test.

            The best laid plans of mice and men and, it so transpired, Tiger Mothers, gang aft agley.

                                                            *

As she stood at the top of the extremely tall building built by people who were unaware of the word hubris, Awesome Calamity’s daughter wrote the final entry – Mother said I must fly – into her “Success Journal”. A few seconds later, the pavement was covered in the success of Awesome Calamity, Tiger Mother.

Awesome Calamity’s daughter’s happiness had not existed.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ah! Childhood…


Our family’s pet Nazi’s favourite toy was a lemon-flavoured killing machine. The toy had come all the way from Honolulu as a free promotional gift with the pearl necklace of pinless hand-grenades which my mother had ordered as part of her retail therapy.
            My mother had tried all of the mainstream therapies: psycho-therapy, dream-therapy, behaviour-therapy, electro-convulsive-shock -therapy, primal-scream-therapy, shouting-at-the-kids-therapy, religious-zealout-therapy and blame-everyone-else-for-my-problems-therapy.
            My mother’s therapist was a psychotic nun who lived in the grey landscape of her abandoned subconscious.
            The psychotic nun said that every socially mobile family needed a pet. My mother was allergic to rabbits, dogs, cats, fish, gerbils, birds and all the other animals. My mother was not allergic to Nazis.
            The family pet Nazi was trouble from the start, and for his twenty-seventh birthday present we took him to the vet to be destroyed.
            He swallowed his cyanide capsule without fuss.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Lawnmowers


The United Kingdom of Countries Which Hated Each Other had decided that lawnmowers should rule the country. The reason why The United Kingdom of Countries Which Hated Each Other had decided that lawnmowers should rule the country was this: they had noticed that lawnmowers were morally superior to politicians.
            Having noticed that lawnmowers were morally superior to politicians, the people of The United Kingdom of Countries Which Hated Each Other had collectively put up for election one lawnmower in each of the six-hundred-and-fifty Parliamentary constituencies.
            The Constitution of The United Kingdom of Countries Which Hated Each Other did not prohibit the putting up of a lawnmower for election as a Member of Parliament.
            The Constitution of The United Kingdom of Countries Which Hated Each Other did not prohibit anything.
            The Constitution of The United Kingdom of Countries Which Hated Each Other did not exist.
            The United Kingdom of Countries Which Hated Each Other now had six-hundred-and-fifty MPs, all of whom were lawnmowers.
            The lawnmowers did not raise taxes. The lawnmowers did not fiddle their expenses. The lawnmowers did not take the country to war on a semi-regular basis. Or any basis. They made no cuts to public services. The lawnmowers were not impressed by casually stupid yet undeniably photogenic American Presidents. The lawnmowers were not divided on Europe. They simply ignored it.
            The lawnmowers let people get on with their lives. Letting people get on with their lives was sometimes good. Letting people get on with their lives was sometimes bad.
            The lawnmowers showed that politicians were unnecessary, and when they failed to call a General Election, no-one complained.

Monday, 25 April 2011

(from) “THE LEXICON OF MADNESS”


Page 211 – Shoes

SHOES – Inventor, (?) Sir Geoffrey de Shoe, Milan (c.1158). Increasingly considered by many to be a form of “modern psychosis” (source: Dr Stephen Carbuncle, School of Pedology, Twats College, Cambridge; “Psyshoesis: a Growing Trend” [Tedious Publications, 2010]). Mental Health professionals have pushed for wider recognition of problems associated with “footwear sociopathy”.
Symptoms (various): inability to walk past Clarks without scoffing sarcastically; avoidance of shoes which fit and are comfortable; obsessive fascination with “ridiculous” creations, such as the notorious “stiletto” (orig. Latin painful blade).
Treatment: none known.   

Why? (And Other Questions)


Elbow Macaroni was plagued by questions:
            Do sheep experience confusion? To what is an uneaten apple analogous? Do premiership footballers and milkmen have the same dreams? Do answers have free will? Could two people have an original thought? Why did language never behave itself?
            They battered the inside of his skull until he lost consciousness.
            In his unconscious state, Elbow Macaroni was plagued by questions:
            Is a book moral? Can a mirror be unethical? Can a colour be wrong? If the meal is untouched, is it a meal? How is “pair” different for socks and pants?
            They battered the inside of his state of unconsciousness until he escaped back into reality.
            Once there, Elbow Macaroni was plagued by questions.
           
This is what it is like being a child.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom


Edward Smith (crazy name, crazy guy) was reading a book. The book which Edward Smith (crazy name, crazy guy) was reading was this: “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom”.
            “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom” was a small book. On each page was a sentence. Each sentence in “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom” contained wisdom. Edward Smith (crazy name, crazy guy) knew that each sentence in “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom” contained wisdom because that was self-evident; he did not need it pointed out with the words “The sentence on this page contains wisdom” written on every page.
            Everyone who had bought “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom” knew that they could become wiser by reading “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom.”
            The Editors of “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom” were not interested in providing people with wisdom. They were interested in selling books.
            The Editors of “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom” had spent one Tuesday afternoon with The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, a bottle of Jack Daniels and two-hundred duty free Gauloises Blondes.
            The Editors of “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom”, not being au fait with the basic principle of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, had tried to think of some wise people before looking up their quotes. The wise people they thought of were:

·         Elton John
·         Doctor Who
·         John Noakes
·         Mariah Carey
·         The Pope
·         Morpheus (from The Matrix)
·         King George (the one with the stammer)
·         Deepak Chopra
·         Joey from Friends
·         Richard and Judy
·         Des O’Connor
·         Princess Diana
·         Spock
·         Ghandi
·         Shakespeare
·         The Fonz
·         Simon Cowell
·         Kylie Minogue
·         Maggie Thatcher
·         John Lennon
·         Jamie Oliver
·         Tink-Winky
·         and, as an afterthought, Einstein.

            The wise people listed by The Editors of “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom” were, largely, not in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. 
            They Googled “Elton John wise quote”. Google came up with an Elton John wise quote. The Elton John wise quote which Google came up with was this: Saturday night's alright for fighting.
             This led to a discussion. The discussion led to a fight, which one of the Editors pointed out was not alright because it was not Saturday night; it was a Tuesday afternoon. The Editors of “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom” decided to amend the Elton John wise quote to: Tuesday afternoon is not alright for fighting.
            This was the first of many amendments which ended up in “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom”.
            Edward Smith (crazy name, crazy guy) read “The Book Which Will Provide You with Wisdom”. Edward Smith (crazy name, crazy guy) became wise.
            The favourite quotes of Edward Smith (crazy name, crazy guy, wise guy) were: Life is a bowl of nuts (Deepak Chopra), Pass the remote (Joey from Friends) and Mozart is more important than syphilis (Einstein).

Saturday, 23 April 2011

A Name I Can Live With


Karol Rimsky-Korsakov Rachmaninov Tchaikovsky didn’t like the names in his name. Like a group of over-testosteroned bodyguards exiting a lap-dancing club, individually they were merely grotesque, but collectively they were truly monstrous.
            Karol Rimsky-Korsakov Rachmaninov Tchaikovsky had a thought. The thought was this: too many ‘k’ sounds.
            Thus, Karol Rimsky-Korsakov Rachmaninov Tchaikovsky changed his name, and in his place stood Arol Rimsy-Orsaov Ramaninov Tchaiovsy.
            Arol Rimsy-Orsaov Ramaninov Tchaiovsy had a thought. The thought was this:  too many ‘ov’s makes my name sound like a series of swear words.
            Thus, Arol Rimsy-Orsaov Ramaninov Tchaiovsy changed his name, and in his place stood Arol Rimsy-Orsa Ramanin Tchaisy.
            Arol Rimsy-Orsa Ramanin Tchaisy had a thought. The thought was this: Arol Rimsy-Orsa Ramanin Tchaisy is a poor choice of name for a man with a couple of speech impediments.
            Thus, Arol Rimsy-Orsa Ramanin Tchaisy changed his name, and in his place stood Aol Imy-Oa Amanin Tchaiy.
            Aol Imy-Oa Amanin Tchaiy had a thought. The thought was this: what kind of stupid name is Aol Imy-Oa Amanin Tchaiy?
            Thus, Aol Imy-Oa Amanin Tchaiy, aficionado of anagrams, changed his name, and in his place stood Aloha Anionic Amity Yam.
             Aloha Anionic Amity Yam had a thought. The thought was this: at last, a name I can live with.

Friday, 22 April 2011

42

For Glenn and Angela James



On the morning of his forty-second birthday, Donatello Adams, distant cousin of Bryan but not, ironically, Douglas, woke up unusually early, at 5.42 am. He spent forty-two seconds inwardly debating whether or not he should answer nature’s call or stay somewhat uncomfortably in his bed. The former won out over the latter, and Donatello Adams walked forty-two steps, which took him from bed to loo, from loo to sink, from sink to kitchen (for a drink) and from kitchen back to bed again. Thus relieved but quite awake, Donatello Adams counted forty-two sheep before his mind wandered off down a slightly tangential track, where he failed to notice that there were forty-two colours of varying shades and hues on the surface of a swaying field of imaginary flowers.
            On the morning of his fort-second birthday, Donatello Adams woke up for the second time, at 6.24 am, forty-two minutes after he had first roused, woken this time by the internal body-clock which somehow knew that the alarm was due to go off at 6.25 am and pre-empted it with its own inaudible alarm.
            On the morning of his forty-second birthday, Donatello Adams, lost forty-two hairs when washing his hair. The number of grey hairs in his distinctly unimpressive moustache now totalled forty-two.
            By the time he had reached the kitchen on the morning of his forty-second birthday, Donatello Adams, failed to notice that the digital display on the front of his cooker proclaimed it to be 6.42 am.
            Whilst travelling to work, Donatello Adams reached 42 miles per hour, before slowing down at a roundabout where the number of cars on all exits reached forty-two.
            On the day of his forty-seconds birthday, Donatello Adams worked, on average, for forty-two minutes of any given hour and was taken to the pub by some colleagues at the end of the day. Upon entering the pub, the total number of patrons rose to forty-two. A cake was produced by Shirley from accounts. Ablaze with candles, Donatello Adams took two puffs to blow them out. There were forty-one candles on the cake, and one for luck.
            On the evening of his forty-second birthday, Donatello Adams realized that Elvis Prelsey had died at the age of forty-two. Thus spurred on to take some exercise, Donatello Adams, whose middle name was Elvis, decided to walk to the off-licence. The last thing Donatello Adams did on his forty-second and final birthday, was to cross the road, where he was run over by a car driven by a man who heard voices for a living.
            The number forty-two had nothing to do with it.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It



Cantaloupe Melon was new to the world of motivational lectures. She hadn’t realized that she could do something simply because she had dreamt it. There were words bouncing around the inside of Cantaloupe Melon’s head. The words bouncing around inside Cantaloupe Melon’s head were: “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It: All you need is a dream.”
            Cantaloupe Melon was disappointed by this. Cantaloupe Melon didn’t have a dream and if she didn’t have a dream, how could she do anything?
            At 3.45 a.m., Cantaloupe Melon was woken by a bladderful of toxins from last night’s Chateauneuf du Pape. The bladderful of toxins had woken Cantaloupe during REM. Cantaloupe realized the significance of this: she now had a dream, and if she could dream it, she could do it.
            Cantaloupe Melon had a dream. The dream was this: juggling knives on the prime-time tv-show, “Britain’s, Like, So Totally Talented!” to the dulcet tones of Eva Cassidy’s acoustic interpretation of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, sung by Smurfs.
            Armed with a dream, an Eva Cassidy tribute CD sung by Smurfs and a set of lethal kitchen knives of assorted sizes from Asda, Cantaloupe Melon attended the audition for the prime-time tv-show, “Britain’s, Like, So Totally Talented!”
            In her pre-audition interview, Cantaloupe Melon explained how she had a dream, and how today was the day to live her dream. Cantaloupe Melon explained to the nation, “If You Can Dream It, You can Do It! All you need is a dream!”
            Cantaloupe Melon entered the stage, and fifteen million living rooms, to the contemplative tones of Eva Cassidy’s acoustic interpretation of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, sung by Smurfs. She started juggling her set of lethal kitchen knives of assorted sizes from Asda. The audience response was ecstatic. Never before had they seen someone juggle a set of lethal kitchen knives of assorted sizes from Asda to the contemplative tones of Eva Cassidy’s acoustic interpretation of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, sung by Smurfs, so expertly.
            Cantaloupe Melon was ecstatic: it was true; all you needed was a dream!
            The judges thought that her act was, “Like, so yesterday.” The audience booed, like parents at an under-10 football game. The judges explained that if you wanted to make it large on “Britain’s, Like, So Totally Talented!” you had to think outside of the box and push the envelope by juggling with something really radical, like elephant’s vaginas or people with a variety of speech impediments, not simply a set of lethal kitchen knives of assorted sizes from Asda.
            Cantaloupe Melon disagreed. The audience disagreed.
            “You haven’t seen my encore, yet!” she yelled and threw a lethal knife at the face of one of the gurning panellists. The audience were ecstatic and the other two panellists voted her through to the final, which, inevitably, was won by a circus troupe who juggled with beavers.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Mozart Effect


Misandria Bonetti locked herself away in a room.
            She listened to Mozart. On a loop.
            Misandria Benotti, having decided to change her surname in order to confuse her stalkers, listened to Mozart because she had heard of the Mozart Effect. The Mozart Effect was this: if you listened to Mozart you became more intelligent. That was the Mozart Effect.
            Misandria Bettoni listened to Mozart for a month: concertos, string quartets, opera; all the number ones. She waited for the Mozart Effect to take effect.
            After a month of listening to Mozart, here is what Misandria Bientot still didn’t understand: E=mc2, the second law of thermodynamics, question 3 of the 1982 Chemistry A’Level paper, footballers’ salaries, how to make a soufflĂ©, the difference between ‘aims’ and ‘objectives', cars, men, the phases of the moon, why an apple has gravity, religious belief, the Russian alphabet, the life-cycle of the cicada, left-handed tablecloths, Welsh comedians, mime, and everything else which she hadn’t understood before listening to Mozart for a month in search of the Mozart Effect.
            After a month of listening to Mozart on a loop waiting for the Mozart Effect to take place, Misandria Bonetti had learned one thing. The one thing she had learned was this: Mozart is a bit samey. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

WWJD?


Dylan Kleptomania lived his life according to this precept: What Would Judas Do?
            He had joined a number of failed revolutionary groups, acquired a permanent wave for his hair and spent his waking hours in sandals and a sort of long robe which he had bought once during a holiday to South Shields.
            Dylan Kleptomania had a habit of betraying his friends. At one time, he had applied for the post of “Police Informer”. He had plenty of practical experience but had failed the GNVQ on ‘Betrayal’ as he had written all of his answers in Aramaic.
            Left to his own devices, Dylan Kleptomania used to sit and wonder about the coming of the Messiah.

Monday, 11 April 2011

The Man with a Plan


The Boy with a Plan became the Man with a Plan.
            The Man with a Plan had a Plan.
            His Plan was to kidnap the Pope and offer his release in exchange for a ransom. The ransom was a car which was suitable for vegetarians. The car which was suitable for vegetarians was to be transferred into an unmarked Swiss Bank Account.
            The Plan fell at the first hurdle, broke its leg and was shot by a vet with a troubled conscience and a gun.
            The Man with a Plan had Another Plan. This time there would be no Popes or banks with smug Nazi gold. And there would be no Plan.
            “Those who fail to plan cannot plan to fail because they have not planned. Their creative spontaneity might come up trumps, though.”

The Boy with a Plan


The Boy with a Plan had his moment of epiphany in the changing rooms at school when he had read the following motivational poster:
            “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail!”
            It was the exclamation mark which did it.
            The Boy with a Plan had never had a Plan and now realized that he needed a Plan.
            The Boy with a Plan decided on a Plan.
            The Plan was simple.
            The Plan was…
            …to fail.
            Any success in his Plan would have been a failure and any failure in his Plan would have been a success.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Teaspoons


Kenneth Chinook-Helicopter hired a private detective to find the teaspoons which had disappeared from the drawers in his kitchen. All the detective found was an old headache past its sell-by date, an abandoned mine-shaft and the meaning of life.
            Kenneth Chinook-Helicopter didn’t want any of these things; he wanted to know the whereabouts of his teaspoons.
            He consulted a psychic, who told him that he had a scar on his left knee, that he was outwardly confident yet inwardly rather shy and that a dead relative, whose name began with a J, or maybe a K, wanted him to have the ring after all.
            None of these things were of any importance to Kenneth Chinook-Helicopter, whose concerns began and ended with teaspoons.
            Kenneth Chinook-Helicopter took himself off, by way of a number 39 bus, to the nearest police-station to file a missing teaspoons report. Whilst there, he was accidentally pushed down a flight of non-existent stairs, charged with gross misconduct with a trouser press and asked to leave with a bag over his head.
            Nobody ever discovered that Kenneth Chinook-Helicopter’s teaspoons had been donated by his estranged girlfriend to Uri Geller’s orphanage for teaspoons, revenge on her part for discovering that Kenneth Chinook-Helicopter had secretly been harbouring a desire to marry his garden fence.