Saturday, August 31, 2002

"Up for the Cup"

The FA Cup. Britain’s premier sporting competition. Football at its finest. The great leveller. Small boys, jumpers for goalposts. The big event the first Saturday in May where the entire nation will grind to a halt for a game of football. It’s got magic. It’s got style. It’s got corporate sponsorship. So when the FA Cup Sponsored-By-AXA-Insurance came to town as part of a national tour of supermarkets and shopping centres, I had to be there. Had to.

The Cup
"Oooh, isn't that the FA Cup?"

I suspect there are at least twelve FA Cups doing the rounds. How is it possible to be in so many places at once? One minute it’s on display at Harrogate Steelworkers Sunday XI, and the next it’s in the car park at Tesco’s somewhere in Cornwall.

There MUST be some kind of quasi-military operation moving the silverware about the country, hoping against hope that two FA Cups don’t turn up in the same place at once. It’s like Disneyworld. There are dozens of Mickies, Minnies and Goofies running round the place, and it would be an end-of-the-world matter/anti-matter explosion if two of them actually met.

So, it was a rainy Sunday afternoon that I dragged the family out to Savacentre in Reading on the pretence of “getting a pint of milk” and “Ooh, look, isn’t that the FA Cup?”

There it was, sitting rather forlornly in the middle of a half-empty car park, under a stripy gazebo next to its glum looking minder, whose sole purpose in life was to try to enthuse us enough about The Cup to buy life insurance. No. Chance.

Photos: One Pound. We’re having some of that, so crowd round, everybody. Now Adam was only two years old at the time. He’s not to steady on his feet, so when he stumbles on the edge of the rather cheap looking carpet, it’s life-flashing-before-your eyes, everything-going-slow-motion time.

He grabs the first thing he can to steady himself, and it just happens to be one of The Cup’s huge handles. My life, it should be pointed out, has been cursed by the application of Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion, and here he comes again the great wiggy bastard.

The Cup rocks on its base, and we watch in horror as the lid catapults off and bounces off the dais.

“Oooh shi....” says the minder, suddenly realising where he is, and that his job is now hanging by a thread.

DANG! The lid is now happily rolling across the floor of the gazebo and with a DUNK! bounces down the step and into the car park. It’s free. And it’s heading towards moving traffic. I can scarcely bring myself to look as the Lid of The Cup trundles towards a passing van, goes straight between the wheels and out the other side. The minder is trying to speak, but he can only move his jaw up and down with no sound coming out.

The Lid bounces off the wheels of a supermarket trolley, and with a tinny WAP-WAP-WAP-WOP-WOP-WOP! comes to rest between the unforgiving jaws of the sliding doors of the supermarket.

The minder runs across in a cold sweat and retrieves his precious lid. It is completely unmarked by its dash for freedom.

“Don’t worry mate”, I say encouragingly. “There’s at least another dozen Cups out there. Who’s going to know?”

“Yeah,” he replies, perking up a bit, “Keep quiet about it, or they’ll all want one”.

We got our photo in the end. For free. Result.

Back to Scaryduck

Friday, August 30, 2002

"How to fit a cat flap to a shed in one easy lesson"

1. Don't.

Or... if your wife insists...

1. Approach shed gingerly with selection of power tools.
2. Tell cat to bugger off.
3. Cut impressive looking hole in side of shed with jigsaw.
4. Tell kids to bugger off.
5. Watch in horror as the cheap wood the shed is made out of starts falling to pieces as soon as you breathe near it.
6. Tell cat to bugger off.
7. Tell wife to bugger off.
8. Fit cat flap to what remains of the matchstick thin shed wall using a selection of nails, screws, No More Nails and more nails "just to make sure".
9. Watch cat flap fall off.
10. Tell neighbour, milkman, postman, passing bus driver and the Man from Del Monte to fucking fucking fucking bugger off.
11. Throw a hissy fit and kick hole in side of shed with size nine boots.
12. Tell wife that "everything's going fine, just making a few modifications."
13. Tell cat to bugger off.
14. Surreptitiously retire to workshop and knock out decent wall for shed out of scrap timber that looks passable and almost the same colour as the rest of the shed.
15. Fit to side of shed, neatly covering up the gaping chasm you left there.
16. Watch for three days as cat refuses to use cat flap.
17. Get a dog.


Good 5-2 victory over a pitiful West Brom in midweek, with a debut goal by the awesome Aliadiere, who looks like Le Boss has found another footballing genius for the side. Pleasing draw for Big Cup too, with trips to Borussia Dortmund, PSV Eindhoven and Auxerre. No trips into the back of beyond, which means the Godlike Dennis Bergkamp should make the journey. Yus. And we've finally got a new keeper. He's Swedish, he's Egyptian, no he's Swegyptian. Or something.

Oh and... Top of the League!

Back to Scaryduck

Sunday, August 25, 2002

"Pie news"

The genius of Jonti Picking and his just-as-genius sidekick Skoo have done it again with another cracking new Weebl and Bob story. I've got tears of laughter running down my face as I write this. Lo. I want a vole cannon! Now!
"The Phantom Cock Strikes Again"

It’s amazing what you find funny when you’re thirteen years old. Most of these things happen to involve sex, nudity and bare genitalia in some form or another, so it was hardly surprising that anything involving one or more of these combinations was certain to be a hit at our school. And one spring afternoon, our lives were changed forever. The Phantom Cock had struck for the first time.

I remember that sunny day in 1979 like it was yesterday. School had just finished and we headed to the cycle sheds to pick up our bikes. As a matter of fact, so many of us cycled to school that the bike sheds filled an entire tennis court. As I reached my bike, something was different. Wrong. As in Not Right. There, chalked on my bike saddle was a crude picture of a man’s cock. And I wasn’t the only victim. There were half a dozen nobs scrawled across bike saddles in a frenzy of phallic graffiti.

Big Pink Chopper
Big Pink Chopper

The next day, our mystery artist had struck again, only more so. At least twenty bikes had been graffiti-ised, including an eighteen inch member on the giant saddle of one lad’s Raleigh Chopper. As the week went on, our school’s answer to Picasso got braver and braver, and by Friday, the bike shed was a sea of chalky cocks. The villain had also become brazen in his excess. There, scrawled on the music block wall behind the bike shed were the words “The Phantom Cock Strikes Again”. It wasn’t big, and it wasn’t clever. A hero was born.

By the following Monday, Cock Fever had swept the school. Not a single piece of chalk could be found in any classroom, and the staff had to break out emergency supplies. “Puds”, as they came to be known appeared anywhere where the perpetrator could spare a few seconds without being spotted. The playground was awash with them, as were walls, corridors, exercise books and the backs of lower school pupils who could be held down while a pud was chalked onto their jersey.

It couldn’t last. This was one craze that burned short and bright. The teachers had already gotten wind of the bike-puds after the Phantom Cock had carelessly chalked up Mrs Clark’s bike saddle, and a special watch was kept on the bike sheds. They didn’t have long to wait, and the Phantom Cock was unveiled as Bob - a kid from my class - who was allowed to go home for lunches, and used the time he had in the bike shed to carry out his calling.

With our leader in the cooler, it was only a matter of time before the Pud Craze was brutally suppressed. And it came during morning assembly at the end of the second week. We’ll never know who did it, but the deed had somehow been done. Bob, to this day, denies all knowledge and I believe him. It was made all the worse by the fact that we were a church school, and the local vicar insisted on preaching to us on a weekly basis. In short, we caught hell.

Someone had managed to switch the slides on the overhead projector. We were supposed to see the words to “At the Name of Jesus” twelve feet high on the wall of the school hall. Instead, we got the biggest pud in the history of the world. With plums. And hair. And a big purple helmet spurting jizz. As Mrs Clark on the piano launched into the hymn’s intro in blessed ignorance of what was projected on the wall above her head, there was a moment of stunned silence, followed by roars of teenage laughter.

I for one, was utterly helpless, tears rolling down my cheeks, bent double with hysterics. And I wasn’t alone. The cream of British youth, helpless at the sight of the world’s biggest wang. Quite a few of the girls, too, one couldn’t help but notice, not to mention one or two teachers.

Two people NOT laughing however were the headmaster “King Kong” Waghorn and the vicar. It was Wrath of God time, which was to be visited upon us regularly over the next few weeks. All graffiti on walls, books or other school and private property was banned. The bike sheds had a guard mounted, and all chalk supplies were strictly monitored. All the boys (but funnily enough, none of the girls) were made to spend breaks washing puds off walls, and the vicar came in even more often than usual to lecture us on good, healthy, clean living and the benefits of cold showers. It was hell.

Post Script: What we *didn’t* know was that in certain parts of Britain the word “pud” is actually slang for the leg or foot. So come the following term when our new Sports teacher from Yorkshire kept telling us to “stick your pud in front of the ball”, you can imagine the reaction. Remarkably, there were relatively few injuries.

Post Post Script: For your education and delight, I have created a step-by-step guide on How to Draw a Pud. Step Three can, of course, be omitted.

Saturday, August 24, 2002


West Ham 2-2 Arsenal

The epic fifteen game winning streak came to an end today after a 2-2 draw at West Ham. It was a game that the Hammers could and should have wrapped up - they were much the better side in the first half, and any decent team would have hung on to a 2-0 lead. But West Ham, as we all know, aren't a decent team, and Thierry "Va Va Voom" Henry got one back, before Spunky saved perhaps the lamest penalty ever seen that could have made it 3-1.

In the end the mighty Arsenal's class showed through with an 88th minute equaliser from Sylvain Wiltord, a player who up until recently, couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo. Kolo Toure could have won it for us in the final minute, but hey, them's the breaks. Report here, and don't forget quality sweary Arsenal stuff at the fuckin' excellent Arseblog.

Points dropped all over the place today means that we're still third after a couple of games this season. Early doors, but Liverpool look the team to beat. And we've already done that once already this season, haven't we campers?

No news yet on Le Boss's pre-deadline goalkeeper signing, with a whole list of names linked to the club. I have a sneaking feeling it's "Blind" Johnny Lukic again. Or worse still, "Really Blind" Gordon Banks.

Back to Scaryduck

Friday, August 23, 2002

"Double Entendre Madam? That'll do nicely!"

I spent my formative years living in the Home Counties of England. However, the rest of our family was scattered to the four winds, so a visit was always a major trek. My maternal grandparents, for instance, lived in a wee small village just to the east of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Air travel back in the mid to late seventies was a bit of a luxury, so the only real alternative was a combination of car and ferry.

Our saviour
Our saviour

So every year, we’d pile into the car and mum would drive us the four hundred miles to Stranraer (the bit on the extreme bottom left of Scotland) where we’d pick up the boat for Ireland. Dad wouldn’t go, because of his army connections, so it would just be the four of us - me, my brother and my sister, taking our lives in our hands on the primitive British road system.

Have you ever tried to drive 400 miles in one day? OK, in the US, that’s a trip to the corner shop for smokes and a crate of beer, but in England, and particularly England before they opened up the motorways, it was The Trek From Hell. We left at four in the morning, and by six we were still only five miles from home.

In our 1973 Renault 12, it took us the best part of five hours just to reach Birmingham, and by the time we’d reached the Scottish border, the car was screaming for mercy and the battery was giving up the ghost. Being stuck in a car for ten hours with three bored kids, mum had had enough too. I distinctly heard the words “shallow grave” at one point; and now I have kids of my own, I get her meaning.

Any road up, we finally arrive at the ferry port in Stranraer and the car just gives up on the spot. It’s had enough and has stopped stone dead, and doesn’t even have enough juice in the battery to get us on the ferry. Luckily, there’s a guy from the AA breakdown service nearby and he’s happy to help out as long as it doesn’t disturb his world record chain-smoking attempt.

“It’s the alternator, madam” he says, sprinkling his magic cigarette ash over the engine, which immediately bursts into life, “It’s got a loose connection.”

“We thought so” says mum, “My husband and I have had it off three times on the kitchen table”

The fella looks up, sees three beaming kids sitting in the back seat and collapses with howling laughter. He’s utterly helpless for at least five minutes, and all mum can do it look on disapprovingly.

“WELL! I don’t see what’s so funny about that...”

Boom, and indeed, tish!

Back to Scaryduck

Thursday, August 22, 2002

"Mao's Revenge"

This week, I have been mostly shitting through the eye of a needle. Yup, there's nothing like spending a beautiful summer's day wedged on the bog, squirting at both ends and cursing a certain nameless Chinese restaurant in the centre of Weymouth. I did, however, manage to see parts of the spiffy Weymouth Carnival from my perch, most notably the rather ace RAF Red Arrows lining up for their display round the harbour over my house.

The week wasn't a total dead loss. While everybody else was having the time of their lives, I was left in charge of supervising The Man We're Paying To Fix The Kitchen Floor. It turned out that he was once a TV presenter, back in the early nineties when Sky Sports were new to the scene, and were hard pushed to find anything that might even be loosely termed a "sport" to show their punters.

In short, Mike hosted a fishing programme, called (as they always, always are) Tight Lines. He became a bit of a local celebrity, particularly enjoyed mixing his passion for fishing with getting paid shedloads of money for a few hours work a week talking about a "sport" that hardly lends itself to television.

"We'd make a few filmed inserts in the morning" he told me, "and then they told me I had to go back in the evening for the live phone-in. Only trouble was, I went down the pub and had six pints of Blackthorn Cider."

You can see where this is leading...

"I was pissed out of my head, but they had to let me go on anyway as the other expert hadn't turned up. The first caller asked me 'Mike, what's the difference between onshore and offshore fishing?'. So I told him. 'In all my years, that is the most fucking stupid question any fucker's ever fucking asked me'.

"They went straight to an advert break and that was the end of my time on TV. Still, you've got to laugh."

So, if you ever need any plastering, ceiling or floor work done in the Weymouth area, and get a damn good anecdote into the bargain, Mike's in the Yellow Pages.

Back to Scaryduck

Saturday, August 17, 2002

"Rip-roaring REEEEDS!"

A big "Woo!" and a "Yay!" for this weekend as the English Premiership football season kicks off at last. And this season I will be predicting ARSENAL for the title, the cup, the European cup, the national lottery and first dibs on Charlotte Church. On the other hand, I confidently predict a glorious season for Totteham Hotspur too - relegation, cup humiliation, a low cost European holiday and sloppy seconds with Ann Widdecombe.

Absolutely no bias at all there. For all your Arsenal news and swearing, I thoroughly recommend the spiffy Arseblog, because in their own words, "It's f*ckin' excellent'". Which it is.

And coming soon to a blog near you: "My life as a football hooligan": the story of one man's cowardice in the face of a rampaging army of twelve-year-old mini-thugs. Running away - it's the new rock'n'roll.

"Dolphin Sex Update"

Filthy Georges, the one-eyed sex pervert crimefighting superhero dolphin and is back in Weymouth, and as I type is flipping about in Sandsfoot Cove just yards from my house. As far as I can make out, he's not trying to have sex with anybody. But I swear he's been eyeing up the cat. You can never tell with his type. Give 'em an inch and they'll take you up the Gary Glitter a mile.

Back to Scaryduck

Friday, August 16, 2002


The Law of the Playground is quite specific. “Games shall be as brutal as possible, and there shall be no snitching to the teachers if you get hurt.” Are we absolutely clear? Good. Because break time at our school came with a public safety warning. It was tough out there.

Take the gentle game of “One Touch” for example. You’ve got to kick a ball against a wall. You’ve only got one touch of the ball to do it (hence the name, stupid) and if you fail, you’re out. Last person left is the winner. Simple enough.

But at Piggott this pursuit mutated into “One Touch Dobbings”. Nobody dared to miss the wall because not only were you out, but you had to make it to the edge of the pitch without receiving a kicking from the other players. The later into the game, the worse the “dobbing” as frustrated “out” players waited for a new game to start by dealing out harsher and harsher punishments. A particularly good game of One Touch would actually attract non-participating spectators whose sole purpose in life was to “dob” the vanquished. The more the better, and one or two of the lads would resort to wearing protective clothing.

Woe betide you, however, if you played One Touch Dobbings with Jonno. His idea of a good dobbing was a steel-capped boot in the testicles. You only played One Touch Dobbings with Jonno once, usually minutes before you crawled into a quiet corner to die.

One Touch? Pah! Why play that wusses game when you had Kingy. In America they’ve got Dodgeball. It’s played with a huge great ball that is impossible to throw with any great force and nobody gets hurt. Much. Hell, there’s even an International Dodgeball Federation for crud’s sake. And leagues. And twenty foot high trophies that you can only get in American minority sports. I bet it’s even got a TV deal somewhere.

body armour
Another breaktime of Death Kingy

Hell no. That won’t do. We took the wussed-out game of Dodgeball and turned it into Kingy. We didn’t have no truck those great big soft balls. We wanted action. We wanted power. We wanted pain. Being the maniacs that we were, we had tennis balls injected with water. In skilled hands, they were deadly weapons, and some people actually preferred the risk of playing One Touch with Jonno over the painfest that was Kingy.

The rules were simple: One person is Kingy. He has the ball. He has to chase the other players round the playing area chucking the ball at them. If he scores a hit, the two then team up against the rest until everyone is hit. The last guy left is the winner and is Kingy for the next game.

Early on in the game, you’re more likely to get a fluky hit that won’t hurt so much. The longer you last, the greater the odds against you and the bigger the chance of reciving a close-range whupping. And that, I’m afraid is the price you pay for being so bloody good at it.

And boy could you get some power with half a pound of water-filled tennis ball. A good hit would leave a bruise that would stay for weeks. I saw with my own eyes Jim taking a hit from close range right between the arse cheeks by a member of the school cricket team. The ball was travelling with such force that it actually got wedged in there and James just silently keeled over forwards, the ball still clenched up his arse. As far as I know, it’s still there.

We carried him from the field, face down, and dumped him outside the classroom door, ready for the next lesson. Unfortunately for him, it was physics, and those science lab stools hurt your butt at the best of times...

But playing this wide-ranging game of chase and pain on the school field was not enough. We wanted more! One damp day, with the field closed off, we decided to play Kingy in the enclosed space between the maths block and the sports hall. Holy Mother of Donkey Poop. There was nowhere to hide. Mal didn’t even have any trees to run into. It was brutal.

A whole game, which would normally last twenty minutes out in the field would last maybe two or three. Bodies would lie scattered across the playground nursing wounds or crawling to safety. If you were hit and went down, they’d hit you again “just to make sure”, or resort to the time-honoured tradition of “Dobbings” in a horrific playground crossover that maybe took the genre just a little too far. Breaktime, once a fun refuge from the rigours of the classroom soon became something to dread; and wary of breaking the Rule of the Playground and wimping out, we’d grimly get stuck into our brutal task.

However, the line had been crossed and there was no going back. And like drug addicts, we wanted more. And Mad Jonno of the bollock-crushing boots provided it. “Screw the tennis ball”, he said, “Look at what I’ve got”.

It was a golf ball. One ounce of white plastic malevolance. Not only did it hurt, it had the ability to draw blood. And in the enlcosed maths block/sports hall space, the thing would ricochet around to catch you unawares, leaving you in a groaning heap on the deck, just ripe for a dobbing prior to your trip to the emergency dentist.

One breaktime of that was more than enough. People were about to crack. To hell with the Playground Law, teachers would have to be told. Luckily, honour would be preserved. One breaktime of Golfball Kingy was all we got.

The trouble with golfballs on a hard surface is that they bounce. A lot. And once it’s going, no bugger on Earth is going to try to stop it. So come lunch time, out came the Ball of Fear and off we go with another game. Jonno is Kingy and lets fly with the Mother and Father of all misdirected throws. We watch with astonishment as our nemesis bounces once, twice, three times, right across the playground, younger kids diving out of the way, scattering in abject fear.

There is a sickening crash of glass as Jonah’s Exocet missile scores a bulleye on the dining hall. Witnesses on the inside speak of an explosion of glass, panic, outrage and a free meal to anyone who claimed they’d got glass in their food. And there, at the very epicentre, was Mrs Taylor, the fearsome dinner lady, who had taken the full force of a supersonic golf ball right in the left tit.

The shit hit the fan. Mrs Taylor’s tit had to be avenged, and the head stormed out of his office like a big fat, sweaty angel of death to collar the culprits. There are times when you have to say bollocks to the Playground Law of landing your mates in the shit, and this was it. Month upon month of Jonno’s steel-capped boots in the nuts was enough for all of us, and his time had come. One day we might want to have children, or at the very least, See A Lady Naked. He was handed to the authorities on a plate, and our ordeal of Death Kingy was over. And thank God for that, we could get back to regular brutality.

If there’s a moral to all this, it’s that sometimes we have to bend the rules. Playground Honour is one thing. A boot in the nads is another.

Back to Scaryduck

Thursday, August 15, 2002

"British lunacy at its finest"

Some forty years ago, the Soviets took the bull by the horns and launched Yuri Gagarin into space. Not long after that, the Americans got their man up there too, and before long manned space flight seemed common-place. We've had men on the moon, the Apollo-Soyuz link-up, the Space Shuttle, Mir, the International Space Station. And where has Britain been in all this time? Nowhere. The Russians let Helen Sharman hitch a ride, and some Brit had to become a US citizen to get a ride on a shuttle, but that, I'm afraid to say, is that. The World's former greatest colonial and exploratory power has done precisely zip in space. Until now.

Ground Control to Major Tom...
Great British Heroes. Barking Mad.

Step forward Andy Elson and Colin Prescot, pilots of the future. While the major space powers slug it out with expensive and frankly dangerous rockets, these guys are going up in a balloon. That's right - Qinetiq 1 - a whopping great big sack of helium the size of the Empire State Building which will take them up 132,000 feet and into space. They'll break the human altitude record and carry out some experiments whilst trying not to get killed. They are, in all probability, as mad as a sack of ferrets, and we here at Scaryduck salute them.

They've been testing the launch platform in Portland Harbour near to Scaryduck Towers, and by September they hope for a launch off St Ives in Cornwall, and at last we'll be a space power to be reckoned with. Elson and Prescot follow in a long line of barking mad English explorers - Sir Francis Drake, Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton and ...err... Dan Dare. Some of these people even came back alive. Best of luck chaps, we're right behind you.

Back to Scaryduck

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

"There is no honour without pie"

The epic new Weebl and Bob story "Riot" has hit the street. And a big Woo! and a Yay! to Jonti, Weebl's creator, who is to produce twenty Weebl and Bob stories for MTV. At last, the good guys rise to the top.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

"Sick" -- Part II of our puketastic story...

Being easily pleased teenage Air Cadets, chucking up lumps in tiny training aircraft was all fine and dandy. But we wanted the real thing. Our Commanding Officer found that all it took was a phonecall. Ring up an air station, ask if they were flying anywhere, and would they mind if they took us along too? We soon made friends with 115 Squadron whose job was to calibrate runway equipment at all RAF bases. So on any given day, we could end up in Belfast, Gibraltar, Germany, or on one memorable occasion, Cyprus. They even threw in lunch and a spell in the cockpit. Anything, it turned out, to make their job more interesting.

However, it was when we were cordially invited to RAF Lyneham that it all went horribly pear-shaped. Lyneham is the home of the Royal Air Force’s Hercules fleet. Big, noisy, boneshaking transport aircraft. They’re fine if you’re one of the flightcrew as they’ve got a big, breezy and comfortable flight deck. For anyone in the back, though, it’s worse than cattle trucks, and quite the worst experience of anybody’s life. Margaret Thatcher once spent twelve hours in the back of one of these monsters en route to the Falkland Islands. Good.

pic undoctored in any way, honest
"It's no good sir, I'm gonna BLEEEEGH"

We’d all bunked off school with the dreaded official letter and set off to meet our destiny courtesy of an RAF bus. It’s a relatively long drive from Henley to the other side of Swindon, especially in a charabang that’s so old they have a man walking in front with a red flag. Stopping at Membury Services, we stocked up with all those things necessary for a schoolboy day out. Sweets. Loads of them. Walker, in true Ralph Wiggum style, ate the lot within ten minutes, and was looking distinctly green before we even got there.

Just to really stoke things up, we arrived at Lyneham to find that we’d been booked an early lunch in the canteen. And it was a fry-up. Greasy eggs, bacon, sausages, the work, all washed down with acid-flavoured tea that only the armed forces can manage. With all this goo bubbling up inside, NOW we were ready to fly. We were booked on Herky 218 for two-and-a-half hours of “Bump and Go”. The pilot was going to spend the afternoon flying round and round in circles practicing his take-off and landing techniques. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the weather had taken a turn for the worse. You just KNOW what kind of flight this was going to be.

It was fine for the first hour or so. We took off, flew around Southern England for a bit and all tooks turns visiting the flight deck. The loadmaster also opened the rear doors so we could look out into 10,000 feet of sheer drop below us. That was good.

But before long, the pilot started his sequence of take-offs and landings. Bump. Go. Bump. Go. That was bad.

Some of the lads were beginning to look distinctly peaky. The loadmaster took the hint and started handing out bags, sick, for the use of. Jez was the first to go with a discreet little honk. Closely followed by Alan. However, things were about to get hideously out of control. It was Walker. He’d stuffed himself stupid with sweets and fizzy drinks. Then he’s gone back for seconds of the canteen fry-up. Walker, as you’ll know if you’ve read “Guns”, is a walking disaster area. And today was no exception.

“I’m gonna puke” he gasped.

“Sick bag! Sick bag!” we shouted over the roar of the engines.

But it was no use. He’d already dropped it on the floor, and he was fast reaching the point of no return.

You may have heard the saying “You can’t hold back puke”. And you can’t. Once it’s on it’s way, you can’t stop that bodily spasm that expels the contents of your stomach with great force. But top marks to Walker for trying. With his hands over his mouth, you could actually see his cheeks bulging as he gamely tried to hold back the inevitable.

And then came the explosion. Have you ever put your finger over the end of a hosepipe to make it spray? Well, that’s what Walkers hands did. There was a veritable fountain of barf, cascading over everything in a ten feet radius. It was projectile vomiting at its finest. I was the unfortunate soul sitting next to him, and took the full force of the blast. Several others nearby were also drenched, and the foul stench of spew filled the cabin.

There was nothing for it. Most of us were already feeling a little queasy to start with, but this was the final straw. I was the first to go, closely followed by several others as the foul-smelling cloud did its worst in a chunder flavoured domino effect. Within seconds everyone had chundered , some into the bags provided, and at least one striaght onto his lovely shiny boots.

Still feeling rank, and still scraping the remains of Walker’s lunch off my uniform, I looked up to see the RAF loadmaster in fits of laughter at the cream of our nation’s youth, slowly but surely puking for Britain.

We still had over an hour of this torture to go, and by the time we had landed and taxied back to the hangers, the cargo hold of the Hercules looked exactly like the kind of hospital ward Florence Nightingale did her best to eradicate during the Crimean War. There were groaning bodies everywhere as we tried to shut out the full horror of the last two hours. Someone had the bright idea of using the earplugs provided to shut out the din of the engines as noseplugs to keep the smell of the puke out. One by one we all staggered out of the cargo doors, falling to our knees and kissing the ground. We can only assume that the Pope has the same pilot.

We vowed: Never Again. Everyone, that is, except Corporal Flynn. He was as happy as a sandboy, and had spent the entire flight joyfully putting away chocolate bars and the remnants of the flight crew’s lunch. The bastard. And where is he now? The smug git ended up as a Royal Air Force pilot, who is, as we speak making life hell for visiting Space Cadets.

A month later, we went back for more.

Back to Scaryduck

Friday, August 09, 2002

Oh no! It's another Dolphin Sex Update!

Killer Sex Fiend Crimefighting Hero Dolphin
Filthy Georges - aquatic crime-busting superhero!

Who is this crimefighting superhero? Superman? Batman? No - it's Filthy Georges the Weymouth Sex Fiend Dolphin! Taking time out from stalking the Dorset coast, luring unsuspecting tourists into a watery dolphin-ravaged grave, our Georges instead managed to hold up the Bramble Bush ferry for long enough to stop two jewel thieves in their getaway from the scene of a most heinous crime. What a hero.

"And we would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that pesky dolphin"

Total number of people shagged to death by Filthy Georges: NIL

Total number of rubbish jewel thieves captured by Filthy Georges the Crimefighter: TWO
“Sick” - Part One of an epic tale of mirth and woe. And vomit.

Being a teenager in the Air Cadets was ace. Her Majesty’s Government paid out thousands and thousands in taxpayer’s money to give us guns, summer camps, free flying and tenpin bowling. And guns. It was all in a good cause, I suppose - the whole idea was to get lazy, stupid, TV obsessed kids off their backsides and get them ready for a career killing people. It nearly worked for me, I came *that* close to signing up. As it stands, I can still get a mirror shine on even the dirtiest of boots armed with nothing but a small rag and a spoon. If there’s ever a call for that kind of skill in the cut-throat world of international communications, I’ll be quids in.

So, thanks to the Royal Air Force’s desire to rope us all in as potential fighter pilots, they did their best to chuck us all on as many planes as they could. We were even allowed to take time off school to visit air stations, an unexpected perk that made us the envy of classmates who thought we were all uniformed ponces.

We’d be regularly carted off up to RAF Benson or RAF Abingdon where we’d meet 6 Air Experience Flight and their collection of antique Chipmunk trainers, which was a basically an excuse for retired fighter pilots to throw a tiny plane about with an increasingly green-looking kid in the back.

"It's no good sir, I'm gonna BLEEEEGH"

Chippy flying was skill. Unfortunately, we were made to sit through the dire safety film which told you what to do if the plane crashed (die, basically) and then sit around for hour on end waiting your turn and stewing over your fate. Then, you were strapped into a parachute that had definately seen better days which made you walk like a monkey and thrown into the back of a plane that was built in the late 1940’s.

The pilots were psychopaths. They’d had a long, varied, but unsufferably peacetime career in which they’d been on endless exercises in their multi-million pound fighter jets, and had never, ever seen action. And now the RAF had spat them out at the other end and they were reduced to flying spotty kids about in a single-engine trainer that had cost two-and six from a jumble sale. And now they were going to pay.

The bastards threw those little planes about like there was no tomorrow. Loops, rolls, some impossible stunt I have only ever seen duplicated on a computer game, and that ended up in a messy exploding fireball. You’d spend half an hour alternately hanging from your seat straps or zooming head-on towards an ever enlarging landcape, the tiny engine screaming like a German Stuka bomber, before pulling up at the last minute. You could see people on the ground pointing and running in terror as we’d hurtle towards them. I’m sure I once heard the pilot screaming “RAT-A-TAT-A-TAT-TAT-A-TAT! you bastards!” at one stage. It was like “633 Squadron” all over again.

One of these nutters, just for old times’ sake on the eve of his final retirement, was allowed a Red Arrows Hawk jet for half an hour before being given his own personal desk to fly. He managed to pull a gut-wrenching 9-G’s on the thing, and it spent the next month in the hangar while they waited for a new set of wings from the factory.

Unfortunately, there were casualties. The lads would stagger from the plane, still in a parachute-induced monkey walk, clutching bulging sickbags and vowing never to return. I spent the rest of the day on my back, while the world spun around me at an alarming rate. Some kind soul had left a bucket next to me “just in case”, and boy did I need it.

Poor old Murza parted company with his lunch at the top of a loop, missed the bag entirely and filled the entire rear cockpit with diced carrots. The pilot continued with his routine, and by the time they landed, Murza was head to toe with vomit. After a quick wipe-round, the next poor sap was bundled in, and he spent the following thirty minutes trying to dodge sicky lumps as they bounced around him from all angles.

It was brilliant. And we went back for more.

Part II of this epic tale of mirth and woe next week

Thursday, August 08, 2002

"Kill me, just kill me now..."

*** Boring traditional blog entry alert ***

Last night, I played football for the first time in six years. That's something called "soccer" if you're a Septic. Those of you familiar with my blog will know that I'm not very good, and with my advancing years and even more advancing waistline, this was a calculated risk for my body. My left knee needs ten minutes notice for any strenuous exercise, and just popping out to the corner shop for sweets, jazz mags and fizzy drinks brings me out in a cold sweat.

Indeed, I even went as far as to update my will:

* I hereby leave my bank overdraft to my brother.
* My priceless collection of rare vinyl records to be turned into novelty flowerpots and sold at a car boot sale
* Play "Going Underground" by The Jam at my funeral

In the end, it turned out a minor triumph. I can still walk this morning.There were players who were actually in worse shape than me present. And we only lost 8-2. I'll be back for more next week.

*** Normal service resumed ***

I am now in league withS666atan and have my own barcode. Go on, scan me, I don't care. Book of Revelations, y'know.

Back to Scaryduck

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

"Fish" - A parable on man’s inhumanity to his fellow man

WARNING: “The following paragraphs contain scenes of fish filleting which some readers may find disturbing.”

Fishing. What the bloody hell is that all about? Sit for hours on end next to some poxy lake on the half chance that some fish will be stupid enough to bite the hook you’ve left lyng around for them. My brother loved fishing. Matt next door loved fishing. Whole swarms of kids would descend on the gravel pits of a weekend, grasping rods and icky green boxes of maggots. My dad was yet another fishing nut, and virtually threw me out of the door with a rod in my hand so he could enjoy a quiet kid-free weekend. I wasted hours waiting for something to happen. What a waste of life. I want it back.

You stupid bugger

I soon found out that I wasn’t the only kid forced down the lakes against their will. After approximately ten minutes of tedium, you’d give up altogether and go for a walk, where you’d find kindred spirits wishing they were doing something, anything more interesting. Matt, it turned out, despite his faux enthusiasm for the hobby, was one of them and would do anything to slack off. We also found John and Squagg, victims of their parents’ desire for a quiet Saturday in. Geoff, on the other hand, loved fishing. He had all the gear, several rods, keep net, landing net, stool, and a little tent thing. He represented everything we hated about fishing.He had to die.

He also had one gadget that immediately caught our eye. A ground bait catapault. It was a genuine catapault that you used to fire off handfuls of maggots into the middle of the lake to attract the fish. It didn’t take us long to see that this had possibilities...

“Dad? Can I have some money for a ground bait catapault?”

CH-CHING! Sorted.

Next weekend we went to the lakes suitably armed. Catapault. Marbles. Large stockpile of French bangers purchased on a recent trip to Calais, huge double dose of maggots straight out of the vending machine at the garage. Yes - a VENDING MACHINE! How gross is that? How many customers mistook it for a coke machine and got a wriggling mass of bluebottle larvae? The mind boggles. And who, in the name of our lady of donkey poop, had the job of keeping the thing topped up?

And so it came to pass that after a token ten minutes of fishing (total catch, as usual = NIL) we’d had enough and went in search of Geoff. And sure enough, he was in is usual place just below the weir, all his gear laid out nicely and all set for a day of rollercoaster excitement that is coarse fishing. We left him alone. For a bit. No point COMPLETELY ruining his day. So we took turns at pissing in the mill pond near him before we set to work.

Pang! The first handful of maggots was shot out of the catapault and caught Geoff square in the back. The wrigglers bounded off his parka coat, and in a rather pleasing result, several ended up in his lunch box. By firing into the air from under cover of bushes, we found we could simulate a rather pleasing heavenly shower of maggots coming in from all directions. How we laughed. Geoff takes a bite of sandwich. He eats a maggot. Laughter turns to screams of horror and retching. We legged it, trying to hold onto our breakfasts.

Clicky for the explosive end to this tale of mirth and woe.

Back to Scaryduck

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Mad Scientists

Meanwhile, back at Scaryduck Labs...

Evil takes a tea break

"Gentlemen! Let us toast the success of our most evil work yet, Serum XX2 - the deadliest virus known to man. The content of this fragile glass vial contains enough toxin to wipe humanity from the face of the Earth within a few short painful minutes. Once the contents of this test tube become common knowledge, the governments of the world will be begging us on bended knee not to unleash certain death upon them!

"And then, gentlemen, think of the power, the money, the women that will be ours! All ours! BWA HA HA HA HARRRRRGH!"

*pop of champagne cork*

*sound of breaking glass*

"Oh shi..."

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!

New Weebl and Bob featuring a bit of Wee Bull and Mysterious Chicken and his mysterious powers.
"Return from the Return to the Wedding from Hell Part II"

*** Boring traditional Blog entry alert ***

Well, what a disappointment that was. Just to prove that the sequel is never as good as the original, absolutely nobody got killed, maimed or even vaguely insulted at Tanya and Richard's wedding. In fact, it all went rather swimmingly, even though the hotel was more boarding school dormitary than five star luxury. The main protagonists of Wedding From Hell Part One all sat out in the rain looking miserable while we frugged the night away. So laid back was the vibe, I even went so far as to compose this rather sweet haiku:

Bad organ player
Vows spoken and rings exchanged
Bride nips out for smoke.

It was, as it turned out, a most excellent affair. Sorry for raising your hopes so much.

*** Normal service resumed ***
Back to Scaryduck

Thursday, August 01, 2002


When I reached the ripe old age of fifteen, I signed up for the Air Cadets. The “Spacers” are esssentially a youth organisation run by the British Royal Air Force to get kids interested in planes, flying and the military life, in the hope that they’d sign up for a career. They let us have real uniforms, free flying and gliding lessons, and if we were really, really good, guns.

We had our own drill hall in the centre of Henley-on-Thames, which we were forced to share with the army cadets, a bunch of long-armed mono-browed trogoldytes with all the intelligence of a bread roll. The Drill Hall used to be the town’s police station. The old cells for housing prisoners were still there and were used as stock cupboards; you could lock people in for a laugh and leave them there the whole night, their screams echoing down long, abandoned corridors, falling of deaf ears.

The commanding officer was a crumbling old relic of the old-style air force. He had actually served with my grandfather during World War II, and spent many happy years dropping red hot British steel onto the Bosch, and as far as he was concerned, he was still doing it. Only from behind a desk hundreds of miles and four decades away from the action.

But the guy who really ran the show was Warrant Officer Simmons. He was old-school RAF too, with a huge handle-bar moustache and was rock-hard. Strict wasn’t the word of it. If your hair was too long, your uniform was wrong or if your boots were dirty you were for the high jump. But he was one of the lads too, keep on his right side and he was a pleasure to be with. He taught us swear-words and insults we never knew existed. He taught us how to make the officer’s lives hell with “saluting traps”, and he also taught me how to shoot the bollocks off a fly from three hundred yards. Hero.

Walker's ape-shit moment of glory

Every other weekend we’d pile into an RAF bus and head up to the air station at Benson where we’d shoot at things. The only problem was the weaponry. They were old Lee Enfield rifles which had (and I’m not kidding here) seen action in the trenches of World War One. They was absolutely no subtlety about them - they went off like a cannon and kicked like a mule, and you’dbe nursing a brusied shoulder at the end of the day. I saw with my own eyes a particularly stupid kid from Slough squadron (and Jaysus, did they have some thickies) trying to hold the weapon in front of him like a pistol. His first and last shot of the day caused a recoil which broke his nose. How we laughed.

All that was to change in the early 80’s. The British armed forces were to switch over to the much-maligned SA-80 rifle, a weedy little thing made out of plastic, tinfoil and lego bricks. This left them with a huge pile of unwanted L1A1 Self Loading Rifles and ammo. Good idea - give ‘em to the cadets. So they did. It was a massacre. I shot off so many rounds in a two month period, I actually qualified as an RAF marksman, along with quite a number of my comrades. But, typically, there would be a price to pay...

The SLR is semi-automatic. Instead of creating a bastard great explosion and a donkey-kick like the old weapons, it used the gases to eject the old cartridge and load the next one. All you’ve got to do it pull the trigger and rat-a-tat-a-tat, you get and impressive shower of empty shells flying out like the scene at the end of Rambo II. A twenty-round magazine would disappear in seconds and then they’d let us have another go. Smashing.

Cadet Hawkins, bless him, tried his hardest, but the words “safety catch” and “assualt with a deadly weapon” were a foreign concept to him. He was only about four foot something, and the rifle was only slightly smaller than he was. He lived in the local boarding school for “problem” children, mainly beacuse his parents were sick to death of him trying to kill them. We named this school, rather cruelly, The Blob Farm as they kept sending us recruits on the misunderstanding that we were the thicko army cadets. Now, it turned out, it was our turn to feel the wrath of Hawkins.


“What’s that sir?” he said, swinging round, the lethal end sweeping an arc in front of a terrified crowd of spectators, who, as a man, dived for cover.

I remember the next comment clearly as if it was only yesterday. “HOLY FUCKING CHRIST! HE’S TRYING TO KILL US!”

Hawkins turned full circle, and just in time too. His finger tightened round the trigger and a hail of bullets ripped up the range, shooting up turf, stones, bits of wood, anything in its deadly path. One bullet had ricocheted off something solid (and yes, they really do go pyang-whoo-whoo-whooo like they do in the movies) and thudded into the wall inches away from where Phil’s head had been moments earlier. I am reliably informed that he “shat his pants”. Join the club, mate.

The firing stopped. Empty cartridges tinkled onto concrete. There was a deathly silence. The smoke cleared, and we all staggered to our feet in a daze. Out of twenty rounds, nineteen had flown off to all corners of the range and back again. The twentieth had scored a perfect bulls-eye on the target. Hawkins put his weapon down and shrugged.


Simmons went volcanic. Gentlemen, welcome to Swearing 101.

The funny thing was, not long before this little episode, a fellow spacer called Sargeant Marcus Sargeant had taken a potshot at the Queen during the Trooping of the Colour, and got himself banged up for five years for treason. After that, they decided we couldn’t be trusted with firearms, and they wouldn’t let us have guns for AGES. Not real ones, anyway.

Back to Scaryduck
"Return to the Wedding from Hell"

This weekend I will be mostly attending my sister-in-law's wedding. You will be delighted to hear, despite her almost violent protests, most of the protagonists of the original Wedding from Hell will be attending. Mucho water has flowed under the bridge since the last function, and several grudges have been simmering up very nicely, thank you very much.

Armed with nothing but a camera to record the two falls, two submissions or a knockout, I shall report back to you next week from my hospital bed.

Wish me luck, I'm going in.