Sunday, August 31, 2003


To the fabulous Monkey World in Wool today, an excellent example of conservation in action, allied with a steely determination to stamp out cruelty to animals wherever it is to be found.

I was, however, sorely disappointed not to be allowed to take one of the apes home with me. Even offers of one or both of the Scaryducklings falling on deaf ears. What’s wrong with this world? Here we are in the third year of the twenty-first century and I still haven’t got my jet pack and my monkey butler. That Albert Einstein’s got a lot of explaining to do.

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, August 29, 2003


SEPTEMBER - Once again we’ve let celebrity astrologer and tub-o-lard Russell Grant do all the hard work of copiously drawing up star charts and referring to centuries-old wisdom passed down through the ages to provide totally accurate and not-made-up-at-all predictions for the month ahead. We just made thm a tad more interesting.

Aries: An added emphasis on health issues will occur between now and next September. You won't recognise yourself by this time next year! Though, as a hint, the wooden overcoat may be a bit of a giveaway.
Lucky Russian Squillionaire: Roman Abramovich

Taurus: If you've had difficulty conceiving a child, your wish could be granted between now and next September. But get a grip on yourself. No-one wants to see a half-man half-dog. This isn’t ancient Greece, you know.
Lucky crook: Robert Maxwell

Gemini: Expanding or improving your home is a good possibility between now and next autumn. Which is a good thing, as your current cardboard box is beginning to wear out.
Lucky former West Ham manager: Glenn Roeder

Cancer: Though the week begins in a lazy mode, you can think of this as your breathing space to get you in shape for what's to come later. Yup. Ebola.
Lucky former dictator’s wife: Mrs Mariam Abacha.

Leo: As you take a closer look at your circle of friends and acquaintances a painful truth emerges. Not one of them is normal, and they all want to see you dead. Kill them all! Now! Now! NOW!!!
Lucky Bond girl: Pussy Galore

Virgo: Destiny sees you in with a group of new faces who all enjoy construction and repair work You will be press ganged into the Village People.
Lucky cheese: Tasmanian Penguin blue-vein.

Libra: Reflective pursuits like prayer, meditation, yoga, and tai chi are all favoured now. You may also get enjoyment from solitary creative pursuits. Wanker.
Lucky Judge: Joe Dredd

Scorpio: Luck is your middle name this month. It may seem as though your wish is granted as soon as it leaves your lips. Just don’t say “Well bugger me backwards” or "Well dip me in dogshit", or you’ll just be asking for trouble.
Lucky lads’ mag: Loaded

Sagittarius: Fate sees you fulfilling your wildest dreams in the next month or so. But beware the end of the month when Satan comes knocking for his part of the bargain. I mean - look what happened to Robbie Williams. Sad isn’t it?
Lucky motorbike: Honda

Capricorn: If you've ever wanted to explore a foreign country, now is the time to go for it. The army recruiting office will be pleased to see you, and Iraq’s the place to be seen these days. Your abilities as a salesperson come into play at weekends, just make sure the girls all pay you their cut and that the police are paid off.
Lucky dead rapper: Notorious BIG

Aquarius: Intimacy has always been a rather tricky issue with you, but be prepared to learn some surprising things about yourself, particularly with regard to your sexual side. Just don’t come running to us when the animal welfare people turn you in to the law.
Lucky dolphin: Flipper

Pisces: Pffffft...HA HA HAAARGH!... Sorry. I toook a look at your stars for this month and hahahaha HAAAAAAAARGH!!! Sorry. BWA HA HAH HA HAAAAA!!!!! Oh jaysus. Just keep your privates away from electrical sockets this month, that’s all I can say.
Lucky duck: Mallard

If it’s your birthday: You didn’t invite me to your party, did you? Bastard. Both your legs will fall off in an inconvenient moment. That’ll learn you.

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, August 28, 2003

"On Yer Bike"

German funsters Kraftwerk give a rare interview to the BBC. They don't do interviews. Ever. So this is manna from heaven for fans. They talk about two things close to my heart - cycling and electronica, so you lot would be better off chatting amongst yourselves while I turn into a drooling fanboy for the time being.


As a middle-ranking minion in a large organisation, I am compelled to go to a lot of meetings. Now, I’ve grown to enjoy these sessions, but there was a time when a great number of my colleagues were convinced that our managers were trying out for the British Olympic Buzzword Bingo team, after repeatedly confronting us with outward-facing customer orientated three-hundred and sixty degree surveys in client-focused attempts to stretch the envelope and swim outside the think tank. Whatever that was.

But then, I realised I was wrong. A large conference up in The Smoke became my Road to Damascus. After two days of highly intentioned yet meaningless drivel, I realised that our management actually meant what they were saying, only dressing it up to make it sound impressive. The London suits, on the other hand, were turning into David Brent clones and spouting shit to cover up the fact that they didn’t have the slightest clue as to what they were on about. Not just shit - real 100% top quality manure, left to ferment for several months in a sealed container, before being unleashed on an unsuspecting public in a putrid week of LA-style management cobblers. There was only one thing to do: I spent the remainder of the conference filling a notebook with this cack for future generations to enjoy, and hope to use it myself in future meetings:

* “Let’s not let the circling sharks eat our low-hanging fruit”
* “Play hardball with our customer-centric paradigm”
* “Let’s hammer in a post and see if the nice dog pisses up it”
* "Let's run all our ducks up a flagpole and see who salutes them in a row"
* “Go the extra mile for a multi-tasked rubber-stamped mission statement”
* “You’re fitting a waistcoat to a fish there”
* “Nailing jelly to a tree”

And I’m not even going to comment on a recent innovation where meetings are no longer meetings. Nope - they’re “watering holes”. Does that make me a wildebeest then?

Some nice-but-dim chap from a consultancy firm won the Bingo prize after waiting for the word “blamestorming” for three hours.

Go into a meeting correctly prepared with this information, and you can be sure that no-one will ever ask your opinion again. Mainly because you’ll be labelled as Mr Talking Bollocks for the rest of your career. Trust me.

* Mrs Scary is related to Ricky Gervais (and a certain former EastEnder), but she doesn't like to talk about it.

"Match of the Day"

Tonight's top fixture in the UEFA Cup: Young Boys vs MyPa. Bad news for perverts everywhere is that their Wankdorf Stadium is still under construction.

"Let's all start a flamewar!"

"War is God's way of teaching Americans geography". Discuss.

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

"French Exchange"

Pompt-de-pompt-de-pompt-pompt! See? I speak French like a native, and it was this talent, at the age of fifteen, that got me sent on the school’s French Exchange programme. You know the deal - you get some moody French twit for a couple of weeks, then you get to stay at their place in the South of France for a couple of weeks. Did I mention I got to stay in the South of France? For two weeks? Heh.

The entire situation was a bit fluid. I got some branleur called Jean-Francois for a fortnight, notable only for his hairy palms, one enormous eyebrow and a complete inability to speak English. I searched his room daily for soap, but there was none. For reasons that escape me, however, I was unable to experience the privilege of staying with his family, and instead would be staying with a certain young lady called Sylvie, the mere mention of whom would turn Jean-Francois’ knees to jelly, while simultaneously expressing the universally accepted hand gestures that say “Phwoooooar!” Result.

So. Boosh! Two weeks in France! Unfortunately, to keep the costs down, this meant going by train from Paris to Toulouse as a direct flight from London would have bankrupted our parents. Fair play to Mr Towner for his valiant attempt to get thirty kids plus luggage from one side of Paris to another to reach Austerlitz station, just a shame he got us all hopelessly lost on the Metro and had to hang around for six hours before the next train to the South. Still, he employed an impressive vocabulary of swearing in many, many European languages, skills I am still using today. Who said schools don’t prepare you for life?

Frappe mon cul poilu

I had done Paris the year before, so I already knew one vital fact - the drinking age in France is a mere fourteen years old, and we exploited his fact to the hilt. By the time we had found the buffet car on the train, we were already as pissed as little beetles from the bar at the Gare d'Austerlitz, and the eight hour journey was passed in an alcoholic fug, punctuated only by bouts of rich, brown vomit. And Christ, just to really rub it in, we arrived at Toulouse in the middle of the night to find that we still had a two hour coach journey ahead of us, in a vehicle that was previously used in Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow.

Let’s just say that Sylvie was as pneumatic as Jean-Francois had suggested, and sadly the property of the school rugby captain. The only action I got off her was the customary kiss on the cheek as I met her off the bus. What was worse was getting the same off her mum, who tried to slip a tongue in. Her dad was built like a brick shithouse. And funnily enough, that’s where he worked, at the town’s water plant. My abiding memory of the place is of one of those hole-in-the-floor French toilets right in the middle of his workshop, with a turd the size of a small dog several inches away from the target which no bugger had bothered clearing up from the night before. No door, no partition, no cleaners. Class.

As a school trip veteran, the whole affair went more or less to plan. Brian spent all his money within two days on a series of ridiculously large presents for his family, and spent the rest of the trip begging money from anyone who would listen. We sat in lessons we could barely comprehend, and went on coach journeys to local landmarks and marvelled at the wonders of French toilet engineering, many of which still sporting the original shit.

And yes, our vindictive teachers back in England barely tolerated our leaving the country for two weeks in the middle of term and got their evil revenge with more homework you could shake a shitty stick at. I spent most of my so-called free time on the trip working on a geography project about the English Midlands, and got my own back by filling it with utter tosh and pettyregional stereotyping:

“Darling, kiss me where it smells”, she said to her boyfriend.
So he drove her to Birmingham.”

I got a grade B.

After a series of parties and doomed attempts at snoggery, the real action was reserved for the last day of the exchange - a mass bicycle ride up into the mountains and forests around Mazamet, taking in the wonderful views, and making a last attempt at copping off with one of the French girls. Failing, naturally. I’m still trying to work out the exact point of this escapade short of trying to get us all killed, leaving the few survivors as starving derelicts in the middle of nowhere. If that’s what they had in mind, it was a raging success. As far as I know, at least two teachers and six pupils are still up there, having maths lessons in a cave, feeding off wild animals, or if times are really tough, each other.

Teenage idiots set loose in the middle of a foreign land --- Clicky for part two of this tale of mirth and woe

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 493”

Baying Hate Mob
The Seventeenth Amendment of The Constitution of the United States makes it legal to form a baying hate mob to "chastise witches, wizards, those possessed by demons and un-Americanes"; provided that there is at least one rake, torch or length of rope for each person present. The Eighteenth Amendment adds that adequate toilet and catering facilities must be provided, plus comprehensive personal insurance in case "ye lynchinge shoulde go wrong".

“It’s-Not-What-You-Think Department”

Pooh Party – I know people who’d pay good money for that kind of thing. And if you think this is anything else other than a Winnie the Pooh video, then you’ve got something very wrong with your head. Like me, then.

"Blatant Plug"

Andy wants me to plug his college project Popmates for him because he's only a broke student and has blown his entire promotional budget down the students union. So.... Popmates is graeeeet, and helps you find people who like the same stuff as you. I am sorely disappointed, however, to find that the friendship / dating tab doesn't have a "quick squirm" option and Bigfoot and the Groincrushers' seminal debut album "When Come Back Bring Pie" isn't listed in the favourite music section. Apart from that it's perfect.

"And speaking of pie..."

Fresh Weebl and Bob-age. Featuring a hideously mutilated Weebl. My eyes!


It's been over a week since the last Scary story, so choose between "Fireworks", "French Exchange", "You Too" or any number between one and thirty-three corresponding to an as-yet unwritten tale of mirth and woe. Choose-o!

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, August 25, 2003

“Royston Vasey: Part XXXVII”

Every now and then, I am reminded that life in Wyke Regis and the Royal Manor of the Island of Portland, resembles a complete and utter madhouse. People are different there, and Portlanders hold a deep mistrust of anybody coming in from outside, probably something to do with them choosing the wrong side in the English Civil War, and being roundly mocked for their folly. Theirs is an exclusive gene pool, and we outsiders are not allowed to swim in it.

Take, for example, the fire that took hold at Portland’s former Naval Barracks. The blaze was started by someone who thought (erroneously, as it turned out) that it was to become a detention centre for immigrants and was determined to put a stop to it by burning the ugly lump of concrete to the ground. In what proved to be PC Rick O’Shea's easiest case, he acted fast and collared the guy standing outside the gates with an empty petrol can muttering “Burn! Burn!” under his breath as he watched the Fire Brigade damping down.

Hauled in front of the beak at Dorchester - scene of Judge Jeffreys' infamous Bloody Assizes - he offered what is probably the most ridiculous alibi of all time. Yes, he had attended the protest against the detention centre earlier that evening and had been filmed by a local television crew getting rather agitated by events. When he got home he found several youths hanging around outside his house, annoying his mother. To make them go away, he offered to buy them some petrol for their motorbikes, using a petrol can instead of filling up their tanks directly as is the custom these days. Then, still clutching the petrol can, he showed them where the old Naval Barracks were, just minutes before the fire broke out. It was at that exact moment in time that the Old Bill arrived...

Verdict: Not Guilty. Judge Jeffreys would be turning in his grave.

“Interwebnet Madness”

Need an internet search engine in a hurry? Go to google, enter the words “search engine” and click on the “I’m feeling lucky” tab. Voila! Yahoo.

The Scaryduck Archive

Saturday, August 23, 2003

“Not the Nine O’Clock News”

TV sketch shows come and go. Most are excruitiatingly bad. Some - if they appear on ITV - are even worse. But every now and then, one goes against the grain and actually turns outto be funny. Monty Python’s Flying Circus was one such show, Not the Nine O’Clock News was another. A series of sketches, some off the cuff, others overtly political linked together by fake news reports. This would seem incredibly passe these days, but in 1979, the fact that it worked showed the energy of the burgeoning alternative comedy network, and the need for satire in an age of end-of-the-pier bow-tie comedians.

Unlike Python, in which it was the ensemble which provided the driving force, it was producers John Lloyd and Sean Hardie who provided the impetus for the programme, assembling a cast at a later date. It was not until the show became established that the familiar line-up of Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones, Rowan Atkinson and Pamela Stephenson arrived. Chris Langham became the fifth Beatle of the group, leaving just as the show became huge. Funny then, that one of their best-known sketches - a satire on the furore surrounding Life of Brian, should namecheck John Cleese as “Our Lord of Comedy” - “Jesus Christ! J.C! Even the initials are the same!”

Gratuitous Knocker Gag
Between 1979 and 1982, they made twenty-eight episodes with sketches attacking all colours of the political establishment, the church and attitudes in contemporary Britain. Strange though, that they are best remembered for a gratuitous knocker gag based on a TV advert:

Stephenson: “American Express? That’ll do nicely sir. (Opens blouse) And would you like to rub my tits too?”

They did songs too. Now, come back from under the sofa. Good songs. Funny songs. Mel Smith’s ranting “All-Out Nuclear Confrontation Song” was political punk at its best, while “Nice Video Shame About the Song” would have been a chart contender had it ever got a serious single release. And if people still insist that NtNO’CN was political, I point you firmly to a song that goes “I like bouncing / Boing boing boing / Up and down until I get a pain in the groin”. They don’t write them like that any more, nor the Ayatollah Song, a pained ballad to Iran’s spiritual leader that probably has Pamela Stephenson on a death list in much of the Middle East.

After calling it a day in 1982, Smith and Jones continued a successful television partnership, while Atkinson went on to international fame with Mr Bean and Blackadder. Stephenson is now Dr Pamela Connolly, married some Scottish chap, and is doing rather well as a phychologist and author. Lloyd and Hardie continued to push the bounds of humour and good taste, and continue to be immensely successfull in television and cinema.

A springboard, then, for many careers in comedy which still influences the genre to this day with its bastard lovechild “Have I got News for You” being the news links and picture gags without the sketches, while Spitting Image was more-or-less the same thing with foam puppets. With so many comedic gems in the canon, I leave you with my personal favourite - a scathing insight into institutionalised racism in the Police force.

“The Constable Savage Sketch"

Rowan Atkinson: Police Commander
Griff Rhys Jones: Constable Savage

Commander: "Come in, shut the door."
Savage: "Yes, sir."
"Now then, Savage, I want to talk to you about some charges that you've been bringing lately. I think that perhaps you're being a little over-zealous."
"Which charges did you mean then, sir?"
"Well, for instance this one: 'Loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing.' Savage, maybe you're not aware of this, but it is not illegal to use a pedestrian crossing, neither is 'smelling of foreign food' an offence."
"Are you sure, sir?"
"Also, there's no law against 'Urinating in a public convenience or 'Coughing without due care and attention."'
"If you say so, sir..."
"Yes, I do say so, Savage! Didn't they teach you anything at 15 training school?"
"Erm, I'm sorry, sir..."
"Some of these cases are just plain stupid: 'Looking at me in a funny way' - Is this some kind of joke, Savage?"
"No, sir."
"And we have some more here: 'Walking on the cracks in the pavement,' 'Walking in a loud shirt in a built-up area during the hours of darkness,' and 'Walking around with an offensive wife.' In short, Savage, in the space of one month you have brought one hundred and seventeen ridiculous, trumped-up and ludicrous charges."
"Yes, sir."
"Against the same man, Savage."
"Yes, sir."
"A Mr Winston Kodogo, of 55, Mercer Road."
"Yes, sir."
"Sit down, Savage."
"Yes, sir."
"Savage, why do you keep arresting this man?"
"He's a villain, sir."
"A villain..."
"And a jail-bird, sir."
"I know he's a jail-bird, Savage, he's down in the cells now! We're holding him on a charge of 'Possession of curly black hair and thick lips."'
"Well - well, there you are, sir."
"You arrested him, Savage!"
"Thank you, sir."
"Savage, would I be correct in assuming that Mr Kodogo is a coloured gentleman?"
"Well, I can't say I've ever noticed, sir."
"Stand up, Savage! - Savage, you're a bigot. It's officers like you that give the police a bad name. The press love to jump on an instance like this, and the reputation of the force can be permanently tarnished. Your whole time on duty is dominated by racial hatred and petty personal vendettas. Do you get some kind of perverted gratification from going around stirring up trouble?"
"Yes, sir."
"There's no room for men like you in my force, Savage. I'm transferring you to the Special Patrol Group."
"Thank you very much, sir."
"Now get out!"

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, August 22, 2003

"Busman's Holiday"

Today I am mostly visiting Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station with Mrs Scary and the Scaryducklings. I have been warned not to be a bighead. And to behave.

Later... I behaved, but, alas, I was a bighead.

They had one of those video-phone thingies, linked up with a similar exhibition at Land's End. People are encouraged to have a go and converse with the saddoes who have paid good money to see a cliff, while making British Telecom look good.

Phone rings. I pick it up.

Saddo: "Hello?"
Me: "Pizza Hut, can I take your order please?"
Saddo: "That's not funny."
Me: "Oh, but it is." >click!<

I got Mrs Scary's best withering look. Oh dear. And I promised and all.

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Thursday, August 21, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 350”

The tallest building in the World is the Great Tower of Clacton, standing at an amazing 12 feet tall on the seafront of the English holiday resort. Visitors can pay a small fee to ride the funicular railway to the top, from which you can admire spectacular views of the High Street. On a clear day, you can see as far as Frinton, almost two miles away.

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

“You didn’t see this, keep scrolling down”

Big Pants
Just when you thought you’d seen everything, the miracle of the interweb brings us... the Princess Diana, Queen of All Our Hearts Big Pants doll. It’s not in my nature to look at these things close-up, but I swear she’s gone Brazilian. Class.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, August 18, 2003


When I was about five or six years old, we lived in Canada for a bit while Professor Scaryduck took a job teaching medical students in Vancouver. In retrospect, these were the most carefree days of my life, but the fact that I missed Arsenal’s legendary double year in 1971 by being in the wrong country has caused me no end of mental strife in later years. Parents are forgiven, however, they knew not what they were doing. Grey London was left miles behind as the mountainous backdrop of the Canadian Rockies became our new home.

It was at this time that my parents decided that I should stand up for myself. I had been put in a class at school with kids the same age as me. However, they start school a year later in Canada than they do in England, so I was put back into kindergarten instead of into the first grade where I’d already spent several months in my school back in London. After about three hours of this I had had enough, and I was moved up a year into a class with kids a year older than me.

Like all Canadian kids who apparantly spent weekends ripping out trees with their bare hands, they were huge. Even the girls. I was tiny, and the only kid that understood the offside law in football. I needed to be able to defend myself, or I would return from school the consistancy of chicken paste every afternoon. They played rough, those Canucks. It wasn't that I was bullied - it was just that I was pint-sized compared to the Canadian kids, who came quart-sized. I needed building up a bit.

I would go to Judo.

Killarney Gardens was one of those brand new housing estates, centrally planned around courtyards, walkways, special places to park your car, and nary a shop to be seen. In other words, it was fucking hideous. There was a community centre right in the middle, right by my huge friend Kenneth Njou’s house, and that was where I would learn the arcane rites of Judo.

So, one evening after school, I was abandoned at the community centre, where I watched huge Canadian kids in bathrobes beating the seven shades of shit out of each other. After observing their technique for a while, I was invited forward to try for myself. I was pitched in with the other New Kid who had turned up that evening, a veritable Boy Mountain who appeared no stranger to the ancient art of Pie Eating. Like me, he was so new that neither of us had judo outfits. We were going for it in our street clothes while the rest of the group tumble round the mats in expensive-looking night clothes.

This made total sense. If I was attacked in the street by knife-wielding madmen and was forced to use my deadly martial arts skills, I wouldn’t have time to go home and get changed into a baggy bathrobe. It would be wideglide-collared shirt and flared corduroys or nothing.

We squared up to each other.

We bowed.

We circled each other round the mat, looking for an opening.

A hush fell over the hall. The new boys were going for their first ever judo throw.

I took a handful of his shirt, turned into him in the way that I had been shown, and heaved. An heaved.

Judo, I have been told, is all about exploiting subtle changes in balance and weight distribution. Use your body as a lever, they said, and your opponent will be flipped onto his back in no time at all. To which I reply “What a load of hairy-arsed bollocks”.

This guy was so big that I would have needed a crane to get him off the floor. It wasn’t without my trying, however, and I decided to go for it, with or without heavy lifting gear. I gave one final, gut-wrenching, adrenaline-pumped heave.

There was a terrible tearing sound as I ripped his shirt clean off his shoulders. Boy Mountain stood there in tears, hands covering his meaty man-breasts, while I stared uncomprehendingly at a handful of rags, the rest of the class whooping with laughter.

“I’m gonna get my pop onto you!” he wailed.

If this kid was anything to go by, his pop was going to resemble King Kong in a checked shirt who was going to rip me limb from limb and use my severed arse to pan for gold. I fled, never to return, deciding to take my chances with a swift kick in the crown jewels should I ever need to defend myself. The martial arts looked just too rough for a sensitive kid like me. I took up the far more sedate sport of ice hockey instead.

Postscript: Scaryduck Jr recently had his first and last karate lesson.

“How did it go?” we asked on his return.

“I kicked him in the bullseyes.”

We put him in the Cub Scouts

The Scaryduck Archive

Sunday, August 17, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 337”

It is illegal under the 1987 Mullet Prevention Act to cut someone’s hair in Great Britain without first registering as a member of the Worshipful Guild of Barbers, Hair Stylists, Toupee Fitters and Close Harmony Singers. Members are expected to undergo a rigorous training course involving :

* Proper use of scissors and electric cutters in a combat situation
* Correct dispensing technique of “something for the weekend” in order to cause maximum embarrassment to the customer
* Close harmony singing and wigs
* The proper procedure for clipping annoying kids round the ear without the parents noticing
* What to do if you accidentally cut someone’s ear off (run away)
* The reporting of mullet-wearers to the correct authorities. Many senior barbers possess the "Double-O" prefix - the legendary "licence to kill" - to deal with persistent offenders.

Anyone caught operating without a correct Barber’s Licence is liable to a six month prision sentence or face being paraded through local streets with a no.3 bowl haircut and a 1980's Top Man jumper.


Updates to this site will be patchy this week as I enjoy myself at the Weymouth Carnival, followed by a short visit from Professor Scary. So, I will endeavour to leave you on Monday with a brand spanking new Scary story.

You know the form by now: vote for "South of France", "Fireworks" or any number between one and thirty-five corresponding to an as yet unwritten story (Hint: thirty-five features Mrs Scary killing me in cold blood, leaving me as a zombie walking the Earth, updating my weblog with my cold, dead fingers).


The Scaryduck Archive

Saturday, August 16, 2003

"No Pie"

A Weebl and Bob episode with neither Weebl nor Bob. Yarr!

Free birdseed - The illustrated catalogue of ACME products.

Arses! Looks like I missed Anal Sex Month again.

Fluffball Sprinkle - The collected genius of the Cocteau Twins. May I draw the attention of the jury to "Song to the Siren", perhaps the finest cover version ever recorded, and one of the two songs to be played at Scary's funeral. The other, of course, will be "Going Underground" by The Jam.

Arsenal 2-1 Everton - come on you jessies if you think you're hard enough!

A statement from the leadership of the Penguin Liberation Army (Officials).

And in other news: First ever photo of a whale farting.

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, August 15, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 353”

Ever wondered why opera singers tend to sing the same line over and over and over again? This is just in case there are any Americans in the audience. Take, for example, Act XXIII of Wagner’s Flight of the Oberammerscheissekartofflekopfgeschaft. You may hear:

“The queen is dead ! The queen is dead !
The queen the queen the queen the queen is dead dead dead dead dead
The queen is dead ! The queen is dead !
Dead dead dead dead dead is the queen queen queen queen queen !”

This will be followed by a loud voice from the most expensive seats in the house: “Gee Wilbur… What happened to the Queen ?”


Scaryduckling: “Dad, can I have some ice cream?”
Scary: “What’s the magic word?”
Scaryduckling: “Abracadabra.”
Scary: ”OOooOOOOooooh”

Cheeky. Little. Sods.

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, August 14, 2003

”The People’s Poet”

Right, kids?
The Young Ones, the Young Ones. I remember when Rik Mayall and Ben Elton were funny. It was a bloody long time ago, mind. But the Young Ones was a pinnacle in British comedy that will rarely be eclipsed, and like that other unbeatable classic, it ran for only two short series and a total of twelve shows.

I can recount most of Elton’s inspired scripts from memory - with plenty of space for the cast’s own contributions and ad-libs - mostly to the annoyance of those around me, but where else can you get such classics as:

PRISONER #1: [rather eloquently] Transported for life to the colonies, and for what? Scum I was to that beak, nothing but scum. 'Tis for my accent and my situation that I am condemned. 'Tis for the want of better graces and the influence they bring that I am to board this prison hulk.

PRISONER #2: And all those murders you done.

...which had absolutely nothing to do with the plot of the episode? And where else would you find the work of the People’s Poet, right kids?

All around
Sometimes up
And sometimes down
But always around.
Pollution, are you coming to my town?
Or am I coming to yours?
We're on different buses, pollution
But we're both using petrol.

It was the archetypal comedy of opposites - the hippy, the anarchist, the metallist and the cool person all in the same student house, in which you’d also find stray nuclear weapons; a couple of desert island castaways; the Damned doing a gig in the living room; and Alexei Sayle playing the entire Balowski family (“Coca-Cola! Symbol of free west!”) and a South African Vampire (“I’m not a vampire! I am a driving instructor from the Transvaal!”).

Like all classics, they quit at the top, just as Cleese refused to revive Fawlty Towers after 1979. However, the Young Ones cast were more-or-less reunited in the not-as-funny Filthy, Rich and Catflap, and latterly Bottom; and despite the latter’s anarchy, it wasn’t the same. The genius that burned short and bright has now gone.

Ben Elton cemented his writing genius by saving Blackadder from certain obscurity after its less-than-inspiring first series, and turning it into a part of the British zeitgeist. Unfortunately being the purveyor of two true classics has its price - the spangly suit lost its sparkle, and it was downhill all the way via brown-nosing with Lloyd-Webber and laughable stage musicals. Ben Elton is now officially a wanker.

Alas, I shall never be a student perve again. Just a grown-up one.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

"Scary vs Balders"

I’ve known regular Scaryduck reader Balders since I was about ten years old. We’ve been through thick, thin and large quanities of alcohol together, and we’re still talking. But as far as I remember, he has always blamed me for the destruction of his bicycle, with my pleas for forgiveness falling on deaf ears. Even living at the opposite ends of the country some twenty-five years later, I fear that his life has been blighted by an unsated need for revenge, a compulsion to see me suffer for my crimes. Indeed, he is stalking me now, on this site, watching, waiting.


Our school was built to serve the villages of Twyford, Wargrave and Charvil, and was set down in the countryside between the three. This meant that the average journey to school for most pupils was at least one mile, and in those far-off days of the late 1970s, there were only two ways to get there. Either you walked, or you went by bike. Still, there was a very small minority who got a lift in their parents’ car, but it just wasn’t the done thing, and those who did were seen as a bit of a wimp and were rounded up and put in the fat kids’ group for PE.

Just as bad were those who came on the school bus, a cop-out if ever there was one. It was almost as if they’d come by chauffeur-driven limo, and they’d run the gauntlet of jeering crowds at the school gate, as they arrived on site like a bunch of scab workers crossing a picket line. It is, of course, the complete opposite these days. There’s about three bikes in the school bike park, with their owners marked down as dangerous mentallists who should be avoided at all costs while the rest of the kids arrive in the back of mummy’s off-roader...

You could walk to school, but that would actually mean having to leave home at eight o’clock and having to do something dangerous on the footbridge to make up for the lack of peril. Nope, cycling was the thing, and for those of us coming over from Twyford, that meant braving the Bath Road.

Andy Kelly was one of us. He came from the other side of Twyford, and was entitled to a free ride on the bus, such was the distance he had to travel. But no, he eschewed the slackers with their Dungeons and Dragons dice on school bus and made a point of riding his bike into school whatever the weather. Almost. I remember him appearing one morning, after his epic in sheeting rain where we’d all made the exception and accepted parental lifts. To receive this rare offer, it was actually hammering down with biblical ferocity, and you could barely see the road in front of the car, and the water ran in rivers down the middle of the road.

Still, Andy and braved the weather, struggling in on his bike where the rest of us had failed, and triumphantly arrived in school, just about the only child to have managed the feat that day. Then, soaked to the bone, he turned round and went straight home again.

The Bath Road was, before they built the motorway, the main route from London to Bristol, the West and Wales. Every car, bus and lorry heading west used to rumble past our school. And we had to cross it twice a day. Our local council, mindful of the fact that dead schoolkids do not make for good publicity, kindly gave us a footbridge to take us safely away from this motorised menace. And did we use it? Did we arse! The only thing the school footbridge was used for, much to the consternation of the headmaster, was to climb up and over the road on the outside of the railings in a bonkers rite-of-passage that marked you out from the crowd. The girls were remarkably good at this feat, and we lads would stand under the bridge cheering them on. That’s right, cheering them on, and not, repeat NOT, looking up their skirts. At all.

So, the long and the short of it was that twice a day, a swarm of four hundred eleven to sixteen year olds would attempt to cross the busiest road in the south of England by bike. All at once.

At a quarter to four on any given day, we’d all burst out of our classrooms, saddle up and head for home. It was a short pull along the Henley Road, and within minutes, we’d be at the roundabout with the Bath Road. There, with an ever growing crowd of cyclists, we’d wait for a gap in the traffic. Then it was go, go, go, and we would swarm across the road and head for home.

Now, this is the tricky bit. We’d usually cycle in gangs, groups of friends yakking away as we made our way to our respective parts of the village, peeling off from the pack as we reached our roads. On this particular day, I was with the usual crowd as I reached the junction on my shining blue Raleigh Olympus. I swear on my dog’s life that I didn’t know that Balders was riding behind me. He was in the year above me, and was probably heading towards Twyford with his own comtemporaries - possibly one of the Pepall twins, and obviously not paying the slightest heed to the road ahead.

Being an ace road user, I was only too aware of the road in front of me. And jolly good thing too. Girls! There were girls in front of me, riding slow and clunky Raleigh Shoppers without a care in the world. All of a sudden, and paying not a jot of attention to her fellow road users, one of these girls who shall remain nameless (*cough* Trudy *cough*) swerved her bike in front of mine.

It was all I could do to stop myself colliding with her. I jammed on my brakes and thanked my lucky stars that if I hadn’t have been watching her arse, there might been a terrible, terrible accident.

From here on in, things get a little hazy. I innocently cycled home, did my homework, hung about with Matty and John, watched TV, avoided violin practice, all that jazz. However, I arrived at school the next day to be confronted by a seething Balders. Balders I had known for years. Balders who went to the same scout troops as me. Balders, whose mum was great friends with my mum. You get the message. He wasn’t best pleased. He had had to walk to school.

“You bastard!” he started, “You wrecked my bike!”

“No I didn’t!” I protested.

Oh but I had, and he produced witnesses - mostly from his class and twice my size - to prove it. Apparantly, in trying to escape Trudy’s sudden swerve, there had been a bit of a domino effect behind me, resulting in Balders, who had obviously not been paying the slightest bit of attention to the road in front of him, coming to grief.

OK, so "grief" is just a little bit mild. Complete and utter destruction is a bit more like it. Balders, caught in a wave of swerving bikes which was, let me make this 100% clear, not my fault, slammed on his brakes, causing about 200 bikes to run into the back of him. He jumped for his life, just in time to see his bike crushed under the the wheels of the following hoardes. And when they’d done their worst, along came the school bus with all the lazy kids...

What was left of Balders’ bike was posted home to him in a very small package.

There was only one thing for it. I protested my innocence, long, hard and loud, and do so to this day. Balders, on the other hand, has succumbed to a lifetime of bitterness, and as we speak is plotting his evil, twisted two-wheeled revenge on your innocent narrator. But I think you’ll find that instant karma has already sorted me out.

The next day, I was on my bright, shiny, totally unscathed bike on the way to school. I heaved my machine to the top of the hill, went along the top, and headed down Amberley Drive towards the dreaded Bath Road junction. About halfway down, there’s a bit of a tricky bend, and if you’re not paying attention, you’re liable to come a cropper.


I looked at girls and completely forgot about the tricky bend. My front wheel clipped the kerb, and in the time-honoured words of Blue Peter, “Suddenly, disaster struck”.

Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!! I was airborne, straight over the handlebars.

Aaaaaaaarrrgh!!!!! Gravity caught up with me in a mess of mud, school books, blood, ripped clothing and pieces of bike.

The girls looked at me. They giggled, and clutching their bags to their chests, walked away.

Putting a brave face on it, I picked myself up, brushed myself down and carried on to school, buckled front wheel wobbling like a clown’s car.

“Didn’t hurt a bit”, I lied through the pain.

I still maintain that I am an innocent man, but someone up there didn’t appear to believe me. It’s not as if I killed anybody. Much.

But for what it's worth: Balders *cough* ....sorry.... *cough*.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, August 11, 2003

“Room 101”

An occasional series on things that get right up my arse.

No.3: “Jazz”

What in the name of blummin’ fuck is jazz all about? And why is it that people who claim to like, or God help us, understand jazz happen to be so bloody smug about it? I think Roddy Doyle has it just about right when he referred to jazz as “musical wanking” - playing with your instrument for your own pleasure, ignoring the fact that everybody else finds it offensive.

It’s no wonder that jazz festivals often have the words “Real Ale” tacked on the end and involve very large quantities of alcohol. I’d want to drink myself into oblivion if some bloke came after me with his oboe.

And what is it with people who “get” jazz? Why do they assume that everybody else on the planet is inferior and needs a “musical education” by forcing undiluted Courtney Pine down their throats. Somebody tried to start a Jazz Club at work, and railed incoherantly at us heathens and philistines for days after he sat in an empty room for two hours while we were all out doing something far more interesting, like cataloging our ear wax, or listening to the collected works of William Hague. He has a beard. And sandals. Yet he persists, hijacking office parties with meaningless noodlings on the clarinet.

Jazz, like masturbation, should only be performed in public by the supremely skilled, and then only for a select brand of perverts who are prepared to pay through the nose for it. It’s also a telling fact that Woody Allen ceased to be funny the moment he started playing jazz in public. Look, if you want a descending obligato, do it in the privacy of your own home away from us normal people.

Jazz Club Host: Great. Tonight, here's Jackson Jeffrey Jackson with, er- what are you going to play for us today, Jackson?
Jackson : Trumpet.
[slight pause]
Host: No, er, what tune?
Jackson: TUNE? This is jazz!

And don’t get me started on Radiohead. You can tell your favourite band is losing it when the drummer says he wants to “experiment with rhythm” instead of hammering away at the skins like he’s paid to. I’m going to be the boy who saw the Emporer’s New Clothes here and say that Radiohead are, in fact, jazz musos who MUST BE STOPPED before it’s too late. Make ‘em to listen to The Bends a few times until they get the message. Thom Yorke - stop it now or you’ll end up with hairy palms.

Kids: Jazz rots your brain. Just say no. Daddio.

The All-New and Improved Scaryduck Archive

Sunday, August 10, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 2499”

George W Bush is in fact completely unrelated to the 41st president George H W Bush, and the two men have never met.

"Just when you thought it was safe..." go back into the cinema, the Hollywood machine comes up with two pieces of trash that, I'm sorry to say, makes Apocalypse Now look like a good movie.

First comes From Justin to Kelly, an American Idol cash-in from the intellectual black hole that is Kim and Simon Fuller, the "brains" (used in its loosest possible definition) behind S Club 7. As one reviewer put it: "I'd rather swim naked in a piranha-infested pool wearing a collar with a bloody bone on it than watch this movie". And hey, take a camera, it's bound to be ten times better. It's already number two on imdb's worst movies list.

And how do you top that? One word: Gigli - a J-Lo/Ben Affleck vehicle that came off the road early on and crashes, burning and screaming into a ravine. If only they'd filmed THAT. Number one on the worst ever movies list with a bullet. Watch out for embarrassingly gushing reviews on the world's worst TV station GMTV if and when it finally limps over the Atlantic. Come on, it's J-Lo! There's still money to be squeezed out of this particular cash cow. With her personal quality filter firmly switched off (Maid in Manhattan, anyone?) it was only a matter of time before she was found out. I just hope Al Pacino and Christopher Walken got paid well for this one...

I promise never to mention bad movies on these pages ever again. Until next time.


"Scaryduck is a national treasure" writes this week's edition of Web User magazine. Cheers fellas, the dud cheque's in the post. That's treasure of the Gerald Ratner variety, I'll have you know. Lloyds Bank have a good old laugh at my bank balance on a regular basis.

The Scaryduck Archive

Saturday, August 09, 2003


Homer Simpson’s first law of the playground: “Don’t tattle”.


Look, I had an excuse. It doesn’t make me a bad person.

We were frequently told by our headmaster that we were the worst behaved year he had ever had the misfortune to teach, and it was a badge we wore with pride. He wasn’t far wrong - there had been a spate of false fire alarms that had got so bad that they were considering holding lessons outside to save time, and the Wargrave Fire Brigade was making plans to relocate to the school car park.

Now picture if you will a geeky fourteen year old, coming out of a French class and making his way towards the maths block. A geek. A swot, top sets for everything and frankly suffering the usual bad hair day.


With a couple of minutes to spare before maths, there’s just time to visit the boys toilet in the Old School to lay a log of what promises to be epic proportions. The Old School bogs are the hangout for the yobs, smokers and skivers who’d do anything to miss a lesson and show new kids the Blue Goldfish, but things are getting desperate, and I’ve got to take the chance. By the time I push through the crowd of kids who all appear to be heading in the opposite direction, I’ve got a turtle’s head on, and I’m damn near to touching cloth.

It’s at this point I ask the plaintive question: What kind of fucking idiot puts a fire alarm point in the boys’ toilets in a secondary school? They might as well have painted it red and given it a big “Push Here” sign, which they did. Often.

As I walk into the bogs, I meet Psycho Phil - winner of the legendary School Fight Club competition and the hardest kid you’re ever likely to meet, ever - and his gang coming out, having obviously run out of smokes. And guess what? As they leave, they set off the fire alarm, for only the seventeenth time that week.

For about ten seconds I’m caught between two stools (as it were). Do I take my urgently needed dump, or do I file out into the playground just in case I get burnt to death in this non-existant fire. Better get out. I opened the bog door and ran straight into the Head, rushing to the scene of the crime to apprehend the culprits red-handed. Me. Caught like a Treen in a disabled space cruiser.

Desperate to save my arse I blurted out “It was Phil, sir! Phil did it!”

Only trouble is, I just happened to be standing in front of half the school at the time. Whoops.

A voice came from the back of the crowd: “You’re fucking dead meat, you are!” I’m not exactly proud to say that at exactly 9.54am on that particular Thurdsay morning, I shat my pants.

Still, very kind of the Head to cover for me while I waddled off to clean myself up. Then, with the entire school, and I do mean upwards of 1,000 kids looking on, most calling out “Grass!” and words to that effect, Phil and I were marched to his study for un petit tete-a-tete.

I have never grovelled so hard in all my life. It wasn’t old Bull I was afraid off - it was the near fatal creaming I could reasonably expect from Psycho Phil at the end of the day. Or any day, even, in what appeared to be a very short life.

In short, I managed to convince the Head that I may have been mistaken in identifying Phil as the culprit in my rush to get to the toilet, and in fact, I may even have set the alarm off myself by swinging my bag over my shoulder as I walked past. It was a very impressive performance, and it must have done the trick, as we were both released without charge.

Outside the office, Phil took me to one side and said “I’ll see you after school.”

I shat myself for the second time that day.

By quarter to four, I was a gibbering wreck. Everybody else had treated me like the stoolpigeon that I was, and my day was a living hell. And I smelled of poop. I tried to slip out of school before Phil caught up with me, but it was useless, he’d been waiting for me since lunchtime and I was led by his minions for an audience with his royal thugness. He was flexing his fists, and his Doc Martens looked bigger and clumpier than ever. Doom.

I shat myself. Again.

He swung his arm out. I flinched.

“Thanks for getting me out of that one,” he said, “I owe you one, Bull was gonna have me expelled if I got caught again.” He shook me by the hand.

“Meep,” I replied, shatting myself.

“Now fuck off.”

I fucked off, and hid under my bed for the rest of the day just in case anything else scatalogical happened to me, like both my brother and sister coming upstairs to call me a grass. Which they did. Non-stop. For three weeks. I didn’t mind that. It was when my parents, neighbours and distant relations I hadn’t met for years started that I finally cracked.

The Law of the Playground has no witness protection programme. Arses.

That stoolpigeon's website

Friday, August 08, 2003

"Friday Stuffpile"

Arrived back at work today after two weeks sunning myself up a ladder, opened my mail client and BOOSH! - 1,208 mail messages. About five of them were useful. Nigerians still want to send me money, my breasts still aren't big enough, and somehow someone called "Spunk Farm" got hold of my e-mail address.

BOOSH! (again) - New Weebl and Bob!

B-B-BOOSH! - Death to ITV's The Premiershit, Long Live Match of the Day!

BOOSH, BOOSH and thrice BOOSH! I am apparantly in this week's Web User magazine (print version only). Wa-hey-HEY!

oooooOOOOOHHHH - BOOSH! New Scary story on site tomorrow.

Not boosh: George W Bush Elite Force Aviator Action Figure. I shit you not.

And just as soon as I remember how to do it, I'll be getting to point at this page instead of my geoshitties site. You know it makes sense.

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, August 07, 2003


I am now world famous in my own household, following my triumphant two minute special guest slot on Radio Five’s John Pienaar programme.

Our half hour discussion on blogging was pared down to ten terrifying minutes so they could fit in an interview with Sir Jackie Stewart and a discussion on the worldly implications of …err… facial hair; and my leisurely morning shopping in Dorchester followed by use of Radio Solent’s studio next door to Argos was transformed to a nervous telephone interview barricaded inside my living room, lest the kids come in and spoil the illusion that I knew what I was talking about.

I’ve done loads of radio interviews. I’ve set up studios, checked line levels, routed the output down the right hole in the floor, and watched with glee as the poor bastard behind the mic sweated it out. Now it was my turn – national radio – and the urge to shout “Sweaty wanksocks!” down the phone, or tell the David Beckham thermos flask gag was not far from my mind.

Instead, I just babbled on incoherently about My Wonderful Life, completely forgetting the carefully worded statements I had spent hours putting together, and only managed to contradict myself about three times. Then I went and bought a new vacuum cleaner, and not a single bugger recognised me, proving for once and for all that I’ve got a perfect face for radio.

John Pienaar’s moustache rules. Someone should make it a national treasure.

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

“Room 101”

An occasional series on things that get right up my bottom.

No.2: “I h8 txting”

It seemed a good idea at the time. Mobile phone calls are expensive, so why not devise a cheap alternative? Some bright spark came up with SMS messaging, a facility where a customer could send a short text message to another for a nominal charge. One hundred and sixty characters, that should be enough for anybody.

Now, in general, I don’t have much of a problem with mobile phones. I’ve got one and use it as, well, a phone. I bought twenty pounds worth of credit with the thing eighteen months ago, and I’ve still got it. Some people, however, are seriously contemplating having their phones grafted to the side of their head, and their salaries paid straight into Vodafone’s accounts department. I was the boy who had 2p in his pocket “just in case” I needed to use a phonebox in an emergency. I had the same coin for six years, and finally blew it on Dial-a-disc, which turned out to be worse than Tony Blackburn’s Junior Choice.

Mobile phones are turning us into a nation of mumbling idiots with a set of stock phrases such as “Hi! I’m on a train!” (said at the top of your voice); while those flash bastards with hands-free kits who walk around shopping malls talking to themselves leaving those of us holding genuine interior dialogues looking sane by comparison.

But txting! It’s murdering the English language. Who, in the name of Satan, has stln all the bstrd vowels? Maybe I’m just getting old, but it’s just a load of bllcks to me. And when it starts appearing on TV, in magazines, on websites, I jst wnt to drg those rspnsibl out into the street and hav a gr8 time kickng some bldy sense into their heads. And don’t even get me started on Sk8tr Boi. Even "Vodafone" is spelled wrong.

Give us a few years, and we’ll have evolved into a nation of quarter-wits with hugely developed thumbs and an inability to use vowels that’ll make the Welsh look normal.

Txt Mssgng: a ld of bstrd crp. CUL8r!

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 359”

A youthful Tony Blair once appeared on cult TV show “Jim’ll Fix It” where Jimmy Saville fixed it for the young Anthony to be Prime Minister for a day. However, once the cameras packed up and went home, nobody told the boy to stop, and he’s been in the job to this day. Saville, you’re a bastard.


Heisenberg’s Third Uncertainty Principle states: “If a man does housework and there’s no woman there to see it, he is still a lazy bastard when she comes home and finds him with a beer in front of the TV”

All being well and with a following wind, I shall be discussing this important scientific theory on BBC Radio Five Live at some stage tomorrow morning. Alternatively, we may just talk a bit about blogging.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, August 04, 2003

“Punx Not Dead”

Fake punks. What the hell’s that all about then? Avril Lavigne, repeat after me: “I am not punk. I am a corporate whore invented by some shit in a suit trying to add a bit of white-skinned teenage rebellion into bland popular music.” Or if that’s too long for you, just try “I’m shite. Sorry.”

I really wanted to be a punk. A genuine tartan-trousered, safety-pinned, mohican-styled punk with a name like Peter Puke. Or Alistair Unpleasant at the very least. However, it was 1976, and I was only ten. I watched a horrified-looking Frank Bough reporting on the goings on down the King’s Road with rapt interest from our comfortable middle-class living room, and I put the idea to my mum. She said no. Actually, she said more than no, and that was the end of that. Even when the Pistols finally appeared on Top of the Pops doing Pretty Vacant, the answer was still no.

In 1980, I finally threw my lot in with the New Romantics. OK, I got a load of Ultravox and a long coat and hung around looking moody, but strictly no make-up. By now, everybody and their dog was “punk” - yet we all knew deep down that the Boomtown Rats were about as punk as my granny. My sister, God bless her, went to University, and by the end of the first term was using a catering-sized tin of hairspray a week to keep her quiff from sagging. Two words: The Cramps. And that from the young lady whose first ever gig had been … Gerry Rafferty.

So, that’s the root of my argument. I wasn’t allowed to be a punk, and I’ll be damned if some prissy little cardboard here-today-gone-tomorrow pop icon is going to be one either. Change your name to Avril Arsewipe and I might just started believing you.

And while we’re on the subject, I remember my great aunt Doris staying with us around the mid eighties. Let’s be charitable and say that she was from another era. Thursday evening came round, and as was the family tradition, we sat round the television for Top of the Pops while Doris sat in the most comfortable chair with a stony face. I must say that the producers did us proud this evening with a parade of heavy metallists and, if my memory serves, The Exploited, screaming out punk’s death throes. It was only when Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark came on doing some twee number that I’m not embarrassed enough to admit that I own, that she finally cracked.

“He’s got his shirt tails hanging out. I fought in three World Wars fpr the likes of him.”

That led to a prolonged lecture on what, exactly, was wrong with British television, society, and the whole bally world today. Apparently was something to do with “darkies”. Oh dear - the old world had collided with the new with a sickening crash. Words were said ("You daft old cow"), and Doris was never asked to stay again. The next day she returned to Eastbourne with her tail between her legs.

Like punk never happened.

The Scaryduck Archive

Saturday, August 02, 2003


I spent about thirty years of my life living in Reading, but I never really considered it my home. Originally from London, I always thought I was just passing through on the way to somewhere better. London’s got history, style, and a better class of criminal. Reading’s got... very little, despite pretensions of becoming a city and redefining itself as some kind of silicon valley in the heart of Southern England.

Reading gave us Kate Winslet, and named a block of flats ironically built on a demolished cinema in her honour. Reading banged up Oscar Wilde in the local nick for being a famous whoopsie, and got a poem in return. Reading also buried King Henry I in the Abbey, but promptly lost the body under what is now the car park for the aforementioned nick. Reading used to be famous for beer - the brewery now only does gassy lager, bulbs - Suttons Seeds moved out years ago, and biscuits - the famous Huntley and Palmer brand is long gone, departed for Liverpool. Reading’s only export these days appears to be idiocy.

Let’s set the scene. It’s the mid 1980’s, and Reading, such that it is, is a town dominated by the railway. It’s a major route from London to the west, and a junction for trains to the north and south. For years now there’s been a service from Liverpool and Manchester to Bournemouth and Poole, which has to pull an elaborate U-turn in Reading in order to be facing the right way for its onward journey. The train pulls into the station, the engine is uncoupled and changes ends, and then off it goes on its journey, after a procedure that normally takes approximately six minutes.

Into the mix let’s throw a couple of factors:

One: The habitual thief, who has probably only ever left the town to do stir in some other prison after Reading Nick’s had enough of him. He’s the guy whose only bit of local knowledge is the fact that you can walk into the station from the street, past almost non-existent security, step onto the cross-country train at one end as it pulls into platform eight, emerging minutes later at the other end with extra luggage, almost certainly not his, lifted from the unguarded luggage racks at the end of each carriage. Let us, for the sake of argument, call him Mr Terrance Fuckwit.

Two: The passenger travelling from the north of England to the south coast, on a particular errand for a very intense group of people. He has carefully packed his bag, for it contains a fragile load, and is carrying it to a seaside rendezvous with some other very intense group of people, who will receive his cargo with relief and not a little determination to deliver it to the correct address, a hotel on the seafront. Let us, for the sake of argument, call him Mr McGuinness.

So it happens. McGuinness sinks another beer, draws nervously on his cigarette and lets his attention wonder from his bag for one, maybe two minutes. It is during this lapse in concentration that Fuckwit gets onto the train, sees a likely looking bit of luggage, hoists it onto his shoulder, leaps from the train just as the Guard’s whistle is blowing and legs it home to Whitley (twinned with Wankersdorf, Germany) as fast as his idiot legs can carry him.

Mr McGuinness carried on to Bournemouth, where his friends are not best pleased to see he has arrived, ashen face and sans valise. We shall draw a discrete veil over what happens to him, needless to say, he’ll never play the piano again.

Cut back to Terry Fuckwit of this parish, with his spoils on the dining room table, zip ripped open and hands rummaging inside to see if there is anything worth selling for a small profit. Too bloody right there is. For among the clothes, the washbag and the ephemera of the seasoned traveller is an ice cream container. Inside the box is a small clock, a battery, a few wires and two pounds of high explosives. It’s at this precise moment that I expect Fuckwit shat in his pants.

Any normal person would have called the police, who would, all things being equal, have turned a blind eye to a spot of petty theft in the thwarting of a major terrorist attack. But no - the gene pool is rather shallow at this end of town - out into the garden and into a bucket of water it went. Nothing happened, except it floated around a bit like a deadly little boat. And for Terrance Fuckwit, things are about to get a lot worse. His wife has arrived home, and there’s nothing on the table except a pair of terrorist’s y-fronts.

Local historians all tend to agree that Mrs Fuckwit “did her fucking nut” and told him to get it out of her house before it made a mess of her bargain roll-end carpet and the flock wallpaper. And that bomb can go as well. Quite right too - a semi detached council house is no place for enough plastique to demolish the whole street - what would the neighbours think? You can imagine the scene - head bowed, McGuinness’s bag under his arm, he ran up the street trying and failing not to look furtive.

There’s still time to do the right thing. Put the bag somewhere safe, warn people away and call the authorities who will deal with the incident with little fuss and not a little gratitude. And not, repeat NOT leave the damned thing outside a branch of NatWest Bank on the main route out of the town. Ah.

And that, I’m afraid, is where the long arm of the law catches up with Mr F. He could have been a hero - the man who thwarted terroristic ambitions to bomb the bloody hell out of God knows who. Instead, he became the idiot who tried to bomb the Circle K in Whitley. And he’s still out there. Breeding.

This is the town I was loathe to call home for the best part of two decades. Don’t get me wrong, there’s people here who are perfectly happy with their lot and haven’t once accidentally bombed the crap out of their local convenience store, motor parts shop and small suburban bank. They are, however, a very small minority.

I now live in the town that introduced the Great Plague to Britain and has pirates’ graves in the local churchyard, complete with skull and crossbones on the headstones. Sounds a fair swap.

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, August 01, 2003

”I Die: You Die”

Your Horror-Scopes for August – and a vast improvement on the Russell Grant originals ripped-off for this month’s all-seeing look into your (very short) future, even if I do say so myself.

Aries: Don’t be discouraged when your grandiose plans fail on the first attempt. Just make sure you leave a will and something which allows the authorities to identify your body.
Lucky former Zimbabwean President: Canaan Banana

Taurus: Don’t let your fears undermine your happiness - write down where you’d like to be in a year’s time. We bet you any money you don’t put “Sharing a cell with the notorious Grimsby Goat Buggerer”.
Lucky spin doctor: Alistair Campbell

Gemini: Whether you realise it or not, you've been blessed with a considerable writing ability, and you will make your fortune writing fake “You won’t believe what just happened to me” letters in pornographic magazines. Which is the shame, as that’s the nearest you’ll get to a shag for the next twenty-seven years.
Lucky media whore: Dale Winton

Cancer: You are loaded with leadership potential, and need to use this talent toward building a fortune, which you’ll need to pay off your hospital bills. Oh yes, it’s Ebola gain.
Lucky Star Trek actor: Leonard Nimoy

Leo: Smoothing over problems with roommates or family members is essential. This may involve using different strategies for discussing problems, or reallocating various household chores. Hide the axe.
Lucky 70s footballer: Peter Osgood

Virgo: Retreating from the world gives you a chance to reflect on personal plans. And it also saves the rest of us from looking at your ugly face. May I suggest a paper bag for your next public appearance?
Lucky kids’ TV character: Postman Pat

Libra: You're no longer afraid to pursue the big, challenging goals that once filled you with fear. Go on, do that bungee jump. Can I have your record collection?
Lucky Romanian: Ilie Nastase

Scorpio: Making a name for yourself should be quite easy, as you have no problem commanding the spotlight. The world will flock to your door to read your prison memoirs, and find out, exactly, what happened to the cow and the national hunt jockey.
Lucky Lucky Lucky: Kylie Minogue

Sagittarius: You've always been a gambler at heart, and that's never been more clear than today. You’ll be remembered as the first person to try Russian Roulette with a machine pistol.
Lucky lunatic Australian: Steve Irwin

Capricorn: Now that you have so many exciting opportunities before you, it's time to make some changes. Get rid of that boring work suit and start your new career as a transvestite axe murderer. When the law catches up with you, just blame the voices in your head, and they’ll believe you. Honest.
Lucky left-handed Christian cartoon character: Ned Flanders

Aquarius: A creative partnership could give you tons of inspiration; as two heads work better than one. The problem is grafting that second head onto your shoulder once you’ve liberated it from the morgue. It’ll be worth your while, believe you me!
Lucky bearded old sailor from a TV commercial: Captain Birdseye

Pisces: Acquiring practical skills will make you feel more useful and needed, which is a good thing. Rimming, golden showers and scat play are all heavily in demand in today’s burgeoning sex industry - there’s never been a better time to retrain!
Lucky French cafe owner from a BBC sitcom: Rene Artois

If it’s your birthday: I see you didn’t invite me to your party this year, but I hope you enjoy your present - a lifetime’s supply of killer bees! Ha HA HA HA HAAAAAARGH!!! I am not mad.

If your birthday is February 4th 1951: You are Russell Grant, and will get absolutely minted writing this tosh for a gullible public. Good work that man.

A brand new all-singing, all-dancing Scary Story with another self-indulgent Gary Numan reference in the title will appear tomorrow. I’ve actually taken two weeks get-away-from-the-computer leave - not that you’d notice - which has been mostly spent, terrified, at the top of a ladder as I paint the outside of my house.

The Scaryduck Archive