Thursday, March 31, 2005

More tea, vicar?

The fine art of making tea outside the British Isles

You are somewhere to the south and east of Dover and you fancy a nice cup of something hot. Tea. Well, tough titties, you're doomed, for a stupidly expensive scientific study has come to the following conclusions of the chance of getting a cup of tea outside the British Isles:

1. Cannot be done. Drink coffee.

Or, if you insist, and I must stress you are now taking your life in your hands here, the following procedure must be strictly adhered to.


* Water: Oh God, we're off to a bad start here. They just don't do water in foreign. If I were you, I'd bottle up your own before you leave and take your chances with customs. Remember - water smuggling can get you up to five years in Turkey, and a ring like a wizard's sleeve. No cup of tea is worth that kind of battering.

* Milk: You are having a laugh here, aren't you? British milk tastes like milk. Any other country's milk tastes like a wrestler's armpit and should only be used as paint stripper. If you're the kind of smug bastard that likes lemon in their tea, then you will be the first against the wall come the revolution (Shot at dawn, then home for a nice cup of tea. Lovely.) Powdered milk is likely to have you sectioned, not to mention the possibility of a nasty latex gloved experience in the customs hall. They can spot people like you a mile off.

* Tea: Bring your own, but beware that it spoils the second it crosses the border. And in combination with local water, tea and second hand air breathed in by Johnny Foreigner, it could be the last thing that passes your lips. If the stuff they put into British tea bags is reputedly the sweepings of the floor in the tea factory, God alone knows what's left for the miniscule and easily fobbed-off foreign market, where the only customers are ex-pat Brits pining for a decent cuppa.

Method: "Hmm", you say, waking up in your hotel room in darkest Babylon, "I fancy a nice cup of tea. But how?"

* Call room service. The bellboy will eventually arrive and take your bags to the lobby, where you take a taxi to the airport, board a plane, and several connections later, you arrive back in the UK.
* Take a 100 mile taxi journey home from Heathrow, dash into your kitchen, make a lovely cup of tea in the accepted manner, drink it, before returning to your foreign hotel room.

No problem, and well worth the effort.

In conclusion: stay at home. White, no sugar, and PUT THE MILK IN FIRST, you bloody heathen.

The Thursday Vote-o

Thursday swoops down on us once again, like the big swoopy Swan of Death come to break a man's arm with a single flap of it's wing. "Swaaaaan!" it screams, "Vote for a Scary Story or I'll break your arm with a single flap of my wing!"

Best do as he says, then. All stories are certified almost entirely swan free.

* Cubs' Camp - In which small boys are attacked by swans for not bringing enough bread - with hilarious results!
* Party - Swans gatecrash a quiet family gathering - with hilarious results!
* Top Trumps - "There was a muffled explosion and we were knocked flying by a large white bird moving at enormous speed"
* The Age of Steam - "At last!" cried Dr Scourge, "Meka-Swan is complete. The world will cower before my invention!"

I don't make this stuff up, you know.

Next week: Bees.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

On Tea


I've been reading Nicey and Wifey's Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down book (the coffee table edition), and have taken the opportunity - as part of the review-writing process - to improve my tea-making skills, which, while not blowing my own trumpet, are already at the l33t end of the scale.

Nicey, in his wisdom, advocates using one standard tea bag for two cups of tea - a novel idea that would be heresy in many a decent, God-fearing tea-drinking home, and a practice Mr PG Tips is doing his best to stamp out through liberal use of monkeys and animated pigeons.

So, I gave it a try, against my better judgment, it has to be said. Result: one lovely, even nice cup of tea, and one cup of something nasty strained through a tramp's sock. And when I find that tramp, I'm going to kick his face off.

It could be that I am - somehow - doing it wrong. Good grief, I've had better results using powdered milk and Tesco Value stuff clearly intended for vending machines. What I really need is one of those teabags the size of a pillow they use in scout hut tea urns that produce something akin to tarmac - get hold of one of them in a bucket and I'll be set of a whole week.

But let us count our blessings. While we are able to sit down and relax with a nice cuppa, there are people in this world to whom this simple pleasure is denied. I am, of course, refering to Americans. Pity them, for the whole nice of tea, decent non-cardboard biscuit and relaxing sit down are all denied to them through recent Supreme Court judgements. And they call it The Land of the Free. Sponsored by Nescafe, I'll bet.

So, where were we? Ah yes. A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down, available in all good book stores, and quite a few fucking rubbish ones. Sixteen thumbs up.

The Arse of Lopez says:

"Buy this book, and some nice Malted Milks". Gruuuuuunt!"
The Arse of Lopez SPEAKS!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Road Pizza

Road Pizza

I saw a dead cat today. Normally, I'd get out, scrape the thing up and that would be lunch sorted.

But this was in a traffic jam on the M3 near Winchester, and there it was, as flat as a pancake in the central reservation. It was, and I swear on my builder's life, fucking huge, about four feet in length monstrous fangs and tiger stripes. God thing it was dead - it could have had my face off in the blink of an eye. I have half a mind to ring Marwell Zoo and ask if they're missing anything. God knows they've got enough trouble with penguins getting out, terrorising old ladies for fish.

I would have taken a photograph for you, but my camera was in the boot of my car, and some people do not share my lax attitude to traffic laws. Some journalist, I.

Then I saw a car with the number plate B16 UNS, and I laughed like a big stupid.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Join Me

Good deed for the day

I've joined Join Me, Danny Wallace's Not-a-cult-we're-a-collective dedicated to doing random goods deeds. I have decided that I shall use my kind-hearted boss as my role model for the sacrifices that he makes to ensure that people are happy.

For example, he was down the pub not long ago, when he found an appointment card for the local clap clinic on the floor of the bar. It had an appointment on it, but no name. So, he spent the next hour or so, going from table-to-table, punter-to-punter ("I'm sorry to disturb you, but is this your VD clinic card?") until it was re-united with its owner.

Drink was involved, but all parties seemed happy enough with the outcome, even if Boss refused to shake hands with the victim. After all, they can jump six feet...

What a man, and if it wasn't for the fact that he's writing my appraisal, I would say more.

My first act of random kindness will be to hang around the ladies' toilet and pass fresh rolls of paper under the door should they run out. It's the least I can do, and isn't manky in any way whatsoever.

The Leader will be so pleased.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Origin of the Species

Origin of the Species

So, I suppose you want to know how I got into this writing game then? No? I'm going to tell you anyway, so tough.

Fade to 1988.

I never wanted to be an author, never had the urge to be published. I just wanted to go to my job counting cows for the EEC, and spend weekends swearing like a bastard on the terraces at Highbury.

Then, one day at an FA Cup match in Brighton, somebody handed me a football fanzine. It was issue two of The Gooner, and was filled with all the things I liked. Mainly the Arsenal, football and swearing. It was this: aces. It also appeared to be the work of approximately two people and their office photocopier. This turned out to be true.

I had to get involved, and egged on by a trainee journalist and fellow layabout in the Cow Counting Department, I did. My first ever published piece of work was a pre-Hillsborough rant on the sorry state of English football grounds called, rather predictably, "Grounds for Complaint".

Despite its turgid subject matter, the embryo of the modern Scaryist writing technique is certainly there, and I'm rather proud of my description of the late and hardly lamented at all Wembley Stadium: "its rancid river of piss on match days, not to mention the fetid garden of dog shit next to the greyhound track". Sarcasm at its worst, dear reader, and the fools like it enough to print it in issue three.

Spurred on by this new enthusiasm for the written arts, I wrote more and more for the Gooner, and by issue six (known in football publishing circles as "The Alistair Coleman issue") I was writing most of their output. I'd even developed a nom de plume to cover up this fact: the none-more-gormless ignorant sports journalist Dan Prick, who would hold court on the most pressing of issues surrounding the modern game, like the brand of Gazza's favourite pie.

I continued writing for The Gooner, When Saturday Comes and several other footie magazines for several years under different names, and was carving a certain, unpaid niche in the market, until some bastard went and installed the internet at work.

Fucking hell. Words! People had an enormous desire to see words! Not just lucid journalistic wrioting, but any old wanky bollocks spoken with a voice of authority on free web space or some shonky mailing list devoted to fans of *cough* The X Files.

So I started a website.

It was about me, and featured a million pictures of a dog and a tribute to my favourite recording artist at the time. Some of it is still there. Somehow, it turned into an Arsenal site, featuring sweary match reports for the interested Gooner in your life. On a good day, I might get 25 to 30 hits a day. The big time.

It took about three years to realise that there were other people doing the same thing ten times better than I was, and it was getting increasingly difficult writing match reports for games that I hadn't actually attended, or even seen. You only have to look at Arseblog to see top quality football swearage in action, and I salute him. There was only one alternative. Wil Wheaton made me start a blog, and three years later, like a damn fool, I'm still doing it.

I had previously written a short story for Danny Baker and Danny Kelly on Radio Five when he had appealed for tales of dangerous and stupid stuff listeners had done, sent it in, and was amazed that the Dannys read it out, crying with laughter. That story was "I was a teenage bomber" and the Scary Story was born, and some time in my first year of bloggage, some damn fool gave me a thousand pounds to make sure I kept writing them.

I am forced to admit, at this stage, that my weblog isn't as spontaneous as you might think. Many blogs are spur-of-the-moment things where people discuss the minutiae of their lives. I do not. Most of my material is written days or even weeks in advance, sometimes tried out on one of several discussion forums of which I am a member, and mercilessly tweaked until the gags scream for mercy.

Looking back over three years of Scary Stories while I re-write them for the Scary Book, it is amazing how much my writing has changed. If not exactly mature, I've developed a style which people, by all accounts, actually like, and I've almost learned how to spell.

I'd quite like to make some money from writing now, but hey, no bugger's paying at the moment, apart from the salary I get from writing about Klingons for the BBC.

My advice to people who want to write mirrors that given by Neil Gaiman, who is as close to a writing role-model I'm ever going to admit. Write. Keep writing until you finish. Then send it off to someone who might pay you. This might even happen one day.

And another thing: I write exactly the same for an audience of one than I do for an audience of thousands. And that thing about laughing girls into bed - totally untrue. You might get them NEAR the bed, but at the crucial moment, they're still laughing.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sick Duck


I was stuck behind a removal van for far too long the other day, adding literally seconds to my journey.

"PDQ Removals" it said on the back, further promising, "Anything, Anyplace, Anytime!!"

Revenge. An elephant firing exploding buns out of its trunk, to the Pitcairn Islands, last Thursday.

They said they'd get back to me.

Sick Duck

Life's finally caught up with me, and I shall be spending most of the weekend lying on the sofa, a miserable, groaning wreck. As such, there's no Thursday vote-o today, because, frankly, I can't be arsed to sort out a story for Friday.

Good Friday? Bloody crap Friday, more like.

In the meantime, post your best* gag in the comments section. This duck needs laughter. And orange sauce. Prize** for the best one!

* worst
** lie

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

"Hey! This thing talks!"

"Hey! This thing talks!"

OK, so we've proved that making your Speak and Spell machine swear is neither big nor clever, and frankly, what's the point of spelling out the swearage if the damned thing refuses to say the words? Moving on from this travesty of antique electronic engineering, which could only be made to swear in the most roundabout way, it pleased me somewhat that my paper-round money allowed me to go out and buy a basic speech synthesiser for my BBC Micro - the spiffy "Speech!" by Superior Software.

A triumph of the programmer's art, you could actually get the machine to say real, life stuff without the need for any expensive extra chips. Load up the programme (which hid itself in the upper reaches of the Beeb's massive 32kB memory, and by typing *SAY "Fuck off", your Model B became a top quality cussin' machine. Oh, japes.

As luck would have it, our college had just taken delivery of a job lot of BBC Micros for their computer lab, consigning their old PETs with the built-in green screens to the dustbin of history (next to the kitchen slops bin out the back). Being a l33t BBC Model B programmer, it was time to wreak Juvenile Geek Computer Havoc!

It was only a matter of time before traps were left for the next user. Confronted by a blank screen containing only the words "Hit any key", they would do as requested, and the profanity would last right up to the moment they switched the thing off.

Nowadays, the same effect can be created by goosing up Professor Stephen Hawking's daughter.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

On the road, again

British Roadside Attractions

I have a sneaking feeling that I've written about this before, but bear with me as my abandonment of the railway has opened up whole new vistas to me. This started off as a rant on the lack of decent roadside attractions in Britain, but the more I thought of it, the more I realised that we've got loads. And with the Easter weekend opening up before us like Goatse man's bottom, what better time to promote the best tat our country has to offer.

You see, there's a whole tradition of this sort of thing in America. The whole place is littered with monuments to the useless. You drive from Pigdick, Illinois to Arse, Texas and you are forever coming across the World's Biggest Cow Turd, the World's Longest Fish, huge fibreglass men - America is littered with this crap that travellers, bored with endless, endless roads, worship for the want of anything better to do. Like huge ducks, for example. Worship-me-do!

Your Gaimans, Brysons and any number of travel writers have waxed lyrical on the American roadside attraction, because, frankly, they try harder over there. In Weymouth, we've got a wishing well. Underwhelmed, I paid it a visit, and I'm still waiting for my lightly oiled Kirstie Allsopp clutching an attache case of used fivers.

Where's the weird guff when you need it?

It turns out that I just wasn't looking hard enough. On a recent trip up to Yeovil (where I could, if I wished, have taken a short diversion to see the Museum of Bakelite), I came across a submarine sitting beside the A37. A whole bloody submarine. With a periscope and everything.

And what, pray, is the Angel of the North, if it is not a massive roadside attraction designed solely to outdo those pesky American whippersnappers*?

And while I was trying out Wishing Wells, I remember a childhood visit to the Maharajah's Well just outside Henley. It's one of those what-the-bloody-hell's-that-doing-there? things that is so utterly out of time and place, you've just got to take a major diversion to see it.

What's near you? List me up!

I was rather disappointed, in my search for giant roadside stuff, to find out that Devon's The Big Sheep was not a large fibreglass farmyard animal. Must try harder. And if the Duck Trials are anything to go by, I'll be pleading not guilty, thank "ewe"** very much.

* Answer: a bit crap, and they forgot to paint it, the shoddy bastards.
** Sorry.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Deportivo Wanka

Deportivo Wanka

In a moment of idiocy, I decided to put together a football team which I shall call Double Entendre XI. In the end I managed to get no less than seventeen players - past and present - to play for the filthiest team on the planet:

1. David Seaman
2. Danny Shittu
3. Rod Fanni
4. Raphael Scheidt
5. Berndt Haas
6. Nicky Butt
7. Nwankwo "Mr Sex" Kanu
8. Uwe Fuchs
9. Paul Dickov
10. Wayne Wanklin
11. Joseph Desire Hand Job

12. Lopez Ufarte
13. Argelico Fucks
14. Tony Woodcock
15. Julian Dicks
16. Dean Windass
17. Joaquim Manuel Silva Quim

Manager: Stefan Kuntz

In an ideal world, they would all be playing at Young Boys' Wankdorf stadium in Switzerland in a filth-match against Peru's Deportivo Wanka. Sponsored, naturally, by Turkish bank Arcelik.

If I was Roman Abramovich, I'd stop all this mucking about with Chelsea right now, and do my damnedest to make this happen. It would be this: aces. In fact, I'd have the players out on the park right now, practicing like ...err... buggery. I want to see Wanklin and Dickov lobbing Seaman on a regular basis, or you're not playing.


And while we're on the footie theme, get your filthy hands on a copy of It's Up for Grabs Now...", a collection of stories dedicated to the events of 26 May 1989 - the night Arsenal Football Club won the league title in dramatic style and changed the history of the world, like, forever.

And I'm in it, which makes it this: aces.

All profits of this reasonably priced, yet superb offering go to the Marc Fisher Trust in memory of David Rocastle, who played for the Arsenal on that glorious booze-soaked night.


Friday, March 18, 2005

Manhunt: Airgun woe


Kids with guns is A Bad Thing.

I wouldn't even give my kids a toy that fires caps, or even a spud gun. Heaven knows they only lead to the Hard Stuff, resulting in the parent's curse: maniacal teenagers. Such as myself, for example.

My parents were fairly responsible on this front. Access to deadly weapons was strictly controlled through youth organisations, and as soon as we got our brown shirts we were to march on Munich. Matty's parents, however, gave him anything he wanted, and he wanted air guns. They got him two. No good could ever come from this.

Did Matty ever use his weapons for the purpose designed? Did he ever put up small paper targets in a safe part of his garden and practice his marksmanship under the watchful eye of a responsible adult? Did he bollocks.

Anything and everything became a legitimate target. From mild mannered teen lunatic to gun-toting juvenile gangster in a matter of hours. In his defence hardly any windows were smashed at all, and he was such a bad shot that wildlife was particularly unendangered.

Matty's only problem was that he couldn't make up his mind if he was to be a cowboy or James Bond. So he was both, toting loaded air pistols round in makeshift holsters tied to his thighs before striking manly poses whilst singing the Bond theme. Badly. Most of these manly poses usually ended with one of us looking right down the barrel at certain death, or, on one occasion, holding the bloody thing the wrong way round and shooting a pellet right through the parting on his hair.

He was saved, I am sure, by the fact that he used the crapper of his two pistols. This one was a weedy little thing that couldn't put a hole through a sheet of paper. The other, mind you, was something evil and took a starring role in "The Day of the Jackal".

It had to happen sooner or later. There we were, loafing in his front room on a rainy afternoon, parents out at work in the days where you could trust your kids not to burn the house down while you’re out for the day.

“Which one shall I fire?" said Matty, fully tooled up, and waving his weapons around as usual. "This one or THIS one?” he said, firing both.

Pt-tang! Dang! Ker-spang! The first pellet whistled past my ear and bounced harmlessly off the curtains. Fer-tanananang! The second pellet bounced of several walls, a reproduction print of some elephants and a strategically opened door and embedded itself in my knee.

You know, I really, really hate getting shot, and had I been in a position to do so (and not writhing on the floor bleeding slightly) I would have told Matty so, before inserting his pistol up his jacksie, sideways.

Frankly, I'd had enough of that kind of toss, and crawled home to die.

Matty and Squagg, on the other hand, hadn't had enough, and went up to Twyford gravel pit lakes for a manhunt.

Fully tooled up and dressed like a couple of teen SAS members in baggy combats and trainers, they stalked each other, taking pot-shots through the long grass while anglers told them to fuck off.

I wisely stayed at home, waiting for the police to drop them off.

No ceremony, just two bleeding idiots, sans firearms, delivered into the bosom of their families for the bollocking of their lives.

The next day, a small Improvised Explosive Device saw to Matty's push bike. I couldn't possibly comment on the youth seen limping away with a manic grin on his face.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The St Patrick's Day Vote-me-up


When a foreign business contact starts getting over-familiar with you and asks for your life story, details of your education and your inside leg measurement, I'm not one to worry unduly.

However, when they ask, in shattered English, for a photo, is it wrong that the first thought to enter your head is "clothed or undraped"? Ladies and gentlemen, it's taken long enough, but I am pleased to announce that I've got my first stalker.

"Please, in Albania we are loving Norman Wisdom films of silly, silly man. He funny haha with falling over comedy runabout games and Mr Grimsdale shout! Sending me your picture (clothing!) please. "

The St Patrick's Day Vote-me-up

As a genuine fifty per cent bog-trotting Mick, I would like to take this opportunity to say "Begorrah", "Bejebus", "Top o' the Morning" and "There is an explosive device concealed somewhere in the Grand Hotel. The code word is 'cranberry'", on today, St Patrick's Day, where everybody and their dog pretends to be distantly related to Graham Norton. I shall be celebrating by staying sober and telling people that I am, in fact, from Zimbabwe. And here is all the proof you need.

On this auspicious occasion, your votes, please, on the following five Scary Stories, faithfully matched up with this week's Top Five Fish:

5. Cubs' Camp - Salmon. Noble, swimmy. Nice with new potatoes.
4. Party - Piranha. Nasty, equally swimmy. Would steal your granny's false leg given half the chance.
3. Top Trumps - The smell-o-fish that swims up a lady's naughty bits.
2. The Age of Steam - Derek Dick. Not noted for his swimmy abilities, used to be in Marillion
1. Manhunt - The Way of the Exploding Fish. Mysterious, deadly Koi-based Japanese martial art that is hardly swimmy at all.

The Arse of Lopez says:

"Vote me do, fish fans! faaaaarp"

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

On the road

Welcome to the Police State

So, this is it. After 800 years, our nation has decided that it is, in fact, OK to lock people up without trial, for any reason, for any period of time, on evidence so secret it can't be made public, even to the accused. Tell me again, who are they supposed to be protecting us from?

"Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?" asked Tony Hancock. Unfortunately, Tone, me old son, she just did.

It was an affair where no-one has emerged with any credit. Blair got what he wanted, and the opposition parties, such as they are, caved in with a promise that the act would be reviewed in a year's time --- and quietly renewed.

And you ask yourself again - who is this act protecting us from? Total terrorist attacks on the British mainland since Labour came to power in 1997: Nil. But, says our glorious leader, "our brave security forces have foiled dozens".

And the evidence for this?

"Sorry, it's secret."

Secret, like the legal advice for going to war with Iraq, then. This government likes secrets.

"Watch it son, that's the kind of terrorist talk that gets you locked up."

Somewhere, a clock struck thirteen.

On the Road

Mosher regularly updates his blog with a list of "Weird stuff I've seen whilst driving". Now that I too use my car for work, and hence am turning myself into a bigger bastard than I ever was, it is the time to start a list of my own:

1. The Queen, running me off the road in a Range Rover, the bitch.
2. A whole portakabin, taking up both carriageways of the A31.
3. A Roman Abramovich-sized boat which is larger that the truck carrying it. This is almost a daily occurance chez nous, thanks to local boat builders, so hardly counts as weird.
4. Two truckloads of fresh nuclear warheads accompanied by incredibly angry looking naval types.

I've got a hard act to beat. Mr's Duck's uncle was a truck driver - amongst the weird shit that he saw in his career pounding the highways, he once found a whole wedding cake by the side of the road. Naturally, he took it home and ate the thing.

You know what I'm going to say: list-me-do!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Another Level

Another Level

You layabouts will never know the meaning of hard work until, like Mrs Duck and I, you have carried a sixty inch mattress up a flight of stairs with a fifty-eight inch hole at the top*. [The trick is to jump on the thing and hog-tie the bastard with a handy rope and drag it up the stairs until your hands bleed.]

The result is this: five months after Useless Workshy Cunt Of A Builder (“You’ll be up there by September”, he lied, sunning himself in the garden) walked out on the contract, we finally have a bedroom.

Worst night’s sleep. Ever. Damn you UWCOAB!

*Typing on a keyboard with no functioning spacebar is no holiday either

Hail the Twat!

Congrats an' stuff to Zoe MyBoyfriendIsATwat for winning the Best European Weblog in this year's Bloggie awards. I'm sure Zoe would be the first to acknowledge that she would be nowhere without her man. There. Being a twat. Let's hear it for Quarsan!

I am not pissed off in the slightest that I didn't win the Best Make-Up in a Musical award for the second year running.


Sorry, something got stuck in my throat there.

Monday, March 14, 2005

TV Gone Home

TV programmes they really ought to make

1. Oh Dr Shipman - in which the cast of Hi-De-Hi, working on a sleepy railway branch line, are bumped off one-by-one by a bearded serial killer.

2. Doctor Whom - in which a timelord from the Planet Gallifrey is stalked by a pedant clutching a dictionary

3. Big Cook, Little Cock - in which Ainsley Harriott comes to terms with his feelings of inadequacy with recipes for carrots, parsnips and German knockwurst.

4. MiddleEastEnders - in which a truck bomber finally does for the Queen Vic.

5. Changing Wombs - Carol Smilie and Anna Ryder Richardson undergo several hours of painful, unnecessary surgery.

6. Top "Gear": TV's Jeremy Clarkson, Quentin Wilson and that other smug bloke get off their faces on a variety of drugs and then attempt to test drive the latest Nissan, giggling hysterically about the shape of the gear stick and trying to avoid the purple garden gnomes.

7. Ask the Family: Comedy quiz show starring David Blunkett and half the population of Britain, as they attempt to find who got Kimberley "Bury me in a Y-shaped coffin" Quinn up the duff.

8. Wish You Were Hair: Celebrity baldies Bobby Charlton, Neil Kinnock and Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen (don't be fooled - it's a syrup) undergo hours of painful cosmetic surgery with the aid of a Singer sewing machine to restore a full flowing mane to these pathetic examples of humanity. Hosted by Jimmy Carr.

9. Al Jazz Era: Weird Al Yankovic-fronted documentary on the history of Jazz music in the Middle East. Featuring the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade Suicide Quartet.

10. Most Haunted Live: In which Derek, Yvette and co tour the Brixham area in search of Scary's Haunted Holiday ghost. No, hang on, that's actually on tonight.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Eyebrows: Fireball woe


You asked - nay, demanded - this story, and caving in like the Tottenham defence, here it is.

Ours was a deep, special, pure kind of love, and we were to be wed. Stop laughing at the back there.

We were married on Adolf Hitler's 102nd birthday in a little church next door to a nuclear weapons factory. I'm afraid I disgraced myself rather at the reception (excuse: booze, twattery) and we both woke the following morning, in a freezing hotel room the size of a shoe box rather the worse for wear.

Now, some of you, especially the men, will scowl at me for getting married at 3pm on a Saturday during the football season. And you'd be right, it was an act that went everything that I stood for and a glaring cock-up on my part. It was only the fact that Arsenal's opponents for that day - Sheffield Wednesday - were stuffing Manchester United 1-0 in the League Cup Final, saved the weekend from total disaster.

In fact, the whole wedding business meant I only missed two whole games, but I was back in circulation in time for a 6-1 win at Highbury on the last day of a championship-winning season. Good thing I had my priorities sorted out, eh?

Yet, with heads filled with concrete, we faced a 200 mile drive to South Devon for what would be a glorious, sunsoaked honeymoon, doing the tedious lovey-dovey things that young marrieds like us do. Taking little heed of the warning "You're not bringing that bloody duck with you", by way of a present, I bought her a fluffy penguin called Trevor - after Trevor Senior, Reading FC's lanky, curly-haired, gap-toothed striker who looks nothing like a penguin and is allergic to fish. And I was wondering when our first row would kick off.

It was cold there, damn cold, with a wind blowing straight off Dartmoor into our front room. And what a room! It boasted spectacular views over Brixham Harbour (venue of the World Fishermens Friend Sucking Championships 2005 - FACT!), the world's biggest sofa, a TV which could receive nearly three channels and a genuine antique gas fire.

Did I mention it was cold in there?

"Why don't you light the fire, then, penguin boy?"

On our arrival that Sunday evening, we found that we had to go out and get hold of one or two essentials that the house needed. Food. Toilet paper. That sort of stuff. And sodding difficult in a town which closes at 5pm on a Saturday and doesn't reopen until they've removed all the lepers on Monday morning. About an hour later, following a trek of several miles, I found what we needed in the only 24 hour garage in Devon, and returned in triumph. Lawks-a-lordy, we take take a dump without having to use a three-year-old edition of the Radio Times.

Alas, when it came to the gas fire, we had no matches.

But we did have the ignition on the gas cooker in the kitchen.

So, that's what I did. Only, and here comes the woe, dear reader, I did it all in the wrong order.

Gas on. Run to the kitchen. Light the gas burner. Roll up old copy of Radio Times into a makeshift wick. Light paper. Run back to the front room. Watch as paper goes out. Run back to the kitchen. Repeat steps 2-5, and lunge at gas fire with smouldering TV listings.


My entire world went blue.

Blue, the light of burning natural gas, mixed with orange, the light of burning duck.

After Mrs Duck had stamped out the flames through tears of mirth, we surveyed the damage. No eyebrows. Hair reduced to a Bobby Charlton-esque combover. My lovely new, white fisherman's-style jumper a fetching shade of charred brown. The gas fire was burning away merrily, laughing at my dice with death, Mrs Duck cursing the fact that the life insurance payout would have to wait.

Also in that week of bliss: a monkey pissed on my foot at Paignton Zoo, the exhaust fell off the car, and I was continually dive-bombed by vengeful seagulls until I looked like an accident at the Tippex factory. A romantic picnic somewhere in the South Hams led to assault-by-cow and a trip on the Dartmouth ferry resulted in a major search and rescue exercise.

It gave me the distinct impression, as I moved from my days as a feckless youth into my adult years of marriage and responsibility, that somebody up there was trying to tell me something. And it was this: "You're a cunt. And grow some eyebrows."

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Neither Big Nor Clever

Neither Big Nor Clever

The other day, I was faced with another of those heart-stopping moments that all parents of pre-teen childs dread.

"Hey dad," said Scaryduck Junior.

"What is is son - can't you see I'm trying to get a decent freeze-frame of Kirstie Allsopp here?"

"I know what BMW stands for."

Uh oh.

"Batman's Willy."

Thank God for that, I thought he was going to say something disgusting. However, I was under the impression that it meant Bob Marley and the Wailers.

"John says it stands for Black Man's Wanger."


I'm hardly one to talk. at around his age, I'd got my grubby hands on a Speak and Spell machine - the cutting edge of microchip technology from the kings of the LED display, Texas Instruments.

Speak & Spell!

"Spell 'SCHOOL'"







"Incorrect - that is not how you spell 'school'. Try again."



My place in hell assured from an early age.

No Thursday vote-o today - we're doing the eyebrows thing on Friday. Mirth, woe and huge, destructive fireballs guaranteed.

Somebody's bound to e-mail me this for some reason - take the Are You A Duck? Test. I am, you will be pleased to hear, mostly a duck.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

From the desk of S Duck esq, man of letters

From the desk of S Duck esq, man of letters

Complaint to PG Tips

Dear Mr Tips,

Please find enclosed one tea bag. I think you will recognise it as one of yours.

I would like to point out that I wasted a good fifteen minutes of my life trying to make a cup of tea from this alleged teabag on the morning of 8 March 2005, unaware of the fact that it contained this much tea: bugger all.

This wasted effort and subsequent strop, which only ended when the lovely Mrs Duck suggested that I take a photo of the bloody thing "and write to the Queen for all I care", made me look an utter twat in front of my family and it is all your fault.

In restitution, I would like:

* my money back
* a new teabag, containing tea
* one of your spare monkeys

Get a grip man, or I shall start drinking coffee, and that will be all your fault as well.

Yours, Scary.

Letter to HRH the Queen

If it pleases Your Majesty,

Do us a favour love, and have that PG Tips bloke locked up and relieved of important parts of his anatomy and/or monkeys.

In return, you're welcome to come stay at our place any time you like. You know how it is, what with young married hammering away and keeping you awake at all hours of the night.

I hope the camp bed's OK, like last time. But please, and I don't give a shit if you're the Queen, curfew is 10.30pm sharp.


Letter to Dracula

Dear Mr Howard,

It has come to my attention that the Conservative Party needs a little help in the propaganda department. Now, I see your party as the spawn as Satan, but little different from the lunatics in power as we speak.

So, in order to level the playing field a bit, here's a little number I knocked off last week based on one of your previous piss-poor efforts from recent years. I hope you like it.

Yours, Scary.

Imitation/Flattery interface

Celebrity ambulance blogger Reynolds does a Scary. With swearing*.

* And loads of footnotes**.
** It's actually rather good***.
*** Really.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

At the races

One can but dream...

"And now on BBC1, a change of programming. Instead of Mary Whitehouse: A Life, there now follows live coverage of Kirstie Allsopp and Sarah Beeney wrestling in a paddling pool full of baby oil."

At the Races

From the card from last Friday's race meeting at Newbury:

The Chase ("You go anywhere near that betting office and I'm going back to mother's")


The Mencap Novices Hurdle ("*Belm*")

You would have thought that the Mencap one would have been classified as a handicap chase.

This opens up whole new possibilities of inappropriate sports sponsorship. Suggest-me-do!

Monday, March 07, 2005


Town criers

What in the name of buggery are town criers all about then? All the criers I have ever met, and boy I've known a few in my time, are the biggest bunch of social misfits and lunatics I have ever met.

They are, to a man, all of retirement age, and pumped up to a size to fit their ridiculous robes. They've all got huge amounts of facial hair, allowing to work as department store Santas outside the Town Crying season. And that includes the women.

Scary's "Did you know?" No.1: Town criers generally have to supply their own robes as councils generally blow their Ridiculous Outfits budget on the mayor. With the price of fake ermine rocketing by over 400% in the last year (thanks to higher than expected losses in the 1st Crossdressing Brigade in Iraq), many town criers look like they're wearing Danny La Rue's cast-offs.

2. Many town criers point to "hundreds of years of tradition" when people point out the utter pointlessness of their trade. I postulate that they are merely frustrated Morris Dancers.

3. When Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis killed himself, Granada TV anchor Tony Wilson had news of the singer's demise broadcast by the Chester town crier. Class.

Town criers are, to a man, more right wing than Robert Kilroy Silk. I've met a few, and they've scared me shitty with their hanging-and-flogging-send-em-back-to-Bongo-Bongo-Land opinions, so I asked a colleague of mine for confirmation. He was once, you see, a minor celebrity in the West Midlands, and got to go to a lot of local fetes, where, of course, the local crier would ring his bell and shout a lot. He summarised Town Criers thussly:


I recently saw a local news report on a BNP meeting somewhere in the West Country, followed immediately by a gathering of Town Criers in EXACTLY the same place. Q.E. bloody D, and the kind of circumstantial evidence that should always be used as absolute proof in any good rant..

Unfortunately, it cannot be said that such a pastime keeps these people off the streets. Au contraire, the very nature of the job keeps them ON the streets, in contact with a vulnerable British public. These are the people the Home Secretary should be targetting with his house arrest orders, and not potential foreign terrorist wallahs.

It can't all be fat, jolly old men, however. The crier in my county town of Dorchester has recent returned o his duties after a couple of years off with depression: "Oyez! Oyez! What's the fuckin' point, I might as well stick my head in the gas oven."

They have a website. It has a nice picture on it.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Haunted Holiday: Ectoplasm woe

Haunted Holiday

"When the room is quiet..."

When Mrs Duck and I got married, way back in 1991, we were paupers. Which came as a shock for her, because she was marrying me for my money, which was, unfortunately, completely tied up in pork belly futures. Stony broke that we were, we decided on a honeymoon in Devon. Brixham to be precise, a fisherman's cottage overlooking the harbour where William of Orange landed in 1688 with claims on the throne and a tasty duck recipe. Our honeymoon turned out to be a rather magical couple of weeks, with a view to die for, spoiled only by the toilets backing up raw sewage all over the place, and the unfortunate incident where I managed to lose my eyebrows.

A couple of years ago, we thought it would be nice to return there as a family and relive the magic while estate agents and solicitors went through the motions of selling our house. The four of us - myself, Mrs Duck and the ducklings. Oh, and because we'd left it far too late to arrange cover - Molly Moo the Clock-Up Cat as well.

The house was called Pebblestones, and it was an 1800s terraced house in a line of similar cottages halfway up the hill overlooking the harbour. We couldn't get the original cottage we'd been to before, and still bitter over the whole eyebrows thing, it would probably have caused nothing but trouble.

The place was cold, and a chill ran through the living room and kitchen. An unearthly not-of-this-world chill, as the summer sun belted down outside, icy fingers running down the windows. Molly sat, hunched up against the front door and refused to move. Fine, strange place - cats are like that. Or so we thought, mortals. She stayed there for a whole week, hackles up and not a very nice catty-cat-cat to be around.

Ok, so it was cold, and the nights were full of bumps and creaks, and you felt that someone was watching you in the bathroom while you were taking a dump, but that's the kind of feeling you get in a strange, old house built onto the side of a hill. Yes? It was, I surmised, just old Mr Jones from the penny arcade trying to scare everybody away so he could claim the pirates' treasure hidden in the town library. And we were the meddling kids.

I didn't want to mention anything in front of the offspring, but the place was seriously freaking me out. It turned out that Mrs Duck didn't want to mention anything to me either, and she was pooing herself on a regular basis. Molly had taken to flattening herself against the bay window and following unseen objects around the room. We both knew the place was strange, we just couldn't bring ourselves to admit it.

All perfectly normal, and despite going through an "I want to believe" phase at the time (poor deluded me - I even thought crop circles were genuine - twat!), I was certain that there was a perfectly rational explanation for it all, and dammit, I would say so to my lovely wife.

So, with the ducklings safely tucked up in bed, I marched out of the kitchen determined to tell her that, hey, this was an old house and we should expect strange noises and sudden icy-cold draughts.

And there, on the couch next to her, sat The Fisherman.

Short, stocky, bearded, wearing what appeared to be waterproofs, he sat staring out of the window at the harbour below. Slowly, his head turned to Mrs Duck, just as she turned her head to talk to me.

They were face-to-shimmering face.

"Sssssssssssss....." he said.

"Stop looking at her chest!" I offered, except it came out "Meep!"

"......." said Mrs Duck, as he vanished.

From upstairs came screaming. The ducklings.

"There's a man in our room!"

Oh my blummin' God.

By the time we had bounded up to the freezing first floor, he ("An old man! With a beard! He was pointing!") had disappeared through the wall and into the airing cupboard.

The Yellow Pages failed to come up with numbers for the Ghostbusters Torbay franchise or the local 24 Hour Exorcist, and I was disappointed that there was no ectoplasm to be had either. Damn you Agent Mulder for filling me with false expectations! What's the point of getting haunted if there isn't gallons of green goo all over the place.

The night was spent, wide awake, listening to the drawers on the dresser downstairs opening and slamming shut and the cat trying to tunnel her way out of the place.

Thoughts ran through my head. Of death. Of the afterlife. Of the fear of the unknown. But most importantly - could he see my nob through the bed-covers?

The following morning, I decided against a shower, because I've heard all about what sailors get up to, and we fled. I could hardly bring myself to use the toilet, either. You know what happens when you cross the streams.

As the car sped away from Brixham and the relative safety of home, Mrs Duck told me that she's seen loads of ghosts in her time, including most of the senior members of her family as they trotted off to the other side, and is particularly highly tuned to these things. Now she tells me.

Which probably explains the ghost dog in our new house. Cursed, I am.

(For a small fee, you can still rent this cottage for the holiday of your after-life)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

If this is Thursday, then this must be Vote-o

If this is Thursday, then this must be Vote-o

You, dear reader, will no doubt be pleased to hear that I have managed to drag myself away from my regular routine of running the planet and laser treatment for the scrotal dandruff, and have got my head down to write some new Scary Stories. And not before time, as the supply, like my tender areas, was wearing rather thin. Vote-me-up, then, on the following tales of mirth and woe:

* Haunted Holiday - "A bloke keeps ringing me and singing 'Stand And Deliver' down the line. I keep telling him he's got the wrong number, but he's adamant."
* Cubs' Camp - "My computer doesn't have a hard drive. I just keep 30 chinese teenagers in my basement and force them to memorise numbers."
* Party - "It's at times like this, I ask myself 'What would the Baby Jesus do?' And, after long and reasoned thought, I am certain that the answer would be 'Kick your arse into next week.' Praise Him!"
* Top Trumps - "It's like a puzzle wrapped up in a conundrum, stuffed up a dog's arse."


Top Five things that can be improved with the addition of an FM radio

5. The Titanic
4. Breasts
3. Saturn V rocket
2. Elton John's partner David Furnish
1. An FM radio

Top Five Rejected Spice Girls

5. Fisting Spice
4. Hung like a horse Spice
3. Rosemary West Spice
2. Heroin Spice [original name for Posh - FACT!]
1. Naked Soapy Tit-Wank Spice

Top fives are officially this: aces.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005



"Employers! Avoid hiring unlucky people by immediately tossing half the CVs into the bin."

I've been reading Viz again. Sorry.

So, here's one I sent in myself:

Dear Viz,

What a load of rubbish these old wives tales are.

"Red sky at night, shepherd's delight", said a friend of mine - who is an old wife and keeps sheep for a living - whilst observing a particularly spectacular sunset. A few minutes later she was cruelly struck down in a bizarre spacehopper accident.

Old wives - stick to doing what you're best at - such as making my tea.

Yours, S Duck

It's Top Tips like this that made this country what it is today. Any suggestions involving boot polish and old tea bags will be gratefully received, printed out and burned.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Top 100 websites about Ducks, ever

Top 100 websites about Ducks, ever

These "Top 100" shows are getting out of hand. On Saturday, I sat through "Top 100 TV cars" with a bunch of talking heads lying through their teeth on how good Knight Rider was and desperately trying to make out that they are doing something important. Then, Sunday saw Top 100 cartoons with Jimmy bloody Carr, while Five weighed in on Monday with Top 50 TV Bitches, where "Handy" "Andy" "Kane" was the only straight man to be seen in a sea of orange fake tans.

Where will it end? The Top 100 Top 100 Show? Top 100 Talking Heads For Hire? If I ever see Andi Peters waxing lyrical on United bars in Top 100 Biscuits (hosted, Naturally by Maxine Carr's annoying brother Jimmy), I shall personally piss down the back of my television.

In the name of bringing this madness to a sensible conclusion, I am hoping to pitch the following to Channel 4 any day now. It is, I hope you agree, a real prime-time ratings winner.

Top 100 Things We Shot Out of a Cannon Straight Up Jimmy Carr's Arse

A seven hour marathon of anal torture featuring objects voted on by you, the Channel 4 viewer, ranging from a golf ball with nails sticking out at no.74 to a blue whale at number 12. Highlights of the chart include:

100. Brain-eating zombie Dame Thora Hird
83. All the copies of "Easy Lover" by Phil Collins, in the world, ever
50. A rabid dog, a snake and Wee Jimmie Krankie trussed up in a bag
49. Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe joyriding on the back of a dustcart filled with pig offal
19. Six of diamonds from the American "most wanted" list Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan al-Tikriti
8. That dancing car/robot thing from the Citroen CX advert

The programme itself will be presented by Jimmy Carr, who, at the climax of the show, will fire himself out of a cannon straight up his own arse. A sight that will live in the memory for long, jaw-dropping minutes, before switching over to see a film about shagging on Five.