Wednesday, July 31, 2002


Buggering bollocks
I can’t write sodding haiku
Total bunch of arse

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

“You just can’t get rid of porn”

There are some unshakable truths in the world which just cannot be changed. You can’t vote, because the Government will get in. Policeman are younger than they used to be. And you just can’t get rid of pornography.

Disposal of porn is like trying to get rid of chemical weapons or nuclear waste. No matter what you do with it, you’re running the risk of discovery, humiliation, and worse still, contamination of an innocent population. Take a look at Saddam Hussein. He’s got huge piles of nerve gas and weapons grade uranium hidden in a hole in his garden, but it’s the sack of porn under his bed that George Bush is ranting on about.

“If we cannot liberate... errr... destroy Saddam’s evil arsenal of Hustler, Asian Babes and Naughty Over Forty slag mags, then the terrorists have already won.” Go get it George.

“Ah-ha! Mr Scary”, you are saying already. “You’re going to tell us about the time you had a shedload of pornography that you couldn’t get rid of, in the pithy yet humorous style we have become accustomed to.”

Damn right I am. And there’s a moral too. Flashback...

It was early 1981. Thatcher had been in power for two years, unemployment was rampant, and Britain was rocking to the sound of Joe Dolce’s “Shaddap You Face”. In short, society was already doomed. Not that this bunch of fifteen-year-old schoolkids cared while we were kicking a soccer ball round Stanlake Meadows that evening. It was when a misdirected punt ended up in the bushes that our lives would change forever. Well, for a month, tops.

Rob had waded past the knee-length grass and into the bushes. There were shouts of excitement that had us all running and crowding round. There was Rob. There was the ball. And there was an old sports bag stuffed to the gills with pornographic magazines. Paydirt.

The football game was long forgotten as the filth was passed round for “sampling”. It wasn’t particularly strong stuff by today’s depraved standards, but for a bunch of pimply fifteen year olds from a village west of London, even page three of The Sun was seen as the acme of jazz scud. With time getting on, the decision had to be made. What to do with it? Disposal, at this stage, was not an option. Someone had to look after it. Step forward Metal.

Separated at birth: Llewellyn-Bowen and "Metal". The great ponce

Metal was a bit special. We was rich for starters, and he got time off school because he was an actor. He was often booked to do commercials (who can forget the tour de force that was his Corn Flakes ad?), and once had a small speaking part in a BBC costume drama. Because of this, he was a little bohemian in his tastes, and claimed to have once “seen a lady naked”. He already had a burgeoning collection of smut hidden in his bedroom, and despite being a bit of a ponce, that was enough for us. Metal had experience where it mattered most, and he promised on his dog’s life to bring the spoils to school the next day.

So, come the morning, there was Metal at the school gates. The sports bag was now a sleek attache case, but he dialled the combination (696969, the perve) and we all crowded round like that scene from Pulp Fiction. The goods were there, glowing slightly, and one or two hands made a grab for the top copies. The lid snapped shut amid cries of pain.

“There’ll be no touching until break time,” explained Metal. “As you can see, I’ve taken the liberty of cataloguing the mags, and I’ve added one or two from my own collection”. He produced a small school exercise book, where each mag had been meticulously catalogued with name, date and contents. There was also a column marked “Who”.

“Who?” we asked.

“That’s for who it’s loaned to. Nobody’s going to take stuff from MY jazz library without my knowing it”.

Yeah, right.

And thus was born the Metal Porn Library. The bastard had stolen our stash, and would only let the rest of us take them home one at a time on a system of tickets and record-keeping that would have brought a tear to the eye of our school librarian. It was when he started charging kids outside our gang to see our filth that we decided enough was enough. There could only be one punishment. The Tree.

It’s simple. Lure the victim onto the school field. Overpower him and get him on his back. Some kids support his body and arms, and two other groups take his right and left legs. Then you run at the tree. One leg to the left, the other to the right. End of punishment. Yet Metal still persisted in his role of School Porn Baron, only now on a rather more democratic basis. It’s amazing what crushing your nads against a tree will do to your attitude.

The collection was mind-boggling in its variety, but most highly prized was a recent edition of Fiesta magazine, the Rolls-Royce of British top shelf smut. There, across the centre pages was a shapely young lady called “Julia”. You could see her flanges and everything. Except we all knew Julia as “Miss Shagwell” (name changed to protect the innocent, but believe me, I didn’t have to change it much), our biology teacher. She had taught us all about human reproduction, while sitting on the corner of her desk wearing a very tight, white dress that finished just above the knee. We hung on to every last word.

Clicky for part II of this epic tale of mirth and woe.

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Monday, July 29, 2002

Avast Ye!

New Weebl and Bob story here. And OhMyGod, it's wrong wrong WRONG! Yarr.

And at the risk of sounding like a conventional blog and divulging tedious secrets of "my so-called life" and frankly boring you to tears, I've been world famous in Weymouth and Portland this weekend, thanks to my Portland Helicopter Campaign Website appearing in the Dorest Echo. It's safe to look now, it's gone from their website... and no, I'm NOT going to post the pics on here. I look like a fat Russell Crowe (more "Glad He Ate It" than "Gladiator") and Mrs Scary complained that I didn't tidy up before the photographer came to visit.

Despite swanning up and down the Town Centre all weekend, not a single person recognised me as "that top sexy devil from page six of the Echo". Or perhaps they were too overwhelmed by my sexual charisma and chiselled good looks. That superstar beat combo Chas'n'Dave were in town Saturday, so the choice couldn't have been hard. Bastards.

Abnormal service will be resumed soonest, with a pithy tale of mirth, joy and pornography. Just as soon as I've written it.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002


Scaryduck would like to be the first to congratulate Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie on his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury. All this in the wake of the “Satanic Verses” fatwa scandal, too.

The Ayatollah says: "Have you seen this man?"

Nice one, your worship.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Scouting for Boys

In 1908, a war hero by the name of Robert Baden-Powell, impressed by the work of young scouts in the Siege of Mafeking, decided to try the idea out back home in Britain. A grabbed a bunch of street urchins and dragged them off to Brownsea Island, a large wooded area in Poole Harbour, from which you can barely hear the screams. He promised them tents, whittling, ging-gang-goolie and their own woggle. It went down a storm and the worldwide Scouting movement was born. And seventy years later, my parents decided it was my turn.

I was dragged, along with my younger brother, down to 1st Hurst for and they signed us up on the spot. We tied knots. We played daft team games that you only played in the Scouts and we helped little old ladies across the road, whether they wanted to or not. I got a woggle and a sheet of paper with the words to “Ging Gang Goolie” which I was told to guard with my life.

We also had to engage in “fundraising”. The Scouts aren’t exactly rich. We had a shack made almost entirely out of asbestos that had previously been used as a bakery, and before that for manufacturing chemical weapons in the War. We also had a van which looked like it had been used to ferry casualties around Beirut. We held jumble sales. We collected old newspapers for recycling. But 1st Hurst, being a rural troop, had a secret weapon.

We sold shit.

Not just any old shit either. We had a deal going with the local stud farm. We’d turn up in the Beirut Bus armed with shovels and plastic sacks, and we’d shovel prime quality racehorse shit into the bags and sell it for people to put on their gardens. It was a big money deal - we could make as much as twenty or thirty quid in a day, the equivalent of over 1,500 clicks on an Ask Jeeves banner in this chic modern world.


The shit was to be our downfall. Shit got everywhere. In our clothes, in our hair, but most importantly it got into the workings of the Beirut Bus, and eventually it was led off to the glue factory, but not before we managed to beat the crap out of it first.

And soon, summer came, and we had to go camping. This was the big one - the District Camping Competition. Six of us against the creme de la creme of a small area just to the east of a boring little town outside London. Reputations would be won and lost here. Pride was at stake. This was important, dammit!

In reality, it was a mob of schoolboys living in a field for a weekend loaned out by a gullible local farmer, presumably in return for a cut in the valuable shit-digging rights. The best part of all was that everybody knew each other - apart from the snooty Woodley boys, we all went to the same school, and most of us actually hung out in the same gang. We were Hurst, the poor country cousins; there was Wargrave, cool as hell and had enough money not to have to go digging shit; and there was Twyford who were, and let’s be generous here, as thick as pigshit.

And so it came to pass that while my parents were arranging a “Thank God they’ve gone” party, we leapt out of the back of the Beirut Bus, reeking of horse shit and choking on exhaust fumes. Myself, brother Nigel, Cooky, Greeny, Smithy and Clive, the latter two being in charge.

Getting there early got us the prime camping ground, right in the middle of the apple orchard, giving us an ample supply of ammo in case things got nasty. Our gear was cutting edge - huge six man patrol tents that had probably seen action on the Somme, or failing that, Baden-Powell’s original 1908 Brownsea camp. And no bugger was going to come near them either, oh no! Not with the reek of horse shit still hanging about us like a ...err... bad smell.

The rest of the district turned up in dribs and drabs, almost entirely in the back of daddy’s Volvo. We’d arrived first class, and this time we didn’t even need our shovels. And with the parents out of the way, this bunch of teenage boys broke out the “gear”. This had been a meticulously planned operation. Cooky and Clive had been slowly weedling away their parents’ supply of cigarettes for several weeks now, and maybe they had as many as fifteen. Bloody luxury. Nigel and I, on the other hand, had got our supply in one fell swoop, raiding Dad’s box of top-quality Cuban cigars, we’d got a big fat stoogie for everyone on the team. Bloody luxury, we were feted like heroes.

And that was right up to the minute until we saw what Cool Wargrave had brought with them. There were huge clouds of smoke rising from their camp, and they hadn’t even started a camp fire yet. We went and paid a “courtesy visit”, to find them sitting on crates of cigarettes, sweets, beer and pornography. They were so cool it hurt. Bastards.

Payback was sweet though. Within six hours, they’d puffed their way through over 200 smokesand drunk all thier ale, and Sean had spent the entire afternoon spewing his guts up on a cocktail of chocolate and Shandy Bass. Julian and Ernie came over as part of a delegation.

“Got any smokes?” they asked. “Ours have all gone”

“I am authorised by our leadership to tell you to piss off”

“We’ve got money”


The motto of the Scout movement is “Be Prepared”. We sold them a box of 250 PG Tips teabags at a substantial mark-up, which they rolled up and smoked over the entire weekend. I’ve got to say that our parents were pretty bloody impressed by that. To this day, they still think we drunk over forty cups of tea each over two days.

Back on the ground and dossing about with school mates, it was difficult to forget we were in a competition. We had to carry out a number of tasks and projects, take part in daft scout games and set fire to things whilst singing “Ging Gang Goolie” in the traditional scouting manner. We had a weather station. We had to cross a river, and the steady stream of soaking wet idiots passing our camp proved we were WELL in the lead on that one. We had to Cook For A Leader that evening. And we had to do A Special Project.

First came The Meal. We built a fire, specially like, as we were going to cook proper backwoods style for The Chief that was coming to dinner. Chicken, potatoes in their jackets, corn, the works. The fire was huge, with flames twenty feet in the air and a heat haze you could feel fifty feet away as we desperately wanted to impress. One of us donned the fire-proof gauntlets and lead-lined suit and stuck the tucker onto the conflagration. It was burned to a crisp within thirty seconds. Holy mother of donkey poop.

There goes dinner...

The Chief was due in twenty minutes and his dinner was a pile of ashes somewhere beneath the Towering Inferno. “Bollocks”, we said in the ensuing crisis meeting, “we’ll cook him pancakes, the rest of us can live off chocolate for the weekend”. Whipwhipwhip, cookcookcook, “This is looking a bit dull, let’s throw some other stuff in to jazz it up”. Big mistake. There was a horrible crunching noise which turned out to be The Chief’s dentures cracking in two.

“What in the name of blue blazes was that?” he said, spitting bits of dental plate and lumpy pancake out.

“Err.... chewy nuts”

“Cheeeeewy Nutssssss?!?!?!”

We got top marks for improvisation.

Clicky for part II of this epic tale of mirth and woe: "The Death of the Beirut Bus".

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Monday, July 22, 2002

Call me obsessed but...

Another new Weebl and Bob animation here and a Weebl and Bob mp3 here.

"Lo. I have become death. Stealer of pie."

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Saturday, July 20, 2002

Save our Chopper!

I live by the sea. We've got a busy harbour, mixed with a pulsating tourist industry, attracted by a spiffy coastline of sandy beaches and exciting cliffs. Sometimes people get a bit carried away with themselves, or a little unfortunate with the sea conditions and need rescuing. We've got a huge mother of a lifeboat and a rather handy search and rescue helicopter which have both saved dozens of lives this year already. The Man, in his wisdom, had decided that he cannot afford to run the helicopter and he's going to stick it over fifty miles away to save money by merging the service with another. What a bunch of risking-people's-lives-to-save-money ARSE!

There's a huge local campaign to save Whiskey Bravo, with 1,500 people marching through Weymouth to show their anger at the coastguard agency's decision-making. I, on the other hand, have sat on my fat backside and programmed up a website to tell the world. Here it is. Read. Sign. Wipe hands on pants. Thank you.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Crap Joke of the Day

Gawd, I'm feeling ill today, so it's a cut-and-paste job courtesy of the most excellent JJ:

A guy with an orange for a head goes in to see a doctor.

The doctor says, "How did you get an orange for a head?"

The guy says, "Well, one day I was walking down the beach when I tripped over an old lantern. A genie came out and said, 'I'll grant you three wishes, whatever you desire...what is your first wish?' I said, 'I'd like all the money I could ever spend.' The genie went 'Poof!', and there it was, all the money I could ever spend.

"Then he said, 'What is your second wish?' I said, 'I'd like a beautiful woman to love me, someone I could enjoy this money with.' The genie went 'Poof!', and there she was, a gorgeous girl who immediately loved me.

"Then the genie said, 'And what is your third wish?'...I said, 'I'd like an orange for a head.'"

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Monday, July 15, 2002

Sunday, July 14, 2002

School Fight Club

Our little school in the suburbs of London was nothing special. We had our fair share of triumphs and tragedies. We had people of a certain genius who would go on to great things; and we had our fair share of stupids. Like Geoff, for example, the fastest runner the school had ever produced who would go on to represent his country at athletics. Unfortunately, his lack of a brain also led to him to guide the entire school down the mainline railway towards London on what was supposed to be the Annual School Cross Country race. If someone hadn’t have stopped him, he’d be halfway down the Channel Tunnel by now.

If there was one thing our school WAS good at, that was fighting. You see, far from being middle-class suburbia defined, someone, somewhere had decided in the early 1970’s to move “problem” families out of dark, dank inner-city London and out in the country, where the open spaces would, presumably turn them into better people, skipping through fields and being nice to fluffy animals. What a load of bollocks. We ended up with a village full of psychos, crooks and close relations of the Kray Twins who’d cut your knackers off and rob you blind as soon as look at you. OK, I’ll concede that some of them were lovely people, and I’m not just saying that because of the coffee table nailed to my head either. And their psychotic kids went to my school.

No-one remembers how it started. There was probably a playground argument at some stage, or at the very least a whole host of bragging followed by someone fetching somebody else a damn good kicking. The upshot of it was that it was decided that all the fourth form boys (that’s tenth grade to you Americans) would be “compelled” to fight for the honour of being The School’s Hardest Fourth Year. Someone even had the idea of taking our school champ and facing him off against the champs of other local schools (who we hated with a venom, naturally), but subsequent events meant we never quite got to that stage.

A secret For-God’s-sake-don’t-let-the-teachers-find-out committee was set up and the rules laid out. Fight until the other boy surrendered. No weapons except fist, boots and head. Non-triers would be ridiculed. Every boy’s name (and one girl as well - Lynn was a savage animal who cared not a jot if you were a boy or girl. She’d kill you anyway) was put in the hat and a draw was made for the first round. With an elaborate system of seedings based on whether you were deemed “hard as nails” or “a poof”, the first round parings were made and the tourney started.

Get up and fight, ya poof!

The secret committee were masters of their work. They’d scour the playground at breaktimes and made sure the fights happened. Some boys were willing, some were not. The protagonists were taken (some kicking and screaming) to the Hallowed Place between the sports hall and the science block, where no school law held sway and teachers never went. Most of the time it was the fighters, their seconds and the referee, specially selected to ensure foul play. It was like a duel, only with Bovver Boots.

The early rounds went off relatively quickly, with the wimps tending to run away and hide when it was announced they would be fighting the likes of the second-seeded "Bozzer". Like me, for example. I eventually gave in to official “persuasion”, came out of the toilet stall and took on third seeded “Turnip” in a one-sided contest, which saw my limp body peeled up and posted back to my parents within thirty seconds of the start. Gaz refused to accept the meek surrender of little Eric Smith who took tail and ran for his life. The chase was on and the school was treated to a Keystone Cops-style chase of competitors and "judges" round the playground as Gaz repeatedly kicked the retreating Smith up the arse until he reached the safety of the cloakrooms.

The competition itself lasted for a couple of weeks, a tribute to the skills of the Secret Committee as they managed to get fifty kids to beat crap out of each other over several rounds. The veneer of secrecy was wearing a little thin though, as teachers soon got to hear the classroom gossip as the event reached a climax. The first rule of School Fight Club was not to talk about School Fight Club. But we all did. All the time. The whole thing wasn’t helped when Sean opened a book on the final outcome, and large quantities of lunch money began to change hands, mostly backing Psycho Phil, who’d been to Borstal for clocking some kid twice his size over the head with an iron bar. Phil was ace, the guy every kid wanted to be. It was rumoured that he’d even had (gasp) sex with a lady once, without having to pay, even. He scared the shit out of me.

However, as we reached the last four, bravado got the better of the competitors. The Law of the Hallowed Place was soon forgotten, with the American Paul vs Psycho Phil rumble going off right in the middle of the playground in front of an audience of hundreds. This was to be our undoing. I was in the front row. Paul dived in with a haymaker of a punch, missed, and ended up on the floor. Phil kicked Paul in the head. Phil kicked Paul in the head again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. For several minutes. There was blood everywhere, the Headmaster stormed down from his office along with the entire school staff, whistles and cattle prods. The police were called. The entire school was kept indoors for a week.

There was no winner, but no-one was going to argue over Psycho Phil’s victory by default. No-one had been so consistently maniacal throughout the entire tournament or spilt more blood as he single handedly destroyed the flower of Britain’s youth. I’m pretty sure that the other two semi-finalists were secretly relieved that neither had to fight him, as by the law of averages, one of them would probably have ended up on a slab in the local hospital, or worse still, in trouble with their mum. Sean the official bookie, called all bets off and kept our money, wisely giving a generous cut to Phil to ensure his survival.

The event's passing was marked by a school assembly in which the local vicar was called in to lecture us on “declining moral standards in today’s youth” while several of us sniggered at the back, comparing bruises and the contents of Metal's recently discovered stash of pornographic magazines which he’d left in the school darkroom. It was during this assembly that the Headmaster made his famous "If this is the law of the jungle, then I'm King Kong" speech. The bloody liar, he wouldn’t have got past the second round.

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Saturday, July 13, 2002

Dolphin Sex Update

As you may or may not not (or even care), I live in Weymouth, UK, dolphin sex capital of the world. We've gained this dubious title by way of Georges/Randy/Flipper, the dolphin with three names who, allegedly, has been luring unsuspecting swimmers out to sea for filthy dolphin sex romps. Rather like a prono version of Jaws. Yeah, really. Georges has been away for a couple of months, on a tour of Plymouth Hoe (not a West Country prostitute, I was disappointed to find out) and Land's End. But now he's back in Portland Harbour where he belongs, and HE'S GAGGING FOR IT!

Watch it! He's a rubber fiend!
Total number of people shagged to death by Georges: NIL
Total number of people believing this rubbish: NIL

Remember, if you must go swimming round Portland, please go protected. They don't do rubbers for dolphins, so bring your own wetsuit.

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Sunday, July 07, 2002

Gravity Never Failed - Another Scaryduck Nearly-True Tale

In these litigious days, you cannot send your children on a school trip without a taking out a full risk assessment, life cover insurance, third party insurance, legal insurance and let’s-sue-the-teacher-anyway-if-the-kid-comes-back-with-so-much-as-a-dented-lunchbox insurance.

Not that they go anywhere exciting anyhow. Exciting means dangerous, and dangerous means legal action. About the most exciting you get these days is a trip to the cotton wool factory across the road from the school, and that’s not without its dangers. Back in my day though...

Let’s get one thing straight right from the start. Steve Wilkinson is a hero. Mr Wilkinson was also our physics teacher, but to this group of fifteen year olds, he was also the coolest man on the planet. He used to work at Aldermaston making nuclear bombs, but had quit in disgust and become a CND activist. This guy knew about blowing things up, and for us bomb obsessed twerps (see I was a Teenage Bomber), that was good enough for us. Mr Wilkinson also ran the Outdoor Activities Club, and anywhere that Wilkie went, we followed.

So when he announced a trip to the frighteningly named Devil’s Punchbowl somewhere in the south of England for a weekend of youth hosteling, walking and general larking about, we signed up in a shot. One minibus, two teachers, a dozen kids as the biggest stash of sweets in the known universe. We had planned this one for weeks, and the quantities of chocolate-flavoured trash were frightening indeed. We’d even brought some real food, presumably to bring us down from the sugar rush.

All the usual suspects had signed up - Cookie, Ernie, Rob, Downsey, Enders, plus a few more who I’ve forgotten through the years of brain damage and selective amnesia. Basically, we left the soft boys at home. What am I talking about? I was one of the soft boys. And I was trapped in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of teenage maniacs.

The Devil’s Punchbowl is a funny old place. Just off the main London to Portsmouth road, you have to leave your transport up at the gates and walk about a mile down a wooded track to the Youth Hostel. It’s literally hidden somewhere in a wooded glade, about halfway down the bowl, and at one stage I’d swear it was the home of some child-eating witch. It’s old, it’s got a huge log-burning fire, and most important of all, there’s a hole in the wall where you can see into the girls’ dorm. They found out after about three seconds.

And so the weekend began. Stuff your face with sweets. Cook breakfast. More Chocolate. Hike through the local army range with chocolate snacks.
“What’s that?”
“Looks like a trip flare.”
“So it is! Has it gone off yet? What does this wire do?”
Sweets to calm the nerves. Hike through the local golf course.
“Hey look! A golf ball!”
“Go on, nick it”
More sweets. Pub lunch. Or more to the point - teachers had a pub lunch. We sat outside. Eating sweets.

It was late afternoon and getting dark by the time we got back to the hostel. “If you guys want a log fire”, announced Wilkie, “You’d better get some wood together.”, and he went off to do whatever teachers to when they let their charges take responsibility for their actions.Yeah right. At this point, our esteemed teacher has left a small group of fifteen year old kids buzzing about on a saccharin high, only rivalled recenly since the introduction of Sunny Delight, alone in the woods with a bow saw, two large axes and a two wheeled trolley-cum-wheelbarrow to get the logs back with.

We were responsible with our duties. For about five minutes. We diligently found fallen trees and branches, cut them into logs and wheeled them up the hill in the barrow to the hostel. That lasted for about one trip, while Wilkie sat with his feet up, shouting words of encouragement out of the door. It wasn’t long before the slacking-off qualities of the barrow became apparant.
“Bollocksed if I’ve walking all the way back down there” said Ernie, “I’m getting in the cart”.

So he got in. And it was the Devil’s own job getting the extra weight back down the hill without letting go, while Ernie sat like a king in his sedan chair, waving to his passing subjects. But teenage minds were already working towards greater things...

And so, as we dumped another load at the top of the hill Downsey looked fear in the face and jumped in. God alone knows what I was thinking, but I jumped in behind him and yelled “Ride ‘em cowboy!” as the cart slowly trundled down the ever-steepening path. The trouble was, nobody else was holding onto the barrow as they were far too busy with the logs. It it was just me, Downsey and Newton’s Laws.

It took us about 1.2 seconds to realise that something was wrong. We were staring over the abyss and gaining speed rapidly as we rattled down the track. I distinctly remember Trudy pointing at us and saying “Aren’t you supposed to be...” before saving her own neck and diving out of the way. Nothing was going to stop us now. The wind was in our hair as we accelerated at 9.81 metres per second squared towards escape velocity. All those months of sitting in Wilkie’s classroom learning physics weren’t going to be wasted, I could tell you for nothing.

About halfway down, we hit a root, and for a couple of seconds we were flying. Really flying. It was also at that point that Downsey and I realised we might not actually survive the trip, and frantic thoughts spun through my head like “Will this hurt?”, “I’m going to die a virgin” and “What are my parents going to think when they discover all my porn?” We clung on for dear life as we roared towards the bottom of the hill, axe-wielding schoolmates scattering before us.

Newton’s Laws of Motion finally caught up with us as we neared the bottom of the valley. Luckily, we only caught the tree a glancing blow. Someone, who turned out to be me, yelled out a bloodcurdling cry of “Fookenhell!” and Downsey and I were airborne once again, this time leaving the twisted wreckage of the cart behind us. I landed in a holly bush, scratching my face to buggery but otherwise saving my life. Downsey, being at the front, flew a bit further and touched down with a spectacular belly-flop into the stream at the bottom of the hill.

We both stood up, dazed. My face was a network of scratches and dirt. Downsey was a black spectre of water and mud. I puked my guts up as a sackful of chocolate came back to haunt me, and I slowly came round to the noise of my classmates actually cheering and applauding us. We were stupid. We nearly died. We were heroes. “Shit man”, said Downsey, “As soon as we get that trolley fixed up, I’m going again.” So we did. And we had to wait bloody ages for our turn.

We did so many trips with that barrow up and down the hill, we virtually stripped the entire Punchbowl of trees; and the ensuing log fire nearly burned the hostel to the ground. Our teachers, as far as I know, never found out, or if they did, they turned a blind eye. Luckily for them no-one got killed or badly hurt either. Well, not until the raw egg eating competition the next day. Ernie, mate, you weren’t supposed to eat the shell. Outdoor Activity Club - it ruled.

Saturday, July 06, 2002

Spicy brains

Click here. Now. Just do it. Now. Now! NOW!
My Illustrious Football Career - Part one in a saga of one part

When I was a mere lad of nine years old or so, I used to go to cubs in the tiny village I lived in. Hurst, Berkshire, population wavering between nine and eleven, depending which day they had a funeral. We had a football team. A very small one of laid-back village kids kicked out of the house on a Saturday morning by parents with better things to do. As you can imagine, with such a small pool of players to choose from we weren't exactly endowed with the best of talent, and if we managed to keep the opposition to less than 10 goals it was seen as a moral victory. In other words, we were shit.

In fact, there was myself, my brother and nine others who would all have been the last players picked by any sane manager. One lad was told by his dad not to run around after the ball "because of his weak chest", and Peter wore calipers on his legs, but he gave his all nonetheless. Our goalie was as deaf as a post, and tended not to hear our shouts to remind him the ball was coming until it was far too late. I'm sure we had a player with only one foot at some stage, and he was still more mobile than some of the other lads.

At least five members of our team never actually got a touch of the ball in all the time I played for them, and one kid was so frightened of getting hurt, he'd run away as the action came towards him. Our nine-across-the-back rearguard was frequently seen cowering in terror, arms down the fronts of their shirts for warmth, egged on by our coach Mr Hoskins, who would frequently bring his goat to graze by the side of the pitch.

We played on the school playing field, a postage stamp patch of land which gave us a pitch that was wider than it was long. We frequently conceded goals which were, frankly, hopeful punts from the opposing penalty area, which would roll limply into the goal as the defence fled in terror at the round white thing in their midst. The problem was that being near to a big town, we'd usually come up against teams with a less laid back attitude to football than ours. We'd turn up on a Saturday morning, jog around a bit and possibly even get the odd touch of the ball (usually kicking-off after the other team had scored), while the well-drilled opposition collossi with a shouty coach on the sidelines would pummell us into submission.

"Memorable" games included 14-0, 17-0 and 21-0 hammerings in consecutive weeks, yet still we turned up for more. In one match, I played in goal and up front simultaneously as our keeper "had to go home" and we only lost 6-2, the most goals we ever scored in one match, and our narrowest ever defeat. As a matter of fact, the delirium I experienced on scoring our second was so frightening, I vowed never to score again. I still have nightmares about being mobbed by midgets.

It all came to a head when we attended the District Camp. We fled into the woods after non-stop taunts of "1st Hurst are the worst" for the whole weekend, and never played again. Strangely, we won the local five-a-side tournament that year, but only after my dog ran on the pitch and sniffed the opposing forward's arse as he was winding up for a shot. Shame does terrible things to a small boy.

I still have the newsletter from that season, and it makes for painful reading:

Played 16
Won 0
Drawn 0
Lost 16
Goals For 4
Goals Against 177
Points 0

Player of the season: Mr Hoskins' Goat.

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Thursday, July 04, 2002

Hero of the Day

This award goes to Paul Kelleher, who did what millions of British people have been wanting to do for years - beheading Margaret Thatcher. Ah sod it, let's make him Hero of the Year, the Mother of a Thousand Dead deserves everything she gets. And that comes from someone who actually *gulp* voted for her. Once. When I was nineteen. I was young. Naive. Foolish. I won't do it again. Honest.


If only it had been the real thing. Where's my best chopping axe?

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Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Scenes from the class war: This is an actual word-for-word conversation I heard on the train tonight involving a bunch of chinless wonders on their way home from Wimbledon. Held at maximum volume so the whole carriage could hear them...

"My three year old's learning Italian you know."
"Oh yes, he's going to that little Italian nursery round the corner from Joanna Lumley's house."
"How lovely!"
"And we even saw her one morning. She said hello."
"How lovely!"

These people must die. And soon. There are more out there. Stop them.