Saturday, November 30, 2002


I made a solemn promise to Mrs Scary that she would never appear in one of my stories. So this is it.

When we were first going out together, she and I became regulars at The Swan just outside Reading. She liked it because it was a nice country pub, not to far from home with a nice atmosphere. I liked it because the landlady had enormous knockers.

One Friday night, things were going particularly well, and it was becoming increasingly clear that my luck might be in. Like Tom Sharpe’s Zipser in Porterhouse Blue, I realised that I had been caught short, and that I might need rubberised protection of some kind. The kind they dispense from a machine in the gents’ lavatory.

I headed for the bog, pretended to have a piss while the last punter finished off, turned my attention to the machine. It had that funny ha-ha graffiti on the front: “For refund, insert baby”.I was totally out of babies, so I put my pound coin in the slot.

I pulled back the drawer. Nothing. I could see the pack of three TRYING to come out, but it was caught in the mechanics. I pushed the drawer back slowly, hoping that it might fall through, but it snapped back shut before it had the chance.


I tried again with my last pound coin. I opened the drawer, and it was still empty. The packet was almost, but not quite, coming out. It just needed a little encouragement.

I gave it a prod with my finger. It moved but no dice. So I gave it a firm push. It disappeared back up into the machinery and the drawer snapped shut. On my finger. I was trapped. In the gent’s toilets. With my hand stuck inside a rubber johnny machine. Try explaining that one away...

For what seemed like ten minutes I turned my finger this way and that, pushed, pulled, twisted and shook, but I was stuck fast, and if anything it was getting worse.

Then I heard footsteps.

Someone was coming down the corridor towards the gents. I was trapped. Laughter, ridicule and slow embarrassed death was only seconds away.

With one foot halfway up the wall, I let out a silent scream and gave one final mighty tug.

There was an audible CRACK! as my finger freed itself and I staggered backwards across the bogs, regaining my compsure just in time for the landlord to come in for a piss.

“Alright there”, he said.

I wanted to say “Actually, no. The machine’s eaten my money, and now it’s just tried to kill me and I only just escaped with my life.”

So I said “Alright Dave” instead.

That final blood-curdling tug actually broke my finger, and killed of any desire for after-hours activity. I was so embarrassed about the circumstances that I never told Mrs Scary about it, and only saw a doctor the following Thursday when the pain got too much to bear. Even then I told him that “I slammed it in a door”, which wasn’t too far from the truth.

You are the first person I’ve told. Go gently on me.

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Friday, November 29, 2002

"This is Radio Freedom"

Oh Christ - not fookin' Agadoo again

Radio Scary - The Voice of the People's Popular Scaryduck Revolution - La Voz de la Revolucion Popular Espantosa del Pato - La voix de la revolution populaire du canard effrayant.

Broadcasting to the oppressed masses from a secret bunker somewhere in the South of England. No blackmail! No surrender! Death to the capitalist running-dog tyrannical killer penguin regime!

Thanks to Lisa at Burnt Toast for the spot. You can create your own free radio station at Launchcast if you've had enough of my brain-rot.

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Thursday, November 28, 2002

"Fish News"

Good morning puny humans everywhere, your favourite arch-nemesis Moderately Evil Penguin still at the helm while the Duck gently stews over a low heat in a delicate sauce a l'orange. The best bit about being in charge is reading the Duck's referrer logs - his stats page telling him where you lot came from to get here. And what a bunch of manky old spunkers you are. Here, for your horror and delight are the best ones we've seen so far. They are ALL genuine internet searches that brought peole here. Hooray for Google!

* nude tinny photo angel 16 years
* google foursome sex
* fuck farm
* wap search porn beasteality
* goat sex search engine
* eastenders nude pic
* college naked teens parties
* rape wooden pic piss
* about footballer anal tear pictures
* werewolf equipment for rugby union

and my top three:

* trucks it’s just porn mum juice
* big testicles - how hangers - photos

More of this weird shit here, if you think you can handle it.

Right, that's your lot, I've got a daring raid on Billingsgate Fish Market to pull off today in my bid for world seafood domination. Send more FIIIIISH!

Back to Scarypenguin, puny humans

Wednesday, November 27, 2002


Being an Air Cadet was ace. The fools gave us guns. They sent us up in planes at the taxpayers’ expense. And we got off school a lot to visit daft places in the name of building a future career in the Armed Forces. Like, really.

The boss wangled us a visit to a bombing range somewhere up country. In effect, it was just a trip to the seaside at the RAF’s expense with a bit of planespotting thrown in. The RAF even sent down one of their buses and a driver to take us there AND threw in free packed lunches the size of a small suitcase. They loved us.

Hey ho, and off to the seaside we went, singing cute little ditties such as “Balls to all the officers” and various crude rugby songs, the words to which we were far too young to understand. It was a lovely sunny day, and one or two of us were even contemplating going for a little dip in the sea.


Pretty soon we got there. God it was sparse. Through some rusty metal gates we went, guarded over by some poor squaddie who was cursing the moment that he’d ever signed up for this shower of shit. We were dumped by some old Nissen huts at the egde of some sand dunes, looking out over a vast, sandy expanse of beach. The tide was out. A breeze blew over us. Seagull soared over us in the quiet sky. It was beautiful.

Seconds later this quiet was shattered by the screech of a Tornado jet roaring overhead. Down the beach it flew, fifty feet above the ground dropping a bomb right in the middle of the target laid out on the sands.

Boof! Bullseye! Eh wot wot old bean?

We watched in awe as the lads from IX squadron scooted up and down the beach, landing their ten pounders right in the centre of the target everytime. We gave them a round of applause, it seemed only right.

As our triumphant fly-boys headed for home and drinkies in the officer’s mess, the silence was once again broken. This time is was an ear-splitting siren that seemed to foretell the end of the world. Worse.

“Clear the Beach! Clear the beach! Get right back from the beach! Take shelter! Clear the beach!” came a loud voice over the tannoy, rather pressing his point home, we felt. With the RAF dropping stuff on target, we felt perfectly safe where we were, thank you very much.

“Oh shit”, said a voice to my right, which turned out to be our second-in-comand, Flying Officer Abbey, “Here come the Americans.”

A dot had appeared on the horizon. Closer and closer it got, until it was clearly and A-10 Warthog, the backbone of NATO’s defence against Soviet armour, a fact which would keep many a Russian tank driver sleeping soundly in their beds.

Mooresy’s airband radio crackled into life. The Yanks were coming, and the call-sign was “Cowboy”.

“YEEEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAAAAA!” the cowboys roared up, down and across the beach at any which angle, dropping a terifying array of expensive weaponry in all directions. They bombed, they strafed, they fired off American tax dollars all over the place in a terrifying display of American Airborne domination that lasted all of two minutes.

The smoke cleared. The beach looked like the D-Day landings with craters and junk all over the place. In the middle of it all was the carefully prepared target for them to shoot at. It was completely unscathed.

That afternoon, they sent over three more lanes to have a go. We hid behind the Nissen huts while they blasted away at anything except the designated targets, or even the beach itself.

“Lads, God help us if there’s a war” commented Mr Abbey on the way home.

And when there was a war, it came as no surprise to find our erstwhile American NATO allies had managed not only to bomb the wrong country, but also drop hundreds of tons of food-aid right onto the enemy lines who had never eaten so well in months.

Bless ‘em, their heart was in the right place, even if their gunsights weren’t. And let’s face it, if it wasn’t for them, we’d all be shovelling salt somewhere in Siberia by now. Thanks, Cowboy, even if we did hear you say "What does this button do?" We promise we won't tell anybody.

"Rip-Roaring Reds"

AS Roma 1-3 Arsenal -- Now that's what I call quite good. No penguins were injured in the course of this crushing victory.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2002


"This is a passenger announcement," said the tinny voice on the public address system. "Due to engineering works between Winchester and Southampton, train services have been disrupted. Please note there is a replacement bus service calling at all major stations to Bournemouth leaving from the station concourse."

No worries. I take my bag and hump it out of the front of the station where the smart double-decker coach is awaiting us. I get on. Immediately I sense there was something wrong. The driver's unfeasibly large sideburns, his bootlace tie and his far too cheerful demeanour were all clues. Then it was the decor of the coach. It looked like a mid-1970s nightclub. The other passengers look shocked, afraid, trapped, with rictus grins on their faces like they've been drugged.

In a blind moment of panic I realised what was wrong. It was the music. The coach resembled a 70's nightclub, because it was a 70s nightclub, and the driver its oh-so-cheeky compere. He loved his music and he was going to inflict it on all of us. At top volume. And worst of all, it was the Black Lace Party Album. The doors silently slid shut behind me. Welcome to Royston Vasey.

Push pineapple shake a tree"

The driver turned to me and asked where I'm going. I reply Bournemouth, a mere seventy miles and an entire lifetime away. This was the Circus of Death, and he was the clown, the tormentor-in-chief. He were at his mercy. Imagine your granny's golden wedding anniversary party. Without the vol-au-vents.

I headed for the top deck, hoping against hope, like many of my fellow passengers that the madness could be escaped out of the sight of our tormentor. But it was not to be. If anything, the music was even louder, and as we pulled from the station forecourt, the Clown turned the volume up even higher so we could be entertained even above the noise of the engine. Already some of my fellow victims looked shellshocked. Several were actually ringing up friends, relations, the army, anybody for help. But it was no good. We were trapped.

"Hooray, hooray, it's a holi-holiday"

By the time we reached Basingstoke, we were already massed together for our own safety. Some of our number had tried to use their Walkmans to drown out the music. It was no good. Even with Led Zep IV turned up to ten, Black Lace still won. They were turned up to eleven.

We hit the M3, and the group huddled on the floor at the back of the coach cracked. It was "Oops Upside Your Head". They had assumed the infamous rowing boat formation and were lost to the world. Tragic. We could only pray for their poor, lost souls and the sadness of their families, knowing that they had succumbed.

"I am the music man
I come from round your way"

In Winchester, our frantic attempts to stop more victims joining the Circus of Death were thwarted by a South West Trains official with a clipboard. Forgive the poor, innocent fool, he knew not what he was doing. By then, we had all exchanged addresses and vowed, should we ever get out of this mess alive, to set up a support group. But it was obvious, my travel companions were losing the will to live. It was every man for himself.

And so Southampton. As The Birdy Song finally sapped the final vestiges of sanity from our minds, I sprung the emergency door just outside the station and ran for my life, telling myself over and over not to look back lest I be turned to stone like some hero in a Greek myth.

"Don't look back. Never look back. They'll be OK. Don't look. Just run."

Somewhere in the south of England is a bus. The driver is the evil clown of your nightmares, picking up innocent passengers, reaping their souls, leaving nothing but empty husks chanting his evil mantra " Y - M - C - A". He will not stop. He cannot be stopped. I survived to warn the world. Be afraid.

"Support your local firefighter"

In 1984, Margaret Thatcher used a strike by Britain's Coal Miners as a pretext to stamp down on the power of the trade unions and destroy the rights and job security of the British worker.

In 1997 and 2001 I voted Labour to put an end to this injustice and bring about a fair society for all.

So, in 2002, Tony Blair used a strike by Britain's firefighters as a pretext to stamp down on the power of the unions and destroy the rights and job security of the British worker. I'm sure some nice Labour Party insider will tell me, but what's the fucking point?

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Monday, November 25, 2002

"And another thing..."

That Penguin out of Batman. You tell tell he's not a real penguin. He's wearing a bow-tie for a start.

Serious lack of ransom. Time to get the orange sauce simmering. Yours in fish, etc...

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Saturday, November 23, 2002

Duck you suckers

Right you scum. Nobody moves. I've got the duck, and if you don't do what I say, the next time you see him he'll be delicately roasted in orange sauce and this place will be called ScaryPenguin. Catch my drift?

Seems nobody took me seriously the last time I hacked in, so now it's time for rather more forceful measures. Penguins are still being forced to wear bowties in the most humilating manner. People are stil worshipping cute fluffy kittens in direct contradiction to the UN Resolution 1441. THIS MUST STOP! Our demands are as follows:

* Fish. But not Mullet. The hair gets stuck in our throats
* Guest slot on Johnny Vaughan Tonight followed by world domination by next Tuesday
* Zombies. We like zombies
* The destruction of the Catholic and Protestant religions, to be replaced by the Church of Fluffy Penguin
* A season ticket to Harry Ramsden's Famous Fish and Chip shop. Hold the chips

Send money, fish and gifts of pornography to our secret headquarters: Behind the hot water pipes, Ladies' Toilets, Platform One, Waterloo Station, London. It's damn hot here, but you should see the view. Our penguin army is waiting. Cash. Or the duck gets cooked.

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Friday, November 22, 2002

"You've Got Mail"

We should have learned by the fifth year at school that all our troubles, by and large, were self-inflicted. However which way this particular descent into hell started, bitter experience should have taught us that there was only going to be one outcome. For most of us, anyway.

We had all grown older and not necessarily wiser together. We were too clever and too soft to be a proper gang, yet we still controlled our own bit of turf in the playground behind the music block. Woe betide anyone who tried to play football on our pitch, just as long as they were smaller than us. And that was no guarantee of success. “Intellectual Terrorists” is what Mr Lewis called us, and I don’t think he was being particularly complementary.

How the whole affair started is lost in the dust of history. Mild-mannered Geoff - my best friend as it happens - had somehow managed to get Ju-vid into trouble with “King Kong” Bull, our volcanic headmaster. Knowing Ju, he probably had it coming anyway, and Geoff was probably doing him a favour by drawing the law onto him sooner rather than later.

A Ju-vid prank had the tendancy to mature. The longer it was left to fester, the worse the outcome, and the worse the trouble. Trouble which usually saw us guilty-by-association.

Like the time Ju left a whole tub of fishing maggots in a science lab cupboard, hoping for a quick scream from some unfortunate girl who’d find the wriggling mess. Unfortunately, the maggots remained forgotten and the cupboard was left unopened for the whole half-term holiday. It was opened by Mr Jenkins the following Monday and we was engulfed in a swarm of flies, which unfortunately, were not of the flesh-eating variety.

Ju-vid was fingered immediately, along with the rest of us. Geoff managed to save our arses with the time-honoured “It was nothing to do with us, sir” speech, but Ju-vid was bang to rights: the bait tub had his name on it.

The long and the short of it was that Ju spent his breaktimes writing a fifteen hundred word essay on the importance of the maggot in modern culture, while Geoff got off Scott-free. Our warped sense of loyalties lay with the suffering Julian. Honour must be settled, revenge must be served. Warm, with chips. And I’m afraid to say, it was all my idea.

I had an older friend at college, and they’d just used the same plan to make some obnoxious student’s life hell. The whole concept tickled me, and it sounded perfect for us.

A postbox, recently
The world's campest postbox

We got hold of every magazine we could lay our hands on to aid our filthy little scheme. I happened to collect old newspapers from our neighbours to raise funds for the Scouts, so we weren’t exactly short of supplies. Then is was snip, snip, snip, write, write, write, post, post, post. Every mail order coupon we found, allow 28 days for delivery. All we had to do was sit and wait.

Within days Kays, Grattan and Littlewoods and come good, sending three-thousand pages of lingerie, shoes and girly fashion thudding onto his doormat. That was just the advance guard. Before long, all manner of insurance salesmen were slugging it out on Geoff’s front lawn, closely followed by the guy fitting him up for a wig. Well, we weren’t to know that baldness ran in his family, were we?

He’d only just got rid of that lot when the go-faster spoilers arrived for his dad’s classic 1937 Austin Seven on two week’s approval, and while his parents were still fuming over that, they had to turn away the engineer who came to measure their house up for a stair lift. It may have come in handy one day, if they didn’t live in a bungalow.

Oh yes, Operation Postman was working perfectly. Poor old Geoff was drowning in a deluge of junk mail, unwanted collectors plates, Star Trek chess sets and the finest mail order tat that our new friends at the Franklin Mint could provide. The entire family had taken to answering the door armed to the teeth, waving crosses and garlic at the swarms of salemen. It was ace.

The motorbike, on retrospect, may have been a step too far.

Naturally, it was only a matter of time before we were found out. We were caught red-handed in art class. We were supposed to be exploring the use of colour in autumnal landscapes, but we used this two-hourwate of our lives to catch up with some much-needed coupon clipping. From what I remember, Geoff was due to receive a test drive in the latest Ford Escort, a pile of religious literature, a catalogue of clockwork cucumbers, and the coup de grace - membership of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), the splitters.

There was no drama. Geoff caught us all with the magazines, scissors, envelopes, and most tellingly, a pile of coupons with his name on them.

With Douggie “King Kong” Bull away on a skyscraper-climbing course, we were marched up in front of the fearsome Mr Marx, a man so hirsute that hair sprung out of this shirt collar, sleeves, nose, ears, everywhere. His hands looked like they were grafted on from a werewolf. He needed a shave, big time. Or at least a good brush-down.

With all the evidence on Geoff’s side, we were, to use the correct legal terminology, fucked. There was only one way out of this one. Every man for himself.

“Nothing to do with me, sir”, said the coward, “I had no idea was was going on.”

And so it came to pass that while the gang was led away screaming to the Department of Ironic Punishments, yours truly was sent away a free man, dismissed by a wave of Mr Marx’s hairy hand. Even Geoff was disgusted. Sorry lads, I have an allergy to polishing floors.

Within days, the Kays catalogue thumped onto my doormat. While I was entertained for several evening by the scantily clad young ladies between pages 213 and 247, I couldn’t help thinking it was to be the start of something terrible. Revenge can be a horrible, horrible thing.

I never paid for the Star Trek chess set.


This piccie comes to me from the most excellent Arseblog. It's a shot of Arsenal's French Genius Thierry Henry celebrating his breath-taking seventy yard run and goal in front the legions of darkness of Tottenham Hotspur. Dial-up beware - it's 238kB, but worth it just for the guy in the GAP top.

THIS is mighty good as well, and comes with the Scaryduck seal of approval.

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Thursday, November 21, 2002

"The Force is strong in this one"

Mark my words, THIS will be all over the web by lunchtime, thanks to those fabby, if totally warped people at B3ta. Might as well get on at the ground floor.

And while we're having a day for linkies, the Pathe News website is a truly outstanding record of the twentieth century's vintage newsreels, chicken and all, now available for public use. Penguins! I see penguins! And dead people!

On the other hand, ARSEiam is actually rather scary. Eyeballs! I see eyeballs!

Finally, inspired by last night's icky televised autopsy (linky not for the faint-hearted), I shall be buying the Scaryducklings THIS for Christmas. I'm all heart, aren't I?

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Wednesday, November 20, 2002

"PiSS II - Son of PiSS"

When I was eight, I carved the word “PiSS” on the headboard of my bed, and suffered months of angst as I tried to cover up my piece of wanton vandalism from my parents. Did I learn my lesson? What do you think?

Less than a year later, I was in the boy’s toilets at school during the lunch break, piece of soap in my hand. I looked in the mirror, the devil stared back. I was tempted. My hand moved to the mirror. And wrote. P. I. S. S. “PiSS.”

"I didn't do it"

I stood back admire my work, and in my horror, I realised I’d gone and done it again. I went to grab a towel to wipe it off, but too late, I’d been spotted by one of the more vindictive kids in my year.

“Oooooh, I’m telling on you.”

And he did, despite my offers to “Be your best friend” or “I’ll give you any money”, the urge to be a stoolpigeon was far too great for Benny.

I spent the next hour hiding behind class eleven, but it was no good. Mr George’s excellent network of spies found me, and I was trooped off for an audience with the head.

Those weren’t the wishy-washy days we live in today when teachers can’t even give kids a good talking to without written permission from parents, police and judge, with a solicitor present, oh no! I got six of the best with twelve inches of finest wood - Mr George’s dreaded ruler across the back of the legs before being torn off a strip about vandalising school property. And it was thoroughly deserved too. He scared the crap out of me.

After my ordeal by wood, he made me stand outside his office for the next hour while every teacher in the school made snide comments as they walked past. It wasn’t the pain, it was the fact that even my favourite teacher, Mrs Jones, said “Who’s been a naughty boy, then?” as she came out of the staff room. That was the last time I had pre-pubescant fantasies about her, I can tell you.

Meanwhile, skulking in the shadows was the dark figure of Benny. He’d been given what for from the head honcho as well. And his crime - being a tell-tale for the thirtieth time that year, making full use of his season ticket for the space by the tuck shop supplies. Justice works in mysterious ways. I reflected on this for the next hour or so, as I doodled the word “PiSS” in the dust. I’ll never learn.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2002

"Fresh Pie"

The Great Pie Drought of 2002 is officially over with part five of Bob's Week in France. A big "Woo!" and "Yay!" with a side order of "Houpla!" for Weebl for staying up half the night to get the job done with nothing but a five gallon drum of Sunny D and our taunts of "You smell of wee" for company. We are, indeed, not worthy.

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Monday, November 18, 2002


Warning! Scary's feeling a bit maudlin this evening as the vast quantities of alcohol consumed in the last twenty-four hours take their toll, hence this piece of navel gazing. He'll get over it. Warning!

I'm not entirely sure where to file this rather shameful moment in my life. It's funny in a certain way, but certainly NOT funny. What the hell, judge for yourself. If you're going to confess, you might as well confess it all...

We were ten, if that's any excuse. We had a rather enlightened headmaster in Mr George, who would often show films or call in special guests for our school assemblies. Trooping into the hall just after nine in the morning to see the film projector set up was always an exciting moment. Sometimes it was something educational, if we were really, really lucky, we got cartoons.

This particular morning, Mr George introduced a nice lady from The Spastics Society, who gave us a little lecture about how some children were born different to us, how life had dealt them a card off the bottom of the pack, as it were. Cerebral Palsy wasn't a phrase in circulation in those days: you were a spastic, and life was damn tough. It was all news to most of us, being generally sheltered from the big, bad world in our middle-class households.

Then she showed us the film. It was a beautiful work, artfully shot in black and white, of a boy's struggle in life against his handicap. It told us the facts, how we were blessed to live a normal life, and how some people needed the helping hand that the Spastics Society provided. The film, I remember, ended with the lad managing, against the odds, to struggle across a room, pull himself to his feet and reach a favourite toy with a smile of triumph. It was wonderful.

We left a hall without a word, a tear in the eye, joyful at the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity, pain and utter despair.

This air of bliss lasted exactly twenty-eight seconds, when Andy called Simon "a spastic".

By the end of morning break, everybody in a school of 400 pupils had called everybody else a spastic.

"Spastic", "Spas", "Spacker" and other variations on a theme became our weapon of choice for the next twenty years.

Way to go, kids.

Enlightenment? Why yes. The Spastics Society has become "Scope". The word "Spastic" has become "person with cerebal palsy", and much of the stigma and shame has been removed. Both my sister and step-mother have incredibly rewarding jobs working with disadvantaged adults and kids. Bugger it, you have life-changing experiences and your attitudes change.

I no longer call people who get on my tits a “spastic.” I call them a “retard” instead. That’s still a bit borderline, isn’t it?

People are people. And this entry's been rather too po-faced for its own good. Sorry.


Well dip me in dogshit. For the first time ever, an online personaility test actually comes up with the right answer, and therefore wins the Scaryduck seal of approval. Having said that, I can't help thinking the "Dumb Online Quizzes Piss You Off" answer would be equally valid. Can I have both?

What pisses you off?

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Sunday, November 17, 2002

"A duck writes"

Blummin' heck, I go away for a few days, and the place is swarming with penguins in bow-ties. For the love of God, just don't give them fish. It only encourages them.

Today, my head is mostly pounding like it's got a hoarde of tap-dancing Frenchmen living inside. Reason: Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur. Oh yes, it was men against boys out there in one of the most comprehensive humpings since the 5-0 at The Lane back in 1978. Scary fell off the wagon last night and got seriously mullered before rolling home in the wee small hours singing

"My old man
Said be a Tottenham fan
I said f*ck off b*ll*cks you're a c*nt" my best fake cockney accent. It was ace. Spurs well and truly sorted out, and top of the league again. Boosh.

Back in the make-believe world, you may know that all this blogging mullarkey is leading up to the Great Scaryduck Book Project. I've written loads, and have even managed to shoehorn in some of the stuff you may have read here, you lucky people. It's got a working title of "Colin and the Dog". Here's a bit which I've got to type somewhere before I forget it:

"Colin spent an entire week's annual leave from the office tramping the streets of Reading looking, unsucessfully, for those bored housewives he had heard so much about. He had made a careful study of certain top-shelf magazines he kept locked in his wardrobe at home, and was sure he would be accosted by some desperate yet attractive woman in her early forties who needed "someone to change a lightbulb urgently", before moving on to the matter in hand. It was only after six days of wearing the leather off the soles of his shoes that he found out that he had one living next door.

Linda had a leaking tap in her bathroom. Linda only ever wore her nightclothes. Linda had a face like someone had set fire to it and then beaten the flames out with a shovel. She scared the shit out of him"

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Friday, November 15, 2002

"A penguin writes"

Right you scum. While the Duck's off flying south for the week, there's gonna be a few changes round here. Number One: I'm in charge. Moderately Evil Penguin and his cohorts of fear, arch nemesis to that big girl's blouse, the so-called Scary Duck. Number Two: There is no number two, an' what you gonna do about that, ya bunch of jessies?

My mission as Moderately Evil Dictator of the Organisation of Moderately Evil Penguins (Officials) is simple:

* Fish
* World domination by the end of fiscal year 2004/5
* A total ban on penguins wearing bow-ties
* The keys to any spare weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein doesn't want any more
* Membership of the Axis of Moderately Evil (currently comprising Laos, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Burger King)
* Fish
* More fish

Antarctica is already ours, puny humans. Give us the weapons, and our myriad legion with shaprened beaks and none of that penguins-in-bow-ties business will surge forth from their secret bases (known to you as "zoos"), and pluck out the gizzards of the nearest fishmonger. And don't say we didn't warn you.

Back to Scaryduck, puny humans

Monday, November 11, 2002


A "Kids! Don't try this at home!" Special

One of the advantages of joining the Air Cadets, I found, was that you get to meet a better class of lunatic. I thought I was a pyromaniac, but Ally and Jim were a danger to society. They seemed to know all the best combinations of household chemicals for maximum results, they knew how to rig up all kinds of trip flares, rockets and things that just went off very loudly to scare old ladies.

Jim also had a “mate”, who’d just come back from hitching round Europe, and knowing his interest in the dark arts of exothermic chemistry, had got hold of a little present for him whilst in Spain. A Civil War vintage German Stick Grenade. The genuine article, we were told. The lads soon found out it was a dud with none of ze banging-machen-werfer inside it, but they soon put that right with a concoction known only to themselves and certain Irish terrorist groups.

A small knot of enthusiasts were invited up to the woods around Sonning Common to take a look. And what a bunch of tin-pot idiots we must have looked: combat jackets, Dunlop Green Flash plimsolls and chunky push bikes.

Achtung Tommy Hawkins Englander Pigdog Etc

We gazed on the Wehrmacht’s finest in awe before strutting round the wooded clearing with jerky goose steps and shouting out “Gott in Himmel, Englander” and “Achtung Spitfire” to anyone who might have thought it was funny.

“Achtung!” shouted Jim, as he lobbed the grenade into the centre of the clearing.

With cries of “Fookinhell!” we dived for cover, fully expecting red hot shards of metal to fling themselves towards us.

“Relax, relax!” says Jim matter-of-factly, “You’ve got to pull the pin first”, as we sheepishly picked ourselves up off the dirt.

There then started a game of chicken, where someone would chuck the bomb in the air, and we’d all leg it, still acting the giddy goat, shouting “Die Englander Pig Dog!” from the safety of the trees.

“You lot think you’re sooo clever”, beamed Ally, nonchalantly pulling the pin out of the grenade. It took him a full second to realise what he’d done, where his jaw dropped, and his arms and legs all decided to move in different directions.

“Throw it you twat! Throw it!” Jim finally yelled from about fifty yards away.

So he did, with all the effort that his now jellified arms could muster. It hit a tree with a hollow CLUNK and bounced back to land at his feet, the astonished look on his face giving way to one of desperation.

Galvanised into action, we did what any true coward would do: “Fookin’ leg it!” came the cry, and we took off for the safety of the road, our bikes, Jim’s house, anywhere that was a long, long way away.

As I ran, I was aware of the words “OhshitOhshitOhshitOshit” getting closer and closer. It was Ally, who had finally got both his legs working again, and pumped up an adrenaline rapidly overtook the lot of us and disappeared into the distance.

Seconds later, there was a WOOOOMPH as the thing went off, and a warm glow lit our backs momentarily. Bits of wood, leaves, pine cones, stones and the odd lump of twisted metal rained down onto the clearing. It wasn’t a big explosion by any means, but it would have been enough to leave Ally in pieces up a tree somewhere.

Sheepishly, we headed back to the scene of the crime. There was a small crater, ringed by burning undergrowth, which we tried to stamp out, but it just melted the bottom of my hyper-trendy Green Flashes.

There was a blue flashing light. God knows how, but someone had called the Police.

“Now lads, what’s all this about an explosion in these woods then?”

I must admit, it all got a bit out of control from here on in. We sold the copper a cock-and-bull story about how we were building a den up in the woods an’ climbin’ some trees an’ stuff when all of a sudden, like, we heard an explosion, up in the sky, like, and God strike us down if we’re lying sir, a meteorite landed right near us. Look at the crater, sir, just here. Amazin’ sir. Couldn’t believe it. Is there a reward?

He stood. He looked. He stuck his pen in the hole surrounded by charred grass. He took some notes, and the next day a load of hairy scientist types turned up in a white van and took away all the molten metal bits and some stones. The miracle of the Sonning Common Meteor even made the Henley Standard, and the mystery schoolboys were feted as heroes, but by then we were far too busy hiding from the authorities under our beds.

As far as I know, the “meteor” is now sitting in a museum or laboratory somewhere, or at the very least has been carted off to that huge warehouse in the final scene of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where it can do mankind no further harm.

What an evil web of lies we lead. The Man’s bound to find out sooner or later. Might as well be now.

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Sunday, November 10, 2002

"Remembrance Day"

Lest we forget.

And let us hope that hell never re-visits Earth again.

"Worst. Blog. Ever."

Yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn't be abusing my position by taking the piss out of other people's blogs, but I stumbled upon this the other day and I knew I had to share it with you:

"Finally my blog WORK!!!!
after a week!!
man i really do feel kinda stupid... everyone was able to start theirs in like 5 mins.... sad... hahaah oh well..
oh great man.. m,y parents are pissing me off right now
they make me clean up and waste my time all the time and on top of that they give me a lame curfew. so what do i do??? I smile, knowning ill on purposely forget HAHHAAHAH
okie this is tommy... signing offf

Utter, utter genius. It's got everything: human life, the struggle against adversity, conflict, defeat, triumph and enough bad grammar and punctuation to drive any English teacher to suicide. I shall be returning there for updates. If there are any. Sorry, but URL witheld to protect the innocent.

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Saturday, November 09, 2002


I did A Very Bad Thing on the train to work. I was busting for a piss, so breaking the habit of a lifetime, I was forced to use the on-board toilet. It was a primitive thing, just one step removed from a hole in the ground, and appeared to have been previously occupied by an IRA "dirty protest."

In the process of draining my onions (no mean feat on a train, I can tell you) I noticed a sign which read "Do not flush the toilet while the train is in station", a sign just crying out for a slight amendment. Taking the pen out of the notebook I routinely carry around for the benfit of you lucky people, and making sure there were no hidden cameras or highly paid midgets spying on me, I added two words.

"Except Basingstoke."

This is the town that gave the world Elizabeth Hurley. I thought it was time the world gave something back.

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Thursday, November 07, 2002


Teenage angst. Teenage angst. Where do I begin? My brother had it bad. He was seventeen, passed his driving test and needed wheels. After the death of the Renault Four that Mum had bought for us kids - thrashed into an early grave on a trip down to Wales on the M4 - all we had was the family saloon. And Nige needed it. A lot. To such an extent that Mum ended up buying a bike to get anywhere, and I was happy enough to get on Shank’s Pony and walk down the pub of an evening.

Every night he was the taxi service for his mates, going down pubs, hanging around or spending time with the lovely Susan he accidentally ended up not marrying. It was all getting a bit much. We couldn’t even do basic things. Like shopping. Getting out to see friends. Or running over the neighbours. Cue massive argument.

It started with quiet, reasoned voices, discussing why Nige ought to use the family car less, contribute to the petrol and servicing, or perhaps even go out and buy his own. That went down well.

Three seconds later came the first “IT’S NOT FAIR!” followed 2.7 seconds later by the first “I HATE YOU ALL!” followed by a lengthy gap of 18.3 seconds in which the state of his bedroom and the costs involved in feeding him were pointed out. This led to to the first “I DON’T HAVE TO LIVE HERE YOU KNOW!” and another “IT’S NOT FAIR!”

I hid in the kitchen.

A door slammed. Nige stormed out aiming a “RIGHT! I DON’T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS CRAP, I’M GOING OUT!” over his shoulder to anyone who was listening. Out of the house he stomped, slamming the front door almost off its hinges.

A peaceful calm descended over the house.

The dog came out from behind the sofa.

A small herd of deer flitted across the garden.

Slowly, the front door opened again. Nige, looking shame-faced with the storms of anger still swirling over his brow crept back into the house.

“What do you want?” asked Mum, sweetly.


Tuesday, November 05, 2002


Ever since I won the Guardian blog competition, I’ve had several people ask me “Did you really spend a thousand pounds on a new boiler, when you could have had a new computer, the latest electronic gadget, piles of pornography and all the webspace you could eat?”

The answer, I’m afraid, is “Yes”. You see, I quite like having my house warm, and it’s just coming up for my annual bath. There’s no way I’m going in the garden pond again, not after what happened last time.

Got any fish?
Clicky for large

And here it is, modelled by my arch-nemesis, Moderately Evil Penguin. For the love of God, send more fish.

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Sunday, November 03, 2002


“I am not a vampire. I’m a driving instructor from the Transvaal!” - Alexei Sayle

There is something very, very frightening about a teenager that’s just passed their driving test. They’ve spent months, and in some cases, years sitting next to a very calm middle-aged driving instructor, going at no more than twenty-seven miles per hour. All of a sudden, this old bloke from the Ministry of Transport has told them that they’re good enough to drive on their own and has given them a piece of paper that says so.

All of a sudden, you’ve gone from doddering learner to full-on speed demon, with your own car and no old fogey with their foot on the dual controls. You go mad. You forget you’ve got a brake pedal. You’re allowed music. Loud music. And a terrified world awaits you.

That is exactly what happened to my sister. She’d been taking lessons for over a year with the very, very nice Mrs Wootton and her lovely, lovely Mini Metro (never been above thirty mph, never had an accident, but seen hundreds) and passed her test at the second attempt. And the next day she’d decided to drive us all to college.


I was used to getting on my bike in the morning, cycling a couple of miles to the station and catching a couple of trains over to Bracknell. It only took an hour, you met friends on the way, and I got to leer at this girl with huge jubblies that always took the same train as me. If I felt truly adventurous, I’d ride the whole way there - thirteen miles was a good workout as I was running marathons at the time. But what the hell, I thought I’d try it just the once.

Things didn’t go well from the off. Mum had bought us an old, rust green Renault Four, a car that looked, and behaved like a dalek. It was quite possibly the worst car in the world ever. The steering wheel in about three feet across, and the gear stick comes out of the centre of the dashboard, and you need to lever yourself up with both feet and all your weright to move the thing, usually accompanied with the sound of crunching gears and the screams of pedestrians as you weave across the road. And it didn’t like starting in the mornings.

Twenty minutes to nine and there’s strange clunking noises coming out of the front of the car. It’s as dead as a dead thing, and I’m looking wistfully at my bike, absolutely certain that I’m going to be late for my Applied Maths lecture with Mr Valley, a tutor whose attitude to latecomers to his lectures is to flog them to death and hang their limp bodies out for the crows.

“Don’t you dare get on that bike” is her pointed advice. I get the message. After all, she’s older than me, and has tried to kill me dead on many occasions before. Once, on the point of drowning, my entire life flashed before me, an experience that scarred me for life and simultaneously gave me the idea for this blog.

There’s an explosion of sound and fumes as the engine miraculously bursts into life. We pile in, ghetto blaster on the bench seat between us is belting out the latest Bowie, and we’ve got fourteen minutes to get to Bracknell. At an average speed of sixty miles per hour. In a car with a top speed of sixty-six mph. With a driver of one day’s total driving experience. Sure, we’d make it.

Like lunatics, we powered down the road, bouncing up and down on rubber band suspension. Through the village we thundered, overtaking at least three cars the second the traffic lights went yellow, and into the countryside towards Bracknell. And that’s where we met the tractor.

Tractors are the curse of British roads. Along with their partner in crime, the holiday caravan, they’re always there when you least want them, on the most difficult, narrowest, windiest bit of road with not a hint of a passing place. And the drivers have a habit of making them as wide as possible, so that even if there was a fleeting glimspe of a gap, he’s shut the door more efficiently than Michael Schumacher in a Formula One car. If it was a tractor, going slower than your dead granny.

That’s when the swearing starts.

“The bastard! There should be a law about bloody tractors this time in the morning.”

Less than ten minutes to go and Bracknell is still far over the horizon.

Like an expert, Jill drops right down the gearbox, guns the engine, pulls out and goes for it.

Like a klutz, she’s done this on a narrow stretch of road with a blind bend less than a hundred yards away.

And coming round the bend is a bright red Ford Cortina. Heading right at us. Flashing his lights and leaning on his horn.

Oh God, here we go again. Every. Little. Detail. Of. My. Life. In front of my eyes. All checked off and remembered for future reference.

And somehow we’re through. I still haven’t quite managed to work out how, as I was far too busy cataloging 1976 at the time. But like a cork from a bottle, we flew round that bend on two wheels, missed every single bit of traffic, the ditch, a fence and a sign that read “Danger - Soft Verges” which tore me from my flashback, imprinting these words onto my retinas as I screamed for mercy.

There was no stopping us now. The engine roared and we left a mess of tractor, Cortina and the Grim Reaper in our wake, the only noise being the sonic boom as we shot into the distance. It was like Knight Rider, only with the calm computer voice replaced with “OH MY FUCKING GOD WE’RE GOING TO DIIIIIIE!”

It was a miracle. Guided by forces unknown, we arrived at Bracknell College only two minutes after we’d left home twenty minutes before. I sprinted up to the lecture on the sixth floor to find, exhausted, that I was the first person there, with Mr Valley complimenting me on my good time-keeping. The rest of the group arrived ten minutes late after their train was held up at Wokingham. You can still see their bodies, swinging slowly on the gibbet outside, an example to all who would cross the Valley of Death.

I declined a lift home.

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Saturday, November 02, 2002

"Your Astro-Tarot-Ninja-Feng Shui Horoscope"

The horror-scopes from a few weeks back seemed to go down well, so I’ve been consulting my crystal balls all day (hence the funny walk) and come up with these none-more-accurate predictions. Let’s face it, I couldn’t be any worse than Russell Grant, the old tosser. He’s got me down as “65% mental” today. Grant, I foresee a right old kicking for you, mate.

Aries: You’ve always wondered what your insides look like. In that respect it’s your lucky day.
Taurus: You dream of seeing the wonders of the world first hand. Tough luck, ravens will mercilessly pluck your eyes out for a fleshy treat while you lie in the gutter in a drunken stupor.
Gemini:Destiny brings you a meeting with an axe-wielding homocidal B-List celebrity. With hilarious results.

Cancer: Ironic that you’re a cancer...that’s providing the flesh-eating monkey virus doesn’t get you first
Leo: Let “Blood! Blood! Blood!” be your motto today. After all, you’ll be seeing rather a lot of it.
Virgo: You will acquire a certain amount of fame when they decide to name that incurable disease after you. It may only be a rash now, but tomorrow it’s immortality. As it were.

Libra: Don’t eat the salad.
Scorpio: It’s great that you want to make people happy. The doctors will still be laughing long after you’re gone. And the funny shaped coffin will give the undertakers a jolly good cackle too.
Sagittarius: Destiny foretells an encounter with an industrial robot and an emergency proctologist.

Capricorn: You will travel to mysterious places and work hard. And I bet you’d thought that slavery had been abolished. Kylie Minogue wants to kill you.
Aquarius: A slip of the tongue and an unfortunate misnderstanding results in brutal military intervention.
Pisces: Destiny sees loads of filthy, dirty, drug-fuelled, mind-blowing sex. But not for you.

If it’s your birthday: The lack of presents and birthday greetings should tell you something. Loser.

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Friday, November 01, 2002

"Corridors of Power"

School held few priveleges for us. We were routinely told by our teachers that we were “the worst behaved year we have ever had”, and after the seventh fire alarm of the week I was inclined to believe them. Possibly something to do with the fact I was squeezing one out in the toilets in the Science Block at the time and I was torn between finishing the job and running for my life. So, as the old saying goes, it was up to us to create our own entertainment.

And that came in geography class, held in freezing cold temporary classrooms separate from the rest of the school. The teacher, “Harry” Harrison was about ninety years old and was as deaf as a post. Because of this, he relied on the pupils to tell him when the school bell had gone for the end of the class, the poor trusting fool.

Jenny had an innocent face. “The bell’s gone sir”, she would say, fluttering her eyelids rather too unnecessarily. And we were free.

With five or ten minutes to burn, we would slouch up to the “old school” where our next lesson was. We’d hang around in the corridor, a fifty yard stretch of polished floor that became a race track as soon as the first-years were released from their French-lesson hell. We’d lean against the wall outside class 1, our bags full of schoolbooks at our feet, chatting about girls, the latest bands and why Spurs were so crap.

Bell. A door at the far end would literally thump open, and the first formers would explode forth down the hall, idiot grins on their faces evidence of their escape.

Timing was critical. These kids may have been going like the clappers, but make your move too early and you’d be sussed out, too late and it just becomes messy. As the first runner approached, Ernie would nudge his bag out into the middle of the hallway, straight under the feet of the leading runner.

Invariably, there would be a moment of almost serene silence, followed by a cry of “Oh SHIIIIIIII....” as the victim took off and landed somewhere in the cloakroom chin first, coming to a halt among the lost property. With exceptional timing, you could take down two or three of these idiots before the hall became too crowded, and we’d mark the end results out of ten. It never ceased to amaze us that this trick worked day after day, week after week without the fools wising up to us. But we had reckoned without Mr Prince.

Prinny was our games teacher. He was a former boxer of some repute, even if he had a face that looked like every punch had got through. He was as hard as nails, and even if we weren’t scared of him, he had our respect and a certain amount of hero worship. He was also the king of the ironic punishment, as we were soon to find out.

Cut back to the Hall of Fear. First year number 387 is flying through the air, wondering what the hell has happened to his feet, and why is the ground coming up to meet me so fast? Round the corner comes Prinny just in time for the victim to come screeching to a halt at his feet. He doesn’t even have to ask what the bloody hell was going on, we were caught like Treens in a disabled space-cruiser.

Time freezes. He says nothing. We are silent, afraid to be the first to move. The victim scuttles off, like scared townsfolk fleeing from a shoot-out in a western movie. An evil smile fills his face. He silently beckons us towards him. We’re doomed.

Prinny made us polish the school floors for a week, while he allowed the cleaners to sit back and offer us encouragement such as “You’ve missed a bit” and “Only thirty-seven classrooms to go”.

Were we to be discouraged by such a set-back? Well, yes we were to tell you the truth. No more would we attempt the Flight of Doom in the Old School corridor, for we knew that Prince was watching, somehow, somewhere.

One-legged Mike, however, was not to be defeated. One-legged Mike only had one leg, and had a false foot that was held on with buckles. Instead of kicking a bag out at the racing first-years, he’d oh-so-subtly let his foot fall off in the face of the charging hoardes. There were hysterical screams that shattered glass. One girl fainted, while another puked all over our freshly polished floors, and there was the faintest smell of urine which may or may not have been Filthy Pete going past. Even Prinny, not fooled by “Sorry sir, it just dropped off”, couldn’t think of an ironic punishment for that one.

We all got detention, forever.

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