Wednesday, May 31, 2006

”Fuck me, it’s Prince Charles!”

”Fuck me, it’s Prince Charles!”

So, there I was this evening hanging around outside the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh, taking a few snaps in a moody sunset for my Flickr stream and chatting to a fellow tourist who, coincidentally lives just over the Ridgeway from me in the Duke of Cornwall’s model town development of Poundbury.

All of a sudden, a door opens, and amongst a big knot of armed goons, is the Duke himself, HRH Prince Charles on his way from some official beano to a feast of virgin flesh in Holyrood Palace.

“Oooh, fuck noooo…” says Poundbury guy, “I come four hundred miles for my holidays, and who’s the first person I meet? The sodding landlord…”

Oh, how we laughed.

I did not see his Camilla.

Bollocks to this, I’m back home to Weymouth.

Monday, May 29, 2006

On becoming a journo

On becoming a journo

While I'm away from the comforts of my office, and staring down the barrel of the gun that is the real world (from the lobby of the Edinburgh Sheraton Hotel), this peice may remind you of the rocky career path I have chosen. Oh yes.

It’s a tough old life being a journalist in the field. You end up, old, wrinkled, bitter and utterly unable to function in society unless living in the most expensive hotel the network can find for you. And despite what they say, your bog standard run-of-the-mill news assignment is enormously dull, and often needs jazzing up a little before it is allowed to reach your screen.

There are stories, however, that no amount of hideously expensive graphics, expert summarizers and satellite links can make interesting. You cannot, as we all know, polish a turd.

That is why, then, all trainee journalists are issued with the Standard Lunchtime O’Booze Memorial Press Hack’s Kit, guaranteed to turn even the most benign of situations into the heart-rending, tear-jerking, vote-changing of stories

* Highly inflammable US and Israeli flags** with a free bottle of lighter fuel
* DIY effigy kit for the world leader of your choice [Ariel Sharon size now available!]
* One child's shoe, for poignant cutaways
* One teddy bear, ditto
* Novelty Bucket-o-Shrapnel
* Inflatable mob, or,
* Free beer vouchers, redeemable at any Wetherspoons pub, riot guaranteed
* Bunch of flowers with the word "Why??" written in block capitals on a small card
* Orla Guerin horror mask

Who can fail to be moved by any report that carries at least on of these optional extras? Naturally, I have incredibly high standards and live by a code of ethics which means that every last piece I write is of the highest quality possible, and will leave this kind of rubbish to other, lesser broadcasters. You know. *cough* Sky *cough*

Scaryduck Jr now wants to follow his old man into the fourth estate. I shall do everything in my power to prevent this.

** It's a little known fact that every flag in the world comes from a factory in Portland, US, and that every time an American flag in burned in the Middle East, some guy in the US makes another buck. That's trickle-down economics in action.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mirth and Woe: Seance 'o' Doom

Seance 'o' Doom

Someone at school got hold of a Ouija Board.

Dr Savage (Man of Bronze), our Religious Education teacher was horrified, and warned us of the perils of "meddling with evil things of which you are ignorant!" He would, he told us, go home and pray for our souls tonight.

Heh. He said "arseholes". I bet he got them, too.

Unfazed by the burning pits of damnation promised for the school's small band of sinner-sinners, a small group of enthusiasts set up the School Ghost Club.

Much like the infamous Wanking Club, this bunch of teenie Derek Acorahs set up shop in the school dark room, and set about their grim task with the home made ouija board and an upturned pyrex beaker stolen from the chemistry prep room, with the express task of making contact with the recently deceased John Lennon, to see if he had any decent tunes left in him.

As a hush descended over the room, with nothing but the red gloom of a photographic safety lamp casting an eerie wossname over proceedings, Geoff started calling out to the spirit world.

"Is there anybody there? Is there anybody there? We are trying to speak to John Ono Lennon. Are you there John Lennon?"


Not unless they did beans on toast on the other side.

After the excitement had died down, and one of our number was given the requisite beating for being a smelly-arsed bastard, we tried again.

"John Lennon! Are you there John Lennon? If you are out there, show us a sign. Move the glass! Speak to us, John!"

I don't know. He probably had better things to do, like naked bed-ins with spectral groupies. The last place any sane person - dead or alive - wanted to be was in a school darkroom full of idiots just outside Reading. I mean, the traffic's awful, for starters.

"John Lennon! Knock twice for yes!"


"Oh fucking shite."


Graham insisted that all hands were made visible, and asked again.


The sound appeared to come from all around us, and rattled right to the very pits of our souls. Somewhere nearby, Doc Savage was probably on his knees, praying his hardest to save us.


When Lennon knocked twice for yes for the tenth time and a horribly distorted version of "I am the Walrus" played from out of the spectral ether, the Ghost Club fled, screaming, for their lives.

Someone, I swear, had already shat their pants.

And there, laughing his arse off as he fell out of the darkroom store cupboard was Ju-Vid, tinny tape recorder in hand.

"Goo-Goo-Ga-Joob you bastards!"

He had earlier claimed he had homework to do and couldn't join our club. God, we should have seen through this right from the start. Ju-Vid never did his homework.

He got a right old kicking for his pains. Right in the Goo-Goo-Ga-Joobs, an' all.

I'll never mess with dead Beatles again.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Appliance of Science

The Appliance of Science

My quest to cash a cheque for the sum of fifty-two pounds interrupted today by workmen outside the local branch of Nationwide. The flow of tea disrupted by a leaking main pipe, Thames Water sent a man out to find where, exactly the fault lay.

Did he use such technological marvels as ground-penetrating radar, or even some series of probes that detect moisture or changes in density? Not a bit of it. From the back of his van he produced two pieces of bent wire mounted on a couple of Bic biro cases. Ladies and gentlemen, your water rates pay for a dowser. He had better be good.

Assuming the position, our man walked around a bit until the streams crossed, and he marked an area on the pavement with blue paint. It was not for me to say that the fact that he was standing right next to a skip filled with scrap metal might have given him a false reading, because he’s qualified in witchcraft and I am not. But still, on the say-so of a couple of muscle spasms, a bunch of hairy-arsed navvies are going to dig up a pavement in the middle of Reading in the hope of finding a leaky pipe.

And best of luck to ‘em, I say. If it works, I’m fully prepared to be called a git and a skeptic, and if not, I will point and laugh until I get arrested.

What next? The laying-on of hands at the Doctor’s surgery? Intelligent design taught in schools? Ah.

Vote? Oh!

Following yesterday's woe in which Mrs Duck rumbled my plans to recruit an all-female crew for the HMSS Jenson Buttocks, I've promised to be on my best behaviour today. In which case, I have dropped my plan of getting a troupe of pole-dancers to act out the choices for tomorrow's tale of mirth and woe, and present, to you, instead, the bowlderised version for your selection.

I'm so very, very sorry.

* First Aid: "****", she said, "***** your **** up my **** in the 2.30 at Lingfield Park."

* Food Fight: He ran as fast as he could. And you would too, if **** ** **** **** Dante's Inferno.

* Seance 'o' Doom: The shame of it. Not only was he flat broke but he suddenly realised he had ******** Watford Football Club.

* Coming to my Census: "*****? **** *** ***** ****!" That was no way for a peer of the realm to talk.

* The Drugs Don't Work: "I'm not sexist, but **** ****** Victoria Beckham's dry shrivelled *********** **** inside out."


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Situations Vacant at the Scaryduck Corporation

Situations Vacant at the Scaryduck Corporation

Welcome aboard the HMSS Jenson ButtocksWanted: All-female astronaut crew for the HMSS Jenson Buttocks, the heavily-armed inter-stellar spacecraft of the Scaryduck Corporation.

Posts available: Co-Pilot, Navigator, Weapons Operator, Engineer and Loadmistress/Baby Oil Procurement Officer.

No experience necessary. Candidates should display an aptitude for life at zero gravity, often without the unnecessary encumbrance of clothing. Due to newly-installed clone-o-matic technology, we no longer insist on the 44-DD minimum requirement.

Benefits include:
* Genuine military rank in the war against Space Hitler!
* The chance to kill hideous tentacled aliens as part of the Terran Federation's Anti-Hideous Tentacled Alien ethnic cleansing policy!
* Sell stuff to not-hideous tentacled aliens for fun and profit!
* Ssssexy Space Pirates!
* Visit the Planet Barcelona!
* Generous relocation package, lingerie allowance

This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to enjoy a mega-rich space-trading and warfare lifestyle in a fun, naked yet vaguely hostile galaxy. Leave your Earthly cares behind and boldly go - as bare as the day you were born - into the Final Frontier!

Apply: Captain James T Duck, HMSS Jenson Buttocks, Dock 354a (lower), Oxygen-breathing sector, Bixein Space Station, Alpha Quadrant. Please send brief CV, recent undraped holographic image.

N.B. Captain must remain fully clothed for health and safety reasons; and reserves the right to use mind-altering probes, pink spinny vibrating probes, other probes

Update: After a thorough interview process, the post of Tactical and Weapons officer has been filled by Lt Cmdr Misty, who impressed us with her enthusiasm, knowledge, and willingness to kill hideous tentacled aliens with her bare hands. And not to mention her genuine undraped holographic image.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Wreck-a-Book Day

Wreck-a-Book Day

'Wreck a book? Every time I sit down to work, darlings'After yesterday's triumphant killing off of any enjoyment that might accidentally be garnered from The Da Vinci Code, regular reader Vicus Scurra came up with the spunker of an idea that we can spoil entire libraries for anybody who dares pick up a book.

Reading*, after all, is a dreadfully time consuming affair, and these days I even find the Rinkworks Book-a-Minute site heavy going now that TV and the internet has completely sucked out my imagination.

Your task, then, is to kill of any one book with a single line. Vicus starts...
  • Pride and Prejudice: They get together in the end.
  • Crime and Punishment: He gets caught.
  • Exodus: Moses doesn't make it to the promised land.

And the rest of us follow:
  • War and Peace: Napoleon loses
  • The Bible: Jesus dies, but there's a twist!
  • 1984: They brainwash him in the end
  • Any Harry Potter Book: It's Voldemort, disguised as the Dark Arts teacher

Well, get on with it, then....

* Apart from being a large town in Berkshire with a traffic light fetish

Monday, May 22, 2006

On spoiling the end of The Da Vinci Code for everyone

On spoiling the end of The Da Vinci Code for everyone

In which S. Duck makes no apology for spoiling the end of The Da Vinci Code for the three Borneo tribesmen who haven't read it yet

I did a bad good thing last week.

A young lady got on the tube at Charing Cross, and sat across the aisle from me. Sadly, she whipped out a copy of The Da Vinci Code from her handbag, going down in my estimation considerably.

Early doors, she was only on page thirty or so, which meant I had every chance of weaning her off this badly-written tripe before it was too late. So, getting off at Paddington, I told her the five words that should ultimately do the trick, and save her several wasted days having her brain DanBrown-washed.

Because, God help me, some of you still might not want to know the ending, and I humbly suggest you never darken my door again, you'll need to highlight the five words of woe to read them. RSS readers, on the other hand, may wish to look away now:

"The Grail's in The Louvre."

Then, leg it.

Free book offer! I once threw a copy of The Da Vinci Code out of a train window just outside Southampton in disgust and despair at its utter crapness. It's probably still there if you want it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mirth and Woe: Inferno


Too lazy to read? Click on the 'Listen to this article' link at the end of this post.

So, I took the wife to a Harvester restaurant. I was on a budget, OK? But, I was on an unspoken promise, and a surf'n'turf is one of the planet's most potent aphrodisiacs. So I've been told.

"Have you been to a Harvester before?"

Yes. Yes I had, and thank you for rubbing my nose in my eternal shame. I've done worse, though. I've had a Berni. In the company of others, many of whom are still alive.

This particular Harvester in Reading didn't do itself any favours by being directly downwind from the sewage works, but as long as they keep the windows closed, you're fine. They'd gone, as Harvesters do, for the rustic look inside, which meant any number of frightening farm implements on the walls, which might come in handy if things turned nasty later on. The staff were of the rustic variety too, it turned out. As in "thick as pigshit".

"Close the bloody windows, love, while you're at it."

It was 100 degrees outside, hardly the best weather to visit a steak-and-chips restaurant, but when you've got an anniversary (the somethingth year of first-going-out) you've got to do something to keep the other half happy, and you never know afterwards. We might get ice cream, or first dibs on the big rakey thing with the blood stains.

Any road up, after our obligatory visit to the drench-it-all-in-Thousand-Island salad cart, we got our starters (mmmm... Prawn Cocktail, I literally oozed class in those days), and waited for our main meals.

And waited.

"Your sister's still in that place above the laundry, then?"

And waited.

"They've opened the windows again, the smelly bastards."

And waited.

"That woman over there keeps staring at me. I'm going to ignore her in a minute."

And waited.


Two hours later, the fire brigade asked the manager - within very shouty earshot - why there were still customers in the building, seeing as how the kitchen was a raging inferno and "the whole fucking place is about to go up".

"We didn't want to disturb their night out" he replied.

My hand tightened on the handle of the rake. I might have to fight my way to the street. And then go back, naturally, for the wife.

Outside, smoke was still rising from a highly animated chef, but there was still no sign of my steak and chips, the food of professional footballers everywhere.

"So," asked the woman from the other table, "are we going to get our desserts or what?"

Result: Free meals in any Harvester for a year. I'm a sucker for punishment.

Thursday, May 18, 2006



And now for something completely terrible. It's the Thursday vote-o, only with pictures. Lawks, I bring you ScaryVision, where your narrator is unable to say the word "inaugural". Why-oh-why did I not just say "first"?

And yes, this is a direct result of my attendance at this blogging conference, for which I am truly sorry. Prepared to be underwhelmed by the BAFTA-nominated* production values.

If you can't see it, clicky here.

For the dial-up, firewalled or technologically challenged, I'd advise you to buy a new computer and vote on tomorrow's Scary Story from this list:

* First Aid: A tale of woe
* Food Fight: A tale of mirth
* Inferno: A tale of mirth and woe
* Take a Break: Neither mirth nor woe
* Seance: Woe, and thrice woe

Well? Vote-me-do!

* BAFTA: Bloody Awful Film and Television Awards

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Accidental Radio Four Week, again

Accidental Radio Four Week, again

Today, I shall be mostly here, attending a rather large blogging event in the line of duty. I shall be pressing the flesh and rubbing shoulders* with the great and the good of the world of weblog. REAL bloggers, not make-pretend award-winning amateurs with nothing better to write about than their bowel movements and the best places my corrupt uncle can buy large-sized womens' shoes. And convincing wigs.

However, I shall not leave you without entertainment. I've left the radio on, and it's still Accidental Radio Four week:

The Shipping Forecast issued by the Met Office on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at 0600 on 17th May 2006.

There are warnings of gales in Shannon, Rockall, Sole, Plymouth and Scary's pants.

The area forecasts for the next 24 hours.

Scary's Pants: Southwest six to gale eight, occasionally storm nine. Moderate, fog later, pressure falling more slowly. Outlook: wet, windy and warm.

And now, The Archers

Dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum, Dum-de-dum-de-daa-daaa



"'Oo be that fella up in yonder pasture?"

"That be our new neighbour."


"Aye. Thems that say 'is name is Scary Duck. 'E's taken the lease on Grundy's Field after the previous owners, like, died, in that bizarre and hugely contrived space-hopper accident. You know, in the last episode with all the lesbians, hugely out-of-place social commentary and space-hoppers."

"Oo-aaaar? And what's that 'e' be doin'?"

"Plantin' tomatoes."

"Oooooh. Ah."

"Oi! Duck! Get yer trousers on an' GET ORF MOI LAAAAAAND!"

*The best way to achieve this is to walk up to the person you wish to rub shoulders with, distract them with a cry of "Hey! Look over there! It's Sarah Beeny!", and while they're looking for a wonky-eyed TV temptress, quickly rub your shoulder against his.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Traffic Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

The awful realisation that I am a Radio Four listener has come of a bit of a shock to me. Still, I'd better make the most of it by writing a number of pedantic letters to the controller over the use of the Queen's English on The Archers. Or I could start this post all over again…

Traffic Island Discs

Following a bizarre set of circumstances involving a kebab shop, a local government funding crisis and a semi-inflated space-hopper, you have found yourself bricked up in a disused public convenience on a traffic island in Reading town centre (there are at least two that I know of - take your pick). Assuming that you have a reasonable supply of food and bog paper, which three CDs, one book and one luxury item would you have with you?

* David Bowie - Hunky Dory
Bowie's best work in my humble opinion, before he went mad, took far too many drugs and started dressing up like Hitler's corrupt Aunt.

* Boo Radleys - Giant Steps
Or, 101 things you can do with a guitar amplifier. Ear-splitting, tender, wonderful, and the best use of the words "Faye Dunaway", ever.

* Saint Etienne - Smash the System
It's a Greatest Hits package from a band that didn't have that many hits. But it's got the luscious, pouting Sarah Cracknell on it, and that's all that counts.

* Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett - Good Omens
A toss-up between this incredibly satisfying work, and Orwell's 1984, but when you're trapped in the lav, you'll go for laughs every time.

* A half-built 1:72 scale Airfix Mil-24 helicopter kit
I've been working on this bloody thing off-and-on for the last twenty-five years. Every time I move house or have a sort-out, I find it in my old model-making biscuit tin and tell myself I'm really going to finish it this time. I'm up to sticking on the rotor blades.

Space To Let (toilet!) in the comments…

Tomorrow, the Radio 4 theme continues with The Archers. Or the Shipping Forecast. Dunno.

Monday, May 15, 2006

On Mornington Crescent

An unofficial guide to the popular parlour game Mornington Crescent

Mornington Crescent, due to become an Olympic sport in 2012, was devised and first played by the famous diarist Samuel Pepys and his good friend Sir Isaac Newton, using an Underground map gleaned from the back page of his Lett's 1668 Desk Diary.

This, although puzzling to the layman, is despite the fact that the London Underground did not come into use until two hundred years later, but circumstance and the vast rebuilding of London following the Great Fire showed that this would prove no obstacle.

December 14th 1668: "Up betimes, and in this greate chille, and tiring of the lowe quality of slatterne at this tyme of year, did sit by a grande fyre in myne rooms steadily beatynge myne good friend Newton at Mornington Crescent. He damn'd myne eyes, for he cannot master the Hammersmith Clockwise Loop, and is forever finding himself in knip"

Historians have been puzzled by this anachronism, but they should not be. Such is the layout of London's streets, the seventeenth century player was able to play the game very much as it is now, simply by logically joining points together on any reasonably accurate map of the London capital. In fact, Mornington Crescent game maps of the period bear a striking resemblance to the Tube map famously designed by Harry Beck.

Inspired by Pepys' writings on the subject, Prince Albert strove to make the pastime popular once again in the nineteenth century; and it was the game's cult following in the gentlemans' clubs of the capital that eventually resulted in the raising of the capital for the Metropolitan Line, and the founding of the London Underground as we see it today.

This has led, of course, to a chicken-and-egg question regarding Mornington Crescent. The answer is simple. The London Underground is simply evolving to fit the standard game map as laid out by Pepys and Newton in 1668. While the whole map is valid, players know (and formalised by the 1902 "Callinthrope" Law) that it is bad form to call stations that are not currently open, or have not even been built yet.

This has not always been the case. Incredibly, historical players often refered to Arsenal Station by its correct name, even before its 1932 renaming, and Pepys himself is known to have brought Heathrow Terminal Four into play in even the earliest of games.

As of now, however, most players are loathe to use stations on the Docklands Light Railway, with rules dating back as far as 1723 stating that "Anye statione from Bank to Beckton to foulest Lewisham brings M.Crescent in one."

Queen Victoria, a prolific diarist herself, made the following note in her journal regarding the rise of the game under her reign:

August 21st 1857: "Most vexed by my darling Prince's behaviour this evening. He returned from the Athenaeum in the foulest of moods, having been roundly defeated by Darwin at his confounded parlour game. Albert near split me arse-to-tit shouting the words "Hammersmith Clockwise Loop!" as he hammered away. I have called on my Prime Minister, the Earl of Derby, to take measures against this iniquitous pastime, but, alas, he cannot."

Other countries have also laid claim to the devising of Mornington Crescent. For example, our unwashed cousins in France assert that their parlour game Chateau d'Eau is a direct ancestor of the British version, yet it lacks the style and panache of Mornington Crescent; and the illogical layout of the Paris Metro does not lend itself to sufficiently balanced game-play. Purists also point out that there is, in fact, no Mornington Crescent in Paris, making any translation of the game nigh on impossible.

The game was popularised in the 1970s by the Radio 4 panel show "I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue", which has effectively set down hard-and-fast rules for the game for the first time with the publication of The Rules of Mornington Crescent, which, despite high demand, is sadly out of print. Even the British Library's last remaining copy has mysteriously disappeared, possibly into the hands of highly competitive foreign Mornington Crescent federations.

The sport of Mornington Crescent is not without its controversy, with the following extract from Hansard recently finding its way into the public domain:

William van Straubenzee (Wokingham) (Con): To ask the Prime Minister if he has ever taken part in, or gambled money on, Mornington Crescent parties which may have been attended by the ambassadors of Bulgaria and the Soviet Union.

The Prime Minister (Harold Wilson) (Lab): I have no comment to make on what is a private matter. I do not even know what the Hammersmith Clockwise Loop is, a practice I gather the honourable member is a past master, much to his party's shame.

Edward Heath (Bexley) (Con): How very dare you!

Despite its murky past, Mornington Crescent is as popular as it has ever been. A multi-million pound deal with Sky Sports is likely to bring the game to a far wider audience, riding on the wave of World Federation of Stare-Out where the England team has just returned triumphantly with The Ashes, and a book deal will, at last, bring the complex rules to the masses.

There is only one last thing: I'll start - Parson's Green. The Hammersmith Clockwise Loop is permitted.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mirth and Woe: The Joust

The Joust

I've done some really stupid things on bicycles.

I've tried a wheelie on a bike which had no nuts holding on the front wheel. It hurt.

I've gone helter-skeltering down a long steep hill on a bike with no brakes. It hurt, a lot.

I've tried to ride a bike home from a party, drunk out of my skull, projectile vomiting cider. It hurt the next day, and they didn't press charges.

So, this latest revelation will come as no surprise to you in the slightest.

When I tell you that our obsession of the week was medieval knights, you will probably be able to skip to the final part of this tale knowing full well the agonies involved. But then you'd miss the bit about the all-girl wrestling.

So, the noble brotherhood of knights, it was then. Or, in reality, suits of armour made out of bits of wood wrapped in all the tinfoil we could find, meaning the following Sunday's roast would be burned to a crisp. Helmets were plastic buckets rendered useless with the addition of eye-holes. And our swords were the old standby - bastard great lumps of wood with a pointy bit on the end.

I was to be Sir Scary of Twyford, and by God I looked the part. The part being that of a twat wearing a dustbin.

And there stood Sir John, the Black Knight. Black, on account of the black bucket he had on his head, and carrying the biggest, scariest sword ever, which had begun life as part of a scaffolding he dug up in his garden.

The two armies came together with a whiny teenage roar, and we spent several, bruising minutes beating the seven bells out of each other. Oh, what fun, and hardly any of us went home crying to their mum with a nosebleed. Unfortunately, it was the school arsehole, Peter (pronounced with your tongue pressed firmly against your lower lip), whose mum was huge, frightening and rumoured to have had killed a man just to see him die, and would hammer any person who harmed a hair on her darling boy's head into the ground with one big, hairy fist.

And here she came, all milling arms, cigarette smoke, and a voice like a foghorn, trailing her blood-stained, tin-foil encrusted berk of a son behind.

"WHICH ONE OF YOU BASTARDS CRIPPLED MY PETER?" she boomed. That's Peter: pronounced with your tongue pressed firmly against your lower lip, of course.

We legged it to the park, and hid in the bushes until she went home for her hormone injection.

And there, we made a discovery.

"Hey look! Lances!"

They weren't lances, simply rather long staves of wood that had probably been part of the old scout hut at some stage. But, by God, they would do for these Knights of the Wonky Table.

Indeed, there would be a joust.

God knows why I did it. I still don't know to this day. I knew it would hurt. In fact, I knew it would be agony, yet I still did it.

Goaded on by my seconds, I mounted my bike and faced off against my good friend, the evil Sir John, still the Black Knight.

Lacking a maiden to drop her hanky or anything (do you think any girl with a brain in her head would be interested in our bunch of stupids?), someone shouted "GO!" and we cycled like fury at each other, lances resting on our handlebars.

Closer and closer we got, cycling as hard as we could despite the extra weight and inconvenience of our "armour" and the fact that I couldn't actually see anything what with the bucket on my head twisting round so the eye holes were round the back somewhere.

And then: there was a sickening crunch, which turned out to be me. Or, a large bit of wood catching me square in the chest. This was followed by another sickening crunch, which was also Sir Scary - this time hitting the deck as my steed disappeared from under me. Everything went black.

Then, everything went white, white, white. Someone had pulled the bucket from my head to see if I were dead or not. Adjusting to the light, and no longer seeing double, Sir John stood over me, sword in hand, ready to deliver the coup de grace.

"No John," said a voice, "You're not meant to really kill him."

"Oh. Right."

I was dragged to my feet. My makeshift breast plate was cleaved clean in two, and instead of looking a vanquished knight, fallen on the field of honour, I looked like a tramp.

"Say something, Scary," said John.

"I feel sick."

And I was.

Eventually, I found my way home. There, in the middle of my chest, right next to my sister's claw-marks, was a large, square bruise. It would be my badge of honour.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

Today: The Eternal Dilemma. The Brown Trout of Doubt, as it were.

Do I done a poo first thing, as part of my shit-shower-shave routine, or wait until I get to work?

As I barely needed to done a poo first thing, I took the risk, knowing full well the hazards I would be facing.

And woe.

Touching cloth, the downstairs bogs were closed for cleaning, meaning a trip to the second floor. Where all three stalls were occupied. Woe.

I went in the disabled, where they've got one of those really tall, thin bogs that really test your targetting.

The answer to the Eternal Dilemma, then: go first thing. It's worth the extra strain.

That's how I live my life. On the edge.

Not quite a celebrity vote-o

Greetingssss! It's David "The Duck Duke" Dickinson, your favourite orange-skinned former-jailbird niche television host here, hired by my good friend Mr S Duck because I'm As Cheap As Chips!. That's me - Cheap As Chips!. Which is what I am now that I'm not on the TV any more and my fifteen minutes is well and truly up.

Also: Cheap as Chips!

Allow me to run my expert eye over this week's selection of Friday Scary Stories. Cheap as Chips!

The Joust: "A right old Bobby Dazzler. Genuine Queen Anne legs. I'd frot myself against this sort of craftsmanship and spunk my load all over it in any sale room. Eh?"

First Aid: "A bargain at the price, but look out for where the owner has clearly done a poo and tried to cover it up with cling film. A right Bobby Dazzler."

Food Fight: "A genuine reproduction fake antique MDF priceless right old Bobby Dazzler. See tthe workmanship on the handle? It's been up my arse, that has."

Inferno: "Look out for craftsmanship like this at antique fairs. A right old Bobby Dazzler, that's also Cheap As Chips!. I'd kill any dealer who had one of these for sale with my bare hands, and bury them in my garden, next to the tomato plants."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Raspberry Rippled

Raspberry Rippled

I'm with my evil, fatigued stalky twin Tired Dad on this one. I can't be funny today. I'm in agony. Terrible, white spots in front of my eyes agogany, the result of a chest wall injury I suffered two weeks ago. Woe, it is a bizarre golfing injury, which serves me right. And it only hurts when I laugh.

I've gone and torn some muscles away from my ribcage, and by buggery it hurts. What makes the injury worse is that other muscles over-compensate to make up for the lack of breathing capacity, and they end up strained and agogany as well. And when I was supposed to be resting, completely, for a week or so, Mrs Duck had me building a garden arch, weeding the fish pond and moving two piles of logs into "one, uniform, conical heap". Then, I helped the neighbour rip three tons of ivy off a fence, destroy two concrete posts and put up new panels. Work it off, as it were. I'd feel fantastic in the morning.

The following morning, I couldn't even move. Normal everyday things, like standing up, sitting down, moving and breathing became dreadful, pain-filled ordeals. I had to walk, help me, like Sandi Toksvig, and the doctor sent me for X-Rays to see if I was going to die or not.

I'm not, which is a bit of a bugger.

My only complaint is the horse-stopping painkillers I'm on now. Sure, the pain's died down, but they have the side-effect of bunging me up more effectively than any cork, and go on, guess which muscles I need to use to done a poo. And they also bring on sudden and extreme fatigue which can strike at any ti… ZZZzzz…

So, I'm not going to be funny. Do not - and I cannot stress this enough - use the comments to try to make me laugh. I'll hunt down each and every one of you.

Point 'o' interest: I've just received the second proofs for the Scaryduck book Tales of Mirth and Woe from the publishers. With any luck, and a following wind, it should hit the streets at some stage next month. YaY!

Point 'o' interest II: The increasingly inaccurate counter at the bottom of this page will reach 900,000 at some stage today. Will it be you? Hit F5 repeatedly to find out! Update - 900,000 has been and gone. Will you be 1,000,000? F5-me-do!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

I am a criminal. A fugitive. A desperate renegade on the run from the slippery tentacles of the law, as authority seeks to wield its frightening power over me. Like Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov, I have done a terrible, terrible wrong, and must now wrestle with my conscience as I come to terms with my actions.

"Dear Mr Duck," said the letter from the Hampshire Constabulary, which I quote verbatim. "We saw you done a bad, bad thing in Basingstoke last week. You been gone and done 61mph in a fifty zone, which is AGAINST THE LAW and we done take a picture. You is very, very naughty. What you say, huh? Plz to send money.


Sgt Dan 'Booked me own granny' Madbastardsson"

My answer was short and to the point: "You'll never take me alive, Copper!" which came out on paper like this: "Guilty".

This probably means that I am going to have to show fully paid-up members of the law enforcement community my driving licence, and this is just about the worst thing that could happen. I'm in enough trouble as it is. See:

I should have known better. Basingstoke is the town with Brtain's biggest bunch of speed camera-wielding bastards going, who were famously featured on national TV when they really did book their own granny. What chance does a lead-footed idiot like me stand? It's a genetic condition. I come from a long line of dreadful drivers, it was only a matter of time before I found myself caught in a web of my own crapness.

As a matter of fact, I simply do not understand what's gone wrong here. They should be paying me to leave Basingstoke. The faster the better.

This is the first time I've ever been convicted of any crime ever, and I fully expect the floodgates to open. God, I hope they never find the bodies.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Art of the local newspaper photograph

The Art of the local newspaper photograph

If there's one thing guaranteed to make me laugh like a stupid, it's the photographs in local newspapers. Little things, little minds, like.

Can you imagine the life of a photographer at a local rag? I really feel for these people, because it is clearly not their fault. Not their fault that they are trained to ridiculously high standards including the latest darkroom techniques, the intricacies of cutting-edge technology (which they invariably have to buy out of their own pocket) the limitations and capabilities of digital photography and the workings of image manipulation software.

After spending several years studying their art at some college, in which they must stage a final, multi-subject, multi-technique exhibition (usually funded out of their own pocket) in which their entire future hangs on the whim of the examiner getting out of the right side of bed in the morning, they might actually be allowed to work for the Oswestry Examiner.

Doing the school fetes.

For about ten grand a year, you roam your home town and its environs, photographing WI meetings, kids with certificates, the town crier, and old ladies pointing, grimly, to the spot in the gutter where they found a dead rat, and what's the council going to do about it? One day, you might be allowed to graduate on to local councilors, the vicar, and, if you kill enough people, the Holy Grail: Saturday afternoon football.

The best ones are those people who've gone to the paper to complain about something. They are invariably photographed in their living room or moping about the streets, grim-faced, pointing at the source of their woe. Or, if the source of their woe is no longer there, the place where the source of their woe once stood. It is an art, and I suspect the lensman is actively doing his best to take the worst picture possible.

In my time, I have been in a number of local newspapers, and not just in the "Around the Courts" page. I should have learned by now, but every time I've gone to the rag with a story, they reply with "can we send a photographer round?" Before I know it, I'm sharing a chip wrapper with the local criminals, the mayor, a school sports day, and I'm there, on page six, pointing at something. I was once in a newspaper, pointing at some newspapers, like some recursive nightmare.

A test! Can you work out what is upsetting these people?

Or, why this bloke is pointing at a dead buddha

Or, why these pissed off people are so pissed off?

Oh, cheer up you miserable pair.

"Imperial Stormtroopers find return to civilian life 'unsettling' - study"

You'll never get this one.

Answers: 1. A phone mast that hasn't been built 2. Robbery victim urges return to public floggings. 3. TV's Tony Gubba and his "don't-you-know-who-I-am?" planning application woe. 4. Water rates woe couple "reduced to drinking own urine". 5. No, wait, that's TV's Mr Biffo 6. Victim of Wig Theft, police searching for desperate crossdressers

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Save Miel Day

Save Miel Day

Miel is one of my longest-standing online friends. We've never met, (something to do with the Atlantic Ocean and most of continental America getting in the way), but I've known her from even before I started this site, where we'd both loaf about on the Wil Wheaton messageboard, which eventually spawned this blogging monster you are reading now.

Miel is many things. Clever, witty, enigmatic, fluent in Chinese, a musician, a single mum, fragile, unlucky in love. She's appeared on a Chinese TV advert. She's taught violin to kids after studying under the famous Dr Shinichi Suzuki in Japan. I have known and trusted her for at least six years.

And now, it's all gone wrong.

Trusting who she thought was her knight in shining armour, he instead left her to cope, alone, miles from home, without even her kids for company. I know the feeling, for I've been that kind of bastard man in my darkest years. She's got nothing, and all she wants is to get back home, see her children who live with their father, start afresh. She's got her teaching to fall back on, but without a couple of brass farthings to rub together, Miel can't even get back to start up again.

Miel is incredibly embarrassed about asking for the charity of others, but desperate times call for a man without shame. That'll be me, then. Just like the last Scaryduck appeal, we're collecting to help a damsel in distress. Anything you can spare will help bring a friend back to her kids. This is genuine make-a-difference stuff.

I can't thank you enough over the results of the last beg: we actually raised enough to send Misty to the entire Discworld convention, with enough spare to ensure she won't be sleeping in a tent in the grounds. That was, of course, a gift to a fellow blogger who has had a pretty shitty century. This time, could you see your way to help put someone's life right?

Paypal donations to:, and I'll pass it on; or email same address with your queries.

Your reward for reading this far: Boris Johnson vs Germany. Best YouTube video EVER.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Mirth and Woe: The Kitchen Massacre

Bad Dog III: The Kitchen Massacre

They left us at home to cope for ourselves, the fools.

With both parents down in the West Country, sorting out the paperwork on their new house, they thought that their offspring, aged between 16 to 19 would be mature enough not to trash the place, try to kill each other or hold a huge party.

God, we tried. We didn't have a party.

In fact, for the first couple of nights, we did absolutely nothing, utterly terrified of what mad act the other two will do. I actually barricaded myself into my own room by wheeling by 100W Bass Amp in front of the door and wedged it there with the desk, while every meal was minutely examined for traces of practical jokery. I was dealing with siblings who once dropped an entire meal for three onto a dog-haired dining room carpet, and still served it up, much to the disgust of the future Mrs Duck.

Anything could happen. Horrible things. At any time.

So, it was hardly surprising, come the Thursday evening, that a terrible row should break out in the kitchen between sister and brother. A trivial argument about cheese levels and the setting of the gas boiler was running terribly out of control, and it was only a matter of time before my brother would be beaten into a bloody pulp in the tradition Duck family stylee.

I was minding my own business in the living room at the time, cowering behind the sofa, trying to watch Tomorrow's World. My unnatural thoughts towards Judith Hann were entirely forgotten following a dreadful crash of glass in the kitchen. The sound of broken glass, and it was quite obvious from the start that we didn't actually possess a bottle large enough to make that kind of noise. Not even over my brother's head.

What had happened was this: Nigel had had enough of the argument, and had stormed out of the back door, intending to get his dinner from the chip shop. Determined to have the last word, he turned and pointed at Jill, to tell her where to stick her dwindling cheese supplies. Just as she slammed the back door with a hearty cry of "Fuck off!"

Unprepared as he was for a high velocity door, he didn't have time to get his hand out of the way, and his hand went right through the door's glass window, which shattered everywhere, but mostly over him.

His continued survival proves no serious damage was done, but there was blood and glass everywhere. And with the smell of fresh human blood wafting round the house, enter Snoopy.

He may have been an aging, rather cute beagle-cross-labrador-let's-tell-everybody-he's-a-foxhound, but the old wolf instinct clicked in, and he wanted flesh. Human flesh.

And so, Snoop Dogg made a dash for the kitchen, where mayhem reigned.

"Stop him!" shouted Jill, "Don't let the dog in!"

Bearing in mind the terrible fate that had just befallen my poor, lacerated brother, I thought it best to do what ScarySister said. I made a lunge for the rapidly disappearing dog, and just managed to grab him by the collar as he made his escape.

Good grief, for a small dog he couldn't half get some momentum going. Caught off balance, all I could do was stagger behind the rampaging beast as he darted down the hall, desperately trying to stay on my feet. I failed.

There was a hollow clunk, and the blinding white light of utter, utter agony.

Head - meet your new arch-enemy, the door handle.

"You thick bastard!" came my sister's voice from the kitchen, "Why'd you let the bloody dog out?"

She soon found out, as a blood-covered wraith appeared in the doorway, red stuff streaming from a gash in my head, down my face, clothes and over the floor.

"Ouch," I said.

"Never mind you," said Nigel, also splashing blood over the kitchen and an increasingly excited dog, "I could be dying here."

Then, Dick arrived.

Dick is my father's best friend, and had been sent on a parentally-sponsored visit to "Just pop by to see everything's alright."

He arrived to find elder and extremely gothic sister clutching a cheese knife standing over the bleeding wreckage of her two younger brothers, glass everywhere and a dog that was clearly foaming, pink, at the mouth.

"We'll give you any money not to tell on us."

He didn't. Excellent!

The different glass in the back door told the parents everything they needed to know. Not to mention our new and exciting scars. Terrible!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thursday Vote-o: Dead Celebrity Special

Thursday Vote-o: Dead Celebrity Special

This week: Samuel Pepys MP, FRS, Secretary for the Admiralty, Dec'd

4th May 1666 Up betimes and to myne offices where I met the fouleste gentle-man, who introduced himself as Mr Scarye Duck , enquiring as to the location of ye privy so he could "done a poo". Alas, I told him we had none, so he did shitte out ye window in ye traditional manner, and he was best pleas'd. After lunching out on fresh slattern, he didst entreat me to list his stories for the Thuresday Vote-o, some sorte of foul act of "democracy" for which he shoulde be flogg'd. Then, home to bed, where Mrs Pepys, gamely allow'd me to pass myne waters over her cleavage.

Mr Scarye Duck says: "Vote-me-up", but tis a foul trycke and clearly witchery of the worste kinde!

* Bad Dog III - The Kitchen Massacre: Alas, Mrs Pepys has fallen ill with a dreadfulle chill. I am indebted to Mrs Cooper, our chef, who has risk'd her own good health by spending the laste three days in myne wyfe's bed, where they may share bodily warmth.

* The Joust: Her moanes as this illness wracks her pert body are sickenynge to hear, yet, once agayne, she bears it well, and such is the fearfulle racket from behinde her lock'd door, I fear the plague has spread to Mrs Cooper as well.

* First Aid: Starvynge for my gravy, Mrs Cooper has return'd to the kitchen to cook a fine meal for myself and my good friend Newton. My wife has not been forgott'n. Our footman and butler have kindly resolved to warm her body, and I hear them say she will be giv'n "a proper roasting". Tis pleasing to hear her appetite has return'd.

* Food Fight: After our fine repast, Newton and I didst step out to visit the tavernes around Shoreditch. Alas, we were set upon by some ne'er-do-well who demand'd our purses. Whilst I negotiat'd with the blackguard, Newton didst kick him inna fork and we claim'd a famous victory in this exchange.

* Inferno: Finding him without money - for we in turn demand'd compensation - we instead tied him in his owne britches, bugger'd him most roughly, and left him at the docks screaminge for God's mercy, which, for him is in short supply. Home to bedde, where Mrs Pepys fearfulle groans from the next room fill'd the night. Being unable to pull on myne nyghte out, I was forc'd to pull myself.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Even Further Diaries of Samuel Pepys

The Even Further Diaries of Samuel Pepys

Oh Lordy, the world's first blogger, the not-manky-at-all Samuel Pepys is back again for a third, and God help us, final installment of his journal o'doom. Scribbling like a madman into his Letts Desk Diary 1666 (tuppence from Master W.H. Smithe's in Ludgate) we finally hear the truth about the cavalcade of buggery that was life in 17th Century London.

No wonder they burned the whole place down and started all over again.

The first two parts of this desperate procession of filth and wanton luste for ye nak'd bodies of fall'n women &c can be found here, here and the real thing over here.

August 27th 1666: Mrs Pepys has left for our country retreat, for the good of her health. She leaves with an entourage of half-a-dozen man-servants, hand-picked by herself, none aged more than twenty-five years old, "as a defence against ye plague", a view with which I thoroughly concur. I am pleased that these stout young fellows will safeguard my dear wife's fragile health, even going as far as making her carriage tight against the foul smells of London's streets. For I'truth, I heard with my own ears as the footman told her "We are going to fill your every hole, Madam Pepys" and she thank'd them profusely, already gasping from the foul odours.

August 28th 1666: Woe, and indeede woe! Mrs Pepys has return'd early from our country retreat, her carriage wheel having broken in Eltham Forest. She also appears to have some dreadful ailmente which gives her a sticky, pasty face, which she says is call'd "bukkake". She also speaks wistfully of some dreadfulle ordeal call'd "dogging", and have seen with myne owne eyes the scratch-marks up the backs of her servants as they gamely protected their mistresse from these foul beasts. I feel some great guilt, as my friend Newton and I were entertaining Filthy Tanya from the Docks in a tremendous bout of scatte play, which we were forc'd to abandon once Mrs Pepy's trusty man-servants escorted her to her rooms. Alas! She is so ill! Her moanes fill the household until the early hours! If only I could aid her, but she rejects all help from her husband's hand. I know not what I woulde do without my darling wife's stout retainers, for whom she cries by name with heart-breaking regularity.

August 31st 1666: Mrs Pepys is still confyn'd to her bed, quite unable to walk. Alas, it appears that her voluminous corsetry may have injur'd her on her flight into the country, rendering her quite entangled in the mechanics of her undergarments. Happily, I hear that Roger, the largest, burliest of her retainers, plans to "screw her arse off tonyght", and she is already gasping and cryinge with apprehension at her forthcoming ordeal. Godspeed you, sirrah!

September 1st 1666: Up betimes and to myne solicitors office where I am delivered of the moste dreadfulle news. My aunt Caroline, of whom I knew very little, has, alas expir'd at the age of 73. Mr Willington informes me that poor, dear Caroline didst employ herself as a high-classe slattern in Shoreditch right up to her demise, and had amass'd a pretty penny, of which I am the soul heir. This is what one calls a "resulte", and I shall be drinkinge to her fond memory with my friend Newton this evening, before investing the remainder of her fortune in donkey porne as per her detail'd instructions. I cannot shake the feelinge from the back of my mynd that I may have had use of her servyces at some stage these past years. Frequently, with gold'n showers.

September 2nd 1666: Up betimes and out to celebrate my rare good fortune with myne good friend Newton. We commenced our revelries at Ye Olde Pie Shoppe, and thence on to Ye Worlde Turn'd Upside-Down, Ye Crosse Keyes, Mrs O'Flaherty's Slattern Parlour, where I founde, alas, that I had already imbibed far too muche to perform to any great satisfaction; and thence on to several rough establishments whose names elude me; yet I find my purse is empty. Much of the evening is a sodden blur, the last event I recall being a conversation with Newton - who was on fyne form - in the Butcher's Arms in Pudding Lane, on the possibilities of heating this great city from the emissive gasses from one's anus, which he then demonstrated to a crowde of int'rested spectators in the street outside. There was much applause, and the passing of the hat rais'd near half a crown for our bar tab. Then, home to my bedde, where, damn my breeches, I was sick down a happily recovered Mrs Pepys' billowynge cleavage. Agayne.

September 3rd 1666: If the Watch come asking, I don't know anythynge about a bloodye fire.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Hollywood, condensed

Shorten a film

Does exactly what it says in the title. Take a film, knock a couple of hours out of it. And if you can kill off the dreadful sequels, so much the better.

The Poseidon Adventure - inspired by actual comments spoken by my father-in-law


Captain: Yarr! Tis a high sea an' no mistake!

First Mate: Aye, Cap'n must be sore dreadful for the passengers in the ship's ballroom.

Captain: Yarr! It must be the first New Year's Party where people were spillin' their guts before it started!

Mate: Yaaar! You made a funny Cap'n. Yaarrrrrrrggghhhhh!

Captain: Yaarrrrrrrggghhhhh?

Mate: Yaarrrrrrrggghhhhh! A huge wave, about to hit us broadside! It'll surely capsize us, Cap'n!

Captain: Steer the ship into the wave then, me heartie!

Mate: Aye aye, Cap'n!

Minutes later, the wave has passed, deluging the ship in water, but little else.

Captain: Yarrr! That was a close one. And not a hand lost!

Mate: Except Ernest Borgnine. I shot the ugly bastard with the flare gun.

Both: YAAAAAR!!!!!!

Star Trek


Spock: Ah, there you are captain. We were looking everywhere for you.

Kirk: Yes. I'm sorry I'm late, I was cleaning Nurse Chapple's teeth. WITH MY COCK!

KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHN!Uhura: You bastard, James, you never clean my teeth anymore. That's the last time I do the fan dance in your quarters. Video camera or no video camera.

Bones: And it's the only decent movie he's ever directed.

Spock: Whatever the logic behind your lack of trousers, Captain, I'm afraid we had no choice but to start the meeting without you.

Chekov: Yes, Keptin, we have already started squad slection for this year's World Cup Fantasy League.

Kirk: My God. Has he gone?

Spock: Yes Sir, I'm afraid Mr Sulu has already bid for the German goalkeeper.


Now: Your turn. Hint - Eddie Murphy has signed on for Beverly Hills Cop IV. Stop this blasphemy. Kill it! Kill it now!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Jayne Mansfield's arsehole

On Golf

Women cannot play golf. The main causes of this are two-fold, and entirely sexist.

I know I'm rubbish at the game, but at least I'm not hampered by two chesty protuberances that make it nigh on impossible. Unless I'm "dressed", of course.

But then, either sex, you can only look on in horror when you espy someone who is utterly, utterly awful at golf. And yesterday, I saw them. A threesome, charging around the course like they owned the place, brand new equipment, and not a clue how to use it.

"Son," I said to Scaryduck Jr, who is mostly harmless with a mashie niblick, "hide. I fear for our lives."

The lad recognised one of the players, a yummy mummy from his school, who looked far from yummy in her brand new tracksuit, and she thrashed around with her club like Tiger Woods on acid.

We watched, mouths agape, as Yummy Mummy actually took a run-up, thrashed her club at the poor, defenceless ball, missed, walloped her companion around the head with a three wood. We did what any sane audience would do under the circumstances: we laughed like a pair of stupids.

"Play through!" they offered. No bloody way. We're safer behind you.

And there was more. Yummy Mummy, this time eschewing the run-up, took another flail at the ball. This time, spectators were well out of the way, so this time there was nothing to stop the big round end from swinging round and catching her square on the head.


Could this possibly get any worse? There's always the take-another-huge-swing-and-let-go-of-the-club gambit.

Then they went home, defeated.

I'm turning into a golf bore, aren't I?

"Gettin' lobsters out of Jayne Mansfield's arsehole"

And just to keep you occupied on this, International Workers' Day:

What's the worst job you've ever had?

I once had to wrestle stolen supermarket trollies from drunken tramps, leaving me with the Great Smell of Wee. Lovely.

Also: Set Fire to the Internet