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Friday, 20 January 2012


Eu costumava saber Português, mas agora eu não conheço nenhum.
Hello, good evening, and welcome to another edition of YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP! I'm your host, Kumquat Salvation, here once again to regale you with tales of my recent exploits amongst society. Ladies and gentlemen, every word of what follows is true, except for the bits I made up. Prepare yourselves for fact so fantastical it renders most contemporary fiction as exciting as a wet banana. SHIT!

I often find myself knee-deep in every aspect of class, be it upper, middle, or lower-middle, whilst out on the street. In order to better acquaint myself with how ordinary people live their miserable lives, I like to mingle with the Great Unwashed on public transport. BALLS!

That's right, folks: tonight's edition looks at the humble bus, and the people who use it. Recently, as in yesterday, I happened to catch the number 4 service from Ashby High Street to the town centre, in Scunthorpe. Not a route I've travelled often before, but after yesterday's excitement I may well endeavour to make it a regular occurrence. BUM!

Once I'd safely ensconced myself upon a relatively comfortable seat, we were away. It was then an older gentleman, perhaps 65 years of age, sat himself behind a younger woman that he clearly knew. After exchanging genial pleasantries, he began to bombard her with the most slapdash trivia. To-wit: "Rizzle Kicks are number three in the charts right now," he said. His friend was clearly uninterested and replied "I can't say I really pay attention to that sort of thing." His next tack was to point out "You know me, I like to keep track of the strange, the bizarre, the grotesque." My own personal thought was "I don't believe Rizzle Kicks fall into any of those categories" but I kept my well-educated mouth shut. In any case, the man then asked his friend if she'd seen the film Antichrist. I for one wasn't at all surprised when she answered in the negative. Unfortunately for her, this answer served only to prompt the man to fill her brain with a torrent of specific information, such as the actors, the director, mention of certain themes explored within the film, and so forth. "It's the most depressing film I have ever seen," he concluded. You don't want to watch it, but you can't look away." I found his succinct review lacking in conviction, as the man clearly had no desire to look away whilst watching. One suspects he rather enjoyed the female flesh on show during the film's runtime. PISS!

At was at this point my attention was diverted by the arrival on the bus of a young woman. She was moderately attractive, but what caught my eye was her deformed claw-hand. It was little more than a large thumb and elongated finger. I stopped paying attention to HER when I realised the woman behind me was talking about rats in a supermarket's warehouse. However, I hadn't paid attention to the appearance of this particular woman and thus was surprised when she got off the bus, and it turned out to be a man with a woman's voice! COCK!

As I mentioned earlier, that was yesterday. Today's sojourn on public transport involved a different bus (the number 6) and a distinct surfeit of interesting individuals. However, there was a young gentleman who asked the bus driver "It all right if I get off here, mate?" Except the poor youngster neglected to realise that the bus had stopped in the middle of the road, at traffic lights. The driver politely informed him that he would have to wait until they reached the next stop, which was only around the corner. GUFF!

The last piece of news involving my time spent on a bus today features the same number (6) but a later journey - just this very eve, in fact. It also involves the return of a man whom I have had the displeasure of journeying with before (but only in the sense that he has been on the same bus as me). He is an old man, of a decidedly scruffy persuasion, and he stinks. Oh Lord, the man has a genuine stench about him. It is a powerful and potent smell, one that clearly affects other passengers as much as it affects me, though we are all too polite to mention it (I did, however, overhear some college-age girls remark that he smells of "poo" on a recent journey). I have been wondering exactly how I might describe his smell, because 'poo' is both far too crude, and indeed inaccurate. Initially, I would have called it a mixture of 'wet dog and disease', but tonight, with the man freshly damp from recent rainfall, the answer hit me as surely as his pungent aroma assaulted my nostrils. He smells like the inside of a pumpkin. COUGH!

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of tonight's episode. I do hope you'll join me again, when next we travel through the dregs of the population and experience things of which the only sane response is YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP!


Monday, 16 January 2012


Keep it down, will you? Some of us are trying to write. nb. This post contains lyrical waxing and personal statements, which some viewers may find offensively boring.*

First things first, for those out of the loop: A Glitch in the Continuum and Attack of the Fifty Foot Book are no more. Basically, a mixture of cold feet between the publisher and some authors have caused these anthologies to breathe their last. It's no one's fault, really. Just one of those things. And in working on 'this side of the fence' I've come to understand just how mercurial the small press can be. I'd like to be able to resurrect these anthos in the future (because I think they both had really cool concepts, if I do say so myself) but we'll have to wait and see. In any case, I hope to be able to edit/compile other anthologies, for whichever publisher, but this is something I'm going to concentrate on after I'm all sorted.

"Sorted"? Yes, I'm moving house! What?

Living the highly profitable* lifestyle of a published writer allows me to make my abode in such a place as a damp-riddled maisonette. Every morning, I get a breath of bracing cold air thanks to the highly effective* double-glazing, and feel the invigoration of the same cold temperature once I leave my bed thanks to the equally effective insulation. Sets me up for the day ahead!

But, I can't live in this sort of luxury forever, and so I'm moving, somewhere really downmarket. A semi-detached house, with central heating. How the mighty have fallen! Please, don't cry for my awful circumstances. I get to share them with my platonic wife. She likes to remind me that I need to finish washing her pots. It's a fun thing we do. She also likes to tell me how to pack boxes, because moving house repeatedly over the last few years has not given me this rare and useful life skill. None of these things in any way wind me up and kill any writing buzz I might have had.*

But seriously. I've been struggling to write lately, for these reasons, and because I hate the idea of starting a new story when I have a shitload of unfinished ones stuck on a broken USB stick. I have duplicates of some of these stories, but they're 'unedited' and I can't face re-doing all the changes because I intend to get the USB stick (hopefully) fixed. In the meantime, I'm trying to work on a few stories, including a pulp/horror/superhero piece that is currently stuck somewhere in the Fifties, but I might move to modern times, and a prequel story to yet another story that hasn't been published.

I do like to link a lot of my stories together - and was only really able to do this once I stopped writing things where everybody dies hahaha I'd like to think that, after I've been going for a few more years and picked up more of a readership, constant readers will start to notice references to other stories, or events, or maybe even the inclusion of previously-used characters. I know it's a little obvious to cite Stephen King as an influence, but when I was a teen I read his stuff religiously, a bit like how I am nowadays with Bentley Little. I thought his Dark Tower saga was so good I didn't want to finish reading it. So I stopped halfway through the last book. The way he weaves a multitude of his stories into that world is brilliant, and though I wouldn't want to do something on a similar scale, I do like the idea of there being this 'place' that incorporates elements/characters/what-have-you from existing realities/stories.

And on that non-ending, let's call it a night. Some of us have boxes to badly pack and other people's pots to wash.*

*not really

Monday, 9 January 2012


I have been ridiculously out of the loop in recent weeks regarding many, many book-related things. Not least of which is that the latest Preditors and Editors Poll is upon us! If you (yes, YOU!) have a spare moment, please could you make the world a better place by going HERE and voting for Phobophobia? Through unsubstantiated research it has been shown that voting for Phobophobia in this way helps alleviate world hunger, and makes a cure for various terminal illnesses 0.5% more likely. Thank you.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


And what a rollercoaster it was! Here's the year boiled down into handy statistics:

Dictators killed: 2
Locations discovered: 127
Pockets picked: 6
Pants exploded: 98
Enemies murdered: Millions
Books read: 26
Spells cast: 2
Hours rested: 2920
Children kidnapped: At least 4
Newspapers destroyed: 1
Bands disbanded: 15
Films watched: Hundreds
Pies eaten: 45
Lotions bought: 4
Bounty earned: £256

2012 looks like it's going to be even busier, with at least two apocalypses scheduled for later on in the year and whispers that JK Rowling has finally mastered the dark arts of necromancy in a bid to control the royal family. Jedward are set to team up with David Hasselhoff in order to release an album of covers so horrendous they can cause listeners to turn inside out, and Derren Brown's new show 'OBEY' promises to turn the entire UK into his army of mindless slaves. Film critic and arch writer Kim Newman reveals he's never liked cowboys, and in a stunning twist, gets put in the Celebrity Big Brother house with a cowboy. Musical nymph Pixie Lott has sex with a robot and conquers Finland, whilst giant lizards finally obliterate Tokyo in an event badly-dubbed by the Japanese prime minister as "Obvious, really."

Two little boys are found growing out of Rolf Harris, and a lawsuit is brought against Russian mafia spokesperson Téo Leoni for not actually being a Russian mafia spokesperson. After Hollywood remakes every film ever it self-combusts under the pressure of trying to come up with an original idea. Five minor wars break out like teenage acne in countries no one has ever heard of, but that doesn't stop various governments from pledging their support. The resultant military spending sends various national debts into figures so high they destroy the concept of mathematics. All goods and services in the EU can be bought by spending different amounts of time in prison, or by eliminating certain undesirables within the local community.

Microsoft unveils its new games console which is called, simply, the 'Box'. Games for it cost £100 brand new and aren't noticeably better than games for the previous console, although they do come with more Achievements. When Britain's prime minister realises how popular Achievements are, he implements a scheme in which people can gain goods and services by 'Achieving' certain targets and goals. The rest of the EU take note and pretend the previous method of obtaining goods and services never happened. Channel 4 reveals its new gameshow, which involves contestants guessing the answers to questions, but only after first pressing a buzzer. Prizes include money, and the chance to appear on telly. BBC 3 unleash twenty new comedies, each successively worse than the one before. Simon Callow guest stars in five of them.

And finally, in a light-hearted end to the year, Stephen King rewrites The Bible to include an African-American janitor with telepathy, a small boy with special needs, and the return of an ancient evil that dwells beneath a small Maine town. Critics call it "His greatest work."