Time Travel’s Mental Exercise

At a Galactic summit about 37 of your Earth years ago, it was decided to outlaw time travel for non-tourist purposes.

The reasoning was quite simple: history is in a near-constant state of flux, a chronology not just of events but of interpretations thereof. The 3rd law of revisionism is yet to be discovered by your Earth scientists and I’d hate to spoil the surprise. But it’s enough to know at this point that there is in fact no such thing as the past unless you’re not an historian.

Consequently it was decided that it’s bad enough trying to keep track of your own history let alone the histories of so many other civilisations in the Galaxy and that accordingly it is massively illegal on pain of pain to tamper with the events of the past.

Of course intra-Galactic horse trading is on a level of complexity beyond your human comprehension. But suffice it to say that where there are interplanetary bureaucrats there are highly profitable legislative loopholes.

Therefore it is permitted to travel backwards in time and mess around with the events of the past provided one does so in a time machine product of the human imagination* for the express purpose of pun-based tomfoolery involving screenplays, song lyrics and so on.

Your task is to do the following:

• Select a time machine
• Work out when and where you’d go
• Insert pun
• Come home, laugh quietly/maniacally to yourself every time someone unwittingly draws attention to the fact that you’ve changed the timeline.

That’s why I always smile when I’m in the pub and I hear someone say “These aren’t the druids you’re looking for.”


*This was a highly successful criterion because a) most of the inhabitants of most of the civilisations in the Galaxy haven’t a clue who or what a human is and b) none of them speak English despite what Star Trek reruns would have you believe. Finally c) what do you mean there are other languages besides English?

Why Do You Blog

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”  Ernest Hemingway

It can be said of life that it’s a mix of successes and disappointments; one grubby little compromise followed by another until eventually the whole thing ends.  But less bleak than that because it also involves cocktails.

It could also, perhaps more accurately, be said of life that it’s all a bit too messy and complex to be distilled into trite slogans.

Sometimes it’s as irritating as the comedy series Miranda.

It can leave a sour taste, an itch you can’t reach, a sneeze that won’t come, a stranger’s tinny earphone leakage; the invasion of the yuppie and his sterility into the places where the wild things (used to) play.

When you’ve had your fill of the intimate smells of others on crowded trains and buses, or you’ve seen one too many shitty memes tagged LOLZ!!, or yet another cod-spiritualist aphorism swiped from a greeting card and posted on MyFace.  When (shudder) the gin runs out…

That’s why I write.

Or as someone else once put it

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”  Graham Greene

Then again it’s bloody difficult

I’ve always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it’s a bit like fucking—which is fun only for amateurs. Old whores don’t do much giggling.”  Hunter S Thompson

Luckily, the gin can help

Write drunk; edit sober” Ernest Hemingway

That’s better.  Why do you write?


PS: Yes this was just a transparent excuse to use that Hunter S Thompson quotation.

Friday’s Mental Exercise

Invent a conspiracy theory and attempt to convince someone else that it is a) a genuine conspiracy theory that exists (ie that you didn’t just make it up) and b) that it’s the truth but was covered up.

An example:

Everyone knows the funny story of how Elvis tried to convince J Edgar Hoover to take him on to spy on his fellow celebrities and uncover potential communists. What’s always been covered up is that in fact Elvis was retained for such a purpose; but he didn’t make the initial approach – J Edgar did.  Instead, the whole ‘stoopid Elvis wanted to be a spy’ story was fabricated as a double bluff in order to reassure the famous that Elvis was both trustworthy and a little naïve.

In later life a disillusioned (and increasingly cash-strapped) Elvis intended to publish a tell-all memoir about his experiences. This would’ve caused no end of embarrassment to a US government then very publicly critical of the levels of paranoia in the USSR.

Within a week of his first meeting with HarperCollins he died in a manner so outlandish, embarrassing and silly that no one thought to look any deeper than whether or not he died through his prodigious intake of food or his equally prodigious intake of various narcotics.

If you look on the internet you can find evidence that traces of sodium pentothal were found in his bloodstream but that this was covered up in favour of focusing on his mild allergy to codeine.

Please do share your own invented conspiracy theories and stories of success in the comments section.

Finally, because the internet is a crazy frontier town of swivel-eyed madness and paranoia, I would like to reiterate once more that the conspiracy theory set out above is a total fabrication.

Or is it?

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Take some musicians, marinade them for 10,000 years in a mix of bourbon, tar, methamphetamines, nicotine and the essence of John Lee Hooker, Charles Mingus and Howlin’ Wolf. Dab them dry with a paper towel and set them up with a trumpet for emotion and a guitar for rage. They stare numbly at the page then creak into a rattling, minor key take on the 12 bar blues.

A piss and vinegar voice cuts through, part mumble, part howl.

Basically, the Cheers theme tune if it had been written by the band Morphine.

The woman on the stage
Screws her face up with such passion;
She can barely get the words out
But she can sing after a fashion
She tells you Christ was here last night
Standing same place where you are
She smiles at your disbelief
At the prophets to be found in bars

Your drink is coward weak
At the bottom of your glass
If liquor comes in grades
It’s the bottom of its class
But it does the trick;
It makes you sick
Like a lover so forgiving
You feel you deserve a better life
But life is for the living

A place that’s open 8 ’til late
A place where the light won’t penetrate
Where everybody knows your name
But nobody cares

In this place we’re all disgraced
I won’t repeat the things I’ve heard;
These people will embrace you
But they’ll never say a word;
The burning man, the broken man
The cuckold man; the damaged man
The godless and the ungodly
And then there’s you and me

So raise your glass I’ll raise a toast
To the people and things I love the most
Where the holiest spirit is not the Holy Ghost
And everybody knows your name

Everybody knows your name

Ich Liebe Gern Das (?) Liebster Award

Bitch done got nominated for an award and shit.

The Rules

1. The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
2. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions given to you.
4. Choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award on to and link them in your post.
5. Create 11 new questions for the chosen bloggers.
6. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
7. No tag backs.

Cheers for that, Katia.

Despite appearances, this blog isn’t actually about me. It is about what I can, or rather can’t, do with words. Sometimes it’s about me pointing you in the direction of things I’ve enjoyed and which I think you might enjoy too, even though under no circumstances should you go so far as to pay attention to me, ever.

Nevertheless, despite the odds, it appears that some small number of (obviously incredibly tasteful and wonderful) people seem to appreciate the haphazard manner in which I bash words together and call it writing.

Do skip through everything but the part where I nominate other blogs, because in their verby arms you may find that they actually provide whatever it was you were looking for when you found mine.

PS: grammar twats may wish to point out that it should read ‘to bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers’. Please don’t and we’ll all agree that you did. Ta.

11 Facts About Dr Frood

1. I lived in Naperville, Illinois during the first 3peat by the Chicago Bulls. When I returned to the UK people were baffled that I didn’t know Eric Cantona. I in turn was baffled that they didn’t know Michael Jordan.

2. My morning alarm is Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together.

3. I don’t like raw tomatoes.

4. I spent a week watching the trial of Milosevic in the Hague. I’ve received a nod of acknowledgement from one of the late 20th century’s monsters after accidentally catching his eye.

5. My name was Edward before Twilight was a thing.

6. I’ve had a poem published in an anthology, even though it was total crap (the poem). I don’t actually like poetry.

7. I am always right, even when I’m wrong.

8. I’ve never been to Germany, although I may have spent some time in one of her airports.

9. As a child I loved spinach and raw carrots purely because of Popeye and Bugs Bunny.

10. I’m not actually very good at talking about myself, partly because I suspect that if I put the effort in I’d find that I’m really good at talking about myself and not so good at talking about anything else.

11. People who know me tend to disagree that I’m not very good at talking about myself.

Iamthemilk’s Questions:

1. Which one of your blog posts do you feel reflects you best?

I don’t think I’ve written it yet, but here’s an ok one that I haven’t shamelessly linked to here.

2. What’s your favourite blog?

My pal Iddo’s, which you can read here.

3. 5 things that make you happy?

1) Victoria Coren articles
2) Eating good food with ice cold beer in hot climes
3) Playing music with other people
4) Endorphins, obviously, but if I can’t have that then coining ‘new’ swearwords, such as fuckdouche.
5) Random acts of kindness

4. If you get to choose your own gift card, where would it be from?

A sex shop, obviously. Or a record store.

5. What is your favourite place in the world?

Anywhere but where I am, except when I’m there. That’s either extraordinarily profound or utterly meaningless. I’ll let you decide. Alternatively, anywhere with decent weather and better food.

Yes, I do appreciate the irony of living in the UK.

6. What’s your star sign?

Either Aquarius or Pisces depending on which magazine you look at. I like to think it makes me special.

7. Did you ever overcome a fear? If not, what is the accomplishment you’re most proud of?

I can answer both: I’m probably proudest of the time a friend and I played and sang some songs we’d written in a bar full of complete strangers. The thought of singing at people previously terrified me because I’m a dreadful singer, so 2 birds and all that.

8. Which show should I watch? Why?

Nashville, because it’s melodramatic and completely over the top, like a lot of country music.

Also, the main characters just happen to be women, without the show being self-consciously feminist or aimed at a mainly female demographic. This counts as progress.

Mainly it’s just stupidly entertaining, especially some of the acting from the men.

If you have kids they should watch Ren & Stimpy in part because you won’t be sure whether or not you approve of them doing so.

9. When did you last laugh?

Last night watching Nashville because one of the actors was trying to emote, but mostly ended up looking constipated. That’s cruel, but true.

10. Your 3 favourite books?

There’s no chance of me being able to answer this. But right this moment I’d recommend that people read these ones:

Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire Of The Vanities. Because it’s just awesome and some of the time it’s my favourite.
Sven Lindqvist’s Exterminate All The Brutes, which defies easy categorisation but is about 19th century European imperialism. I keep meaning to write about this, because it’s not only phenomenally well-written (or translated) but also quote unquote important that people read it.
Douglas AdamsSo Long And Thanks For All The Fish, because it’s a gooey romance novel pretending to be a sci-fi comedy. Which is a nifty trick.

11. Which mistake would you make all over again?

The romantic ones, however much they might have stung or however much some of them might make me cringe in recollection.

Dr Frood’s Magic List Of Nominees (AKA The Bit You Shouldn’t Skip Through)

I won’t tell you what they’re about because that way you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Jowls of Derision
4th Street Review
Mind Of A Mouse
The Handyman Voyeur
Humans Are Weird
Yards of Grapevine
Stressing Out College
Notes On A Napkin

Apologies if you have too many followers to be nominated and feel accordingly offended.

11 Questions For The Nominees

Off the top of my head:

1. Which word do you say more often: yes or no?
2. Would you rather be rich or respected?
3. Where are all the good men dead; in the heart or the head?
4. Which film did I steal that from (don’t use t’internet to cheat)?
5. 5 changes you’d like to see in the world?
6. What song should I listen to right now?
7. If a tree falls in a forest, hits a man and there are no women to see it; is it still the man’s fault?
8. A child asks you for a life lesson. What lesson would you give?
9. You get to spend an evening with any historical figure: who and why?
10. Which is the best room in the house and why?
11. You’re on death row for a crime you didn’t commit but with no chance of parole. What’s your last meal, and why?

PS: I won’t be offended if you don’t bother, but do bear in mind that your failure to take part will probably result in negative consequences for kittens.

Once again, thanks for the nomination, Katia.

THAT Speech In Full: The Matrix

Trinity: I know why you’re here, Neo. I know what you’ve been doing… why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer. You’re looking for porn. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And there’s a tissue stuck to your foot. And when I found porn, I realised I wasn’t really looking for porn. I was looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us, Neo. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.
Neo: Nope, it’s gone. Really sorry, mind just went. That’s really frustrating; it was on the tip of my tongue.
Trinity: The question is out there, Neo, and it’s looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to. And stop watching blue movies for 5 minutes.

10 Things Not To Say In A Job Interview

(taking a swig from a hip flask) “It’s always noon somewhere, right?”


“To cut a long story short, I had a great lawyer and they couldn’t prove shit.  But yeah, it was me.  Man it feels great to get that off my chest – gotta’ love that double jeopardy law!”


“Weaknesses? Um, let’s see. Oh yeah!  Other men’s wives, know what I’m saying, playa?”


“After all that it turned out that I was just being paranoid and there was nothing going on.  But my boss holds a grudge so he took out a restraining order.”


“How good is your internet filter?”


“What’s your policy on sexual harassment, because apparently I’m not very good at ‘boundaries’ and I really can’t take being fired again.”


“Where do I see myself in five years?  Day release.”


“They say it’s addictive, but I’m not convinced.  Besides, it’s a great pick-me-up when you’re stuck at work and you’re just not feeling it, you know?”


“But the way I see it, it’s not really a crime until someone presses charges.”


“…and that’s why I believe Hitler was right all along.”


And a bonus…

“Describe myself in five words?  Easy, I’ll do it in one: fucking legend.”