Friday evening. Whiteout.
Snow falls silently,
softly in ghostly murmuration.
A restless earth blanketed,
metamorphosed and miniaturised to a mewling baby,
acquiescing to the serenity of sleep.

Let the sky fall,
the working week is over,
and I hygge at the aphelion
from Monday 9am.
The curse of Adam,
the venue of all my failures,
trapped in the repetition of an Escher,
tiring with the tedium of Sisyphus.

But here, my daughter and I
spin a delicious nonsense of
animals and magic and poo and bum talk
that would make Rabelais smile.
We are safe, and delighted,
we are enchanted, and transported.

And the many tiny tortures
of the working week,
that pursue me in thought –
wild dogs tracking prey to exhaustion –
suddenly fade. Give up the chase.

The universe is singing,
and my soul springs to life on a great dancefloor,
galvanised by the lovely electricity of
my daughter’s lambent laugh.


Getting to know…

…Billy Turnips

3a0e21b4-8e56-4b38-b75e-8ff0940c4a83-326-000000333b4a84f9-1Billy ‘Bastard’ Turnips shot to fame in 1976 after winning TV talent contest New Faces as the ‘Pogoing Painter’. Following several years enjoying the trappings of overnight fame, Billy hit the skids and went through a number of reinventions including the ‘Pogoing Window Cleaner’ and the ‘Pogoing Window Breaker’ before finally carving out a niche as the country’s first and only ‘Painted Pogoing Lollypop Man’. He lives in Basingstoke with his 97 year old mother, Tilly Turnips, and his autistic cockapoodle, Monbodison.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
Me first wife, Pricilla. She was an amazing women, tits that could stop a train. The Acker Bilk of the pink oboe, they used to call her. Although – and this is between you and me – Acker Bilk was actually better at blowjobs. I should know.

What word or phrase do you overuse?
‘Fancy a bath?’

What is your most treasured possession?
An original draft manuscript of Shakespeare’s The Tempest from 1609. It contains a song, removed from the final version of the play, performed by Caliban which goes ‘We art voyaging to Ibitha, Return’ed to th’island, We are art voyaging to Ibitha, ‘Tis our entent to stage a masquerade’. Of course, almost 400 years later, The Venga Boys picked it up and had a lot of success with it. Dutch arseholes. Which, incidentally, is the medical condition fucking ruining me sleep at the moment.

What is your biggest regret?
Failing medical school because I refused to get off me pogo stick.

Tell us a secret
If I clap 100 times very quickly a quid falls out me arse.

Chin up

Fear whips through,
a nuclear wind
dissolving resolve
on contact.

Dread seeps in,
rising black water
drowning pleasure
as it sleeps.

I nod, I grin,
I do what I can
to pass muster and time.

I awake, I begin,
cattle-prodding my
body on down the line.

The mechanism creaks as it chews itself up.
The orchestra grates as the conductor fucks up.

I cannot think, I am no fun.
I want to drink, I long to run.
It comes and goes, it’s dull and drear
and I wish I was anywhere but here.

Haikus 8

astrocapetown611539031089.jpgAn ending
A tumour excised.
Moon orbiting home planet,
drifts off into space.

‘You list ‘fisting’ as
a hobby?’. His forte was
angling, not proofing.

The one
True love: it is the
instant assent to the sprung
ask: ‘sniff my finger’.

We’re all just over-
engineered apes scanning for
the next hot alpha.

Alone, I’m just a
cog. But with you, I help turn
a magic machine.

Millions riot over jaw-dropping TV blunder

By Kyle Redtop

An extraordinary thing has happened that has left millions of people fuming in anger and committing acts of mindless violence.

The gob-smackingly amazing thing happened on Russian television, to the total disbelief of thousands of viewers, who were left speechless and quick to air their blind fury on Twitter.

Another paragraph

Hundreds of Russian TV viewers have complained about the gaff, which has left TV bosses in a state of disarray. There have also been reports of mass suicides in the news station’s production gallery, following the blunder.

During a nightly news programme on Russia’s Channel 7, a story about pelicans  incensed viewers and left them shocked, stunned and [find another word even stronger than stunned – mentally raped??] to see stock footage of a crane mistakenly accompanying the piece about a heron.


On Twitter, viewers unleashed a firestorm of screaming e-fury. @MoreOpinionsThanThereAreThingsInTheWorld said “@Channel7 that’s a crane! Pretty sure it is. Easy mistake to make, I guess!!”. Another, @BornOnlineDieOnline said “ffs, get it right you disgusting nazi F***HEADS”.

The nightly news programme is thought to attract 7.7 million viewers. When contacted for comment, the station claimed not to have received any complaints about the incident, and expressed surprise that the “very insignificant error” was taking up column inches in the national UK media.

Unhelpful ‘news’ noise

Their spokesperson said: “the world is rocked by environmental and humanitarian crises, refugees are suffering and dying in their millions, powerful people commit crime and atrocity with impunity, and you are reporting this? Three years studying journalism…your parents must be very proud”.

I feel nothing anymore

When contacted for comment, my parents stated: “no, we are not. We love you, Kyle, but this mendacious, click-bait froth adds nothing to the world, and actually maybe takes a little bit away from it. And you spend so much time finding out what ordinary people are saying about inconsequential things on Social Media. That’s actually beneath hack work. Sorry son.”

Don’t make me think, it hurts

I was unavailable for comment, and I couldn’t find anything on Twitter about what I might feel about my parents’ views on my career. I looked for hours. Like, three and a bit hours.
When contacted for comment, the heron in the news clip said: “ok, firstly, herons can’t give comment. They don’t possess human language. Second, the whole point is that it was a crane, not a heron, in the footage.”

Fictional Heron

The heron’s denial has lead many sources close to the crane to cast doubt on whether any of this actually happened. Ooh look, if you scroll down a bit there are loads of other stories you could read. I mean, now you’re here.

The Global Odd Sock Enigma

The bony man edged forward purposefully in his seat. During the train’s snaking journey from Rugby to Coventry, she had caught his eye several times more than she felt comfortable with. True, there wasn’t much to gawp at in the drech gloaming outside the rattling carriages, sluiced by unrelenting sheets of January rain. But he seemed inordinately interested in her. Why couldn’t he just avert his gaze, hang suspended in the tedious stasis of solo train travel, like everyone else?

Leaning on elbows that could slice bread, he smiled greasily and nodded as if to say “you’ll like this”.

“You’ll like this” he squeeked in a fay, faintly lascivious cockney whine.

She looked up and smiled unconvincingly, as if to say “no, thank you, I’m too ensconced in my book”. Her eyes returned to the page, but as she tried to read on, she felt his rheumy little peepers crawling over her face.


The bony man took a battered tin from his waistcoat pocket. There was something jarring about him. Something awry. Like a rotund, big-breasted women running down the street. Something unlikely, incongruous, precarious about him.

This inkling of oddness bothered her. He should seem more reputable, she mused, clad as he was in a three piece suit and topped with a trilby. Yet despite his obvious sartorial pride, he looked scruffy and crumpled as severely thin men always do. Like a child doing dress-up in father’s clothes. The red tin said Licorice Wafers – for COUGHS due to COLDS. Spindly, simian fingers popped it open to reveal tobacco and cigarette papers.

As he rolled, he spoke.

“You might not think so to look at me, but I’m something of a genius”. She froze. He was apparently addressing the air, but he knew she – as the only soul within touching distance – would feel obliged to respond.



As he sealed his oily rag in one fluid movement across his tongue, he settled back – ominously, she thought –  as though he were settling in for a long chat with a good, familiar friend.

“I have made a series of groundbreaking discoveries. Solved age-old and hitherto perplexing mysteries that have furrowed millions of brows and confounded millions of minds. I think you’d like to hear, wouldn’t you”. An assertion playing dress-up as a question. There was something jarring about it.

“I’ll give you an example. Just one. I have solved the Global Odd Sock Enigma”. He spoke these words as if they were capitalised and of tremendous import. “I – and I alone – know what happens to socks that disappear during the laundry cycle”.

“Oh” was all she could muster. As much as she resented him and his presumption, there was something sadly ridiculous about the man. Which was almost endearing. Almost.

He continued. “I mean, we all know the problem. It’s a familiar one. We submit pairs of socks to the laundry cycle. Into the washing machine they go, then out into the garden on the washing line, or clothes’ horse if the weather’s inclement, or tumble dryer if we have the luxury of owning one of those shining white knights of labour-saving amelioration”.

It is a problem, she thought to herself. I mean, this man is an unbearable arse, but it is a problem. Her body began to untense as her interest was piqued and the initial wave of rattled indignation dissipated.

Sock“But when we come to sort, fold and put away our clothes, what do we find? We find hitherto partnered socks in a sudden state of sorry solitude. Their twin vanished without trace. The Global Odd Sock Enigma. And over time, we put these bereaved single socks to one side, perhaps on top of the chest of drawers, or back in the sock drawer, in the eternally-springing hope that they will be returned to a state of duality come the next laundry cycle”.

She wrestled to contain a smile as he repeated the words ‘laundry cycle’, as though he were an expert speaking the argot of some rarefied and recondite academic discipline. His pompous air and self-important speech were inherently ridiculous, and they served to soften his alarming oddness into something approaching an endearing eccentricity. She began to feel a cosying warmth build in the pit of her stomach. Her nods and smiles were now encouraging, inviting and bidding him to continue.

“Until I made my discovery, this remained one of the last great mysteries of our age. Up there with ‘where do we go when we die?’, ‘are we alone in the universe?’ and ‘why is belly button fluff always grey?’. But as to these poor missing socks, where do they go? Are they lost somehow in the washing machine, the only garment diminutive enough to slip through some tiny aperture when wet? Do birds pluck them from the washing line to build their nests with? Well, no. In short. The answer is quite simply this. They are subsumed by larger items. Most usually duvet covers. They find their way into the corners. And we never think to look for them there. So there they remain. The truth is, no sock ever truly gets lost. They are hiding in plain sight. In our drawers, languishing like Jonah in the belly of a textile whale”.

With this he noticed the train pulling into Coventry station – his cue to alight. He picked up his tobacco tin and returned it to his breast pocket. He gripped the brim of his hat between his forefinger and thumb, mimed a little doff, before scurrying down the carriage, through the doors, and off into the soggy winter evening.

She made a mental note to check all her duvet covers and pillow cases when she got home. There were three odd socks that had been sitting on top of her dresser for months now. Rendered redundant and gathering dust.

As the train lurched into life and began to pull away from the platform, she noticed a small moleskin notebook on the table in front of her. Realising it must belong to the bony man, she grabbed it and scoured the platform for any sign of him, but he was long gone. And, besides, there was little she could do now the train was in motion. Except open it and have a read. The contents page was an eyebrow-raiser:

  • The Physics of a Viable Perpetual Motion Machine…p1
  • The Solution to the Global Odd Sock Enigma…p24
  • A Mathematical Proof of the Existence of the Soul…p32
  • Why Belly Button Fluff is always Grey…p33
  • A Quantum Mechanical Explanation of Time Travel as an Existing Phenomena…p49
  • The Solution to the Global Missing Tupperware Lids Enigma…p57

The essays were dense, florid tracts crammed with mathematical ‘proofs’ (she barley scrapped a pass at school so couldn’t discern Nobel physics-prize-brilliance from innumerate nonsense) and a verbose and baroque writing style, falling over itself in a dense thicket of multi-clause sentences and rambling digressions.

Still, if it helped her track down her odd socks and missing Tupperware lids, it was probably worth keeping hold of.

Haikus 7

Nice try
“I guess this is good-

bye then”. She nodded and gave
him his sheath receipt.

51EA66ED-73CC-4FB0-BCC7-8D505C041061Too literal, mate
“What do you see when

you look in my eyes?” she wept.
Easy. “A small me”.

First Date
Pointing at the rough

sleeper “that’s awful”. Thinking
about her nice bum.

dd0c2773-21a5-49ee-964a-6e728c873e8c-245-00000004c8a746afNeeds must
To get through each day,

Nigel laced his big walrus
moustache with cocaine.

Peter, what is this?
Shit! Mum’s keys in the

door, and the ejaculate
unaccounted for.

Earth child, scent of
gunpowder. Each year ebbs
four centimetres.

Her face fell. “We don’t

have a sieve” he beamed. Yeah, he
won’t make birthday two.

2CAC0D50-3D9E-4831-9334-2C2A18925E97False alarm
“Was that John?”. He looked

over the side of the bridge.
Yawned. “No, John can swim”.

Three fucking hours of work
The house was still a

tip. Disconsolate, it dawned
that he’d dreamt the clean.

It’s ok
At the last, before

oblivion claimed her, the
terror just…vanished.

Kulturgeschichte / Religionsgeschichte / Juden / 19. Jh.Whoops
The pen that signed the

Pogrom order was made by
a pacifist. Ha?