When Dorothy was born, he couldn’t have been happier for him. Rob was the first of his friends, his real life-long thick-and-thin friends, to have a child. They both understood, instinctively and unspoken, that things would never quite be the same, but it was too big and important and defining a moment for anything other than celebration and support.

Liam and Rob’s relationship was underpinned by a cut and thrust banter; they shared a deep and indigenous love of whimsy, a mutual desire to give the mundane the slip. They enjoyed a sort of competitive intellectual sex, rooted in humour and dripping with inventive prowess, the kind most close male friendships thrive on. The fleshless homoeroticism that mystifies girlfriends and wives everywhere, who console themselves with mutterings about ‘bromance’, feeling threatened but trying to mask the feeling beneath dismissive ridicule.

Rob had a child, a baby daughter. Liam had to make his peace with the fact that he was now a once a fortnight outlet, a hastily grabbed bit of respite when the maelstrom of new parenthood permitted. For his part, Liam tried to assume the uncle mantle – which he wasn’t – but despite his best efforts to show interest, arrange midday boozeless meet ups, Rob remained aloof. He knew that Rob and Mirzia were shaky, in fact their relationship had come within one harsh word of shattering irreparably on countless occasions, but for some reason they stayed together. Mirzia was a cold fish. It was bad enough she couldn’t find it within herself to support Rob’s art. Far worse was the attitude of mild contempt and derision she seemed to display. A sort of eye-rolling when will the scales fall from his eyes? sneer. Sour bitch.

Rob’s relationship with Mirzia was terminal. At first the shockwaves of the split didn’t seem to reach baby Dorothy. She was 18 months and, apart from daddy not being around as much, and mummy and daddy never taking her out together, some semblance of normality abided. A mature, grownup attempt on both their parts to ensure continuity for the kid’s sake. But slowly, as Mirzia’s inner life began to disintegrate, her hatred for Rob – a corrosive acid rain – began to eat away her sense of duty, of right, of proportion, of everything.

It started with Rob being denied access. He would call round for pick ups as arranged, but Mirzia simply wouldn’t open the door. Rob suspected she was in on these occasions, and he tried to stay calm and toe the increasingly painful line she was setting him. But then, one unremarkable day, his own Hiroshima. Mirzia dropped ‘Little Boy’ when she took his little girl.

Middlesbrough was a long way away. Two trains and just over three hours. A six hour round trip every time he wanted to see his daughter. Which would have been doable, bearable, no impediment at all since he would get to spend time with his illuminating, soul-sustaining doe-eyed sweetheart, his little Squigglepig. But then Mirzia stopped answering the door.

Tribunals and family court hearings didn’t seem to spook her. If anything they made her more intransigent, even more bitter and hell-bent on snuffing out his happiness. The cruel and unusual punishment she was meting out had long since passed the point of proportionality for any of his notional ‘crimes’. Weeks turned into months, months become a year, and the absence of his daughter hit him like a bereavement. He mourned his living, laughing, lovely little girl every waking moment. As he said to Liam, jailbirds doing porridge for spousal abuse get better access to their children than him, more recourse through the courts. The message seemed horribly clear. So long as Mirzia was a fit mother, the system had no fight on behalf of the father.

Two years drifted by. Now it was Liam’s turn to experience the vertiginous symphony of joy, discovery, hope, fear, angst and love that is first time fatherhood. A girl. Poppy. A blue-eyed, heart-flooding little baby girl.

At first he felt a weird nervousness around Rob. Oddly inhibited by the prospect of talking about his little girl. Rob tried to pitch in with advice, tips, the mutual support of one who has been there, but after the first few months his interest was generally little more than a polite show. Once, when they were having an open and unfettered pow-wow about Dorothy, Rob’s long nightmare, and how Liam felt it had coloured his attitude to Poppy, Rob fixed his eye: “Would I be heartbroken if I came round your house and saw you playing with your little girl? Of course I would”. It explained everything. Sixteen months after Poppy was born and Liam’s longest and most favourite friend had fled to a parallel universe of self-preserving denial because he was still in mourning.

In time Rob moved to Bristol, leaving Liam in landlocked Derbyshire. They rarely communicated, met up a couple of times a year, still made each other laugh. But it wasn’t the same purity as before. Their relationship had been cut with something that left a bad taste, the lesser high of a drug adulterated. But there was no bad feeling. There had been several lifetimes of that already and, besides, Liam had a new, diminutive, doe-eyed best friend.




1227973961782836377farmeral_audio-icon-svg-medAudio version for the visually deaf

DREAMCATCHER, faulty. Parts and spares only. £70 ono. Collection from spirit realm, 14B Hippywank Drive.

MB GAMES ‘Embalmy!’. Help ‘mad’ Marty Mortician prepare a recently dredged ‘Jane Doe’. It’s a race against decay! £3 tel. 0116 673241

MITSUBISHI PISSBAG Emerald brown, plumbed in boot-bath, £2 under the seat if you’ve got small fingers. £7,000. Tel: 0115 926 5678

CUSTARD KLAXON Are people unaware of your custard? Two short bursts on our custard klaxon and they’ll come screaming in agony for custard, at any hour of the day or night. Call Thrump’s Pudding Sirens on 015 272 333

EDIBLE LUNCH BOX Apple (hollowed). 40p. Will throw in apple meat for a kiss/fiddle. Meet at Crochingham’s orchard, 3pm Sunday. (Bring a knife and wear something tight).

MEMORIES Unwanted gifts. Mixed bag but mainly beatings and arguments. Committed 6 hours worth to tape. Are you lonely? Do you have a tape deck? Tel: 0115 1010110101 and speak when spoken to.

ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER novelty dildo. Hand carved from ebony in Papua New Guinea. 8.5″ with realistic veining. Lloyd Webber’s head the bell end. £1 or £3 plus commemorative ‘Tory Cabinet 1992’ anal beads. 0154 34724

DOG Possibly small bear, terrifying ‘1000 yard stare’ and eats its own ‘business’. Take it, just take it away. Tel: 0115 92367 82272

BATTERY POWERED HORSE Very reliable, perfect for commuting. Gets tetchy when inserting batteries (can get 40 AAA up there, but tends to shit them out). Tel: Ohoneonefive fivenineseven sixthreetwo

FECTATED TORP Slightly greasy, could do with a re-cog. Classic Swimp-style design, with original blade jets. I’ll be swimming at Grumpling baths all next week. Dive in and we’ll discuss price.

MY TEA It didn’t agree with me, perhaps you’ll have more luck? Reasonable condition (only used once). Contains fish, chips, stout and chewing gum (I think). Tel: 07783 338373 (be quick, I’m on my way home).

TRIPLE BED 8″ by 10″, minor frot damage. Possibly haunted (it wasn’t my fault). Ideal for a fat couple or Mormons. No money, will swap for your bed. Tel: 11.59652148 ÷ 100

RECURRING DREAM Nothing sinister, but not pleasant. In a tunnel of sand, a choir of flying worms sing to you. You have no hands and a breast where your balls should be. £11.11 o.n.o. Fax: 0111929229299 and mark it “Tit ball worm song dream”.

LONELY VAGINA Polite, shapely, well maintained, spontaneous, GSOH, seeks inquisitive, forthright, witty cock for “the obvious”. No perverts please. Tel: me I’m a wicked girl.

A BIT OF BLUE SOMETHING Sort of bluey-grey thing, like a sliver of ham but feels more like foam. Hums at night and appears to kill insects. Scary, hence quick sale. Tel: 0115 24something

Haikus 2

So what do you do?

How did people quell
the panic in workshop lunch
breaks before mobiles?

Probably live with mum

What motivates men
to shave their sideburns so high
above their ears?

The accent

“Eat shit and die”. I
misheard. She, a Brummie, asked
Andy to itch her.

I reckon <2%

The statistics on
fisting are hard to find. There’s
a Phd there.

Not a close friend

“Let’s fuck” she whispered.
“Right now!”. “No” said the stranger.
“I’m a pallbearer”.

Can I Funk with your percentage formula?

If Bootsy Collins
delivered Excel training,
I’d probably go.


Talking Bollocks

I’ve been treating Michael for almost three years now. His case is one of the more unusual in the literature, in fact he’s something of a special case. I believe he’s one of only six people in the UK to suffer from Orchitis Voxosis, or OV for short.

OV was only discovered as recently as 1987 by a Swiss Urologist who received a referral of a twelve year old boy complaining of ‘singing balls’. What he found was staggering, and hitherto unheard of. Only now, almost 30 years on, are we truly beginning to reveal the secrets of this strange and socially ostracising condition.

imageThe problems start in utero, in the very early stages of embryonic development. In a nutshell, if you’ll excuse the metaphor, the testicles develop a kind of proto larynx. Shortly after conception, in the first trimester when the zygote is undergoing mitotic division, problems arise with cell differentiation.

As far as we know – and it appears to be linked to errors in the base coding of Tritiptonase Phorylose during mitochondrial axial regression – the glitch occurs as a result of cytoplasmic contiguity. This simply means that the cells that will become the gonads and those that will develop into the throat are so close together they’re practically the same.

In rare cases, we think around 1 in 900,000, normal mitosis is disrupted, and what we call regional cellular displacement, or RCD occurs. Basically, organs can develop in atypical regions of the body, including duplicates.

imageMost famously this is how Donald Trump ended up with two rectums. One in the usual place and one on his lower mandible, around where his lips should be. I happen to know his specialist very well, and he tells me that Mr Trump has to have his Gastroenterologist present whenever he visits his Dentist. It’s not pleasant. Put it this way, when Mr Trump has a birthday party and blows out his candles, nobody eats the cake.

The fact that a small voice box can develop in a testicle is amazing in itself, but the mechanism which causes the testicle to appear to talk, and even sing, is truly remarkable.

When someone with OV walks, the muscles in the leg squeeze the femoral artery which sends blood rushing up the the pelvis and through the proto larynx in the testicle. This causes a sort of guttural sound, sometimes more plosive or sibilant, like a whistle. In complex cases tiny integuments, or flaps, develop which mimic the bioarchitecure, and consequently the action of the lips and tongue. In these vanishingly rare cases – we’re talking 1 in 7 million here – rudimentary vocalisations may be audible, and sometimes, just through the normal operation of chance, they resemble discernable linguistic units. The water density of the testicle acts as a kind of amplifer, which means that they can be heard up to three metres away.

I treated a patient with this incredibly rare ‘talking’ form of the condition. His testicular vocalisations were almost always of two syllables. Common examples included ‘peach god’, ‘fish tease’ ‘don’t care’ and ‘bog boy’. He actually lost his job as a primary school teacher.

imageThe saddest case of all was of a 21 year old schizophrenic man. One of his vocalisations was ‘end you’, which he did after years of – as he put it in a moving final letter – ‘being hounded to madness and despair by my balls’.


The name’s Jebediah Odediah Pustaine. The fourth. Yep, I was born into a long line of Pustaines. Doctor said I was nothin’ but a little streak the day I was born. When I came outta mamma, like a little baby ‘gator slippin’ into the bayou,  I opened up my scream bags and mamma said “yes sir, ‘aint no mistakin’ it. That there is a little Pustaine”.

imageLife was hard on the farm. The dust clung to you like a second skin. That dry, brown dust blew everywhere. I liked to pretend the dust was cocoa and we was little figures on hell’s own chocolate cake. Bone dry and hot as Mars, every summer the earth was lifeless and cracked, like a delirious mind on the brink of death by starvation.

imageWe was poor. Hella poor. We was on skid row, you might say. Back then if someone were to talk about the skid’, you’d think ‘Pustaines’. But I resolved to get out of skid’, ‘mark my words’, I would tell anybody what cared to listen. ‘Mark ’em good. This Pustaine gonna wash right outta this dust bowl death hole’.

I remember one winter the horses got sick. Daddy went down to the stable with an axe. Them stallions kicked up hell, I reckon they can feel death, smell it in the air, sensitive as they are. They tuned in to some frequency we just can’t receive.

imageFolks cheated us. Snake oil sellers and no good junk pedalling carpet baggers always hung around our door. ‘They can smell a Pustaine a mile off’ mamma always said. Tried to fleece us, double deal, play dirty. ‘Why front? ‘ my daddy would shout. ‘You just a lyin’ sonnuva bitch, get outta here’.

We was different. Town folk didn’t pay us no heed, walked on the other side of the street. Didn’t have no time or no regard for us. If you ever come across a Pustaine, don’t tell no-one. They only judge you for it. Pustaines are private. My advice? Don’t be seen in public with a Pustaine.

Ultimate insult

The air crackled with the static of her quiet fury. Their relationship – once a primrose path through paradise – was now a briny, broiling ocean between their respective islands, through which the fighting fish of their mutual antipathy swam. This time he had gone too far. Utterly unforgivable.

“You fucking cancerous ARSEPIECE” she spat. He simpered. Sadly his expression, which he’d intended as a mollifying ‘I-know-I’m-a-shit” face, failed to land well. It looked smug. Infinitely smug. More than that, derisory. It lit the blue touch paper.

“You’re a flouncing fucking nothing, a pathetic tosspot peacock, a shitty little gilded git with the charisma of an Oncologist giving the bad news and the emotional intelligence of cum-crusted teenage boy who puts MICE in the microwave”.

“I’m sorry”. Trouble was, he wasn’t. Bigger trouble was, he wasn’t very good at feigning it.

image“You’re just the…the worst. Half a fart, fifty forced farts in the mouth. You’re a wasabi-smeared tampon, Ian Brady shitting under the Christmas tree. Jesus Christ, your dad had some spastic spunk in his addled bollocks to make you!”.

She didn’t realise it, but she was advancing towards him now, clutching a novelty outsized pencil he’d bought her from the Keswick Pencil Museum. They had visited during a tour of the Lakes, to mark their two year anniversary. He found this briefly amusing, although his face really should have done more to dissemble. Considering the circumstances.

“You’re two Hitlers. GOD it makes me sick to think that I’ve spent seven years shackled to you. You’re a child’s shoe in a warzone. Sad, confusing and FUCKING USELESS!”

*  *  *  *

image“Have you heard?”
“Heard what?”
“There’s been another one”.
“Another one? No! Shut up! With a fourteen incher?”
“Yep. Same M.O. and all. Through the neck. Bled out”.
“Fuck. But that’s seven people killed with a massive pencil in nine months“.
“Gary’s pulling them from the shop. Did you know the Museum’s on one of them tourist murder tours?”.
“Bonkers man, it’s just nuts”.

Satin Horn

Pam clenched her undercarriage as Jim furiously fracked her seam. He was drilling for liquid pleasure, and Pam’s minehead was about to blow.

“Good job, keep up the good work, excellent stuff” Pam enthused, breathily. Jim winced. Pam was talking too much and it was putting him off his stroke. And then, suddenly, in the rushed, tremulous voice of someone saying that they’re going to be sick moments before being sick, Jim yelped “gobble my nutnog”.

imageIn a flash he traversed Pam’s poles like a mad, sex-enflamed Ranulph Fiennes. Going from south to north like this – a cheeky erotic gambit for any gentleman to spring – was known as the ‘dirty switchboard’; so named by Betty Sweetmeat, a retired telephonist who ran most of the subterranean frottage oubliettes beneath the titty bars of Soho. The same seedy jerk joints where Pam danced the podiums, for self-esteem reasons and cash.

Lips pursued, panting like a birthing women, Jim roared “excelsis” as he reconnected this particular sex call to 69 Ecstasy Avenue.

Five minutes later, after the cleanup and some impromptu tippie-toe basin washing, Pam said “thank you” through the blue effluvia of an apres-le-rut fag.

“You’re more than welcome” replied Jim.

“Cigarrette?” returned Pam.

“Thank you” said Jim.

“You’re more than welcome” replied Pam with a smile, acknowledging the rather feeble halfjoke of having just said to Jim what Jim had said to her back to Jim.

Over the following 48 hours Jim and Pam rutted a further 19 times, until chaffing, exhaustion and frankly boredom knocked it on the head.