User avatar Middlesax

Seeing how absurdly easy it’s been for Ian to get his turgid prose published, I’ve secured myself a publishing deal for a book of my own. At first I was just thinking about this as a way to rake in some easy cash, but then it dawned on me that I would need to pick something to write about, because ultimately if you want to publish a book you need to bang out a few thousand words.

In the end Ian was, once again, my inspiration. His forthcoming book on Middlesex inspired me to come up with my own literary masterpiece about this lost county. What better than to marry the former county of Middlesex with the history and wonders of the saxophone?

So, I present to you: Middlesax. Featuring:

  • A long and detailed comparison of Baker Street in north London, home of Baker Street station and Sherlock Holmes – which is located in the former county of Middlesex – with the saxophone solo from Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street”.
  • Lyrics and score for pop songs arranged specially for the saxophone and rewritten to be about Middlesex, including “Say Harrow Wave Goodbye”, “Edgwarever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home”, and “Sexual Ealing”.
  • Pictures of saxophones and saxophonists in front of Middlesex landmarks, including a tenor sax at Enfield Chase and an alto sax half-submerged in the River Brent. I’m also hoping to get a picture of Kenny G on the steps of Neasden Methodist Church.
  • A list of places in Middlesex that can be spelled using only notes that can be played on a Saxophone. (So far I haven’t found any.)

Available now for pre-order from Amazon and all other bookshops, but only within the boundaries of what used to be Middlesex. Buy it now!

User avatar Bad toilet

Whose idea was this? Nobody wants this. Nobody, ever, wants this.

User avatar Film Reviews – Mr. Majestyk

Imagine Jason Statham, buff almost A but still a little B-Movie action hero, working in the 1970’s. Imagine he is given the script of film where he still gets to be a buff action hero movie star but it’s in such a bizarre setting that everything about the film makes your eyes pop out in astonishment.

Such is the case for ‘Mr. Majestyk’, an utterly bewildering idea for entertainment, that when Big Dave started chuntering on about it, as some kind of brief aside at a family gathering, we all thought he had finally lost his marbles. “Do you remember that film about Charles Bronson who looks after the mangoes?” he said.

Blank looks on everyone’s, and I do mean everyone’s, faces.

“You mean you’ve never seen it? It was amazing. He was a mango farmer and these guys come after him.”

Cue an outbreak of laughing and worried looks until my brother Googles it and finds that it’s a real thing.

That is, a real thing where my dad has got some of the details wrong. Charles Bronson plays a melon farmer, a farmer who also straddles the typical types of war veteran and ex-con. All he cares about is successfully getting his melon crop to the supplier so he can get paid and think about next year. Interwoven throughout the narrative is various references to how much Bronson needs to get back to his crop of melons, how much he has to get back to harvest his melons. In fact a reference to this crops up about every twenty minutes and each time it made me laugh out loud. Here’s a precis of the story:

‘Bronson hires a bus of people to help bring his crop in. Some punk tries to muscle in on the action with his own bus. Bronson steals his rifle, strikes the punk in the balls and sends him on his way. The punk gets the cops involved and Bronson is arrested. In the clink he meets this other-worldly grim reaper of a man called Frank, who’s a mafia hitman. As they are being transported somewhere his mafia friends try to break him free, only for Bronson and Frank to go on the run but not for very long. Why? Because Bronson has to get back to his melons. Frank offers him $25,000.00 to not hand him back to the cops, Bronson refuses and almost dies when the mafia’s girlfriend turns up, narrowly escaping by jumping through the rear window of a car. Frank becomes obsessed, refusing to leave until he gets his revenge over this simple melon farmer. He chases away the hired help and then, hilariously, orders his middle-aged henchmen to fire multiple rounds in his melon harvest. If you’ve ever wanted to see several minutes of people shooting at fruit then this is definitely the film for you.

Now at the end of his tether, Bronson goes on the offence, killing all the henchmen (including another laugh out loud moment when his truck gently nudges a car full of henchies off the edge of a hill and it explodes as though it’s packed full of dynamite). The final confrontation is such a letdown too: the girlfriend gives up and leaves, the punk decides that Frank is a nutter and runs away, leaving only Frank in his hideout. Bronson jumps through the window, shoots Frank and that’s it. It’s the biggest anti-climax I have witnessed in a long while. Bronson goes home, despite the fact that almost all of his melons are messed up and his best-friend had both his legs broken in the ensuing chaos.’

I mean, where to start? Charles Bronson does a good job of playing the part only at the time the film was released he was 53 years old. The love interest, not tacked on in the slightest, who is one of the migrant workers helping to harvest the melons, is about 20 years younger than him (this is a full decade before Roger Moore starred in ‘A View To A Kill’ romancing a then 30 year old Tanya Roberts at the ripe age of 58). She is inexplicably drawn to him because he does the gruff man thing of ‘sending her away so she doesn’t get hurt’ despite the fact she tells him, in no uncertain terms, that where she grew up she was repeatedly subjected to violence or albeit the threat thereof. The henchmen were the least threatening cronies I have ever seen. One looked as though he was in his sixties, definitely older than Bronson, yet still seemed to swagger around with the same menace as Genghis Khan.

The back of the DVD box is also a riot. It reads as follows:

“Bronson stars as Majestyk, an ex-con and Vietnam vet whose efforts to run a farm are thwarted by narrow-minded locals and corrupt cop.s But hwne a Mafia hitman destroys Majestyk’s crop, the farmer’s fuse is finally blown. With his rifle in hand and his girlfriend (a bit of an overstatement, because they’re refusing to the love interest; they throw some words at each other, go for a beer and that makes them a couple?) at the wheel, he goes after the syndicate assassin. And from high-speed back-road chases (I must have missed those) to an explosive backwoods confrontation (the aforementioned anti-climax), mobster and maverick stalk each other: two of a kind, antagonists to the death.”

Whoever wrote that either deserves an award for the biggest stack of lies since Boris Johnson opened his mouth or was looking at the wrong film. It wasn’t bad in the sense that it’s an awful film only that there is very little to recommend about it bar Bronson’s and Frank, the mafia guy, Al Lettieri’s. performances. FYI, Lettieri looks as though he would knock you out for checking your back pocket for change and remains one of the few convincing things in the entire production.

I’d give it a “Lesley Pipes” – watchable but average.

User avatar Three Cornered Stanley

You’ve made it. You’ve finally made it. All the way here. And now, all that stands between you and Three Cornered Stanley himself is the garden gate. Go on – reach over, open the latch, push the gate open and step in. Step right in to the world of Three Cornered Stanley.

This is it. Your dreams are about to come true. It’s going to be alright now you’re with Three Cornered Stanley. He’s got a corner for every occasion and he’ll share them with you.

User avatar Middlesex – The Myth

I spend a lot of time pondering things. Not the important questions such as ‘where are we going?’ and ‘why haven’t you got a proper job yet, you ape?’ more of a sort of middle ground, the kinds of dregs that search engines have where they sigh when someone asks ‘how many cakes are in a baker’s dozen?’ or ‘where did I leave my keys?’. I don’t believe that anyone is currently wondering where Middlesex went, other than me that is.

What was once a huge, bustling place is now a nothing. It’s a pimple. It’s a memory. There was once a time when everything came from Middlesex. It sat at the top of the hill and rolled blocks of cheese down at all the other counties, because it could. It was a bit of a back-handed compliment due to the fact that they were handing out cheese for free yet sending it at such high speeds that it was causing accidents and injuries; if you got hit by a huge wheel of Edam then you were not going to work for the rest of the week, that’s for sure.

So where did it go? Did it disappear in the mists like ‘Brigadoon’ and it only reappears one day every year? That would be incredible. Imagine walking around the shops munching on a bacon sandwich only for Middlesex to magically appear right in front of you. Wouldn’t that be special?

I think it’s only fair that the people get to know what happened. It is a story that will take all of my psychic powers to deduce, for only a tale like this can be told through the sketchy paranormal scientific field of psychokinesis. In my book I will shuffle through the wheat fields of the mind, dredging up the where, the why and the who. Maybe even the odd what. Possibly even a few wag-pasties. Yes, that is a real word because the internet said so.

Also this book has more sex than the entirety of the ‘Fifty Shades…’ trilogy. Not the kind that you want but it’s still sex, right?

You’re welcome, by the way.

User avatar An Admission of Sorts

As I pulled into the car park, locked the car and headed into Asda I knew I was in a rush. I grabbed the beer I was looking for, paid and made my way back to the car. Asda Radio has a habit of playing a bizarre mix of music no matter what time of day you are there. Running late to a friend’s house the unmistakable tune of ‘Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit’ by Gina G was audible over the hubbub of other patrons of the supermarket. It took me back to 1996 when this was our entry in the Eurovision Song Contest…

Now we’ve all seen how much of a shambles Eurovision is, perhaps some more than others. As a young impressionable 13 year old I had a lot of free time on my hands. I do remember watching the whole thing because I was convinced that this song, this catchy piece of fluff, created in someone’s studio by faceless music executives and sung by an Australian, not even a native Brit, was going to win. I had a lot of faith at 13; I wonder where it went? I expect it also had a lot to do with the fact that I found Gina G insanely attractive (I was going through a red-head phase, something that has continued to this day). Still, it wasn’t enough for me to actually go out and buy the damn single when it was released, not that it mattered because it went straight to #1 anyway.

Does anyone remember what position the UK got in the 1996 Eurovision song contest? Nope, me neither. I had to look it up but I did know that we didn’t win. The lovely Ireland claimed the crown that year. In my confused teenage rage I drew a picture of a person, possibly me (?), kicking an Irish elephant in the groin. Now this does raise a few questions, the main ones for me are:

  1. Why didn’t I draw an animal that was native to Ireland in the first place?
  2. Was I convinced that elephants came from Ireland or was it the first animal that came to mind?
  3. I can’t draw elephants now; how on earth did I manage to draw one from memory without the aid of Google?

I can still see that elephant now, hands clutching where it’s penis should be, in extreme pain because of my kick to the cohonies. It is as if it’s been etched to the back of my mind, ready to haunt me when the time is right. Yes, I believe the elephant also had hands. Perhaps this is a rare instance of British pride where I wanted to believe that we were good at something and to share that with the rest of Europe.

By the way, have you ever read the lyrics to ‘Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit’? My favourite line is:

“I’ll give you love you can’t ignore.”

What kind of love is that? The one where you send bits of yourself through the post? The one where you set yourself on fire and jump off a building? It seems a bit full on for what is essentially a song about having a shag with someone.

User avatar In one vole and out the other

In a move that Kev will find outright baffling, I’ve just published another Book of nonsense generated earlier this year. This one is titled I Bought this from Steve for a Double High Five, mainly because that’s the first thing written in it.

It was written (ha! “Written”!) in June this year by just Chris and Ian, on a weekend where Kev was not present. That’s a break with tradition, to be sure, but it’s still a valuable record of many insightful conversations and groundbreaking ideas, and deserves to be placed online where the whole world can read it and learn from it.

Among other things, it includes:

  • MC Jellybowl spittin’ rhymes
  • Potential titles for Ian’s forthcoming book on the history of Middlesex
  • Nicky Campbell spinning the Wheel of Vittles
  • All the Tenniversary nostalgia, including the Poignancyometer

Heaven only knows what it looks like to someone who wasn’t there. Maybe Kev can tell us.

You’ll find it on the Books page.

User avatar Dear Zara

Dear Zara,

It’s been a while since we last spoke. How are you? What have you been up to? Did you manage to achieve all your hopes and dreams or are you still pissing your life up the wall like the rest of us? Well, whatever it is you are doing to pass the time I hope it is as sweet as a kitten’s smile.

Anyway, the real reason I wanted to get in touch was this:

So what do you think you’re playing at, hmmm? You put your cup on the ground and walked away. There were several bins within the vicinity, well within a five minute walk. In fact whichever direction you chose you would have been close to somewhere you could have disposed of it in the correct way. Hell, you could have left it at my office and I would have sorted it out. By leaving it on the street like an arse you have effectively made yourself an arse forever.

The next time I have spaghetti hoops I will be sure to leave the tin in your garden. When I choose to have a bottle of Jack Daniels to myself I will be throwing it through your living room window. You may think this is too much a punishment for one such tit as yourself however I don’t think it is. I would sooner push you out of a plane thirty thousand feet in the air rather than let people like you walk the same streets as me.

All the best

Ian xxx