Monthly Archives: May 2018
Here’s a short story I wrote for Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Flash Challenge – Week 56, inspired by the picture on the right there.
A shadow crossed the cave mouth. Wolf raised his immense head and eyed the newcomer. A boy, draped in the red cloak of a supplicant. Wolf gave a low growl, and the boy stepped forward. Wolf nodded his permission for him to speak.
“I am looking for a painless death, Uncle Wolf,” he said, eyes downcast, looking at the sandy ground.
“Ain’t no such thing, sweet boy,” said Wolf, his voice deeper than summer thunder. “All death causes pain, even if that pain ain’t your own. How would your ma feel?”
“She died bringing me into this world.”
“Your friends then?”
“My knife is my friend.”
“Well, then, me? It always hurts me when one of my subjects dies. What of my pain?”
The boy looked him in the eye, a brave move. “If the pain is not my own, then I do not care.”
Wolf smiled at the temerity of the lad. “Well, now, there’s a selfish point of view.”
“You say that as though selfishness is a bad thing.”
“Oh, I make no judgements, sweet boy,” Wolf said. “I ain’t a creature worthy to set his self above others. If those same others choose to lift me above ‘em, who am I to argue? But don’t ignore what I’m saying here – death is pain. That’s its … what’s the word, now … essence.”
“Pain is my friend.”
“That’s told plain by the scars that criss-cross your arms. But you’ve named two friends, now. Knife and pain are …” Wolf’s low rumble quietened as the boy’s grey eyes glared angrily at him. It would be a pity to waste such furious passion. The boy’s rage, if harnessed in the correct way, had the capability to do great good. Of course, such refinement would take time. Wolf sighed, a sound like a dying hurricane.
“Yes, you’re right,” he said. “Metaphorical friends don’t figure. Tell me then, why do you now seek oblivion, rather than, as you have before, the exquisite release of slicing your own flesh?”
“There’s no point.”
“To any of it. To existence. Or at least, if there is a point, it is to gain pleasure from the things we do, for as long as we breathe the air.”
“And now you gain no pleasure? Not even from cutting yourself?”
“None. I enjoy nothing. I do not laugh. I do not smile.”
“Does the warm sunshine not make you glad?”
“No. And before you ask, a spring breeze is nothing to me, nor the laughter of girls. All the world is empty and dying.”
“Then, sweet boy, I pity you. And … I grant you your pain-free end.”
The boy smiled, and bowed his head to await a killing blow from Uncle Wolf’s massive paw.
“My decision pleases you?” The boy nodded. “Then you can still feel pleasure. Yes, I grant you a painless death … when you are ninety-seven years old.”
The Joy of One Star – a new strand in which I enjoy 1-star review comments left on Amazon about various popular items.
Bad reviews tend to fall into two categories – reviews of the thing itself, be that a film, book or whatever, and others that review either Amazon or the postal service, like this one for Thor-Ragnarok – “I have yet to watch this movie. This is a review about the physical blu-ray case.” Really? You’re reviewing a case? Well … OK, why not, I guess? But at least have the decency to give the film itself 3-stars while you’re at it. After all, one should never judge a DVD by its case, should one? Others of this ilk include “Don’t buy this does not play.” and “Disc broken.” Why are these people telling us, rather than sending it back for a replacement?
There are those who really don’t like the film, of course. “Bollox” says evabraun (no relation, surely?). I’m not sure whether that’s a criticism or a request for a future porn version. (Thor:Ragnabollox). Reviewer EMJAY is on some sort of misogynistic crusade – “PC culture being implemented to appease a minority … male characters are feminised, and female characters are shown as the champions of the day? A piss take too far”. S J Thorpe sums up the disappointment of all of us who went to see the film for a treatise in Nordic mythology – “the plot was nothing like the tale from the Edda from the Nordic folklore.”
I’ll leave you with my favourite review. “One word – really disappointed.”
It was a little bit of a shaky start as people got used to the idea of a summer without sausages, but the excitement grew as the day went on, and those who had correctly predicted the number of whoopsie-daisy pies realised how much fun it was to steal opponent’s wickets. #SausageLeague Champion @jayalay was an immediate target, and is already down to one wicket.
Your early front runner is @captain_doodle, who with 8 for 3 got BOTH of his guesses (total and whoopsie-daisies) correct, and therefore takes a maximum 7 points. Hot on his heels are @crowmogh, @moorseyl, @thatnuttyfanboy and @happymouffetard, although this last pair have both lost a wicket.
Controversy simmered when @purplequeennl questioned the referee’s judgement as to the number of pies. This is the sort of thing that we can well do without in #PieCricket, Geoff, and she was lucky to escape receiving the first ever #PieCricket yellow card, and a summary spanking with a well-oiled bat.
With 7 points on offer every week, and the ability to prevent your opponents scoring at all, there’s plenty to play for, and once you all get used to the Pie Standard at Mans 2000, I expect this summer to be really EXPIETING. See what I did there? God I’m funny.
Basically #SausageLeague with pies, but with an added twist, #PieCricket runs on Twitter on Fridays, between the end of one #SausageLeague season and the start of the next. The current run of #PieCricket began on 11th May, and the final day will be 27th July. It’s based on pie-guessery, and here’s all you need to know in order to WIN WIN WIN!
You predict two numbers – the total number of pies on display, and how many of those will be upside-down (a “whoopsie-daisy”).
You score points depending on how close you are to the total pie number: 5 minus the difference.
If you’re spot-on with the total, you get a bonus point. If you ALSO guess correctly the number of whoopsie-daisies, you get another bonus point.
But wait, there’s more! Correctly guessing the number of whoopsie-daisies allows you to take an opponent’s wicket, regardless of whether you got the TOTAL prediction right.
You start with 3 wickets. If they drop to zero, you’ll score no points at all the following week UNLESS you get a spot-on with the total, when you’ll get the usual. Then your wickets will bob back up to 3.
A year or so ago, when I first idly photographed the goodies on display in the hot cabinet of my local takeaway, I little realised what magnificence I was unleashing. One or two followers on Twitter began to guess how many sausages there would be, then each week a few more would join in. It became a beautifully silly oasis in a desert of depressing world news. Eventually I realised that you lot needed some sort of reward for your enthusiasm for the ridiculous, and the league itself was born.
The final table for the inaugural season is over there on the right. I doubt you’ll manage to read it without clicking to see the larger version. @MoorseyL’s thrilling run of four spot-ons and a 4-pointer in the final five games saw her surge from 19th to within a chipolata of the top. She just failed, however, to overcome the mighty @Jayalay’s long-standing lead, built on a consistent closeness to actual sausage presence.
Perhaps @MoorseyL’s disappointment on just missing the glittering prize will be eased by the news that she topped the averages table. Both @MoorseyL and @Jayalay win an actual prize for their sausage expertise, and can choose any of my pocketbooks, which I’ll sign so that it’s worth more when I cock me clogs.
Other stats: @MoorseyL scored the most spot-ons during the campaign, five – just one more than hot-and-cold, injury-prone performer @ekctafc. My most consistent predictor was the luscious @kjcollard, whose “one lonely sausage” did not miss a single week.
My most disappointing moment? That no-one drew me a sausage beast after this @magentakoru tweet. And so the #SausageLeague season draws to a close. It will be back after the summer break, when EFL2 kicks off next year. During the close season, we will be playing Pie Cricket, which is nothing at all like cricket but that’s what folk play in the summer.
Finally, thank you all so very much for being as daft as brushes, and making #SausageLeague such a ridiculous success.
Basically #SausageLeague with pies, but with an added twist. In #PieCricket you have to predict the number of pies that will be on display at the takeaway (so far, so much-the-same), and will score points just as with the sausages. However, should you also successfully guess how many of these pies will be upside down, you get to take an opponent’s wicket. Each player starts with three wickets, and if they drop to zero will score NO points the following week UNLESS they get a spot-on. Then they’ll bob back up to three wickets, obv. I have ZERO idea how/whether this will work well, but it’s only for a few weeks until the sausages start again, so let’s see, shall we?
Nah then, sexpots. The Sixth YSP Tweetup will take place on Saturday 21st July 2018 at (colour me surprised) Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Come and meet a fat old wombat and his beautiful consort for art, countryside, sexy rabbits, picnics, shiny balls and sociability. And if that isn’t enough to get your sap rising, you will also be able to meet our SPECIAL GUESTS, all the way over from Canadiadiadia, Aven @avensarah & Mark @alliterative. Woo, and a healthy does of hoo, eh? Here’s a few things you might want to know about #YSPtweetup2018.
YSP is just off the M1 at junction 38. The best postcode for your satnav is WF4 4JX. The 96 bus comes directly to YSP from Barnsley or Wakefield. Visit wymetro.com for bus timetables. The last bus from YSP to Wakefield is at 4:30pm, and to Barnsley at 5:30pm.
What time are we meeting?
Meet between 10 and 10:30 near the main car park, by the entrance to the main building. If it’s chucking it down, you could always pop inside. If you’re a bit late, we might already have wandered down to the picnic area. Check the map below, where both places are highlighted. Or should that be ‘highlit’? Nah, I was right first time.
Admission to YSP (a charity) is free. The parking fees keep the place going. Car Parking is £10 for the day. You can pay online in advance (or up to a week after your visit), or use the machine that takes cards or cash and asks for your car registration number. Motorbikes are free. The car park is HUGE and everyone will fit in.
Bring picnic food & drink, for we will PICNIC, BABY! And I want to taste your goodies, obv. Alternatively, there’s both a restaurant and a café. Tap water is always available free.
What if it rains?
We’ll get wet.
Will you sign my boobs?
Oh books. Oh … yeah, OK then, bring them along. If you want to order a signed book that I can bring on the day, DM me.
Is there anything else?
As usual, dogs and kids are more than welcome – it’d be nice to keep up the tradition of kids climbing on that sculpture that no-one’s supposed to climb on. YSP like dogs to be kept on a lead, please, to keep the wandering wildlife safe. Otherwise, the agenda is mostly the having of fun. We usually manage that without much effort. We don’t have to stick together the whole day, of course, but I hope we can at least get a big team photo of the whole company as on previous occasions.
Here you go. Click it to see a much larger version.
And CLICK HERE to visit the YSP site – there’s more information there than you could possibly need.