Friday, March 27, 2009

Motivation is Concentric Circles

After the debacle that was Evar’s attempt at a motivational seminar in the ‘Rat & Ferret’, a group of us decided that we would help him out by adding ‘structure’ to his technique.

I was the first to arrive and I sat nursing a pint of Nightswerve’s Velvet Cudgel while I waited for the others. Evar turned up a short time later quickly followed by Lillian Flotelitely, who had offered to enhance Evar’s limited wardrobe by donating some of her late brother’s clothes. (see Note 1) .

A little while later, the roar of a fleet of Mercedes cars signalled the arrival of a bafflement of Management Consultants (see Note 2) we had secured for the occasion with a little help from Padstow (see Note 3).

The bafflement entered the lounge and immediately agreed that, in the spirit of standardisation, they should all order the same drink. They then stood at the bar and argued over exactly what that drink would be for a good ten minutes before Mattress Madge intervened and gave them all a pint of Velvet Cudgel explaining it was the local standard. Thus placated, they joined me at my table as Lillian led in Evar.

At first, the bafflement nodded and muttered, before one of them decided Evar’s tie needed to be upgraded to silk. Another announced that it wasn’t an upgrade that was needed, but a replacement bow tie was required. The third immediately declared that the tie was an overhead and needed to be dispensed with. They squabbled amongst themselves before Lillian suggested that the tie be blue instead of green. They muttered a bit before all nodding and agreeing that a blue tie would be acceptable.

There was then a period of unexpected unanimity. All agreed that what Evar needed was a PowerPoint slideshow and that pictures and videos (see Note 4) would be spliced into some slides showing the latest management thinking gleaned from 10 minutes on Google.

When we tried to assemble the actual presentation, things started to get heated. Throgmorton Cranfield insisted that the presentation had to start with a slide consisting of concentric circles. Evander Waterhouse, immediately countered that this was against ISO43277/B and that all presentations must open with a two by two matrices. For a while, Abraham Logica said nothing and sat there thumbing through a leather bound folder before suddenly launching into a tirade claiming that both were wrong because of the template being used.

It looked like they would come to blows and try as we might, we could not calm the increasingly heated debate. In the end, Mattress Madge, Evar and I retired to the snug bar and decided to do the presentation ourselves.

When we returned an hour later, the argument was still in full swing and the walls had been covered in yellow post-it notes. I tried the polite cough to gain their attention and was totally ignored. Mattress Madge slammed a fist down onto the table causing glasses, blackberries and folders to jump several inches into the air.

The room went silent. The Management Consultants looked at Mattress Madge with their jaws hanging open.

We showed them our presentation.

Whether it was the quality of our offering or the sight of Mattress Madge all a quiver in pent up frustration, I don’t know, but the bafflement accepted it with fulsome praise.

After agreeing that Evar would give his first run through of his presentation at ‘MacWhirtles Widgets and Flanges’ next week, we all handed the Management Consultants our watches, they declared it was 22:37 (see Note 5) and we all left happy.

Note 1: The unfortunate Stanley Flotelitely will be sorely missed. A rather eccentric engineer, he travelled around the town in his patented steam powered car. His lifelong ambition was achieved last year when he developed the world’s first steam powered, fully automated Hurdy Gurdy orchestra and performed an open air concert in the local park. Sadly, while attempting to incorporate bagpipes into the orchestra, a poorly manufactured non-return valve resulted in his demise and the complete destruction of his workshop.

Note 2: I am reliably informed that bafflement is the correct collective noun when describing more than one Management Consultant. As everyone knows, a single Management Consultant is described as a flim-flam.

Note 3: Padstow had been stalking a minor soap star who had been booked to open their annual conference in Scarborough, it was our good fortune that he had decided to go for a walk on the hills and managed to get the pictures. The consultants claim they were playing charades and trying to act out Bo Peep and who am I to contradict them?

Note 4: All of us were particularly taken by one video of Evar and Yvette shot on a break from one of his competitions. In another unexpected show of unanimity we all agreed that for a big girl, Yvette is surprisingly flexible and that the video could not be shown without fear of arrest.

Note 5: I’m unsure whether or not this note is needed or if I should even include it. If you believe that it is surplus to requirements, then read no further. For as everyone knows, a Management Consultants job is to go into a company, borrow your watch, tell you the time and keep the watch.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Footprints in the Sands of the Blogosphere

I do read other people’s blogs and occasionally, I even remember to comment (although I have been known to click the submit key and then close the computer down without ever realising).

Very occasionally, I get carried away when I comment. There are a number of people who know this, most of them vowing never to have anything to do with me ever again.

This morning, not only did I get carried away, I also felt the result was worthy of saving in my own blog.

I happened to visit the Richard Madeley Appreciation Society and read his account of his adventures while filming his wildlife documentary series you will be able to see on BBC Prime Time in the autumn.

He inspired me. For my comment, read on……

I'm incredibly jealous - of the project not of your encounter with the hotel keeper (see Note 1).

Some years ago I decided to take time out to travel the world and decided to hitch hike to Margate. I got picked up by a very friendly Hungarian lorry driver (see Note 3). He told me fantastic tales of the great ferret polo matches of his youth when whole villages used hoes to try and propel a pumpkin into the opposing teams well while mounted on a ferret.

I immediately vowed that I would try my luck as a semi-professional ferret polo player. Sadly, the money ran out just outside Lille (see Note 4) and I was forced to abandon my dream and ended up running guided tours in an abattoir until I could earn my fare home.

Note 1: Footnotes in comments on other people's blogs? Oh my god, perhaps Patrick is right and I am catching a dose of the Danielewskis. (see Note 2)

Note 2: Which should have been Note 1. I suspect there is more to this encounter than you are letting on such is the penchant for bathroom couplings in Eastern Europe and the communist legacy of the lack of shower facilities.

Note 3 : Who had a terrible sense of direction and we ended up sharing the last bed in a very peculiar hotel just outside Bucharest.

Note 4: As I said, the lorry driver, who by now had appointed himself as my trainer had a very poor sense of direction. (see Note 5)

Note 5: He was also very fickle. He abandoned me in Lille to take up with a young French boy who he said he would make star, however with a name like Eric Cantona, I doubt he had a hope.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Motivation is a Lycra Body Suit

With the Winter Olympics in Vancouver rapidly approaching, Evar’s training program is really stepping up a gear. Before dawn every morning, he is out pounding the pavements on his 30km run, normally with his trainer on his back bellowing words of encouragement in his ear.

After a successful training camp in Bulgaria last month, Evar is in confident mood that next years Olympiad will be his best ever. The trouble is that none of this comes cheap and with the global financial crisis has meant that sponsorship deals are getting hard to come by.

The regulars at the ‘Rat & Ferret’ are trying to do their bit to help out. A few months back we held a Dustman’s Knock-a-thon (see Note 1) and raised enough for a carbon fibre ski pole. The after hours, high stakes domino game (see Note 2) raised enough for the other pole plus a lurid Day-Glo pink and lime green lycra bodysuit (see Note 3).

Sid and Evar have come to an agreement over Evar Merchandise sales with a small corner of the bar being set over for the sale of Evar mugs, Evar t-shirts, Evar pens and Evar nightwear. (See Note 4)

Sales were a bit slow to start with, but once Sid installed a trampoline in the beer garden and Evar has been doing a couple of hours of his freestyle work on it each week wearing his new lycra bodysuit, it picked up. It is certainly been drawing the crowds after school, enabling Sid to gleefully part the girls from their pocket money.

Despite all of this, Evar is struggling to get the funding to make sure he will be plying his stuff on the Canadian slopes.

However, he may have found the solution. Roger Black turned up to try his luck at the high stakes domino game. Roger didn’t last very long after drawing ‘The Spot’ in the second round and he and Evar got chatting. Roger, his tongue loosened by a pint of Velvet Cudgel, happened to mention that an Olympic medal or once holding the door open for Neil Armstrong , makes you eligible for the lucrative motivational speaking circuit.

Evar’s eyes narrowed, he nodded and he set his jaw.

“Zees I can DO!”  he yelled as he pumped a fist in the air.

For those of us present, it was like hearing Arnie announce “I’ll be Back!” for the first time. In seconds, the regulars of the ‘Rat & Ferret’ agreed to be the Guinea Pigs at Evar’s first attempt at a motivational seminar.

To be honest, the seminar itself wasn’t an overwhelming success. Evar decided to make a grand entrance, resplendent in his lycra body suit shouting “Cummon! Cummon! Cummon!” continually. After about 10 minutes, this became a touch wearing and the audience was more bemused then motivated.

Eventually, Evar stopped and looked around the snug bar,saliva dribbling down his chin.

“Who vants to be motivated?” he demanded as he looked around the room for someone brave enough to catch his eyes.

Nobody moved. Evar waited and the snug bar remained eerily silent.

“Me?” Stevie Bogmuffin slowly raised his hand.

Evar dragged him out to the front, jumped onto his back, produced a riding crop and started to bellow “Run! Run! Run!” in his ear.

To his credit, Stevie did three laps of the snug before collapsing. Poor Evar is still trying to work out what went wrong. A group of us regulars are meeting up with him tonight to see if we can help out, but on the strict understanding that the lycra and the riding crop don’t make an appearance.


Note 1: For the un-initiated, Dustman’s Knock is a game that is very similar to Postman’s Knock, only muckier.

Note 2: It was a stunning final with local hero Dick ‘Bromide’ Gilmarsh edging out Tom ‘The Spot’ Ludowicz in the deciding game. Tom, who flew in from Vegas in his private jet, stormed out claiming that a Mattress Madge shimmy had distracted him during a vital play. Dick meanwhile has said that he will use his winnings to buy a new shed for his allotment.

Note 3: Which, as per Evar’s exacting instructions, was purchased a size too small with a double stitched gusset.

Note 4: Yvette also supplied some other Evar branded items that she had specially made in Amsterdam, but these were impounded by Customs.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Darwin’s Evolution of Synaptic Tangent

It is time, my chipper yeomen, that I set you a small puzzle to start the week, and trust me this is a small puzzle. It has been a while since I set off on a trail of synaptic tangents, so I am going to start off small, can you connect Charles Darwin with Melinda Messenger?

Another reason I am starting off small is that I am finding inspiration hard to come by.

I believe that something has subtly changed in the BBC newsroom. This is probably not unique to Auntie. As a bit of a news junkie I do tend to flit from news source to news source like an addicted bee hops from poppy to poppy. (see Note 1)

It seems that the news pages have been slipping towards the idea that they are only supposed to report on the ‘heavy’ news items and that these must be delivered with the most depressing tone possible.

The nearest I came to inspiration over the weekend was a story over the weekend about a portaloo arsonist operating in San Fransisco. Sadly, the company spokesman already managed to deliver the obvious pun. I did note that the police did not state that they ‘have nothing to go on’, so I can only assume that they are following up the leads that point to Malibu and the neighbours of Bob Dylan.

Looking at the BBC news website this morning, there was very little there that could lift my spirits and nothing that sparked a creative synapse. The nearest I could find was a piece on Charles Darwin’s university days and that didn’t seem to hold much promise. After all, it blandly reported that the young Charles didn’t waste his student grant on anything mundane like books. (see Note 2)

Then I found a fantastic synaptic tangent to the pneumatic Melinda!

Have you found it yet? Well, those cheeky journalists at the BBC spotted that while a student, Charles Darwin paid the extra to have vegetables with his meals (see Note 3) and used it to pump the ‘five a day’ healthy eating mantra. For those of you who didn’t realise, Melinda Messenger, when she isn’t dancing on ice (see Note 4), is the face behind the NHSfive a day’ message.

Well, if you excuse me, I must sign off. All this talk of healthy eating has given me the urge to go nibble on a melon.

Note 1: OK, there is no scientific basis for believing that the pollen from the poppy is anyway addictive to bees.

Note 2; It’s good to see that nothing much has changed with student life over the years. Modern students might not collect beetles, but they certainly try to avoid frittering their money away on books.

Note 3: Well, some things about student life have changed. If my son is anything to go by, modern students cross the road to avoid vegetables.

Note 4: I’ve never actually watched this show and never will in protest at the exploitative reality format. Sadly, it doesn’t stop me giving it a plug every now and again. I’m sure a psychotherapist would love the opportunity to explain that.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Perils of a Burned Out Clutch

Ah my fervid yeomen, I fear that sometimes that my clutch needs a good service. I am not talking about that my automobile is suffering a fault, but the mechanism that sits between my brain and my mouth.

When I am dealing with the written word, be it for work or pleasure, my brain tends to switch to this strange mode. Things happen around me and my brain reacts.

Yesterday, a group of colleagues were engaging in conversation near my desk and were talking about various ways to cope with stress (see Note 1) while I was trying to write the weekly great work of fiction which is the progress report.

One of my colleagues mentioned that to relax he likes to play the clarinet. My brain, absolutely determined to divert from the boring business of justifying refactoring, saw its opportunity and escaped off onto a tangent.

What I meant to say was “Is that a Euphemism?” what actually came out was “Do you do it in private with a bottle of baby oil and some tissues?”

As you may imagine, this was not met with a universal reaction of mirth. A woman with the group appeared most offended (see Note 2) and I felt the need to apologise.

It reminded me of the kitten naming incident I wrote about in my blog yesterday. (See Note 3)

Not all of my interventions into other people’s conversations result in disaster. Only this morning another, recently married colleague was in need of lawn mowing advice. (see Note 4) I was only too happy to help and suggested two options, the Suffolk Punch and an alternative. Of course, the alternative caused my brain to fire up and all sorts of synapses to flare up. One-liners from “Remember to keep your over-sized wellies by the back door” to far, far worse sprang to mind. (See Note 5)

I really don’t have much of an excuse for coming out with conversation stoppers like that. I’m a grown man and should by now have found away to ensure that the clutch is engaged in such circumstances.

Some would take the easy way out and blame the pressure, the stress, the dodgy air-conditioning, but I really cannot do that. My writing tends to take away the stress, the more stress I’m under; the more I retreat to my virtual reality. When I feel pressure, the end result is normally a ‘Rat & Ferret’ post and after one of those, I feel a lot better.

Besides, what I do can hardly be considered stressful, real stress can be found in this very poignant tale of Major Edward "Mick" Mannock VC.

Note 1: My own favourite way is to down a few dried frog pills and sit down with a blank document open in Word. I just let my brain take me on a merry jaunt and I let my fingers tap away and see what results. Today, you got this. At the time of writing this footnote, I have no idea what ‘this’ actually is, only the opening gambit. As in chess, the end result is a matter determined by random synapses as my brain tries to out manoeuvre me.

Note 2: No, I mustn’t say it. Such comments usually serve to line lawyer’s pockets.

Note 3: Thinking about Mike yesterday, I decided to see if he had left his foot fall somewhere on Google. I did a couple of searches and discovered a lead in Melbourne, Australia. I fired off an email and discovered it was indeed he! This is an object lesson for all those former yeomen who have had expensive therapy and moved to the other side of the world to forget. Be afraid, be very afraid. I have Google and I am not afraid to use it.

Note4: Recently as in last year, but it is recent enough to have me think that this is the first time in a while he has looked out of the window and realised the grass has got long.

Note 5: Those who didn’t follow the links may be confused, but hey! I was just thankful the guy wasn’t Welsh, or I am sure the clutch would have burned out and I would have been in trouble again.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Group Therapy

It was sometime in the mi-90s that I first started to write for pleasure. There I was, happily sliding towards my 40s when I met Mike. I’m not quite clear on how it happened, but somehow, under the editorial leadership of Mike, a magazine came into being that satirised the official company magazine.

Calling our offering a magazine was probably stretching the point. While the company magazine was glossy and slick, ours consisted of a few sheets of A4 paper stapled together. While the company had access to an editor, ours went out typos and all. The company used professional photographers. We cut cartoons from back copies of ‘Punch’ magazine and changed the text underneath. The company undoubtedly had access to tools that ensured it was laid out impeccably. We would sit with bits of paper and glue, stick the contributions to the A4 sheet and photocopy them.

Despite this, our offering was surprisingly popular. For ‘Children in Need’ we produced special editions, charged the princely sum of 50p and sold out before lunch. (see Note 1) Above all, I found the act of writing bits of it highly therapeutic.

Mike moved on and by popular demand I carried on with the magazine. Then came the unfortunate incident of the new kitten. One of the (female) managers came into possession of a kitten. She may have let slip that she hadn’t thought of a good name, so naturally, I sought to help. In one edition we ran a competition, ‘Guess the name of X’s pussy!’ It didn’t go down well and management introduced censorship and the edginess and feeling of fun was lost. The magazine faded away.

Back then my writing wasn’t up to much. My effulgent yeomen may be thinking that nothing much changes, but hard as it is to believe, my writing has improved since then.

At the time, I was already using the Internet. I started off with a CompuServe account using the mosaic browser and a 19.6K modem. With my creative outlet gone, I started to explore the internet for other outlets. I started off going to newsgroups, eventually graduating to messageboards before discovering a few sites on the web that catered for writers.

Eventually, I grew bored with the writing sites and decided to write a blog instead. Now, virtually all my writing is either in a blog or is reworked from one of my ramblings that started as a blog. I find that this gives me the therapy I crave without having to commit to heavily.

The blog gives a lot of creative freedom and allows you to do all sorts of clever things with other media, but I essentially use it as a written word tool. However, there seems to be a limit to just how much I can read in a blog and how much I can interact with the writer or as a writer. In my eyes at least, it has been a shortcoming of the internet that reading off a screen is difficult. Reading from a book or a piece of paper is so much easier (see Note 2).  It is almost as if going onto the internet immediately sets your attention span to a lower setting.

For all of the advances in technology and the Internet, the position of the book has never been challenged.  For interaction and presentation, you cannot beat the Internet.

Then there is the issue of putting writers together on a site. There always seemed to be ‘issues’ amongst writers on an internet site. It was fine when all of the writers were happily praising each other like luvvies on the red carpet at the Oscars, but that never lasted. Sooner or later constructive critiques would be asked for and received signalling tears before bedtime. As I think one great wit once put it, ‘You can stroke some of the egos all of the time, all of the egos some of the time, but not all of the egos all of the time.’

There was no better example of this than the collaborative story. One writer would write a paragraph or two and hand over to another writer to add a bit, who would hand over to another. The trouble was that you would write a bit setting up a later contribution only to have your ideas stamped upon by some guy who believed that all stories needed to contain at least one herd of flying, killer gerbils.

I loved the collaborative story; it was just so rare that one ever got finished.

The other day I was doing my news junkie bit on the BBC Technology site and I came across the story covering the South by Southwest Web Awards, in Austin, Texas. (See Note 3) Seeing that the winner was British, obviously I felt I should take a look.

The ‘We Tell Stories’ site was a really pleasant surprise. For the last few days I have been poking around an enjoying the way the new modern takes on classics were presented making the most of the interactive nature of the Internet. I keep finding myself going back to have another look and a little play.

Yet, I somehow doubt that this is another Flickr, Facebook or Twitter. You see it lacks one rather important element – the ability of the masses to contribute to the story. At the moment, all it does is provide content and once that content is exhausted, people will stop coming and the site will languish on some backwater of the Interweb.

If this site is to become ‘the next big thing’, it really needs to make tools available to the masses that will allow them to provide content into the site, which in turn will ensure that there is always something there for the returning visitor.

Consider the story posted called ‘The (Former) General’. You navigate through the narrative by clicking on the arrow keys, you choose the direction you want the story to move in. Now consider if the tools were there to allow a group to collaborate on the story, to add routes, to branch off one plot and into another, to add new nodes and their own prose or poetry (or pictures or video). Suddenly you have a tool to allow people to be creative, generate content and above all a commitment to the site and returning foot fall (see Note 4). It would even give those with the desire to control armies of flying, killer gerbils the ability to create their own plot line without upsetting the egos of other writers.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this site, I just would love to play with the tools and produce my own interactive stories using them.

Note 1: There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that, to ensure sales success, we had removed all of the toilet rolls from the toilets.

Note 2: I wonder if it has something to do with you look down to read a book and straight ahead to read a screen? I wonder if there is some primeval trigger in the brain that has conditioned the human race to equate looking ahead with adrenaline type activities that require physical action such as hunting or avoiding being hunted, while looking down means you feel secure, and so can relax?

Note 3: I like the idea of an ‘elevator pitch’. It obviously saves the licence payers money by doing away with the need for a studio. I wish that some of the people who give me presentations would learn the technique.

Note 4: I’m not quite sure what the Internet equivalent to ‘foot fall’ would be.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Bewildering Air of Unmatched Non-conformance

Anyone interested in purchasing this hilarious party attire should visit funnfrolic.

It seems that I have picked up some kind of strange ailment. It is one of those horrible illnesses where you feel bad, ache, get tired quickly and feel a little ‘odd’. (see Note 1)

This has been made worse by somehow tweaking a rib muscle in my sleep. For those of you who have never managed to tug an intercostal, I can testify that it is a particularly painful affliction whenever you twist your torso. (see Note 2)

This second problem is probably best fixed by getting plenty of rest and maybe a trip to the ‘Rat & Ferret’. Sid always has a couple of bottles of Ethaniel Nightswerve’s Thoracic Embrocation under the counter for such emergencies. Had I not felt quite so ‘odd’, I might have even paid the premium to have Mattress Madge and her amazing manipulating digits apply it, but, at the moment, I’m not quite sure that I would get the most from the occasion.

I know my cognitive yeomen will suggest I should go visit my doctor’s surgery.

This is probably good advice, but sadly my past experiences tend to suggest otherwise.

My last visit was on a balmy sunny day. The surgery was hermetically sealed from the outside world with the heating turned up to full (see Note 3). As I walked in, a neighbour with her sick child waved at me and I felt obliged to sit between her and on old man with a complexion of a medieval manuscript.

While I was treated to the latest gossip, her son coughed, sneezed and wheezed. Then in apparent contradiction to his mother’s assertion that he was an angel, wiped his nose on my arm. The old man was replaced by a woman who seemed to have an angle grinder in her chest cavity.

When my neighbour was called, I was left to contemplate a geriatric copy of Reader’s Digest while a man with a face not unlike an over-ripe Victoria plum, coughed into my left ear threatening hearing loss.

Eventually my name was called over the crackly PA and I got to see the doctor. Ignoring my detailed description of my symptoms, he shone lights into every orifice, poked planks of wood around my mouth and stuck his stethoscope places I’d forgotten I had.

Ignoring my obvious discomfort and weakened state, he snapped on a latex glove with far too much glee for my liking and then decided an impromptu prostrate exam would be fun. It wasn’t.

After having me climb on the scales and him give that long intake of breath normally the preserve of car mechanics, I expected him to reach for the prescription pad. He didn’t.

Instead, he told me I had a virus (see Note 4). What I needed to do was to lose weight, drink less, take more exercise and rest and drink plenty of liquids – which seemed the most contrary and contradicting diagnosis.

So, I sit here feeling ‘odd’, but not odd enough to visit the quack. I think I can guess what he would say should I pay him a visit. I have an idiosyncratic virus. I should rest, sit quietly at my keyboard and regale the world with my feeling of ‘odd’ while drinking copious amounts of liquids in the form of beer.

You know what? I think I’m beginning to feel better already.

Note 1: I realise that there is a fair proportion of the population scratching their heads at this. It is generally accepted that ‘they’ have already observed my behaviour, produced their clipboard and written ‘odd’ against my name in green biro. However, I still stand by my claim of feeling ‘odd’. To try and make this odd state off affairs easier to explain, I decided to consult an on-line thesaurus to see if I could find the correct state. There are a huge range of words there. I particularly liked wacky, weird and screwy. I did consider kinky for a while, but as I said, I’m getting tired quickly so it was discounted. In the end, I decided that the best I could come up was odd, but decided to add a pair of quotation marks so you realised that I am in an odder state of odd. 

Note 2: Which is another reason why the word kinky was discounted.

Note 3: I’m undecided whether this is a marketing ploy by the medical profession to ensure that all the happy germs floating around the waiting room have a chance to find a new host to guarantee future income or if it is to make sure that people don’t start to feel better and wander off before their turn to see the doctor.

Note 4: It is absolutely impossible that a single virus could have caused me to be that ill. At the very least it was a whole army of the little bleeders all behaving like they were on a stag weekend in Blackpool.


Monday, March 16, 2009

I woke up this mornin'

I had this wonderful idea that I would kick off today's entry with a little rhyme in the style of the blues. I'm sure you know what I mean....

"I woke up this mornin' and my little doggy was gorn.

I woke up this mornin' and my little doggy was gorn.

There was a wet patch on the carpet, and a big one in my shoe."

You know how my mind works, I had something I wanted to eventually get round to writing about, but I didn't want to provide too many clues.

It will come as no surprise to learn that I do not own a dog and therefore it couldn't have scarppered after leaving a calling card in my footwear. (see Note 1).

It is probably no shock to my voluminous yeomen that I was to get a little sidetracked while looking for examples of blues verse and I found this particular diity describes as 'salacious'

See that spider crawlin' up that wall 

See that spider crawlin' up that wall

He's crawlin up there to get his ashes hauled.

Let me be your little dog till your big dog comes 

Let me be your little dog till your big dog comes

And when the big dog gets here, tell him what the puppy done done

Rebecca, Rebecca, get your big legs off of me 

Rebecca, Rebecca, get your big legs off of me

It may be sending you baby but its worryin' the hell out of me.

So I have been sat here staring at that rhyme and wondering about the salacious content. To begin with, I thought I must have got the meaning of the word salacious wrong, but the dictionary confirmed what I thought it meant. 

sa·la·cious Pronunciation: \sə-lā-shəs\ Function: adjective

Etymology: Latin salac-, salax, from salire to move spasmodically, leap — more at sally

Date: circa 1645 arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination lascivious, lecherous, lustful; sa·la·cious·ly adverb sa·la·cious·ness noun

The first reading left me cold. I turned the lights down low and tried again with the same results. I tried lighting a few candles and touch of Mantovani on the hifi and my loins failed to even twitch.

Reading it fast or slow made no difference. Imagining it sung to a classic blues backing track just had me scratching my head. (See Note 2)

In an act of singular desperation, I even tried to sing it myself (see Note 3)

I have to admit defeat. I thought I was a man of the world, a man with an euphemism for every occasion, but this lyric has me well and truly stumped. What on earth does it mean by 'ashes hauled'? Would I enjoy it?

It looks like song lyrics, especially blues song lyrics, hit the same dark hole in my Psyche as poetry.

Perhaps I should just write about my original topic, if only I could remember what it was....

Note 1 : We do have a psychotic cat that although being an absolute model of virtue in all matters pertaining to the toilet, finds numerous other ways to amuse herself. Her current favourite is waiting until you are asleep then pushing herself under the bottom of the duvet to slash and bite your toes.

Note 2 : Mainly about how the waiters could dance like that without spilling any of the beer.

Note 3 : Sadly, if the microphone on my computer wasn't a bit dodgy before, after a couple of bars it had well and truly raised the white flag.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lazy Sunday Afternoon


Well, my pertinacious yeomen, my little experiment yesterday with the video proved less than perfect. It seems that the sound quality on the video was not of professional quality.

Stung by the comments, I have spent the morning tinkering with the computer. I have upgraded my display drivers (see Note 1), downloaded the latest versions of the webcam software and generally tinkered and tweaked since I first surfaced from my pit.

So far, success has been found to be, errr... limited. I can make the microphone pick up my dulcet tones better, but only if I turn all the settings up to full. To be honest, I was starting to get a little frustrated with the lack of progress, something that just shouldn’t happen today

Deciding that there must be something better to do on an easy Sunday morning and struggling for a topic to write about, I went  out into the street and took a couple of pictures of flowers in the sunshine.

Strange how just walking away from a problem frees up the brain. By this, I don’t mean that I have solved my little microphone issue, just that in finding that little link up there and listening to it has got me to unwind a touch and start to follow a few links on You Tube.  Yes, I know, I am really cheating here, just sitting here, slowly, softly getting so laid back and relaxed, typing a few words and throwing in a link to another music video.

Had I continued, I would have been so laid back I was in danger of grazing the back of my head and you would have a music list that would last you until Wednesday, but that last one set up an echo.  Try as I might, there was a troublesome synapse that just wasn’t prepared to be a wimp. It was becoming an albatross around my neck, it was determined to stop me dreaming (see Note 2).

All I wanted was a touch of entertainment and here was a troublesome synapse holding out to keep me in a spin (See Note 3). It was a constant fight for me as the rogue thought kept blinding me to my quest.

In the end I knew it was a lost cause. The trap was tripped. The rogue synapse was determined to dictate the words from my mouth.

I’m not going to admit total defeat though. I’ll not spend time looking for a way to make a long and complicated ‘connections’ blog.

You see, there are times when you wonder just what on earth our government is playing at. They are now trying to make us all ‘healthy’. They are worried that we are drinking too much, so they want to make alcohol more expensive. A strange measure that seems to suggest that the drinking of alcohol is only a problem for the poor as it is they that will find pay the greatest proportion of their income to enjoy a drink while those who manufacture the demon drink will benefit from the higher prices. Odd.

There is also a body of opinion out there who want to tax chocolate in order that we will all forgo that particular pleasure and buy broccoli instead. Mind you, this could be just a ploy to stop the new film of Marianne Faithfull’s life story.

Note 1 : Yes, I realise that the display drivers have nothing to do with the microphone, but I noticed that on some occasions, when I was using the webcam the screen seemed to start to lose the odd pixel and look grainy.

Note 2 : It was a toss up between that one and this one. I hope I made the right choice.

Note 3 : You know what, just having one from these guys is not enough, you’ve made me so very happy.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Somebody said they wanted to see me reading one of my stories.

So, here I am, reading one of my stories. Please be careful what you wish for.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Gentlemen of the Press

It doesn’t seem ten minutes ago that I staggered out of bed, cursing and grumbling that it was Monday morning, but somehow I find it is Friday. There seems to have been a slight acceleration in the speed of time in my particular reality at the moment.


The week has been a busy one what with the various outings I’ve had with the festival and a few technical curved balls at work.


I had thought, my mettlesome yeomen, that I would find the time to resurrect a few synaptic tangents for a Friday poser to get the little grey thingies coursing and your scalp zinging to such a degree that dandruff charities would be picketing my keyboard. Only the synapses seem to have gone off their own devices today deciding instead to pose quarrelsome questions that I cannot answer.



For instance, this morning I was going to pay for my breakfast (See Note 1) and I pulled out a tatty £10 note from my wallet and my synapses immediately posed the question “What with all of this “Quantitative  Easing going on at the Bank of England, why is it I’m not seeing any new banknotes?”


To my shame, I couldn’t answer and was forced to skulk off to make myself a cup of tea.


Determined to shake up my synapses and herd them into a better shape, I decided to have a look at a few blogs to see if I could rustle up a few ideas that had some obscure connection to matters porcine (See Note 2).


The trouble was I came across this blog from Enemies of Reason. My blood pressure rose rendering 37.5% of my synapses inoperable and 42.5% were immediately fully occupied trying to remember where I’d left my soap box. (see Note 3).


My first step was to go and do some validation of the facts, so I clicked on the link to the story shown in the blog. For probably logical reasons, the story seems to be unavailable. However, somebody had posted a link to a cache of the story. OK, so there is still a (slight) risk that this is an elaborate technical hoax, but I’m afraid that I doubt it.


It is getting to the point that you can believe anything of our newspapers as they compete to see who can scrape the barrel the deepest.



Note 1 : Two lightly poached eggs on two slices of toast with a rasher of bacon, baked beans and mushrooms - just the way to kick start a Friday. I would like to point out that It is only a Friday that I don’t indulge my intestines like that every day, but Friday we hold a team breakfast at work to allow my team to bond with me and to gain the benefit of my wit and wisdom. I don’t think it is working too well though. Most of the time I seem to be eating alone.

Note 2 : I did begin to wonder if the eating a rather delicious rasher of bacon for breakfast (crisp at the rind, but succulent flesh, with the optimum caramelisation and the most fantastic aroma), had made the synapses rebel in protest.

Note 3 : The remaining 20% stubbornly refused to forget the memory of the breakfast and the particularly good rasher of bacon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Do you want Drut'syla with that?

Last night I had a Drut'syla with my dinner. Now, my sybarite yeomen, you may now believe that this means I washed down the vitals with a large glass of fermented camels milk or that I enjoyed a side order of a filo parcel containing the highly spiced sweetmeats from a rare arctic mountain lion, but alas, you would be wrong.

Were this this the 1970's, at this point invite you to provide the answer on a postcard with the tantalising promise of a chance to win an empty gin bottle autographed by the Chuckle Brothers.

Sadly, times have moved on and such is society's clamour for instant gratification, the postcard is now longer viewed as an effective form of communication and the gin bottle was long since recycled. (see Note 1)

So, to keep you firmly focused on the matter in hand, I need to inform you that a Drut'syla is in fact a a storyteller from the Yiddish tradition.

Shonaleigh Cumbers is the aforementioned Drut'syla (See Note 2).

Last night, the Oundle Festival of Literature migrated to the outskirts of the town, to the banks of the River Nene, to provide us with 'Stories to Dine For'. The event actually served two purposes, one was the festival, the other was to have a nose around the Oundle Mill. (See Note 3)

The top restaurant at Oundle Mill

The Oundle Mill has obviously been refurbished to a high standard. The food was OK too.

However, what I really enjoyed was the story telling. The best way to describe the stories themselves is Arabian Nights Tales with a bit of an edge. Given the derivation of the Arabian Nights Tales and that the Jewish tradition of the Drut'syla mixed into the complex nature of Middle Eastern politics it does seem rather an odd mix.

Not that it detracted from the stories. Having someone as obviously skilled and practiced as Shonaleigh deliver them was somehow nostalgic. That might seem an obscure way to describe it, but I think that is absolutely ages that somebody told me a story. The last time I remember having somebody tell me a story I must have been a child. Before bed, my father used to tell me stories of Coco the Clown and his mystical magical powers.

The atmosphere of Oundle Mill mixed with the story telling had an alchemy all of its own. The experience was really wonderful. I'm not sure that I needed the meal, it kind of got in the way, reduced the time for the stories and made it a late night for the middle of the working week. (see Note 4)

The outside of Oundle Mill

I am perhaps being a little picky about it because I get a touch grumpy when I don't get my sleep.

It was a great evening. The stories were enthralling and the atmosphere of the Mill added to the occasion.

It is just such a shame that the oral story telling tradition seems to be dying out. Shonaleigh believes there are only two other Drut'syla out there and so that particular story telling tradition is dying out.

Perhaps storytelling is something that Literary Festivals could look to encourage?

Note 1 : And such are the prices charged at The Oundle Mill for drinks, I can no longer afford to provide a substitute prize.

Note 2 : Not to be confused with an unfortunate fungal infection caught by rolling in damp lambswool with Albanian peasant girls.

Note 3 : The Oundle Mill seems to have been undergoing refurbishment for years. The sign at the entrance has been announcing an ever slipping opening date, but now it is open for business.

Note 4 : I get up just after 5:00 each morning, so as I type this I look a bit like a panda due to lack of sleep.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Much Ado About Pansies

It is possible that some of you may have been on expedition to the wilds of Manchester studying aboriginal termites. With your access to to civilisation, the internet, my blog and modern plumbing limited, you may not have realised that the Oundle Festival of Literature is going on.

For the Festival, there was a competition to write a piece for a Shakespeare event loosely based on 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' or 'The Tempest'. I produced a piece based on a joke I saw on Judy's site. The links to anything remotely like Shakespeare were tenuous in the extreme. However, for reasons best known to the judges, they selected it to be performed.

I did promise that I would share the piece after the event had been completed. So, for those of you with any interest, please read on...

Much Ado about Pansies.

Lizzie and I were in the Rose and Thistle discussing our Greek holiday plans when, like the anti-hero from that Carly Simon song, ‘he’ walked in. Lizzie stopped talking mid-sentence, pupils dilating as she checked him out checking his immaculately tousled hair in the mirror.

He moved like a dancer across the room. A tight, white, T-shirt emphasised his tan and his muscular torso. The even tighter trousers causing Lizzie’s mouth to drop open – although his assets had surely been bolstered by a strategically placed sock. As he joined a crowded table, I knew that there would be no further discussions of sun kissed Greek beeches that night. Lizzie was a girl on a mission.

I’d been here before. Lizzie has the physical assets allowing her for one night to have almost any man she wants while I am usually left with his mate who can make one night feel like half a lifetime.

I watched as she sashayed to the ladies toilet. While nearly every man in the pub dribbled their beer, he remained stubbornly aloof. Half an hour later, she tried the predatory sashay with stumble and apologetic fumbling to remove spilt beer. That didn’t work either.

I mocked her efforts and told her she didn’t have a chance. Lizzie glared at me.

“I have £10 that says you can’t do any better!” She snapped.

Although I don’t have her love of bedroom gymnastics, she knew that I couldn’t resist a bet.

Over the next few weeks, I discovered his name, Patrick and that he worked in the same building as Lizzie and I. It didn’t take long to discover his routine and engineer meetings in the lift and the coffee shop. I even took to going for walks in the park where he went jogging at lunchtime, but my softly, softly approach drew the same blanks as Lizzie and her headlong assaults.

By the time we went on holiday, it looked as if neither of us would win that £10.
Once in Greece, Lizzie soon forgot about Patrick. Her attentions soon fell on an olive skinned tour guide who was more susceptible to her charms.

Unfortunately, this meant we had to sign up for all of his tours.

I can only get excited about old ruins for so long. On yet another trek through the remains of some ancient temple, I reached my limits. While the tour group bore the brunt of the sun, I took myself off into a wood, sitting on a log where I could watch the coach and sip at my bottle of water.

Suddenly I became aware that I wasn’t alone. This strange looking Greek guy was sat next to me. I tried to ignore him, but he was persistent. He thrust a bag of flowers in my hand. The bag was of the finest lace with this fantastic spider’s web design. He called them ‘Love in Idleness’, but anyone could see they were just pansies. He made the most ludicrous claims for them. I firmly and politely declined, but when I turned to hand them back, he was gone. I looked around for him but it was as if he had become invisible, so I just dropped the flowers in their pretty lace pouch into my handbag.

When we returned from holiday, Lizzie seemed to have lost interest in our little bet, but I wasn’t going to give in.

A week or so later I was walking in the park and I came across Patrick, dozing on a bench in the sunshine and I remembered the flowers. I didn’t believe the strange Greek guy’s claims for a moment, but hey, it was worth a shot. I took the flowers in the bag and squeezed them so the juice dripped onto his eyelids.

Patrick stirred and woke. He looked straight at me and he looked at me like no man ever has. He asked me to sit with him, but I rushed away, shouting over my shoulder that I would be in the Rose and Thistle on Friday night and that he should meet me there and give me his best line.

On the Friday, Patrick walked in to the Rose and Thistle and checked himself in the mirror. Lizzie nudged me, but I had already spotted him. He looked around the bar, spotted us at the table and walked over with a slow bounce in his step. He was wearing his tightest trousers and it looked like he’d stuffed them with an extra sock.

Lizzie was beside herself, nudging me and whispering ‘He’s coming over! He’s coming over!” His dark eyes were fixed on me. I tried to stay calm and nonchalant by sipping at my vodka and Red Bull. Reaching our table, Patrick leaned down and looked deep into my soul.

Patrick paused for effect before purring “For £20, I will do anything you want.”

I looked at Lizzie. Her eyes were wide. Her mouth was moving, but no words spilled out. Victory was mine!

I savoured the moment by memorising the sight of a totally flummoxed Lizzie and the amazing puce colour she was turning. Smiling, I reached into my purse and withdrew a crisp £20 note.

I took Patrick’s hand and slowly, seductively pressed the note into it.

“Patrick, you have made my night. Now...” I paused and licked my lips with the tip of my tongue “clean my flat."


I can only hope you feel it was worth the wait.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Big Issue

"Beggars detest those who do not give them money and loathe those who do."

When John Bird makes a quote like that, he speaks with the confidence of experience. At the age of 5, he was homeless, his Irish immigrant parents having been unable to pay the rent. By 7, he was taken into a Catholic care system. By his teenage years, in trouble with the law, he found himself in an approved school, from where he absconded, got into trouble again and ended up in a borstal.

At borstal, he was fortunate that he ended up with a prison officer who helped him to learn to read, otherwise he may well have entered adult life with a literacy problem (See Note 1).

After leaving borstal, he continued with his 'nefarious activities' in London, finding time to get a girl pregnant and enter into a disastrous marriage. After a spell abroad to avoid helping with enquiries, he went to Scotland to meet with his estranged wife who wanted nothing to do with him. He ended up in Edinburgh, where he met Gordon Roddick, a 'big-nosed Scot poet' to use John's words. For about a year they became really close friends before drifting apart for many years.

As John Bird spoke with frankness about his early life at the Oundle Festival of Literature event last night, I couldn't help thinking that under some jurisdictions, his criminal activities would have led to the 'throwing away the key' approach. Had that been in place here, then it makes you wonder if there would have been a 'Big Issue' magazine.

The idea behind the magazine is so simple that it is one that makes you wonder why it hadn't been done before. The Big Issue creates a magazine which they sell to their homeless vendors for 70p. The vendors sell it on the streets for £1.50 and get to keep the profits.

It wasn't original. it stemmed from an encounter Gordon Roddick (now married to Anita Roddick of Body Shop fame) had with a street newspaper vendor in Manhattan.

Returning to the UK in the early 1990's, a time when London was experiencing a growing homelessness problem, Gordon approached John to start a scheme in the UK. John turned him down at first, but faced with a cash flow problem, relented and the rest, as they say, is history.

In the talk last night, John spoke passionately (so passionately that he had to remove a loose crown from his tooth to prevent injury to the front row) about his belief that the success of the 'Big Issue' is down to being run as a business and doesn't indulge the homeless.

The principles behind it stem from the need to remove the 'Bastille of Dependency' that had grown up amongst the homeless. In the beginning the vendors were used to getting everything for nothing.

The success of the Big Issue supports his views that to achieve social justice, welfare or support has to provide people with the means to support themselves and be a springboard.

Now the 'Big Issue' is now moving forward with the aim to provide the education to ensure that the principles of social justice are not forgotten in these harsh economic times. Above all that we remember the lessons of history and avoid making scapegoats of minorities the way that the Nazi's did to gain power.

It truly was a stunning talk. I'm sure that given the chance that John Bird would have talked for hours, but in the end time defeated him. Certainly, I have only been able to capture a fraction of what was delivered with heartfelt conviction. It was a great event, I am really pleased that I made the effort to attend.

Thank you for a thought provoking evening, John. 

Note 1 : Even today there are issues with the education of children in our care system with 70% leaving care with reading difficulties and 80% struggling with maths. When looking for a reference source, I discovered a paper from the UK National Statistic Department, which is in pdf format and can be found here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Shaken and Stirred

The empty stage

It seems that for the photographs on all of the Festival events, I will have to make do with pictures of the empty stage. It seems that performers don't like it when in mid-flow, some fat bald bloke jumps out of his seat and shouts 'CHEESE!".

Last night, I had the red carpet treatment for the first (And probably the only) public performance of my piece "Much Ado About Pansies". This took place at the Stahl Theatre in Oundle.

If truth be told, there were no paparazzi and no red carpet. I didn't even get a limo to drive me to the doors. The screaming fans had obviously been told the wrong date. So all in all, the new posh frock was a complete waste of money.

Shakespeare Unleashed was not.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually enjoyed it. The director, singers and actors had obviously worked hard to make sure that they did justice to the words and music. The performances were superb.

Special mention must go to Heather Diggle who did a marvellous job delivering my piece with such impeccable timing that she managed to draw out the laughs from the packed auditorium.

All of the pieces were delivered well. I was particularly impressed by Greg Wilkinson who despite only being in the Fifth Form at Oundle School produced a series of excellent presentations. None more so than his performance of "Mine" by Hilary Spiers, which was a first rate piece written for the event.

The program Shakespeare Unleashed

I left the event with a real spring in my step. It was a good night. OK, so it was a bit uncomfortable in having to stand up and face the audience when they asked the writers to take a bow, but the memory of watching Heather take my piece and make it look so good will live with me for a lifetime.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Simon Holder (born 13 May 1643) is Meritorious Practitioner of Murphy's Law at the University of Fotheringhay, a post for which he has drawn a salary for many years without anybody knowing what he actually does. Holder recently noticed that too many pairs of his trousers has taken to doing impressions of cheap hotels. A noted expert in alternative realities, it is rumored that he has discovered the means to escape the constraints of time and space, although he has yet to publish on the subject.



  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Education
  • 3 Early Life
  • 4 The 18th Century
  • 5 The 19th Century
  • 6 The early 20th Century
  • 7 Dried Frog Pills
  • 8 Evar
  • 9 Notes
  • 10 References
  • 11 External links

// Biography

Holder claims to be born somewhere in England on 13 May, 1643. While being very insistent that the 13th May is his birthday, he has nothing to support his claim to being the world’s oldest man. He has a brother and sister who are both over 315 years younger than himself, a fact he puts down to his parents discovering yoga and monkey gland injections in their twilight years. After school, Holder held short lived careers as a Forest Ranger and in Local Government before finding that computers have no discrimination towards reality hopping.

All of Holder’s theories on reality have been published on the internet. It was by pure chance that these were discovered by luminaries at St Wayne’s College,  the University of Fotheringhay, who offered him the chair of the newly formed Reality Studies school.


Holder came very late to education, starting school in the 1960s. He attended a number of educational establishments where his teachers described him as ‘not all there’, ‘somewhere else’ and in ‘a little world all of his own’. The school reports from his early education are currently in a brown cardboard box in a very safe place to prevent competitor academics gaining access as they are believed to provide a clue as how he manages to slip between realities. After failing at a wide range of schools, he eventually finished his education at Devizes School, were it is claimed that the teachers occupied as many alternate realities as he did.

Early Life

Very little is known of Holder’s early life. A lot has been written in the media about the claims made by some embroidery circles that he alone was responsible for the Restoration of the English Monarchy. Holder himself claims that he had never met the women involved and that it isn’t his likeness in the engravings.

 The 18th Century

Nothing of note happened in the 18th Century, but it could be that Holder had a cold the day they did that in history.

The 19th Century

Holder did military service in the 46th Queens Hosiery. He entered in the ranks and after serving for 40 years in India and Afghanistan, emerging as the country’s most decorated major. This is mainly due to the relationships with the local embroidery circles. It is probably his exploits with the young embroiderers of Bangalore that would later be embellished by the Lord of the Evil Empire  to try and undermine his role as confidant to un-named member of the royal family.

After military service, Holder returned to London where he worked as osteopath to the stars enjoying affairs with many music hall stars of the era. His career reached it’s peak in 1894, but a scandal involving a young chorus girl, exotic fruit, two small lizards and a malfunctioning butter churn in a suite at the Ritz Hotel meant him leaving England to live the life of a hermit in the Balkans.

While practicing as an osteopath, he formed a lifelong friendship with Ethaniel Nightswerve, the brewing and embrocation magnate. This relationship lasted for many years and it is Holder who is credditted with providing Nightswerve with the confidence to set up his first brewery. Holder also invested £50 in the newly formed company and the profits from this venture is believed to have funded his early amphibian research.

The early 20th Century

It is widely acknowledged that the authorities in Europe have hushed up that Holder very nearly prevented World War I. On the eve of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Holder was called to the Archduke’s private apartments and called upon to give him a reading of his bumps. According to Holder, he advised the Archduke he would be killed if he ventured out the next day. Official sources deny this saying that he was advised to ‘wear an extra vest in case he caught his death of a cold’.

Dried Frog Pills

With the Serbian Secret Service hot on his tail, Holder was smuggled out of the Balkans by a young Chief Inspector McCrindle Barleymow Honeydew-Fforbes of Old Scotland Yard. MI5, worried that Holder could destabilise the war effort, sent Holder to Peru. There he noticed the local custom of licking toads seemed to leave the population in a state of calm equilibrium with a very laid back attitude to life. After pairing up with a passing double-jointed anthropologist, he decided to perform an in depth study of the various amphibians and their therapeutic properties.

Due to a particularly energetic and long duration session of bedroom gymnastics with the aforementioned anthropologist, a set of toads put in the oven to warm, were forgotten. By the time that Holder returned to them, they had been reduced to a fine powder. A passionate argument ensued during which various substances were thrown across the laboratory, one of which, when exposed to fumes from Ethaniel Nightswerve’s Thoracic liniment,  caused a reaction with the toad. Subsequent testing showed that in pill form, the resulting concoction proved to be even more beneficial than the licking of toads and did not make the subject prone to tongue warts.


Holder is the mentor and agent to the Latvian downhill skier, Evar.


  1. ^ Interview with a legend, Pippa Greatchest, The Guardian UK, 2002-10-16. Retrieved 2008-02-14
  2. ^ Embrocation – The Recession Proof Investment, Harry Porten Lemon, The Financial Times, 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  3. ^  Embroidery in Warfare. The Times Educational Supplement. 15 October 1997. http://www.the 
  4. ^ Best 360 Evar!, The Sun UK, 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2008-02-14


  • Therapeutic Amphibian Extractions   Dr Wilfred Clapman. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2005-01-13.
  • Legends of the Yard, Socialist Worker, Magenta Poppet, 2000-10-12. Retrieved 2007-08-27.

External links

Retrieved from " Holder"