Saturday, 31 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Seventeen (Piracy)


Interior. A Blacksmith’s workshop. The nineteenth century. Two men, dressed in the garb of stereotypical pirates, face each other, snarling. The lamplight picks out the detail on their brocade and brass buttons. They circle each other. They leap forward, swords drawn. They parry and slash. The room echoes with the sound of steel on steel. The taller, whose impressive handlebar moustache and black and purple colour scheme mean that we can infer is evil, gains the upper hand. The GOOD PIRATE ends up on the floor, with his back against the wall.

I shall take Lady Swann and there’s nothing you can do about it!

The GOOD PIRATE looks up at the ceiling, to see a brace of crates suspended above his adversary. They are swinging slightly in the candlelight. With a laboured grunt he lifts his sword, and cleaves the rope tethered by the wall to his side.

The EVIL PIRATE pauses, a look of panic flashing across his face. The rope is racing around the room; it snakes through a series of pullies, winds around a barrel, and threads between the rafters.

At the far end of the room, an open/closed sign turns around.

The EVIL PIRATE laughs.
You didn’t genuinely think that would work?

Well, I mean, I’ve seen it in a lot OF-

The GOOD PIRATE looks down, to see that he has been run through by the EVIL PIRATE’s sword.

Crying because it hurts?

No, it’s a surprise.

I pledge to kill you. We lock swords. You are forced to the ground. And it’s a surprise that I’ve finished you off?

Well, I mean.
No, it sounds silly now.


I was expecting a friend to turn up at the last minute.

The EVIL PIRATE laughs.

Right, so you go off to fight a duel, telling no-one your location, and expect them to find you.

The door swings open, and the GOOD PIRATE’s SECOND IN COMMAND enters.


The SECOND IN COMMAND throws a sword in the direction of the GOOD PIRATE. It arcs gracefully through the air, spinning on its axis before becoming lodged in the GOOD PIRATE’s chest.


He was supposed to catch that.

The EVIL PIRATE laughs, and turns to the SECOND IN COMMAND.

You know what this means, don’t you?

The SECOND IN COMMAND shakes his head.

Once I kill you, which shouldn’t be difficult seeing as you’ve just hurled your sword into your best friend, I shall be free to marry Lady Swann.

Yes, I suppose – Wait, did you say Lady Swann?

Yes, Lady Swann. Daughter of Lord Swann, Duke of Marmbroforthshire, Earl of Norsex, Knight of Cydonia. Apple of one thousand eyes and theif of one thousand hearts. The jewel in the crown of Hackney. The -

The one with the, er.

The SECOND IN COMMAND makes the international mime for ‘well-endowed chest area’.

Yes, that one.

She died from typhoid.

Davy Jones! When?

About three years ago.

That’s... Really quite a long time ago. But I suppose I have been at sea for the last five years, what with nautical travel being so immensely time consuming because of the vast distances involved on quite primitive ships.

There is a short silence.

So this -

The EVIL PIRATE gestures at the corpse of the GOOD PIRATE

- was just senseless murder?


I see no way that anyone could romanticise this.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Sixteen (Pasty Tax)

I’ve been thinking about the pasty tax. Here’s a list of reasons why paying taxes in the currency of pasties, as opposed to pounds sterling, would be a good idea.

1. The Royal Mail isn’t doing too well.
Sending a few million pasties, first class, to the Inland Revenue would raise some much-needed funds.

2. It would be much easier to conceptualise storing assets offshore
Just picture vaults in Switzerland full of mounds of pastry, or Jersey as a pasty haven.

3. It would discourage tax avoidance
There are only so many pasties one person can need.

4. It would be easy to spot government officials embezzling tax funds
Prescott, I’m looking at you.

Possible drawbacks
1. Pasties eventually go stale
Some might criticize the Chancellor of the Exchequer, claiming that it’s unwise to collect taxes in a form that inexorably depreciates.

2. How would online payment work?
Would you find people trying to force pasties into their computers’ CD trays?

3. How would you fund services?
Unless all civil servants agreed to accept pasties as payment...

Five Minutes a Day: Fifteen (A Love Song)

15 – A Love song

When people are in love they say such insipid things
“You’re the apple of my eye”, “You’re the wind beneath my wings”
I struggle with the urge to run right over and amend them
So now here it is; my repressed addendum.

“When I’m with you it’s like walking on air”
Implausible, but I suppose it could be –
Very disconcerting and it ends in A&E

“With you, babe, I’m head over heels”
A large amount of blood is rushing to my head
I’m feeling rather sick and I’ve lost feeling in my legs

“All you need is love, love is all you need”
Think about oxygen; you might want to breathe.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Fourteen (Horoscopes, round two)

Your double-glazing salesman will die suddenly. Try to console his widow with the fact that many people don’t truly achieve recognition until after their death. Just look at Picasso, Van Gogh, and John Doe.

“Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight”, the saying goes. This month you will finally get the chance to sample shepherd’s delight. You’ll wish you hadn’t. It turns out that it’s a combination of shepherd’s pie and angel delight.

Now that your illustrious dinner guests have come to light, your attempt to detoxify the Tory party looks like it’s run aground. Oh well, Mr. Cameron, it was fun while it lasted. We assume.

While sitting on the tube, you’ll find yourself wondering ‘Who do I call if my house is plagued by ghostbusters?’

Your Your double double vision vision will will get get worse worse over over the the next next month month. I I recommend recommend that that you you see see an an optician optician about about it it.

A close friend’s pet Dalmatian will give birth to one hundred puppies. Most of the wretches will be so small and undernourished as to die immediately, while the mother herself will die from exhaustion soon after giving birth. The neighbourhood policemen will call round and, upon the discovery that your friend is in the possession of more than one hundred dogs, but has not acquired a breeding licence, promptly arrest him under the Breeding and Sale of Dogs Welfare Act of 1926.

The BBC will reject your pitch. Apparently the world isn’t ready for ‘The Crystal Moral Maze’.

As Jupiter descends into Virgo’s orbit, you’ll discover that your family is like a box of chocolates. They don’t fare well in a housefire, and the insurance company say that they can’t be replaced under the policy you took out.

While channel hopping, you’ll stumble upon a children’s animation. It’s about a group of small mouse-like creatures who rip apart machinery and scatter the pieces around Wimbledon Common. You will later realise that you were watching an old VHS of the Wombles rewinding.

Humber, Thames. Rockall, Malin. veering southwest 4 or 5, occasionally 6. Thundery showers and obscene outburts. Moderate or good, occasionally poor. Tyne, Dogger. Northeast 3 or 4. Occasional rain. Moderate or poor. Rockall, Hebrides. Southwest gale 8 to storm 10, veering west, severe gale 9 to violent storm 11. Rain, then squally showers. Poor, becoming moderate.

Your intention to capitalise on the trend for ‘natural food’ is not as successful as you would have hoped. Apparently there’s not much demand for caterpillar cake made with real caterpillar.

You will win a game of Pin the Crime on the Donkey. Rules: You commit a serious felony, put on a blindfold, and spin around three times. You then contrive to get the courts to find a donkey culpable for the deed. Whoever is closest to perverting the course of justice wins.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Thirteen (The Bouncy Castle)

The Bouncy Castle

A father has completely forgotten to book a bouncy castle for his young son’s birthday. It is the night before the party, and there is only one party shop still open.

While visiting this shop, the man narrowly avoids buying a game of ‘Pin The Crime on the Donkey’.


You commit a serious felony, put on a blindfold, and spin around three times. You then contrive to get the courts to find a donkey culpable for the deed. Whoever is closest to perverting the course of justice wins.


The man is persuaded by the salesman to go one further than a bouncy castle, and get an entire bouncy feudal system.


Flash forward one month.
The party was a huge success, but when the man went back to the shop to return the bouncy feudal system he found that it was no longer there.

He tried leaving it out on the kerb, but apparently the council doesn’t recycle archaic systems of government. (Modern forms of economic servitude do, however, go in the purple bin, collected on Thursdays).

His wife is irate; bouncy vassals have occupied the bathroom, and it’s adding quite a lot to the weekly shop trying to feed 14, 000 bouncy serfs.

The bouncy King has insisted on sleeping in the master bedroom, and he’s declared holy war on the neighbours after finding them guilty of heathenry.


Husband: “Look, I disapprove of smoking as much as the next man, but I think waging a crusade against someone for carrying a lighter is a bit much”.

Bouncy King: “He’s a pyromancer.”


Fortunately for the Joneses, the inflatable infantry can’t get over the rose bushes marking the property line.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Twelve (Conspiracy shanty)

Conspiracy shanty
To be performed by a guitarist and vocalist/ukulele.

We are all happy passengers
Aboard the good ship “Earth”
Going nineteen metres per second
In our carbon-based berths.

We spin at an amazing pace –
Nine hundred miles an hour
As we circle round the sun
Of great nuclear power.

[Bridge - key change and tempo increase]
You don’t genuinely believe?
Stop being so naïve!

We wrote this song to educate
The members of the human race
Do not believe their packs of lies;
The earth is flat beneath the skies!

We can produce, for every probe
A hundred proofs the earth is not a globe
It’s our duty to show dissent;
It’s flat beneath the firmament!

[Spoken word]
Actually, while you’re listening there are a few other things you should know. The telephone wasn’t actually invented until 1994. British Telecomms used to pay impressionists to hide behind the wainscoting and mimic the voices of your friends, family, and double-glazing salesman.

And did you know that there’s no such thing as an ATM? It’s just a person who works for the bank sitting behind a metal front. Withholding your card is their idea of fun!

Children’s Calpol is actually a government mind control agent. Think about it – no other medicine tastes that good. They want you to take it.

The first studio TV broadcast was faked. You can tell because if you look at the lighting it’s far too diffuse to be studio lighting, and you’ll note that the flag is completely motionless. It had to be filmed on the moon.

Brian Blessed was a failed genetic experiment.

We wrote this song to educate
The members of the human race
Embrace the truth, believe your eyes;
The earth is flat beneath the skies!

‘Shakespeare’ was a nom de plume
The Queen’s played by Orlando Bloom
The Bedford levels are a plane
Clark Kent hated Lois Lane

[Verbal break-down at the end]
Soylent green is people!
The moon is actually square!
I can’t believe it’s not butter!
Guitarist: Parallax didn’t actually credit the theory of a flat earth with veracity, but saw a lucrative opportunity to exploit the burgeoning market for lectures on the topic of astronomy in the fin de siècle!

[music stops]
Vocalist: You really mean that?
Guitarist: Well, the proliferation of printing presses which led to the increasing abundance and length of pamphlets in circulation, combined with the number of embryonic scientific journals, meant that a skilled polemicist could grow rich on the proceeds of contention.


Vocalist: I don’t think I can work with you anymore.

[Guitarist leaves]

[Vocalist continues unaccompanied]
Those who’ve escaped from conforming
Would do well to heed my warning
Views so fallacious do persist
Trust no-one; not even your guitarist.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Eleven (Eyes like a Hawk)

He had eyes like a hawk.
They were small, beady, and attached to the face of a hawk.
Which must have been quite inconvenient.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Ten (Ocelots)

She sighed, and placed the phone back on the receiver. Looking over her desk, into the office beyond, she called out. “That’s the fourth call today. I don’t think your plan is really working, Mike.”

Mike stepped back from the pile of maps he was arranging in a zebra-shaped display stand. “Pity”, he said. “I genuinely thought it’d drum up a bit of business. God knows we need the money.” He adjusted the zebra’s tail. “Still,” he continued, “it’s not the worst idea I’ve had.”

She sighed. “Yes, I still haven’t forgotten the time you suggested the zoo should go open-plan.”

It was then that the tannoy system burst into life. The voice that could be heard was tinny and clipped, as if the person on the other end was trapped in a metal box, and in a hurry to escape. “C-c-could all s-s-staff please rep-p-p-port to the m-m-manager’s office? Im-m-mmediately? P-p-please?” The speaker crackled into silence.

A few seconds later, an afterthought; “Im-m-mmediately.”


When Mike and Sarah arrived at the manager’s office, he was sat at the desk, as pale and unwelcoming as a sheet made of asbestos. He was shaking slightly. Once all the other staff were assembled, he coughed to obtain silence. He spoke.

“Lad-d-d-d-ies and gentlemen. We have a s-s-s-s-“

He stopped, and tried to compose himself.

“A s-s-s-situ- “

He mopped his brow with the corner of his sleeve.

“A s-s-s-s-situ-“

Mike stepped forwards. “A situation?” he asked.

The manager nodded, glumly.

“A ch-ch-child is in the oc-oc-oc-“

“Ocelot?” Mike offered.

The manager nodded “The ocelot enc-c-closure.”

There was a collective gasp.

The manager’s assistant stepped forwards. “I’ve phoned our solicitors, Earnest and Balding, and they’ve said that we’re liable to cover the costs. I knew not buying fences would be a false economy.”


Mike and Sarah walked over to the ocelot enclosure as fast as they could. Standing by the side was a man six foot tall and built like a rugby player crossed with a hippo. His face was contorted in anger. He stepped aside, and the boy’s father introduced himself.

“What are you going to do about this?!” he demanded. His voice was high with anxiety.

Sarah put on her best comforting-without-condescension speaking-to-a-customer voice. “We’re just going to talk to Derek, the Ocelot keeper. He’ll tell us the best course of action.”


Inside the enclosure, the boy was sitting on a rock. In his hands was a small, tin toy car. It was red. He was running the car along the stone, in the broadest sweeping arcs that his tiny arms would permit.


Mike and Sarah knocked sharply on the door to the Ocelot keeper’s hut. When, after thirty seconds, they received no reply, they knocked again. “Can you come back in about two hours?” came a muffled voice from inside.

“This is urgent!” Mike shouted.

They heard Derek shuffling to the door.

The door was opened a crack, so only his head was visible.

“What is it?” he asked.

Mike spoke “It’s urgent, can we come in?”

“Oh, I suppose” Derek said, opening the door fully. On his desk were a duvet and pillow, and now that he was visible in his entirety, Mike and Sarah noticed that he was wearing pyjamas.

Sarah spoke “Now, Derek, this is important. A child is in your enclosure. Your ocelots might eat him!”

Derek snorted, and straightened out the duvet. “I don’t think there’s much chance of that happening.”

“Why?” asked Mike.

“Well,” said Derek plumping the pillow, “there hasn’t actually been an ocelot in that enclosure for two years.”

“What do you mean?” asked Mike.

“I mean,” said Derek, climbing onto his desk and into his makeshift bed, “that in the last round of budget cuts it was declared uneconomical to buy a new ocelot once the last one died. If we had the enclosure, people would assume that the animal was there, just out of sight.”

Mike spoke. “But why do you still have a job? And why does the manager seem to think that there are ocelots?”

“Well,” said Mike, yawning, “the deal was brokered between myself and the accounts department. We agreed that the manager need not know.”

He lay down, and from this position said “The solution to your situation is simple. One of you gets to act the hero – walk into the enclosure, and rescue the child.” He rolled onto his side. “Can you please close the door on your way out?”


They flipped a coin to decide. Mike won, and chose to go in.
He’d always liked the idea of being a hero.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Nine (The Phone Box)

It had been one of those days. Everything that could go wrong had gone wrong – quite spectacularly. I had lost my job. My mobile phone was broken. Apparently throwing your mobile phone at your boss isn't the best of ideas.

I thought that I should ring Mary and let her know. I found a phonebox, and stepped inside. To ring Mary. Sweet, dependable Mary. I could just imagine her, sitting at home, darning a kitten or feeding milk to a sock, or whatever it is that she does while I’m out at work.

Oh god. I’m just like that mobile! Making calls until I’m broken.

No, I couldn’t face going home.

I looked around the phone box, and suddenly noticed the calling cards pasted on the walls. Like a garish wallpaper, smiling women promised me ‘a night I wouldn’t forget.’

My eyes settled on a simple affair. Printed in red on a white background, it simply read ‘FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL 0844 225 1826.”

I hurriedly fed coins into the metal gullet of the payphone.

The dialling tone echoed in my ear.



Was this a bad idea?

Mary would never have to know, but –

Before I could reconsider, someone on the other end picked up the receiver.

“Hello?” came a female voice.

“Erm... hi” I stuttered.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

“I was... I mean... I was wondering”

I wrung my hands, took a deep breath, and composed myself.

“I saw your business card. I was wondering whether it might be possible to pay you a visit.”

I looked at the floor of the phonebox.

“Roughly what does it cost?”

“Well,” she said, “There’s an entrance charge of £12.50, but once you’re in you can stay as long as you like.”
There was a short pause, then she continued.

“Oh, and there’s a discount if you’re a student or over 60.”

“I didn’t know that was how it worked,” I said, trying not to sound surprised.

“Oh, yes,” she said. “We also do season tickets, if you think you’re liable to return.”

This seemed strange to me, but I continued.

“And if I were to... erm ... visit, when could I do that?”

“Well, I suppose you could come now, sir. We’re open all week, but I’d avoid the weekend if I were you.”

“Oh.” I said. “Why?”

“Well,” she said, “That’s when we tend to be busiest. You know how it is; people work Monday to Friday, and decide to treat themselves to a little something in their time off.”

“I suppose that makes sense.” I said.

“Actually,” she said “I’ve just taken a look at the calendar, and perhaps you’d be best not to come today. We’ve got a school trip booked in.”

“A school trip?!”

“Yes, sir.”

“That’s just wrong!”

“Excuse me, sir?”

“Are you meaning to tell me that a teacher has booked for himself, and his pupils?”

“Yes. I don’t see what’s so strange about a teacher wanting to take his students to see some animals at the zoo.”

I was silent for a moment.

“The zoo?” I asked.

“Yes, sir, a zoological park.”

“But I... I mean... I found this number in a card in a phone booth.”


“Well.. I mean... This isn’t exactly what I had in mind.”

“What did the card say?”

“For a good time, call 0844 225 1826.”

“and what could be a better time than looking around a zoo?”.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Eight (Jokes)

8 – ‘Jokes’

My dog’s got no nose.
How does he smell?
Terrible. I had him put down and now he’s decomposing.

What do you get if you cross a sheep with a kangaroo?
An abomination that dies within 36 hours.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
No-one, you’ve got tinnitus.

I’m not saying that my mother-in-law is fat, but she died from cardiovascular disease.

What do you call a man sitting on the side of the road with a blanket and a dog?
Nothing, and you avoid eye contact.

What do you call a man who’s the CEO of a large financial company?
Anything you like, he can’t hear you through the glass ceiling.

Waiter, waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.
I’m sorry, I’ll get you another one.
Please don’t sue.

Doctor, Doctor, I think I’m a pair of curtains.
You have psychosis. I’ll start you on a course of Thorazine.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Seven (Motorway Café)

Coffee stains dot the table
like footprints on the moon.
Records, untouched, of travellers past.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Six (The Travelling Salesman)

The Travelling Salesman

We’d been walking for six days, Bell, Barker and I. Six days trudging along this sandy road. It was, as I’m sure you can imagine, with great surprise that we greeted the sight of a large mahogany trestle table. It was just standing there, by the side of the road. As we approached, we saw that it was covered in small, shallow boxes. Behind it stood a man, tall and comically thin - a fact that his brightly-coloured cape, which fell in pleats over his shoulder, did little to conceal.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen!” he called as we approached.

“Is it?” Barker asked.

“It is, most certainly, my good fellow. For you have had the enormous good fortune to stumble across the finest travelling merchant currently this side of the River Tor.”

It was quite a relief to see this man. Our provisions were running low. It would be a good chance to stock up on food. It suddenly occurred to me that the mahogany table was slightly impractical for a travelling merchant.

“I can see” he said, twirling his moustache, “from your expression that you’re admiring my table.”


“And you’re right, my boy. A mahogany trestle table would be a tad cumbersome for your conventional travelling merchant. Not exactly conducive to travel.”

He rapped on the table with his knuckles.

“But this is no mahogany table.”

He winked.

“It’s teak with a varnish.”

We didn’t really know what to say to this.

“I surmise that you pray I am a purveyor of comestibles?”

“No, we’d hoped that you’d sell us some food” piped Bell.

“Forgive my friend,” I said. “He’s not the sharpest arrow in the quiver.”

“I’m not an arrow.” Bell said, indignantly.

“Well, you’re in luck,” the merchant said, addressing Bell. “For this week only, I have decided to diversify my skills base; I am a travelling baker.”

With a flourish, he reached onto the table and opened one of the shallow boxes.

“Behold!” he said “The Victorian Sponge.”

“Don’t you mean Victoria Sponge?” asked Barker.

“No, this is a Victorian Sponge. Two layers of vanilla sponge, with a filling of jam, cream, colonialism, the o-ppression of women, re-pression of men, and an o-bsession with ‘cleanliness’.”

He leapt forward, grabbing another box.

“Or if that’s not your proverbial cup of tea, how about a Rainforest Gateau? Chocolate, cream, cherries, and high rates of specific endemism.”

He grabbed another box, and offered it towards us

“Cinnamon Mobius Strip?”

He picked up another

“Billionaire’s Shortbread?”

Barker stood forwards.

“What’s that?” he asked, pointing towards a small, round cake

“A cupcake.” The merchant said, dismissively.

“Could we take three of those?” I asked.

“Of course, sir. Excellent choice” the merchant replied, “Can I interest you in a beverage to accompany your victuals?”

“He has a wife.” Bell chimed.

I gestured apologetically.

“What do you stock?”

“I have Lemonade, Lime aid, Cherryade, Live aid, Colonade, Arcade, Balustrade, Crusade, Escapade, Brocade, Masquerade, and Edmondson, Ade.”

“What’s that?” asked Barker, picking up a bottle.

“That,” the merchant said “Is invisibility potion.”

“What is it really?” I asked.


Bell began to drink.

“and dog’s urine.”


I probably won't have time to write over the weekend; I'm going to be taking part in a twenty-four hour film-making challenge. I'll start posting again on Monday, hopefully.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Five (Amnesia)

I am walking.

Two legs. Two feet. One in front of the other. Left, right, left, right. I am wearing trainers. Was I exercising? I don’t feel tired. I’m wearing a suit. Why am I wearing trainers and a suit? They’re new. Suspiciously white, like the teeth of an American. Why am I wearing new trainers?

A man is walking on the other side of the road. He holds a phone to his ear. “I just wish he hadn’t got tickets for this Thursday” he says, staring glumly at his shoes. A homeless man stares glumly at the man, wishing he could have his shoes.

The suit might offer some clues. I reach inside the pockets. A wallet! If I find a wallet, that’ll probably have my name in it. My fingers probe the lining. It’s soft and smooth. It’s a nice suit. I must be doing well for myself.

Across the street, the man takes out his phone again. He holds it at a distance, reluctantly, as if it were a sour bottle of milk which he has just discovered in the furthest reaches of the fridge. He pauses, then dials a number. “Yes”, he says “I’ve spoken to him.” He pauses. “No, I understand that. But what do you expect me to say?”

I continue to explore my pockets. Nothing. It seems strange. I mean, I must have kept something on my person. Unless I did keep things, and they were taken. If someone found me on the ground, they might have taken a wallet. But I must have been carrying something else. A stick of gum. A paperclip. A bus ticket. People don’t just walk around in empty suits, wearing pristine trainers, do they?

The man listens. He winces. The phone is held a few inches from his ear, as if he wants to get as far away from the other end without actually being unable to hear. “No,” he says “I don’t think-.” Pause. He makes an apologetic noise. His arm drops to his side. He pockets the phone.

Perhaps if I could see my face? There’s a car parked on the other side of the street. I’ll cross over and look at my reflection in the tinted windows.

The man gets out a set of keys. It must be his car.

I speed up my walk. Left, right, left, right. I don’t know why, but it seems important to me that I make it to the car.

The man looks right at me. It’s not a normal glance. Is that recognition?
I slow down. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea. What if he’s the man who took my wallet?

The man starts walking towards me.

I stand still.

“I haven’t seen you” he says “for quite some time.”

His tone is measured. Considered. It sounds quite stilted, like he’s afraid he’s going to make a mistake in front of me. What should I say?

The man is looking right at me. I’m expected to say something.

Should I admit that I don’t remember anything beyond the last five minutes? He doesn’t sound hostile, but that way he looked at me. It wasn’t with enthusiasm.

“Still not one for small talk, I see”. He says, saving me from the silence.

I shuffle my feet. He notices the trainers.

“Strange choice of footwear” he remarks.

I nod.

“So, do you want a lift?”

Where would I go?

“I’m alright, thanks.”

He drives away.

I have two legs. Two feet. One in front of the other.
I am walking.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Four (Ballad of the Invisible Man)

Ask what power people would like
More often than not they’ll say
After a pause, that curséd clause
“Invisible for a day.”

Heed these words my listener
Against this I’d advise
For things do tend to oft depend
On being seen by other’s eyes.

I’m forced to commit shoplifting
Each and every day
It’s not that I want to commit this affront
But no-one will serve me to pay.

Which is just as well for my finance:
I’m having trouble with my career.
When I get through to the interview
They assume that I’ve failed to appear.

My best friend thinks he’s schizophrenic
And has started ignoring me
It’s one of the choices, when you start to hear voices
His psychiatrist said to, you see.

So next time you find yourself thinking
‘I’ll be unseen, as a drop in a brook’
Before you commit, please remember that it’s
Not as fun as Claude Rains makes it look.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Three (Similies)

War is a lot like a dead stripper. It’s embarrassing to have one in the garden when the vicar comes round.
War is a lot like a garden centre. You wouldn’t want to have to go back if you left your coat.
War is a lot like the assassination of the Queen. In twenty years, it’ll make a great film, providing light sabres are involved.
War is a lot like sawing a badger in half. A bloody spectacle, and the hosts of the dinner party tend to want you to leave afterwards.
Wars are a lot like the Guy Ritchie Sherlock films; I find it hard to believe that anyone genuinely enjoys them.


Our love is like a box of chocolates; I bought it.


Electoral reform is a lot like an oak tree; it looks out of place in a municipal swimming pool.


His opinions are a lot like French cheeses; there are a surprising number of them, and almost all of them are unpleasant.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Two (Lists)

Unlikely candidates for a themed children’s breakfast cereal
Ennui (Ennuitabix)
Joseph Kony
Ketamine (Special Special K?)

Semantic jokes
Everyone makes generalisations.
I know to never split infinitives.
You know what annoys me? Rhetorical questions.

Exceptions to adages
It’s the thought that counts.
(Changing the batteries in the smoke alarm.)

Ignorance is bliss.
(Your t-shirt is on fire.)

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight.
(Opinions splinter: Nuclear winter?)

Tannoy announcements I’d like to make
Would the parents of Tarquin, Quentin, and Medusa please take a minute to reflect on the years of trauma they have inflicted upon their progeny.

Would the parents of Jack, John, Sarah, Rachel, Ellie, Mike, Tom, Harry, Alex, Katie, Sophie, and Sam please consider some form of birth control?

Unlikely conclusions to a whodunit
It was a heart attack, and all of the evidence was completely coincidental.

Unlikely military tactics
Deploying a single battleship, howitzer, racing car, wheelbarrow, top hat, thimble, iron, and Scottie dog.

Fact about myself
I carry a ‘get out of jail free’ card in my wallet.
Just in case.

Unconvincing alibis
Collecting incriminating evidence is a hobby of mine.
I was fighting Saladin at the time.

Strangely aggressive shop names
Curl up and Dye (hairdressers)
Just Jet Out (Travel agents)
I hope that you, and all of the people that you truly care about, experience a painful and protracted death (Stationers)

What I would really like at this moment in time
some contrived way to end this list of lists.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: One (Ritual)

I have entered into a contract with myself: for the next month, I will attempt to write for five minutes a day, each and every day. Here goes.

Day One: Ritual


Remove sleeve.

Pierce film.

Heat at full power for three minutes.


Return to microwave and cook for a further three minutes.

Leave to stand for one minute.

Check your phone. No texts.


Carry through to the lounge

balancing your drink in the crook of your arm.

Eat alone.

Well, not truly alone.

With the flickering glow of the television for company.

Question whether that actor is whatsisface,

oh, you know the one.

He’s on that other show,

the one with those two other men.

You know.

They drive around in cars.

Check your phone.

Perhaps there was a hold-up at the office?

Continue watching television.

Question whether your attention to the box is entirely voluntary.

Is it me, or are the presenters getting younger and younger?

Check your phone.

Watch, no, feel the hours grinding by.

It’s tangible.

At 11pm, after three episodes of ‘Come Dine With Me’, decide to go to bed.

Stripped of its comforting entrails, the meal’s container now looks rather small and forlorn.

Leave the empty plastic husk where it lies.

You’ll clean it up tomorrow.