Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Quarterly Summary 2

“That’s what life is. Just a bunch of moments. Most of them are lousy, but once in a while you get a good one.”
- Molly (Lesley Ann Warren), Life Stinks

The second quarter of 2009 has not been so maniacally twisted as the first. However it has still been punctuated by some moments of excellence and absurdity.

1) Publication
The writing has been flowing as of late, and ideas have come to me in abundance. Flash Fire 500, who previously published my story Dead Chinese Girls, also accepted The Hit from me. Check it out, along with a host of other flash fiction pieces, at After this acceptance I then uploaded the cringeworthy tale Most Embarrassing Moment to, a site dedicated to the reciting of the most uncomfortable moments of life. It was the longest story they had ever accepted, and the administrators had to reconfigure their site to fit the whole thing on. After this, I sent a piece to, a website featuring writing about writing. The article- How Not to Win a Writing Competition- was accepted but, for some reason, has not been uploaded yet… Following this, I wrote Human Nature- my first foray into political blogging- in an insomnia-laiden frenzy, and it was very quickly accepted into the Manchester Evening News letters page. The blog, about how the Government could take inspiration from the Catholic Church, went down a treat- although they for some reason cut out the part where I compared PM Gordon Brown to the sex-crazed lunatic ancient emperor, Caligula. But I can’t complain.

2) Wisdom Teeth
I now don’t have any. During the first extraction, my dentist made an incision into the gum at the base of the tooth and levered it straight out. It was two-thirds the diameter of a fifty-pence coin. It’s in a bank bag in my drawer. I would advise you to get the operation as soon as you feel discomfort, before the tooth grows. Then the rest of your teeth don’t get slammed together over time, as mine seem to have. The second tooth was not as easy to remove, and the dentist had to drill the shit out of the tooth and the back of the jawbone in order to extract it. I didn’t get a souvenir that time.

3) Beer Walk

The Saddleworth Round Table Beer Walk is held annually in Oldham in early summer. The walk is a fundraising event where punters can sample beer from all over the world, supplied by a variety of pubs all over Saddleworth. On this, my third Beer Walk, I joined 4 other mates in dressing as soldiers and Toby came down from Salford as Robin Hood.

Whilst steadily drinking our way round the route we bumped into various nurses, female airline pilots (although they could have been flight attendants- their outfits were a bit vague) plus policewomen, Pinhead from Hellraiser, two people dressed as giant ears raising money for Deaf Awareness, pretty much the entire cast of the Mr. Men, various cross dressers, Indiana Jones, a gang of Scousers in tracksuits and outrageous afros, a woman dressed a giant bell (who was just asking to have penis jokes hurled at her) and- while absolutely steaming- I bumped into some of my colleagues impersonating pirates. I have no recollection of what I said to them, but they seemed kind of bemused by my prattle. The Matt Tuckey Award for Best Outfit, however, went to the two men dressed in padded fat-suits with tweed jackets, constantly munching on a seemingly endless supply of cakes from their rucksacks. One man, his combover shedding immense amounts of fake dandruff, carried a doll under his arm. Ontop of a hill I found him shaving the plastic off the doll’s head with a cutthroat razor.

Later on during the walk I realised that the giant plastic machine gun I’d bought- complete with vibration and firing sound effects- came with a laser sighting. I found something so (now inexplicably) funny about all this that I laughed until I vomited all over a nearby wall.

I would advise that people do not drink alcohol to the extent that I did. A drink in each of the many pubs along the way didn’t help, and I would have been more out of it if I hadn’t dropped a half-empty bottle of brandy, smashing it all over a footbridge. The more I drank, the less accessible I found the pockets to be. This much alcohol is particularly ill-advised if, like me, you are still recovering from two dental operations resulting in a gaping wound at the back of your mouth. This will only result in pain.

4) Whisky tasting
My first experience of a whisky-tasting event was in Lees Labour club in Oldham. Sponsored by Stanley Ogden Butchers, who supplied some damned good steak sandwiches, the night was an opportunity to sample six fine whiskies from the world-famous distillery regions of Scotland. Headed up by a very knowledgeable old geezer in a kilt, the event began with a single malt called Dufton. During the drinking, Geezer described the history of whisky- starting with how the Irish discovered the techniques for distilling alcohol (or ‘alco-wol’, as Geezer pronounced it, causing us to stifle a laughing fit). The Scottish bagpipes, he said, was also an originally Irish invention.

On the comment card supplied by the organisers, I described Dufton as ‘nice’ and ‘warm’. Geezer described it as a ‘singleton’. Following it was Auckentoshan (which I considered ‘delicate’), Laphroig (Geezer’s assumption: ‘unpopular’, mine: ‘fierce’), The Glenlivet (‘rich, sharp and oaken’ came to my mind), Glen Farclas (Geezer described this as a ‘session malt’- the night certainly ended up as a session) and the night came to a close with something called ‘Mortglag’, or something. I must have spelled this wrong as Google doesn’t recognise it as a whisky- it only offered me the Roman Economic Journal, which was all in Latin. It gets weirder still. On the comment card, next to this unpronounceable and seemingly untraceable whisky, I wrote: ‘Duff town. Strong as piss.’ As to what any of this means, your guess is as good as mine.

5) Manic Scribbling
Anyone who has got on my bus recently and looked over my shoulder may have had an unnerving bus ride. There has been a flurry of ideas running through my mind, resulting in a lot of scrawling into a blank 2008 diary in a form of block caps that only I can read, followed by some fiction and a lot of time sat at this Goddamn desk. So this summary will be short. Did I even need to include this point? Regardless, I often find that my brain works a lot faster than my hand and as a result, everything I write looks like a spider has ran through a puddle of ink and sprinted haphazardly across my notebook. These scrawlings eventually emerge in HTML form right here. I have also recently dug up a few ideas I concocted when I was sixteen.

6) Achievements
To conclude, let’s look back at the last Quarterly Summary blog . At the end of the last quarter I set myself the following tasks:
Find a decent woman (I know a few…)
Go to more house music clubs (I saw Robin S perform Show Me Love live in Tokyo Project, if that counts…)
Get published again (tick)
Become a more skilled martial artist (getting there, so yes I have)
Take over (I’m not Tony Montana just yet, but I am moving to the Civic Centre, Oldham Council’s headquarters building. So who knows what possibilities lie ahead.)

Here’s to more of life’s moments. I’m planning on making most of them decent, and avoiding- as best I can- the lousy ones.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Psycho Magnet

Julie Benz: How do you write women so well?

Jack Nicholson: I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.

-As Good As It Gets, 1997

I have recently dated a few very nice girls. I have also dated some who needed to have a word with themselves. Perhaps it's because I'm a bit too nice myself, and they say opposites attract. Hence- crazy women, unstable sociopaths, scallies, and nazis- they LOVE me. I can’t say the feelings are regularly reciprocated. I started to wonder whether it was normal for women to cut you off half way through answering their question, thereby changing the subject completely. I felt it regular behaviour for an otherwise attractive girl to spend hours detailing mass brawls she’d been involved in- regardless of whether she’d be reminiscing about secondary school or the previous weekend.

I wanted a change from this. A few months ago I had a go on a dating website that I'd seen a pretty good review of. I was hoping this site might open out to a few new opportunities, and dating outside of Oldham might have been a good start- I wanted to throw the net a little further. However, the two emails I received from "Jacqueline" proved I was still stuck in the cycle...

Hello Matt,
Thanks for the email okay,well i am Jacqueline Cole by name and i was born in Glossop Derbyshire UK ,i studied Fashion And Art while i was still in school but i was not able to graduate because i lost my dad at a gasly motor accident and i decided to quit school at that time and we later relocated to Nigeria where my mum came from,So now i am a unemployed and have no work in hand.And i also lost my mum in some few months back,She died of Heart Prbs cos of my dad's death and now what i am looking for on this loopylove is to look for a soulmate that can be of the same flesh to flesh with me and also be of the bone to bone with me,The person which can clean away all my sorrowful parts and take good care of me and also be a caring man to me.I hope to hear from you also,
Bye for now
Jacqueline xxxxxx

It was after reading this that I realised Ms Cole would not be girlfriend material. But then, only the top 10% of the women I’ve dated were. And life is about experiences. So I figured… Everyone deserves a second chance. I messaged back something simple, asking if she was actually in the UK at the moment. That would have been a start. This was her reply.

Matt Dear,
There are things in life that are inevitable; I am powerless to control them. The Sun will rise and set, the tide will come in and go out,the seasons will change, the birds will fly South for the winter and return in the spring, and the caterpiller will transform itself into a handsome butterfly. Somehow, I feel reassured by this because many other things in life are so transistent - so momentary. from the moment we met on personals till now , I knew that our friendship would develop into something lasting and precious, just as I am sure that the caterpiller will one day become a handsome butterfly.I believe that our love and friendship is ordained by God. It is a union of two spirits destined for everlasting happiness. Thus, you have truly become the star of my life which brings me light in this dark world, and warmth when I need an honest person and am looking for someone honest as well,dont know when i will be back in the UK cos i have some prbs which when i take care of i can then be in the UK.You offer me the promise of renewal, the joy of living, the peace of mind that comes from sharing and caring, and that shoulder to lean on in times of stress. You are my Swallow from Capistrano - my precious butterfly, and I will cherish you and love you forever if you promise that you will take good care of me , well i dont stay in Adamsville anymore i thought i told you my dad is a native UK while my mom is nigerian i lost my dad some few months back and i left with my mom for nigeria unfortunately i also lost her i think life has been very harsh on me but not withstanding i must countinue to search for someone that can fill the gap i am not looking at an outward appearance i look at ur heart .
Jacqueline xxxxxx

Easy, tiger!

Jacqueline – I’m guessing – is a well-intentioned but somewhat disturbed woman. Suffice to say, I did not meet up with her in the flesh. I have no idea where Adamsville is, nor Capistrano. Her main error (other than a devastating lack of grammar possibly due to English being her second language) is a mistake quite a few women make. She has bombarded me with a shitload of very personal and quite uncomfortable information very early on in the interaction. Believe it or not, this leads to some discomfort on my behalf…

These are the realities of the dating world. If you have been fortunate not to deal with this kind of bizarre behaviour, then brace yourself and think yourself lucky.

My advice to Ms. Cole is as follows:

Imagine trying to eat a pig whole, when it is alive and squealing. It would be a culinary disaster- no preparation, no efforts for presentation. It would be messy, uncomfortable and would attract unwanted attention. It would be much better to kill the pig, cut it into more manageable pieces, prepare it, and have a nice, simple, bite-sized pork sandwich once in a while. This would go down much better (with any nearby observers, and with your own digestion).

Similarly, Ms. Cole, when dating you should remember not to stuff everything down a man’s throat all at once. He will probably find this uncomfortable. Granted, the situation with your family life may be more uncomfortable than this, to say the least. But the point of dating is not to slam all of your fear and aggravation onto an unsuspecting victim in the hope that some kind of relationship will be formed out of the man’s pity for you.

Dating is supposed to be fun. Remember that.

I have been involved in similar scenarios both in the distant past and recent times. The dating scene has dealt me a shitty hand from time to time, but there’s been the odd ace in there. You’re certainly not the only girl with issues to address- Ms. Cole, Bing Crosby once sang, ‘You got to accentuate the positive’. Never forget that. No matter how bad your hand is.

My advice to men is, just watch your back…

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Saw- a Disappointment

“You must see Saw”, exclaims some cheesy tabloid on the poster of the 2004 Horror film.

Don’t take their word for it. The film Saw left me feeling kind of empty- the ending didn’t quite make sense to me- and I couldn’t face the prospect of sitting through the whole thing again to figure it out. The main reason for my passivity was that the filmmakers seemed more interested in shocking us with the violence than actually telling a story. They were more driven by the need to make us cringe rather than think- this cringing resulting from either graphic depictions of visceral dismemberment or bad acting.

Director James Wan didn’t quite pull off the infusion of moral conflict in the way that David Fincher did in Se7en- both are films in which the victims of the grizzly murders are, in some way, guilty themselves and due a punishment.

However, Se7en is not the only film that leapt to mind after watching Saw.

Towards Saw’s climax, Gordon (Carey Elwes) realises it’s not the chain that his captor wants him to cut through with the hacksaw- it’s his own ankle.

To factors suspended my disbelief at this point. The first is realism. Gordon has just blunted the hacksaw’s teeth on the chain. The chances of this tool then being used to cut through flesh and bone of ankle thickness, without the blade snapping, is nonexistent. This doesn’t matter though, as he would have passed out and probably bled to death after he cut the femoral artery in the ankle- long before he had a chance to cut himself free.

There is a second factor preventing my immersion in the fictional film world of Saw. As well as the seminal thriller Se7en, Saw was blatantly inspired by the climax of classic Mel Gibson movie Mad Max.

Max, after accosting road hoodlum who murdered his wife and child, chains the perpetrator’s ankle to the twisted wreck of his own car. He then places the bomb in the driver’s seat and offers the guilty man a hacksaw- similar to that featured in the movie Saw.

Max explains that the bomb will detonate before he could cut through the steel. If said hoodlum wants to live, he had better get to work on his ankle. Max assures him that dismembering himself and escaping can be done within the available time. Suffice to say, the car explodes with the perpetrator still inside.

All the creators of Saw did was to say, ‘Well, hey, let’s see him do it.’

In conclusion, do not bother watching the Saw films. If you want decent horror that is frightening, and makes sense, try Ring and Dark Water (of course, I mean the Japanese originals by the world’s scariest director, Hideo Nataka) or Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now. Now that is benchmark horror.

These films substitute gratuity for suggestive horror, being more discreet in their images and allowing fear to manifest in the most terrifying place of all- our own minds. More importantly, Nataka and Roeg know how to suspend our disbelief. The makers of Saw do not. This can be particularly difficult in the genre of Horror, as the issue of ghosts (as featured in Ring, Dark Water and Don’t Look Now) is less believable than the premise of some nutter torturing people to make them see the ill of their ways (Saw series, Seven etc.) But Nakata and Roeg managed it: The creators of the Saw films did not.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Arbitrary Dream

God, she looked just like this...

Every little thing that you say or do
I'm hung up
I'm hung up on you
- Hung Up, Madonna

After months of dream research, blogging, attaining feedback and hours of contemplation, the conclusion I came to is that dreams don’t mean anything. They are just random thought mutations manifesting in our uncontrolled, unconscious minds. The last two dream blogs I wrote- Weird Dream and Unnerving Dream- are ultimately doomed in their purpose of defining dreams.

All this effort…

At least I found out that “heat retention” was the main reason for slipping into REM- the deep phase of sleep where dreams occur.

However, recently a dream about someone I only met a handful of times nearly a year and a half ago is leading me to question all this, sending me round that cycle again. It is one of a few dreams she’s appeared in. It may have had something to do with the fact that the woman in this dream- Tracey- made a man out of me.

I have managed to avoid writing about sex for over a year, for numerous reasons that I don’t want to get into, seriously. But I think I have to. I’ve started so I’ll finish, as the guy in the Crème Egg advert says.

And yes, the woman I speak of changed me. In the biblical sense. I cannot stop thinking about her- whether I’m awake or not.

I have dated a barrage of women since seeing Tracey. Some have been great girls, with whom things just didn’t work out. Others have been bad matches- women blatantly incapable of raising their unplanned children properly.

Wow! Just look at that popularity meter plunge! My fan base in Oldham has just been wiped off the map. Maybe I should backspace all this…

Or not. Those who know me well will know it’s not them I refer to in the latter group. Some of them have been, and still are, fantastic mothers doing one hell of a job.

So. Back to the point- the content of your dreams are based (partly) on things you think about in your waking life. When you are asleep, these thoughts are slammed together by your unconscious, like an amateur cocktail barman inventing a new drink. And according to Macalester College in Minnesota, the act of dreaming is only ‘to keep you warm’ ( In the blog Unnerving Dream, I discussed scientists’ findings that rats died of hypothermia when denied the chance to slip into REM. The content of your dream is arbitrary.

Here’s one analogy I saw while trawling the Net for research:

“An elephant in a dream can mean one thing to a zoo keeper and something quite different to a child whose favourite toy is a stuffed elephant.” (

It is, therefore, impossible for anyone to generalise and interpret somebody else’s dream. If you don’t know what your dream is about, nobody does. It probably doesn’t mean anything.

I’m an adult. In my waking life I moved on quickly from Tracey and kept my eyes open. But nobody I have met has struck me like she did. I am more hung-up than Albert Pierrepoint’s entire clientele put together. More hung-up than the collective contents of my local Spic ’n’ Span.

Discussing this dream and its possible meanings in this candid way is giving me some concerns regarding self-image. When I first started blogging nobody really read my writing. It took a bit of pestering to get people to check out the posts on my humble MySpace page. At the time, I had no qualms: I would write blogs about anyone I wanted, describing them however I wanted, and there would be no repercussions if I defamed anyone- which would usually be myself. Now, through the power of Facebook’s Live Blog application, pretty much everyone I know is notified on my crazed musings and twisted fiction by their news feed without me nagging them to follow a link to another site. It’s alarming (albeit pleasing) how many people pay attention to it.

Because this information is so readily accessible, and people are affected by what I have written (Oldham is a small town and word has got around about the people I’ve immortalised in HTML) I have to be very careful about what I detail in the blog. It’s not wise to mindlessly criticise whomever crosses me- and I think I’ve got out of the habit of exposing every negative trait I have, in full view of everyone I know.

Or maybe I’ve just stepped back into that quagmire. Who knows? After analysis, it seems that this is one of those rare dreams with a pretty obvious meaning. But hey, life goes on.

I might as well keep in theme and end with a Patrick Bateman quote. How apropos.

“This confession has meant nothing.”
-American Psycho

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Have You had a Deliverance Moment?

My mum and dad have just come back from a week of kayaking down the Thames river. The Thames, most famous for flowing through the heart of London, also reaches the rural areas of southern England on its 215 mile course.

Whilst venturing down the forested regions of the river, numerous people asked them if they had had a "Deliverance Moment". Thankfully, they had not.

In the film "Deliverance", a group of city men kayak down a U.S. river in a forest in Georgia, a southern U.S. state. Ned Beatty's character is sodomized by two hillbilly mountain men. It's a fucked up scene. Not that I want to spoil it for you.

Someone else in my parent's kayaking team filled them in on the concept of the film. I'm sure glad I didn't have to, although I have previously mentioned it to them.

Suffice to say, both parents are home safe and unabused. I suggested, again, that Mum watches it (albeit not when I'm in the room) but she for some reason declined...