Thursday, 30 December 2010

Getting a High Profile Twitter Follower

“I fackin laff salabrities!”
-Avid Merrion, Bo Selecta

A month ago I set myself a social media challenge: Get a famous person to follow me on Twitter.

Why? I don't know. I've blogged about meeting celebs a lot recently, so I figured it was fitting. Maybe I'm just a consumerist sheep who is so detached from reality that I feel the need to hound anyone whose name I recognise. Or maybe I just find it funny to do this.

I pestered many household names, including...

Jodie Connor (the remarkably stunning singer from Roll Deep's “Good Times” single)
Pritchard from Dirty Sanchez (Who I've already met- I sent him a link to the blog covering this)
Steve Martin
Brook Magenti AKA Belle DeJour
P Diddy
Seth MacFarlane
Kelly Rowland
Nicki Manaj
Floyd Mayweather
LL Cool J
Nelly Furtado
Weird Al Yancovic
Snoop Dog
Paris Hilton
Ben Stiller
Serena Williams (asking what her favourite zoo animal was did not garner a response.)

I also sent a shit joke to Gordon Burns from local news show North West Tonight. (He was requesting this; it wasn't a random idea.)

I'm, er, still waiting on a response from all of the above.

However, I did tweet broadcaster/comedian/writer Dom Joly to show him my writeup of previously meeting him at a book signing.

He tweeted back “thanks, appreciate it”. Blessed art thou, Dom.

I figured that employees of the, um, other Hollywood might yield more results, so I dished out a few tweets to:

Tommy Gunn
Phoenix Marie
Nikki Benz
Rachel Starr
Jayden James

If you don't recognise the names, you might not want to ask. If you know what I mean.

They didn't respond, but I did get a response from Angel Long:

“Hi ya, Thanks for following me, Hope you enjoy all my tweets & I look forward to chatting to u. x

I also asked Kelly Divine why no adult entertainment stars had verified accounts. She replied!

“I dont think twitter will verify porn stars ;( I tried and got rejected”.

It's possible that there's some fraudsters pretending to be people they're not, but given that many of the adult actors / actresses mention each other in tweets, it's safe to say that they're kosher.

UK porn star Kerry Louise sent me a bemused response after I replied to her tweet “Go Hard or Go Home”- I explained the phrase was usually on a sign inside the bars of the Walkabout chain. It apparently wasn't a Walkabout reference. She said, “lol I seee”. She wouldn't tell me whether or not she had aimed it at a male colleague instead.

Just when I was about to give up and stop being a Goddamn geek- just as I was about to leave Twitter alone and get back on with getting my own multinational celebrity status rolling (cough), a young lady called Vicky Vette follows me outta the blue! She's also an entertainer of adults.

Vicky, you are a star.!/vickyvette

I'm pretty sure she's the real deal. Whether she upstages Social Media guru Denise Wakeman is arguable. It's all subjective, of course. These two are the biggest names in my followers.

I think to get a celebrity follower you need to give people a reason to follow back. Christ knows what Vicky's reason was. She must just think I'm awesome. It can be hard to convince someone who doesn't know you when you have a mere 140 characters in which to do so. I also don't think December was the best month to do this Twitter task- we're all pretty busy whether we're famous or not. But if you fancy following me, whoever you are...!/matthewtuckey

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Published: Plastic Glasses?

If you're in the Tameside area of Greater Manchester, keep your eyes peeled for a new night-life magazine hitting bars, clubs, shops and taxi ranks., formerly, has now gone into print. Describing itself as “your guide to what's happening in and around Tameside”, the new magazine features night-life-related articles, photos from your night out, jokes, DJ interviews and money-off vouchers for local outlets.

My article “Plastic Glasses?” has made it into the new edition. Find it out there, or, if you can't wait, check out the online version here:

You'll find two editions of the magazine. Both are great, but to see my article you'll need to check out the left-hand magazine and turn to page eight.

Editor / photographer Richard has done a cracking job of putting it together. Here's to continued future editions!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Speaking Up For Students

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
-Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

Recently some students attacked a car carrying Prince Charles and Camilla. Further protests against tuition fees. Protesters threw paint over the Rolls-Royce, chanting “off with their heads”, and rumours suggest one of the crowd “poked Camilla with a stick.”
The press photograph shows the couple open-mouthed, aghast and terrified. When the news broke, Facebook news feeds became inundated with angered opinions- mostly pro-royalists venting their disgust. Royalty they may be, people said. But they are still pensioners. And grandparents. Attacking an ageing couple’s car? Disgraceful, people said.
And so, sympathy for students drastically ebbed. The majority of people- certainly in my Facebook friends- typecast students in general, describing them as “scum”.
Let’s put this into perspective. Millions of students voted Liberal Democrats- 45% of them- based on the fair deal that the party promised to give them on tuition fees.

A few thousand turned out in London on 9th November. Out of those, only a handful damaged the Prince’s Rolls Royce.
Please don’t typecast all students based on the actions of these few individuals.
The flip side is this: The coalition went ahead and raised tuition fees, thereby breaking the Lib-Dems’ promise to give students a fair deal. The decision wasn’t made by royalty, but it also wasn’t opposed, as far as I can find. Prince Charles doesn’t appear to have done anything to prevent the increase of fees. He may be a pensioner, but he is a pensioner with power. A power he didn’t use.
If Prince Charles had voiced himself as a champion of higher education, things may have been different. People may have left him alone. If possible, he might have disallowed top-up fees from being pushed through parliament.
However, NOBODY- Not even Prince Charles himself- has pointed out how the original problem caused the fees row in the first place. University is supposed to be for the BEST people in the United Kingdom- a system to tailor the most capable individuals into the top jobs in the country. This isn’t happening now, and hasn't happened for a long time, hence the 500,000 people starting a university course in September 2010.
Shit, I’VE got a degree. I only got 1 grade C in my GCSEs. I am NOT the cream of Britain’s academia. Yet I’ve got a legitimate 2:1 after my name. Should UCAS have allowed me to go to university? Maybe not at the time that I did, especially considering how little work experience I had.
If the government set a system whereby only the best people in the land were given university places- either through exceptional qualifications or, more importantly, prior work experience, they wouldn’t have to charge students through the nose. They could probably reinstate grants, as there would be so few people going on to HE.
If you are in a position of power, yet you DON’T wade in on this debate, you can expect that the thousands of students will tar you with the same brush. As Neimoller suggests, if you don’t stand up for others, you can expect that they won’t respect you either. Whether you’re a pensioner or not.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Er... Well, Let's Just Try That One Again.

I really need to research creative writing exercises. Nobody at a recent writer's meeting had any new ones, so we tried this classic gem:

Everyone at the table has two slips of paper. On one, they write the opening line of a story. On the other, they write the closing line.

We pass the opening line to the left, and the closing line to the right.

We now have new opening and closing lines. Weave a story starting with one and ending with another. WARNING: This is HARD.

The opening line I received:
“He looked at the jar on the top shelf, hidden slightly by the jam.”

The closing line:
“Well fuck you, and fuck him too, I thought.”

I find you never know what you're writing until it's scrawled out in front of you. Here's what had appeared on my page when the timer beeped.

He looked at the jar on the top shelf, slightly hidden by the jam.

“Go on,” I said. “Pick it up.”

He reached up and nudged the jar aside.

“Bet you wished you'd eaten your greens,” I said, trying to be funny.

“Actually, it's protein that makes you grow. Dairy and meat. Greens have nothing to do with it.”

I looked at the floor for a second. “Okay...”

Bob said he'd find it funny. I hoped he was right.

His fingers reached the rim of the giant jar. It made a noise as it moved slightly, pushing the jam aside. It was blue and opaque, with no lid.


The jam jar slipped off, shattering on the cans on the shelf below, firing red goo in all directions. The blue tub followed, scattering peanuts over the shelf and over him. He made a spitting noise, like he was choking.

“I'm allergic to peanuts, you dick!”

“I didn't know! It was Bob's idea!”

Well fuck you, and fuck him too, I thought.

Sunday, 12 December 2010


“You can have my answer now if you'd like. My offer is this. Nothing.”
-Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), Godfather Part II

Bit of a non-blog this month. Still decorating. Taking forever. Help needed. People in the Oldham area- get in touch with me. Part time employers should also give me a heads-up as I need a second job. Outgoings are more than incomings, and I'm hardly going out at all. Ridiculous. Agencies I’ve been to can’t help me because I already work at the start of the week. Looking for stuff at the end of the week is impossible.
“Well... We shot a lot of people together. It's been great. But today I retire, so if I do any shooting now, it'll have to be within the confines of my own home. Hopefully, an intruder and not an in-law, like at my bachelor party.”
-Frank Drebin (Leslie Neilson), Naked Gun 33+ 1/3

RIP Leslie Neilson. Total Film magazine may have described you as “The King of Crap”, and your final few films may have been horrendous, but in the eighties and nineties you proved that you were a comedy legend. You will be greatly missed.
I’m also still looking for guest bloggers. If you fancy getting involved and joining Caleb J Ross and Lynn Myint-Maung, follow this link.

It never hurts to spread your work around. After all, as Vito would say...

“Do me this favour. I won't forget it. Ask your friends in the neighbourhood about me. They'll tell you I know how to return a favour.”
          -Vito Corleone (Robert DeNiro), Godfather Part II

Saturday, 11 December 2010

How to Drink Whisky Like a Man

Fri 12th November

“I'm a simple man. All I want is enough sleep for two normal men, enough whisky for three, and enough women for four.”
-Joel Rosenberg, Author

We're around the back of the Natwest in Lees, where there’s a row of nondescript terraced houses. Ollie knocks on a door. The five of us, we wait.

A stern-looking guy in his forties answers. We tell him we're here for the whisky night.

The guy takes our tickets and leads us up a staircase to what appears to be the landing in his house. When he opens the door, however, the room we're taken into must take up half the terrace. Lees Labour Club is a small venue, compares to most clubs, with a tiny bar in the corner and a pool table and school tables pushed against each other in blocks. The wood décor hasn't been updated in a long time. Neither have the fashion tastes of the patrons, who are all male and mostly in their forties.

An ageing man in a kilt welcomes us and begins to tell us the origins of whisky production.

I was trying to jot down opinions on each whisky when it occurred to me that successful whisky–tasting is an impossible feat. Many tasters will suggest this technique for good tasting:

1)    Take the whisky in the glass with no ice.
2)    Take three deep sniffs. On the first sniff, you’ll take in the alcohol. Kilt Man says that many people don’t get past that first sniff. At 40% alcohol, it’s understandable. On the second sniff, you’re likely to notice the cask- the oak or sherry that the whisky was left to age in. On the third, you’ll notice the elements fused into it’s distillation. You might pick out the charcoal used to ferment the husks of grain, before being cooked up to liquid. You might note the smoke from the burning peat, placed under the grain in the distillery.
3)   Sip the whisky. Chew it over. Let it mellow on your tongue. Again, the alcohol hits you first. Then the brand’s distinct taste becomes evident.
4)    Swallow. Different whiskies will give differing types of after burn. This glow is all part of the whisky-tasting experience.

Here’s why you can never accomplish successful whisky tasting. To compare whisky, you must take into account all of the above- smell, taste, after taste. To get all three of those, you must swallow.

For want of a better expression.

As each shot is at least 40%, it won’t be long before the whisky impairs your judgement and you don’t know what you’re tasting. Brighty exacerbated this problem when he hid the water jug under the table and wouldn’t bring it back out. We were on-track for steamingness.

Many whisky enthusiasts recommend spitting out the whisky after tasting, so you’re sober enough to appreciate other samples. But by doing this you miss out on the afterglow- and what fun would a whisky night be if you didn’t get hammered and dish out the banter?

During the drinking, Kilt Man tells of the history behind whisky production, describing how the Irish first learned how to cultivate grain using acidic soil. This type of earth, he says, is best for growing oats and barley. He describes the mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation needed for a good single malt and how the techniques of the late 1400s started to develop towards today's whisky-making systems. The Irish then gave the idea to the Scots, who began to mass-market whisky as their own.

Whisky is one of the “spirits”- an alcohol type that got its name centuries ago when drunk people believed a “spirit” had taken over their mind. The name stuck.

Whisky ages in barrels. When it’s taken out and bottled, that’s when it stops ageing.

A Christies auction once saw the selling of one bottle of whisky for a record-breaking £2000.

Some whisky brands use one individual batch of grain from which to distil their liquor. We refer to this as “single malt”, and all the whiskies we tried fell into this category. They were:

Glen Parker
From the Tommy Tool distillery. Pretty good, of what I remember. GP is one of the lowland malts, which are always good to start a session with.

A smooth, before-dinner whisky.

An eighteen-year-old malt, also a “session whisky”. The most “middle of the road” whisky and the most popular of the night.

From Dufftown. I already have a bottle at home. A fine malt.

“With this one,” says Kilt Man, “You might get a hint of TCP. This is from Isla, and it’s the most expensive of tonight’s whiskies. It’s one for the road. You’d basically give this to someone to get rid of them.”

I take a sip. It’s dark, and somewhat pungent. It ain’t the best of tonight’s samples.

“It’s also good,” Kilt Man says, “for removing sheep ticks.”

Throughout the talk he’s getting the punters involved by asking questions about Scotland’s history.

“What happened in 1745?”

“Fez bought his shirt,” mumbles Brighty, glancing at Fez's militia-style black button-up.

“The Jackobyte revolution,” answers someone on the adjacent table.

“Correct.” Kilt man dishes out an extra shot for the man with the right answer.

We all agree we should have paid more attention in History.

Dun Liere
For a bit of variety, Kilt Man throws in an Irish whisky. It’s pretty good, considering that it’s a supermarket’s own brand. I might pick up some Dun Liere next time I’m in Sainsbury’s.

An any-time whisky. This eighteen-year-old is particularly good for drinking outdoors. Kilt Man tells us that whisky was, for many years, an outdoor drink. It was what you took with you in a flask, when you went shooting stags or fishing trout and salmon. Today, whiskies are all generally marketed as indoor drinks. Mostly…

Like you'd get any signal there anyway...

I can’t resist cracking an old Bobby Davro classic.

“Personally I like my whisky like I like my women: a good sixteen-year-old mixed up with coke…”

Brighty takes my notebook off me. A few minutes later, he hands it back and there’s a biro image of a bald head with it’s mouth open. There’s a phallus pointing at the head, with tiny dots coming out of it. The picture’s title suggests it represents one of our team. There’s also a speech bubble implying that the man loves “schlong.”

Kilt Man mentions that, in certain parts of Scotland, you can buy personalised kilts like the one he’s wearing. “They’ll print any name,” he says, “especially British names like Patel.”

The night is sponsored by Stanley Ogden Butchers of Grotton, who have provided a giant portion of cow. One of tonight’s organisers is cutting steak slices off the cooked platter and slipping them into buttered muffins. They are the best steak sandwiches I have tasted to date. I hammer three of them. The record is seven, apparently.

I'd like to say Glentauchers was my favourite of the night, as it was the best of the scotches... But the Irish Dun Liere had a strange appeal. Looks like my personal whisky collection is going to have a bit of variety... after payday.

Whisky night runs again next May. I got a ticket through word-of-mouth. This kind of joint don't do no internet marketing.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Cold Whisky Nights

I'd like to welcome Mark Ferris back to the fold, with his answer-back piece.
FYI- my nickname in certain circles in “Lord of War”.

Don't ask.

With a bite in the air, and a chill in the bones
These fine young connoisseurs have broken the mould.
November's cold air cracks the wind like a whip
The boys hold fast as they take their last sip.
Now they head to the venue like a rolling storm
An old single malt to keep the boys warm.
One turns to six, and six turns to twelve
Young boys are broken at only 10 bells.
They old boys, they laugh: ''They've much to learn''
''not just a drink, but a way of the world!''
Now they wait for the night when they're all back together do as Lord says, and simply get leathered

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Whisky Night

My answer-back poem to Mark Ferris…

Drink it slow, not very fast
This liquor’s kept in a sherry cask
Sniff it, sip it, chew it over,
Make it last, take it slower
The guy in the kilt gives us Scotland’s hist’ry
Tonight we’ll all be drinking lots of whisky
So let’s not think of the morning after.
Try another sample, LET’S ALL GET PLASTERED!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Whisky Poems

In preparation for an evening of fine single malts at a local boozer, some friends and I developed a few poems on the theme of “Whisky Night”. Here's the first. The second guest writer to grace this 'ere blog is Mark “Fez” Ferris!

Whisky whisky, too pure to diss' me
Golden bodied.... a man's best friend.
Whisky whisky, its like you kiss me
Icey, spicey... the perfect blend.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Published: Plumber Night

There are certain words and definitions that you won't find in the Oxford English, or on . Words and phrases that only a few people know in tiny pockets of contemporary society...

The few that do, however, probably use the Urban Dictionary.

Your first port of call for definitions of slang. If I said I was going to murk your man, be afraid. You might have to look up “murk” on the Urban Dictionary first, though, to realise why. If you want to know why your “junk” is the same as your “crown jewels”, use this site to get it clear.

I recently submitted the phrase “Plumber Night”, which I'm sure I saw used in a lads' mag like Loaded or something. It was a few years back.

The site admins accepted it! Hurrah! Check it out on the site. Before you follow the link, can you guess what it means? It's a bit rude! **Sniggers childishly**

Monday, 6 December 2010

Mark Kermode's Right Arm: Meeting the Film Critic

On the projector screen in Manchester’s Dancehouse Theatre, I’m looking at some toy Smurfs being suspended from puppet string. Someone is giving a high-pitched voice to these characters, describing how peaceful their world is. Cue a strung-up naked action man doll, who’s come to wreak havoc and steal some kind of valuable liquid, or something.

The voice belongs to Mark Kermode, and this is his no-budget 2-minute spoof of Avatar, James Cameron’s most recent film. Mr. Kermode isn’t keen on it, and he’s not afraid to let you know.

47-year old Mr. Kermode- film critic from Newsnight review and long-time crusader against film censorship- is here tonight to promote his new book, It’s Only A Movie: Tales From a Film Obsessive.

Instead of reading from the book, he regales the stories from memory- including blagging a job on BBC radio. (Bosses loved his impromptu rambling- he’d told them he’d had “lots of experience”, and then found himself in a studio for the first time ever. His only radio knowledge was from a film called Death at Broadcasting House, set inside the BBC building.) They threw him back out onto the street after the broadcast, and was sure his career was in tatters. Then the BBC called him back. This time he prepared a script, timed it, and read it in a controlled, “professional” fashion. The bosses hauled him in: they preferred it the previous week. “It was like you hadn’t planned it at all!” they had joked.

He also quotes Woody Allen’s Love and Death as the world’s funniest film, denies rumours he’s taking over the role of presenter at Film 2010, retells being thumped outside the Cornerhouse cinema for giving a bad review of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, and being repeatedly mistaken for TV actor Jesse Birdsall.

Here's Jesse:

And here's Mark:

Mr. Kermode also claims he had to drag unconscious people out of screenings of both The Exorcist and Irreversible, and tells of annoying numerous people in the industry.

“At some point, I’m going to meet Danny Dyer,” Mr Kermode muses nervously. He’d slagged off Dyer and his movies some months ago. Dyer had uploaded a Youtube video:

“At some point,” Mr. Kermode says, “Danny Dyer is going to hit Jesse Birdsall, and it’s going to my fault!”

Dyer isn’t the only celebrity to come looking for him. Mr. Kermode has also been critical of Dame Helen Mirren and her movies, and he tells of how she found him on the red carpet at a movie première and bullied him into an explanation. “What did you mean?” she asked. His impression of Dame Helen sounds a lot like Bob Hoskins. Cue Mark babbling an explanation- something about “differing interpretations”- and collapsing at her feet, only for his wife to come to his rescue.

Aside from countless fascinating stories, Mr Kermode’s love of impressions also makes great entertainment. Every character he describes has it’s own voice, including Werner Herzog, director of movie Fitzcarraldo and documentary Grizzly Man. The Herzog / Kermode interview took a turn for the worse in Herzog’s garden. “I heard a pop noise,” says Kermode. “A tiny plume of smoke rose up from his jacket.” Mr. Kermode gives a heavy sigh. Then, with a good German accent, he says, “‘We had better go. They are shooting at us again.’”

He describes- re-enacts, even- running into the director’s house, screaming like a lunatic, with Herzog trudging behind him. (Even Mr. Kermode's impressions of himself are good.) Inside the house, Herzog refused to go to the hospital and insisted that the interview continued.

Years later, Mr Kermode met Herzog again, and asked him about the shooting incident. Herzog admitted that he only occasionally gets a pain in his abdomen, but only when he finds something funny. “Every time Herzog laughs,” says Mr. Kermode, “he’ll think of me.”

In the subsequent Q+A session, Mr. Kermode is asked of his favourite comic adaptation.

Howard the Duck,” he responds. No hesitation. “I just find it funny that people made it.” Apparently, HtD features Tim Robbins in a cameo- who also cameos in Top Gun.

Mr. Kermode also proudly features on , listing “one thousand people more annoying than Mick Hucknell.”

He says he wishes Brits were more open to reading subtitled foreign-language films (I couldn’t agree more) in the way that Asian countries are. Their U.S. imports sometimes have seven languages' subtitles plastered in numerous directions across the screen.

He was starstruck by Angelina Jolie, (who told him “I like your hair. I must get Brad to do it like that”) and Linda Blair.

“I’ve got a big thing for Liza Minelli,” says Mr. Kermode. “Not like that.” He once met the Cabaret star and, in a starstruck trance, poked her with his finger. She didn’t react.

The last question is from a kid of maybe twelve years old. He asks, “Do you think there’ll ever be a better film than The Exorcist?”

“Oh, God bless you for asking that,” Mr. Kermode replies. The UK poster for The Exorcist features his quote from Radio 1 where he claimed the 1973 cult horror is “the greatest movie ever made.”

“Linda Blair was once asked, what’s it like living with the legacy of The Exorcist? She told the reporter, 'it’s like my right arm. It’s just there.' The Exorcist- it is for me too. I wake up in the morning,” he says, thinking through his daily routine, “There’s my wife,” he says like he’s ticking off a daily check list, “and there’s The Exorcist… I think about it every day.”

Mr. Kermode asks the kid’s name, and relays to us, “John, everybody. The next presenter of Film 2010!”

Mr. Kermode signs my book, agrees to a picture and takes my blog card.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Meeting the Dirty Sanchez Boyos!


10/10/10. Tokyo Project, Oldham's smartest club. The two rooms of the club, plus the terrace, give a capacity of 1000. Tonight, however, only one room is busy- and it's very busy. Channel 4's Dirty Sanchez has come to Oldham.

Tonight's event, “Dainton Vs Pritchard”, welcomes two Welsh lads from the post-watershed TV show Dirty Sanchez. In theme with the show, they will soon be inflicting pain on each other for our amusement. Think Jackass on crack. The moment they appear on stage, to heavy rock music, they smash bottles over each other's heads. Pritchard's body is covered in tattoos- we know this as he's wearing what appears to be a pair of Speedos and a bandanna. Dainton is carrying the event's sponsorship on his t-shirt- Dirty Sanchez are proud users of Etnies skateboarding footwear. The boyos find a fluorescent light bulb, appropriately placed in the corner of the stage. Dainton thrusts it between Pritchard's thighs in a masturbatory fashion. Eventually, he smashes it over his partner's back.

Between random bouts of karaoke, the boyos from the valleys physically abuse each other in an array of manners.

“Bungee thong” sees Pritchard wearing highly elasticated underpants. He grips onto a podium rail at the far side of the stage, as Dainton stretches the underwear right to the far door. When he releases, you can hear Pritchard scream for a second before the rock music kicks in again.

“Mousetrap cock” presumably requires no definition. The definition of Pritchard's member, however, may now be altered.

Unless you're abnormally tall, you won't see much happening on stage. Behind the clustered fans, you'll only see the performers from the torso up, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your interest as a lot of the action happens below that area. People are balancing on the steps at the edge of the dance floor, crowding into raised areas. The room falls silent before the stunt, so after a prolonged wait, the snap of the device going off is clearly audible before the crowd's reaction booms off the walls.

A Mallett's Mallet-style word association game follows this. Prior to the show, we are told, Dainton and Pritchard both ejaculated into the same condom. Said condom is presented on stage- it could be anything in there- diluted toothpaste, milk, liqueurs. But yeah, it could be come. When Pritchard's silent pause marks him as the sore loser, the look of disappointment on his face is convincing. He really doesn't want to do this. He looks at the condom in disgust. Then he necks it like it's a Frube.

The stage show climaxes with Dainton jamming a wooden stick into Pritchard's anus, snapping it off, removing the obstructing piece with his fingers and wiping it under Pritchard's nose.

What do you mean, you didn't know that giving someone a poo-'tache was the definition of “Dirty Sanchez?” You do now!

After the show there's a giant queue to meet the boyos. When I get to the front I refrain from dishing out my blog card to the showmen, as the club manager is standing right next to me. A few weeks ago I got a phone call from someone who sounded like a bar manager (I've worked with enough to know their distinct tone.) He'd found my card, so he must work at a club somewhere. I've been discreetly dropping them around town, including at Tokyo Project. The caller wanted to know “what I was about”- presumably to check I wasn't a businessman advertising on his turf. It could very easily be this man standing next to me. I should take the risk, but I don't. Instead I pick up a free signed Dirty Sanchez / Etnies poster. As the club photographer takes our picture, Dainton and Pritchard sign my torso with a permanent marker.

Dirty Sanchez

Tokyo Project

Event Photographs!/album.php?aid=86566&id=1450150583

Saturday, 4 December 2010 Get Your Writing Published Here. List Your Fiction / Poetry Magazine Here.

Publishing your work is important. Even if you are giving a piece to some smaller publication for free, you will learn something about your writing. The editor will say something, friends will mention it. You will learn.
-Tim Cahill

A surprisingly accurate quote, considering he's not a writer but an Australian footballer.

For the last year I've been hammering as many writing groups, poetry nights, book launches, signings and social media events as I can. There are a lot of determined and talented people in Manchester who could go far with their grasp of the written word. Yet I've been amazed by how few of these people have heard of this vital writing resource...

Duotrope could be described as the Yellow Pages of fiction and poetry magazines. The site itself says it's a “free writers' resource listing over 3150 current Fiction and Poetry publications.”

Using this site is possibly the easiest way of getting your work into print.

Two types of people are going to benefit from this.

1) The Writer.
You've got a piece of writing. You love it. It's been workshopped, tweaked, formatted, slept on and polished. It's ready for print. Now you need Duotrope.

2) The Editor.
You're starting your own publication with the intention of getting as many fantastic stories as possible headed straight into your inbox. All you require, to get your mag known, is publicity. Now you need Duotrope.

The site is fairly straightforward and easy-to-use- or will be after a rummage. Among the three thousand-plus magazines you'll find nearly every genre of writing from Action Adventure to Zombie Horror. Listed are online publications, printed magazines, poetry anthologies, markets that pay, markets that don't, and a range- nay, a smorgasbord of styles and tastes. Like Gothic Fantasy of the absurdist style? There's a market for that. Got a Literary Historical Mystery piece? There are magazines looking for exactly what you have.

You can also choose how you submit your work. Email is quicker for all of us, but if you prefer to print and post your work, you can specify that in your search terms.

Duotrope is more than a search engine- it's almost a form of social media. The site offers a chance for writers to publicise their accepted work. Creating a profile will allow you to report acceptances to the site, which will in turn tell users how often the magazines accept submissions.

Along with that, Duotrope deliver a weekly email featuring changes in the marketplace- new magazines opening or ageing magazines closing to submissions, changes in pay scale or format, magazines looking for specifically-themed stories. This email also gives shout-outs to those who reported acceptances on the site. The more acceptances you get, the more you can report and the more the English-speaking lit-crowd see your name.

If you're a good writer, you'll find a home for your work here. If you're a good editor, contributors will be beating your door down.

Friday, 3 December 2010


You’re shopping in Manchester’s Arndale Centre. You’re starving. The array of eateries at the Food Court is around the other side of the building. Most of them aren’t that healthy anyway… your head is pounding and the people are all in your way… and then you see the glowing, orange circular sign.


A new restaurant. A takeaway. A pizzeria. You approach. It’s like an Italian buffet, a circular-based version of Subway. Behind the counter: plain pizza bases and an array of toppings. Choose your own! I went for pineapple and meatballs. As one character says in Goodnight Mr Tom, it was “delumpcoius”.

At £5.95 for a large pizza deal, it’s a little more than Subway and some other outlets, but there are a lot of places in the city asking this much for lunch. They don’t all taste as good as this though. Everything at Go! looks pretty healthy, too. Shame about the screaming infants. That comes with the location, though.

I liked the monochrome-photograph-design walls. The staff are also easy on the eye. Couldn’t help but notice.

You can also Go! At Liverpool John Lennon Airport, with other outlets opening across the UK soon.

Keep your eyes peeled for a pizza box design competition. Your image could be right in front of every customer as they chow down. Here’s a website to chew over:

Thursday, 2 December 2010

October's Letter to a Lyrical Legend

“I dunno how else to puddit- this is the only thing that I’m good’at.”
-Marshall Mathers, AKA Eminem, in his song Rain Man.

Ah, Mr. Mathers. Let me tell you a story.

A few years ago- 2005 in fact- a friend of mine and I were trudging through Manchester after a heavy night out. I think I’d pulled Tom out of a bush in nearby Fallowfield after he’d just puked on the pavement outside Revolution.

“I’ve just spent all that money,” he had slurred, “and… y’know, what benefit has it given me?”

Then, the next afternoon, at Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre, we were talking about how we both worked shit-paid jobs- admin for agencies- and we weren’t getting anywhere in life. Tom then referenced one of your lyrics. I’ve no idea what it was, but the likelihood is that the line was “I’m tired of faking noughts with a stack of ones”, or something else from your first album. After all, when you wrote The Slim Shady LP, you were- as you put it- “broke as fuck.” Just like us.

It was then we realised that, no matter the situation we were in, there was always an Eminem lyric to sum up a situation. Since then you’ve done another two albums and a number of collaborations- so with more to choose from it’s even truer today.

The quote I’ve used relates to this blog. All I know how to do is to write, and I’ve no real qualifications in that area. That’s why- five years after that drunken day- I’m still broke. There’s another reason why: my own short-term memory disability. Try holding down an admin job- or learning how to use a new computer system- when you can’t remember what you’ve seen. But people are helping me with that, to a certain degree. And I’m not going to bitch.
Anyway. The monstrous task of moving into my new flat has swallowed up the majority of October. It's been mind-bendingly difficult, Marshall. Decorating will take MONTHS. I’ve been working on it for nearly 6 weeks now, and I’ve sorted the bedroom. The rest looks like the set of the movie Trainspotting (minus the heroin needles and dead baby). Again, I’m getting help with this to a certain degree, but many people fail to grasp how little one is capable of in my situation, when you’ve never decorated before.

I’ve been juggling decorating with a few other activities. Seriously, Marshall, my schedule has been fuller than a 1980’s Manhattan yuppie’s Filofax. The Manchester Literature Festival was fantastic. Highlights included meeting Martin Amis and Iain M Banks, and covering Saci Lloyd’s Carbon Diaries event. Here are the Lit Festival events that I wrote up for my own blog:

Manchester Reads the Sixties

A discussion of 1960s literature, featuring some writer guests who were well-known at the time:

Poetry Drop-in With John Siddique

A seminar on how to develop a poem from idea to the finished product- something you'd probably excel in:

In Conversation: Jonathan Franzen and Dave Haslam

Author of The Corrections discusses his new novel, Freedom, with Manchester writer and author of Not ABBA: The Real Story of the 1970s, Dave Haslam.

New Jersey Poet CK Williams

The man reads his work, and a signs book copies.

In Conversation: Martin Amis and Andrew Davies

The two novelist / screen adapters divulge movie secrets.


The launch of an anthology of stories and poems, inspired by eavesdropping.

Miguelanxo Prado

A Spanish Comic book artist whose work ain't for kids.

The Manchester Blog Awards

Bringing together amateur writers from across the city. The public vote, and organisers crown a select few as winners- find links to their blogs here.

Women and Crime Fiction

A discussion into how women succeed in a predominantly male-driven sector of the literature market.

And here’s The Future: Carbon Diaries, which I covered for the official MLF blog. One link leads to another.

I think you’d have gone down a treat at The Comedy Poetry Slam, personally. A cross between stand-up comedy and a poetry reading. Funny stuff.

Coincidentally, Tom and I now just use the net to keep in touch as he’s in the Royal Navy and I’m doing marketing back home. He told me that the RN Information Technology team have banned my blog on their internet system. By all means, have a rummage to see why. It’s not particularly surprising that they’d filter me out. But having said that, what would you say my blog is about?

I’ve recently read loads of social media info advising people how to tailor their blogs to meet an audience. Most of them say you should focus your writing to one or two subjects, and become a master in that field. I, on the other hand, am getting more eclectic. It started off being solely about the dumb situations I’d get myself into with women and employers and at strange parties and- as one reader described them- “chav bars”. Now, I’m leaning toward political commentary, literature events and writing exercises. Some say it’s good that I’m broadening out, but I feel like it’s getting too everyday and “bloggish”. I might need to go on an adventure. A very weird, hard-core adventure that makes biting, shocking blogging. Can you think of a shoestring-budget idea that fits this bill? Comment below. Go on. I’d be honoured.

Moving on. The Shining. The novel. Stephen King. Oh. My. God. This has to go down as the dullest, slowest novel I have ever subjected myself to. I was actually forewarned about King’s overratedness over at Mark Nicholl’s blog:

But I thought I’d still give it a shot. The task of finishing it was actually excruciating. You’ve probably seen Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 screen adaptation- it was this film that made me choose The Shining out of all of King’s work, and the film is a horror masterpiece. Now I’ve read the original I can assure you of this: it’s a testament to Kubrick’s ability as a director that he could take such an un-scary, boring book and turn it into a memorable, effective horror film.

A reminder of the plot: Danny Torrance is a young boy who has dangerous premonitions, and can see ghosts- more so when he and his mum and dad move to an abandoned hotel on a mountain.

I don’t know whether you’ve ever tried writing non-rhyming stories, Em. But if you research what is the best way to write fiction, you’ll find the same advice offered by many people in many different books and websites. They will warn you not to do certain things. One thing is not to include scenes that don’t move the story forward. King is guilty of this. Before the family move to the hotel, his parents take Danny to a psychologist to test his “scarily” predictive abilities. This scene rationalises the situation and explains it away, meaning that what once may have been mildly frightening now isn’t at all. This is one of many scenes that drag the story to a halt. The psychologist was an unnecessary character, much like the black chef, Halloran. As much of a nice character he is, he’s still a plot block, although his presence does explain the book’s title. (Halloran isn't in the movie, and the title isn't mentioned after the opening credits.) King is also guilty of jamming in as much description as possible, in a desperate- and failed- attempt to induce fear in the reader. Oh, and the moving hedge sculptures were laughable.

A painful read. How is King such a big name in horror?!

After finishing this, I dived into Bugged, an anthology by a team of amateur Manchester-based writers. Their task was to venture out on one summer's day and eavesdrop on the public. They would then take snippets of real dialogue they hear, and turn those lines into short fiction and poetry. A great idea for a project. Good, strong writing but lacked that one story that stood out from the rest, if you know what I mean.

I expect that, with phones now being mobile web browsers, short story anthologies like Bugged won’t be published in print for much longer. Who would buy these books when we can read shorts for free online? And why distribute locally when you can make an online magazine and accept submissions from all over the world? Your work, also, would be seen that far and wide. (Rhetorically. Literally, your work already is. 12.5 million records? Good work, sunshine. Can't fault you.) Printed short story anthologies have a very short, erm… shelf life. Fair enough, they were charging for the book. But which would they prefer? Recognition, or a bit of cash? Once they’ve covered the cost of publishing…

That was books. This is films.

The Hangover.

My mates have been banging on about this film for months, so I figured it was time I checked it out. After a heavy stag party, a group of mates wake up with no memory of the night before, a destroyed hotel room and a tiger in the bathroom. And no groom. Mildly amusing. Tries too hard to be cool. It’s also similar in theme to a film from about ten years ago, called Dude Where’s My Car, which was awful. Hangover director Todd Phillips clearly has no concept of the dimensions of the average tiger, and seems to think you’d be able to jam one into a hotel luggage trolley. Sorry, but it wouldn’t even fit in the boot of your estate car (a scenario that is also exhibited).


Did not disappoint. As with Borat, Sascha Baren Cohen once again weaves his own hilarious story around a series of pranks. This time, gay fashion guru Bruno (Cohen) wants fame, and hits the U.S. in search of it. Cue the duping of an array of very uncomfortable Americans- including talk show participants disgusted that someone would “actually” adopt a black baby as a fashion accessory. When Cohen gives a lap dance to former presidential candidate Ron Paul, you’ll shit your lips. The film did have a very familiar Borat-style story structure, though.

Family Guy: Something, Something Dark Side

Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane follows up Blue Harvest with another hilarious space-saga parody. This time The Empire Strikes Back gets the Family Guy treatment. I loved the original. I loved the remake. I’m looking forward to seeing how McFarlane handles Return of the Jedi.

Finally, Marshall, I'm in need of a second job. Outgoings are more than incomings at the moment- a scenario I'm sure you'll remember from before your first record deal. However, it remains to be seen whether I'll “burst this tec at somebody to reverse this debt”.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Stranger Will Can Blog For You. Well. Caleb J Ross Can.

After advertising for guest writers on my blog, and doing my own asking around, I found a very talented man named Caleb J Ross. His novels Stranger Will and I Didn’t Mean To Be Kevin will be hitting book store shelves soon.
Caleb has had a novel idea (pun intended) to promote his books- a virtual world blog tour. For “Stranger Will Tour for Strange”, the Kansas-based writer will be guest-posting on a series of blogs all over the globe, right from his living room. His writing will appear on my blog on 22nd August 2011.
Check out his own blog here:
He still has a few spaces in his schedule… Do you have a blog? Why not let him write for you? Not only will you be helpin’ a brother out, you’ll be branching out and showing that bloggers don’t just sit in darkened rooms and think only of themselves. We’re a whole community. Having a guest blogger posting on your blog is practically a merit badge.

Get involved in Caleb’s project! Contact him at caleb {at} calebjross {dot} com.