Monday, August 31, 2009

Fur Wars - Chapter 4

The screen flickered and blinked into action illuminating an otherwise darkened chamber. A grimacing and pixelated face appeared on the monitor, eyes shrouded with the lip of a hood. The disfigured creature on the screen had skin pitted and scarred, hanging onto sharpened cheekbones and pointed nose. Gaping, open mouthed, and breathing heavily, what tombstone teeth that could be seen were sparse and rotten, thin lips turned down at the corners into a menacing scowl.

A deep, metallic voice within the dimly lit chamber gravely intoned to the phantasmagorical vision on screen: “Emperor Mong, recon droids have located the distress signal of a ship on an insignificant planet in the outer reaches of the cosmos. It’s him. I know it.”

The face on the screen spat mockingly: “I know. I know. But we must exercise caution Lord Vimto. The Rebels are not as weak as they first seem. You are a warrior I know and the warrior’s instinct urges him to attack at the strongest point first, to go for the talismanic leader in the hope that the weak will crumble when he falls. But the wily hunter picks off the weakest prey first, then the next, one by one. The warrior’s arrogance is his weakness. In a war of attrition, there can be only one winner. The hunter. The Rebellion leaders’ compassion for their subjugated and infirm will be their undoing. You’ll see that soon enough.”

“But this hunt is over master. Our reticence will be our downfall. While we concern ourselves with petty skirmishes and pointless diplomacy, the Rebels will grow in power. The prophecy foretells..”

“Silence Vimto! Speak not of the prophecy. You will do as I say. Princess Harden has sent message that the Rebel Alliance is willing to capitulate in exchange for the promise of peace. The Empire will be all consuming. Everywhere and everything. All at once. We will give them their peace. ..and then we will destroy them.”

“Very good … my master,” said the unseen metallic voice.

The screen fizzled out and Emperor Mong disappeared from sight, throwing the room, once again, into darkness.

“Tosser,” said the deep, metallic voice of Lord Vimto, “I just ask for one thing. One thing! It’s always the same. He’s fucking lost it.”

With a click of his fingers the room became fully illuminated. A purple gauntleted hand rose from beneath a similarly coloured shroud, pointing towards a panel on the far wall of the chamber, a red LED turned on: “The road is loooong, With many a wiiiinding turn, that leads us to whoooo? Who knows wheeere? Who knows wheeeen? But I’m stroooong, strong enough to caaarry hiiim. He ain’t heavyyy, he’s my br..” Lord Vimto waggled his finger again and the stereo switched off abruptly.

Fur Wars - Chapter 3

Somewhere, deep in space, in a galaxy far, far away from anything else much, planets soar in elliptical orbits of various radii around a dying sun. This undisturbed solar system plays host to eight planets, 166 moons, five dwarf planets, and billions of smaller bodies. One planet alone though, the third from the sun, is unique (or at least that’s what its residents believe), in that it plays host to an abundance of life.

This planet has a single moon visible to its billions of self-absorbed residents. Lurking 100,000 miles behind the first moon though, lies a second, smaller, satellite. This second celestial body follows the orbit of the first primary moon and so remains hidden from view at the host planet’s ground zero. This second outer satellite also plays host to life. Dark and brooding life.

Fur Wars - Chapter 2

Bunny Derek had been out all morning foraging in The Forest. Or at least that’s what he had told The Village elders. The Bunnies lived a simple, peaceful, life in the land that they called Nob. They knew nothing of life beyond the boundaries of The Forest. In fact, they thought life started and ended in The Forest, that The Forest was all, ubiquitous, everything and everywhere, well everything and everywhere in the horizontal plane at least. And, to all intents and purposes, it might as well have been just that.

It is not completely true to say that Derek had been foraging. He had, in fact, been exploring. Exploring was in this Bunny’s blood, his father had been an explorer and his father’s father, and his father’s father’s father, and his father’s father’s father’s father and, well … you get the picture. The sum total findings of countless generations of explorers exploring had come to the conclusion that The Village was entirely and completely surrounded by The Forest and that The Forest was very big indeed. So big, in fact, it was all at once, everywhere.

Derek had told The Village elders that he was foraging on account of the fact that exploring had been officially abolished as a Bunny profession. “’Tis nowt but idle wandering!” proclaimed the village’s new Prime Bunny, Dave Daveson, who had come to power on the strength of promised tax-breaks for small businesses and swinging social reform, “and no Bunny henceforth, not even the Dereksons, will explore The Forest. It is everywhere, I think we all know that by now. Derek Derekson, you should get a proper job of work, like foraging or something. You wouldn’t want to end up like your father?”

Derek Derekson loved exploring though, and—thankfully for Derek Derekson at least—exploring and foraging were practically indistinguishable. Only with foraging Derek had to make sure he returned to The Village at the end of the day with a bag full of nuts and berries or—as Derek tended to do most days—a sack filled with firewood for The Sacrifice.

Foraging for firewood in The Forest was pretty straightforward. “You just need to be able to see the wood from the trees,” Derek’s foraging friend Duncan Duncanson had once told him. Foraging was not quite so noble a profession as exploring in Derek’s eyes, however, it did pretty much enable him to wander around all day in The Forest unencumbered and unhassled.

With the time fast approaching noon, Derek had been foraging south along The Stream since dawn. It would be time to head back for The Sacrifice soon. This was, Derek figured, the principle reason why exploring had thus far managed to discover only that The Forest was everywhere.

Village Law, you see, requires that every Bunny, Doe and Kitten be present at The Sacrifice, on pain of death, and since The Sacrifice started daily at the very moment the sun passed beneath canopy height, it made it very difficult for explorers to get very far away from The Village before they needed to head back.

Some Bunnies had, of course, ventured too far and not made it back to The Village in time for The Sacrifice, and had either a) been thrown upon The Sacrifice, b) disappeared for a while before returning, only to be thrown on The Sacrifice, or c) never been seen again. Derek had no intention of following his father, Derek Snr’s footsteps, by falling into category c.

Derek was not bitter about his father’s disappearance, it was a simple fact of The Village life. Explorers almost inevitably during the course of their career, or perhaps more accurately at the end of their career, would at some point not make it back in time for The Sacrifice. It was a hazard of the job. Derek felt sure though that he could discover more of The Forest with a bit more time exploring, but he also felt quite strongly that the only role he would be playing in The Sacrifice that day would be one of a passive, reverential, observer. So, with that thought fresh in his mind, he turned around to head for home.

Upon turning back upstream, Derek’s eyes were drawn skyward by a flash of brilliant light crossing the heavens faster than he could possibly comprehend. An airborne Pyre, as bright as The Sacrifice itself, shot overhead at twice or possibly thrice times canopy height. Followed by a bang so loud the shockwave knocked Derek clean off his feet and back into The Stream. He landed with a clonking splosh, and lay unconscious on the far bank.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fur Wars - Return of the Judy

Hi Readers. Sorry I've not posted much lately, I've been busy writing a story. Not Citizen Journalism this time either. I thought I'd give fiction another try.

I'll admit, my mojo took a sever battering thanks to the crushing disappointment of the Secret Seed Society's rejection letter. However, after the sound advice of my lovely follower Tennyson ee Hemmingway, I thought I'd best give it another crack.

So, all this week I've been staying up late working on my masterpiece. It's called Fur Wars - Return of the Judy. You might recognise some of the characters, although, it's not plagerism, it's an homage or maybe a pastiche, I'm not sure....

Here's chapter one:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, some bad ju-ju was going down on the dark and brooding Planet Nob.....

Fur Wars

Episode VI: Return of the Judy

The first sensation that he had, or least could remember that he’d had, was a dull ache pushing and pulsing against the back wall of his right eye. The pain’s epicentre was buried deep in his skull. An ignition key had been turned somewhere though, and neurons starting sparking across the receptors of his brain.

Aware, but unmoving, his motor skills had yet to fire up completely. Unable to open his eyes fully, he croaked for air and hydration in equal measure. This was either the worst hangover of his life or something was seriously amiss.

When he came to think of it, which he did eventually, imperceptibly, without conscious effort, he couldn’t for the world of him, work out how he’d got where he was. Wherever, indeed, that was. He recollected visions of home, of his friends and family, flashing without rhyme nor reason from one to the other—a disjointed, train wreck of a dream or, more accurately, nightmare.

The periods of nothingness could have been seconds, minutes, maybe even hours long. It was impossible to tell, because the periods of somethingness were indiscriminate and tangential to his appreciation of them. The mists of his consciousness were rising slowly. Intermittent random visions sprang forth, his memories as haphazard and jagged as fresh smashed plate glass.

He was lying on his side, his movements restricted. Tight-fitting, twisted, garments clinging to his body, enveloping him utterly, his right arm extended up above his head was numb, unlike his bladder, which was full. Very full.

“Albert, we have a problem,” he whispered to himself as his eyelids finally triumphed in their battle against the superglue sleep that had fused his lashes shut, cracking open he saw, blurred at first then clearing, a familiar yet confusing panel of coloured dials and displays. He was down and, apparently, in one piece.

Down he may have been, but his safety was far from assured. Concern morphed seamlessly into panic. Where was he and how the hell was he going to get back? He stared uncomprehendingly at the ship’s now obviously non-functioning controls realising that the dark black circle floating in the foreground of his field of vision was, in fact, a reflection of his own dilating pupil. His breathing had quickened, repeatedly steaming the plastiglass barrier inches from his nose.

Rocking back and forth slightly, he freed his left hand from whatever it was caught up in and reached up to his right hand, twisting over onto his back he managed to drag the lifeless limb back down. The relief he felt as the blood coursed through his veins into his arm was outweighed almost immediately by the onset of crippling paresthesia.

This would be the last time that he listened to Garth. His brother had assured him prior to take off, in no uncertain terms, that inducing temporary paralysis in your arm by sleeping with it above your head guaranteed an early morning hand job of unparalleled perfection. “It feels like someone else,” Garth had said with the sort of unerring conviction that only a simpleton could muster.

It slowly dawned on him that he must’ve put his arm above his head prior to the ship’s life control system placing him into total cryogenic stasis. It wasn’t seconds, minutes or hours he’d been asleep, it was years.

Eventually, the pins and needles started to subside and Albert pushed up the visor of his space suit helmet. Taking in a deep lung full of, frankly, fetid air he said: “Right then, I s’pose I’d best see where the fuck I am before I bleedin’ well piss mesen.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

Old dog + new trick = Barry Newsdesk

More often than not there's a grain of truth in old wives' tales. I know that even great writers, such as myself, sometimes fall back on cheap cliches and lazy stereotypes. I've used the expression, 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks', more than once on the blog. But it's wrong. Both in its literal and figurative sense.

Last year, for instance, when Mrs Bradley turned her ankle on black ice, I took care of her dog Raffles. You remember Raffles readers? Way back in the early days of Newsdesk I wrote an expose regarding the lack of interest London's finest were giving to the shocking spate of canine thefts that blight the nation's capital. Anyway, I was looking after Raffles (49 (in dog years)) and I taught him a trick that involves me balancing a dog biscuit on the end of his nose until I clap my hands together, after which he suddenly twists his snout in a loop and scoffs the snack.

Now, I know I'm not exactly an old dog, but I'm no spring chicken either and only this morning I learned a new trick and not one that involves the balancing of biscuits on my noce. I was feeling pretty excited about my idea for an Abrahamic God holiday camp, particularly after reading the very encouraging words of encouragement in the comments section of the post.

I was feeling so excited that I actually broke one of the covenants of Newsdesk. I told someone about the posting. Even more foolishly I told Dan. Y'see, the thing is, ever since he moved in as my new lodger, we've been getting along famously, even taking the tube in together. (Although, when we get near the office he always either ducks into a shop or Starbucks or suddenly races ahead of me. If I was a paranoid type I'd think he doesn't want people seeing us together! haha lol.)

So now Dan knows I'm a blogger. I didn't tell him the name of the blog, but I was getting carried away, I was even going to ask him if it would be possible for me to write the occassional thing for the magazine. But when he heard about the Club 40-40 idea, he almost literally pissed himself there and then on the tube. We had to get all the way from Balham to Clapham North before he stopped laughing.

Seems our publisher extraordinaire didn't rate the idea quite as much as Mr Coleman (don't worry Mr C, I know who I would rather have on my side!). I was quite affronted, as you can probably well imagine.

"Got any more bright ideas Newsdesk?" he said, not even bothering to stiffle his mirth.

It was then that I decided to tell him about my other recent idea: premium phone lines for the delivery of management training courses for the busy professional. Well, I tell you what, that stopped him in his tracks. Then he put on his serious Mr Boss face and told me he liked my ingenuity. Jesus effing Christ, the man's more difficult to read than The Satanic Verses.

I was starting to feel a bit pumped, and I have to say, I'm not sure whether it was the train bumping around coupled with the excitement of seeing all the office girls, or whether it was the possibility of receiving some sort of acknowledgement and affirmation from my boss, but I started to get a stiffy. I had to use my copy of the Metro to protect my modesty (soz Kenny!).

Dan then said he was afraid that "audio conferencing" was already pretty big business! He's not joking reading, I just typed the expression into Google and came up with 54 million hits. I've said it before, but I tell you what, whatever you can think of, you can bet someone else has already thought of it, and it'll be on the web....well, I did just that, and I'm about to put one Dan Bantam firmly in his place.

The Holy Land Experience.

Praise (your God). I have to admit, the religious theme park shown above is ever so slightly more slick than the one I was planning for Cleethorpes. Still, there you go Bantam. Read it and weep.

That said, I'll give Dan his dues, after telling me about the existing proliferation of audio conferencing, he said that our magazine is planning to launch a whole host of what he called "webinars". I don't know whether Dan has coined the phrase, if so, you read it here first. Oh, hang on, I just typed it into Goolge and got 6.5 million hits. Anyway, that doesn't make it any less of a great idea.

It might sound totally contrived, but the word webinar is actually a contraction of the words seminar and world wide web. Geddit? They're basically online seminars. So they're like my audio conferences, but with pictures too. Dan reckons they're a quick easy buck in the world of marketing. You need to think outside the box if you're in advertising sales today readers. Marketers want more than adverts in magazines, it's all about personalization these days, tailored delivery of bespoke marketing solutions. Well, that's what Dan says.

Anyway, I've got to go now, Dan's been down the gym all night and I've got to get his tea on.

Yours in business


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Club 40-40

I've had an epiphany readers. After reading Mr C's brilliant comment on the last one one post (regarding the establishment of what would in effect be The Barry Newsdesk Online Idea Factory), I realised that I really am an Ideas Man. (I'm also a ladies man, but that's another story lol).

I had my latest idea while I was thinking about where to go on holiday next year. I'd just received a letter from the Buddhist Retreat in Scotland that I went to not so long ago asking me whether I wanted to book in now and receive what it called 'An Early Bird Discount'. But I don't want worms readers!!! That's why I play things by ear most of the time. That's when you find the real discounts, I'm the late bird, like an owl, who has turned his back on worms for breakfast, and now feasts on nocturnal delights.

The Buddhist retreat was great though and I thought maybe I would be able to use my experience and knowledge of the world's religions to establish some other sort of religious retreat. Religious people love a holiday don't they? Some of our fav hols are religious, whatsmore they love a cause, possibly more than non-religious people, apart from Animal Rights campaigners. They're sometimes even more fervent than muslim martyrs aren't they?

It was then that I had my epiphany, I'm thinking of setting up a special Judeo-Christian Camp called 40 Days and 40 Nights (not unlike Richard Dawkins and his crazy atheist camp). Y'see it's like the Perfect Storm in many ways, I've been camping quite a bit recently and I've been studying religion. It's as though all my ideas have formed a mighty tsunami.

I envisage highering actors to play the parts of significant figures throughout religious history, then campers can not only enjoy the great outdoors for 40 days and 40 nights, but they can also learn first hand about some of the greatest religions to have shaped the world.

My business plan involves finding a suitable campsite in which to stage my Religious Expereince. I was thinking of looking in Britain, the credit crunch has certainly encouraged people to stay in this country more and maybe my camp can help resore life to the English seaside resort. I was thinking of doing it in Cleethorpes, with the best will in the world, it is something of a wilderness up there, and the tide goes out for miles, so I can use the Humber Estury for the Red Sea parting scenes.

Next up, I'll place an advert in Stage or somewhere elese online and free looking for my leading lights. I'll need at least one Jesus, a Mohammed, a Moses and a Satan. I figure I can probably use locals or students looking for work for the minor parts.

Finally, I'll need funding. So I'll do what I do best and write some emails. I'm sure Thompson Holidays will be interested, not to mention the Vatican.

I'll keep you posted on developments as they unfold.

Take care guys.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Charity begins on the blogosphere

Dear readers, I received an email from a friend of mine (Wayne Street) and I have decided to dedicate today’s blog post to that letter.

Wayne wrote to me regarding a bike ride that he’s carrying out imminently in order to honour the memory of an old school friend of ours and also to help raise money for charity.

Our friend, Rich Wildman, who sadly passed was also a keen blogger (and also created the character Chemo Man to help inspire other people stuggling against Cancer), so it seems appropriate that I use the power of this blog to promote Wayne’s charity bike ride.

If you don’t want to donate any money to Wayne’s ride that’s fair enough, I’m sure you support other charitable causes, maybe an attractive girl in your office is running the London Marathon and you need to impress her? (Fair enough, Rich would have approved of that no doubt.) Still, if you have time you should certainly read his blog. I’m rambling here, I’ll let Wayne explain in more detail:

Tour de Wildman

Charity Cycle Ride – Nottingham to Maidenhead

In memory of Richard Wildman (1971-2008)

In December last year a close friend of mine from school days lost his battle against Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma within one year of being diagnosed.

In memory of Richard, I’m planning to cycle from Nottingham to Maidenhead, via Leicester and Banbury. This route follows (roughly) Rich’s migration south before settling down with his wife Samantha and kids Rebecca and Harry in Maidenhead.

The ride is planned for the 12th and 13th September (back up date of the 27th and 28th) and totals about 150 gruelling miles.

150 miles! Jeesh, I’ll be lucky to make 150 metres….

If you’d like to sponsors me, that would be lovely….

Rich’s wife Samantha has set up two separate Just Giving accounts for previous challenges that she has carried out to raise charity money and awareness of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, so please click on either of the Just Giving accounts set up by Sam (shown below) and send in your money.

Make a Wish Foundation

Lyphoma Research Trust

During Richard’s fight with cancer he maintained a blog detailing his battle with the illness. His blog is emotional and sometimes hilarious, as he relates his personal war against cancer whilst dealing with the humdrum realities of daily life.

It is also informative explaining the illness, his symptoms, treatments he was receiving and the effects they were having, and in the end unfortunately, not having. Richard maintained a positive spirit to the end and part of the reason for writing his blog was to provide support and inspiration to others who were waging similar wars against cancer.

If you are intrigued or would like some information relating to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, please visit his blog at the following web address:



OK glorious blogfollowers, if you could blog about this and Tweet and email and put it on Facebook, that would be awesome! Oh, and sponsor Wayne of course....

Many thanks


Monday, August 17, 2009

Sharp dressed man

Do you ever wake up and wonder what you're going wear to work? It used to be so easy back at school when your Mum used to put out your uniform and off you'd trot.

In the UK, if you're in Sales, you wear a suit. Simple. While the Editorial guys on the magazine get away with jeans and unironed short sleeved shirts - or sometimes even T-shirts. We share the same open plan office space, so why the disparity? Over in the US, meanwhile, they don't wear suits at all, they wear buttoned down shirts (no tie) tucked into beige Chinos pulled up slightly too high with a cell [sic] phone holster attached at the side (maybe they equate the ubiquitous cell phone side arm with a gun of their forbears??

I was thinking about this while I flew back in Virgin Upper Class. There I was sitting in Upper Class surrounded by the oddest assortment of individuals you could imagine. They certainly didn't look upper class. To look properly upper class you should probably be wearing brown suede loafers, pink cords and a Prince of Wales check shirt.

You see, style for the businessman is a mine field. That's when I dreamt up the concept of a course targeted at the HR professional who needs to enforce a dress code at the office. But in order to target the busy professional HR executive that hasn't got time to think up and design pointless company policy documents, I thought I would deliver my course via the medium of the telephone call!

I've come up with some marketing blurb for the emailer. Here's what I've got so far:

"Drafting & Enforcing Dress Code Policies: What's Working: What's Not"

Tired of being the "fashion police" for your company? Protect your company image and be prepared for even the toughest dress code situations.

What needs to be in your dress code policy? How can you enforce it without having to worry about a lawsuit? Join us for a 60-minute audio conference where you will discover:
  • How to address body odour, inappropriate clothing, and piercings
  • Keys to draft an effective appearance policy
  • Legally safe steps for disciplining repeat offenders and rule breakers
  • The impact of "lifestyle laws" on your workplace appearance policies
CONVENIENT - No airlines. No travel. No time out of the office. Listen in from the comfort and convenience of your desk. EASY - A telephone is all the equipment you need. Just dial in, punch in your access code, and you're in. That's it. Follow along with the audio conference handouts provided in advance. ACTIONABLE - Our audio conferences provide money-saving, tactics you can start using right when you hang up the phone. IDEAL FOR MULTIPLE LISTENERS - Use a speakerphone and as many people as you want can listen in - at no extra cost to you.

There you go readers? What do you think? It's pretty straight forward to set up too. I must confess, it wasn't just traveling in Virgin Upper Class that inspired my idea, it was the copy of gentleman's interest magazine Club that I bought at LAX. I don't know if you're familiar with these types of magazine? They feature pictures of sexy young girls, erotic stories, interesting articles about speedboats and fast cars and dozens of adverts for something called phone sex. You can dial up a number and listen to people doing it, the number you call is a premium line and charges $2.99 for the first minute and 99c per minute thereafter.

Most of the adverts in gents' magazines promise to get right into the action and have you shoot your load (or muck as it's often described) in minutes flat! Well, that's where the adult entertainment industry is missing a trick. Ideally, you need to get your listeners sitting on the blower for as long as possible. Now, most of the chaps who call these lines have probably not really got the ready cash for listening to hours of simulated sex on the phone and if they did have that sort of money, they could get themselves down to Soho and visit one of the many models who are new in town and like their job. Businessmen on the other really do have that kind of money, but you'd be hard pressed explaining spending hours on some premium sex chat line, whereas investing money in invalubale HR training on the company card would be perfectly legit!

In the UK you can buy a premium line from BT and sell a service. They take a cut of the dialing fee. Any telephone number starting 09xx is charged at premium rates, in a similar fashion to a 900 number in North America.

Here's the really genius part.....I'll get Nigella Lawson to be the person reading out the advice on dress code policy using that special sexy voice she's got and I'll advertise the service in the Daily Telegraph.

I think I might have hit on something big here readers. Premium Line HR Consulting Services.

I might drop Dickie Branson a line to see if he wants in. I'll probably mention that it was his airline that inspired me*.

Yours in enterprise


*I probably won't contact Paul Raymond Publications with my idea. I tried dropping them a line when I dreamt up the Oyster and they threatened to sue me!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Home sweet hemo

your'l have to excuse my typing readerxs I#m a little but drunk. I've been celebrating about a momentous moment in the lief of Barry Newsdesk ewsq, that's yours truly!!!!!!!!!


Yes, you've probably spotted why we're celebrating. Whhile I was flying back to blighty after what can onlt be described to be a pretty cool and successful business trip to LA, the blogosphere pushed my hits to over 2000.

THey said it wouldn't amount to anytihg, well, Gill said it wuldn't anyway, who's laughing nwo???? Eh GILL, whos laughing now??

I was alerady in pretty positive mood after single handedly getting my leg over some of the hottest crumpet in Hollywood, they the flight back in Virgin upper class was absolutely cool too, flat beds and bedside booze deliervy. THANK YOU Mr BRANDON.

I like to think that I'm a bit like Richard Branson, he knows how to run the shop, I've got an entrepreneurial bent myself, you've only got to look at this blog and my successful career in meduia sales to see that I, Barry Newsdesk, am bloody well going places.

i GOT BACK TO THE FLAT AND dAN HAD GOT IT LOOKING REALLY NIC E, oops Caps Lock is a nightmare isn't it? I mean, what is the point of Caps Lock? I have never had recourse to botrher using is, yet it sits there on the ket board taking up prime real estate right next to the Shift key. I should probably change my SHift key options and start using the one o nthe right habnd, but you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Where was I? Ah yes, I got back to the flat and Dan had got the place lookign really nice. He'd tidied it right up and even had some tea on the go.

I should probably explain something, while i was away I had a communication with Dan, he was at his absolutel wit's end looking for somewhere to stay, so I suggested he could have the spare room at my place, it's been doubling up as my study, but I suggesyedf he get himself a bed frmo Ikea and move in.

I know it's sudden isn't it. but I was thinking about my finances and now Mum's not paying the mortegage for me, I needed to think outside the box. I'm charging Dan a veritrable bargain. AND because I'm on a tracker mortgage, he's pretty much covering the entire thing.

WHAT A BEAUTY eh? I'm living pratically rent free ,and my lodger doubles up as a cleaner, and he's my bloody boss to boot - so I'm well up on the brownie points there.

We split an 12 pack of Cobra earlier sitting in Clapham Common (they've got a new one with ginger in, it's a bit pricey, but it;s fucking lovely), I didnt tell him I was celebrating the blog's achievements, I don't think Dan really knows what Blogs are really, he's not the creative type, although he's ver ygood with colour, he is always impecably turned out.

I'd best slow down, got work tomorrowe and I'm suffering frmo the old jet lag a bit, so I'm gonna take it easy now, I might have another can as a little night cap.

I remember Mr C suggesting we have a party to help celebrate the 2000 mark, way back when the 1000 hits party was cancelled, due to the fact the my good friend Dave the roofer had informerd me that he's bedded my recently ex'd Gill. I was so upset that I cancelled the party.

Who would have thought that only four months later, I'd be sitting so pretty? Sure, Gill left me and is now expecting Dave the roofers' baby, sure Dave the roofer is off to Canada, but I've got a new job, a brilliant new boss, the blog follower ship has grown from 13 to a whopping 26 (actually, it's been at 26 a while now, I think I might have to go on a recruitment drive soon!!!!) and I've also got some regular comments, also with excellent blogs of their own: Mr London Street, Tennyson ee Hemingway, The Vegetable Assassin, Mess ( I love ya buddy) and Other Worldly one. Sorry if I missed ya.

Though, (and I don't mean any offence to you other fine and lobely commenters, my favourite commenter doens't even have a blog! Mr Coleaman. I know as a former retired teacher you'd probabably advise against having favourites, but I can't help it.

Dear readers, Mr C's got a dodgy ticker and is at the mercy of the NHS, he's got an op coming up and so rather than me suggesting we all have a party to celebrate a personal achievement of mine, why don't we have a virtual party to help Mr C celebrate whenever he's had his op?

It's be great. I'll set the party mood (probably won't have anything to oexciting like strippers or a bouncy castle, even though he'll have a new heart he'll probably be under doctors orders to take things easy, so we can get some gentle Paul Simon tracks (Mr C is a big Paul Simon fan) and maybe wath a movie (The Graduate is one of Mr C's favs, which is a little bit racy, and puts me in mind of my recent Stateside conquest!) and we can have a live comment section, where we all make virtual small talk via the commen section of that blog post at a spcified time.

Sounds awaesom and the least that I could do for sucha great guy.

gotta fly

Friday, August 14, 2009

Special relationships

I’ll level with you here, back home my Lincolnshire accent has never really opened many doors in the ladies department. But over here in the Land of the Free, not only has my accent opened a few doors, it’s taken me by the hand and led me upstairs to the bedroom. Now I know what the Beach Boys were singing about when they said “I wish they all could be Californian”.

You could say I’ve been doing my own bit for Anglo-American relations this week . ;-)

After the Secret Seed Society binned my mung bean story I was pretty miffed, even though, as my very excellent follower Mr ee Hemingway pointed out, rejection is part and parcel of the life of the struggling writer. There’s an awful lot of romance around the notion of the struggling writer, but sometimes I think I’d rather be a Ken Follet or Jilly Cooper, rather than a Franz Kafka. (Jeesh, readers, I had a crack at The Trial after I went to Prague on Steve's stag do a few years back. Never mind struggling writer, I was a struggling reader!!!).

Anyway, In an effort to cheer myself up, I decided to do what many great writers have done in the past. I sought solace at the end of a bottle. Americans don't have the same great drinking culture as us Brtis, but one of the great things about America is the fact that you can nip out to bars and just get chatting with the locals. Honestly, you can just pop yourself on a bar stool and strike up conversation. It really is just like in the movies!

(WARNING: Dear American readers, if you find yourself in Chelsea looking for a boozer, you can't go far wrong with the Imperial. But if you try and start up a conversation at the bar, don't be surprised if you're verbally or possibly physically abused. Keep yourself to yourself and DO NOT make eye contact with the regulars.)

One of the other great things about America (and significantly better than the Imperial) is the fact that the birds go absolutely crackers over the English accent. Dave had told me about this after his recent trip to Edmonton Alberta (which is in Canada and not America, although it is in the Americas - Canadians get pissy (that's American for pissed off) when you call them Americans, but Americans don't really care if you call them Canadians - it's not unlike the relationship we English have with the Scotch).

With Dave's observations about the old accent I did kind of ham it up a bit. And it paid dividends in spades. I got chatting to a slightly mature woman. But mature in a very sexy American Woman sort of way. One of the dangerous things about American bar culture though, is the fact that the bartender (that's American for barman) keeps an eye on your glass and when you've got a few mouthfuls left comes over and offers up the opportunity of a refill. So even though the local beer tastes like cold piss you can still get drunk quite quickly.

The more I drunk the more my lady friend seemed to grow in sexiness. She had a great figure and I think that's because she was some sort of local athlete, when she went to the restroom (that's American for toilet) one of the locals and the bartender told me that she was one of the best Cougars they'd ever seen! I think they're probably the local soccer team. Women's soccer is a much bigger business in America than England.

I must confess I did tell a few porkies to impress Samantha. And if you ever find yourself reading this blog, Sam, I don't really know Prince William, I don't live in a castle, I am not related to Oliver Cromwell (although you don't know who Cromwell was, so that lie was a bit of a waste of time), I am not (yet) a highly acclaimed author, and I'm a little bit older than I told you I was (although, I strongly suspect you might have been lying that one right back at me).

Still, all's fair in love and war. I won't go into too much detail readers, what goes on tour, stays on tour, but I like to think the Newsdesk magic went down well. Although, one thing that differs greatly between American woman and the English roses that I have bedded in the past. They know what they want and they aren't afraid to be up front and demand. I found it a little bit intimidating in all honesty and I have never seen such a wide variety of sexual aids, most of which were utilized at one stage or another throughout the night. And not necessarily with my direct involvement. I didn't sleep a bloody wink actually, and I'm totally shattered. And quite sore.

I'm off home on the red eye later today, so might not get another chance to blog before next week. But as the governor of California so famously said.....I'll be back.

Word out


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rejection dejection

Greetings from Lalaland. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, there's not a cloud to spoil the view. But it's raining, readers, raining in my heart.

You'll remember (obviously since you're all such dedicated lovely readers) that last month I entered The Secret Seed Society's write a short story about a mung bean competition.

Well, I finally received an email in my inbox from Menka at the aforementioned SSS. Sadly, just like the email I received from Kenny at the Metro, it was a letter of rejection. Once again my creativity has gone unrewarded by the so-called powers that be.

Here's the email I received from Menka.


I have some news from the Secret Seed Society HQ. The good news is that finally, after going round, up and down with our judges, we have come to a decision on the Mung story writing competition. The bad news is, I'm afraid, yours was not the winning tale. Alas, there is always next time. Thank you for sharing your creativity and play, we really enjoyed reading your entry. We are developing a whole fantasy world, and so there will be new stories, but also music, games and animations.

We hope you will continue to join us in the adventure, and support more children to become Seed Agents, growing and eating their own organic vegetables. Yesterday I worked out each Seed Agent could be saving between 1-7 tonnes carbon per annum, while being more active outdoors and eating healthier and tastier food.

The sight of all these Californian babes is helping pick up my spirits (almost not as much as the lovely comments you guys left after my last post). But I'm feeling a little deflated nevertheless. It's a nice enough email note and very kind of Menka to go to the trouble of writing. In fact, as far as rejections go, I've had worse....Oh well, I guess I shouldn't give up on my writing just yet.

C'est la vie. Surf's up.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Business class

Well, readers, you join me here from the comfort of what I should imagine Richard Branson's front room looks like. It's the VIP lounge at Heathrow's Terminal 3. AMAZING eh?! Who would have thought that a lad from Lincoln would end up hob-nobbing with the stars?
Not me for starters. I got a call from Dan on Saturday, he was due to fly out to LA today to meet up with one of the magazine's top sponsors. But he said Clare finally kicked him out the house. Anyway, well, the poor man was in tears, sobbing like a baby he was, "Barry, it feels like you're the only one I can turn to," he said.

I had to invite him around. He was reluctant at first, he said he did fancy moving into town, but really he wanted to live somewhere 'nice'. Jeesh, the cheek of the man. I know my place isn't great, but he's never even been, and here I am offering a roof over his head! I had half a mind to tell him to read my last blog post regarding the importance of shelter. But then, I'm a charitable man, and Dan has been good to me. Really good actually, he gave me a job and then he's pretty much left me to my own devices, then when I saw him camping in Brighton he gave me all last week off. So I figured I'd put his impoliteness down to the stress of his marriage breakdown. I remember how I felt when Amber left me. I was distraught, but we get over these things fast.

He came over that night, and asked to borrow some keys, he said he was meeing some friends in Clapham. I gave it until about 11:30, then went to bed. The next thing you know, I hear the keys in the front door, it's starting to get light out, Dan had been out all night! I went downstairs and Dan was sitting on the sofa having a very earnest chat with another chap. They fell silent for a moment, then Dan introduced me to his friend, his friend seemed nice enough, I think they must have been up chatting, because they seemed very tired. It's funny but I don't think he told me his friend's name, he just kept calling him "my friend here". I did the decent thing and said he should really get his head down, but he said it was OK, he'd just go over to his friend's place for a bit.

I went down the Impy to meet Dave the roofer and watch his team get some revenge of sorts over Man Utd (I hope you enjoyed it Mess man?!). Anyway, I got home and there was no sign of Dan. Eventually, at about 8:00 I heard the keys in the lock again, it was Dan, and my word he didn't look so clever. He was incoherant with panic, ranting on and on about something, rummaging through his suitcase and panicking. "You'll have to go, you'll have to go. I can't, not in this state," he said.

It was then that he revealed I would have to take his place and fly out to LA to meet the client. And then here I am. Well, this Virgin Atlantic VIP business is AMAZING. I was picked up by a taxi and whisked to Heathrow and then ushered through check in, and then found myself sitting in Branson's lounge. There's atmospheric jazz music playing, two bars, waitresses dishing up free drinks, computers from which I can blog, a large screen showing FOUR channels. A pool table, those fancy round plastic chairs hanging from chains in the ceiling, there's an entire pick n mix table. I tell you what, I wish I hadn't bothered with my Shreddies this morning, becasue the eggs benedict looks amazing.

I've got a funny story about eggs benedict, but it'll have to wait, I've just seen Ricky Gervais and I need to get his autograph! These opportunties don't come up everyday.

I'll try and post something from Lala Land, but I'm not sure how much time I'll have. I really want to go to that Chinese take-away and have a look at the stars in the boulevard, not to mention check out the beach babes down on Sunset Strip.

TTFN readers, I'm boarding in just under an hour and I think I might go and treat myself to some Champagne and sushi!!

Baz Lax

Friday, August 7, 2009

Philosopy Camp

Bonjour readers. Firstly, I want to apologise for my recent outbursts. It’s just, well, Roger. I hate him. He’s been clouding my judgement of late. So much so, in fact, that I tried to prove that he was a nonce by suggesting he'd made a pass at me. If truth be told, sometimes when I talk to my Mum, I forget how old I actually am.

Anyway, I wanted to get back to some proper Citizen Journalism. You may remember a few posts ago I reported on an atheist summer camp for kids where they’re indoctrinated by science and philosophy, instead of religion. I was wondering whether or not it would work and, on matters philosophical, there’s really only one person I can ask: Dave the Roofer.

Now I know we’ve had our differences; but philosophy isn’t about emotion, it’s about controlled intellectual thought, so I figured we’d be able to discuss it ok. It’s probably the single biggest disappointment of Dave’s life (not counting when Chelsea lost the Champions’ League on penalties ha ha ha ha ha ha, sorry Mess, I know it must still hurt) that he was unable to become a professional philosopher. He studied philosophy at York University back in the day, after York’s head of philosophy persuaded Dave’s parents that he had the potential to become one of the leading thinkers in the UK.

But when he graduated, as he puts it: “There weren’t no need for finkers, Baz. I was offering people foundations of thought, but what people needed was roofs. People always need roofs.” Still, Dave being Dave, he’s been philosophical about it. And roofing’s, well, it’s kept a roof over his head.

So I met up with Dave at his fave boozer, The Imperial on the King’s Road, and asked him what he thought about a summer camp where kids are taught philosophy.

“Well, Baz,” he said, “It’s a nice idea, but I ain’t sure I see it workin’ all that well, son. Say you’ve got a beefy nipper. Big lad, likes to get his own way. Throws his weight around and he’s pickin’ on one of the little nippers. So the camp leader goes up to him and says:

“Listen sunshine, you’re not allowed to bully kids here.”
“ Why should I stop. Why shouldn’t I bully him?” says the kid, so the camp guy says:
“Because it’s wrong.”
“Wrong in what sense?”
“In the moral sense.”
“But surely the concept of moral truth is nothing but a construct of religion; part of a web of manufactured beliefs designed to keep human beings in order.”
“Perhaps there’s an innate moral truth, though. Have you thought about that?” the councillor says.
“But if there’s an innate moral truth then why does it not apply to the animals?” the bully would ask. “Why are human beings any different? And if there is no such thing as a moral truth, and there can’t be because it would apply to all beings, then what the hell’s wrong with bullying, if it gives me pleasure?”

You see what I mean Baz?” said Dave. “Straight away you’re running into difficulties. So the bullying kid, right? He’d probably be backed up by the nippers bunking down in the Hedonist and Epicurean tent, whose job it would be for the duration of the camp to live life according to the credo that seeking pleasure is the highest pursuit in life. And imagine trying to control the nippers staying in that tent. Drink, drugs and underage sex all day long, and all night too. You’ve got to figure that tent would be bursting at the seams. I’m part Epicurean myself. On the cusp, actually.

“Now on the other hand, Baz my old son, the bully might find himself taken to task, chastised if you will, by the Utilitarians, whose tent would be given over to discussions around a system of ethics based on the greatest happiness for the largest number of people. Eventually, however, they’d come round to the idea that this just involved dragging their tent 20 yards over and pitching it next to the Hedonists, cracking open some tins and diving right in. You with me Baz?”

To be honest, readers, at this stage I was starting to lose interest. Dave can get a bit boring when he starts talking about philosophy. I prefer it when we discuss which Page 3 girls we like best. Dave used to have a calendar back in the day that had a different Page 3 girl for each month. He’d flick through it every day in his private moments and he used to boast that he was able to get all the way to September before nature took its course. I remember once him saying to me: “Shot me load at March this morning Baz. I must be nervous about something. Mind you, Maria Whittaker is fit as fuck.”

Anyway, I couldn’t get him off the subject of philosophy camp, so I supped my drink and continued to listen.

“So Baz, the kids are pissing it up like a bunch of sailors on shore leave. And the councillors are shitting house bricks.

“Stop this! Stop all this drinking,” the camp councillors start shouting.
“Why?” say the Idealist kids. “Don’t you know that there is no such thing as a 'physical' world which can exist without being observed, so actually we’re not drinking any 'real' beer. Indeed, if you look away from it, it will cease to exist. And we can carry on drinking it and it won’t matter to you at all.

“And the Idealists have got them councillors over a beer barrel, Baz. And what about the Sceptics? What’s the point in trying to teach those kids anything, after all, when they deny the possibility of acquiring any kind of knowledge whatsoever?

“You see Baz, I don’t think they’ve really thought this through. What they want is roofing camp. Speaking from experience, Baz, roofing camp will teach them something that’ll bring in the filthy lucre. Philosophy’s for wankers.”

I’m going to miss Dave, when he moves to Canada.

Peace out


(ps, that picture is Socrates. Not Dave the Roofer. Lol!! But it does look a bit like him, actually.(Dave the Roofer, not Socrates).)


IT’S OVER. No, I’m not talking about the war. War never ends. I’ve read 1984. If you join me on the blog today, as at the time of writing 1945 others have in the past (that’s how many hits Blogpatrol says I’ve had, and far be it from me to argue), then I’m afraid to say the relationship between myself and my Mother has reached an irreconcilable end.

Selfish bitch that she is. I called her up last night and told her that her f*ckbuddy, bloody Roger, had threatened me over the phone, he was threatening me with financial ruination because he was jealous of the relationship we had. She told me that she had been speaking with Roger and they had no secrets, she said she agreed with him, that she’d been too soft on me. It was at this stage that I revealed that Roger is actually a paedophile. She said I was being ridiculous. Maybe I am, readers, but surely I can’t stand by and watch her walk into the biggest mistake of her life. I told her that he had made inappropriate advances towards me.

She put the phone down on me. ME. Her only son.

Well, that’s it. It’s over. I’ve discovered a website that gives helpful hints and tips on how you can divorce your parents. It’s pretty straight forward actually, there’s no binding legal contract between a parent and its progeny, and once the child is considered an adult in the eyes of the law, they can pretty much do as they please.

Much like the Muslims who can divorce their wives by verbally announcing “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you” then clicking their heels together, divorcing a parent requires nothing more than sheer will.

SO, mother of mine, until you see sense, I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you.

Your (no longer faithful) son


Ps. I’ve decided not to bother with the Bill Chill, festivals are so last year.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


It's an immotive number readers. Not when you read it as one thousand nine hundred and thirty nine, but when you read it as nineteen thirty nine. If Harry Patch RIP were around today, I bet he'd have a thing or two to say about it. As indeed would Grandad Newsdesk RIP.

But, at the time of going to press, 1939 is the exact number of hits on the old Barry Newsdesk blog. Amazing really, although if you're reading this moments after I post this, it'll be 1940, or possibly '41. Who knows, you might even miss out on the war years altogether - something bloody Roger managed apparently. Technically, he's probably a bit to young to have served King and Country of course. But even if he was old enough, I bet he would have been a conscientious objector.

Now, I'm a pacifist, as regular readers will know, but if I got the call to serve against the rising tide of fascism, I'd concede that giving 'peace a chance' just wouldn't be an option. For many people in this country, Tony Blair was out of order when he lied to us all and sent us to war under false pretense, but sometimes a little white lie is all that's required to stamp out tyranny.

I've been doing a lot of thinking during my week away from the office. And I have come to the conclusion that I think I might have to put a spanner in the works of Mum and Roger's impending nuptials. I might have to tell Mum a little white lie. Like all good lies, it will have elements of the truth. I'm going to tell Mum that Roger went behind her back and called me and threatened me, and then I going to tell her that he's a paedophile.

It sounds extreme I know, but if Tony Blair hadn't lied to us, Saddam Hussein would still be lording up and gassing the Kurds.
Yours in propaganda
ps. If anyone's off to the Big Chill, I'll see you there!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Homosexual Day

Well readers, if you'll excuse the pun please, I finally got to the bottom of why is was so busy in Brighton at the weekend. It was Gay Pride! I read about it in London's friendliest freesheet, the Metro. You might go as far as to say it was the Metrosexual!! lol

I should have known really, for my non-UK readers, Brighton is like the Castro in San Francisco. If you've seen the motion picture Milk you'll know what I'm talking about. If you haven't seen Milk then get yourself down to Blockbusters and rent it out, no actually, don't bother with Blockbusters, you should join Love Film - I've joined Love Film, its an online mail order DVD shop. It's great, way better than bloody Blockbusters anyway!!

Gay Pride is a funny old business isn't it? What is there to be proud of? I mean, the whole notion of homosexuality is now considered normal. Why be proud of being normal? Surely you should be proud if you manage through hard work and application to achieve something extraordinary. And anyway, surely pride comes before a fall?

If I was renaming Gay Pride, I'd probably call it Homosexual Day. That would be far more accurate. Issues with the word Pride aside, the word Gay doesn't always mean homsexual. And, what's more, my new naming fits in a lot better with all the other days we celebrate, like Christmas Day and St Patrick's Day, apart from ironically, Mothering Sunday. Which isn't called Mothers' Day, before you start!

I haven't got anything against homosexuals, nothing whatsoever, theoretically at least a lot of my good friends are that way inclined. I say theoretically because statistics suggest one in ten people is homosexual and I know more than ten people. There's Dave the roofer (not Gay), Gill (not Gay), Mum (not Gay), Steve (not Gay), Steve's wife (not Gay) Mrs Bradley next door (the Mrs prefix clearly suggests not Gay), Susie at work (not Gay) Trudy at work (definitely not Gay) and then there's Dan Bantam (who was married until recently so is clearly not Gay). Well, there you go, nine hetrosexuals (or breeders as they're sometimes dubbed by the Gays). Who did I leave off? Roger.....ahhhh, now, I hate Roger, and not becasue he's Gay either, although statistically speaking I suppose he must be. But hating him has nothing to do with being homophobic.

The thing is readers, if I wasn't straight, I'd definitely be Gay, it looks great, you get to party all the time and hang out having cheap meaningless sex with strangers and with no worries of unwanted pregnancies! I tell you what, I bet Dave the roofer wishes he was Gay now!

It does make me feel a little bit uncomfortable when I see men kissing each other. Accept footballers who have just scored a goal. But they don't tend to bother with tongues do they? Although, I wonder if the Gay footballers ever try and slip in the tongue or maybe have a quick touch of someone in the shower after a game. Apprently Sol Campbell is Gay, so the terrace rumour goes, he's bloody massive too, so I wouldn't want to get left in the shower with just him, he could do as he pleased couldn't he? He's powerfully built. There'd be absolutely no escape.

I could literally go on all night about homosexuality, it's a fascinating subject, I mean I've not even opened up the debate about homosexuality and religion. Two uncomfortable bed fellows if ever there were. If God made us in His own image, then about ten per cent of the time He probably fancies fellers! Do you think He's told Mrs God? Maybe He sneaks down from Heaven every once in a while and goes to Heaven the night club for some bum fun. Although, if you were God you could take your pick really. If I was Gay God, I'd snag myself some time with George Michael. Mind you, maybe Gay God's got enough on his plate trying to fend off Freddy Murcury 90 per cent of the time. Unless, that is, being Gay is sinful and Freddy's been sent to hell for all eternity.

I sincerely hope that the religious right are wrong about homosexuality. For Freddy's sake. And Rev Smyth too, who one can safely assume bats for the other side.

Anyway, I'd better get myself off to bed now, I'm sure to revisit this contentious issue again in the not too distant future. Until then, Happy Homosexual Day everyone!

respec in yo momma

da B-man

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Camping it up

I am currently sitting safely in front of the faithful laptop with a nice hot cup of tea close to hand and tales to tell of a never to be forgotten trip down to Brighton.

My weird weekend away kick-started on Friday, when - WHILST AT WORK!!!! - bloody Roger called me up. I'd been busy trying to forget all about last weekend's announcement up in Lincoln that he had somehow duped Mum into agreeing to marry him. But hearing his voice at the other end of the line brought back to front of mind the grizzly and inconvenient truth of the matter.

His opening gambit didn't help my mood, he said he was angry with me! WITH ME!! The f*cking cheek of the man, he was angry with the way that I'd treated Mum. Me!

Here he was talking to me about my Mum, my Mum who he bearly knows, my Mum who I've stood by through thick and, let's face it, increasingly thin. The very same Mum who I've supported emotionally totally single handedly since Dad left us.

I told him to 'eff-off', I don't usually use that language with the elderly, but he didn't miss a beat, the gold digging scroat. He told me he had to write down my mobile number from Mum's phone and then wait until she went out shopping before making the call, because since she was Christian she was prepared to forgive my childish ways. Then he started going on about Gill and accused me of being emotionally retarded.

I told the old cunt to 'eff right off', and then he accused me of being an aggressive moron whose time of sponging of his own mother was up, he said that since they agreed to marry, they had agreed to get a joint account, and he had spotted a regular direct debit that she was making to Nationwide Building Society. He said he knew for a fact the house in Lincoln was paid off in full (HOW DID HE KNOW THAT?????) and said even though she'd tried to skirt around the subject he'd found out that she had been paying the motgage of my flat and that it had to stop!

Jesus. I'm her only son. And she's betraying me for this wanker she bearly even knows. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I said I needed to speak with her and he said it was too late, she was going to cancel the payments and that I'd need to pick up the tab and start acting like an grown man.

Well, readers, you know me?! You probably know me better than I know myself. Ordinarily, I'd take this sort of news badly, I'd seek solace at the bottom of a can (or eight) of Cobra. But I thought I'd do something positive instead. Inspired by my blog about the Woodcraft Folk and Richard Dawkins' atheist camp, I thought I'd get myself away from it all. I thought, 'fuck it, fuck Mum and fuck bloody Roger, they can stop the payments and I'll just move out, I've got a tent, I can become a gipsy, travelling the land (well, the land that's within commuting distance of the office anyway) and set up camp wherever the notion grabs me'.

I went straight home, got my camping gear together and headed off to Brighton. Unfortunately, when I arrived at Brighton's one and only camp site at Sheepcote Valley they told me all the pitches were taken. They told me about a site down at Hove. Thankfully the Hove site had some space, but I tell you what, it was bloody crowded. Crowded with tents anyway, but all the occupants must have gone out for the night. I managed to find a spot, it was near the loos, but that's OK I figured, once you're inside the tent it doesn't really matter about the views does it?

Anyway, it was getting dark by the time I managed to set things up, and I was pretty drained, both physically and emotionally, so I did the only thing I could. I got cracking into a few of my fav lagers! I know what you're thinking, you're thinking I'm an alcoholic who resorts to the booze when life's troubles get too much.

Maybe you're right.

Anyway, once I'd polished off the cans I dozed off into a blissful slumber. However, the next thing I know, I'm being woken up by the sound of voices, loud voices too, loud, pissed up voices, shouting too, and music. I was not feeling too great but I was still a bit pissed up, I'd managed to get down to my briefs and was lying half in my sleeping bag, the night air was chilling me to the bone, but I needed the toilet desperately. I figured it was just a short scramble to the loo, so I grabbed a black beach towl and wrapped it over my shoulders, unzipped the door and made a dash for it.

Jesus readers, I thought I'd walked into a nighclub, it was packed with my fellow campers. They were friendly enough, but my attire certainly raised a few eyebrows, some wag called me the caped crusader and started singing the old theme tune from Batman. Well, I'm no spoilsport readers, these chaps might well have woken me up, but I was still feeling the effects of the Cobra I guess, I started fake fighting with some of them, throwing a few judo moves, they were clearly impressed and I was having a great laugh. All thoughts of Roger safley gone. The healing effects of Cobra and fresh air!!

I had a drink or two with a couple of guys and then things started to quieten down. This camping lark wasn't all bad I figured. But then, about half an hour later, it started. Tents are great, they keep out the wind and the rain, but there's one thing you can't really stop with canvas, sound waves! Getting woken up by everyone getting back from the clubs is one thing, but hearing the noises of nature is another. It brought back the terrible memories of hearing Roger and Mum at it. But the noises I was hearing in Hove went beyond human, they were animal noises, angry animal noises, angry, painful sounding animal noises, prolonged bouts of hefting grunting and panting, it started off in just one tent, but soon another started and then another. I was surrounded by inescapable aural rape. I plugged my fingers into my ears but it didn't help, then I heard someone shouting 'where's Batman, I want Batman'. I gripped the zipper of my tent door so hard I can still see the red marks it left in the palm of my hand.

Still the noises continued. It was as though I'd set my tent up at the after-show party of Sodom and Gomorah. The beast with two backs was abound. I have never been so terrified in my life. I just kept hold of the tent fastener. But I think I must have passed out through exhaustion at around dawn, because the next thing I knew I was being woken up to the gentle pitter patter of raindrops on the tent walls and once again by the sound of laughter.

I got myself ready inside the tent, I thought I'd better beat a hasty retreat, so pretty much packed up all my stuff and took down the tent from the inside, I've got one of those dome jobs, where the inner sleeping part hangs from an exo-skeleton - they're very good modern tents.

Anyway, I got my shit together and emerged into the mid-morning grey. Thankfully, a number of my fellow campers had already departed, but a group of lads about 50 yards away were playing frisbee with cans of lager in their hands!

Then, who should I spot among the group? None other than Dan Bantam!!! He was having a merry old time chucking the disc back and forth with his mates. I watched him for a while, it was nice to see him smiling, he's so serious in the office, always putting on a show, but here he was just having a game of frisbee with his pals and he was loving it.

I was so pleased to see a friendly face that I decided I'd nip over and have a laugh about what was surely Britain's most hedonistic campsite. I tell you what, I have never seen a face change so quickly, he just stared at me, then he pretended not to know me and kind of whispered under his breath: "Fuck off Newsdesk, you can take next week off, full pay, don't breathe a fucking word of this to anyone. Go!"

I was mystified readers, mystified. But I did as he said. Now, I'm back in the flat. I don't think I'd really cut out for the life of a vaggabond. There's no broadband for starters, so I'd struggle to keep you guys updated on the blog. I suppose I could do posts from works, but really I guess I'm going t ohave to bite the bullets and start paying the mortgage in full myself.

It's tough readers, it really is. There's only one thing for it I reckon, I'm going to have to nip out get myself a Frey Bentos and a few cans of the finest beer known to man: Cobra,

Much respect


ps. The marketing executives at Cobra have yet to get in touch. But it's surely a matter time. Surely.