Tag Archives: humour

Sweet Sweet Revenge Ltd

Phil: Some stories require the reader to suspend their disbelief to enjoy them. Sweet Sweet Revenge Ltd by Jonas Jonasson asks you to put your disbelief in a bag, take it down to the bottom of the garden and bury it.

Full of mad ideas and improbable coincidences, the story doesn’t make sense if you insist on being Mr Literal when reading. You will find the idea of a Swedish Nazi art dealer abandoning his illegitimate son in the desert to be eaten by lions a touch improbable.

You’ll also be stuck when the son doesn’t get eaten by lions, instead, being brought up by a Maasai medicine man. And when the son runs back to Sweden, his adoptive dad decides to track him down. All of this while we have a couple of fake (or not) paintings and an advertising executive helping people take revenge on others.

It is mad. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In style, the book has a lot in common with the work of Tom Sharpe. Perhaps less dodgy sex (although the dealer does become known as “goat-sex man” for various reasons not involving sex with goats) and violence, but still that craziness where the rules of the real world don’t really apply. Or at least, not in the way we expect them too.

There is a lot of plot in these pages too. Most books would be happy with about half as much, but in this respect, it’s like a very filling meal which is so tasty that you can’t help eating a little more than you really should.

If you like absurd stories, then try it.

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Lockdown Buzzword Bingo


Candice: So we are pretty much all going through it at the moment – my feed is full of people telling me how exciting their day is, what outfit they are wearing, “look at how much fun I am having on video calls.”  Or sharing information, true or otherwise. about what is going on. There was even a programme on TV last night about 24hrs in Lockdown, um do you think we really need to know about that, I know there is the lack of stuff to show at the moment but really!

So I’ve done a ‘Buzzword Bingo’ list.  You know the ones, they get used for meetings to add humour and you tick off when a certain project-centric or verbose word is used.  It adds to the long day if you are at a particularly boring conference.

Tick if you have done the following:

  1. Worn the same clothes more than two days in a row (I don’t mean undies!)
  2. Not put your jewellery on
  3. Not worn any makeup
  4. Become so attached to your phone and checking on the outside world its become an obsession
  5. Walking twice as much as you were before this (for those of you allowed to go out for exercise)
  6. Taken part in Joe Wicks’ exercise class
  7. Discovered Zoom
  8. Spent a whole Zoom call trying to teach an elder family member how to make it work
  9. Found things in your house you thought you had lost
  10. Ordered random things online – crepe paper anyone?
  11. Felt like you are running the dishwasher/washing up twice as much as usual
  12. Constantly washing clothes
  13. Forgotten what day it is
  14. Had your child/partner walk in on a video call
  15. Let ‘things’ grow out (that’s ladies and men)

For the outfit and style things, I’ve gone through the wear the same and now trying to mix it up.  I have done my annual summer/winter swap which has added a whole new level of fun to dressing (‘I’d forgotten all about this top’).  Also re makeup, as I’m starting to look a little haggard and need that bronzer to zip me up, even if it’s only for a walk around the block.

Even the phone I’m looking at less – I check the BBC once a day for an update on numbers, Boris’s health and any sight of an end to this but Facebook has become BORING.

Walking, bike riding – I used to do a lot but in these few weeks my daughter has gone from a reluctant rider to a proficient one so we go for a bike ride every day.  The bonus of car free roads means she can get used to it without us worrying too much about her wobbling.  We’ve found we can get quite far in our allocated slot.  And yes we’ve done Joe but more for me than her.

Ah Zoom, yes fun to start but I spend most of the day on the phone so the last thing I want to do is speak to people at night too.  I did get the parent’s version to work, FINALLY.

Our house has become craft central as my little maker loves craft.  Paint is probably the thing in short supply now.  We’ve found some of her toys we lost by spending time sorting out stuff to make things with, and also made a lot of things with crepe paper!

It’s all blurring into one, and I do struggle each day to actually remember who I am and what I am supposed to be doing.  There is a pad next to my desk that I have to write it all down else, with the constant distraction of childcare, I forget what I was saying and doing.  Only my watch really helps me remember what day it is.  What I can’t believe is we are on week three.  When this started it felt like someone had chopped my legs off, but now it almost feels normal.  I know I am not going to enjoy getting back into the ‘chuck child at school and drive to work’ routine.  And I’m also going to remember that you don’t have to throw money at things to have fun, there are boxes in our house yet to be opened and games we still haven’t played, thank god for the sunshine and a back garden to play in.

Reading and Writing – well this hasn’t turned into the supper productive period because I’m still working but I’m definitely using books to help distance myself from what’s going on and writing, well that will come when it does.

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Tom Swifty

Phil: Great excitement! I’ve discovered a new type of pun!

I love a bit of wordplay and have wasted many hours at work over the years punning with colleagues. As I recall, any mention of fish usually resulted in five minutes of amusement. Partly at our sparkling wit but also at the groans of those people who think puns are the lowest form of humour.

Anyway, I was listening to the radio the other day and someone mentioned “Tom Swiftie” puns.

According to Wikipedia, A Tom Swifty (or Tom Swiftie) is a phrase in which a quoted sentence is linked by a pun to the manner in which it is attributed.

For example:

“That’s the last time I’ll stick my arm into a lion’s mouth,” the lion-tamer said off-handedly.

“I need a new pencil sharpener”, said Phil bluntly.

“I wonder if this radium is radioactive?” asked Marie curiously.

“Walk this way,” Tom said stridently.

“The exit is right there,” Candice pointed out.

I could go on, but have found a web page with 400 examples if you need more.

Just look out for those I manage to sneak into Book 2…

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Vampire banjos – a new genre?

Phil: So I’m at the Warwick Rocks Fringe Festival last week. Sitting at the bar eating bruschetta and drinking Diet Coke, I’m chatting to the bloke next to me as we wait for Liam Brown to be replaced on stage by Nico Reznick.

As ever, this being a literary event, I’m shoe-horning our novel into the conversation at every opportunity. We got talking about the difficulties of being picked up by a big publishing house and I explain that most receive over 1000 submissions a year, of which only 1 or 2 will make it to print.

The game is to be lucky. If that morning the publisher is looking for wizards and your book includes one then you’re in. If they want cup cakes then forget it.

It’s all about being in the fashionable genre of the moment.

Somewhere along the line, I managed to invent a new one: Vampire Banjo Fiction, or VBF for short.

It’s perfect. Just think how scary banjos can be. Imagine walking along a quiet street at night and all you can hear is this.

You walk faster but the finger pickin’ just gets faster.

You try to run but the tempo rises to a cruscendo.

Suddenly you feel a sharp pain on your neck and the sound fades away…

NOW you’re scared.

Vampire banjo fiction is a commercial winner. As well as the book sales, there is a CD and even a tour to plump those coffers. Then there are the spin-off instrument sales so da kidz can turn teenage angst into music.

Perhaps the Monkees had a blood-sucking past? (Actually I think they morphed into the Banana Splits on a full moon, but that’s another genre).  Is this why Mike Nesmith’s mother had to invent correction fluid? To erase his terrible crimes?

The Internet even found me a picture from Angela Matteson, so I’m not alone in my thinking.

Take it from me though, Vampire Banjo Fiction, it’s the future. You heard it here first.


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The Uxbridge English Dictionary

Phil: It’s Christmas and I’m not going to pretend that much writing work is taking place or that you are really in a state to make the best of any carefully crafted words dear reader. Instead, fill your glass, grab another mince pie from the plate and enjoy a few definitions from the Uxbridge English Dictionary.

For those who are wondering what I’m on about, this is a round from the popular Radio 4 panel game, “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue.”. Contestants have to provide new definitions for existing words. To be honest, most of these are bad puns but as writers, we love a bit of wordplay don’t we?

Abandon – Pub entertainment.

Abundance – Similar to Morris Dancing but with cakes instead of sticks.

Academy – School for Cads.

Adultery – What happens after puberty.

Apogee – How you describe yourself after too much Christmas dinner.

Beware – Clothing for bees.

Boycott – A bed for a young male child.

Busking – An owner of many buses.

Camiknickers – Camera thieves.

Canopy – Tin of urine

Cavendish – A bit like a cavern.

Constrain – A railway service for prisoners.

Descant – An ant with an office job.

Faculty – Cockney for running out of PG Tips

Fielding – To find a bell in the dark.

Forebears – Bad day for Goldilocks.

Gangster – A criminal pasty.

Mutant – An ant with no voice.

Offend – To circumcise.

Phantom – To waft air over a male cat.

Polygon – A deceased parrot.

Torture – Like a torch but more so.

Whisky – A bit like a whisk.

Wrench – A female spanner.

Zulu – A toilet at an animal park.

(If you enjoyed these, I pinched some of them from the Online Uxbridge English Dictionary or just listen to the programme and jot them down like I did)

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Deleted Scene – Gareth meets Olivia

It’s Comic Relief today so we thought we’d post a funny scene that found its way to the cutting room floor from The Book. To be honest, how Gareth (Kates business partner), met his wife only slowed the early part of the story so reluctantly it had to go. It’s too good to throw away though, so here it is in all it’s rough and ready glory.

Warning: Unlike a ready-meal, Contains traces of cow.

Cow!Olivia Trumpington-Thomas was best described as “Good Country Stock”. Her great passion in life was breeding cattle.

Belgian Blue’s were her favourites, although some had cruelly have suggested that the breeds square set stance and stocky features were not that different from their owner. She hadn’t really wanted to marry but her father had said that it was her duty so the task was set about with the same efficiency that she used when choosing sires for her livestock. The list of requirements was short; good temperament, reasonable features and respectable family lineage.

Sadly, the markets where husbands are acquired wern’t really to Olivia’s taste. She preferred the straw and dung of the cattle version, but there were events where eligible candidates could be found. Some old school friends were persuaded to issue invites to the right sort of parties and after a few drinks, the process didn’t seem quite so unpalatable.

The annual young farmer’s ball was coming up so Olivia slipped into her best black and white ball gown, making her look more Friesian than would normally be desirable, and joined in. Waddling into the marquee someone caught her eye, a rather dashing looking young man lurking standing in the corner, looking a bit sheepish and lost in his tuxedo.

As the evening wound on Olivia kept seeing this young man wandering around, but none of her friends seemed to know who he was other than he had gone to school with someone or other. To honest, she wasn’t really that interested but after the meal and a few gins she was starting to feel a bit randy. Having either shagged or frightened off most of the other members of the local group she felt in the need of new blood and set out to find someone who might be interested in a demonstration of her cattle impregnation techniques.


Gareth had been invited to the do by an old friend who proceeded to abandon him for the first girl flashing her pig tattoo in his direction. He tried propping up the bar for a while but became convinced that the man behind it was eyeing him up. Eventually he took to circling the room until it started to circle him thanks to the amount of scrumpy he had consumed. More of a G and T person he had resorted to the local brew after his attempt to order something more refined had been ridiculed by the locals and seemed only to make the bar man even keener to become acquainted. Unfortunately the drink was more potent than he was used and attempts to soak up the alcohol with something solid hadn’t gone well thanks to cuisine as rural as the alcohol.

The countryside all looked the same to Gareth so finding his friend’s house earlier in the day had been due more to luck than judgement or map-reading. Worse, when he did arrive, he discovered that he’d packed a suit but no shirt and since the local shops consisted of a village store and a farm supplier, there was no chance of buying something so he’d had to borrow one. Unfortunately this shirt had been a bit of a comedy purchase and while the marquee was getting hotter and hotter he really didn’t want to take his jacket off.


Olivia saw Gareth attempting his fourth lap of the marque. By this point he had begun to look green as the hosts well manicured lawns. Stumbling and half falling into a chair on the table next to her, she watched as he begin to put his head into his hands, and then seemed to be struggling to remove his jacket.

“Bugger this,” she thought, “Everyone is coping off and it’s about time I wrapped my lips round someone.”

She marched over to his table. Gareth, by this point, was fighting to keep his head between his knees and try get his jacket off at the same time. Olivia grabbed the back of his tux and practically ripped it off his shoulders.

“Oh,” she screamed, as the design on the back of Gareth’s shirt was exposed. Being a comedy dress shirt, from the front with a jacket it looked plain white. However, the sleeves and back where covered with a pattern, which happened to be cavorting cows in various positions only seen in a bovine version of the karma-sutra.

Gareth looked up in surprise, partly to find out who had so rudely ripped off his jacket also to find out who was screaming his ear. At the same point the numerous pints and pastries all came to a head and he proceeded to vomit them down the front of Olivia’s frock with some force.


Olivia, now covered in pints of the local brew mixed with several partly digested pies, screamed. “What are you doing!”

Gareth looked up sheepishly at the rather large girl looming over him and started to mumble a string of apologies. He desperatly hoped she would not berate him too hard as a roulade and several champagne cocktails might be making their way up at any moment.

Olivia was about to let rip. Who did this boy think he was? Her dress had been specially made by her mother and now it was covered in something that looked like you would only encounter while wearing wellies. As she turned to give Gareth what for, her gaze was met with a pair of soulful brown eyes that bore a startlingly resemblance to her favourite cow, Winny.

And with that she was lost.

Many years of working with animals meant that Olivia had been covered by much worse than a bit of posh vomit. Grabbing Gareth, she dragged him off to the toilets and proceed to clean herself up. After letting him be sick a few more times, it was time to test the staying power of the portaloos. Stories after the evening always included comments about the particularly loud mooing that seemed to be coming from the direction of the next field, though no one had seen any cattle.

Perilous Portaloo

After checking Gareth’s family credentials, Olivia was quick to hook him. A quickie wedding, didn’t give him the chance to change his mind even if he had been brave enough to consider it.

The required heir and spare rapidly followed to ensure continuation of the family name, or blood line as Olivia refered to it. Barely had the cords been cut when the boy’s names were down for all the right schools and they were dispatched to the care of a nanny. Neither parent had come from families where their mother or father had been fans of modern “hands on parenting” and saw no reason to do anything different with their offspring.

She returned to bovine matters and it being explained that he was under no circumstances to come between a lady and her herd, Gareth looked around for something else to occupy his time…

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How to write Chick Lit – Part 3

Phil stared at his Citizen Men’s Skyhawk Eco-Drive Bracelet Watch and sighed. Turning back to the Samsung SyncMaster monitor, he reread the words on the screen through the pair of Paul Smith Green Pironi Spectacles. Try as he might, the WordPress.com blog posting wasn’t going well. Sometimes words would tumble from his thoughts but not tonight.

Perhaps some refreshment would help. Strolling over to the Maharani Drinks Cabinet, a recent addition to the room from John Lewis, he contemplated filling the Villeroy & Boch Scotch Whiskey  tumbler with another measure of Fabulous Grouse but thought better of it when he saw the level in the bottle was already below the birds foot.

No. A clear head called for something less alcoholic. Heading to the kitchen, he leaned on the worktop of the Ikea Factum units to think what would turn the creative taps back on. Perhaps a Le Creuset Stoneware Mug full of Yorkshire tea would be enough. It was too late to consider firing up the Krups Nescafé Dolce Gusto KP 2106 coffee machine for a dose of concentrated caffeine. Anyway, that was the wrong sort of stimulation. Chemically induced hammering at the Logitech Wireless Touch K400 keyboard might produce lots of words but most of them would only be suitable for filling the Rexel bamboo waste bin that lived under the Alphason San Diego desk.

Opening the Ramsjo cabinet, he spotted the solution. Nothing soothes the fevered writers brown like a steaming Mr Men mug filled to the brim with Green And Blacks Organic Hot Chocolate heated up in a Sharp Compact Touch microwave oven.

The pastel green Smeg fridge illumiated the kitchen as he opened the door and and grasped a bottle of Waitrose semi-skimmed organic milk. Staring at a tin of John West Grilled Sardines on the shelf, Phil paused to ponder the next line of the blog post. As he watched the mug rotating through the tinted window of the microwave oven, he knew that this had better do the job.

It was his turn to post to the nolanparker.co.uk website and if he didn’t produce the goods, Candice would be pulling her Blackberry curve mobile phone from the depths of the Gabor  Modena Handbag and speaking very sharply in his direction. He could imagine the conversation,

“Parker, you haven’t posed anything today you hopeless…”, PING – the microwave finished it’s work and interrupted his train of thought.

Settling back down into the Berlin Leather Franklin Office Chair cradling his drink, Phil pondered the chick-lit he had recently read. The contents of Flawless by Tilly Bagshawe floated across his mind. Words and chocolaty aromas mingled in his thoughts.

Suddenly, the room lit up. His wife had returned in her Audi A6 and the beam from the Osram bulbs briefly illuminated the walls, freshly painted in colours chosen from the Dulux 50 shades of grey range. The sudden brightness crystallised his ideas. Not pausing to welcome Nikita, who he had met through the goodrussionbrideforsadgentlemen.co.ru website, his fingers flew across the keys.

He typed like a man possessed. Possessed with the spirit of chick-lit. Possessed with the sure and certain knowledge that if you copy the Google shopping search results, drizzle with a perfunctory plot and wrap it all in a pink cover, every woman will want to read your work.


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How a book is born

Phil: This diagram is going to be on every single writing blog but I don’t care. It’s still funny and backs up a lot of what we have been saying recently.

How a book is born

You can find the original here: http://www.weldonowen.com/blog/how-book-born-because-you-kids-love-infographics

and a hat tip to Maggie Madly Writing for alerting me to it.


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