Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Good news in my inbox this morning - turns out it's only going to cost £45 to get my penis enlarged.

And just in case that wasn't exciting enough, it also turns out my TV script made it through to the second round of the Kudos / Red Planet Pictures screenwriting competition...

... which means...

... they want to see the rest of the show by Monday.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

a short story about hearing aids

For Ed, because she thinks I'm going deaf.

‘Oh shit,’ said the barber. ‘Oh Jesus Christ. Oh God.’
The girl paid to sweep up hair clippings screamed and dropped the broom, which knocked over a bottle of tropical shampoo and made the salon smell even more like synthetic coconuts than it did already.
Mitchell hummed along to the Match Of The Day theme tune, briefly wondered what it was doing on his iPod, and glanced up, catching sight of the barber’s expression in the mirror.
A resourceful woman threw a towel over Mitchell’s head.
‘It’ll keep him calm,’ she said.
‘I am calm,’ said Mitchell, from underneath the towel. He removed his right earphone, felt for the other, and realised it was already dangling loose around his neck. ‘Why is there a towel on my head?’
The barber looked down at Mitchell’s ear, and prayed. He wasn’t religious, but given the circumstances it seemed like the right thing to do. Dear God, he thought, if you reattach this man’s ear I will never masturbate in the cleaning cupboard ever again.
‘I’m not enjoying this,’ said Mitchell. It was dark, and the towel smelt of old vegetable water. ‘Could somebody please tell me what’s going on?’
‘Tell him,’ hissed the resourceful woman. ‘It was your fault. You chopped it off.’
‘Chopped what off?’ said Mitchell, catching the whisper. Everything suddenly sounded very sharp and clear, like toothache or a piercing whistle. ‘I don’t mind if it’s wonky. Just do the same to the other side.’
The barber shook his head frantically.
‘I don’t think that’s a very good idea,’ said the woman.
‘I’m sure it’s fine,’ said Mitchell. ‘I said I wanted a-’
He took off the towel. The screaming girl stopped screaming, and Mitchell looked at himself in the mirror as if he were somewhere very far away. His hair was clean, for once, and shiny, and cut neatly across his forehead and in two tidy arcs above his…
‘Where the FUCK is my fucking EAR?’ he said, raising trembling fingers to the left side of his head.
‘Now don’t panic,’ said the resourceful woman, with a glance at the barber, who hid the incriminating scissors behind his back.
Mitchell turned his head to the right, and gazed at the ear-shaped patch of creamy pink skin surrounding a hole the size and shape of a cigarette butt. Behind him, reflected in the mirror, the barber held up Mitchell’s ear.
‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘This doesn’t usually happen.’
Then the floor-sweeper started screaming again.
‘Where’s the BLOOD?’ she shrieked. ‘Why isn’t he BLEEDING?’ The barber scratched his head.
‘Hey, that’s a point,‘ he said. ‘Does it hurt? How does it feel?’
Mitchell tried to make up his mind.
‘Lighter,’ he said.
‘That’s because I took an inch off at the back and feathered the ends,’ said the barber, drawing two strands of Mitchell’s hair down between his finger and thumb, and squinting over his head in the mirror. ‘It does look…’
The barber faded into silence.
‘A lot better. Um.’ Mitchell let the barber lead him to the front desk, where the pretty receptionist stared at him in horror.
‘Don’t look at the poor man like that,’ said the barber, elbowing her out of the way. The receptionist sidled out from behind the desk and opened her mouth.
‘No, it doesn’t hurt,’ interrupted the barber. ‘It doesn’t hurt, he’s got another one, and I don’t want any more fuss. Haircut’s on the house by the way.’
Mitchell looked down at his ear.
‘Have you got something I can take it home in?’ he asked. The receptionist emptied a box of hair grips, and slid it wordlessly across the desk.
‘Let me do that for you, Sir,’ said the barber, intercepting the box and placing the ear inside. He put on the lid, looked around for a piece of string and tied up the box with a bow, handing it to Mitchell with a weak smile.
‘Thanks,’ Mitchell said.
He thought about asking the receptionist for her number. Instead he put the box carefully into his pocket, tucked the right iPod earphone into his surviving ear, plugged the left into the hole, and exited the salon to the tune of a Pink Floyd track he really hated.

Maybe it didn’t look that bad.
Mitchell curled his toes into the bathmat and tried not to cry as he removed the emergency baseball cap he’d bought on the way to A&E.
He looked at himself in the bathroom mirror, where, staring back at him, a one-eared man holding a baseball cap peered a little closer and said: ‘Fucking fuck. Fucking fucking fuckface no-ear fuck.’
Mitchell opened the box, and tipped the ear into the palm of his hand. It was flat and grimy round the edges, the colour of milk on the turn, and the texture of car tyre. There was nothing to show that the ear had ever been attached to a head, nor any clear way to put it back on.
He dropped the ear into the sink, where it bounced down the side of the basin before coming to a halt in the plughole.
Everything went silent.
Then Mitchell took a shuddering, gulping breath, and sound rushed back in. Pipes gurgled like a stethoscope to a punctured lung. Sheets of toilet paper sank like sodden mattresses from the beds of the Titanic. A defrosting goldfish thumped in the U-bend. Someone in an upstairs flat stuck their fingers down their throat and splattered vomit through the bathroom pipes which reverberated round his skull, magnified several thousands of times, like an bag of footballs exploding in a metal drum.
It was strange and deafening and frightening, and Mitchell clapped his hands to his head in an effort to block out the noise. Eyes screwed shut, he groped for the ear and scooped it out of the sink.
Instant silence.
Mitchell sank to his knees on the bathmat. His head was ringing. The ear was cool and damp in his hands. He held it up to the overhead strip lighting and gazed at it, panting. He held it to his right ear. Nothing. To the hole. Nothing.
Mitchell held the ear to his lips.
‘Hello?’ he whispered. No answer. Of course not. Mitchell blushed, and even the severed ear seemed to take on a tinge of pink.
Then it started to crackle.
‘Hello?’ said a female voice from inside the ear. ‘HELLO? Is anyone there?’
Mitchell stared at the ear in astonishment.
‘Oh for God’s sake,’ said the woman. She pronounced her vowels and consonants ultra-carefully, as if she hadn’t had much practise. ‘Not again. I hate it when this happens.’
‘Don’t hang up!’ said Mitchell.
‘Who is this?’ said the woman, after a short pause.
‘It’s Mitchell,’ he said.
‘How did you get this number?’
‘Look, it’s a long story but somebody cut my ear off and I seem to be using it as a telephone.’
‘Oh,’ said the woman. ‘I thought you might be ringing up about the broadband.’ A pause. ‘You’re not selling anything?’ Suddenly suspicious. ‘Are you religious? You're not going to try and convert me?’
‘Listen, lady,’ said Mitchell. ‘You’re the one talking out of my ear.’ This was followed by a longer pause.
‘What are you wearing?’ she asked. ‘No, forget that. I’m wearing a tangerine dressing gown. Upstairs in 5A. First door on the left past the fire extinguisher.’
‘Um. OK,’ said Mitchell.
The line went dead.

Mitchell climbed the narrow stairs to 5A, wondering if he’d hit his head on anything sharp recently. He met an elderly woman between the second and third floors, who was clearly wondering something similar.
‘Did you know your cap’s on sideways?’ she asked.
‘Yes,’ Mitchell said, pulling the visor lower as he tried to squeeze past.
‘What’s that you’re carrying?’ said the elderly woman, her moustache twitching questioningly.
‘It’s an ear,’ said Mitchell. ‘My ear, actually. Now please let me pass. I have a date with a woman in tangerine sleepwear.’
The elderly woman moved her breasts and stomach out of the way to let him through, and craned her neck to watch Mitchell’s hand leap up the banister as he took the third and fourth flights of stairs three at a time.
Mitchell knocked on the door of 5A.
No response.
He knocked again, louder. Still nothing.
‘She won’t be able to hear that,’ shouted the elderly woman, from lower down the stairwell. Mitchell leaned over the banister. ‘I said, 5A won’t be able to hear that. And put your cap on properly.’
The elderly woman shuffled off down the stairs. Mitchell turned back to the door. He cupped his hands around the keyhole and shouted ‘TANGERINE DRESSING GOWN!! ARE YOU THERE?’
He waited. He counted to ten. He uncurled his fingers and looked at the ear in the palm of his hand. Mitchell raised the ear to his lips.
‘Tangerine dressing gown?’ he whispered, glancing around to check no-one was watching.
‘Yes?’ crackled an impatient voice. ‘Are you coming or what?’
‘I’m outside!’ Mitchell said. ‘I’m standing on the doormat!’
‘Oh,’ said the voice from the ear. ‘Hold on a tick.’ After a short pause, a young woman in bare feet and a tangerine dressing gown opened the door.
‘Hi,’ said Mitchell. ‘This is going to sound ridiculous.’ He held up the ear. ‘This used to be attached to my head.’ Mitchell took off his cap. ‘But now it isn’t, and for some reason I can talk to you through it.’
The woman looked at him without saying anything.
‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘Have I – have I got the wrong flat?’
The woman pointed at the ear.
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘That’s right. We spoke on the phone. Um. On the ear. A couple of minutes ago.'’
The woman pointed at his mouth.
‘I know,’ Mitchell said. ‘It sounds stupid but I swear that really is what happened.’ He trailed off. The woman stuck out her tongue, crossed her eyes and let a small trail of drool hang from her lower lip.
‘OOO!’ said the woman, snatching the ear. ‘OOO arr ooo id!’
‘Hey, careful!’ cried Mitchell, trying and failing to grab it back. The woman in the tangerine dressing gown waved the ear in front of his face. ‘Stop it!’
She backed into the flat, holding the dressing gown closed and the ear high above her head, and Mitchell followed her warily all the way into a small bathroom full of pot plants.
The woman in the tangerine dressing gown picked up a lipstick and scrawled in big red capital letters on the white rim of the sink: YOU ARE STUPID.
‘Ooo arr ooo id!’ she said, jabbing a finger at the words.
‘I’m stupid,’ said Mitchell.
‘Ess!’ said the woman. TALK INTO THE EAR, DUMMY, she wrote, and handed it back to Mitchell.
‘I’m stupid,’ said Mitchell, into the ear.
‘No shit,’ said a female voice. The woman in the tangerine dressing gown folded her arms and rolled her eyes. ‘Jeez. Finally.’
‘Wait,’ said Mitchell. ‘This is weird.’
‘THIS is weird?’ said the voice. ‘I’ll tell you what’s weird. Spending twenty-seven years of my life learning sign language when some bozo downstairs could hear me all along.’
Mitchell stared at the woman in the tangerine dressing gown.
‘OK, no,’ said the voice. ‘This actually is quite weird.’ The woman in the tangerine dressing gown shifted from foot to foot, and tried to change the subject. ‘So you, um, live downstairs?’
Mitchell opened his mouth and closed it again.
‘Fair enough,’ said the voice. ‘I probably wouldn’t want to make small talk with an ear either. Nice meeting you.’
The woman in the tangerine dressing gown turned her back, and started rubbing at the lipstick letters with her sleeve.
Mitchell took a step towards the door.
‘Wait!’ said the voice. ‘Sorry. Just one last thing.’ The woman stopped wiping the sink. ‘What do I sound like?’
Mitchell paused.
‘Who do you want to sound like?’ he asked.
‘I don’t know.’
He thought for a moment. The woman in the dressing gown turned around. Mitchell noticed that she had very nice ears.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

friends with benefits

Not those kinds of benefits.

See, my last post (Click here. Or scroll down. Go on fat fingers, give ‘em a workout) got me thinking.

Not about that. God. You’re obsessed!

I’m talking about REAL benefits, people, not that kind of Marie Claire shtick some guy made up because (a) it was a cool name for the new Jennifer Aniston movie and (b) he had the hots for that girl with the ‘tache because he’d always had a thing for body hair so he wanted to bone her and maybe go to the cinema, maybe catch that new Jennifer Aniston movie, but not in public because, duh, she had a moustache and double duh, it was, like, the new Jennifer Aniston movie.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.


All this unasked for relationship advice proved as useless as Ben Clarke’s not-quite-a-scholarship to Sandhurst on the last season of the Apprentice, which got me wondering, erm, when it was going to be on again. Oh, and whether I should make new friends.



But if I was in the market for a new gang to spend my leisure time with, these guys would be top of the list. Yes I made a list. And yes I know that having actually made said list basically counts me out of having any more friends, EVER, but bear with me. It's just a list.

1. Cher

OK, so she might make me wear white knee-high socks and a kilt, but she lives in a super fly California mansion and she's a virgin who can't drive, which would make me feel good about myself. I mean, look what she did for Ty. Hmm. Wait a second. What DID she do for Ty? Looking back it seems like Ty was on a pretty slippery slope since that time Cher got her to make out with Travis. She moved to Sin City, became a meth head in Spun and.. oh yeah. Died. Shit.

2. The entire cast of Empire Records

See, the thing about these guys is, no matter how many Mariah Carey CDs I shoplifted, or how much of Joe’s money I lost at the casino, or how bad I looked with a shaved head/in a kilt and Doc Martens (wait, another kilt? what’s going on here?) they’d love me for who I was, goddammit! I'd get to sing a duet with Burko on top of a building. I'd even be friends with Rex Manning, although sex would probably get in the way.

3. Pootie Tang

Simply by association with the spawn of Daddy Tang and Momma Dee, I, like musician/actor/folk hero Pootie, would be too cool for words. We’d hang out with Biggie Shorty on street corners (she ain’t hookin’) or with our other friends, Missy Elliot and Chris Rock, dressed as a corn-on-the-cob. And if anyone tried to mess with us, even if my Pootie didn’t have his magic belt, I’d be safe in the knowledge that he’d tie the haters up in verbal knots:

“See, my damie, Pootie Tang don't wa-da-tah to the shama cow... 'cause thats a cama cama leepa-chaiii, dig?”

That’s right Pootie.

Right on.

You said it.

What a guy.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

share the love

Advice is free, right? Let’s hope so, because my buddies/chums/galpals are dishing out dating tips all over the shop... yes I said dating. For the purpose of this post ich bin ein Americaner.

Bear with me.

First off, my flatmate told me I had to be more wholesome. Now, to be fair, she was in the Marathon Bar at the time, and flying high thanks to free JD cocktails down the road, but I think I got the general gist:

a) I should go to church more often.
b) I should only date men I want to marry.

Why she wants to turn me into a shorter and more homosexual version of Cliff Richard I don’t know, but thankfully I’m as wholesome as full-fat milk with a side order of superfoods on a Blue Peter commemorative plate, and haven't yet felt the need to revisit my last trip to church (Harvest Festival ’92, where I wasn’t allowed to give my shoebox in because the beans were out of date. THANKS MUM) or to set foot anywhere holier than the Glastonbury Chapel of Love. Hmm. Maybe that’s what she meant. Roll on Glasto ’10 - hang on a second. We’ve been through this already, here.

Shortly after, said flatmate’s boyfriend informed me that I was too 'matey' and should stop challenging men to do things ‘like pull their eyelids back’. That’s a direct quote by the way. Now let me be quite clear on this. I don’t know where he got this from. Table football, yes. Painful manipulation of fragile body parts, no. Yeowch.

Last but not least, my third self-made Jerry Springer - who’s going to remain nameless but never goes on the internet anyway – dished out a selection of dating tips more shameless than Frank Gallagher on a Tarts ‘n’ Vicars stag do in Ibiza:

1. Give them 'the look'. Sigh. If only I’d had a video camera to record ‘the look’ in all its glory.

2. Button and unbutton their cardigans. What are you meant to do if they’re not wearing a cardigan? Take off their watch?

And my personal favourite:

3. ‘When you're in Pret looking at sandwiches, put the money back in your purse, because that £3.50 could buy a hot guy a drink'.

Smacks of desperation if you ask me but it seems to work. For the record I’m not buying anyone drinks. And if I am, it's time for someone to take my credit card away and send me home.

Monday, March 15, 2010

anyone got a spare £400-700?

Good for you. Seriously. I mean it.

Clearly you know that there are better places to spend your lunchbreak than Topshop. You bring your leftovers to work and eat them. I bring my leftovers to work and go to Pret.

You win, OK? You're the Tupperware Queen and I need a Pret loyalty card. Now will you just stop going on about it and buy me either/both of these Charlotte Olympia heels.

So Beetlejuice...

... so marching band...

... so lovely and clunky AND with a gold spider stamp on the sole. So tall-making. So Tim Burton in drag. Je voudrais. SIGH.

What's not to like? Nothing. ZERO.

But you know what? Right now it's lunch time and I'd settle for a sandwich (in the same price range, mind). I eat pretty much anything. No mayo. Thanks.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

dear Michael Eavis

What the hell have you got to look so happy about? Yes, your arms are disproportionately long, and you are showing too much leg for a senior citizen, but you have also put a dent in my wallet to the tune of £185 for the privilege of camping out in your back garden. You have basically stolen my purse and replaced two weeks rent with a small crumpled picture of Bono.

How do I feel about this? No, wait, how do YOU feel about this?

I see. It's like that, is it? You've had your fun now Eavis. Those shorts make me think you're the kind of guy who's up for a laugh. This U2 and Muse thing is a joke, right? RIGHT? A bad joke, which, as bad jokes go, is up there with the one about the nun and the cucumber.

You better be getting your iPhone out of your khaki shorts and tweeting @EmilyEavis YESdavidbowiemickjagzconfirmedgonnabdashityoCANTWAITluvdad right about now, because if you don't, Eavis, you're going to be in trouble.

You better confirm someone better than Bodger and Badger in the next 24 hours or, in the immortal words of Sue Sylvester, 'I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat, and then on some dark cold night, I will steal away into your home and punch you in the face.'

Yours sincerely,

Annabel Wigoder

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


For GLASSWERK, right here

Veronica Falls - Found Love In A Graveyard

As songs about graveyards go, this latest single from London-based four piece Veronica Falls ain’t a patch on 60s novelty grave-robbing hit I Want My Baby Back (sample lyric: ‘ohh baby, I diii-iig you so much‘) but hey, perhaps that’s because it landed on my radar too late for Valentine’s Day. Less a paean to necrophilia than the kind of minor-key ditty they’d like you to think they bashed out in ten minutes in cardigans beneath a ripped Pastels poster, singer Roxanne bemoans a Wuthering Heights-esque doomed romance (with a ghost, and you don‘t need to be Oprah to tell her that one wasn‘t gonna work out) over this season’s Crystal-Vivian-Girls-on-Stilts fuzzy lo-fi and the kind of off-key harmonies that would have AutoTune addict Simon Cowell turning in his, erm, bed. So what’s the skinny? Catchy boy-girl goth-pop but a tuning fork in the post might not go amiss.

So So Modern - Dendrons

Calling your band So So Modern is really just asking for trouble, especially when your latest single slots neatly into place between a Test Icicles 7” and a Rapture CD from the mid-Noughties. Either New Zealand hasn’t caught up with us Brits yet, or they’re so up to the minute that three-minute post-rock-punk-funk-rockaaAARRRRGGH tracks are the future of music and I might as well just go and flush my head down the toilet. Dendrons sounds like the Young Knives unwillingly getting their teeth drilled, and will no doubt appeal to anyone who spends their Friday nights snorting Haribo, wearing baseball caps at a jaunty angle, or having MySpace parties. Here’s a fact, fact fans: the band wear white hoods on stage, which is, like, so modern.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I’m not 100% sure how to feel about this

It’s Robbie Williams. In a romper suit. On a plane. Why? Good question. In an age where all celebs worth their salt need to ‘give something back’ (or put it away) to avoid looking like, erm, billionaire Macca, who built his kids a hamster cage for Christmas, or guitar-slinger Sheryl Crow, who limits toilet paper consumption to ‘one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required’, good old Robbie spent a recent flight from London to LA dressed in a Primark romper to ‘thank his fans’.

Look at his expression. Is that the face of an international popstar larking about at 3000 feet above sea level? Nope. It’s the face of an old man with a bad back who’s been zipped into a giant sock against his will. And look at the woman in the background. She isn’t bothered. NO-ONE on this plane is bothered. Look at them. They see this shit ALL THE TIME. His romper could be bumless and they still wouldn’t care.

‘What better way to celebrate a lifetime achievement award than in an £8 Primark all-in-one?’ he Tweeted. ‘Come on!’

Despite this worrying lack of imagination, it’s the maths I’ve got a problem with. With the Robster’s post-Take That output weighing in at an frightening thirty-six singles, eight studio albums, eight stadium tours, two compilations and probably a keyring or two, his average fan will have spent approximately £400 on Robbie-related tat over the last two decades. Now, given that each of his albums sell, oh, a couple of million copies a go, that’s quite a few fans he’s thanking with that polyester piece of crap.

‘Hey guys! See this microscopic speck of dust on the smallest piece of thread somewhere around the crotch area? This one’s for YOU!’

Friday, February 12, 2010

prison: a non-prophet organisation

Despite the fact that newcomer Tahar Rahim looks suspiciously like ex-England goalie David Seaman in a dodgy tracksuit, this trilingual lock-‘em-up offering from French director Jacques Audiard came up trumps at Cannes thanks to a killer soundtrack, Oscar-worthy central performances, and a convoluted plot more macho than Mr. T doing bicep curls in a bath of raw steak.

Beardy Corsican mobster César (Niels Arestrup) takes volatile Arab kid Malik El Djebena under his wing, only to **SPOILER ALERT** teach him the dubious lesson that accepting a blowjob in jail is a surefire way to check out early. Though Malik ain’t the sharpest tool in the book – note to self: ten kilos of hash should be left OUTSIDE the supermarket – his gift for languages enables him to absorb Cesar’s underworld savvy, set up a competing drug cartel from Prison HQ, and… oh, you can guess the rest.

The old David vs. Goliath setup is a formula more tried and tested than Cow & Gate baby milk, and though it’s more a question of ‘how’ rather than ‘when’, Malik’s eventual revenge on bullying César is a masterclass in restraint – and all the more effective for it. Factor in a festival-friendly dose of freakiness in the form of a Arab ghost with a penchant for setting his fingers on fire, an educational flick through the '100 most inventive ways to top your cellmates' manual, and it’s one in the eye for a recent spate of disappointing gangster movies that included Vincent Cassel’s Mesrine failing to live up to its promise, and Michael Mann snorefest Public Enemies failing to do anything whatsoever.

Right, I’m off to wedge a razor into my gums.