Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shag a ginger and save the world

At the risk of sounding a bit like the Gingers Do Have Soulsguy, who took South Park just a little too seriously, I have to scratch my flame-haired noggin in puzzlement at the news Cryos International is notaccepting any more ginger sperm (no, that does not mean each individual sperm swimming around in the average ginger scrotum has a little tuft of red hair).

Just think of all the handsome redheaded men out there, the likes of which we will never see again if the ginger gene – already shamefaced and recessive thanks to centuries of repression – dies off:

Jimmy Somerville
Mick Hucknall
Chris Evans
Shaggy from Scooby Doo
That creepy guy from Twelve Monkeys
Philipp Seymour Hoffman
Me

Ah. Do you know what? You are spot on. Tape over the cock slot on the ginger sperm container (that is how it works, right?) and release all of the stored ginger sperm to forlornly crawl the streets to become crack whores or end it all at the bottom of a bottle.

In all seriousness, though, while there aren’t that many handsome ginger men, there are plenty of smart ginger men, as well as shed loads of hot, smart, talented and funny ginger women.

Here is a real (brief) list of what the world will be missing if the Fanta-pants contingent is frozen out by the cryogenics criminals (courtesy of this list). I’m not going to rehash all of the good-looking female film stars, as all the newspapers have done in their ‘quirky’ news pieces.

1. Margaret Sanger (1879 – 1966) – Ironically, given the situation, Sanger was one of the key early figures in mobilizing American women to push for birth control. 

2. Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) – Yes, that’s right. Churchill, the man who helped to halt old Adolf Hitler in his tracks. Once again, a touch ironic if you consider Hitler’s attempts to create a perfect race. You would all be sporting a toothbrush moustache if it weren’t for this particular redhead. If Winston were still alive, he would ride a tank into the sperm bank, swigging from a bottle of brandy and smoking a cigar, and have a wank into the director’s eye.

3. Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) – Would you like your child to grow up to be like the man who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence? YES PLEASE! You know he was a red head, don’t you? WHAT? NO FUCKING WAY. GIVE ME SOME OF THAT REDNECK SPERM INSTEAD, ANY COLOUR BUT GINGER.

4. Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741) – Why have Four Seasons when you can have just one?

5. Napoleon Bonaparte (1761 – 1829) – Admittedly, he may have killed a lot of people, but Europe would have been a lot more boring were it not for the ginger midget rampaging around.

There are many more great examples out there (and some bad ones, including members of Charles Manson’s gang and Oliver Cromwell), but the fundamental point is that the ladies should be queuing up for the fiery little ginger swimmers, not dismissing them. Do the World a favour, ladies, empty the fridges of the ginger sperm or – even better – get out there and bang a ginger. The course of human history depends upon it.

And if you need other reasons to ride a reddie, here are ten that are absolutely 100% true:

1. Fire-hoses are red because their length and girth was modelled on a ginger man's trouser hose;

2. Ginger pubes taste like Fanta, meaning you actually want to get them stuck in your teeth;

3. Ginger hair gives off a satisfying warm glow and lights up the room on a cold night, creating an instant atmosphere of romance (and on one occasion keeping 25 survivors of a plane crash alive in The Andes until help arrived);

4. Silk doesn't come from worm's bottoms, but in fact is woven from strands of pure-breed ginger mustache hair. Find a pure-breed ginger, offer him sex in return for access to his mustache, and you will have a profitable scarf business up-and-running within weeks;

5. Ginger men never pee on the toilet floor in the middle of the night, because their pubic bunch acts as a guide light for aiming;

6. When in public, you can pretend your ginger boyfriend is actually a Care in the Community project, thus making yourself look like a humanitarian and precluding the need to do any real work for your community;

7. In all seriousness, shagging a ginger nut actually is an act of human kindness, so you will get all kinds of kudos in the next life;

8. You boyfriend will likely have very good taste in hats;

9. As gingers go grey, they actually begin to turn blonde, so end up looking like Robert Redford in his golden years;

10. If you cop off with a ginger, you need never worry about infidelity, as nobody else will have him unless they have read this blog and learned the secret reasons for turning to the ginger side. Since three people (counting my mum) read this blog, you are safe as houses.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Daughter, The Tealeaf

All you parents in the UK either feeling proud/shamefaced/confused after their little kiddiewinks went off on a looting and burning spree, I now know how you feel.

This morning, Charlotte (who is two and a small bit), was very excited about going to kindergarten, to the point of jumping into her buggy early and demanding to go. I thought it was just to do with her crush on Mr. Tony, but she then began babbling about eating cake and crips (yes, that’s how she says it).

I realised she was so keen to go so she could steal snacks from the other kids. I knew she had been doing it (banana and cereal bar doesn’t stand up to sugary and salty snacks), but to have thievery as her whole reason to go to school is a bit much.

The other day, in the sandpit in our apartment block, she was even more devious. She wanted a biscuit from one of the other little girls, who was saying no. So, Charlotte invites her to go up the slide with her so they can go down together. She lets the girl go up the ladder first. Once the unsuspecting mug is far enough up, Charlotte runs over to the biscuits, nicks one, and jams it in her mouth. Cue lots of crying from the little girl.

We are trying to tell her stealing is bad, but she is too young to get it and it is also hard to be firm when you are trying not to laugh. In the meantime, I’m going to see if she can lift me a new iPhone.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The many faces of Apocalypse Cow

In the vein of looking up random people who share my name (from pro-wrestlers to TV preachers), I thought it would be fun to see how many other people are using the same pun as my first novel, Apocalypse Cow.

Below are the people and companies I will be tussling with in google searches. Luckily, there don’t seem to be any that feature zombie cows. It does, however, show just how hard it is to find a truly original title. 

I had the same problem with the novel I'm working on now. I came up with what I thought was a smart, funny and original title, only to find out Ben Elton had already used it for a book on a different subject (Dead Famous). The new title I came up with is probably better, but I was a bit miffed at the time. At least I won't have to change the title of Apocalypse Cow, as there are no novels with the same name and nobody is flogging the same idea!


A Beer

Apocalypse Cow, by Three Floyds, appears to be a rather tasty brew, according to the reviews it has garnered and the number of people on twitter talking about how much they enjoying supping it of an evening.

A Recording Studio

Chicago-based Apocalypse Cow studios record “everything from industrial rock bands to solo acoustic artists”, and  apparently have a “calf-sized studio, cow-sized sound”.

Grindcore Band

Apocalypse Cow are a somewhat terrifying Netherlands-based Grindcore band, whose songs include screaming, frenetic versions of Love Will Tear Us Apart (Love Will Grind Us Apart) and Smells Like Teen Spirit. If there is ever a movie made of the book, they could scare the hell out of viewers with a demonic soundtrack.

Japanese Anime Festival in The Netherlands

Apocalypse Cow is the theme for a May 2012 Japanese anime festival in Almelo, The Netherlands. They have a rather natty logo, of a giant evil-eyed cow battling a funky robot. I’m actually in discussions with them about doing a signing, although nothing is confirmed since a zombie cow novel doesn’t necessarily fit in with anime. It is a funny coincidence, though, since the book is published a week before the festival begins.

Episode of The Simpsons

If anybody was going to use the same bad pun as me, it was probably always going to be The Simpsons. There is an episode called Apocalypse Cow in which Bart tries to save a cow from the slaughterhouse and accidentally ends up engaged as a result.

A Joke on The Daily Show

Talking of cheesy puns, Jon Stewart also made the wisecrack about Apocalypse Cow earlier this year

A Slot Machine

You can win up to 50 grand playing Ladbrokes’ Apocalypse Cow slot machine.

Weekly Apocalypses

Apocalypse Cow is also the home page of an artist who does rather groovy Weekly Apocalypses.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

When the Dead Walked the Earth - Without Kevin

This post has been removed for reasons I will not reveal in a pathetic attempt to make myself seem enigmatic.

Kenya cops and their guns

You know, I do rather wish that Kenyan police officers would keep their automatic weapons pointed at the ground a bit more often.

I'm sure you've seen the scene in Pulp Fiction, when Samuel L. Jackson is a bit too casual with his handgun and ends up spraying gore out of the back of the kid in the backseat's head. Well, on more than one occasion, a cop has sat down next to me on a bus with his gun clutched across his chest. It is very disconcerting to have a gun barrel waggling around inches from your temple as the rickety old bus jiggles over potholes. I have this strange desire to keep my brain inside my skull, rather than splattered all over the grubby windows of a KBS banger. Call me picky if you like, but that's just the way I feel.

Equally, having two officers sauntering in front of you in a busy shopping center with their guns slung over their shoulders, the barrels swinging around jauntily at head height, makes me feel a touch uneasy. Such moments are the only point in my life I wish I were at least a head shorter. It isn't like the guns are exactly modern either, and who knows whether the safety is on.

Every day you read that the police have bravely shot dead "suspected" criminals in a variety of situations. I do wonder how many of those deaths were of the "my gun went off when I was picking my nose too vigorously and blew a hole in the forehead of a 79-year-old blind cripple, who has just become a notorious criminal" variety.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Campaigner Challenge

I chanced up on this fun competition, where you have to write a 200-word story starting with "The door swung open", and ending with "the door swung shut". I had half an hour to spare, so here's my daft take (alas, I can't win any prizes, as I'm not a member, but hey ho):

This Door Swings Both Ways


The door swung open, as it would only do in the dead of night. It had a reputation for staying stubbornly closed, no matter who came knocking. In truth it just couldn’t trust itself to open: it didn’t want anybody to know it swung both ways.

No.5 was born this way, its double-acting hinges already fully formed. To swing in and out was as natural as could be for it, but society could not accept that. Everyone liked to pretend they were so modern and that each door was free to choose which way it swung. Yet No. 5 knew what lay beneath the tolerant veneer of the other doors ranged alone the leafy street, their letterboxes ready to chatter the instant they spied behaviour that did not belong in such a distinguished neighbourhood.

So it waited until night’s velvety blackness blinded even the beady peephole of the ever-vigilant No. 14, and the only sound was the soft creaking of sleeping wood. It swung (in, then out, in, then out), its wood flushed rose with pleasure, its hinges trembling with delicious friction, until the first blush of dawn tinged the sky.

Then, with a satisfied sigh, the door swung shut.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Getting real

I was rather surprised last week to see Apocalypse Cow (avert your eyes now if shameless name dropping makes you feel queasy), which won Terry Pratchett's first novel prize, available for pre-order on Amazon.co.uk, and also listed on amazon.com and amazon.ca. The publication date for the trade paperback and eBook is May 10 next year, so it is still a long way away, and I can only imagine the most hardcore of forward-planners (step forward my wife Nats, who keeps asking me about my five-year plan when I don’t even have a five-minute plan) will place orders now. 


Having said that, I have crept up the sales charts to a stupendous 297,699, which means that at least a few pre-orders have been place, although I don’t think David Nicholls, Dr Pierre Dukan and Kathryn Stockett need worry unduly about being knocked off their perch at the top just yet.


Not that I'm complaining. Seeing it up there for sale brings home the reality, which I have been struggling to accept. I don’t know if this is a first-author thing, or if it is because I am a miserable Scot who usually expects the worst possible outcome from every scenario, but I keep expecting the rug to be pulled out from under my feet, upending me onto my bony behind.

I’ve been like this the whole way through. When I submitted the novel to the Pratchett Prize, I did so at Nats’ insistence, as I was convinced it would never win. On the day the shortlist was to be announced, I wasn’t even thinking about it. When the initial elation of getting the email saying I had made the six-author shortlist faded, I then began waiting for another mail saying a mistake had been made. When that didn’t come, I convinced myself it would never win. When it did win, along with David Logan’s Half Sick of Shadows, I once again waited for the inevitable admission an error had been made. Then I kept expecting Transworld to change their minds, and pull the novel. And so on.

I think I have now just about accepted I am going to be a published author, but that isn’t going to stop me worrying. I can now turn my fruitless fretting to the fear of bad reviews and people not liking the book.

It just goes to show you can take the boy out of Glasgow, but you can’t take Glasgow out of the boy.