In 2011 I finished my first novel. (I mean I wrote one, not finally got around to reading one.) Watch this space for further dramatic news.
The book I wrote explores humanity’s struggle to find meaning in a bold new quantum reality: where objects can exist in several places at once; where time flows not just forwards, or backwards but slantways too; where concepts such as ‘space’ and 'causality' and 'punctuality' are meaningless; and where our universe is just one of an infinite number of possible realities, each appearing and expanding like a bubble in a limitless ocean, only to vanish in a wink and leave not a trace of its existence in the cosmic foam.
Or something like that. To be honest it's all a blur.
I couldn’t have written my book without Brian Greene’s The Fabric of the Cosmos, a ‘… grand tour of the universe and the best layman’s guide to current thinking on how everything works’.
It's a brilliant and bewildering book. I very much hope you enjoy it.
Fabric of the Cosmos (Penguin Press Science)
On The Road is an autobiographical work describing Jack Kerouac's road-trips across mid-century America. Kerouac was fond of relating the story of how he wrote the book in one three-week typing frenzy onto a 120-foot roll of gold-embossed, 12-ply toilet paper pilfered from Orson Welles' guest-house, but this version of events is probably embellished.
Here is Kerouac's book ...
On the Road: The Original Scroll (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
And here is my own Google-maps version, written in one exhausting session in 2010 on the back of a sheet of refill paper taped to another sheet of refill paper.
On The Road — Memoirs of a Motion-sickness Survivor ...
Below are my ideas. Please get in touch by phone or send me a fax.
It would be fair to say that a large number of the comments I get on this website are from young spam-artistes desperate to use my media clout to get them on the ladder of the potentially lucrative making-me-buy-sexual-enhancement-products industry. One of their key strategies is to praise my site in a way which makes me think that what I’m reading are some kind thoughts from a genuine fan. What they don't realise is that my true fans are literate individuals whose comments hardly ever contain the term “sturdy erections”. Here, for the first time, I publish some of my favourite unpublished spam comments, with my responses.
Anonymous writes: Dear Author www.suddain.com ! I congratulate, excellent idea and it is duly
Yes, my friend, it is Duly! But before you know it, it will be Daugust.
Anonymous writes: Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?
Of course! You may take all the vowels - except Y, which I sometimes need.
Anonymous writes: lets talk about your favourite sport games. i live football.
Thanks, I enjoy greyhound racing and nude paint-ball battle reenactments. Where do you live? Let’s drink coffee!
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Thanks for writing, Congo. I do put a lot of effort into my posts, but my smithereens of the situation is only one point of view, and there are many other sites available in the oblivion.
Anonymous writes: Is it possible to truck identify with with you? Regards, Marie
Yes, Marie, meet me at junction 44 of the M25 today and we will truck identify together.
Anonymous writes: ...please where can I buy a unicorn?
At your unicorner store, friend! Or Harrods.
Anonymous writes: Stay us for the nonce to buy more information and facts!
I understand. It is hard to find a nonce to buy you information since they closed News of the World. Have you asked Piers Morgan?
Anonymous writes: Ей захотелось заплакать, но слезы не к лицу боевому офицеру.
Your typing's gone crazy there. I think you spilled боевому on your keyboard!
Anonymous writes: You pall its girl or wife you're tired of itspartner, a lover can not You bring, you looking for diversity in Personal Life?
Mirek. You’re coming on a little strong. Let’s just start with the photos.
Anonymous writes: Hey, I am checking this blog using the phone and this appears to be kind of odd.
It’s not your phone.
Anonymous writes: The plants are not provided with any support so that they make a thick layer of growth which will cover a wide area of the bank.
That is interesting. Please tell me you are not writing this while burying a corpse.
Anonymous writes: So qrazy.. Mmm.. After
You are strange and funny. You should have my job.
Anonymous writes: Delete shis text plz. Sorry.
Consider it done. For shiz.
Anonymous writes: Hello! I'm newbie in Internet, can you give me some useful links? I know only about Yahoo.
This might help ... www.piersmorgan.com
“Beauty,” said Albert Camus, “is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.” “Beauty,” said W. Somerset Maugham, “is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it.” “Beauty is the evidence of why we are here,” said Adrian Canfield, and “Beauty will save the world,” said Fyodor Dostoevsky. “To me, Beauty is the wonder of wonders,” said Oscar Wilde. “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”
“Angelina Jolie,” said Donald Trump, owner of the Miss Universe pageant “is … not beauty, by any stretch of the imagination. I really understand beauty. And I will tell you, she’s not. I do own Miss Universe. I do own Miss USA. I mean I own a lot of different things. I do understand beauty, and she’s not.”
Now you might find it hilarious to hear the concept of beauty so critically defined by a man sporting the black ocular pits of an ageing rhino, the limp jowls of a University Don, and a haircut that looks like a multi-million-dollar apartment development for sparrows. In an unguarded moment you might imagine Donald himself crossing the stage, to the hoots of well-dressed men, a mat of hair spreading like desert grass across his undulating torso, an ill-fitting swimsuit straining to flatter his sub-prime millionaire junk, the scant lycra hemmed at one edge, perhaps, by a stray frill of pinkish scrote, and the whole affair watched from above by a set of gray, pendulous man-tits. I would not be so uncharitable. Donald is not a beautiful man, I think we can all agree on that, but need one be a painter to appreciate art? And need one himself be an attractive person to dispense wisdom on the subject of beauty? Sometimes beauty can be best defined by its opposite.
I was a correspondent at the Miss Universe Pageant in Vietnam in 2008 (Please read my story here). I got to meet the competitors, host Jerry Springer, and a then unknown young performer who called herself Lady Gaga.
For entertaining and well-considered ideas on the nature of beauty, it's worth browsing the works of Oscar Wilde.
Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (Collins Classics)
Identity Theft happens to 1 in 5 persons (though they are all basically dead to us now.) The common misconception about Identity Theft is that it will be like the movie The Net, starring Sandra Bullock. In reality, it is much, much more painful and expensive, like the movie Speed 2, starring Sandra Bullock.
Here are some tips for avoiding Identity Theft.
- If your bank gets in touch to ask for your account number and passwords, your wife’s maiden name, or photos of your infant children, first check to see if they have a proper logo. A real bank logo has a clean, elegant design, and seldom includes a clenched fist or necklace made from skulls. The address should be a real address and not include obviously made up locations like “Anywhere Street” or “Banking District.”
- It might surprise you to know that your baby has an identity. A Russian mobster called Anton Dubeke once stole the identity of a baby called Richard Hammond and spent a whole year living for free in one of Britain’s most prestigious daycare centers.
- Your fingerprints mock and betray you. Every time you handle a wine glass in a bar you are leaving a tiny piece of yourself behind. Wearing surgical gloves at all times doesn’t have to be a social liability. Many public figures do it: Keanu Reeves, Donald Trump, The Edge. And have you ever heard the name Billy Bob Thornton? Me neither, but apparently him too.
- The other day I got a message from an "Organisation" called “Worldwide Fund for Nature” asking me to help them save the “Endangered white rhino.” Rhinos are grey. Another group wanted money to stop the “Genocide” in the “Sudan.” It is a common ploy to make up a fictional country that is similar to your target’s first or last name. Beware of this kind of scam with your own name: Timor/Tim, Niger/Nigel, Chad/Chad, Uzbekistan/Rebeccastan.
- Identity Theft can even happen outside the Internet. Never let a mall cartoonist capture your image. And never let a man-whore take a Polaroid for his “Files.” There are no “Files,” just an old shoebox marked posterity/blackmails.
Nothing sums up the dizzying, exploratory weirdness of our childhood quite as well as the moment when we watched a boy called Elliot get smashed off his face in a Coors Light alien mind-meld and snog Erika Eleniak while frogs skipped 'round his ankles. It is a signature memory for any personality which formed during the 80's because it concisely captures the alien strangeness of sudden-onset adolescence. Also, because no producer would ever, ever, consider allowing such a bizarre scene to be included in a modern G movie.
After E.T., my generation took its obsession with the idea of alien life (and Erika Eleniak) to such a degree that it became almost spiritual. These aliens will be wise and tender, probably naked. They will gently chastise us for our warring ways, and introduce us to amazing new technologies: love-bots, mood-plugs, hover-nannies, extra-sensory fellatio, and baths which let you wash between dimensions.
Perhaps realising that the religious instinct was central to a belief in alien life, Steven Spielberg intentionally bedded religious ideas in his epic movie about an alien spud who arrives from the heavens, befriends a group of misfits, evades the authorities, performs miracles (healing, levitation,) prays for deliverance, is captured, put through a series of trials, dies, wakes up again, and ascends once more to the heavens (but not before leaving his friend a message of hope and friendship.)
Spielberg has said that he never intended the film to be a religious parable: "If I ever went to my mother and said, 'Mom, I've made this movie that's a Christian parable,' what do you think she'd say? She has a kosher restaurant on Pico and Doheny in Los Angeles." I assume she’d say, “That’s hilarious.” There are so many ideas from the life and martyrdom of Christ in his film that it is inconceivable to think it was accidental: from the composition of his followers (all boys, one girl,) to shots of the alien performing miracles with a blanket draped like a shroud over his lumpy head, to the scene, where he prays in the forest for deliverance while his followers sleep. Even the poster-art for the film has religious connotations: it is is an obvious spoof of the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo. It is impossible to see the film as anything other than an intentional satire of a rival faith by a prominent Jewish filmmaker, and perhaps the second greatest religious satire behind Life of Brian.
Our perceptions of alien life have changed dramatically since E.T.. Recently, our greatest physicist, Stephen Hawking, spoke out against efforts to establish diplomatic relations with other planets. These creatures will not be friendly, he thinks. They will kill our livestock, take our stuff, and mock our puny brains and eclectic sense of fashion.
“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”
Aliens aren’t benign anymore. They steal us from our beds, they mercilessly probe our hillbillies, they have no desire to send luminous, green-skinned ladies to show us their advanced knowledge of human g-spots; instead they will lay eggs in our brains, or send their squid-like spawn to suck our faces. They are a testament to our new and apparently Godless Universe. They will stalk us over the rubble of our cities in omni-legged deathpods, and at the end of a hard day of conquest, they’ll kick back by unhooking their lower jaw and gobbling down a hamster.
(To be fair, this is also how Madonna feeds.)
Starting a novel is hard: first you have to think of an idea, then you have to write it. As an aid to aspiring writers, I have designed 10 "Prompts" which can be used to get the old juices flowing, and some new juices, hopefully. The most important thing is not to censor yourself, because, as we all know, censorship is wrong. Just take the prompts one at a time, go with your first impulse, let the ideas flow, and before you know it, you’ll be a fully published author, probably. Good luck!
1. “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” she screamed.
2. As Donna's head began to spin crazily, Richard picked up the manual and noticed that her instructions were in Dutch.
3. “Helmet!” The man did not answer.
4. As Troy watched the heavy shape fall towards the stormy waters below, he felt that same familiar sensation stir, deep down, in his sack.
5. As Professor John Langhorne strode down the darkened corridor of the Louvre he suddenly noticed that the Mona Lisa had some kind of code on it.
6. Ontogeny recapitulates philogeny,” gurgled the mind-baby.
7. “Not again! This always happens to my hair!” said John Mayer.
8. "Do you have any great ideas for a novel?" laughed Sarah. "As a matter of fact, I do!" replied the Professor, before telling her one.
9. “Gregg, you are about to go literally, and figuratively, to heaven,” said the cock-witch.
10. "Dear Miss Jones," the letter began. Thank you for your query regarding the publication of your crime novella, 'The Sack of Troy'. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you any assistance at this time."
11. Tina woke and went to the bathroom mirror. "That's not my face!" she exclaimed.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Contrary to opinion, the cover is one of the best ways to judge a book. On the cover you’ll find the title, the author’s name, a short biography, selected quotations from prestigious journals (often,) and a concise description (or “blurb”) of the characters, story, and themes of the work. The cover even has a piece of art designed to graphically evoke the mood of the book. In short, a cover is an excellent way to judge a book.
NEW PROVERB: Judging a book by its cover is the third best way to judge a book, short of reading it, or skimming the review in the Times Literary Supplement.
“An eye for an eye leaves the world blind.”
It’s clear that if two combatants each lose an eye they will still be left with two functioning eyes. This is assuming that they each had two functioning eyes. If the combatants are both pirate captains, or Cyclopses, then yes, there is the possibility of total blindness. Perhaps this proverb is speaking metaphorically about the entire world, and the pointlessness of violence and retribution, but even then you’ve only removed one eye from each human, which wouldn’t make the world blind, though it would make driving more dangerous.
NEW PROVERB: An eye for an eye will not leave the world blind, though it may make it harder for the world to judge distances.
“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
I beg to differ. If you go to the trouble of fooling me on consecutive occasions, perhaps inventing mysterious foolin’ machines, or stringing intricate webs of fallacy, until I’m lost, wandering in a mire of deception, not knowing which way is up or down, then still shame on you. I’m not here for your amusement. Get a life.
NEW PROVERB: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on you again, dickwit.
“A penny saved is a penny gained.”
I’m no expert, but I don’t think you can just make a proverb by stating the same fact twice. “A sock in the drawer is a sock indeed.” It’s perfectly obvious that if I have a penny, I’ve gained a penny. We don’t need an aphorism.
NEW PROVERB: If you don’t have any good proverbs to say, don’t say proverbs at all.
“All's fair in love and war.”
We live in a more enlightened age, and recent events have taught us that techniques like waterboarding, and genital electrocution, are cruel, and probably the reason why 50% of marriages end in divorce.
NEW PROVERB: It is plain wrong to zap a man’s balls, even if he did snog your mate, and especially while he’s napping.
“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”
It’s the egg. No, ssshhhh, don’t say anything, it’s egg, the answer is egg. The creature who would evolve to become the mighty chicken laid eggs. There were no chickens roaming around who suddenly learned to lay eggs.
NEW PROVERB: The egg came first. End of discussion.
“Better wed over the mixen than over the moor.”
A mixen is a compost heap or dung pile. Thus, this strange proverb means: “Better to marry someone who lives beyond the dung heap than beyond the hills, or, “Better to marry a neighbour than a stranger.” I suppose that’s true, though someone who lives in the next town might be preferable to someone who has chosen, for whatever reason, to live beside a gigantic pile of crap.
NEW PROVERB: It’s generally better to marry a neighbour, though you might set your sights higher than someone who lives beside the town’s communal septic mound, and also, you might want to check with his wife first.
“A blind man's wife needs no paint.”
I am going to go out on a limb and say that few wives require painting.
NEW PROVERB: Few wives require painting. If they do, paint in a well ventilated room and allow at least 6 hours for drying.
“The early bird catches the worm.”
Are there no worms around after 10? I like to sleep in. So shoot me.
NEW PROVERB: The early bird catches the worm, but don’t worry, it’s not the only worm. Enjoy your lie-in.
“Happy is the bride that the sun shines on.”
I was at my cousin’s wedding, and it was super hot, and the bride fainted and got duck shit on her dress, which is no good. Then a stray dog ran in and started licking itself. No one knew where to look, though mostly we all looked at the dog.
NEW PROVERB: Keep the bride out of the sun, and think twice about a riverside wedding in Hamilton.
“Imagine no possessions; it isn’t hard to do.”
Easy, I imagine, for those who have few possessions already. Harder, I would think, if you’re trying to imagine no possessions while hammering away on your magnificent ivory Steinway, in your palatial country estate, shortly before falling into the arms of your Japanese conceptual hoochie.
NEW PROVERB: He of the banquet should not preach of the bowl.
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they’ll never sit in.”
Actually, I quite like this one.
An Imaginary Conversation with The King That Aligns Itself with Popular, Contemporary Conspiracy Theories.
Ok, Elvis, we just need to go through this one more time so we can be absolutely clear. You’re saying, basically, that you would like us to help you to fake your own death.
Ok. Just remind us why you want to do that.
I’m tired, baby. Tired of all the fame. All the attention. I just want to be left alone.
Right. Because, you know, we did the TV special, we did the tours, the Vegas shows. We did all that stuff that you wanted us to do to put you back in the public eye. You got us to take you to visit the President.
Nice fella. Nice fella.
Ok, so anyway, hypothetically, if we did help you to fake your own death, and bearing in mind that we do NOT support this idea in any way.
But if we did help you, you would be able to choose any means of death you like. I mean, the sky is the limit. Any kind of spectacular, heroic exit that you can reasonably conceive of—we can do that for you. Theoretically.
I mean, high speed race-car crash, jet explosion, zeppelin fire, rescuing a child from a burning building. You can die screwing yourself to death with eleven beauty queens if you want. We could arrange it so you appear to die while jumping over a shark tank on your motorcycle.
(Heavy sigh.) Ok, so with all that in mind, taking into consideration that there are literally no limits on the way that you can appear to exit this world, tell us one more time how you’d like to go out.
Dead on a toilet.
Dead on a toilet.
Dead on a toilet, baby.
In my underwear.
In your underwear. Ok. So out of all the heroic and spectacular deaths you could have, you would like to be remembered by history as a drugged, bloated corpse on a toilet.
That’s right. Corpse me baby! (Laughter)
Ok, we … let’s come back to that issue. The other thing I’m having trouble coming to terms with is … you said that after you’re gone you want to … come back once in a while?
That’s right. Comeback specials.
You want to reveal yourself to people?
Sure. That’d be cool.
Even though you’re supposed to be dead?
On the toilet.
Ok, and where did you imagine these appearances happening? Churches, hospitals, mountain tops?
Malls, I want to appear in malls, 7/Elevens, Dairy Queens.
(Heavy sigh.) Ok Let me just … I mean … (Heavy sigh.) We’ve done a lot of crazy shit for you. I mean, man alive, the stuff we’ve done. Do you do know how foolish it is to fake your own death? That’s crazy enough. But then to start “materializing” in restaurants and convenience stores. Just walking into a mall there and wandering around. I mean, that’s just so mind-blowingly reckless …
And on crackers.
I’m sorry, what?
I want people to see my face on crackers. I want people to open up boxes of Saltines and there’s old Elvis, smiling back at them. Hey, Davy, any chance you can get me some of them Saltines, maybe with some shaved ham, and some of that cheese I like, what’s it called?
Ok, I’m just having a real problem getting my head around all this. Basically, you just had your big come-back. The whole damn world loves you again. We did Aloha Hawaii. 1.5 billion people saw that!
Yeah. Now you want us to arrange for it to appear as if you’ve died of an overdose on the toilet. You want us to fly you to a secret island, an island which you want to call … ?
Qualudia. But you also want us to fly you back occasionally so that you can make appearances in convenience stalls, fast-food restaurants, and suburban malls.
And to top it all off you want us to infiltrate a snack-food manufacturer and arrange for your face to be secretly printed on a small number of crackers.
That is correct.
Colonel, I'm speechless. What the hell do you make of all this?
Boy, I think you’re madder than a sack full of raccoons in a bath full of snakes.
Thank you very much.
I'm in London: The Grumpy Apple, The City That Often Sleeps. As an unofficial, non-payed, non diplomatically sanctioned cultural attaché to London it is my job to sniff out innovative ideas that can be adapted to my country of birth. This is how we got Gok Wan and competitive vomiting. One of the things that I think could do very well in New Zealand is Cockney Rhyming Slang—the street-slang invented in the 19th Century by London merchants to confuse their wives and mistresses.
Here is a story I wrote for a New Zealand magazine on the invention of a Kiwi Rhyming Slang.