The Timeless Whirlpool of the Talkers.

I can still hear them, at night, long after the bell has rung and the doors are locked. I lay, restless and buzzing from the constant hum that has followed me to bed. The echoes of a hundred simultaneous voices still reverberate in my weary skull, punctuated by the chink of glass on glass.

Sometimes, when I am not so tired and lay alert and listening carefully, I can almost make them out, as if I have the ability to listen again to everything that was said that night, even those words I paid no attention to before. But somehow the utterances evade me. They crescendo and fluctuate with the familiar cadence and rhythm of a million well-worn conversations, but not one syllable can I decipher.

It’s not every night I hear them, just those evenings where the energy generated in the public house seems to overcome the natural order of the silence that should follow. You can tell, when you are down there, a night like that. It is when the edges of the various social bubbles meet and begin to merge. Ripples of mirth, mayhem and intrigue can spread from pocket to pocket, through lounge to bar and back again in a circle of electricity, growing ever more potent and powerful. Fuelled by flowing confidence from tap and optic, sometimes it can be frightening, but always exciting.

The weak willed like me get swept away with it, well past the end of the shift and the hasty clear-up and into the after-hours when tips are turned to drink, and drink is put to good use. Those remnant handfuls of workers and the few favoured regulars, leaching off the residual glow in the last illuminated corner of the now barricaded sanctuary. Here we tell on ourselves, and others. Here we share secrets we ought not. Here the accumulated gossip of a good night is doled out and dissected. We take more from you than your money.

And here, when those of us who don’t retreat because we work for our board (and maybe, board for our work?), are all that’s left, one last door is locked behind us as we ascend to our dowdy refuge. In my room, directly above the epicentre, I try to unwind and the murmurs begin anew.

Now, it appears, they are growing ever more frequent and raucous. Even in the quiet midweek, when fever pitch is seldom reached, I have begun to hear them. I wonder how long the auditory afterimage of the last searing evening can actually last. Is it there all the time? Have I partook in one-to-many extra-curricular sessions so that I can no longer shake them? Is it only when hush is mixed with dark that my senses notice the ever-present drone?

Here on a quiet and almost forgotten Wednesday, alone in the flat, punters long departed and lines well drained, I cannot catch that sober and elusive early-night, thanks to the infernal chatter from below. Yet I know no one is there. I turned the keys and set the alarms myself, but for all the world, beneath the boards the night continues. Without intoxication or high spirits to blame, there can be no doubt.

It’s 2am. It’s been 2am forever, it seems. Whatever the point was of lying here, it has long gone, and all I can think about is the chatter. A laugh breaks out of the mumble soup, as clear as the day will soon be. I swing my legs out of the sheets and pull on the jeans that lay waiting where I stepped out of them an eternity ago. I wrap the rest of me in the tatty gown that smells of smoke so stale it’s almost become fresh again, like everything here, smothered in an amber film of nicotine.

I don’t like to go downstairs after the furore has been sent home and its fallout contained behind the frosted door at the top of the stairwell. I don’t even like coming up those stairs with the cloying darkness on my heels. I never go down, usually, until the daylight has worked its normalising charm. But I’ve got to exorcise this madness from my mind and  give my eyes chance to lay waste to this myth in my ears.

I light up the stairs from the single switch at the summit and make the dash down to the extensive panel at the bottom, around the corner, groping in the darkness for the top row. I realise I have my eyes closed as I do this, a fire-with-fire defence against the heavy black. I click the switches and open my eyes. Only the inside of the bar is lit-up, as it must be at this time of night, should a passing lawman suspect some unlicensed frivolities peeking through the heavy curtains. Beyond the polished and worn oak, shadows prevail.

I tread the extended horseshoe that links bar to lounge yet never has the full view of either. I round the last corner to the far end of the lounge. The sticky, sickly orange glow of the bar lights barely penetrates as far as the upturned chairs resting uneasily on the squeaky red leather benches that run the line of the outer walls.

There is no one here but me, of course, and I hear nothing but the wind in the streets and the slight hum of meters and machines in the cellar. Suddenly I feel awake, stupid and thirsty. Why not pour myself a drink? After all, I’m alone tonight, for a change, and I can put it on my tab to be paid for later by the cheap generosity of clients with too many coppers in their change.

The optic drains into the tumbler, once, twice, hell, let’s make it three times. The ice machine has a few flakes left to push the whisky even further, and a cigar from the tin next to the limes tops it all off.

I don’t really want to go around to the other side, with the shadows, but my bare feet are cold on the dampish tiles behind the bar, and the high-stools are still out, customer-side. There’s a small envelope of pitch black where the hatch lets me out into a small corridor that joins the bar, lounge and services. I skip through it and back to the lounge, a shudder running with me all the way. I take the first stool I come to that hugs the last trap before the door, partitioned by thin, carved pillars.

My drink waits for me on the bar. It feels reassuring to sit facing inwards, like any lonely regular drinking alone at early doors, lost in thoughts, or found in their absence. The whiskey stings at first as it runs on dry, cracked lips. A slither of the ice remedies that as I work it around my gums before taking that first retching gulp. It makes me draw breath through my teeth, and now I’m ready.

‘I never knew him, not really…’ a woman says from behind, from the corner where we normally huddle after hours, cackling and gossiping. My bad habit of ear-wagging kicks in, and then I remember: I’m alone.

‘That’s not what I heard’ a guttural, male voice says, mirthlessly, almost menacingly. I don’t recognise it, I don’t like it, and I won’t, no, I can’t turn around. My glass is frozen at my mouth, tilted but not pouring, I can feel small discrepancies in the rim of the glass tremble sharply against my lips. I can’t move it, no, I daren’t move it.

‘You hear too much, and not half of it true’ the double-negative woman says. Is this it? Has the senseless chatter finally crystallised in my delusion? There is no doubt now. I can hear them, but they can’t be there. For one thing, the rear of the bar is mirrored, and although it is hard to see past my own pale reflection into the murk beyond the reach of the lights, I find not even a hint of a silhouette.

‘I know more than you think’ the man says. ‘I know he wasn’t alone that night, even if that was how they found him. Even if all the doors were locked from the inside, like they said.’

‘Oh yeah, detective?’ the woman says, sarcastically. ‘How’s that then?’

‘There was the glasses, for a start.’

‘Glasses?’

‘That’s what I said. Two glasses, on another table.’

The woman laughs in a breathy cackle I feel I’ve heard before, in the dusk chorus.

‘It’s a pub!’ she finally manages to spit out. ‘So what?’

The man doesn’t seem to find it, or her, funny.

‘It was after hours. The chairs were put up every night, the tables polished, the ashtrays emptied. Every night. Without fail.’

‘So he missed one.’

‘And didn’t notice it when he came down? Sat hardly a yard away?’ The man was speaking to her like she was stupid, barely tempering the contempt in his voice. Something tells me these two knew each other too well. Well enough to hate and abide each other’s companionship until the miserable sun burned out. The kind of couple who come to the pub every night to get away from each other, but end up spending each and every night in the same corner, trapped in contemptuous companionship.

‘And there’s more’ the man continued while the woman scoffed and gulped something down. ‘The mirror was broken.’

‘Which one?’

‘Behind the bar, over there.’

My spine locks. They’re looking this way. I can feel it, them, burning through the back of my neck. But in the mirror, nothing.

The woman grumbles, unconvinced, but curious.

‘I thought they found him slumped over there?’ she says. Now the burning is right on me, all over and around me. The man grunts in agreement.

‘So how did he smash the mirror? Unless he had a funny turn first.’

‘And then sat down for a whiskey and cigar?’ the man pointed out.

‘Maybe to calm his nerves’ she says, sounding unconvinced. ‘Anyway, he never lit the cigar, I heard.’ The pair fall quiet as both take slurps from drinks.

Calm my nerves? She might be right. That’s what these people are, my nerves, at devilish play. Nothing more. The mirror isn’t broken, and I’m not leaving this cigar untouched, I’m having it right now, except… The matches. Not here. Not in my pocket. Behind the bar. No problem. I take the cigar and break it in two.

‘It was snapped in half, though. What was that about?’ says the man, followed by a long sucking noise of moisture being drained from a presumably hairy top lip.

Oh come on! This is beyond madness now. This is a joke. A joke on myself. The mirror already confirms what I know. There is no one there. A quick glance over my tense shoulder will further validate this absence of reality. All I need to do is turn, but the thought of doing so, of actually peering into that dark corner, is the same thought as my heart stopping. But look I must. I must.

I turn my eyes first. Slowly my head follows, hastened by the confirmation from my periphery. There is, thankfully, no one, nothing. The voices have stopped. They haven’t just taken a break from their gossip, they have ceased to be present at all. I can feel the settled ambience of the empty room and my eyes have adjusted to the dimness. It is, as usual, just another corner of a smelly, locked, abandoned pub, save one. I shall take my drink, and another, and what remains of my cigar to bed. I swivel fluidly on my stool back to the bar.

‘Last orders?’

The shock is automatic, the snap of my hand to the drink beyond any conscious decision. The intense, sepulchral face is inches from mine and the bottomless eyes are absorbing my own. I hurl the glass at the craggy faced man who has appeared before me. I take in the dirty blue apron, sweaty white shirt and crooked teeth of the foul barkeep as the vessel passes through, and crack! I blink heavily at the shattering impact. My eyes open. The mirror is broken. The spectre has gone. The drink, somehow, is still grasped tightly in my white, blood-starved fingers.

I try to relax my grip, but the messages don’t get through. The tumbler is at eye level. The cold oak veneer is pressed against my cheek. Am I resting? Did I fall asleep? If so, why can’t I sit up? I can only feel myself tipping backwards from the stool, falling out of myself, away, into the baying crowd who ramble noisily behind me. They claw at me with their fingers and their words, tearing me cell by cell into the timeless whirlpool of the talkers. All that is left of me out there is a husk, broken, like the cigar, in so many fragments and tatters.

I understand now. If you hear them, their stories, their musings and mumbling in the night, then they have you. If you know their words, they know you. They have you.

I am with them now. This was my story. Soon we will have you too.

THE END.

A note from the Author:

Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it, and it would be great if you could help me reach more people by sharing this on social media by using the buttons below, or copying and pasting the web address far and wide.

If you’re feeling really generous, you can support my writing by buying any of my books advertised in the sidebar, or donating £1 (or whatever you can spare) using this link:

https://www.paypal.me/GAbbottAuthor/1

Thanks. 

The Book Marketing Diaries Part 3 – Asking for help

I’ve never been too proud to ask for help. I may sometimes be too British to ask for help, but that’s a whole different social anxiety altogether.

Over the coming weeks I will be asking many of my friends, family, acquaintances and the occasional tenuous contact to help me with my next book release.

Specifically, I will be asking a core group of people if they would like to have my book for free ahead of publication in exchange for an honest review so that on the day of the launch, other readers who I don’t know already have some guidance and (hopefully) reasons to pick my book out of the multitude on offer.

This will be happening soon. I will contact everyone who I think may want to help out with this, but I am also open to anyone letting me know that they would like to be part of this journey with me. If I am lucky enough to reach the golden number I am hoping for I may have to scale it back, but for now it’s open doors to early reviewers.

If you do, please let me know either through Facebook, or by emailing info@garryabbott.co.uk, and/or ideally by following this blog and leaving a comment with details of how I can contact you. I will be offering primarily digital editions in whatever format suits. I may consider providing a few printed copies if people are adamant! (but this will be limited… overheads and all. I got a marketing plan to try and fund here!)

In the meantime, in lieu of the real artwork that will be coming at some point, here is something I put together for a bit of fun (this in NO WAY represents the actual artwork… I just like messing in photoshop now and again, and skulls are cool, especially in space, with a bowler hat, a monocle, a galaxy and a planet for eyes, coming out of a supernova…These are nearly all images that you may encounter mentally if you become one of my treasured readers!)

tgc teaser layers 2 copy

The book marketing diaries Part 2.5 – A series?

Alluding back to part 2 of this diary (here: The Book Marketing Diaries Part 2 – What’s in a name?) what I came to realise from feedback and seeing those names laid out in front of me was that maybe I was looking at more than one title here.

I have a general idea of the plot of a second book, which I have left open as a possibility in the upcoming novel, and thematically, it would follow on nicely to have the following two titles confirmed, with any third part being left for another time (say, when I was anywhere close to writing it).

So my current thinking is this:

BOOK 1 (Autumn 2016):

coollogo_com-12571161

Book 2 (2018 – I have an unrelated title in progress at the moment slated for 2017):

coollogo_com-84781913

Book 3: (Who knows? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, but if I get a modicum of success from the first two, I would look at a trilogy).

Of course, as a free individual, I reserve all rights to not write another at all! But I do have enough confidence to think a second part would be of interest to my readers at least.

So, that’s my current thinking… But I am always open to having my mind changed (and have in fact, spent many years actively trying to do so), so PLEASE do comment in any way you can if you have an opinion and/or advice about this!

Thanks to everyone who has helped me out so far. even the littlest comment can make a big difference when you are doing something like writing, which despite everything else in life, can feel like a lonely endeavour sometimes.

 

 

The Book Marketing Diaries. Part 1

Hello there.

You may recall that in 2014 I launched my first book, ‘The Dimension Scales and Other Stories’, or you may not, I really don’t know.

Either way, I did. I secured an agent to release it as an eBook through all the usual digital channels (including, alas, some that are now no longer with us), and a year later I released the paperback (without agency assistance).

I was, and remain, proud of that achievement, but it was a first step into a larger world, a world that I didn’t and still don’t yet fully understand how to reach out to.

You know the world I’m talking about, because you’re probably on it right now (unless you do crazy things like print out blog posts onto dead trees) – yes, I am talking about ‘The Internet’.

For anyone looking to reach out to fellow human beings and promote work, it would be ludicrous to ignore it. However, the internet does have a hell of a habit of ignoring you – and that’s the challenge.

Apart from the odd curiosity (especially if they include cats), violence, porn, and high-profile (and highly funded) campaigns out there; for the average person the internet can be a frustratingly aloof resource.

Yes you can start a Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/LinkedIn/Website/Blog and spend 80% of your time trying to fill it with things to ‘build your platform’ and whatnot, but does it actually work?

I’m not going to say it doesn’t, as I don’ think I’ve got the hang of it all yet. I especially don’t want to spend 80% of my time trying to do so (as some self-professed expert guides will have you think).

So, this time, I will be keeping a little diary of what I’m doing, what it costs (because, yes, there will be costs), and how successful, or otherwise, my attempts are.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have already spotted that this is in itself, part of the experiment/marketing plan that I have just today decided I’m going to need, given that I’m not having luck with any of the agents this time.

So, part 1 of this blog leads me to item 1 of my marketing plan…

  1. Keep a marketing diary blog.

Pros: Hopefully people will follow your journey and offer assistance, maybe even buy your books and help circulate word of your existence to wider circles.

Cons: I have to remember to keep an online diary and find something to write about at least semi-regularly. Plus, savvy people will realise that they are being marketed at, but then, I will point this out to them, making it some kind of fourth wall breaking ‘meta’ marketing strategy. This will be cool and they will immediately become ardent supporters of your cause.

I of course don’t yet know if this, like any of my activities, will be of use, but let’s find out together, you and I.

Item 2 is quite important, and I’ll cover that in more detail soon (it is already under way):

2. Get a great book cover and titles design from talented people who know what they are doing…

So. There we go. It has started. The only thing that could stop it now is one of the agencies who are still considering my work coming back with an offer, in which case, I won’t really mind that this blog has been for nothing.

Oh! And very importantly, step 3:

3. Actually mention the name of the book and a bit of blurb.

The book is called ‘The Great Connection’ and is a future set ‘first contact’ science fiction novel about the exploration of space through a global citizen-science project that connects deep space observation satellites with virtual reality environments, enlisting the help of ordinary people around the globe to explore uncharted worlds as a form of home entertainment.

It is on one of these worlds that Raif Masters discovers the first signs of alien life in the ten years since the ‘Great Connection’ project was launched: but it is a discovery that could tear his family, and the Earth, apart.

… So there you go!

Marketing Budget To Date: £0.00

 

 

 

 

No War

It’s been a good while since I wrote something on here. As with most people, the distractions of everyday work and life have made demands on my time, and although I am still pursing my creative endeavours, I am having to balance them against other responsibilities.

I didn’t comment throughout the farcical general election, and the resulting bad punchline that is and remains the Conservative government. I’ve kept quiet even when I’ve seen the shoots of hope in an alternative vision through the emergence of Jeremy Corbyn, opting instead to watch cautiously from the sidelines, unable to believe that people like me may finally have a real voice in the world.

When the Paris attacks happened, I found myself searching for my response, both emotionally and outwardly. I knew it was a bad thing, and very, very sad, but adding my voice to the clamour of sympathy didn’t seem necessary. Some things go without saying.

What has finally made me feel like I need to ‘go on record’, for the sake of my own conscience rather than any expectance that my opinion is of any consequence, is this inevitable descent into war and the diversionary tactics of the elite to invert the argument against those of us who think there could be a better way.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the recent attacks and ensuing political posturing had been orchestrated solely to give the British media and political elite the excuse to further attack Jeremy Corbyn, who really stands less as an individual and more as a symbol for anyone who doesn’t buy in to the accepted narrative of vengeance and war.

In a bafflingly obvious rhetorical onslaught from the combined media machine, those who are anti-war are in some way anti-peace, or security, which have become somehow synonymous, as if security in itself is more important than liberty and humanity. Those of us who remember the last twenty plus years of woefully misjudged ‘interventions’ in the Middle East that have both added to and caused a lot of the ongoing violence and problems of today, are somehow apologists, rather than realists who have simply observed what is so and come to a sound conclusion.

What’s worse, if one is to dare mention our involvement in the causes of the atrocities that are taking place daily in this world, and the hypocrisy of the leaders who support the allies of our supposed enemies, and make allies of our supposed enemies to fight the enemies that were once allies, and so on, you are branded almost traitorous, unpatriotic or deluded.

Yet the evidence has not been hidden. There is no conspiracy. Even those people (bless them) who trust every syllable uttered by the BBC for example, can’t fail to recognise that in this case, the last time David Cameron tried to intervene in Syria, it was to fight Assad, and that this time it is to fight the enemies of Assad, who in themselves, have emerged from the ruins of other conflicts where rebel armies were armed and trained by ourselves and others.

For every inflated claim about rebellion in the Labour party that dominates the news headlines at this time, where are the reports into the questions Jeremy Corbyn and others have raised which are of so much more importance to this terrible situation? Such as:

Who is funding the ‘enemy’? Who is buying the oil that they apparently make million of dollars from a day? Who is selling them arms? Why will our bombs make any more difference that the bombs that have already been dropped over the past few years by others? Are ours ‘special’ in some way? Or do we just not want to be left out of the inevitable carving up of the spoils when the dust has settled and the indiscriminate thousands lay dead? What happens next? How long will this last? What do we do when we have killed the enemy of our enemy and they rise stronger for it? Were they really our enemies after all? Do we invade? Have we invaded already? Did we ever stop invading from the last time, or the time before that, or the time before that? Will we be safer when we further destabilise and decimate yet another part of the world? Does anyone really want this? Will we be asked? Can we vote on it? Can we hell.

I could write pages of these questions, yes still, one tabloid can print the word ‘Cowards’ and have millions of people agreeing with them because it’s easier not  to think about these things than it is to confront the complex and unsettling truth.

The only hope I hold is that despite the media’s efforts, the majority of us are just not as stupid as they have come to believe we are. I don’t think they are trying to sway public opinion, I think they create the illusion of it in order to justify whatever the hell they like and make us all feel that we are in the minority, because if the papers are saying it, or the nice man on the BBC, it ‘must be true’. They make it our problem, as an individual, make us worried to say what we think for fear of being branded the outsider to popular opinion. Just look at what they are doing to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. They, apparently, are the dangerous ones, yet the ones with the stick, poking at the wasp’s nest, want to make us safer?

The inevitable comeback to this thinking is ‘what would you do instead’? And if you have read this, and are asking that question, then go back and read this again, and think about that small handful of pertinent questions I listed a few paragraphs ago. Just think damn it, and don’t let them do it for you. And if you do find yourself questioning anything, ask yourself why any sane person wouldn’t want to know the answer before committing to something as horrendous as war without knowing they have exhausted or even considered the alternatives beforehand. Write to your MP, sign a petition, attend a rally, educate an ignorant associate, don’t buy the papers, write a blog, just do something to send the signal: No War.

Blog Update and Rethink

Hello people who read this (I hope).

This is just a very short(ish) message to say that after the last six weeks of ‘Newsjack’ updates (a BBC Radio 4 Extra comedy show that I submit material for), I am now going to spend a little time deciding what is the best way  to continue this blog.

Having a run of six weeks with a set topic made my life a lot easier! I’ve posted over a hundred entries on this site from philosophy to comedy, spanning the last 18 months or so.

Some week’s it is easy, and some weeks I find myself scrabbling around for something to say.

This is one of those weeks, as you might be able to tell.

So, apart from Admin Cat, which I will continue to post every week (as long as I can still find new ideas for him… there have been nearly 60 cartoons already!) I am going to try and decide if there is a direction I want to take this page in that will make it a little more consistent for me to deal with and my audience (are you there?) to understand.

I will still post blogs if something specific occurs to me, but am going to relax the ‘new posts weekly’ (apart from Admin Cat) until I decide what’s the crack…

In the meantime I am currently happily writing my second book, and I hope to find a fun and interesting way to tell you more about that soon.

So thanks for sticking with me so far, and if you have any ideas or suggestions or feedback, please tell me either here, directly, or by email at gazamatazabbott@yahoo.co.uk.

Thanks everyone.

Not Good Enough For The BBC! Newsjack Series 11 – PART 6!

newsjack

So that’s it for another series of Newsjack. I’m happy to report that all in all I got my second ever sketch credit and I think my 10th one liner in this time. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in the last four series (my first attempts and credits came in series 8). Where does the time go? Nowhere. Because it is an abstract concept. (Or is it? I actually don’t know. Ask Brian Cox if you’re so interested).

What now? Well, I am writing my second fiction book, but that’s another matter. As far as comedy goes, especially radio comedy, I am going to start drafting a long festering sit-com idea and work it up into a treatment. I have done this in the past with a previous idea (I wrote a pilot episode) and was told by David Tyler of Pozzitive productions that it was ‘better than most’, but not quite there yet. So I did what any writer should do… nothing. Actually, I got distracted by other projects and never returned to writing a comedy script (apart from Newsjack submissions). But I’m going to have another go with a new concept and see what happens.

I guess it is good advice to work on something in your spare time, no matter if there is an open submission programme waiting for it or not. Being a writer simply means writing something down, so all of us can achieve that – being a successful writer is objective, and really depends on who you are and what you want out of life. Start with step 1 – write something, and go from there.

I think that this series of Newsjack has improved on the last (not that there was anything wrong with the last, but things can always get better). It seems like the new production team and host have settled in and got a good idea of the direction and personality of the show. I have no idea if they will be moving on for the next series, but if they do, I think they have all done themselves proud. It must be a hell of a challenge just to get anything out in such a short time scale, let alone something that more often than not makes you laugh. There have been some very good sketches this series, and it makes me feel a little better (and more determined) when my material is passed over for such clever little laughter nuggets.

I might do one more blog next week on some of my unused sketches, but for now, here are my final, unused, one liner submissions for episode six of Newsjack. Well done to everyone involved, even those who submitted with no luck. Having the confidence and discipline to send that email in is an achievement in itself I reckon.

Thanks for sticking with me throughout this blog. I blog every week, on a variety of subjects, so why not click the subscribe button and see what I get up to between series of Newsjack? Or even better, buy my book advertised in the top right corner of the screen? (Just a thought). Bye!

 

ONELINERS EP 6

BREAKING NEWS:

  1. Tree of the year competition accused of blatant exploitation as finalists appear naked in Autumn photo shoot. (I thought this was my best chance this week! I always order my  one liners in what I think is the best shot… but am usually proved wrong every time they actually use on).
  2. The UK’s chief scientist is surveying sea life after fears that man made emissions are turning the oceans to acid. “Don’t ask me, I’m a space unicorn” says fish. (Acid water? Get it? I did. No one ever uses my drug-reference jokes…)
  3. Google boss Alan Eustace sets new world record by going 25 miles above the Earth to file his tax returns. (okay, so you need to know the story about how he set the new skydive record for this one to work – and make the link between that and  tax havens… Maybe this needed more!)
  4. Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is said to have healing powers, leading to fears that new James Blunt album could be the next Ebola. (Why not? I knew this story would be popular, and I think they did a joke in the end based around the Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics, which was, admittedly, better than this.)
  5. First ever transplant using a dead heart is completed. Patient regrets not going private. (I like the idea of the NHS sticking crap organs in people to get us all to go private… This might have been the seed of a sketch, but I didn’t think of that at the time.)
  6. Afghanistan complains about the mess left behind now the UK has pulled out at the last minute.  (My girlfriend complains that I always put at least one sex based joke in my submissions, but they always seem to come up. Ha. ‘Come up’. Anyway…)

 

TV/RADIO LISTINGS:

  1. Is it a spoon? Is it a fork? Sue Barker investigates this Friday at 8pm in ‘A question of Spork’. (I had it in mind that we could do a series of Question of Sport based jokes. I already tried ‘A question of Spores’ and there was another one used in one of the episodes by a different writer. It was a blind hope.)
  2. Mystery abounds as several victims are found choked to death on blue cheese in the Roquefort files, this Monday at 3pm. (As I said before, I struggle with these a little! The TV listings are a quickly exhausted supply of source material. After six weeks of going through them you realise everything is just repeated every day pretty much).
  3. Every evening at 7.30 on ITV, watch more hilarious home video footage of people accidentally setting fire to themselves in ‘You’ve been flamed’. (You see what I mean?!)

Good Enough / Not Good Enough For The BBC! Newsjack Series 11 – PART 5!

newsjack

Success! I got my second credit this series in episode 5 of Newsjack last week, hence the slight alteration in the title of this week’s blog instalment in this running feature, an introduction to which you can find here: https://garryabbott.com/2014/10/01/not-good-enough-for-the-bbc-newsjack-series-11/

I managed to land a one liner this time, which is nice, seeing as putting them together can take me almost as long as writing the three sketches I also submit each week (that’s two ‘full’ sketches and a 30 second advert, if you are wondering – check out the submission guidelines if that sounds weird to you, it’s a new feature they added this series).

But, as always, to get the two credits this series so far, I have submitted ten sketches, five 30 second adverts, thirty ‘breaking news’ one liners, and fifteen ‘TV listing’ jokes. That’s the full compliment allowed so far, with one episode left to go (which I have also submitted for and not included in the count above for some reason). So it is a lot of work, and not always as fun as you would think writing a load of jokes and sketches should be… For one thing I have sometimes had to resort to reading the Daily Mail website for ideas, which would be okay if it wasn’t for having to bathe my eyeballs in acid afterwards to wash away the residual filth.

Below then is last week’s submissions (one liners) that weren’t included, AND the one that was… with notes and thoughts. See if you can spot the joke that got broadcast. I’ll give you a clue, it’s the one where I’ve clearly stated that it got broadcast.

Good luck to everyone who submits for the final episode this week! I will post my final instalment in this series next week, and then a feature about the series in general and sketches in  the weeks following I think, but don’t hold me to that, because that would be weird and I do this for free.  Cheers!

ONELINERS EP 5

BREAKING NEWS:

  1. A sculpture of a sex toy in Paris has caused angry demonstrators to stage a sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down… protest. (There was a similar joke used in the episode, but not this one. Some news stories are just begging for it.)
  2. A fan dressed up as a cleaner to get close to Miley Cyrus backstage at a concert. All the security guards at the venue ignored him as they thought he was just another person who Twerked there. (Hoorah! Who would have thought it? A Miley Cyrus joke landed me this week’s success. It seems Twerking still has life in it yet, to the shame of the human race.)
  3. Internet trolls are to be banned from Twitter and face longer sentences as apparently 140 characters isn’t enough to tell someone they are fat and ugly. (thought there was a better way to word this but ran out of time to find it. The news headline itself was almost a one liner “Twitter trolls to face longer sentences”, almost said it all anyway. Silly BBC news.)
  4. Chinese state media has warned its citizens moving to England not to take on western names that could see them mocked, such as Dumbledore, Satan or Boris. (Bit of a stretch this one if you didn’t know the original news story. The first two names are genuine examples of names the Chinese media has warned its citizens against using, the third one is (meant to be) my funny addition.)  
  5. Radio 1 has been found to have breached licensing laws when children listening to a Lilly Allen concert broadcast in the early afternoon definitely heard a lot of shit. (Don’t really care for Lilly Allen’s music personally, and thought her antics swearing her way through a Radio 1 road show aimed at younger audiences was a bit sad and worth a jest. How I laughed, to myself, as no one else heard it anyway.)  
  6. Tony Blair says that all schools around the world should teach religious respect, apart from the ones with all them Muslim terrorists in them, which we should definitely bomb. (I think this would have worked better built into a sketch with someone doing a Blair impression. The very thought that the mass murdering war criminal wants to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, is joke enough I suppose.)

 

TV/RADIO LISTINGS:

  1. Every day at 12.45, it’s Fifteen to One.  (I suddenly worried after submitting this joke that it had already been used previously? These things can happen when we are all using the same source material to try and think up jokes. I hope it was used before because I think it’s a really neat little one liner and would have gone down well. If someone knows if this joke has been used before, let me know and put my mind to rest!)
  2. Tonight at nine, Anne Robinson looks at a Labrador in Watchdog. (Certain amount of barrel scraping going on with the TV listing jokes by now…)
  3. This afternoon on BBC2 Nigel Farage and David Cameron debate their plans for the NHS in Flog It! (and again… as I’ve said before, my personal approach is to get something in, even if you aren’t convinced it’s the best thing ever. You never know if the producers/cast will see something in it that you haven’t, and we’re working against the clock without immediate feedback, so there’s not always time to find the very best jokes.)

 

And that’s it! Once again, if you enjoyed this blog, and reading in general, then why not take a look at my ridiculously cheap eBook ‘The Dimension Scales and Other Stories’ that is available now for just 77p ($0.99) through the link at the top right of this page?

Thanks for reading. See you next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Good Enough For The BBC! Newsjack Series 11 – PART 4!

newsjack

 

Here we go again! My weekly digest of the jokes I wrote that didn’t get used on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Newsjack’, the topical comedy, open-door writing policy show! (That’s a mouthful)

If you haven’t seen this before, perhaps reading the intro to part 1 will help: https://garryabbott.com/2014/10/01/not-good-enough-for-the-bbc-newsjack-series-11/

Unfortunately, still no more hits since episode 1, but an opportunity is an opportunity, is an opportunity, is an opportunity? Right? The word ‘opportunity’ doesn’t imply guaranteed, or indeed, any success, just the possibility. So, undeterred, I continue, as you should too if you are reading this and are feeling down heartened by it all.

Here are the failed one liner attempts from last week (Episode 4) with added notes  as per usual, and no sketches, I will do something with them at the end of the season I think.

 

BREAKING NEWS:

  1. Police have said that an attempt to steal a statue of comedy legend Eric Morecambe wasn’t wise.  (I thought this had a chance as it is neat and brief, and, dare I say it, a little clever? They ended up using a joke about it being taken apart piece by piece but not necessarily in the right order… which was a good take on it anyway)
  2. The Salvation Army reports that nearly 500 people are being trafficked a year for labour. “We need all the help we can get” says Ed Miliband. (just pounced on the double meaning of ‘Labour’ there…)
  3. After nude photographs of former Dr Who Matt Smith are leaked online, fans are disappointed to find that he is smaller on the outside. (wasn’t entirely sure that this made any sense! They used a joke about fans being disappointed that his nude photo turned into Peter Capaldi in the end… just goes to show that some of these stories are having lots of variations submitted, so it is hard to be the one that gets the take on it that they go for.)
  4. Nigel Farrage has been invited to join Cameron, Clegg and Miliband for a mass debate. Afterwards they may even talk about politics too.  (okay, okay, this was just childish filth. Sometimes I just think, let’s give it a go, who knows? Well I know now. Now I know. I know now. Do I? Yes. I know. Now. I do.)
  5. Microsoft Boss Satya Nadella has apologised for his choice of words when he said women should have faith in the system and not ask for pay rises, commenting that what he meant to say was that they shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads about it. (like I mentioned last week, another attempt to make a bad comment sound even worse for comedy affect. Maybe it’s just me who thinks this is some kind of device!)
  6. Scientists have discovered that consuming capsules containing frozen faeces could help prevent potentially fatal gut problems, or in layman’s terms, we should all eat shit and live. (I felt there was a better way to word this, but couldn’t find it. Literally the news story is about eating shit. Eating shit. How could I not have a go at it?)

 

TV/RADIO LISTINGS:

  1. Join Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell as they struggle to answer questions about the reproductive cycle of fungi in ‘A Question of Spores’ tonight at nine. (Why not?)
  2. The walking dead are back! In this weekend’s double episode of Dad’s Army. (Trying to tap into the return of ‘The Walking Dead’, but I guess it’s not actually officially out yet in England. Not that I watch it by some other method over the internet or anything.)
  3. A new documentary follows the chancellor George Osborne as he trains to run the 400 meters in ‘Ready, Steady, Cock’ coming soon. (it just feels nice to call George Osbourne a cock. It would be a dream come true if I could do it officially on broadcast media. It would make my year. So it may not be the best joke, but at least I tried. He is a cock, by the way. But I’m sure you know that already.)

 And that’s it! As usual I will leave you with a plea to consider buying my book as advertised in the top right corner of this screen! Only 77p (or $0.99) – it is a ‘quirky’ collection of 14 speculative fiction short stories in the vein of Philip K. Dick / Isaac Asimov and even a bit of the dark and twisted as inspired by Roald Dahl’s AMAZING short stories for adults.

Good luck to everyone who is trying again this week for episode 5, and I guess, see you next week! Thanks for reading.