Sunday, March 30, 2008


New X-Man?

Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 30th March 2008

Some of my more avid readers (thanks Mum) will be aware I’ve been having back problems of late. I’m actually almost healed now so you can imagine my joy and delight when a letter finally popped through the door last week asking me to attend an MRI scan at the hospital. For those of you not familiar with such a thing; MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and it uses a powerful magnetic field to align the magnetization of hydrogen atoms in your body and visualise the structure and function. Or a magic window if you prefer.

The theory being that the medics will be able to locate the source of my back pain and sort me. Unconvinced of my own ‘evil dwarf living in the spine’ theory they are suggesting it’s more likely to be a disc problem? Pah, what do they know? The only way to prove my theory correct was to take the test. Obviously I checked with my Chiropractor first, I wouldn’t want these National Health witch doctors getting their hands on me before I consulted a professional.

After receiving the all clear I made my way to the hospital and arrived, as requested, 15 minutes ahead of my appointment, ‘Good afternoon Sir, how can I help?’, ‘I’m here for my scan’ I replied with some disdain ‘Name?’, ‘Shanks (pause) Ham Shanks (slight raise of eyebrow)’, ‘Very good Mr Shanks have a seat and fill out this form’ Distraught that my 007 gag had fallen so monumentally flat I slunk along to the nearest chair and tried to hide my glowing cheeks behind the piece of paper that had been thrust into my hand.

After regaining some composure I studied the form ‘Do you have any metal implants?’ was the first question, wrinkling my brow I had a quick squeeze of my pectorals. They seemed quite blubbery and unmetallic ‘that’ll be a no then’, ‘Q2. Have you a pacemaker?’ I always run alone so that was definitely another no. Six ‘No’s’ later I handed back the form and within five minutes a nurse was calling me in. I had to concede the process was very slick.

Right Mr Shanks if you’d like to get changed into this gown please’ she ushered me into a cubicle and handed over what seemed to be a thin piece of rice paper ‘eer’, ‘don’t worry about the ties’, ‘right right’ I unfolded the garment and it consisted of a paper ‘pinny’ with some extra ties around the back and sides. The ties I had been informed to forget?

Donning the item of clothing I couldn’t help but feel quite vulnerable. If I’d actually been standing totally in the nip I think I’d have felt more secure. There was a quick tap on the door ‘ready Mr Shanks?’, ‘Aye am ready’ I mumbled whilst opening the door. Shrieks and screams I have come to recognise as a bad sign and I returned to the room as quickly as I’d emerged. A few shocked seconds later there was another tap on the door ‘two things Mr Shanks, first your gown is on back to front and secondly you are supposed to keep your underwear on!

A few minutes later I emerged looking very sheepish ‘m’sorry bout that’ I mumbled as they prodded me with long sticks and corralled me into the MRI room. The rest of the instructions were now via a loudspeaker on the wall ‘Please lie flat on the bed and put on the earphones Mr Shanks’ doing as I was told I lay down on the gurney and placed the DJ style earphones on my head. A muffled voice continued ‘The bed will automatically move into the MRI chamber. This was the bit I really wasn’t looking forward to as I am somewhat claustrophobic.

After some brief shuddering there was an oily squelching sound as the ‘bed’ started to slide inside the MRI chamber; a large white archway containing unknown blackness and all the evils of the world as far as I was concerned. ‘Be brave Ham’ I whispered as the great white beast swallowed me whole; my eyes now firmly shut.

A crackly voice came through on the earphones ‘Ok Mr Shanks the first scan will take approximately 10 minutes, please remain perfectly still’ like I was going to move a fecking muscle! ‘you wont feel a thing’ continued the disembodied voice ‘but it will be rather noisy’ All good salient information you’ll agree. And definitely facts I would like to have been privy to prior to crawling down the gullet of this electronic monster.

True to her word it was noisy; it sounded like a 1970’s twin tub washing machine perpetually trying to get up enough steam to actually spin. That was ok; it was the accompanying sensations that were unsettling. When she said ‘you won’t feel a thing’ she must have been referring to pain. It wasn’t sore but it did make all the hairs on the back of my neck raise up. I say back of the neck merely for illustrative purposes. The beast was scanning my lower body so it was actually the hairs on my sack that were standing on end. A unique and novel experience hopefully not to be repeated.

Unfortunately this procedure was repeated three more times and I was getting the distinct impression there could be lasting damage to my joy division. I was about to press the supplied panic button when the crackly voice returned ‘Alright Mr Shanks that’s you finished’ more oily squelches and a feeling of openness made me open my eyes again. Sweet sweet freedom. The voice crackled once more ‘please remove the earphones and make your way back to the changing area

Sighing with relief I removed the earphones and stood up ‘what the fu-‘ my paper gown appeared to be levitating around my nether regions. A quick glance underneath revealed a perfect ‘Afro’ hairstyle around my plums ‘aaaaw no, ye’ve got to be kidding!’ Hunching over I waddled back towards the changing rooms. ‘This cannay be happening’ I wailed. But my troubles were only just starting.

As soon as I stepped out the door there was a whooshing sound and a metal bedpan came flying through the air and smacked into my groin ‘Ooommpff’ my eyes crossed painfully and I slumped on to the floor ‘Ooh fckinhell’ I tugged at the container but it just would not budge. A scratching noise caught my attention and I raised my head just in time to see the receptionist scrabbling in vain at her desk as an invisible power drew her metal chair towards me, both our eyes were out on stalks as she finally lost her flimsy grip ‘mummy’ I whimpered

The last thing I remember as the receptionist and her metal steed thumped into my ethnically styled groin were shouts of ‘Sweet jeeeeesus we’ve got a live one’ and lots of red flashing lights

Magneto meets Shaft – You decide on the film title ……

Monday, March 24, 2008



Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 23rd March 2008

Easter; a time to reflect on the true meaning of life. After all this is the time that Jesus returned from the dead. Stumbling out from the cave shouting ‘oh very funny boys, first ye nail me to a cross, then ye trap me in a pothole’, ‘Yer a shower of b*stards that’s what ye are’, ‘Am off home to see my Dad, he’ll sort ye oot ye f*ckers!’

So an important date for the Christian faith but also an important time for hefty discounts at most DIY stores. Apparently it’s the busiest DIY weekend of the year. It would have been churlish to buck the trend…..

However I was going to be flying solo this weekend having burnt all my bridges with my elder brother. He was at a concert in Germany anyway, apparently Leo is still big in Deutschland ‘Ya ya Leo vee feel like dancing jawohl’ you can just imagine the scenes of straining lederhosen and tapping jackboots. Plus whatever the Germans were wearing of course.

I wasn’t concerned at his absence though, it was only a bit of sanding, how hard can that be? Well pretty hard without a sander so first thing to do was go shopping and save my 15% (we’ll gloss over the fact I’m spending 85%) It turns out there are a plethora of wood devouring machines to choose from. You can get orbital sanders, belt sanders, palm sanders, detail sanders, ½ sheet, 1/3 sheet and full sheet sanders.

It was at this point I was regretting alienating my bruv. Say what you like about his music tastes but he knows his DIY. I was so far out of my depth the bubbles hadn’t even reached the surface yet. ‘Okay Ham just take your time and read the boxes’ this didn’t help much as each one claimed to be all things to all men ‘suitable for small and large areas?’ I picked up another ‘the T742 orbital sander can tackle all situations’ another ‘Palm Sander for every DIY task’. Taking a deep breath I closed my eyes and resorted to fate ‘eeny meeny miney mo’

Returning home with my 8 megawatt twin turbo Belt sander I set about unpacking the crate and laying out the various components. The instruction manual came in four volumes. Two hours later I was on the last section ‘Okay so the sanding tracks attach to the rear drive sprocket and are fed over the forward return rollers?’ heaving a sanding belt over my shoulder I shimmied underneath the rear of the sander. Manual dexterity and I are not good friends. Only patience is a more distant relative. But without my bruv I was on my own ‘ggnnffmmm’, ‘gnnnfffAAAH!’, ‘Ha Ha!’

Clambering out from underneath the behemoth I raised my hands aloft ‘she lives!’, ‘mhuahahaha’, ‘MHUHAHAHAHA’ this insane cackling did little to impress my neighbour who was walking past the front window as I pranced round the living room with my shirt pulled over my head. But I’ve zero kudos with either set of neighbours after last years barbeque ‘incident’ ….

A quick check of the fluid levels and she was ready to go. I had to admit a diesel powered sander had seemed odd, but at least this way there would be no cable to restrict movement. Having a seat was also going to make life far more comfortable. Mounting the beast I made a quick lifesaver glance over each shoulder and bellowed ‘CLEAR!’ before punching the large red starter with my index finger.

The plan had been to skim a couple of millimetres off the top of all the floorboards to remove old paint and any surface imperfections, followed by a second sanding with a much finer paper to give a lovely smooth surface ready for varnishing.

Four seconds in and the plan was a bogey. I’d already sliced through the floorboards as if they weren’t there and was now burrowing through the bottom of the cellar ‘Ooooaaargggh f’cin hell’ hanging on for grim life my tracked mole dug ever deeper as I yanked at the stop lever in vain. It would seem the molten core of the Earth was my next destination. It would have been nice to see a mannequin in a window changing styles with the ages as I descended even deeper but instead I had to settle for eating an awful lot of mud.

As quickly as it had started there was a large bang and I shuddered to a stop. There was a feeling of openness that was at odds with my current predicament. Opening my eyes did not improve the situation any ‘Hello’, ‘gmmmfnn’, ‘Yes people tend not to be very chatty at first’, my eyes were popping out on stalks and my mouth hung slackly open ‘mmmbbmm’, ‘Welcome to Hell’ smiled Beelzebub as he helped me dismount.

‘But but but’, ‘Oh you don’t believe in God do you?’, ‘well no’, ‘ah well then you’re in the right place, thought we had another admin error there’ he smiled, nudging me in the ribs ‘but I don’t believe in you either!’, ‘Cant help you there I’m afraid; I do exist’, ‘so I’m dead then?’, ‘Fraid so; bummer eh’, ‘hold on a minute how did I die?’ Lucifer sighed and looked down at his clipboard ‘name?’, ‘Shanks, Ham Shanks’ he flicked over a few pages, his forehead wrinkling with puzzlement. He went to consult his desk calendar ‘that’s strange, you’re not due for another 40 years?’, ‘Woo Hoo!’

Ah now don’t get too excited, there’s not really an exit here’, ‘what!’, ‘well we don’t usually send people back’ he grinned ‘lets just say you got time on for bad behaviour’ My bottom lip was well and truly quivering, tears welled up in my eyes ‘So what horrors do you have in store for me’ I bubbled ‘what fiendish terrors am I to be subjected to for the rest of time you hideous ba*stard!’ ‘now now there’s no need to be rude’, ‘it’s not my fault your godless is it?’, ‘you had ample opportunity to pick one, God knows there’s hundreds of the feckers’, ‘b.b.bu.b.b. uhuuu huuu huuuu’, ‘think about me, I’m all on my own here and the place is filling up!’, ‘uhuuu huuu HUUUUU’

Anyway here’s your room, if you need anything at all don’t hesitate to call’ I perked up at this and sensing my hope he continued ‘nobody will answer obviously, but do try anyway, we like to laugh’ with a cheery smile he nudged me through an open door….

Eyes firmly closed and hands over my face I braced myself for the worst. The sound of a microphone being tapped broke the silence and I peered through my fingers. A forest of curly hair filled the room ‘Oh no, no no no’, ‘folks were here for eternity with one track only’, ‘ok guys let’s take it from the top .. 1..2..3.4 You make me feel like dancing, dancing the night away, oooh aaahh, baby baby dance the night away’, ‘uhuuu huuu huuu huuuuuuu’

And that’s what you think has happened when you apply three coats of varnish in a room that’s not properly ventilated …..

Sunday, March 16, 2008



Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 16th March 2008

I’ve been doing a spot of D.I.Y this week, ‘that’s not like you Ham’ I hear you mumble, and you’re right. I certainly know my limits. When it comes to any task which requires patience, diligence and manual dexterity; I have none of these attributes and as such I tend to save up my pennies and get ‘a man in’. Unfortunately I’ve had a couple of bad experiences in the past. For example the man who replaced my broken chimney after some storm damage managed to put the wrong type on for a chimney with a gas fire. Were it not for the carbon monoxide alarm in my living room I would now be pushing up the daisies.

Two valuable lessons came out of that experience; a) if you have gas appliances in your house then please make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is completely odourless and undetectable and will kill you stone dead. You’ll drift off into a nice never ending sleep from which even the bravest Prince Charming won’t be able to resuscitate you. And b) don’t get dodgy Irish geezers with less teeth that brain cells to do any domestic repairs on your house.

Apologies to any Irish readers, I don’t want to stereotype a nation but this man was one of your countrymen. I blame myself really, when the tweed cap appears to be more coherent than the owner underneath then you really should be asking yourself if he’s the right man for the job. Either ask the cap to fix your chimney or fish out the yellow pages and get someone in possession of a cerebrum to do the work. In hindsight the insistence on payment in cash and the speed at which he disappeared over the horizon after the ‘work’ had been done should have rung some alarm bells.

However you live and learn. As a result I thought I might attempt to do some domestic improvements myself. Nothing too ambitious, I thought I would start by lifting the carpet in the living room and refurbishing the wooden floor underneath. After all I am fortunate enough to live in a house old enough to actually have floorboards and I think they add character to a room. The fact that the cream carpet which had been in the house since I moved in now looked like a skinned Dalmatian with mange and you could grow tatties on it probably encouraged me to get cracking.

Now as an aside here, hands up how many of you think off-white is a sensible colour for a carpet in the main living area? The only route between the front door and the back door. The first thing you step on when you enter from the great outdoors. Hmmm? Anyone? Anyone at all? …. No exactly!

I didn’t really think about it when I was viewing the house as the bulk of the floor was covered with a nice rug. But by the end of the first week I was cursing the previous owners like there was no tomorrow. I was inventing swearwords as I scrubbed forlornly at yet another embedded stain. They must have covered the thing with a sheet of polythene between viewings; the b@stards! But that’s all water under the bridge now and as long as I keep more than 500 metres from them at all times I don’t have to go back to see the nice Doctor with the white huggy jacket for me.

So the first task was obviously to lift the hated carpet. As the vile object was going into the bin anyway I needn’t worry about getting it up in one piece. It also meant I didn’t have to remove the furniture from the room. I could just cut around the fixtures then move it all about to pick up the remaining pieces of carpet. Like one of these puzzles where you shuffle shapes about till you get the ‘space’ in the right place!

I was quite looking forward to this job, armed as I was, with a sharp Stanley knife and a stout pair of textile scissors. However I’ve never forgotten what my primary school teacher Mrs Donnelly told me all those years ago; a) don’t run with scissors and b) always get a grown up to help you. As a result I was perfectly stationary and had recruited the help of my elder brother for this task. A seasoned veteran of home refurbishment; just the man for the job.

Apparently the first thing we had to do was have a planning meeting? My brother brought the room to order with a rap of his tape measure on the mantelpiece ‘Right Ham if you can take the minutes’, ‘the what?’, ‘the minutes’, looking at my watch I whispered ‘you cant take minutes Neilly’, ‘they are an abstraction, a temporal measurement at best, you cant actually takoooowww!’, ‘just write down what I’m saying!’ he barked, whilst rubbing some life back into the palm of his hand.

‘Why?’ I replied sullenly, gingerly feeling my reddening cheek ‘so we have a record of these events’, ‘why?’, ‘so that we are not in any doubt as to what was decided and what happened’, ‘Well that’s easy; nothing seems to be happening just nowwwwww!’ I was in a real quandary. Clearly I was still holding the scissors and therefore beholding to the promise I made back in 1974. On the other hand I felt a growing compunction to kick my brother in the happy sack. But a promise is a promise so I remained still.

Talking to a space just above my left ear he continued ‘Neil Dicks sends his apologies for not being able to attend this afternoons carpet lifting’, ‘I thought you said he was p*shed last night?’, ‘just write it down’ he hissed, pointing a finger at the notepad ‘right right’ I mumbled whilst scribbling furiously, ‘Dicksy cannay make it cos he’s hung-over; got it’, ‘No no NO! write down exactly what I say’, ‘including that?’, ‘what?’, ‘the bit you just said about writing down exactly whaoooowww!

Half an hour later and things were not going well. We’d barely read through the agenda and I was reeling under the blows. The scissors still clutched tightly in my hand, my arm raised aloft as if holding an Olympic torch ‘musnt drop scissooooww!

I couldn’t help but sense some latent aggression from my brother. Normally he’s quite laid back but something had clearly got under his skin, it wasn’t just my inability to document a meeting ‘I’ve changed my mind about the floorooomppff!’, ‘s’ok, really Neilly, I like the carpegnnfmmpff!’ dropping on to my knees. He loomed over my prone body ‘Oh aye and the last person that can’t make it’ SLAP! ‘is Leo’ SLAP! ‘fecking’ SLAP! ‘SayerSLAAAAAP!!

So outing your brother in a previous diary as a closet Leo Sayer fan would appear to be a dangerous strategy. Don’t fight it Neilly, the first step in your rehabilitation is to admit that you’ve got a problem. Well clearly that’s the second step. The first would appear to be ‘beat seven colours of keech out of your younger brother’ But I think we both know who the real loser is there ……. Ah …. It’s me isn’t it?


Sunday, March 09, 2008


Murray Mint?

Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 9th March 2008

One thing I forgot to mention last week when I was rambling on about March was the Scottish Motorcycle show. This annual gathering of the motorcycle ‘Clans’ takes place at The Royal Highland centre on the outskirts of Edinburgh. It’s the big manufacturers opportunity to showcase all their new bikes for 2008 and for hundreds of dodgy dealers to flog all their end of range 2007 leathers, helmets etc It’s a veritable gold mine of motorcycling paraphernalia and definitely not to be missed.

My elder brother was also keen to attend the show and as he was driving down from the frozen tundra of Aberdeenshire he said he’d swing in by Stirling to pick me up on his way to Edinburgh. What a generous soul I thought ….

Six am on Saturday morning and I was woken by a dreadful racket outside, it sounded like huge metal fingers were being slowly drawn down an enormous blackboard, with the occasional noisy explosion thrown in for good measure ‘Mssfggn What the fu..’ struggling out of my bed I peered blearily out the bedroom window ‘Aaaaw no no no NO!’ My brother was pulling up outside in the ‘crippleomatic’

I thought I’d seen the last of that piece of keech. The most uncomfortable driving position of any car I’ve ever owned. No matter how flexible and fit you are; after ten minutes sitting in this instrument of torture you come out looking like a misshapen medieval bell ringer. Your spine permanently deformed and your chin tucked into your chest ‘We’ve got lumpsh of it out de back! He he he’ dribble

‘Fecking marvellous’ stumbling down the stairs I let the beaming idiot into the house ‘What time do you call this?’, ‘aye sorry am so late’, ‘late, LATE! The fecking skylarks are still in bed’, ‘what? This is the middle of the day man’, ‘maybe in Peking or Timbuck fecking two, but I’m on Greenwich meantime ye fud!’ pointing him in the direction of the kettle and the toaster I went upstairs for a shower ‘six a-fecking-m, Jeeesus’ In his defence I had suggested we get there ‘early’ and I did forget that he gets up at quarter to fecking five every day to go to work. No he’s not a milkman or a baker, but perhaps he should be. I shall pick my words more carefully in future.

It’s also tradition to have bad weather for the bike show and this year was no exception. We headed out to the crippleomatic and I glanced upwards at the heavy rain laden black storm clouds. The wind was definitely picking up. A couple of pensioners blew down the road, their wooden sticks rattling out a xylophone S.O.S on the metal fence railings as they birrled past in a blur of Harris tweed ‘Jings it’s breezy kind’ I remarked ‘aye it’s definitely getting blowy’ replied my bruv as we walked past a pair of curly toed shoes protruding from under a wooden shed.

We were scarcely a mile out of Stirling when the heavens opened. The rain was drumming down so hard on the roof of the car we could barely hear the agonised screeching of the front wheel bearing. Any chances of conversation were gone ‘Fuuuu cking hell it’s wet’ I roared ‘what?’, ‘I said IT’S REALLY WET!!’, ‘about ten past seven I think’ came the bellowed reply. Shaking my head I inserted my foam earplugs and concentrated on resisting the constant spinal readjustments which were rendering the lower half of my body numb.

It took less than half an hour to sail through to the outskirts of Edinburgh. The rain had eased to merely torrential as we approached junction 1 on the M9. This is the slip road which takes you towards the showground. It was a slip road in more than one sense. ‘Schui’ approached the exit at his normal speed i.e. the cars terminal velocity.

Brake pedals on any vehicle my brother drives are normally pristine due to lack of use. He is however a capable driver and I wasn’t unduly concerned as we started to slide. Anxiety levels increased as the rear end of the car started to slither round to meet the front ‘eh shouldn’t that bit be behind us?’ I muttered as the back seat hoved into view ‘dinna fash ye big lassy’ A quick shimmy of the steering wheel and we were back on the straight and narrow. Albeit with a quick requirement to lower the front window and vent the stench of my very recent fear.

It wasn’t long before we were at the venue and parked up. I looked at my watch, half past seven, and the doors didn’t open till nine; marvellous. The rain was still thundering down as the car gradually steamed up ‘Murray mint?’ enquired my brother ‘I’ll gie ye fecking Murray mints’ I muttered angrily ‘I’ve already got some thanks’ If looks could kill he would have been vaporised there and then. The steady hammering of rain was beginning to get on my nerves.

I couldn’t help but notice he also appeared to be sitting quite comfortably while the muscles in my lower back had long since given up spasming in protest at the crippling posture. They were now lumps of granite. ‘Have you changed your seat?’, ‘oh aye the last one was murder’ I looked at him in disbelief ‘and you didn’t change mine!’, ‘yours not comfy then?’ I would have exploded in rage had the latest spinal seizure not rendered me literally speechless at that very moment. All sensation down the left side of my body was suddenly gone and I was dribbling like a stroke victim.

My brother sucked nosily on his Murray mint whilst tapping idly on the steering wheel ‘what about some music?’, ‘Think I’ve got a Leo Sayer album somewhere’, unable to talk I tried to blink a Morse code message along the lines of ‘get tae fuuuuck’ but he was already rummaging in the side pocket of the drivers door.

Nearly choking on my own drool I managed, with extreme effort, to get my right hand onto the door handle and pop the release. Falling gratefully out into a large puddle I sighed in relief. Even with the heavy rain drenching me to the bone and a brown torrent of excess rain water rushing up my trouser leg I was smiling broadly, glad to be free of that iron maiden seat and the high pitched warbling of Mr Sayer.

As sensation quickly, but painfully, returned to my upper limbs I appraised the situation ‘Ok Ham let’s see if you can crawl under that van over there’, strains of ‘You make me feel like dancing’ emanating from within the car spurred me on ‘One step at a time Ham’, ‘If Joe Simpson can climb down a fecking mountain with a broken leg, I can do this’ digging my teeth into the tarmac I pulled my limp body slowly towards the van

A voice behind me shouted with glee ‘Oh yes Thunder in my heart is on next!’; time to pick up the pace ….

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Magic Mushroom anyone?

Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 2nd March 2008

March already. Where has the year gone? This time last week it was February for goodness sake. Although I have to say I am enjoying the longer days and the glimpses of daylight before and after work. Nothing more depressing than getting up in the dark, going to work all day, and its dark when ye get home at night again.

Mind you if you actually think about it there are hundreds of things that are more depressing. The work bit in between springs instantly to mind. As does say opening your credit card statement to find out that the magic pixies haven’t miraculously paid off that whopping big bill you racked up over the festivities. Although relying on mythical creatures famed for stealing money is probably a foolhardy form of insurance when it comes to debt repayment.

But I digress. March is here; cue hares going mad. It’s thought that the male Hare goes a bit mental because the breeding season starts in March. All those frustrated amorous leporids jumping about because they think they are finally going to get their end away after long winter months nibbling tree bark. You cant blame them, not a lot else to think about when you’re a hare ‘Ok I’ve got some lovely tree bark for dinner so that’s nutrition taken care of’, ‘No sign of any predators trying to eviscerate me so I’m safe’, ‘OK! When I’m going to get laid?’ ……..

Do you think the lady hares are quite as excited turning over the calendar to reveal the third month of the year. Initial elation uncovering Chip & Dale as ‘Squirrels of the Month’ is quickly dispelled ‘Ooooh I could do that Dale’, ‘Och b*gger Mavis; it’s March already’, ‘Aw yer joking Agnes, that’s us knackered then’, ‘aye won’t be able to get the shopping done’, ‘we wont be able to get the kids to school’, ‘wont be able to do anything for those bloody men’, ‘thoughtless pricks!’, ‘In every way Mavis, in every way’ ….

You see people used to think that when they saw two Hares ‘boxing’ out in a field that this was basically two males sparring over the right to service the ladies. When in actual fact it turns out these sparring matches are often between male and female hares. The latest studies suggesting that ‘it is usually a female hitting a male, either to show that she is not yet quite ready to mate or as a test of his determination’

‘Want a bit?’, ‘Do ye? Do ye?’, ‘Getoutoffit ye filthybaaastart’, ‘Cmon am gagging for it’, ‘aye well yer no getting it’, ‘Aaw go on, I’ve got some lovely bark here’, ‘can a girl no walk across a field withoot being pestered!’, ‘it’s really nice bark?’, ‘I don’t want yer fecking bark’, ‘what about a sh*g thenooompppfffff!’ pan right to amateur naturalist talking to his friend ‘that’s the males fighting for supremacy’, ‘really? That ones just kicked the other one in the nuts?’

I guess that’s why Hartley the Hare had to resort to a career in TV. He always struck me as a little bit effeminate, can’t imagine he got much action. One slap from a lady hare and he’d have been picking his teeth out of the grass. In fact there were some unsubstantiated rumours that he was having an affair with Topov and that’s why the whole Pipkins series was axed in the early 80’s. (for those of you under 35 you’ve probably not a clue what I’m talking about. For those over that age – you should be able to handle the truth now)

Having destroyed the last vestiges of innocence of a good portion of my readers lets quickly change the subject and see what else March is famous for; The Ides of March springs to mind?

That did happen a very long time ago so not much chance of offending anybody that saw it first time round. Mind you if Caesar had been warned by some ‘Seer’ to beware of great peril on the 15th March I think he’d have had him tossed in the clink and hung up by his goolies until he spilt the beans ‘so exactly what should I be aware of pal?’, ‘hmm?’ a quick tug on the rope to grab his attention ‘ooohyaaahfckr’, ‘not much of a seer are ye pal’ yank ‘didnay see this coming did ye’

It’s a little known fact but it was actually at that point he was killed. History may say it was ‘in the senate’, ‘by a bunch of lads in togas’, ‘with the dagger’ (hold on that’s Cluedo isn’t it?) Anyway I think you will find that if you open the wee black envelope it was ‘crushed to death’ by a falling, ‘knackerless seer’, ‘in the dungeons’. An all to tragic outcome from a catastrophic scr*tum failure. I mean it’s not designed to hold all your weight is it? Practically guaranteed to happen.

I think all the senators probably stumbled on Caesars still warm corpse and thought ‘Jeeeesus the media is going to have a field day with this’, ‘quick let’s get him upstairs and stab him’, ‘we cant do that we’ll be done for murder!’, ‘no no no we’ll just call it tyrannicide and say it was for every ones own good’, ‘that’ll never wash’, ‘oh yeah and they’ll believe this’, ‘c’mon go go GO!’ And the rest is history; or lies if you like.

Everybody believes the rubbish Willy Shakespeare wrote about it. Let’s get real people; that’s the fecking screenplay. That’s not what actually happened. Caesar didn’t mutter ‘Et tu Brute?’ as he collapsed under a flurry of dagger blows. He whispered ‘oh b*gger’ before being crushed under fifteen stones of disgruntled seer.

Mind you I think Willy had a thing for daggers. Were there not a few dagger lines in Macbeth as well? ‘Is this a dagger I see before me?’ springs to mind. Bloody daggers floating in the air definitely suggests a magic mushroom omelette for breakfast to me.

His publicist must have been driven spare ‘what’s with the daggers Will?’, ‘whaddya mean?’, ‘every fecking book has daggers in it’, ‘not every book’, ‘Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet?’, ‘Aaah now that last one was poison’, ‘Juliet stabs herself in the last scene!’, ‘only a little bit’, ‘she dies!’, ‘well it is a tragedy’, ‘Yes I’ve been meaning to mention that, can you try and do something different?’, ‘what do you mean different?’, ‘have you thought about poetry’, ‘fuuuuckoff that’s for Nancys’

Ok a comedy perhaps?’, ‘not my bag’, ‘I think you could make it work’, ‘I like tragedies’, ‘yes but the markets not really there just now’, ‘Othello was a bleeding classic’, ‘Yes I-‘, ‘Seventeen scenes in five acts; slick that’s what it was’, ‘The press didn’t agre-‘, ‘the press! B@stards to a man’, ‘look take a couple of weeks holiday and think about it’, ‘I’d love to but you still haven’t paid me for the last gig’, ‘ok you can use my holiday home’, ‘where is it?’, ‘Italy; just outside Venice’ ……..

Hey it could have happened like that! You don’t know it didn’t.


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