We had our first carol singer last night. A little lad, about 15, I guess. He nervously quavered his way through a couple of standards (not ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, thank Bob, although it wouldn’t surprise me if the street urchin population are trying it, claiming all proceeds are going to Live Aid, as opposed to the local Co-Ops cheap lager department), I gave him a couple of quid, full marks for nerve, all v. festive, cheers and lovely.

Half-an-hour later, he tries again. And it takes a full ten seconds of quzzical eyebrow raising from TLC before he realises and ‘Silent Night’ wavers to a halt. Christmas clearly does funny things to the head…

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I turned 38 at the weekend. Much drink and food intake, a visit to the local flea pit (for The Incredibles, of course. How good is this film? TLC, who don’t got a geeky bone in her body, dug it almost as much as me. THAT’S how good.) Gifties? Money mostly, and a bottle of Glenlivet. Yummy. Oh, and one of these.

However, I’ve done something odd to my back now, and am hobbling around like an old man, feeling the weight of the world on my scrawny shoulders. Fate playing payback? Who said age ain’t nothing but a number?

Call it an early onset of mid-life crisis, but I’ve made the decision that my birthday/Crimbo present this year will be a proper, honest to goodness electric guitar. Probly one of these bad boys. I’m bored with my acoustic, it’s just stopped being fun to play.

Anyway, as part of the research procedure, I’ve started buying guitar mags again, which took me back to when I was young and stupid and used to buy them on a regualr basis, to drool over custom axes that I could never (and still can’t) afford. Imagine my amusement to see that some of the shredders who used to clog up the tutorial sections of these magazines are still there, teaching kids who should know better about two-hand tapping and sweep arpeggios. Imagine my surprise to read about this cowboy from hell and his untimely demise.

Metal just got itself a martyr. Rest easy, Dimebag.

A little Christmas weirdness…



Just settling down to dinner with my beloved, The Lovely Clare (hitherto known as TLC cos that’s what I get from her, oh bless, you may vomit now if you wish) when we hear Christmas music outside, blaring out at boy racer volume. We poke our heads out, to see an honest to goodness Santa sleigh on a carnival float, lit up like (ahem) a Christmas tree, chugging slowly down the road. Santa’s there, waving away, although there’s no-one really around to see him, much less lunge at his lap demanding a Robosapien.

That’s not the wierd bit though. We never see the float coming back up the road. And we don’t just live in a cul-de-sac. The end of our road is a literal dead end. Reading Cemetary sits at the bottom of it.

So, where did Santa go? And who was he delivering presents to?

I spend enough time reading these things. Time to contribute.



Hello. My name is Rob. I’m getting on for 38, and I live in Reading. I work for a film lab in the middle of London’s thrilling Soho district area. I write (there’s a link to my short fiction over on the left there), I draw occasionally. I make films. I even have an entry in the IMDB. I’m a music, movie and TV bore. You don’t want to get me started on comix. (note the anal attention to spelling there. I’m obsessed. It’s pitiful.)