The Vorrh by Brian Catling


The Vorrh by Brian Catling

By Jove, this is a classy piece of writing. Part fantasy, part science fiction, and all mental, it’s one of those books written with a flourish that makes you glad to be literate.

The Vorrh is about a forest, and yet not about a forest. It’s about the way the forest affects people, and what happens to them once they’ve been in the Vorrh. It’s also about Eadweard Muybridge, the bloke who invented the Zoopraxiscope, and about a living cycloptic marionette with a taste for rumpy-pumpy, and a race of anthropophagi with no heads and one eye in the middle of their chests. There’s a train in it as well. Plus, some rather boisterous characters flipping between filial devotion and obsessive mania. Quite frankly, it’s ruddy marvellous, and coming straight after The Gone Away World it’s rather cheered me up as far as my literary meanderings are concerned.

After the double-barrelled shite of All Out War about Brexit written entirely from a Tory arse-lickers perspective (it’s meant to be factual, but it’s more a love letter to the right-wing) and the hideousness that was A Little Life, I was getting a tad jaded that anything new and interesting could gird my oyster. There’s been a couple of decent books, sure, but most of them have been mere fripperies with half thought out ideas and not enough bollocks or literary interest to keep me nailed to the page. I had to resort to digging up wistful nostalgia like The Island to give me the book-edged boost to my scholarly wanderings, but then the double knacker-punch of these two works of imagination have put me right on track again.

Anyway, enough of this poncy meanderings. The Vorrh’s got the lot – fleshed out characters, believably nutty scenes, philosophical musings which don’t come out of a Christmas cracker – as well as a turn of phrase groovy enough to make Alan Moore shit his caks, so it’s good job the Bearded One likes the book as he slaps a quote on the cover. No matter how intertwined the narrative gets, you always feel like you’re slap-bang in the middle of the atmosphere, and genuinely surprises on occasions. The plot, despite being mad, somehow seems to make perfect sense within the context of the story. There’s nothing shoe-horned in here as in The Trees, with the beardy-weirdy moments a mere add-on to a pretty mundane plot – everything which happens ends up happening for a reason, and all the more psychedelic elements all coalesce to make a big, meaty whole. A fantastic piece of work.

Another one of those books I can’t recommend enough.

One more point – no matter how strange the story gets, it always seems to… make sense, somehow. It all seems normal, and yet, if you read it, there’s no possible way any of it could seem logical or right. Genius.


The Corner – Labour Doesn’t Exist Shock

Last day of the Labour conference on the 28th and I was gearing myself up for an amusing bit of shaky fisted ranting from the tabloids about Corbs being past his prime and full of wee, or how the left are ruddy useless when compared to the trouser striding might of the Tories, or how May really isn’t a massive loser and Jezza’s a big twat, but instead we get this:


All the right wing papes are pushing this story in an effort to ignore the fact that Labour exist, or that they may have something to say, or that they might even be popular. This could have something to do with the latest YouGov polls showing the Labs on 43% whilst Robot May Sent From the Future to Kill John Conner and her mutant brood are on 39%. Mind you, the polls are full of shite, as we know, but it does give something for Corbs to waggle his tackle at the next time the right-wing try and put him down as a no hoper.

Introduction to Film by Alex Cox

Alex Cox

Introduction to Film by Alex Cox

Anyone who remembers ‘Moviedrome’ on Beeb Two back in the yesteryear when they used to screen good films on BBC 2 will remember the mellifluous tones of Alex Cox’s introductions. Well, this is the book version. Taken from a course he ran, Cox takes you through a whole bunch of classics and not-so-well-known films in what is, at first, a very basic introduction into the world of film.

It starts out as a look at the mechanics of film making, and then morphs into a history of world cinema. And it’s bloody fantastic. It’s one of those books, for an avid movie-goer like myself (as I like to think) which introduces me to directors and films I’d never heard of.

Cox has always had a fascination with Latin American films, and his introduction is one of those works, for a film fan, which really made me want to search out the subjects under observation. Yes, he covers the usual suspects, like 2001 and Citizen Kane, but he also delves deep into the works of Jorg Fons and Luis Estrada, who I’ve never even ruddy heard of!

What Cox does is what so many books about film fail to do – open the world of cinema up. He’s eternally optimistic about low-budget and little-known films, and endlessly sarcastic about the big budget fodder which litter the Cineplexes. If you’re into film, and you really want to discover something different, then you can’t go wrong with this bugger.

Best thing about it – the book is littered with cues to seek out scenes or even entire films which Cox is talking about to illustrate his points. From a technical perspective, if you know your cinema, then this will add nothing to your understanding, but if you’re into discovering something new in areas of cinema from other countries, then this should be right up your alley.

I want a sequel. I want a sequel which talks about African cinema and works from the Middle East, and experimental cinema outside of Greenaway. I want a sequel which travels a more in-depth and global look at movie history, with plenty of examples to go with it. Cox is a fan, and I want more of what he’s got to give.

The Corner – British Tabloids At Their Best

Amazing! It’s like the tabloids have been reading The Corner and decided to do some comedy japester headlines which mock their own ridiculousness. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Exhibit A:


Yep, the Mule have gone crazy ape bonkers with their chainsaw and sex and come up with a headline so biased against Labour it should have its own right-wing talk show. As with yesterday, The Mule push the anti-Semitism angle which, again, is a bit ironic coming from the paper which thought Hitler was a great bloke at first. To be honest, they probably thought he was a great bloke DURING the war, and I imagine they’ve got an eternal flame burning for the bastard in a shrine somewhere.

The real topper is the photo, with a close up of Corbyn’s fizzog, looking as though it’s on the verge of eating the headline. He’s like ruddy Godzilla, is Corbs!

Next, we have The Arsepress:


For a start, when you’ve lost your marbles enough that you start printing quotes from Ian Duncan Smith as your headline then you know you’ve travelled to the land of fairies and elves and sugarplum bigots dancing in your head. Smith, with his usual lack of not-being-a-twat, has urged the PM to walk out of EU talks, because Ian Duncan Smith is a knobend and has about as much common sense as a vaguely sentient bucket of shit. In fact, in a debate between the two, my money’s on the bucket of shit coming up with a more sensible approach to the EU.

Finally, we have The Torygraph:


Just… what? I don’t know about you, but the headline suggests to me, through the prism of the bonkers nutty right-wing perspective, that Labour is so tax-happy they’re going after C3P0 and his ilk.

Hopefully, tomorrow will bring even more ludicrously mental headlines to give us all some chucklesome titters and weeping.

That’s It, I Give Up


Your World Leaders, Yesterday


Yep, that’s it. The world has finally gone completely barmy. If you’re my age (wizendly handsome – FACT!) then you remember the world when Reagan and Khrushchev were flicking the V’s at each other and the world seemed to be constantly on the edge of a nuclear war. We even had happy-go-lucky TV movies like The Day After and Threads warning the idiots in charge that lobbing a few nukes about would lead to overall misery and sad people not being happy in the world.

Trump lived through these times, but in keeping with his general character, he was too busy being a gonk at the time to take a moment to realise the world was on the brink of annihilation, which is why the bellend is doing everything in his best to feck with things. Not only that, we’ve got the far right gaining advantage in Germany (and around the world in general), a majority right wing media hell bent on being the biggest flag waving, racist, jingoistic bastards they could possibly be, a Brexit disaster looming over the United Kingdom, terrorists doing their level best to fuck with the lives of people, insane dictators of all religions and political persuasions starting wars with their own people, other countries, and common sense generally, a far right movement in the US which denies the existence of evolution and the rights of anyone who’s not a right prick, and a sense of absurdity to everyday life which makes the satirical swears I produce seem redundant.

So, what’s the point? I might as well just pack up and ignore politics for the rest of my naturals, because every time I stick on the news some cretin with too much power and not enough sense is waving his tiny fists at the world. This seems more insane than the seventies, when mutually assured destruction was a very real possibility. Now all we’ve got is idiot assured destruction. Mind you, to be fair, it was much the same back then. Reagan listened to the advice of Nancy’s astrologer, and came up with the bonkers, nutty idea of the Star Wars programme, because he was an idiot.

And yet…

And yet…

Why the hell should I let these morons dictate the world I live in? Apart from the fact that they have real ultimate power and control of the world’s armies and resources. But nevertheless, just because the world is turning into a big massive pile of stinky poo run by some of the biggest knobends which have truffled through history (at least in my experience) that should not preclude me having a laugh at their witless expense. So, what if the future is an indeterminate matter dictated by the peccadillos of some egos who can’t see beyond the end of their noses! That can’t stop me having fun, dammit, and part of that fun is writing blogs read by a small minority of people where I swear at massively powerful people and point out the cluelessness everyone already knows they have! ARSES TO THEM!

Anyway, now we’ve got that sorted out, back to the sweary swears and political angry-face tomorrow. Huzzah for satire! (Note: endless swears about idiots is not satire).

The Corner – Labour Conference Special – They Will Eat Your Babies

Time for the Labour conference, and time for the right wing papes to get the knives out and print some spurious crap which makes them sound as they’re about to sell your grandmother to slave traders.

Case in point: The Times. Labour announce they’re going to aim to bring back public services into the state control, and they print this:


Now, put the words ‘state control’ and ‘£200 billion raid’ together and you get the impression Corbs and his team of merry japesters are a bunch of thieves who are about to turn the UK into a left-wing dictatorship by nicking all your cash. The main bulk of the article prints some codswollop about how investors are going to be ‘running for the hills’, but I’ll warrant it’s only the investors who’ve got their greasy, over-priced fingers in the public services pie in the first place, so knob off The Times!

The Mail go for a more subtle approach:


Since they haven’t actually got any journalists – just a bunch of monkeys with crayons – and thus were unable to find anyone who could sit through a conference, Dacre’s Folly has decided to print old news with the tried and tested anti-Semitism jibe (which is a bit ripe coming from the paper that supported Hitler before the war), with some unsourced claims about someone, somewhere, calling them ‘the new nasty party’. There’s also a nod to Laura Kneussberg being castigated by Labourites for her anti-Corbyn bias, to such an extent she’s gorn and hired herself a bodyguard, which has drawn much derision amongst people as a bit over-the-top.

Basically, the worst that happened was she was booed for her bias, which has brought the wrath of the right-wing media down upon Labour’s head. Of course, nothing like the tiny little incident concerning a massive split within the Tories over Brexit and the behind-the-scenes machinations to bring down their own leader, of course, which is just a bit of harmless tomfoolery.

I Will Never Be Poet Laurette, a poem by Poncington Von Dick


Poncington – man of the people


Introduction by Professor Betty Swollocks

We present the first in a short series of poems by the esteemed wordsmith Poncington Von Dick. A man little feted by the establishment, Poncington was forever tortured by the knowledge that his genius would never be officially recognised by the poetry cognoscenti. With this in mind, he decided to tread his own path in the artistic sphere and create a series of verse which would shake the old guard from their perches.

The background for the attached poem relates to a high society party Von Dick attended, where he was roundly castigated by the Poet Laurette for getting drunk and micturating in the punch bowl. Burned by the slight, Poncington dashed out this vitriolic ode to those occupying the high ground in social etiquette.

Harsh, break the waves of ocean storms on my genius,
Tragic, is the sword which cleaves my recognition,
Untimely, is the arse to which they give me worth,
Bellend, is the name of spite cast by other poets.

I’ll bloody show them!

Tortured on the rack of my own genius,
Cast to live, to die, to suffer eternal,
Oft called ‘pretentious’, ‘overblown’, ‘a twat’,
By those who know no better, the shits!

Bastards, the fucking lot of them!