Tag: Humour

The Legend of the Shark Hat

(*grabs ocarina*)

The stage was set. On the skiddy, tape-marked boards of Somers Town Community Sports centre, two armies slung missiles at one another, no soldier daring to cross the dreaded no-man’s land across the middle of the field. Many had fallen, victims to precise strikes or wildly-flung balls, that had arced over the battlefield and boinged onto people’s heads like springs dropped from eagles overhead. These soft thuds shook the body little, but twisted the mind with the sudden, awful realisation that you are ‘out’.

I was not out, however, having crouched behind larger, stockier comrades in the middle of the field, their eagerness to throw and claim the glory of victory keeping them squarely in front of me. I made no moves, nor did I have need to, for this was no battle for me. The prestige wasn’t to be mine.

The prestige would go to my companion.

It is a trope in weary fantasy novels, that a large, oafish individual protects and is directed by a smaller, nimbler ally, and I played the role of the sluggish oaf in this conflict. My leader decided which balls I ought to venture out of my fortress to catch, and which to leave to roll harmlessly by my side. It was this leader who would win the day, and be sung of in UCL mead-halls over flagons of snakebite long after their passing from this world. My leader was ready.

My leader was also a hat in the shape of a shark, with a big chompy mouth and a hollowed-out middle.

It did not perch upon my head as is its habit, nor was it resting upon my desk observing my moves as it does between battles, but was firmly grasped in my protecting arms. Each of its lips was wrapped around a hand of mine, so as I opened my arms to catch a ball into my chest, it would be my leader whose teeth sunk into the ball, whose body would become filled with its prey, and who would make the vital catch.

And so we waited. Waited for the prime opportunity. Then it came, but the ball was snaffled out of the jaws of victory by a shark-less pleb, one obviously ignorant of the history that would be made, and their impending place in the history books as the theft of glory. But then came another chance.

A floated ball – not too lofted so it was child’s play to catch, but not the kind of bullet that is uncatchable unless one is using an octopus hat – drifted towards our direction. Its yellow panels suddenly bright in the air, reflecting the shafts of light from the ceiling, and creating in interior sun in our hall, to illuminate the impending triumph. I scuttled to one side, staying low, not wanting to expose myself to potential sneak attacks too early; then I pounced, jumping into the air and leading with the Shark Hat, just pushing its jaws ahead of my chest slightly to reach the ball faster, but not far enough that the body of the shark would be too far away from the point of contact.

Then contact was made, and the Shark Hat retreated back into my arms, its prize fixed between its teeth; it was safe. It had made the catch. I lofted the hat, still grasping its prize, over my head, cheering that the hat had made a supercatch, to the adoration – imagined or otherwise – of the collected soldiers and on-lookers. The hat had made history, recording more supercatches in one session than its lethargic handler had in twelve months.

Bless you, Shark Hat.

To Read With No Skill (Be Afraid)

(been a while since a lyric parody post, hasn’t it?)

Considering that tomorrow is my first day of classes after a long-bordering-on-ridiculous summer break of four months, I thought I’d write some lyrics about it, altered from Anti-Flag’s excellent The Ink And The Quill (Be Afraid).

The pages turned black,
The words just getting darker.

So be afraid, be afraid
Be very afraid,
Of the coming nightmare.

The new Romantics lecturers teach on a Monday afternoon
They welcome in medieval kids but intimidate too soon.

All that we know, all we know.

Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be very afraid,
Of the coming nightmare.

Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be very afraid,
Of the coming nightmare.

So filled with high expectation that feels like intoxication,
There’s nothing like a reading list to get your cash wasting,
Then you don’t read jack-shit, your past choices you’re then hating.

Cloud-Author to Hitchcock’s films with authority to sneer,
They are the blunt-force fist of all literature,
We’re forced to read, with no skill.

What have we learned? After years,
What have we learned? Besides fear?

Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be very afraid,
Of the coming nightmare.

Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be very afraid,
Of the coming nightmare.

The books’ touch like fly-trap teeth,
Feel them gripping, your ideas in vain.
Your page runs white, you can’t quite write,
Tomb closing, kiss your first goodbye.

Now you’re done, you’ve been taken on a ride.
We’re in debt, in debt a billion times.
A billion times!

Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be very afraid,
Of the coming nightmare.

Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be very afraid,
Of the coming nightmare.

Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be afraid, be afraid
Be very afraid…

(solo remains unchanged. Obviously)

There’s a storm cloud gathering just ahead
Ominous May, raining tests,
When it drops deadlines down on your time,
You better pray like hell you’ve kept yourself in line.
Built on arts and scholars’ scams
Our dear Provost stealing wealth,
Profits so ill-gained sweet,
Malnourished students weep.

As the storm gains strength.
The ageing unions break.
The ancient hall does quake.
And your lungs fill with your spineless pre-paid fees.

So much yarn

(yarn for days!)

My flatmate has started crocheting. This isn’t a problem, and could actually be a rather rewarding creative experience, especially because it’s so radically different to some of the other, exclusively mental, processes that people like me tend to engage with. But there’s a key issue with the relentless yarn-weaving: there’s yarn all over the place.

It gathers in balls, like slugs performing bizarre mating rituals on one another, on tables and surfaces; there are strands dotted around the floor and the stairs like the hallmarks of a guilty dog, slinking through a house after flopping into one too many puddles, an dropping slick, wet hairs in their wake; a brave few pieces make it up the stairs, peering boldly over the nightmarish precipice of our short steps like the Yarn World’s equivalent of Neil Armstrong, forever breaking barriers and ascending, quite literally, to new peaks of shocking brilliance while the ogreish humans lumber about their hero, forever ignorant to their accomplishments.

And, in all honesty, I don’t want to disturb the yarn; for too long have the small, functional things of life been disregarded by pretentious blog-writing intellectual types, who reckon their latest half-baked magazine idea is of greater intrinsic value than the slow, heroic lurching of a piece of yarn up a flight of steps, clinging onto the sock of an unwittingly history-defining human. A salute you yarn, and your colourful diversity that has never been an obstacle to success unlike in human culture, and wish that these achievements continue, and records of Yarnkind continue to tumble as the crochet-hook of history bends towards more fluffy things inexplicably stuck to my socks after they come out of the wash.

Godspeed Yarn. Godspeed.

I Am A Dromedary

(camels are too mainstream)


(pictured: my uncle Kevin)

I am a dromedary. I go for days, weeks even, without sustenance, crossing the oft-fatal desert of living alone for the first time. It’s not that there isn’t food and water available – there are many watering holes, oases even on my path – but I rarely find them, too often distracted by the rabbit hole of some footprints in front of me, some sky writing that might actually be a clickbait title, and a copy of Jim Lindberg’s Punk Rock Dad dangled on a string just ahead of me.

But every now and then, I am forced to stop. Sporadically, a TV pokes its antennae out of the sand, and The Great British Bake-Off is playing, Mel and Sue bouncing around their unusually sandless enclosure like baby dromedaries. And when I stop, other dromedaries give me food, until my hump is bloated, I struggle to walk, but at least I’ll survive until next week.

When I’ll do it all again.

This is, indeed, my way of communicating that I’m overstuffed with my parents’ food, found an amusing picture of a dromedary online, and am probably high to the point of incoherency all at once.

Photo credit – http://www.todayifoundout.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/camel.png

The Ball-Breaking Clan Of Grovelands Park

(not those kind of balls)

I was nearly killed today. Nearly killed by the earth-trembling savagery of not just one local hero, but two; two related local heroes; a heroic local father, and a heroic local son.

I was making my way along the path running around the edge of the big pond in Grovelands Park, and had reached the point where the public exercise area was just looming into my view, with the children’s play area and café behind it, billowing in the distance like a rising sun over the bleak, silhouetted crests of a mountain range. Then, behind me, the sounds marched first, leading their drummers, their bouncers, and filling me with the dread of a thousand Uruk-hai spear-stompers.

Then they flanked me, walking in brisk silence, their thoughts clearly coordinated by some form of malicious telepathy; the father – for I considered this to be the father, being taller of stature and balder of head – led, with a football in his hands, and the son followed behind him. But this was not a dutiful following, the sort a small child will engage in as it shadows an elder it respects and reveres, but a darker following, one of obligation, of one individuals’ sentient independence leashed to that of another. This was a resentful follower, one armed with a heavy basketball nonetheless; whoever these warriors’ masters were, or indeed if they existed within their own insular political duopoly, there was clearly a lackadaisical nature to their rules, with inferiors being allowed to carry weapons openly, and held at the blind spot of their superiors.

I quickly noticed the source of their harrowing drums: their balls. Each clansman was bouncing one such ball as he walked, drilling in into the ground in an act of subtle deviousness, underhanded to the point of being undetectable, and existing purely for the thrill of the vandal, not the lofty aim of the political revolutionary. These balls rose and fell with a military precision, suggesting great control and power on the part of each bouncer, but also bounced separately to one another, furthering the child’s independence from his father.

I was afraid, and I was alone.

I dodged to one side, keeping to the left-hand side of the path as their train dominated the right. But they did not accelerate past me, but kept a steady pace with mine, the child six feet in front of me at all times; they knew where I was without looking back – their telepathy was more powerful than first appreciated – and held me in check, as they continued to bounce their balls. I waited behind them for a few more minutes, struck with fear; I couldn’t stay where I was, that’d be playing into their hands, but to risk walking past them could be suicide.

But, emboldened no end by the fact that I happened to be listening to ‘Born This Way’ by Lady Gaga as I reached my decision, I decided suicide on my terms, not death on theirs. I quickened my stride, powered past them, and dipped into the forest just past the café that our little party had now reached. I didn’t look back to check if they had followed me, or continued along the route of the path, for at that moment my playlist ended, and I was left to be guided by the sound of broken twigs underfoot, as opposed to the foot-tappingly empowering anthems of the early 2010s; twigs, apparently, are no match for Lady Gaga.

With this realisation in mind, I fell deeper into the woods, away from the ball-breakers, and into a NOFX playlist.

High-Waisted Drop-Downs Bamboozle Me

(they confuse the pants off me)

You know those high-waisted trousers you can buy, that are typically worn by women? The ones you tuck into a top to make it fashionable, but if you’re a 13-year-old guy who does it with his school uniform you’re a loser? Yeah, those ones.

The important thing to notice about these trousers is that they’re not just longer than normal trousers, but are differently-proportioned to normal trousers. While standard trousers have legs of a length x, and a crotch-holding bit between legs and waistband of y, the high-waisted species has legs of a length 0.75x, and a preposterously tall top bit of, like, 3y! I’d draw a diagram, but I thought needlessly mathematised nonsense would be more intelligible than my attempts to pick up a pencil and face the ordeal of scanning something into a computer.

And this makes sense if the high-waisted look is what you’re going for; simply pulling up a pair of standards trousers to the height of a high-waisted pair would result in the wearer being flicked between the legs by their own bottoms, which would annoy women and agonise men. As a result, the high-waisted pair of trousers is a very specialised form of leg-coverings, much like the evening gown, or that one, perpetually-tied towel you only ever wear to showers.

But I saw a pair of these most particular pantaloons being used for a new purpose the other day; as drop-downs. Much like the high-waisted trouser is a mainstay in most feminine wardrobes, the dropped-down trousers are commonplace in the filthy piles of decayed cloth rags that men wallow around in in an attempt to clothe themselves in the mornings. This isn’t to say that the male variant is any less sophisticated than the female one – you’ve not suffered for your fashion until you’ve spent hours fawning over such minute variables such as angle of elasticated waist, waistband depth, and the terrible decision of putting those waist-tightening strings inside or outside the trousers – but is simply a variant; if a woman aims for a high-waisted look, she wears high-wasted trousers, and if man shoots for drop-downs, he wears trackies.

One man has chosen to break this norm. One, heroic, man; he was wearing trousers in the style of drop-downs, but they were clearly high-waisted pants, considering the point where the legs meet the crotch was dangling close to his knees. He looked like an individual perplexingly in possession of two calves, yet a single thigh, wobbling and hobbling down the pavement, his fabulous style flying in the face of both human anatomical needs, and the practicalities of walking as a biped. I don’t understand you, nor will I imitate you, but sir, I salute you.

The Pilot Of The Magical Camden Cheesemobile

(that’s three of these kind of posts in a month – my friend meets real celebrities, but I find the cool ones)

I was on my usual 1am stroll around the perimeter of Regent’s Park this morning, and I noticed a strange sight on the road to the north of the park, around London Zoo: the Magical Camden Cheesemobile.

The Magical Camden Cheesemobile is, as the name may suggest, a vehicle roughly in the shape of a block of edam: pointed at the front, spreading out to a slightly curved back end, and with a flat side at the bottom running parallel to the ground. It was also a dull orange, giving it the colour of the red-and-yellow cheese, and had tiny little triangular headlights poking out from its bonnet like mangled bits of wax wrapped jutting out from the smoothness of the rest of the coating. It was also small, having just two seats, so it could have been mistaken for a large piece of cheese, rather than a small vehicle in the shape of some cheese.

It was also blaring some weird music; I was listening to Anti-Flag’s excellent new album American Spring while walking, so I couldn’t hear it too clearly, but it certainly didn’t have lyrics, or a recognisable melody, or seemed to include instruments known to mankind. Obviously, to suggest that this is the work of aliens would be too easy, and would ignore the fact that the Pilot of the Magical Camden Cheesemobile was expertly obeying the human laws of the road; no, this is a decidedly human creation, although one infused with a power that is typically not associated with humans: magic.

I don’t know who the Pilot is, or why they were driving the Magical Camden Cheesemobile. Indeed, I don’t know where it was going, where it had come from, or the nature of its fly tunes. Unlike a lot of other local celebrities I’ve found, this one has left me decidedly in the dark, but really this only adds to the mystery and wonder around this experience: I’ve seen the Pilot of the Magical Camden Cheesemobile, and will never know more than that.