Saturday, 20 June 2009

NEW STUDIES REVEAL …

A new study has found that the number of Australians currently engaged in conducting new studies and compiling statistics about meaningless aspects of human behaviour, both personally and professionally, has ballooned by approximately 36.79% over the last 15.61 years and may be a leading cause of productivity losses over that time and a contributing factor to the current economic downturn.

Research conducted by The Institute of Studies into Studies Of Irrelevantly Random Crap has revealed that compiling studies about things whose conclusions would be blindingly obvious to the thickest halfwit on the planet consumes almost 17.825 million days per year as a nation and the resources of close to 47.3% of the current population.

Ross Sharp, the Director of the Institute, announced today that "if one were to take all the metal used in these studies from paper clips, staples, foldback clips, ring binders and those sliding metal paper binders that slice half your finger off when you try to remove them from a document, you could probably build a bridge between Sydney and Perth with it."

He added, "We have individuals engaged in compiling studies about the economic cost to the nation of people taking two toilet breaks a day during work hours and statistics about the impact on the national state of mental health caused by recalcitrant shopping trolleys with dodgy wheel bearings, and we feel this type of thing has now reached epidemical proportions and something must be done, and done urgently, to address it.”

Mr. Sharp also stated that, "if we were to take all these people conducting studies into things nobody could give a flying proverbial about and place them into some sort of productive work like the construction of public housing, we could probably solve homelessness in 37 seconds, build a couple of hundred new hospitals, some spaceships, cure cancer, and bring dinosaurs back from the dead."

"Unfortunately," Mr. Sharp added, "a vast number of Australians, rather than engage in some substantial form of work, would rather sit on their ever-expanding backsides, chew the rubbers off their pencils, and make studies about the impact on global warming from farting parrots who've taken one too many nips of over-ripe fruit and have then gone muscling about a public square making a racket at 5.00am in the morning squawking for a kebab shop".

In response, a spokesperson for The Institute of Studies Into the Effects of Fermenting Fruits on Native Wildlife rejected Mr. Sharp's comments as little more than the rantings of an angry and disaffected middle-aged man, and insisted that their research was vital in these times of global crisis.

Mr. Sharp replied that he couldn’t give a stuff about any of these stupid studies anymore and that he was going up the pub for a few beers and a monster-burger with double cheese and a side order of chips with gravy.

ARSEWIPE? ...

Use bumstick …



(Spotted on
Slate.)

DEL TORO SAYS NO …

To sappy wuss-bag vampires with big boofy hair ...



From 2009, Guillermo del Toro on Craig Ferguson's "Late Late Show"

It’s about time someone put the teeth back into bloodsuckers, and del Toro, director of “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”, is just the right guy to do it.

Tongue has a happy.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

1-2-3 … I, CLAIRVOYANT

Ahem …

What I said over
here?

I hadn’t even seen the thing.

And what are others saying now? …


Marc Savlov from Austin Chronicle -

"Loud, abrasive, and featuring performances seemingly calibrated to be heard over the cacophonous roar of Travolta's mad, bad overacting, this unnecessary and ill-advised remake of Joseph Sargent's 1974 crime movie in which a group of ex-cons (led by Robert Shaw, playing off a Transit Authority cop essayed by the shaggily brilliant Walter Matthau) stage an elaborate cash-based caper in the subway tunnels beneath Manhattan."

John Swansburg from Slate –

"Here's my question: Why did Tony Scott make this movie? He isn't a straphanger. He isn't paying Tarantino-like homage to a film he grew up on. And any implication in Scott's film that New York in 2009 might be in danger of slipping into a 1970s-style malaise is purely incidental. So why did he bother?"

Rene Rodriguez from Miami Herald –

"Hiring Tony Scott to direct The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is like hiring Michael Bay to direct My Dinner With Andre: A colossal mismatch of director and material. Scott's (Top Gun, True Romance) directorial style has evolved -- or, depending on your taste, devolved -- into a frantic, hyperkinetic rush of images (Domino, Man on Fire) capable of inducing seizures."

Gary Thompson from Philadelphia Daily News –

"The only surprise in the new "Pelham" is that there's nothing to replace the narrative ingenuity of the original. In fact, there's almost no ending at all.

And not much going on in the beginning and middle, a fact that director Tony Scott disguises with his customary razzle-dazzle - splashy widescreen shots, a lot of movement, a million angles cut together with loud music that signals something significant is happening. (Something significant is happening: you're being relieved of $8 you could have spent on "The Hangover" or "Star Trek")."

Robert Ebert from Chicago Sun-Times -

"There’s not much wrong with Tony Scott’s “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3,” except that there’s not much really right about it.

Say what you will about the special effects of the 1970s, at least I was convinced I was looking at a real train. Think this through with me: Once you buy into the fact that the train is there, the train becomes a given. You’re thinking, ohmigod, what’s going to happen to the train? With modern CGI, there are scenes where a real train is obviously not on the screen, at least not in real time and space, and you’re thinking, ohmigod, real trains can’t go that fast.

And when cars crash, cars should crash. They shouldn’t behave like pinballs."

Sean Burns from Philadelphia Weekly –

"As expected, Tony Scott’s hyperkinetic, entirely unnecessary revamp attempts to update Pelham by cranking the volume and inflating the Noo Yawk attitude to a cartoonish level of macho posturing. The opening conversation, a slight bit of banter between Denzel Washington’s paunchy subway dispatcher Walter Garber and a co-worker, contains what must be at least 15 utterances of the word “fuck.” See, these guys are from the big, bad city, so they say the f-word a whole fuckin’ lot."


You see?

I told you I was clairvoyant.

WHEN ONLY THE RIGHT WILL DO

This grubby little cunt's desperate effort to turn a racist, anti-semitic madman's violence into something symbolic of "leftist" hate is the latest example of the rising din of stupidity and hysteria from those who call themselves "conservative" and "right-wing" and labour under the delusion that violence is, and can only ever be, endemic to the "left".

There's certainly no hate here, is there? ...



No, no, no, there's no hate on this side of the political spectrum. Never has been. They're sweet and cuddly little sunbeams for Jesus.

These are the type of people who give rational-minded conservatives a bad name. Whether one is of the "right", or of the "left", neither side can claim for themselves a monopoly on sanity and common sense as there are fruitloops batting for both teams and it's the fruitloops who always holler the loudest and for the longest time, attracting attention simply by virtue of their ability to throw fistfuls of shit about on a regular basis like so many monkeys in a cage.

And their existence, their actions and their views soil the minds, the souls and spirits of those of us on each side of the spectrum who are not so arrogantly convinced of our righteous infallibility in all things that we may claim all evil and all that is and has been bad in the world is the fault of one side and one side only.

For to do so would be to reveal oneself as a vacuous, drooling, twitching and ignorant imbecile of the highest order.

As for Bolt, well, fuck him. A gutter-dwelling, dog-whistling grub of the lowest order, a talentless and spectacularly banal hack who is to journalism what
Jacqueline Susann once was to literature.

Popular in their time, but barely relevant to anyone and anything after it.

It's not journalism. It's not reportage. It's not even analysis. It's the sound of a man way out of time and way out of place whistling vintage tunes out of his arse, expecting his acolytes to gather round for a sing-along while someone resembling
Walter Brennan plays pianola in a bar.

It's crap.

And I can't read any more of it.

Therefore ...

Bookmark deleted.

Life's too short, and there are better things to do with it.

I CAN HAS SPAC ATTACK?

So, I’m on the train to work yesterday morning. I only have two stops to go and I often walk. It was early. Cold, too. I took the train.

As it approaches my stop, a message comes over the intercom …

“Passengers should take care when detraining from the vehicle.”







“Detraining”?

“DETRAINING”?!!!!!

“DE-FUCKING-TRAINING”!!!!!!!!!!!!??????

I would like to find the person who thought of that and smash their fucking stupid head into a toilet bowl until they become de-fucking-brained.

Fucking spacwad.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

TONGUES ON FILM – MAY 2009

“LET THE RIGHT ONE IN” (2008)

Everything you may have heard about this film is true.

SEE IT.

It is not a horror film. That is to say, it is not a catalogue of “kills” carried out by some lunatic fucker scuttling about in the dark with a knife or whatever. It is the anti-“Saw”, the anti-“Hostel”. And that is a good thing.

It has traditional horror elements in it, yes, but these are not the story. The story is the telling of the tenuous and tender relationship that begins to develop between bullied 12 year old Oskar and his mysterious neighbour, the “girl”, Eli, who is an “other”.

And that is all I will say, for
others have said it far better than I. I blogged about the book a while back, over here. There’s a trailer there that you can watch. Off you go.

An American
remake is in the offer. God help us. I think I shall smite them before they fuck it up.


“TWILIGHT” (2008)

Only joking.

I haven’t seen this film.

What, do you think I am insane?

I’d rather stick pins in my fucking eyes.


“MARLEY & ME” (2008)

The last 15 minutes of this movie made me a little puddle of wet.

Look, you make a movie where a central character is a dog (a real dog, that is, not one of those squeaky rat-like things), and you show the dog growing up from a puppy into old age and then dying, I’m gonna have a little eye dribble going on when that happens. Okay?

Deal with it.

And I like Owen Wilson. I like his funny-looking mashed up nose and his stoner drawl and I’ve liked him since I first saw him in
“Bottle Rocket” years ago, “Bottle Rocket” being an excellent little movie. He strikes me as the type of guy you could have a quiet beer with and just generally chill out around. Unlike this wanker, for example.

And Jennifer Aniston actually looks like a real woman still, a 40 year old woman whose face can still move when she talks. Unlike, say, Meg Ryan, who looks like she’s taken the labia from a 400 lb female Sumo wrestler and had them stitched to her face where her lips once were.

And Alan Arkin’s in it. Briefly. So.

You’ve got a movie with a boofy dog in it and Alan Arkin.

What’s not to like?


“THE PROMOTION” 2008

John C. Reilly. And some other people. I like Reilly. He acts, he sings, he dances. I wish I had his life, the life of Reilly.

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-rah, too-rah-loo-ra-laiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

… So I come back from the pub after 3 beers on a Sunday afternoon, and start working my way through a bottle of wine and then I decide to watch this.

Ten minutes later, I was fast asleep.

And I had to take the movie back, because it was a one night rental and I should have watched it the night before.

I hate it when that happens.


“THE LOST” (2006)

Portrait of a teenage narcissistic psychopath who kills two people just to see what it feels like. By the end of the film, he’s well over the edge, a full-fledged fruit loop on a rampage who wants to be Charles Manson. Thankfully, the film-makers resisted the urge to show his ultimate act of horror toward the end. That would’ve been well beyond the pale.

This is good. It’s not bad, that is. It’s okay. It has a few major flaws (it is, after all, a very low-budget independent U.S. production), and it’s taken its time getting a release here (straight to DVD), but you could do worse. I mean, you could rent “Twilight”, for example. But then you’d have to stab yourself in the head after.

The only actor I recognized here was Ed Lauter in a minor role as an old guy having a fling with a woman about a third his age. And I have no idea what that storyline was supposed to achieve as every time it popped up, I thought I was watching another movie. The whole silly subplot could easily have been left out and you’d have a much tighter film, as “The Lost” runs a little too long for what it is and what it deals with. Also, I didn’t really buy the idea that the central character would be so popular with girls and others of his own age. He’s quite the preening little fuckwit, a guy who shoves crushed beer cans in his boots to make himself taller. I mean, if you were a woman who knew a guy like this and you were in possession of half a brain, this is the type of guy you’d throw your used sanitary pads at.

What else?

The sound transfer sucks. It’s as if the boom operator thought shoving the microphone up the arse of an elephant might add some depth. It doesn’t. Try it and see.







See? Told you.

You should move away from the elephant now. You’ve aggravated his anal warts.

You bastard.


“STUCK” (2007)

HALLELUJAH!!!

Now this, this is the type of movie that makes it all worthwhile …

Stephen Rea plays a character down, and almost out, out of work and out of welfare, with no hopes on his horizons, and about to find himself spending his first night on a park bench or in a hostel …

Mena Suvari plays a nursing home carer on the brink of a promotion who, after a night of booze and pills chooses to drive home, only to collide head on with Rea’s character who becomes firmly wedged in the windshield of her car.

And then drives all the way home with him still stuck there, doing nothing to help.

Inspired by an
actual event, but not a replication of it, this is one right out of left field, but not in a “leftist” sense. (It could be out of the right field, but not in a “rightist” sense, though I guess it depends whereabouts in the paddock you’re standing and who’s throwing the balls. If you’re standing in a paddock and some bastard’s throwing balls at you, just shoot them in the fucking head, okay? You shouldn’t have to put up with that type of malarkey.)

A tight, taut (80 minutes), blackly comic, toe-curling little thriller that perfectly captures the blindly self-absorbed amoral cruelties, the (as Jules Feiffer put it) “little murders” of the soul that we and others casually commit every day in the name of our own self-preservation until all trace of our basic humanity is stripped back to the raw and chalky bone. The one-ply tissue veneer of so-called “civilised” behaviour flushed effortlessly away to sleep the sleep of the dead with the fishes.

You’ll feel every scrape, every cut, every puncture on Rea’s body ache and howl with pain as he desperately tries to extricate himself from his horrific situation, and, as Suvari’s character gradually reveals her true nature to be that of a shallow, unthinkingly vicious cunt of the first order, by the closing moments all you will want to do is grab her head by its expensively braided ‘do and slam it into a fucking anvil.

This is truly marvelous stuff, one of the best low budget indie films (Canadian) I’ve seen in quite some time, simply because it was so unexpected.

Also, there’s an instructive little sequence about the proper use of pens and pencils when you’re in a fix, and a heartwarming scene with an adorably fluffy little canine.*

… From Channel 4’s Anton Bitel,
“Stuck is disturbing in all the right ways, turning an incredible real-life story of human callousness and suffering into a tawdry entertainment that makes guffawing, sociopathic rubbernecks of us all.”



Directed by
Stuart Gordon, scripted by John Styrsik, if your local store don’t have it for rent, go out and buy it. It is that good, and hats off to Suvari for choosing to play such an (ultimately) unsympathetic and irredeemable character.

Bloody brilliant.

* Warning – Irony.


“FEAST II: SLOPPY SECONDS” (2008)

Henry Rollins was in the first
“Feast”, albeit briefly.

I think Rollins toured Brisbane earlier this year. Or maybe it was earlier last year. I forget. Once you get to a certain age, all the years look the bloody same. I’ll be dead before I know it. “Hey, Ross! You’re almost dead!” “I am? Shit, and I never got around to seeing Henry Rollins. Caaaaaark.”

I only found out he was touring at the last moment and it was a week before payday, so I was flat broke as per usual. Pfhhhhht.

And now I’m expected to work until I’m almost dead thanks to
this shithead. Christ, I started working at the age of 17, back in 1976 and now I’m supposed to stick at it until 2026? Get fucked. I’d like a few years of comfy retirement just generally farting about and taking it easy before I’m shuffled off to some cockroach ridden rathole to be given methylated spirit baths by a bunch of Nurse Ratched types. Wipe my arse, will you? I shit in your hand.

This movie has lots of goo in it.

The acting is crap, but, aside from some lousy effects work, the film improves a little the last 15, 20 minutes. It would bloody well want to.

One thing I hope I won’t be doing in comfy retirement while I generally just fart about is wasting what’s left of my life watching shit like this.

Maybe I should’ve rented “Twilight”. I could’ve rented “Twilight”, but then I would’ve had to dip my face into an acid bath and hammer nails into my testicles with a hacksaw blade afterwards.

And I’d rather not, thank you very much.


“ACOLYTES” (2008)

Teenagers discover a body, identify and locate the serial killer responsible, and then attempt to blackmail him into killing a thug who abused them when they were children.

Elements of
“Stand By Me” and “River’s Edge” with psychopaths added for that extra zing.

The only recognisably Australian elements are the accents and the suburban topography, those red tile roof, red brick houses. I wish there more Australian films like this and less of the, “This is an AUSTRALIAN film! We gotta have colloquialisms and flannelette and men in big hats and some fucking bush, NO, not that type of bush, you cock, I’m talking shrubbery out to fucking buggery out there!” variety. I know there are some dangerously deranged freaks wandering about the fucking desert, the so-called romantics of the land, salt of the earth blah, they’d hump your leg if it had a hole in it, but you ought to see some of the people up the local mall on a Saturday morning.

This is a very well made, very (unselfconsciously) stylish psychological thriller, eschewing most of the tired and tiring clich├ęs that bore me to tears in so many films of its type, headache inducing rapid cut editing and zoom in, zoom out, bang crash cinematography and sound that makes you know what it might feel like to be in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease and have someone smashing cymbals over your head for ninety minutes.

There’s none of that here, the three teenage actors are excellent and completely believable as characters, and Joel Edgerton avoids stereotypes altogether in his chilly and nicely restrained portrayal of the serial killer as average suburban family man.

“Images are the essence of cinema and Hewitt's cinematographer Mark Pugh, delivers some exceptional material, which is sometimes manipulated for extra effect. The sound scape is well worked into the fibre of the film and the end result is a superior piece of genre filmmaking.” - Andrew Urban from Urbancinefile

There are two alternate endings provided on the DVD. I thought the first one of these was a better choice than the one they finally went with, though that one is perfectly fine, just that the other seemed more plausible given all that had gone before and what we had come to know along the way.

You could rent this and “Stuck”, buy some booze and get some cheap Thai or Indian takeaway, and you’d be sure to have yourself a fine ol’ time in, I reckon. Or you could watch “Twilight”, swallow some Drano and wash it down with paint stripper and watch your own stomach explode.

Spoilt for choice, really.


“THE LODGER” (2009)

Man (Simon Baker) rents a room in boarding house. Quiet type, likes his privacy, charming though.

Meanwhile, someone’s killing prostitutes in the exact same manner as Jack the Ripper.

Will Alfred Molina, our burnt out, troubled cop with the burnt out, troubled marriage stop the bloodthirsty fiend before he commits yet another in his gruesome series of dastardly deeds?

Meh.

Just ordinary and all over the place, it goes over here, then it goes somewhere else and forgets about where it’s been and why it was there in the first place, then it comes back and goes somewhere else and loses its keys and has to walk all the way home.

I’ve no idea what the thing with Molina’s wife was supposed to be there for, to make me understand what a complex set of situations his character has in life? His wife is troubled you see, she is in an institution being cared for because of her troubles. The fuck do I care? What does it add to the telling of the story? Why do I need to know this? What does it have to do with anything?

Anyway, “The Lodger” mostly limps along, finally coming to a “well gee what a big surprise I didn’t see that coming” cod Hitchcock conclusion, nod to “Psycho”, throw in a curly one the last few minutes, roll credits, end. Turn off player. Goodbye.

The soundtrack was good.







Soundtracks have music on them.

“WETBRAIN JIM” Chapter 3

3.

Chunk Smalls, his favourite phrase, “I don’t give a fuck”, was true in all senses.

Chunk wasn’t one to give much thought to the whys and wherefores of a thing, meanings and motivations and the like. If you’d said the word “subtext” to Chunk Smalls, he’d probably think you’d gone and hidden his sandwich under a newspaper. All Chunk needed to know about a thing was “who, where, what, how much?”. He’d get a mite confused if someone started in on the detail of a thing, his brain seemed to swell up and pound at his skull and everyone began to sound like they were talking from under a blanket.

So Chunk never had paid much attention to his mental development, only reason he learnt how to read was so he could follow the assembly instructions to his gym equipment and understand the labels on his “supplements”. At four years old, the other kids, they were watching cartoons and kids stuff, Chunk, he’d be glued to the Shopping Channel and bugging his mother to buy him an Abfabulator, only $69.95 in six easy instalments plus postage and handling and they’ll throw in this thing you use to scrape the dead skin off your elbows and a herb rack.

With herbs in it.

Over the course of his life, Chunk had built himself into such a tight ball of bulging, rock hard muscle that if you’d strapped him into a glider with a wing span the length of two Sydney Harbour Bridges and took it up twenty thousand feet and let it go, it’d simply plummet to the earth like a bloody great big boulder and leave a bloody great big hole when it hit.

But Chunk wasn’t about to go up in any glider any time soon. If man were meant to fly and all that, and man weren’t meant to fly, Chunk thought, a man were meant to be a man and do man stuff, not bird stuff. And Chunk was a man, he had the body of a man, and he’d made it all a man’s body could be so it could do all the things a man’s body should do and flying wasn’t one of those things.

But birds?

It’s different, that’s what they do, what they’re supposed to be doing, and it always scratched Chunk’s mind up something awful he saw a bird in a cage not going about its natural business like Chunk had always had the freedom to do.

So today, Chunk bought himself another canary to set free. Chunk would buy a canary once a month, then take it back to his place and throw it off the balcony. Sometimes, Chunk not being the gentlest of people, he’d reach into the cage, grab the bird and throw it out so hard that the bird went into shock and before it could peep whatever the canary equivalent of “what the fuck?” was, it had dropped to the ground twelve flights down and become a little puddle of feathered mash.

And once, years ago, Chunk’s mother had called him by his actual birth name ‘cause she was the only one who was still allowed to do that, but Chunk forgot himself momentarily and momentarily forgot that she was his mother, and he smashed her across the face so hard, the neck of the whiskey bottle she was sucking broke off and came out the other side of her cheek and her head slammed into an open kitchen cupboard and split open and stuff came out.

She’d needed 87 stitches and was in a coma for four months. When she finally woke up, she spoke with a Spanish accent and had a lisp. And she wasn’t Spanish.

That was a strange day.

Although Chunk didn’t think about it much. Weren’t his way to.

He put his bird on the kitchen table and it peeped at him. It made him feel good, doing this thing with the birds. There weren’t that many options open to you for feeling good if you were Chunk Smalls. He had all the flexibility of a telegraph pole so any form of sport was out, for a start. And sex was definitely out. He literally couldn’t give a fuck. Chunk had taken so many steroids in his life, his dick was now the size of a sucked out cashew nut and his testicles were no bigger than barley grains. Chunk’s thing wouldn’t fill a doll’s thimble, and no woman in her right mind would want to be poked at by something looked like an angry pimple. Chunk didn’t mind. He couldn’t even tell he had a hard-on anymore, couldn’t tell the difference one way or the other and couldn’t feel anything either, so it didn’t bother him.

Chunk just did what Chunk did, work out, eat six times a day, do Mr. Spivot’s weird errands and buy himself a canary once a month.

Next time Mr. Spivot had an errand, Chunk hoped it’d be a bit more than just rooting around some old bum’s bundle of scummy papers. That weren’t proper work for a man, and Chunk were a man and he wanted a real man’s work to do, damn it. Next time Mr. Spivot had an errand, he’d tell him that, Chunk would. He’d tell him straight.

With that, Chunk grabbed the birdcage, walked to the balcony, reached in and took hold of the canary and flung it out and over the balcony rail as if it were a shot-put and he were an Olympian.

The bird never had a chance.




To be continued …

“WETBRAIN JIM” Chapter 2

2.

That night Harry was locking up the shop and getting ready to go home when he began to feel bad about giving Old Wetbrain Jim that broom-thumping earlier.

Harry knew Jim was harmless enough, he’d been a regular around these parts since Harry had first set up shop over a decade back. Mostly, all he’d do is wander up and down the strip all day, occasionally planting himself in a doorway to yabber a whole bunch of nonsense at no one in particular, wave his arms about and cackle a lot. Sometimes, if he was on a roll in the cackling department, he’d get so caught up in his own amusement that he’d forget himself and pee his pants, after which he’d look terribly surprised and then very embarrassed and he’d just slink away somewhere private to dry off.

So what in blazes got him in the mind all of a sudden to just wander in out of the blue for a wank by the deli cooler today? Where’d that urge come from? wondered Harry.

Maybe it was that Old Jim had just touched another milestone in his enthusiastic journey toward vegetablehood. Maybe he’d had a thought about something and seeing as how the blood couldn’t get much done by heading for his brain to help clarify things, it all just shot to his dick instead because it had nowhere else to go and this had become Old Jim’s way of working through his troubles.

Hell, I don’t know what the fuck’s going on, thought Harry, but I sure as hell don’t want it going on in my shop, some old biddy waves her bacon at me asks me what this crust on the packet is? I don’t care it’s in a packet, it’s not, you shouldn’t have to buy food people have spoofed over and then just shut up and pretend not to care if you’re a paying customer. It’s a fucking hygiene thing, isn’t it? Fuck, thought Harry, someone did that to me, I’d be on ‘em quick smart, bring the health down on them and sort the dirty fuckers out.

Regardless, Harry wasn’t much inclined right now to hold a grudge against Old Wetbrain Jim over this one little offence this one time. He felt quite sorry for Old Jim. Who knew what he’d been through in his life and what had gone wrong with it. There but for the grace, thought Harry, although he left off the “of God” bit as he didn’t believe in any of that bullshit anymore. He’d stopped believing it the day, back when he was twelve years old, Sister Apophanius got her six clit rings tangled up with the gas tap handles in the science room and he was the one had to untangle her as he was the only one around and he had small fingers. At least, that’s what she’d said. What the Sister was doing up on the desk waving her fanny over the gas taps in the science room in the first damn place was anyone’s wild guess, but for the next couple years Harry packed a pair of rubber gloves and a bottle of Dettol in his schoolbag just in case it ever happened again. Which, thankfully, it didn’t.

Jesus Christ, Harry shuddered, I haven’t thought about that for years, and he shuddered again and involuntarily began wiping his hands up and down his trouser leg. Merciful God, my arse, he thought, if the bugger exists, it’s surely a nasty old buzzard to do such a thing to a sweet and innocent child simply because he was doing a little overtime boning up on his element tables for the mid-year trials.

Harry began to think some gesture on Jim’s behalf might be nice. Something that said “no hard feelings” and sorry about the business with the broom.

Take it down and leave it by Old Jim’s place, the old discarded stormwater pipe under the overpass by the creek.

He could thaw out a number 7 chicken overnight.

Old Jim might enjoy that, his current state of mind considered.

Harry got to the door of his building, turned the key in the lock and hauled his self up the two flights of stairs to his flat, a one-time “bedsit with a two burner cook top in a nook next to the bathroom” which, over the many years Harry had lived there, had magically transformed itself into a “cosy studio apartment with an ensuite kitchenette in a desirable location and handy to everything” despite a thing having never been done to it.

Every time the agents changed or added something to the description, they’d put the rent up.

Harry was waiting for them to add “polished floorboards” to the list, despite the fact the only polish on the floorboards was the wear from where he walked, and six of the boards, you trod on them, you’d fall two storeys and straight into the fucking basement.

He went to the refrigerator, took a chicken out from the freezer, put it in the sink.

“I’m a nice guy”, said Harry to the chicken.

And he was, too.

For now.



To be continued …