Sunday, 27 September 2009

Last ever Viz Blog

After three years, this will my last Viz blog.

We've decided to call it a day and focus on our other writing work.

It's been really fun and James and I are very proud to have Viz on our CV, but it's time to move on.

As we've all but stopped writing for Viz, we only got one letter in this month:

Ladies. Save a fortune on expensive fashion magazines by flicking through the frock section of the Littlewoods catalogue and imagining your own facile, pointless editorial.

And here are some that I sent in over the past couple of weeks. They may crop up in the next issue:

According to adverts for the Iphone, “if you want to tell it who to call, just say Dave Taylor”. The thinking behind that function seems rather flawed...

Further to the letter above, yes, it bloody well is flawed. I’m getting calls day and night from Iphone users and it’s starting to get annoying now. From Mr David Taylor

Kerry Katona has been axed as the face of Iceland, because of her drug habit. Judging from the people I see shopping in there, I would have thought this would make her the perfect candidate.

Alan Sugar was criticising the Government recently, calling their record on apprenticeships 'scandalous'. He can hardly talk, they've offered 225,000 placements in the past 10 years; he's given out about 4.

Is it me or are people moaning about Christmas coming earlier and earlier each year, earlier and earlier each year?...

The Catholic church is now offering a service where worshippers can light candles online. How dangerous – they could burn the internet down!

It’s funny how people see things differently. For instance, I think the quiet carriage is an area set aside for relative silence. But the man opposite me thinks it’s a place where you alternate between humming and reading your paper aloud to unwilling strangers.

Today's Jeremy Kyle show topic was 'My ex won't accept I'm sleeping with her mum’. Oh dear, how terribly unreasonable some people are.

People in my office. When trying to ditch someone who is right behind you at the lifts, pretend to suddenly not have any peripheral vision, that way they will think that, rather than you being a twat, you just didn’t see them. Note that this will only work if you don’t get caught pressing the buttons furiously as they prise the doors open.

I went to Comet today and they were selling 'undercover dishwashers'. I wonder what kind of espionage requires one of those?

Today I discovered that the plural of 'text messages' is 'texes'. The things you learn watching The Jeremy Kyle Show... If someone purchases an exercise bike from your website, you should probably recommend them nothing but exercise bikes thereafter. It’s something you buy on a regular basis after all.

Apparently this summer iPhones were exploding in the heat. Oh dear, do they not have an app for that? (said in smug Iphone advert voice)

Bid TV were selling a watch recently “that will cheer you up just from looking at it”. I snapped it up and found that it did in fact bring a smile to my face whenever I looked at it. However it does make me look insensitive when I am doing my job – “Time of death...chuckle, chuckle”

I did laundry for the first time recently and was shocked at having to separate the whites from the colours. How are we ever going to have peace in this world if even our laundry can’t get on?

Homeowners. Don’t let Paul Young put his hat down in your house. If his songs are to be believed, further to doing this, he’ll then claim the property as his.

'Paris Hilton’s Best Friend Forever’, a show where she searches for a best friend forever, is back for a second series. Which is ironic...

I saw a sign outside the local Church which said ‘Would you like to sing in a voluntary choir?’ Is there any other kind?

Our time with Viz was rounded off nicely when, this week, we received this year's annual in the post, which has some of our stuff from 2008-09 in.

And that, as they say, is that.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


What is it about Sudoku and hyperbole?


Killer Sudoku

Fiendish Sudoku

Extreme Sudoku

Dangerous Sudoku

No other type of puzzle is this overhyped.


And how?

Whatever way you look at it, this is as exciting as it’s going to get:

Actually I tell a lie. There’s ‘Sudoku for Sailors’

Yes really.

And I quote: “This is the second in our new range of Sudoku gift books. Others in the line include Sudoku for Bird Lovers, Sudoku for Horse Lovers, Sudoku for Dancers, with many more planned. Send us a request!”

Right, I’m off to pitch all kinds of inappropriate Sudoku spin off books to them. Well, they did ask.

Ta ta!

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Not So Quiet Zone

I travelled to work today in the quiet carriage, or the ‘Quiet Zone’ as South West Trains calls it, a la The Crystal Maze.

For all you non-commuters, the Quiet Zone...

(I am about to insult your intelligence – it’s obvious what the Quiet Zone is, but anyway) the one carriage in the train where you can (in theory) escape grown adults who are incapable of sitting quietly for 20 minutes. You know, like a small child or a dog.

Sadly sitting in the Quiet Zone does not always work. Because in addition to being annoying, these people are also extremely stupid, and will often wander mindlessly into the Quiet Zone whereupon they will proceed to be anything but quiet.

So, have you guessed what happened today yet?

I think I’ve dropped enough hints.

I was sitting in the Quiet Zone, using one of the only periods of peace and quiet I get during my day, to read.

Two men got on at the stop after mine. They sat down opposite me, talking loudly. About nothing. At length.

The usual thing then started to happen.

I’d start to read a sentence, realise I hadn’t taken it in as I couldn’t concentrate, and then have to go back to the beginning of the sentence and begin again.

And repeat, ad infinitum.

I’d been whizzing through my book until then. But when they got on, I stalled.

After a few minutes I had worked up the courage to ask them to move, but at this point one of them got a paper out.

This came as a great relief.

I’ve seen this a number of times. Men who are forced to take the same train to work usually have a bit of a perfunctory chat before sticking their head in the paper so as to politely ignore each other for the rest of the journey.

It didn’t pan out.

One of the men decided to read the paper to the other man, offering a commentary after each story.

The paper in question was The Daily Star.

Imagine the stories.

And then imagine the commentary.

At this point I felt I had to say something. But then the train stopped and one of them got off.

This came as a great relief.

Without his friend to talk to, this man would surely shut up.

It didn’t pan out.

The man didn’t seem to need anyone specific to talk to, and carried on reading the paper out loud and offering commentary.

The person who sat down opposite him at the next stop was furnished, apropos of nothing, with the useless information that Paul Daniels had made a statement about Derren Brown’s lottery trick.

Thankfully the man stopped reading the paper out loud after a while.

And chose to hum to himself instead.


I wouldn’t usually blog about something as mundane as my commute, but I felt this freakish behaviour needed to be documented for posterity.

Moving on. My last blog on the subject of writer’s block (do you see what I did there?) which absurdly garnered more comments than other blogs where I actually wrote something, did actually have some pertinence.

I am currently trying to work out my set for the Godless shows in December.

I used up all my (half decent) Christmas material last year, and am currently coming up blank on what to say this time.

That’s not strictly true actually.

An idea keeps popping into my head, and I keep dismissing it.

The idea is, to do a deliberately bad ventriloquist act - with the Baby Jesus as my puppet.

We shall see.

Whilst we’re on the subject, I recently stumbled across this link to my Little Atoms interview at the Godless Shows in 2008. I’m 19 or so minutes in.

Oh and I’ve done some more Amazon reviews.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

And I'm back

Just a quick blog to say – I’m back!

Yes, the move went very well, thanks for asking.

We’re still without sofas though. They take 6-8 weeks to arrive, so we probably won’t have those until October.

A tedious detail there, which had no business appearing in a blog, sorry.

So, moving on. What to tell you?...

Well, although a lot has technically happened - and I have been so busy that I am still in physical pain - not much of it would qualify as interesting or entertaining.

The only things of note that I can think to blog about are:

1. I popped into Harper Collins recently to record my chapter from the Atheist’s Guide to Christmas for Itunes. Amazing how you can forget how to speak when you are required to do so on command. Got there in the end though and I’ll post the link here when I have it.

2. I did a gig the other night which a friend of mine came along to, during the course of which I did my Quiz Call material. My friend then proceeded to watch Quiz Call on the following Friday and won £150. He got to speak to Chris Hopkins too! That’s better than the money in my opinion.

3. And finally the September issue of New Humanist is out shortly, with part 2 of God Trumps thrown in as a free gift. Here’s a sneak peek of the front cover.

Ok, that’ll do for now.