The Worst Book Ever

There are times when you stumble upon an old, mostly unknown book and it changes your life. The prose is thought-provoking, poetic and profound, the characters are rich and so well crafted it feels like you’ve known them for years and the story (or stories) so engaging you just can’t put it down. Then there are the times where you come across a largely unknown piece of writing and you wonder why it isn’t more known, primarily because it should be held up as the worst thing ever committed to paper.

I recently discovered a collection of previously unpublished short stories by one Hubert J Watergipridget. Some brief research tells me that he was active during the 30s-50s but was well known in literary circles long before and after. It is suggested that it was he who inspired Tolkien to write The Hobbit. I can only assume that this is the case because Tolkien read Watergipridget’s work and was inspired to write something good.

The collection I found is entitled The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness and was completely free to download, and yet, I feel ripped off. The only good thing I can say about it is short, but it won’t feel like it when you’re wading through what feels like an endless river of shit.

Each short story is needlessly introduced and analysed by a professor of English Literature because you can’t be trusted to form your own opinions. Yet, despite this, it’s impossible to make any sense out of the gibbering and morose texts.

The first short story, The Girl Who Would be a Caterpillar attempts to be a critique of the education system and the societal pressures put upon the young but has all the subtlety of a pig dressed as a nun vomiting on a pile of textbooks.

The second, Alec and the Magical Housetree reads like an Enid Blyton book, if Enid Blyton was a dribbling moron who could barely string a sentence together and her editor was a crack addict. Still, in Watergipridget’s defence, he’s considerably less racist.

The less said about the third together. The fourth, however, is where I really start to get mad. The Elephant Who Often Forgets and the Giraffe Who is Always Late for Things, is without a doubt the most egregious thing I’ve ever read and I’m not just saying that to use the word egregious for the first time in my life. Framed as an environmental novel, this patronising tripe exploits offensive stereotypes about elephants and giraffes and, once again, bangs on about how we need to protect the environment. I for one am getting sick of this view. We don’t need trees, they’re fucking cunts.

The book then delves into some awfully laboured poetry before finishing with a final short story The Man who has Baguettes for Dinner. I can’t help but feel this is where Watergipridget revealed himself for the weird and twisted pervert that he was. Admittedly, everyone in the arts back then was a pervert to some degree, much like they are now because some things never change. Anyway, it involves an unhealthy obsession with jam.

In short. This was one of the few literary ventures that I actually felt myself getting stupider the more I read of it. My brain cells preferred to commit suicide rather than work to process the information they were receiving. The only people that would like this book are those who have been lobotomised or have no appreciation for the written word. Alas, in the age of piss poor journalism, third-rate fantasy novels and poorly conceived (and ultimately tame) erotica, this could be a mainstream audience.

I beseech you all to download this text now so you too can see just how diarrhoea inducingly terrible it truly is.

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The Keeper of Time

The world of the Time Keeper is a fairly pleasant one. That is if you don’t mind the constant ticking of an endless supply of clocks or avoiding the various hour glasses scattered haphazardly about. Most were merely ceremonial and served no real purpose other than to hammer home that this was a place where time was taken very seriously.  If the Time Keeper ever said, ‘I’ll be down in a minute,’ he’d be down in precisely one minute. Not a second later or earlier. Unlike in other worlds where one minute could be anything up to an hour.

As it was, the Time Keeper rarely had the cause to say something like this because it lived a very solitary existence, which is just as well. Others might get the urge to fiddle about with time, and that would cause no end of bother.

The Time Keeper lived alone save for Marian, a jet-black crow that had at one point in its life become extremely lost. The Time Keeper enjoyed the companionship and lived safe in the knowledge that the crow lacked any real interest in the concept of time.

‘Wazzat?’ Marian squawked. It seems crows do in fact possess a capacity for communication, at least on a basic level. Unfortunately, being quite stupid meant that it takes them a good couple of centuries to realise this which, in normal circumstances, means they’d learn their first word roughly one-hundred-and-eighty-years after they are dead. The ability to communicate is often redundant at that point.

‘It’s an inkwell,’ said the Time Keeper looking at its notes. The Time Keeper’s world was not like other worlds in the sense that it was not subject to time. Which was good, because the Time Keeper’s work required more than the standard forty-hour week sometimes. It also gave him plenty of … well, time (for lack of a better word) to develop beautifully written cursive.

‘Oh, wazzat?’

‘It holds ink, for writing.’ The Time Keeper enjoyed writing. It wrote many documents. Analysis on historic events across all realms and universes and the like, along with instruction manuals on the best way to keep time (it’s always best not to store it in intense light and to keep it at a low temperature).

‘No,’ said Marian.

‘Okay,’ the Time Keeper responded.  He paused and leant back in his tall backed wooden chair. The nearby fireplace crackled noisily as it set about devouring a thick log. The Time Keeper had no idea why it did this as the fire was infinite and the logs remained in a constant state. He had written a thesis that suggested that fire had some degree of sentience and crackled and spat because that’s what a domesticated fire ought to do.

Marian fluttered down from her place atop an ornate and foreboding looking grandfather clock and came to a rest by the study’s box window. She peered out into the pale grey light of the grounds beyond. The Time Keeper had designed them itself.  Originally, he had been given a mere four rooms, in the course of its tenure, it had been allowed to expand.

The Time Keeper had been selected for the job by the Powers That Be, due to its lack of ambition and the ability to enjoy the simple pleasures.

‘Wazzat?’ Marian tapped her short sharp beak against the thin, single glazed pane. The Time Keeper looked at the bird with eyes that had observed every moment of history from every possible universe, studied the various presents that were to be had and occasionally glanced into the tangled and indecipherable mess that was the future whenever it forgot what uncertainty felt like. It slowly rose from its chair and arched its back before shuffling over the windows, dodging a few hanging pocket watches and kicking an hourglass over. It peered out of the window, past the pleasant gravel path and through the grassy paddock it created. The tree he placed in its centre had a slender trunk and splayed out towards the top in an almost perfect sphere. It was still in leaf, it always was.

‘It’s a tree, Marian,’ it said, ‘I put it there for you to nest, like normal birds do.’ He said.

‘No, wazzat?’ the bird said again tapping once more at the glass. The Time Keeper squinted towards the tree, feeling that it’d very much like a cup of tea. Not that it needed to keep sustained, but because it enjoyed it. It did its best to follow Marian’s beady-eyed stare. The crow was looking towards the bottom of the tree where there lay a small bundle. A bundle the Time Keeper had not placed there. It doubted the Powers That Be had either. They hadn’t been in contact since It was given the job. They had a very relaxed approach to management, which largely consisted of not getting involved at all. The Time Keeper half contemplated the idea that Marian had willed it into existence, just for something new to ask ‘wazzat?’ at.

It dismissed the idea as preposterous.

‘I don’t know Marian,’ it said scooping the bird up and heading out of the study. In the corridor beyond were four doors, one marked past, one present and one that led outside. The fourth was marked future. The Time Keeper hurried outside.

Beneath the tree, the bundle stirred and made a noise between cooing and squawking. A tiny brown hand reached out and swiped lazily at the air and then retreated back into the rags that swaddled it.

‘Wazzat?’ asked Marian.

‘A human child.’ The Time Keeper replied feeling uncertainty creep into its very being. It raised the bird to the low hanging branches where she reluctantly hopped to watch the proceedings. It scooped up the child and looked at its chubby round face. A thin layer of frizzy brown hair covered her scalp. A flat little nose rested above narrow lips. Her dark little eyes glinted in the light.

‘What are you doing here then?’ It asked knowing full well it would not receive an answer. With nothing else to do and nowhere else to go, it turned back and took the child back into the cottage. There, it willed a small cot into existence and placed the child down in it. It made some more unpleasant noises, which he duly ignored turning his attention instead to the doors. The baby had to have come from somewhere, and as it was had the answer lay beyond the door marked past.

The Time Keeper glanced back at the baby before passing through the door.

Sci-fi Satire extract Pt II

The last extract of my current work in progress got me more likes than my blog has ever got apparently. A whole 11 or something like that. Anyway, here’s another bit because I want to capitalise on my success.

 

Chapter 3

Olliwoo chimychim mawoolie sooly.

  • An old Verdradt saying.

Loosely translated to English, the phrase reads ‘I have lost my hat.’ To a human this seems meaningless. Just buy another hat, they might say. That, again, falls down to a lack of understanding. See, the Verdradt were born with very odd shaped heads. No two heads were the same, but all were equally as ugly. The Verdradt condition was one of constant insecurity and self-loathing. They’d look at themselves in the mirror and feel nothing but disgust.

Then the hat was invented.

The hat was a marvellous thing as it finally allowed them to cover their unsightly noggins. Each Verdradt, as they came of age, would start work on their very own hat. It would, over the years, be added to. Ribbons, bells and all manner of ostentatious ornamentations would be added. Like their hideously misshapen heads, no two hats were alike. The hat became the individual. The hat became life. Everything a Verdradt did, everything one achieved was shown on their hat. The hat became them.

For a Verdradt to lose their hat meant to lose their way in life. To forget their purpose. A verdradt who lost their hat, lost all their drive and ambition. ‘I have lost my hat’ wasn’t a trivial complaint, it was a howl of anguish, a cry of despair. It was admitting failure, it was a thing of tragedy, it was crumpling in defeat.

Maybeck often felt as though he had lost his hat. Yet there were also times where he felt his hat sat too heavily upon his head and was going to crush him. He didn’t know what feeling was worse.

Half Arsed Blog Post

It’s important to post regularly. But I’m creatively deficient.

When I was seventeen and everyone my age was learning to drive, I decided against it. I saw the number of cars that were clogging up the arteries of British infrastructure and realised if I had a car, I’d spend the rest of my life looking for somewhere to park. Nearly ten years later (fuck!), I am still shuffling on and off trains and paying extortionate sums of money for a bus.

I was waiting for a train today. The station was in a state of pandemonium. Many trains were cancelled all were delayed. The voice of God came over the station speakers and declared:

“We apologise that the 14:00 train to Moorgate via Hertford North is delayed. This is due to someone being hit by a train.”

People react in two ways to such an announcement. Some tut and lament the travel disruptions such an event causes. Some, more empathetic individuals will spare a thought for the poor individual who felt so alone, who was in such a state of desperate despair that they felt inclined to end their lives. Then they will lament the travel disruptions such an act causes.

Being a human and therefore aware of my own mortality, I think about death frequently. We all lay awake at night with our minds screaming DEATH! At the top of its internal voice. When such an announcement is made, it means someone, an individual who had hopes and dreams and feelings, has died. There are just some things you’re not getting up from, being hit by a train is one of them.

It’s very rare that someone is hit by a train by accident. Trains tend to be limited to where they can go. No one has been innocently sitting on a park bench only to be taken by surprise when a train ploughs into them.

Someone died today. The impact of their death, for the most part, was confined to the mild annoyance of strangers. Is that the best some of us can hope for? As someone who doesn’t believe in an afterlife necessarily, it’s difficult to be concerned with how one is remembered. Once my consciousness is obliterated I suppose nothing will matter.

But it is odd. Our lives are easily snuffed out and the world goes on as usual. Our lives are brief and for many, are not particularly nice. How is it that on a planet of over seven billion people, we can feel so very lonely. In the age of social networking, when we’re all glued to our screens looking at the lives of others, do many of us lack a feeling of connection?

Who knows? I just know when I go, I hope it causes people’s flights to be delayed.

“We apologise that the 19:40 flight to Bali has been delayed, this is because someone has been hit by a plane… we don’t know how it happened either.”

Some sort of sci-fi satire

Seeing as no one seems to want my attempts at serious literary fiction. I am resigned to the fact that I probably won’t make millions out of the written word. So, here’s something I started for my own entertainment. Enjoy. Or don’t. I can’t tell you what to do. I would if I could, trust me.

***

‘I’m just saying, turn left at Gorulon Four isn’t overly helpful when you’re traversing the depths of space,’ Roran complained, his green gelatinous form shuddering and pulsating. He didn’t so much as speak rather than emitted a wave of telepathic signals.

‘What you mean, not helpful? Of course it’s helpful, we arrive at Gorulon Four, we go left,’ Maybeck replied. He hadn’t slept well the past few days. He stared at the wavering contents of his metallic mug. It wasn’t quite coffee. It was the best synthetic coffee this side of the Sta’Mollk Nath nebula. It looked like coffee, tasted bitter enough to be a close approximation to it and gave a caffeine hit, but it wasn’t coffee. The fact that he knew it made him enjoy it less than he might had he been entirely ignorant. It was like the anti-placebo effect, in a way.

He could see the vague outline of his own face in the rippling liquid. Really, he should have a lid on it, health and safety and all that, but he was the captain and if he wanted to drink out of a lidless mug he would damn it.  The one eye visible in the reflection had a dark shadow underneath it. His face looked thinner than he remembered.

‘Left? Left? Half of the known galaxy is technically left!’  said Roran.

‘Left, maybe left and down a little bit I think she said,’ said Maybeck dipping his nose into the mug. The steam felt good against his face. The bitter synth coffee slid down his throat, spreading its warmth into his chest and eventually his rumbling stomach.

‘Down! Objectively speaking there is no down out here!’ It was amazing how telepathic rays could splutter. Roran’s green tentacles made some adjustments on the pads and dials around him.

‘How you humans managed to become an FTL civilisation I’ll never know.’ He grumbled. Maybeck rolled his eyes.

‘Opposable thumbs,’ he said.

‘Beg your pardon?’

‘That’s how we managed. Opposable thumbs. If the Laggorians hadn’t discovered your planet and realised your intellectual potential and built ships and tools that you could actually use, you’d still be sliding around in swamps. That’s how we became a FTL civilisation, because we can hold a spanner.’ Said Maybeck before taking another gulp.

Beyond the view screen he could see nothing, just weird blue waves of energy sliding across the hull and a few streaks of warped light. When beyond the gravitational grips of a celestial object, there was a great deal of nothing. The whole universe was filled with an immense vacuum of nothing with a few pockets of something. Often that something was not particularly interesting.

‘Your earth monkeys can hold spanners,’ Roran commented, his shape became somewhat softer.

‘Yeah, and had your species ever been confronted by a mob of angry monkeys, my money would have been on the monkeys. The great race of Slorrth would have never been.’ Said Maybeck effectively putting an end to the discussion. Roran literally deflated. Maybeck should have felt at least a little guilty for continually ridiculing Roran’s race. They were oddly proud for a species that were little more than a number of green blobs.

He liked Roran really. He had a good heart. Figuratively speaking. As it was he had three sphincters that helped squeeze nutrients around his… or her body.

That was the problem with making alien contact. On the whole, it was close to impossible for cultures to maintain a conversation. Not just due to the lack of experiential overlapping, but often due to the fact that they conceived reality in completely different ways. Humans had spent their entire existence fighting one another due to a lack of understanding or because they simply couldn’t adequately talk through their differences. It was a miracle they survived long enough to break the light barrier. Then they met the Thrurnak Empire and the shit really hit the fan.

A lengthy war later they were able to put aside their differences thanks to the intervention of the Anal (pronounced An-hal, but Earthlings are immature beings). The Anal – The An-hal – had spent decades studying both races and once they had enough knowledge of how they operated, stepped in to mediate. The Anal Treaty was signed, bringing about a frigid peace and much giggling.

The treaty was lengthy, Maybeck had read it in its entirety at one point, though summed up the conditions of peace were very much – You go over there, and you go over there.

Anyway, Maybeck liked Roran despite his tendency to be an annoying shit. The problem was, Maybeck should never have left Earth. It was his belief that humanity should have died out long ago. They never should have become the dominant species of their own planet, let alone try and get involved with others. As in all things organic, humanity had come about completely by accident. One day an ape got sick of being hunched over and stood up right and passed this habit along to its children.

In the early days, humanity must have been having sex every moment they could spare. On average, humans tend to have one child (if we’re taking the mode) at a time. It was common for women to die in child birth and even more common for the child to die before it was five. It was as if nature had recoiled in disgust at this freak of evolution and was doing its best to wipe out all trace of it. However, the humans were stubborn. Stubborn and horny, and just look where that got them.

Maybeck had excelled at biology and galactic cultural studies. Earth was now an overcrowded city smothered in smog and the government was keen on flinging as many people as they could off the planet for good. The economy wasn’t great, so Maybeck had to take whatever job was dangled in front of him, or at least that’s what his father said.

He got a job with an online retailer aboard one of their many delivery vessels. Soon after he was headhunted by a private Furuvian vessel, by which of course I mean the delivery vessel was shot to pieces by pirates and he was given the choice to work in a communications capacity for them or be blasted out into the cold abyss of space.

This vessel was in turn shot to pieces by the Galactic Alliance, which led to a job with them. It felt very similar to being a slave for pirates just with marginally better pay. There was plenty of room for progression in the Galactic Alliance. It did after all have the collective wealth of a dozen or more civilisations.

Maybeck applied for a research role, was given one and eventually had control of his own small vessel. It was when scanning the composition of his thirty-forth asteroid that he realised he had no idea what it was he was supposed to be researching. When he questioned Chief Science Officer Admiral Ballycrux Calalahalalam he received the following communication.

Dear Captain R. Maybeck

Thank you for your email, in regard to your question “what are we doing?” I would say that this is a quandary that has plagued every sentient creature in the galaxy since we gained the capacity to think. However, if you were posing the question in a more literal sense, the truth is your vessel (which you aptly named) G.A Darwin is one of many that we refer to as ‘cash sponges’. The Galactic Alliance (long may it last) grants its science and research arm a certain budget to be reviewed every three Gorynth years (that is two point two Earth years). If it is found that we are not using said budget, it will be reduced accordingly. Science is a never-ending search for truth, a ceaseless endeavour to learn and expand our knowledge. However, as it stands we don’t have a lot going on.

Whilst we do have a few projects on the go, they do not require all our resources. In order to see our budget is reached, we have employed the use of approximately ninety-five cash sponges to be recalled as and when more research and development opportunities arise. So, in short, do whatever you like. Scan some asteroids, collect some plants, maybe check Boryon Nine to see if any new fish have evolved. Keep yourself busy, everyone gets paid and who knows, maybe you’ll accidentally make a discovery like they did in the old old days.

Forgive any errors in my communication, I’ve only learned one-hundred and thirty-two Earth languages so far. I’ve found English to be one of the most bizarre. Perhaps if you’ve a spare moment you can tell me why “through” has an O a G and an H.

 Yours

Admiral Ballycrux Calalahalalam III

Since then Maybeck had had very little drive. Being stuck in space had been bad before, but at least it had some vague sense of purpose. Now… he was just stuck. No, not stuck. The opposite. He was flailing about in a vast openness. There was nothing to cling onto. He was drowning in nothingness.

The True Truth

Here’s a little something I got bored and started writing today at work after the subject of fake news came up.

 

In an age where established facts can be discarded without a second’s thought and any poorly conceived opinion can be true if shouted loud enough, life is hard. Not laboriously hard, unless you happen to work in construction or something like that, but you know… difficult.

Let me show you.

Nina Hepworth was only young when truth died. She has to concentrate hard to remember it, but she can. She can recall a time where truth was something definable, at least to a degree. It was possible to know things.

Now the only thing she knows is that she knows nothing. Descartes once thought he had solved this issue with his oh so clever cogito ergo sum. He could not doubt that he was doubting and therefore, his very scepticism proved at the very least that he existed to a degree. To this, Nina would suggest that there was the possibility that Descartes had been led astray by the biased liberal media, or fake news perpetuated by the Alt-Right or even that his scepticism was the result of a government conspiracy desperate to keep him focussed on proving his existence rather than anything else.

To which Descartes may have said, ‘what?’ before inventing the Cartesian coordinate system.

The date is the eighteenth of February twenty-thirty-four. Nina is walking through the snow covered streets towards her place of work. The snow is thick, up to her ankles and still falling. It flits around her face in disorganised sort of way. Global warming was playing havoc with the weather. Fortunately, the establishment had declared four years earlier that global warming wasn’t a thing. Any information circulating to suggest the contrary had just been lazy propaganda. Any supposedly scientific research into the matter was false and had largely been funded by someone trying to sell wind turbines.

Within a few weeks the city had been plastered with posters and every screen was lit up with the same slogan.

“We don’t want your fucking wind turbines.”

The elected officials… or the vote rigging dictators who may or may not have been put in place by the Russians, or the hired actors who take the fall for the mysterious figures who are really running the show, put more funding into oil, coal and “a new fuel source that’ll never run out so chill out about the whole thing.”

Anyway, it is snowing.

Nina stops at a crossing, looks both ways as is advised, sees nothing coming and crosses. She would be at work within three minutes. Her worn boots crunch through the candyfloss snow that’s beginning to work its way through the hole in her sole. She curls her toes as she pauses at the other side of the road.

She remembered it all happening rather slowly. Until it wasn’t happening slowly anymore, and everyone was hurtling towards oblivion.

Nina stops before the entrance to the council building. It isn’t particularly impressive. It’s tall, wide and grey. The big glass doors seem to shimmer under the glare of the intense tube lighting within. She can see the reception desk. It’s manned by a man, which makes the use of the word manned entirely literal. He has a shiny face with a  well-kept little beard, gelled hair and fancy glasses. She shakes her head. His name is Graham, he’s nice enough, but he’s relentlessly dull and insists on having conversations, which is the worst thing a dull person can insist upon.

She glances at her watch, decides being a few minutes late isn’t the worst thing in the world, and decides to get a coffee.

Half way towards Starbucks a car pulls up alongside the curb. The tyres spin a little in the snow and are glistening with wet. A man opens the window, he’s middle aged and balding. Nina locks eyes with him. He’s wearing a suit and has very serious looking eyes with a sunken look to them.

‘Get in,’ he commands.

Nina has no intention of getting in. Good things have never happened to a lone woman who jumps into a stranger’s car. She moves away from the curb and quickens her pace. The Starbucks is around the corner, if she makes it there she should be safe. Though it was by no means a sure thing. Recently the media had been promising another terrorist attack, whilst simultaneously saying there would definitely not be another terrorist attack. A spokesman for MI5 said that Britain is the safest it has ever been or ever will be, but then a spokesman for MI6 said it was a ticking time bomb.

Nina didn’t know who to believe, six was one more than five. Though even that was up for debate these days. She remembered being taught that two plus two equalled four, but now theories were emerging that people had been wrong about 4 all along and was actually nowhere near two twice.  Everyone had their own theory, some were even positing that numbers had no solid meaning and –

Having quickened her pace, Nina put herself on the path to destruction. Her back hits the snow covered floor hard and the wind is knocked from her lungs. She hears the car man swear and the opening of doors. Two men loom over her, big men at that. They grab her by the arms and heave her to her feet. She tries to scream out, but it’s no more than a wheeze. The men push her into the back of the car next to the middle aged man who regards her with disappointment. Small graces, Nina thinks. Disappointment is low level, no one gets hurt because of disappointment.

‘Don’t worry, you are safe,’ says the man barely looking at her. He is facing forward, staring out the windscreen. The wipers are going mad, back and forth back and forth, not knowing what side they want to be on.

‘Who are you?’ She asks.

‘We are the believers. We truly believe in truth. The true truth, as it once was.’ He says.

‘And what was that?’ she asks.

‘We don’t know. We were hoping you could help us.’

The World of Copywriting

Copywriting is a big thing these days. Every company has a list of in house or freelance copywriters churning out content for them day after day. So, what is copywriting? You ask. Well you don’t ask, but it helps me move on with my general point.

Copywriting is the art of bullshitting your way though 300+ words when 4 would do and no one’s really that interested anyway.

Having always thought I would become either a kick arse rock star, an acclaimed actor or world-renowned author, I didn’t really bother honing any skills, or developing any knowledge base that would help me in my day to day life.  This is a fact that has backfired on me somewhat. In terms of rock starryness, I was in a band that won Hertfordshire under 18s battle of the bands when I was 16. We won £300 and got to headline an outdoor festival in the middle of Letchworth Garden City one frosty day to a crowd of 9, one of which was an old man that told us to quieten down. In terms of acting, I have appeared in the Oscar winning picture The Theory of Everything, using my chameleon like acting skills to successfully portray a 60s student, a 70s student and some bloke in a tuxedo. Redmayne did not mention me in his speech. The bastard.

All hopes rested on my authoriness and to that end I have worked hard to refine my use of the written word, coming up with words such as ‘starryness’ and ‘authoriness’. I wasted 3 years studying for a degree in English Literature, by which I mean I turned up on the exam days. After completing 3 young adult fantasy novels before being told by a literary agent that pretty much no agent can be bothered to look at young adult fantasy and, if they do, it rarely makes any money, I poured my heart and soul (and one lightly beaten egg) into a piece of literary fiction. After three drafts I sent it to various agents to be told that ‘whilst it has merit, dear god no, never contact us again.’

So, after splitting all my eggs into three ridiculous and improbable baskets only to leave all three of them on a train somewhere, I realised I had no employable skills.

Or so I thought.

I managed to get work as a copywriter/content editor, despite my loose canon approach to grammar. I like to think of myself as a punk writer, deliberately ignoring all literary rules.

From the editorial side, I trawl through content created by hundreds of self-employed freelancers who have no business writing anything, let alone making a career out of it. I spend my time redoing other people’s work for minimum wage whilst they earn far more than I.

Every website, every catalogue, every piece of marketing material produced had a copywriter generate the text for them. Which means, thousands of people are in employment despite their clear lack of any skills whatsoever. Which is either good news or bad news for me, depending on your outlook.

Good news, because I can pay rent (just about), bad because it’s all so very dull and pointless and dull. The writing skills I have honed over the years can be utilised in exchange for money. Alas, they’ll be used to talk about the virtues of a vegetable peeler.

I spent a fortnight writing descriptions of various cars for a website that sold various cars. Realistically, all that was needed was ‘Here is a Land Rover. You know what it does.’ Instead, I had to write about how spacious they were. I know very little about cars, but I do know that all people care about is that they’re spacious, my working theory being that due to the rocketing house prices, people are taking to living in Land Rovers.

I spent another fortnight editing copy for a renowned UK chain whom I won’t name for legal reasons, but are effectively a store that sold baths. A bath store if you will.

Two days of this editing was devoted entirely to toilet seats. Now call me ignorant, but I don’t feel there’s much that can be said about a toilet seat. The writer in question kept on trying to convince me that ‘this toilet seat is very versatile’ which I had to remove from 30 + pieces of content for fear of being implicated in a case of false advertising. Unless there are toilet seats out there that double as stylish hats or cheese boards, they have a very singular purpose. For all their qualities, versatility is not one of them.

This is a symptom of a terrible marketing disease. Companies are deciding that they need to sell their items, as in really sell them. As opposed to just pretending to sell them, which is a lot more complicated.

Because of this bizarre idea, we are left with websites sporting plastic cups accompanied by an entire paragraph extolling the virtues of said plastic cups. ‘These are more than cups, they are vessels to carry whatever your heart desires. Perfect for mass suicides, they’re available in a host of different colours to match your cult.’

It’s madness. Currently writing pieces for a well-known auctioning site that rhymes with ShleBay, there’s a listing of Celebrity dolls. My original entry was ‘Do you want an old Michael Jackson doll in its original packaging? If so, get a fucking life.’  This was rejected by the client and I was given a verbal warning.

A freelancer describing a listing of picture frames stated ‘no home is complete without pictures of your family.’ Or before I edited ‘No home is complete without pictures of you’re family.’ (£10 a piece she was paid). Anyway, incorrect words aside, this annoyed me because it reaffirmed the fact that I will forever have an incomplete home, due to the fact that I don’t even have a girlfriend with whom to start a family, let alone take pictures of to put in a £2.85 frame.

It’s a picture frame damn it. All that is needed is ‘A frame for your pictures. £2.85, buy it or don’t it’s your choice at the end of the day.’

But we have to really sell it.

So, I will utilise my new found knowledge of copywriting to really sell my self-published shitty comedy short story collection that I published years ago without editing it properly.

Flesh out your virtual bookshelf with The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness, a recently discovered collection of children’s short stories by esteemed and entirely fictional 19th century author Hubert J Watergipridget. These clever and engaging stories, introduced and interpreted by the top man at Cambridge or somewhere (who may or may not also be fictional), will have you on the edge of your seat, so close to the edge that you are guaranteed to fall off at some point, so maybe put some cushions down, or read it lying down.

For as little as 99p or whatever small change it is in your country that uses other nonsensical currencies, you will get the most versatile eBook yet, as this can and will be used as a stylish hat and also has enough curative powers to cure cancer or chronic back pain. It will expand your mind so much, that you will evolve beyond the need for a physical form and will in fact become a lesser god.

Buy it today.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W