Sunday, April 30, 2006


Father Bouffant (Derek Acorah) has not returned to my home this weekend and for that I am grateful. I have taken the opportunity to relax and enjoy a little 'me time', as an American or a narcissist might phrase it.

To this end, I have sketched a variety of beaks.

The plover's proved the most tricky, but the spruce goose's was relatively straightforward.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A Sleepless Night and a Revelation

I was kept from sleep long past the witching hour last night through strange fancies and aberrant whims. I thought of Father Bouffant's convinction that the spirits of dead orphans are ensconced in my walls and the unhappy idea of their spectral hands reaching out to prod my forehead and pinch the flesh of my upper arms as I slept haunted me until I grew frenzied with an ineluctable terror and I was compelled to quit my bed and seek refuge in the calm of the bathroom.

My bathroom mirror has numbers scored into its surface - why, I have no idea, but their presence distorts my reflection, and last night caused me to see the gnarled visage of old Mrs Cribbage staring back at me in place of my own smooth countenance, a grimace of misery contorting her face. I tilted my head in alarm and noted that the warped mirror image at once changed to a likeness of my late mother, her twisted expression indicative of a person straining at stool.

This caused me no small amount of panic and I fell precariously backwards towards the wall. Before my head could make contact with the cold tiles and speed me towards unconsciousness, I encountered what felt like a great many small hands together supporting the back of my pate and preventing the accident. I now believe that a passing swarm of ladybirds must have flown by at the instant of my faint and somehow impeded the fall. At any rate, this fortuitous turn of events, coupled with the image of my dead mother, calmed me enough that I was able to gain a few hours sleep.

Father Bouffant arrived this morning and helped himself to some of my Supernoodles. He gathered up the children's teeth that he had left behind yesterday, claimed that they were a typical spirit manifestation and secreted them in his pocket for further study when he got home.
He spent the morning watching my television closely in case there was a ghost of a little girl trapped in it, then had another bowl of Supernoodles and left. Only now do I realise where I have seen Father Bouffant before - it was on the television, where he goes by a different name and does not wear a dog collar. He is none other than Derek Acorah of Most Haunted and Ghost Towns fame.

I am puzzled. Why would Father Bouffant, an honest Scots priest, masquerade as a Scouse charlatan on Living TV? This mystery will require some work.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ghost Children

Father Bouffant has only just left my home, having been here for two days straight. He arrived yesterday morning betraying every indication of debilitating inebriation, including an inability to locate his own arms. He had brought with him several carrier bags full of chocolate eggs which he had purchased for only 39p each at Safeways following the post-Easter slump in demand, a fact of which he was inordinately proud and boastful.

"These cheap eggs will tempt out the spectral bairns," he whispered conspiratorially.

I was informed that my house was swarming with the spirits of Victorian orphans (dead ones), and that these could easily be persuaded to quit the earthly plane in exchange for sweets. Father Bouffant crept around the walls (where, he asserted, ghostly children always hide) and occassionally offered up pieces of chocolate eggshells, then ate them himself when the phantoms failed to materialise to claim his treats.

When he had eaten the entire stock he called for a mug of tea then fell asleep in an armchair where I was unable to rouse him until this afternoon during Deal or No Deal? On waking, he disgorged a triumphant amount of semi-digested milk chocolate onto the carpet, claimed his body had been commandeered by H'Karr'karr the Rancorous One, and that a bottle of single malt whisky would flush the bleeder out. The demon removed from his system in this way, he collapsed and began speaking in tongues. As he capsized, from out of his pockets a great many children's teeth spilled out. When he saw that I had noticed these, a terrible look briefly distorted his face, and he began to writhe and scream.

"Ach, the spectral bairns are nay happy wi' ma interfering," he said, and stumbled out of the house in great haste.

I have no idea whether he will ever return, but the abundance of children's teeth and this talk of ghost orphans has left me unnerved.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Father Bouffant's Visit

Father Bouffant has just departed the house leaving me in a heightened state of alarm. He arrived at 8:45am in the middle of Channel 4's showing of Will and Grace, a situation comedy concerning the exploits of a New Yorkian 'Bunbury' and a thin female. The cast also includes a comically shrill lady and a shaved gibbon of some kind. I make a point of watching this broadcast each day as I previously had to birch myself and take a breadknife to my arms to feel the same level of self-punishment and release, and this method is far cleaner.

Father Bouffant stormed into my home letting loose a torrent of expletives. He lay on the ground and gave every impression of suffering a fit. After 30 minutes of this extraordinary behaviour, he desisted. Frasier was on at this point, which is a programme about Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons and his adventures in a 3-dimensional world.

Father Bouffant explained that on the way to my house, his body was accosted by a demon which aimed to wrest his soul from him, and he had to force the brute out as quickly as possible. I offered him a cup of tea to aid recuperation, but he specified vodka as the only sure curative. He watched The Jeremy Kyle Show with me and suggested that from the comportment displayed by the guests, certain of the lower orders would benefit from being drowned at birth. Then he went to work.

At once he discerned that the spirit of my late mother was haunting my kitchen. By some unexplained trickery, he apparently persuaded her to enter the kettle, whereupon he trapped her using Catholic magic. Expelling her spirit, he said, was then a simple process of switching the kettle on and boiling her until she dissipated as steam. This done, he announced the exorcism a complete success, told me he would return tomorrow to get rid of further spirits, and left my house singing a hymn.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Priest

This morning I received a visit from a man dressed as a priest, who introduced himself as Father Bouffant. From this scant information, I deduced the man was a priest.

He claimed that he had been sent by Professor Jessica Flitey of the University of Duncairn to aid in her ongoing parapsychological investigations of my home. Of all the priests in Scotland, Father Bouffant has performed the highest number of exorcisms, and claims to not only have vanquished over three hundred demons from the bodies of the possessed, but also to have converted fourteen of them, via logical argument and espousing the tenets of the Catholic church, into honest Christians. One of those, he claims, now works for the gas board in Chertsey, and was recently promoted.

He invited himself in and talked at me for some time. He then wandered around my home waving a crucifix and rosary beads before concluding that my home is positively saturated with demonic entities, and that I myself am possessed by five demons.

He left a large brown paper bag filled with mints upon my coffee table, told me to suck one every 108 minutes, and declared that he would be back tomorrow fully prepared to perform the relevant exorcism rites.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Arrival of the Plates

I begin to feel uneasy. The Princess Diana collectible plates have arrived already - I only ordered them yesterday from an Ebay seller in Hull. My feedback tells me I have ordered items from this seller before but I have no recollection of how that panned out.

Each of the 3 dozen plates has a different design upon it, some of them depicting the princess holding children lovingly, and some depicting her smiling radiantly. Some of the designs are less savory, and I have discovered that when the plates are arranged in a specific order they form an illustrated story of Diana's life, featuring events such as the conceptions of both William and Harry, her struggle with bulimia nervosa, and her sad demise in a tunnel. Several of the last few designs in the pictorial sequence are somewhat too grisly to display upon a wall, and quite horrified me. This is someone's sick and depraved idea of a joke.

What has rendered me most miserable with fear is that the very last plate shows ME sitting at my computer typing up an entry on my electronic diary while the Princess shambles up behind me with a terrible expression upon her face...

...I dread to click 'Publish Post' and look behind me lest the picture prove true... heart pounds furiously in my chest, thumping out my death knell...


Edited to Add: ...on closer inspection of the plate, I realise it does not depict what I originally thought. What I took to be Princess Diana approaching me with a malevolent smirk was actually a picture of her brother Earl Spencer reading the very moving eulogy at the funeral, his face crumpled with grief. What I took to be me at a computer is actually Elton John at a piano playing his tribute to Marilyn Monroe which he hastily updated for the gig.


Friday, April 21, 2006

A Falling Out

I have decided to visit Mrs Cribbage no more. Frankly, her grasp of personal hygeine is so abysmal that a rancid stench constantly permeates her entire house and nauseates me. She is sullen and slothful, never deigning to speak to me regardless of how friendly I pretend to be, and never shifting her lazy body at all between visits. Furthermore, she has detachable limbs that she leaves around the lounge for her dog to chew upon, which is terrible mistreatment - a dog requires Pedigree Chum or Bounce Superchunks for a healthy coat. Mrs Cribbage's character-defects try my patience and make a mockery of my good nature, so I shall no longer waste my time with the old dame and her fat dog.

Before I left, she implied via silence and rigidity that I should help myself to all of her higher-denomination banknotes, which helped someway towards my forgiving her.

I decided that I should not spend this money unwisely because I have only just recouped my losses on the poetry book debacle. So I have purcased 3 dozen Princess Diana collectible plates. They will come in handy should I acquire food in the future.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mrs Cribbage's Diet

I have spent much of the weekend at the Cribbage house. Poor old Mrs Cribbage is very weak and unable to look after herself, so I put my quest for fame as a poet on hiatus and volunteered to help her with some day to day tasks. I took her sustained lack of response and movement as an eager acceptance of my offer, and set to work.

Pensioners these days do not receive enough allowance for fuel and heating, and dear Mrs Cribbage pays testament to this collective societal shame - she is absolutely freezing, and nothing I do will warm her. I made many cups of broth and even immersed her in a hot bath, but nothing would rouse her to warmth.

I cannot persuade her to eat which is a source of some concern - I would have previously thought the phrase "wasting away before my eyes" was more figurative, but in the case of Mrs Cribbage, she really seems to be withering and rotting away from lack of food. Her left leg entirely disappeared over Sunday night. I had no idea that weight loss worked like that. No wonder those Americans are so against the idea of losing weight! I should rather be plump than fester away and seep, which Mrs Cribbage's needless diet has caused.

She is clearly managing to feed her dog though, as the beast looks full and satiated once more.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Success at Last!

I have sold some copies of my book! Yesterday found me wandering around the estate, taking my poetry door-to-door and reading to the people. This attempt was unsuccessful, for nobody would allow me to stand on their doorsteps for longer than a minute. I have since deduced that this was not a fault of my poetry, but rather an aversion caused by my nudity from the waist down.

This morning I wore pantaloons as normal, and tried again. After several setbacks I decided to attempt Mrs Cribbage across the road, though she has always held a great antipathy towards me and I was by no means confident of success. Well, readers, on this occassion she was quite delightful. Receiving no answer to my knocking, I traversed the many full milk bottles littering her step and made my way to her back door which was slightly ajar, and let myself in.

I beheld her sitting in an armchair staring directly at me. I am afraid that she quite stunk, but I did not point this out for fear of causing offence. Ordinarily she is a garrulous harridan, but today she was calm and quiet. I asked if I could read to her my poetry and took her lack of reply as an affirmative one.

I read the entire poem through to completion, and she seemed quite taken with it for as I finished, she slumped forward in her chair in supplication to my genius. Embarrassed by this exaggerated praise, I nevertheless felt warm inside knowing that I had finally reached someone.

It was then that I noted an envelope full of twenties lying on her coffee table. Presumably her pension.

"Oh Mrs Cribbage," I said, with a small tear welling in my eye, "Of course you may buy six copies of my book for further consideration."

I helped myself to £300 and balanced six copies of my book upon her back, at which point she made a great show of throwing herself to the floor and genuflecting spread-eagled at my feet in gratitude. Foolish woman has probably never experienced decent poetry in her life, and was quite overcome.

Her dog seemed needlessly distressed and was charging around the house soiling the carpet. Mrs Cribbage is too old to own such an excitable dog, and should consider better means to keep it in check. Before I left, I took the time to lock the dog in the living room with Mrs Cribbage, so that she might look after it a little better. I hope she shall provide food for it soon, for the wretched beast looked half-starved.

£300 and a humbling show of praise is not bad for a day's work though - I may return tomorrow to offload a few more copies onto old Mrs Cribbage.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Trip to Auld Reekie ('Edinburgh')

Yesterday was disasterous. I decided that Dundee as a whole was unsuitable as an arena for poesy and literary experimentation. The city is a cultural wasteland! After all, it has only produced and inspired Don Patterson, Kathleen Jamie, John Burnside, W. N. Herbert, Bill Duncan, A.L. Kennedy, Rosamunde Pilcher, Kate Atkinson, Mary Shelley, and other such ignoble figures. I decided Auld Reekie ('Edinburgh') would be a better city to loose my genius upon the world, for Auld Reekie ('Edinburgh') has produced a great many renowned literary figures such as William Douglas-Home, who wrote the screenplay for Follow That Horse! (1960).

I composed a short piece to mark the occassion of my departure from Dundee.

And so it was that at 8:03
I left the ancient City of Dundee
For Edinburgh to show off my genius
(I took the reasonably priced Megabus).

When I arrived in Auld Reekie ('Edinburgh') an hour and a half later, I discovered that I had picked an ideal time to arrive. Had I come a few months later, there would have been an enormous city-wide festival of the Arts running, which would involve an abundance of street mime artists and interminable student reviews. This would have quite ruined the tone of my more serious and sombre work.

Inspired by my good fortune, I boldly marched down the Royal Mile (equivalent to 320 falls and 8 furlongs) and chanted my poem - I sang it to the tune of the Murder She Wrote theme to better attract the attention of passers-by. I am afraid to report that every publican along the route produced a plate of peas and hurled it at me.

Another failure. Now that I am back in Dundee, I will go door-to-door with my poetry in order to reach people at a personal level - I now believe people have been put off by my big public displays. The Scottish psyche does not tolerate such over-the-top ostentation.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bringing Poetry to the Proles

I am disheartened once more. Having reached the conclusion that Yates's ('the Wine Lodge') was perhaps too grand and sophisticated an arena to begin my career as a poet, I decided that I should start at the lowest rung of society and reach out to those poor dregs at the stunted end of the cultural spectrum.

I toyed with McDonald's as a potential venue, but feared that I might meet Morgan Spurlock. Pizza Hut presented certain attractions, but I felt that with the Buffet lunch deal now being available at the weekends, the customers would be too frantic to grant my poetry the attention it deserved.

I finally settled upon Spud-u-Like in the Overgate centre, reasoning that the patrons would be so dull-witted from surfeit of carbohydrates that they would be unlikely to attack me. I entered and gently whispered my poem at an overweight couple who were cursed with lank hair and greasy skin, doubtless caused by the lank and greasy food they shovelled down their gullets. They seemed more impressed by their prawn-cocktail-filled baked potatoes than my epic account of human experience.

At their insolent lack of interest, I am afraid I quite lost my temper and struck the female on her temple with my coat sleeve. She and her partner barely acknowledged me. I gave the male a Chinese burn, but he sat placidly chewing a sliver of potato skin. I tugged the hair on the female's upper lip, but she ignored me.

I gave up. The lumpenproletariat are not to be reached with higher art forms.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Failed Poetry Recital

Today is my first day as a famous poet. This morning I donned a bonnet and left the house in high spirits, carrying all 15 copies of the book in which my poem appears. My intention was to read aloud to the common folk as they went about their sordid daily businesses. I felt that by doing so I might raise them from their mental and spiritual torpor and inject a modicum of meaning into their stagnant lives.

I confess I had ulteriour motives in this seemingly altruistic act, for I aimed to arouse the plebians into a passion through my poetry and exploit their frenzied state to sell them a few copies of my book. I regret being so spendthrift lately and have quite bankrupted myself - I estimate I will have to sell 14 copies (I will retain one for a keepsake) at £94 each in order to make back all that I have spent on this publishing venture.

I entered a 'public house' in the centre of Dundee called Yates ('the Wine Lodge') whereupon I began to read extracts from my poem at a terrific volume. I am sorry to report that the publican immediately threw a plate of peas at me and told me to leave. This sunk my morale so much that I ran home in tears to compose myself.

I will try a different locale for my recitals tomorrow. I must reach the people.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The poetry is published

Last week I sent an electronic payment to the poetry people in America. There was an additional handling fee of $100, an editor and indexer fee of $319, and overheads of $50, but this was well worth it for the opportunity to touch the hearts and souls of thousands of people worldwide with my art.

A few days later, the Americans were in touch to say that the poetry collection in which my piece appears had been published, and should I wish a copy, it would cost me $35.99. Needless to say, I ordered 15 copies to hand out to friends and family. This incurred an additional delivery charge of $90.

This morning they arrived - the book is entitled "Poetry Collection Vol. 3082", and my poem appears on page 450. I am famous. My name is in print.

I ventured outdoors and stood in the front garden in my dressing gown and hollered in celebration. Mrs Cribbage from across the road came and asked me to be quiet, but I scowled at her and said "I have nothing to declare but my genies" (this quotation is purloined from another man of the Arts, Oscar Zarate) .

Today will be a day devoted entirely to joy at my achievements, so I will not get dressed in formal wear and will instead retain my pajamas. There will be no need to wash.