Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I had my hair cut today for the first time in almost a year. It's a strange cut, I went in with various pictures of regency dandies and it turned out pretty well. At one stage I realised I had Anna Wintour's hair cut. But that was just a stage I had to go through when trying to leave 'Cousin it' behind and embrace a brave new world of hair.

No-longer will I look like a surprised tramp or a springer spaniel. Nope, now I have the hair of a 1960s housewife crossed with Mr D'arcy.

It's a start I suppose.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Well well well

I have to think of more ideas, all sorts of strange and interesting things to pitch out for more work. The probablem is my nonsense well is a bit dry at the moment.

Maybe I need to dig a balderdash mine or perhaps do a rain dance so a cloud of inanity will come and replenish the land with poppycock.

I'm currently rustling through my reserve stores of twaddle but I'm not sure how longer it will last

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I heart Sharks

It looks like the situation with the naughty book people will be sorted out now. My friend who is an extremely vicious rights lawyer gave me some free advice on how to scare them into behaving themselves, he also said provided I brought him a pint when ever I saw him he would look at any future contracts.

From now on if I sign something it's going to be riddled with clauses and sub-clauses that would make the devil himself wince at the cunning and ingenuity of them. Oh yes, I'm never getting screwed on a contract again.

Sometimes lawyers are nice, especially since my new lawyer is VERY scary.


I have finished the piece, it is done, over. Huzzah.

I put down the sudden change in writing fortunes almost entirely to the Pith Helmet. It inspired a stiff upper lip that allowed me to stop putting off writing it and jolly well just get it done. It's one of the first times I've ever handed in homework on time, let alone early so hopefully this will be the start of new things.

Now I can get back to the important business of writing nonsense and having japes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Birthday helmet

It's my birthday today, I'm currently wearing my first present a pith helmet. I'm not sure what it's for, or when I will wear it outside but right now it has been assigned the important duty of headgear to wear while interviewing people on the telephone or when making coffee.

I've not eaten any cake yet but that is only a matter of time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Resilience to misfortune

Stress is a special thing, it comes in so many grades. I used to think I was quiet stressed in my old job where I had tough targets of things to do and I had to work with a prat, or more accurately for a prat whose only job seemed to be to hassle me. That used to feel pretty special but now I laugh at it, a-ha-ha-ha. It has nothing on me now.

Since my dad died I've done nothing but work, the day after I returned to London from the funeral I went a job interview and aced it. I've been pitching new ideas to newspapers and magazines, so that every day I'm rushed off my feet writing things or doing research on the hardest piece I've ever had to do. I am a very busy boy.

This would be fine if payment for all this hard work was forthcoming, but it's not all sorts of 'book advances' won't be appearing until months later which doesn't make it much of an advance if it appears after you have finished the book. I'm at least mildly tempted to tear up the legally binding contact that they have already broken to teach them a lession, but I'm not really in a powerful enough position to do that. Various other invoices are in that strange sort of limbo that is acceptable because you aren't a company and you are unlikely to sue because the promise of more work keeps you sweet.

Normally I think I could just about cope with this, I enjoy a challenge and like working hard but since my dad died I've just not as resilient to misfortune and I don't think I will be until I've had some time to really think about stuff but that can't happen because to survive I. Must. Work.

Or more accurately I must get paid. The only positive I can draw from this whole experience is if I survive it I will become a man of iron who is implacable and able to survive anything, or I will end up wondering around in my dressing gown all day eating mashed bananas after a nervous break down.

Either one would make a nice change.

Friday, October 19, 2007

On the range

I learnt to be a cowboy today, it was lovely.

There are some very important parts of being a cowboy that you need to get the look right before you can even get on a horse. The first of these is your wardrobe, anything less than a 1 inch heel on at least a faintly ridiculous boot is just wrong, next is the trousers. Jeans are where it is at, in a classic blue. I favour a flared boot-cut leg but it's down to personal taste.

Shirts can be a tricky one, I don't have anything with tassels but an extremely rugged shooting shirt that is made of some sort of cloth-iron hybrid completed the look.

Once you have your look sorted you need to start thinking about your swagger, and relaxed pose. Western Riding is about slouching in the saddle looking as bored as possible, sort of like the Fonzie in chaps. You also need to think about a 1000 yard stare, because you never know when you will spot a marauding wolf or cattle rustlers.

When you have mastered this you can think about additional affections, some people like to chew gum, tobacco or even a blade of grass but it's really up to personal taste.

With the tricky stuff like that out of the way the messing around on horses part is easy.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Reporting, Disappointing men and rice.

I'm working on a proper grown-up feature now. It has no humour in it, or even attempts at humour and so I suppose I could at least suggest that I'm being a journalist, albeit one who spends most of his time in his pants frowning at a computer screen. I have to track down and interview a tricky subset of society and they are proving hard to find, I thought I had enough of them to write about but then one was black-listed by the editor and another one pulled out with vague excuses at the last moment.

Actually he did more than that, he said no and then tried to kiss my girlfriend. I wasn't there when this happened but T.P. told me about it. How low can some people go? They will lead another chap on about an interview and then try and kiss a woman that they know is unavailable? I should point out that this person is a friend of T.P. and so they met for drinks after work to catch up with some things.

Men are such scum sometimes, especially bankers. Chap has been put on the naughty list, which is bad place to be. Oh yes, a BAD PLACE. Nearly as bad as eating rice for every meal.

I seem to be living off rice these days, I've invoiced out a small fortune in the last couple of weeks but since everything is at least on 30 days it takes forever to get the cash. I hate this 30 days rubbish, I can't get away with it at the pub so why should they?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sykes is not amused

Today I've had all sorts of annoying things happen. First it looks like the jacket isn't going to be making an appearance for my birthday - someone else got the last one before I could and so I'm not going to get to join the Welsh Guards in the 18th century.

I just got a series of terrifying letters from the bank caused by the Postal strike, next time I see a postman I'm going to kick him in the testicles, hard.

No-one is calling me back, which is making a feature involving interviewing three people extremely tricky.

I've tried doing something else, like writing a guide to roulette but the more I read about it the more I realise only a moron would go near a roulette table. Why do people gamble? It's so bloody stupid.

Oh and my computer is malfunctioning so I may end up using it to bludgeon a postman, or a gambler to death.

Joining the Welsh Guards

It's not long till my birthday and this will be an important one, not because of the age but because I will be getting my first pith helmet. Oh but it doesn't end there, I'm also going be presented with a Welsh Guards uniform, the one from Rorke's Dift.

Watching Zulu on a Sunday afternoon while pretending to do your homework is never going to the be same again.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Well it feels like Autumn has landed, there is a pleasant chill to the air which means it's time to dig out coats and hats and gloves and other pleasantly furry things.

The nice thing about this sort of weather is that a stroll can sort out almost anything. Stuck on something insightful to write about Blackjack? Go for a bimble. If you need to think of something inventive to say about property? Take a walk, or even if something else in your life seems to be going into complete meltdown and you just can't understand why? Get your shoes on and go and buy a pint of milk in the other side of town.

When things get confusing and tricky, kicking some oak leaves around Hyde Park might just be the only thing that helps.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Principality of Monaco

Last night Europe's favourite principality paid for me to get rather drunk under the guise of talking about hotels. The bash was held in the Prince's new offices just off Park Lane, each room had been converted to have a different theme and T.P. and I swanned around drinking champagne and asking questions. The canapes were excellent and they even had lines of chocolate powder for you to suck up with a straw, who thinks up these things?

After that we went to a bar for drinks to mark a friends 30th. As the T.P. pointed out it was a rather strange 30th as I was the woman's only friend who she didn't work with there which struck T.P. as a little bizarre. What a depressing thing to happen on a birthday.

It's almost as depressing as being unable to get a 95th Rifles jacket in your size, almost.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Looking back

Last Friday, flush with picking up contract, I decided to meet up with my old work chums in the local for a drink or two. I thought it would be like it used to be, how wrong I was.

It was weird, what I used to adore had changed and now it was just some women, drunk, smoking a lot (I had to have a second shower when I got home to get rid of the smell) and being strange. I think it was because I turned up later when they were all blissfully drunk, but part of it was because of the new girl.

The new sub-editor is a dominatrix, and she was a nightmare. I don't normally get on with domintrixes (dominatrixi?) because they expect men to do what they say but this one was extra awful. She tried to get me to lick beer off her fingers, I said 'I would prefer not' to which she called me weak and a chicken. As I'm not Marti McFly, it didn't work.

So she tried to get me to do her bidding a second time and I said my girlfriend was scarier than her so I would have to decline. She made a go away hand-waving motion to me, but as she was trashed she smacked me in the face.

I left a bit after that, I hate dominatrixes.

Oh and the ex-TLI was there (the girl who had consumed me this time last year) and well she looked fragile and slightly mental. Oh how your opinion of someone changes when you are not looking at them properly.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sign here for pants.

Well today I picked up the contract, which is good. I'm going to be paid real money to write a book. Huzzah!

I'm slightly worried that the moment I have signed it I will get writers block and sit around in my pants eating soup. It's unlikely but it could happen. Maybe I should buy some fancy pants just in case.

You will be pleased to hear that when I get the cash advance I will be buying a green velvet smoking hat and a jacket like the one Sharpe wore. It's the uniform of the 95th Rifles during the Napoleonic war to be exact.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Jungle Journalism

Today my first proper bit of journalism will appear in a newspaper. Proper journalism with hard-hitting facts and things, not just nonsense about ladies and shoes. Okay so it's mostly nonsense about tanks but it feels more grown up.

I can't wait to get hold of a copy, it doesn't come out to later and this day is going so very slowly it hurts.


It was yesterday, I didn't post this because I spent the first half of the day nervously biting my nails and the second half getting hold of as many copies as I could.