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The Beast

Bildergebnis für gothic horror landscape

From the sooty shanties of Kensington to the overflowing burial mounds of Hyde Park, all one hears of in London today is The Beast. This flesh-eating Lusus Naturae, currently overflowing both the underground network and the world’s oldest functioning sewage system, is even the maxime popularis of tight-lipped respectable ladies in what is left of the city.

The Beast has, I admit, devoured a number of souls that cannot be counted in the mere tens of thousands. The true sum of unfortunate statistics given to its voracious hunger will remain contested for generations, if indeed we survive long enough to gather such information.

But to tell you the truth my dear reader, scandalous as it may seem to our co-competitors at The Guardian; I admire The Beast.

It was not so long ago that I could not think clearly over all that damned noise. The piercing shriek of the snowflake. The blade-in-my-brain of the endless complainers. Escalating by degrees over the years. Increasing in exorbitance of both volume and content.

“Exit Brexit!”

“Trans people are people!” – a tautology if ever I heard one.

“The planet is dying!”

“My toilet has mauve demon fur growing out of it!”

“I can’t breathe, the air makes me nauseous!”

“The Sun. Can you remember what the Sun looked like?”

Et cetera, et cetera. All very loud. All very earnest. All, in an extremely tedious literal sense true – apart from “Exit Brexit” which is a phrase without truth value. But impossible to concentrate around.

Now, as a consequence of The Beast, the complainers are thankfully no longer with us. I can think clearly. My thoughts. Hot, black, heavy, sticky thoughts. The kind that have me afraid of sleep for the things that will wake me. Halting thoughts. Thoughts that make the heart leap and scratch.

But they are my thoughts dear reader. And I can hear them. We have our insatiable friend to thank for this. Those of us who are still alive are undoubtedly better off for its quieting omnipresence.

And so it is with great sadness that I look toward the upcoming democratic ritual. If the polls are to be believed then The Beast is about to lose its majority. The repercussion will either be a hung Parliament or a sickly Corbyn administration. Or both. Dread to think. In any case, the result is sure to put Brexit, now in its forty-seventh year of negotiation, in jeopardy.

I for one do not wish to live to see the outcome.


Quick Nudes

I haven’t ever done life drawing before. Here are a couple of quick drawings I did of some friends. At first I was reluctant to do it but I ended up having a lot of fun.

On Sadness

Right now, as I write this, I am sad. There is moisture in my head. My lips are heavy. If I were to stand a force greater than gravity would make me sit.

We are all sad at different times for different reasons. We are recharging. We are grieving. We are afraid for a future that we cannot predict. We are broken. We are tired. We are stuck. We are at odds with the universe. We are at odds with God. We are at odds with strangers. We are at odds with friends. We are at odds with ourselves. It happens.

Sadness is a lens. It allows you to see what is in front of you. Your father’s frailty was always there. Now it is in focus. Your mother’s concentration as she puts on her glasses to read an email. Your friend’s soft smile as she shuffles a deck of cards. They were there. Now you see them.

Sadness is a glass cage. You observe your own actions as an audience member watching a film. You hear your own voice in conversation. It is hard work. Words come slowly. You miss the connections between things. You are present, but you are not present.

Sadness is a process. Inside the gears are whirring. You will discover things.


Sadness is a veil. The light is there. But it is hidden.

Sadness is fleeting. All things pass.

Sadness is necessary. It holds us back from the things that hurt us.

Sadness is a map. There are paths. There are mountains. There are valleys. There are peoples and prizes. Here be dragons.

Sadness is a web. You are stuck to you. We are all stuck together.

I am sad because I am tired. I am sad because I see jagged machines rising over the horizon. I am sad because I do not understand myself. I am sad because I am not sure if I will make the right decisions.

Sleep on it. See what changes.



Sheilegh had found her. She knew her large nose and thick black eyebrows. She crossed the pond and spoke to the younger woman.

“I’m you from the future! I’m here to save your life!” Sheilegh said.

The younger woman looked at her expectedly. She had to say something good.

“You have ADHD. You can’t change it.”

“… Is that it?”

“No. There’s more.”

Why was she so nonplussed? Sheilegh tried again.

“You can learn any language. You learned English.”


“Knowing this will encourage you to learn.”

“How are you going to save my life though?”

“I don’t know. I suppose I thought you’d be impressed that I had managed to create a working time machine. I needed an opening line.”

“I am impressed. I have dreamed of creating a time machine. As I’m sure you know. But you don’t seem to have anything to say.”

Sheilegh looked around. Nobody seemed to take any notice of them. A gaggle of ducks were arguing. The air was icy.

“Can we go to your place?” Sheilegh asked her younger self, “…I don’t want to mess things up.”

They walked.

“I’m sure the timeline is already distinct from your own original,” the young one said, “But you know that. You’re me.”

“I never could invent a forwards time machine.”

“And even if you could, by coming back you’ve altered your own timeline forever.”

“Yes. It’s not like in fiction. No time loops for me. I mean us. I mean… Whatever. We don’t get to conveniently end where we started.”

“You got anywhere to stay?”

“I was hoping-”

“-that you could move in with me.”

“Yes. I can easily earn money using historical stock market data.”

“And then what?”

“Well there are a few avoidable incidents that I’ll alert you to so they no longer cause lifelong health problems.”

They had reached the younger Sheilegh’s apartment door.

“That’s nice.”

“You know I half expect your apartment to be filled with copies of us. One hypothetical danger of time travel.”

“Yes. What is the probability that you would come back only once?”

“And given that I came back, what were the chances that I’d come back to this universe?”

“You don’t know how to end this dialogue do you?”

“This is clearly fiction, as it could not be real within the parameters established within it.”

“That’s not what a real person would say.”

And then, in a universe-spanning spasm of contrivance, everything exploded.


“I don’t like being a young man” it thought.

But then it wondered. Was it really being a young man that it didn’t like? Or did it dislike the feeling of uncertainty that all decision-making creatures have from time to time?

Perhaps it was decision itself the creature did not like.

“I might have made things worse” the creature thought. It’s neck-hairs bristled. Small white lights shone in the wandering black outside the train window.

It opened up the WordPress app and started to type a half-formed story.

“I don’t want you to be happy.”

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That’s what he had said. In the dark. Close. Under the covers. His arm around my waist. His head on my hair.

He breathes quietly. What is he dreaming? Fucking hell.

“I don’t want you to be happy.”

Why would anyone say that?

Why would anyone think that?

I can feel my heart beating in my stomach and my ears. Fuck you Jack.

Does he know what he said? Was he awake? He’s spoken in his sleep before.

My breath is big and heavy.

Just before he fell asleep he had been telling me about the last girl he had slept with. They had showered together. The only one he’d ever had a romantic shower with. He had spoken with a big grin and his dark brown eyes were glistening.

“She was so beautiful. She liked to have her back scratched. Have you ever had a romantic shower Daisy?”


His eyes suddenly looked very heavy.

“A shower is a very close thing,” I said “Stroking someone all over-”

He was asleep. I tucked his hair behind his ears. Glowing. Settled in the moment.

Then, fifteen minutes later.

“I don’t want you to be happy.”

He’s jealous. That’s it. But he brought up the other girl. I didn’t even care!

Fuck you Jack.

He moves towards me. Kisses my lips, softly.

23 Ideas for Supervillains That Don’t Suck

Most supervillains are terrible, here are 24 small ideas for better ones


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“But why?” The hero says, as around him a screening crowd of orphans burn. The villain actually has a value system that is at least slightly relatable.

  1. Meritocracy. The villain has had it with stupid people who don’t know what they’re doing being in charge. She’s going to take them out, and put some capable ones in their place. Maybe she’ll break a few rules and a few little fingers on the way.
  2. Equality. How can one person hoard everything, while others starve? The villain’s aim is simply to level the playing field. And levelling Tony Stark’s house (and the Eiffel Tower) is just part of the process.
  3. Freedom. The villain has had enough of these restrictive rules! Naturally he’s got to kill the cops, and blow up an aircraft carrier, and melt the pentagon. Do as much as he can to destroy the Fascist state and let the people be who they are.
  4. Self. He just wants to be rich. And powerful. And have fun. Why should it always have to be some complicated Templar plot to turn back the world clock? What happened to plain old dollas and titties?
  5. Order. You see how crazy and confusing things are right now. If people were just told what to do, and stopped doing anything else, then it would be simple. Unfree, maybe, horrible, maybe, but simple. Organised.
  6. Honesty. These lying liars. Why must they lie? I’ll cut out their dishonest tongues and then they shall lie no more! The world I make in their place will be a more open one.
  7. Purity. You think I’m neurotic for always washing my hands before shaking yours? I’m SAFE Tony. You’re taking a risk every day. Now, once my nerve agent gets into the water supply, everyone who is predisposed to carry infectious diseases will die, painlessly, and we can remove their bodies. Then we’ll all be safe. Well, safer. We could always kill more. People with peanut allergies, for example. No more of them, no more peanut allergies…
  8. Punishment. Everyone has sinned Alice. I’m here because you cheated on your maths exam in year eight.
  9. Happiness. I’m forcibly plugging people into a simulated reality in which Ed Milliband is Prime Minister, America enacted common-sense gun legislation and Conan O’Brien stayed writing The Simpsons. So what if it is technically slavery? These people are enjoying their lives. Reality could never live up to this. Their imaginary children can afford imaginary mortgages!

All of these are insane, but they all have an emotional core to them that exists in actual humans.


Image result for grievance

Who hurt you, evil villain?

10. Jealousy. I have an IQ of 175 and have created a new form of renewable energy that is powered by grapes. But nobody wants to go for a beer with me, nobody will have sex with me, and nobody will give me any money for my amazing ideas. They say it’s because I’m an “arsehole”. Well I don’t want to be left out of the party any more. I want what she’s having! I’m going to take down everyone who doesn’t deserve what they’ve got!!!

11. Authority. My dad. My head teacher. The head of my improv comedy troupe. They all were dicks to me. I’m going to dick right back!!

12. Loneliness. It’s simple. This villain can’t keep up a relationship. He can’t keep up a friendship. It’s unbearable. So when he does see someone he’s just way too intense and drives them away again. There’s a hole in him and he’ll fill it with murder.

13. Boredom. This little lady has been around for more than three thousand years. She’s read all the books. She’s eaten every kind of tomato. She’s made out with every species in the universe. It’s all the same to her now. She’s going to have some fun, and that means doing something a little bit extreme.

14. Disorder. My foster parents were bad people. They hit me. They threw me down the stairs. They humiliated me in front of their friends. But it was my mother’s anger that hit me hardest. I never knew what would set it off. I tried to moderate it by pleasing her, but I could never understand her patterns. If only I knew what set her off. If only I could control her rage! I need to understand and control everything!

15. Loss. She was happy once. Good once. But then everything was taken from her. Now she has nothing left to lose.

16. Hunger. Amazing what an empty belly and a cold hard bed can do to focus the mind. Gotta steal to eat. Gotta eat to live. And he has acquired a taste for human flesh.

A villain is interesting when there is some real pain they are trying to rectify.


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The villain’s powers should 100% not be “super tough, and can punch hard” because that is a) boring to fight against and b) the same set of powers that every villain – especially every Disney Marvel villain – has.

17. Heat. Yes this villain can make fires with his hands, but due to conservation of energy, he has to draw the energy from somewhere, and makes icicles with his arse at the same time. I’m sure this could be turned against him somehow.

18. Freeze time. But it only lasts a few seconds, and she has to build up her power between shots by eating huge quantities of banana bread and resting for hours. This is extremely inconvenient and means she has to be clever about the use of her powers.

19. Jump forward in time. But only forward. Oh wait that would make for terrible stories. Scratch that.

20. This is stupid. It’s not their powers that make supervillains so consistently boring to watch. It’s their nonsense plans and boring personality.

21. Hollywood execs should have no end of supervillain archetypes to bend into their film characters, after all, they live, work with and marry them every day.

22. Almost everyone thinks they have good intentions. This is especially true of villains. So stop making them boring arseholes with no reason for why they do, who believe themselves to be evil.

23. Make them interesting arseholes who have a sizeable fanbase.

That is all.