Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Poetry Hallway - Boxing Day Blues

Don't stand out in the cold - no I'm not opening it any further - you can get through that surely? Here, grab my hand...


Woah there! Ooff. See, not so bad. Welcome to the Poetry Hallway.

If poetry is a kamikaze fighter plane of righteousness screaming towards its terrible target, then perched on its left wing is Andrew Walton. See out the festive season in his wiry, wry company. Sorry, no chairs. Park your bottom on the radiator.

Boxing Day Blues by Andrew Walton

Nige on the hunt! (Andy Brain)
Boxing Day again – too much turkey, pies and beer
Goodwill to all men, and lots of Christmas cheer.
Farage dons green wellies and joins the Surrey Hunt
Cigar in hand, spots a camera, pushes to the front.
Irresistible lure of publicity stunt.

Toady in his element, on turret of trundling tank
City spiv turned country toff, get back to your bank.
While Nigel farages round the fox-hole,
City Link workers are flung on the dole.

I hope he chokes on his Brussels sprouts
With his UKIP chums and their upturned snouts
To a din of grunts and scoffs, they spout
Tales of bestial gay donkeys, to which they gave a clout.

Captain of the “People's Army”, he leads from the rear
Let's get him a phone app, thoughtful gift, this time of year.
UKIK is its name – you give immigrants a great punt
Off the cliffs of Dover, while prize porkers grunt in clover.

On Question Time yet again, no-one to speak up for us.
Foreigners they take the blame, but we all get the brunt
Tory cuts, stretched services, a privatised NHS.
Don't blame the poor for Britain's problems – it is not their mess.

It's not the fault of immigrants, you can find the real culprits
Wealthy, hypocritical, racist UKIP shits
Wearing Barbour, green wellies, puffing on cigars
Tearing up the countryside in oversized four-wheel drive cars

IDS does not approve. (Andy Brain)
You can absorb more of Mr Walton's verse in two eminently affordable collections: Little Red Poetry and Little Green Poetry, or via his blog: 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Station of Critical Review by Kennedy Hiscox-Wormegay: Fred Dibnah greetings card

Happy Year of the New, bloggophiles! After the unprecedented success of the critical review of 'Christmas Is Really Fantastic' by that smooth crooner, Frank Sidebottom, it is of extreme necessity that a return is made by the one writer, me, Hiscox-Wormegay. Sidebottom's Christmas offering shot back into the charts following my review, peaking at no. 1 in the Halifax Woolworth vinyl charts, allowing Sidebottom Industries to hire an aggressive legal team which now spends every waking hour trawling the netspace for sound pirates and image tealeaves to send to the e-gallows.

Up to be roasted on this fine evening is something I hoped never to roll eyes across. Imagine the scenario. It's 7.30am and it's your birthday. You've gone to bed late, excited at the prospect of no one reminding you how old and decrepit you've become. Yet some youth-saturated privy stain claiming to be your niece or nephew has dispatched to you a card, in which they have scribed some wit intended to enrage you.  And splashed across the front of the card, like a herring gull struck against the canopy of a BAe Typhoon, is that hideous of northerly, coal-encrusted dumplings, Fred Dibnah.  Now, this is not intended as a slur against the short, lumpy steeple pervert. Indeed, I dare not utter a single nastiness against the good name of the rotund steam imp. But nothing reminds one of the decay of nature quite so much as the laughing, sooty face of Dibnah.

Flat cap pie: Fred Dibnah. (©2014 Robert M. Follen. Used with permission.)
You've pictured the scene, and you've wept lumpy tears at the thought of it. However, it may become a reality. Bob Art Models, a relatively new outfit from Fenlander-Falklander-Fenlander-Suffolk-Londerner-Northerner Robert Follen, is producing micro-batches of these hideous caricatures, available as 140x140mm cards. That's not all Bob Art Models produces; I shall be reviewing other monstrosities over the coming months. But Dibnah is a good place to start for one very excellent reason: it sells. Now, I've seen a lot of the world. In the early years of last century, I led an expedition of forty men to Northern Africa and managed to make it back with almost three of them - for which I was knighted. (I gave the knighthood back when my 2003 single "How To Kill Pygmies" failed to chart.) But in all my travels, I've never met someone who could put Dibnah on a card and get people to part with cash for it - even if it is a very reasonable £2.50 (carriage is free!). Follen is clearly some kind of a genius; he could sell moral destitution to the Taliban and E numbers to Disneyland.

So, as is traditional in reviews, it's time to put stars all over Fred - or not, as may be the case.

There you go, five stars. That means that despite internal protestations, you should go to Bob Art Models's celebrity card repository here and buy up all Robert's stock.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Nase And Abel - Terrabottom/Sidehawks

Nase and Abel stumble upon a confusing mash-up of solid-world characters and Nase speculates as to the reaction of those on the other side.

naseandabel-shortformat#1-page02 (written and illustrated by Gareth Monger)

 Coming soon: Drew Walton commandeers the hallway for poetry.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Nase And Abel - Copy?

Were you suitably soiled this Solstice? No? Here, have this:

naseandabel-shortformat#1-page01 (written and illustrated by Gareth Monger)

Sporren and the Space-Bats - Archive - Old Issue 1

Whilst these Isles are buffeted by wind and rain and snow and hail and bile and spit and snot and sunshine and lollipops and rainbows, let's creep into the back garden and rescue for your delectation an archive strip of Sporren and the Space-Bats, dating from a mouldy old Beware! which originally surfaced in 2006. Yes it is early for Burns Night. Tuck in wi' relish.

Sporren & The Space Bats - Old #01 - written/illustrated by Andy Brain (Plug Child design by Gareth Monger)

Tomorrow, Nase and Abel, but coming very soon: Fearless guest poet Drew Walton lobs his inflammatory verse, Molotov-style, into the Poetry Hallway; and the Two Bobs wring out the Old Year and hang it over the banister.

Friday, 26 December 2014

The Two Bobs - Walking Home For Christmas

Written/illustrated by Andy Brain
Comedy titans Nobby "Bob" Lyons (shifty eyes, probing fingers) and Bobby Robert (static, resigned) are wandering across the city. It is late. They are both half-cut.
BOBBY: What a cock pile.
NOBBY: Not so bad.
BOBBY: We didn't get the money. Didn't even get BFH.
NOBBY: Not true - ooh - we did have a snifficantly large amount of booze -
BOBBY: That we grabbed from tables.
NOBBY: (running tongue around lips) And I got a snog.
BOBBY: You got a slap too. Silly bugger. It don't count if they're turned the other way when you dive in. Mouthful of ear wax.
NOBBY: All tastes nice and the danger adds spice.
BOBBY: Get us killed in the head you will. Christmas entertaining at the Palace of Pricks.
NOBBY: Ah, ah, you - one Bobby of Robertland - forgot your Jesus monologue.

BOBBY: That was my Jesus monologue.
NOBBY: It-it-it was - it was the same two words, a slim pair of identifiers, a word couplet, again and again and again and (dancing) say it again and ooh he said it again and again... (darting his head either side of a lamppost) word one, yes there's word two, ah word one, is it word two?...
BOBBY: You'd know about talking the same twaddle never shuttin' up.
NOBBY: (Tripping on Bobby's length of tinsel) Woah! Ooh - there was another good bit! You got the tinsel snake back. Good times!

BOBBY: That were the only bit that got laughs. The zip spring is a ruddy marvel.
NOBBY: My head is very warm. These streets are stretching, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g...
BOBBY: Can we do the next show in a shoe shop? My feet are wearing through.
Nobby slumps down on the floor and breathes fast and shallow.
NOBBY: You may - ooff - wish to reverse your tootsies.
BOBBY: About to paint the town are you?
NOBBY: (Steeling his diaphragm) It's quite fun if I can hold it in til we get back. I can get the testing kit out.
BOBBY: You dirty bugger. Should have let it go in the bar. Belly laugh to remember!
NOBBY: (Gulp) We've come a long way, you and me.
BOBBY: Long way to go too. No fuckin' taxis we could rip off.
NOBBY: Old friend.
BOBBY: Cheeky sod.

NOBBY: Could you see your way - bleurgh - to finding me a good woman for the hour?
BOBBY: We have a Christmas angel and she squats next door. Makes nice hash cakes.
NOBBY: (Sigh) In the year to come, do you think we'll -
BOBBY: Sack our agent?
NOBBY: No - do you think we'll -
BOBBY: Get the debts written off?
NOBBY: No - do you think we'll -
BOBBY: Stop Hattie doing those bloody awful performance poems?
NOBBY: No - do you think we'll -
BOBBY: Meet some women who aren't pyros or kleptos?
NOBBY: No - although - hmm - do you think we'll -
BOBBY: Write some better jokes?
NOBBY: No - do you think we'll -
BOBBY: Stop you perving about the shop?
NOBBY: No - do you think we'll -
BOBBY: Overthrow the government?
NOBBY: No - do you think we'll -
BOBBY: Bring peace to the Middle East?
NOBBY: No - do you think we'll -
BOBBY: Develop gas stench-powered space-ships and meet aliens?
NOBBY: No - do you think we'll -
BOBBY: Go to the footy in our gas stench-powered space-ship?
NOBBY: No - (retch) doyouthinkwe'll reach the heights?
BOBBY: Dunno. It's fun doing what we're doing really. Being poxy in people's face. Better than standing on the line packing fruits.
NOBBY: ...We do OK.
BOBBY: While the pills are working.
NOBBY: Give me a hug, old Bobby.
They embrace in a man-hug, and unfortunately Nobby loses his battle with the contents of his stomach. Bobby pulls away muttering choice words and whips off his now soiled T-shirt. He ties the length of tinsel around his chest like a Jodie Marsh belt-bra and continues on towards home, followed by a staggering Nobby who is scraping the sick off his tongue with his fingernails. Only another two miles to go.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Station of Critical Review by Kennedy Hiscox-Wormegay: Christmas is Really Fantastic - Frank Sidebottom

Being of Solstice Season, I, Kennedy Hiscox-Wormegay of the nearly-Republic of Scotland am in the happy position of being well-placed to offer up a critical response to the Christmas cash-in novelty song "Christmas Is Really Fantastic" by the rock monolith and Timperley tour guide, Frank Sidebottom. His behemothic porportions, entertainally-speaking, are such that any effort by which I might attempt to make avoidance with regards offering up said critical response would be professional suicide.

Owing to my detestation of wordy and letter-spattered ramblings, it is probably of maximised benefit to you, the reader, that I say nothing about this fun-but-irritating E.P. except that it exactly what one should be in the position of expecting from the cephalically-spheroid Sidebottom: song-like (but not excessively so), lyrically competent (yet somehow deceptively incompetent), nasal (yet throaty) and circular - except when purchased on audio cassette, in which case it's to be found crushed and distorted into a rectangular shape.

Nineteen eighty-six was the year in which this here 7" single was ejected upon an unsuspecting public horde. Many people died. Some people didn't. None of that had anything to do with the single's release. But that is the nature of life. Frank might have testified to that, lyrically, in one of the E.P.'s songs. But he didn't. Instead, he chose to squeeze song juice from the oranges of such issues as Christmas, a town called Mull, which is where autograph hunters attack Paul McCartney, and Demon Axe Warriors.

This wouldn't be a review unless this song was in receipt of some hot, gaseous, celestial bodies, so I shall oblige, as is the tradition of my opinionated heritage, with four of them.

Christmas message from all Space-Bats

Space-Bat greeting hastily recorded by uncomprehending Earthling Andy Brain

Hawp ye a' hae a peaceful yule. Apairt fae they Tory bastards. Thay kin git a lump o' coal in thair puddin.

Me, ah will be tuckin' intae th' stoatin' lentil roast. An auld Space-Bat tradition. Thistle is a braw cook wi' th' lentils.

Enough o' this processional leid. Sporren oot. Tak' care o' yoursel's.

(Space-Bats flap a jaunty retreat amidst tooting of the horns and flexing of the snowdrifts, back into the Furry Caves for toasting of the carob cakes and floopy dancing.)

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Poetry Hallway - Mary's Spot / Haiku

Come in and wipe your socks. Mind out for draughts - you're in the Poetry Hallway. Today we have an archival offering from the well-scrubbed Limpit Smike.

"I always knew poetry was within me, coming from somewhere deep, not even in my head but in my torso, and it's always a pleasure, when I have a spare hour, to flex the fingers and let fly with a good dozen or twenty pieces."

"Mary's spot is not a particularly lavish work like my Smoked Salmon series. I like to write about cheap things as well as the good stuff."

Thank you Limpit. Now a haiku (or something that's haiku length - where's the kigo?) from Andy. I think he's talking about a girl.
Tight pressed stressed tresses;
Perfect teeth; clear eyes test mine
I, lust's parody?

Monday, 22 December 2014

Johnny Cocktail - phone negotiation

Made it past the solstice, eh? Well done! Have a Cocktail to celebrate. Here, he's showing off his blistering mental acuity, in hope of delivering his latest clients something tasty for the New Year.

Johnny Cocktail - Phone Negotiation - Page 01 of 01 - written/illustrated by Andy Brain
Coming very soon: A brave wordsmith steps into the telescoping vacuum of Poetry Hallway.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Nase And Abel (3 & 4)

Our cyberspacial wanderer, Nase, and his hardwired guide, Abel, return in this double-whammy of heavy-on-the-tangent rambling.

naseandabel-longformat#1-page03 (written and illustrated by Gareth Monger)
And this evening's second helping...

naseandabel-longformat#1-page04 (written and illustrated by Gareth Monger)
Coming very soon: The Plug Child vents his frustration, and The Two Bobs stretch the meaning of 'professional conduct'.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Johnny Cocktail - Anglia TV Spot

The wider world can be a scary slippery place. A scammer's paradise with a million unwitting dupes. A backhander's back passage barely breachable without a fist full of crisp notes. A cesspit of lewd filth beckoning the unwary and unsheathed. Fortunately, though you do have to Beware!, one hardy soul is looking out for it - and looking out for you. How can you find him? Luckily, you don't even need to change the channel.

Johnny Cocktail - Anglia TV Spot - P01 - written/illlustrated by Andy Brain

Johnny Cocktail - Anglia TV Spot - P02 - written/illlustrated by Andy Brain

Next time: Nase and Abel in a Shocking Discussion.

Introducing... Nase And Abel!

A warmly welcoming sensation grips you by the nape as you penetrate the divide between real-world and cyberspace. You've returned to Beware! and a good deal of thanks are owed at you. Timezones permitting, this evening's offering sees Nase and Abel on their first outing, talking about the kind of nonsense often overheard around the seven inch records box at Help The Aged.

naseandabel-longformat#1-page01 (written and illustrated by Gareth Monger)
And to get you up to speed in the manner to which the technologically-savvy masses are now used, here's a second installment. Don't say we never give you anything.

naseandabel-longformat#1-page02 (written and illustrated by Gareth Monger)
Nase And Abel returns at Beware! in a couple of days. Tomorrow, "Johnny Cocktail - Anglia TV Spot!"

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Beware! the welcome

Greetings weary traveller, from all at Beware! Stick around and over the coming several, we'll be excited to bring you a growing anthology of comic offerings.

Some of the characters you're likely to encounter are:

Nase and Abel - the technological fumblings of a feline bit demon and his wired-up pal;

Johnny Cocktail - hard-bitten soft-centred lifestyle guru/private investigator, denizen of late-night cable TV and a hundred hotel rooms;

The Plug Child - you stole his electricity, and his first love;

The Two Bobs - they met under the influence of a truth drug, and now they roam the comedy circuit;

Sporren and the Space-Bats - it's all happening north of the galactic Border.


Left-wing poems; word art; one-off monstrosities.

So, knees clenched, fingers labile, and assume the squelch position.