The Pen is Mightier than the Nerd (part seven)

Find enclosed part seven of the Mervyn Stone Mystery ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Nerd’, the first (as far as I know) novel ever written on twitter in real time.

As you’ve probably guessed, I do enjoy inventing tacky names for comic shops and conventions.  In Mervyn’s very first book, the name for the ‘Vixens from the Void’ convention was ‘ConVix’, and at the moment I’m working on one centred on a ‘Vixens from the Void’ exhibition that the owner has enterprisingly called ‘The Vixperience!’

I’m not really a fan of puns, but they’re not just puns to me;  like the convoluted names given to hairdressing salons, they are also a window into the soul of the owners, more telling than what they wear and how they speak.  This is a marker saying ‘I have this much taste and this much imagination.  I have thought long into the night and this is the best retail/space/haircut hybrid name I can think of.  Will this do?’.

I loved imagining the incipient hostility between ‘The Starshop Enterprise’ and ‘BattleStore Galactica’, one can almost see them deliberately locking horns, coming up with their rival puns.  Not just a tacky pair of shop names, more a declaration of war…

My favourite self-created sci-fi pun is the name of the Birmingham Sci-Fi Convention in ‘The Axeman Cometh’, but you’ll have to buy the CD to discover what that is (ha ha).

PART SEVEN

Of all the things I expected from Mary, I didn’t expect her to say that to me. Scrub her from the suspects list…

That chat with her was one of the most surreal conversations of my life.

—————————————————————————–

Okay, I’m awake. I’m sorry, I flaked out again, but it was a mad evening.

I opened the door, and sure enough, it was Mary. She was much more striking in real life. My eyes were struggling to take her all in.

The hair, the fingernails, the…everything.

‘Mervyn Stone?’ she said.

I just nodded. She walked in and supplied one of my many, many questions, as she threw my wallet on the table.

‘I came back a few hours ago. I was just tidying up after my bloody daughter when I found this behind my sofa.’

‘Funnily enough, I also had a Mervyn Stone as my Facebook friend. I don’t think we’ve ever met, have we?’

I shake my head. I’m trying to work up to words, but I’m not having much luck yet.

‘The police told me you were the one found in the flat with the body of my husband.’

‘Okay,’ she sighs. ‘Enough’s enough. Where is he?’

‘Where’s who?’ It’s the first thing I manage to say.

‘Where’s Alistair? Come on, this is getting really annoying.’

‘I…Don’t know where they take the deceased,’ I mumble. ‘I’m sure the police…’

‘Oh yeah!’ She scoffs. ”D.I.Wells’ will help me.’ She makes big exaggerated finger quotes around the man’s name. ‘Christ, you boys… Can’t you work out when a joke’s run its course?’

She comes in and throws herself on my sofa, putting her huge boots on my coffee table.

‘Whatever Alistair is paying you, I will give you extra if you just tell me where he is. It’s been five days now, and I had a big laugh, but the joke’s over.’

‘Give me where he’s hiding. I promise I won’t kill him for real.’

I wonder if the shock has sent her into denial. ‘I’m sorry to tell you, but your husband’s dead,’ I say gently.

‘I woke up beside his body on Friday morning.’

She looked at me with pitying eyes. ‘Yeah right. You woke up beside my husband’s dead body on April the first. Ha ha ha.’

‘His bloody jokes get more elaborate every year.’

‘Last year he moved the whole shop without telling me. Just moved it overnight, the whole stock.

So when I came in to work, all I found was a cuddly gorilla, a fisher price till, and a packet of cotton buds.’

Her eyes bore into my head. ‘But you know all this. You must have been laughing like skunks when you planned this – when? When you did that signing? I know who you are, Mervyn…’ She started shouting, so that if Alistair was hiding in the house, he’d hear.

‘If you don’t produce my husband in twenty four hours, I’m going to tell the world via Facebook and Twitter what a wanker you are. And that’s not a threat. That’s a promise.’

And she left, almost taking my front door with her.

———————————————————————————————–

So I’m guessing that Stacey and her pet boyfriend think the same way as Mary.

I’m in the incredible situation where there’s been a murder, and none of the suspects think the murderee has died.

I have to find a suspect who actually thinks he’s dead. Hmm.

I’m thinking back to the news article of Alistair’s death. Craig Jones gave a rather moving comment. I wonder if he was just playing along with an assumed joke – or he actually knows that Alistair is dead? I think I’ll pay a visit to the ‘Star Shop Enterprise’.

There’s not much call for the red ones, sir…

@mikegbell: @mervynstone wondered when you’d get round to him. You off there today?

@mikegbell I’m thinking about it – if I have time. I’ve got biscuits to finish.

———————————————————————————————–

I’m off to Craig Jones’ shop, which if anything, is smaller than ‘Buy the Gods!!’

It’s in another tatty mall, no more than thirty yards from it’s bitter rival, ‘Battlestore Galactica’.

Craig is an affable Welshman, giving off bonhomie and body odour in equal measure.

I have to be careful he doesn’t touch me.

———————————————————————————————–

I expect you’re wondering why I didn’t give you updates on my visit to Craig Jones’ little shop.

Well there’s a reason for that.

I got there late yesterday afternoon, but the shop was closed. I thought that was very unlike Craig. He lives for his shop.

In fact, he doesn’t just live for his shop; he lives in his shop. He’s got a room in the back. Not a lot of people know this.

I look inside, and it’s dark. No movement. There’s post piling up on the door mat. I’m a nosey parker so I press my face against the door to see if I can read the envelopes through the glass panel.

And it opens!

Pushing it open, I’m instantly aware of the smell.

It’s not your ordinary Craig Jones kind of smell. This is something a lot riper. A lot stronger.

He was there in the back room. Dead.

Murdered.

His face is a deep blotchy purple, his eyes are wide open, and there’s what looks like a telephone cord biting deep into his neck.

I phone the police.

It doesn’t take long before they show up. With my luck, of course it’s D.I. Wells. He’s brought lots of policemen in baby romper suits.

Tinky Winky…Dipsy…

Clive the evidence man is there too; he’s brought his little bags, and his big bags to put his little bags in.

I’m steered away from the shop to a cafe, where I’m asked a lot of questions by a bored policewoman. D.I.Wells glares at me from the shop

I’ve got a feeling he’d like to arrest me a second time…

But I’m guessing – only guessing, mind – that Craig’s murder co-incided with my very long stay down the cop shop. I’m in the clear.

Over the policewoman’s shoulder, I see Clive taking his boxes out of the shop, one by one, filled with all manner of evidence.

I see the telephone cord thing being held gingerly in a little plastic bag. He’s treating it like it’s the most precious thing ever…

Then Clive glances over, smiles, and walks over to me.

‘I’ve got your boots, if you want ’em,’ he grins.

I’m stumped by this. In the madness of the past few days, I haven’t the faintest idea of what he’s talking about.

Clive adds. ‘Your Chelsea boots, that you said were stolen? The ones you were after getting back when you went to Alistair Guffin’s place?

‘Well we found them. You can have them back, if you want to claim them.’

I look at him dumbly. ‘But won’t the family want to contest ownership of my boots? Alistair said he bought them fair and square…’

Clive shrugged. ‘I got someone to ring up for you, and his widow didn’t seem to care. She seemed to think it was all one big joke.’

‘She said, and I quote, ‘yeah, whatever. Whatever you want. Tell Alistair I’m giving everything away, unless he gets his fat arse back home pronto. I didn’t quite understand what she meant.’

I think about explaining the whole Apri Fool’s thing to Clive, but I really can’t be bothered. He seemed a nice bloke, and I didn’t really want to burden him with my woes.

I noticed that Dermot Bryce, owner of ‘Battlestore Galactica’ was watching the comings and goings from the doorway of his shop, arms folded.

Almost triumphant.

Well, he and Craig had been bitter rivals for years, so I suppose that’s one more suspect, at least. God knows what any of this has to do with Alistair’s murder.

I consider going over to talk to Dermot, but quite frankly, I was exhausted.

I watch the police pack up, I watch them close up Craig’s shop, and then I find a pub and go and get pissed.

That was yesterday.

Today, I’m going back to the Police station to get my boots. Hey, why not? It’s something to do.

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The Pen is Mightier Than the Nerd (part 6)

Find enclosed part six of ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Nerd’.

Most of this bit is sorting out a mistake I made in my earlier tweets, where I accidentally called ‘Stacey’ by her mother’s name.  I will now spend a thousand words digging myself out of this hole, but luckily it did come out as quite a nice sub-plot, where Mervyn mistakes Stacey for Mary, assumes Mary has been having an affair, and pegs her as a suspect for the murder of her husband.

As for the Mary/Mara thing, well, hurray for the internet.

Mervyn signs off, telling his followers that his phone is low on battery.  I’m sure that excuse covers a multitude of sins, but I’m better it’s never been used as a reason to think up another chunk of thriller before.

PART SIX

I’m awake!

This is the second time in three days I’ve woken up in this bloody flat.

I’m peeking over the sofa. They seem to have gone. My guess is that they’ve retired to one of the downstairs bedrooms.

Well I’ve learned precisely nothing during this expedition, apart from the fact that Klingons like to be noisy.

That saved me, because they probably didn’t hear me snore when I finally nodded off.

Time to get out of here quickly and quietly, with the minimum of fuss.

————————————————————————-

Well I managed to get out of there.

They hadn’t locked the back door, thank God. That was the good news.

The bad news was, I was in the garden, and I felt for my wallet…

Not there!

I was going to go back, but the thought of tiptoeing through their discarded underwear made me queasy.

Apparently the man’s affection for ‘Star Trek’ extended to his choice of underwear.

‘Phaser set to stun’ indeed. Most amusing.

I could hear voices, so I launched myself over the wall…

Right by the dustbin I’d crushed last night.

At last! A discovery related to the case!

The contents of the bin had been vomited all over the back street…

And lying there in among the old banana skins and tin cans, was a phone, a watch, and a roll of twenty pound notes.

The stuff that was supposedly ‘stolen’ by this burglar.

So that wasn’t the reason why Alistair was killed. It wasn’t a burglary gone wrong. I stuffed the evidence in my pockets and left.

I’m ashamed to say I used a bit of the money to get home, as my missing wallet contained my oyster card.

But it’s all in good cause. I’m sure Alistair would understand.

Off for a nap now. Alistair’s floor was very cold and drafty. Need a proper sleep without Klingon noises.

——————————————————————————————

 

So I’m sitting here thinking: if the burglary wasn’t a real burglary…why attack Alistair? Was he the real target?

I think the answer might lie back at the shop.

——————————————————————————————
So far my list of suspects stretches to precisely…One. Mary Guffin. Point one: She sounded like she didn’t care when Alistair was killed.

Point two: she was obviously in London when she was supposed to be in Coventry – or was it Stoke?

Point three: she has a Klingon boyfriend.

So I’m waiting outside ‘Buy the Gods!!’ cult shop in the mall, watching from an internet cafe.
I’m screwing up my nerve to go in and confront her, and demand to know why she doesn’t care about Alistair’s death.

This is not going to be pretty, and every cringing English instinct in my body is screaming at me to go back home, have a cup of tea and watch ‘Eggheads’.

Okay. Off I go. Wish me luck.

———————————————————————————————–

Well that didn’t go quite as planned.

I walk in there, and of course the customers notice me and try and get free autographs off me.

One smelly guy wants a free photo, and I get imbedded in his acrid armpit while his girlfriend lines up the shot.

Reeling from semi-suffocation, I see Mary Guffin at the till.

Only it’s not Mary. It’s Stacey. She’s had her blonde hair dyed jet black since last week. She looks very similar to her mum now.

The conversation goes like this: Me: Hello, is Mary in today?

Stacey: she’s not back ’til this afternoon. Can I take a message?

Oh. I mentally scrub point (2) from my list. I don’t know what to say next, so some words just tumble out of my mouth.

Me: it’s just she was putting something aside for me…A Perspex brick with an autograph in it? Signed by ‘Gertie’?

She suddenly gets angry. She gives me a black look, ably assisted by inch-thick layers of black eye-liner.

Stacey: so it’s YOU who keeps ringing up about that bloody thing, is it? For the last time it ain’t for sale. Jesus, you guys don’t take no for an answer, do you?

Her raised voice alerts a man with muscles crammed into a black t shirt. It’s the Klingon fetishist from the flat.

He comes forward protectively, interposing himself between me and Stacey. He’s the aggressively chivalrous type…

The type of man who steers his girlfriend along pavements by the small of her back.

Man: problem darling? Stacey: no, he was just leaving – weren’t you mate?

I nod, dumbly, and stumble to the door. The man follows me for the three feet it takes to leave the tiny shop, and glares at me until I disappear back into the Internet cafe. Stupidly, I wave. Why did I do that?

And he comes after me.

I scamper out of the mall. He runs for a couple of metres, and then he walks back triumphantly to his girl, like he’s just killed a mastodon, rather than just chase a middle aged fat guy past ‘Specsavers’.

I’m back in the cafe now, and I’m confused. If it was Stacey and her Neanderthal in the flat, why did he call her ‘Mary’?

Or now I think about it, was it ‘Mara’?

A couple of minutes googling, and I find ‘Mara’ was a female Klingon who got captain Kirk a bit hot and bothered in the 60s.

Tell me about his human thing called ‘Kissing With Tongues’ , Captain… .

I shouldn’t feel silly – I shouldn’t have to know this rubbish – but I do.

So Mary doesn’t have a bit on the side and she didn’t return home early. My only suspect is dwindling into the distance.

But she DID show no regret at her husband’s death. At least according to Stacey. I still have that. Time to regroup, I think.

A cup of tea to help me think. I wonder if ‘Eggheads’ is still on?

———————————————————————————————–

Okay I can watch ‘Newsround’ but I’m not watching ‘The ‘Weakest Link’. I’m going for a walk.

No I’m not.

There’s a knock at the door.

Looking out the window.

Bloody hell!

It’s Mary Guffin! At MY door!

Phone out of juice. Will talk to you later. If I can.

In 1492, The Doctor sailed the TARDIS blue…

As well as ‘The Axeman Cometh’ I also have this coming out in June, as part of Doctor Who’s birthday celebrations:

There are five things ye should know about Doctor Who historicals, sire…

I like doing Doctor Who stories in history; it appeals to the lazy writer in me, to do without all that tedious process of inventing stuff.  None of those head-scratching mornings, pecking at the keys on the computer at random, trying to come up with space age character names that don’t sound like brands of suppositories.

I also love  mucking around with cliches in my stories, and your typical Doctor Who historical is full of them.  Finding cliches in a Doctor Who Historical is like shooting fish in a barrel (did you see what I did there?).  Now I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure how ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ became so ubiquitous that it entered the lexicon as a cliche; did they have massive international Piscine execution tournaments that went on for ages and ages, in huge arenas covered with splintered wood and fish guts?  I bet it was probably the national sport for about a week in the eighteenth century, before they found tobacco sponsorship on the side of the barrel, or there was a fish doping scandal, and they had to resort to snooker.

Any Doctor Who story gives you the expectation of a collection of things that’s ‘supposed’ to happen (corridors, monsters, villains, threat of oozing death), but a Doctor Who historical gives you ANOTHER set of things that are ‘supposed’ to happen, to put on top of all the other things.  The result being there are so many elements you feel you ought to put in that it’s tempting to write it like a pantomime; ticking the boxes as you go.   Over-familiar characters and set-pieces jump up and demand their voices be heard, like a strangely amorphous crowd of oddly articulate peasants.

Here are five, but there are many more…

1.  The Doctor gets pally with/threatened by a famous historical figure, who usually talk a bit like they’re from a Shakespeare play or, if it’s after the renaissance, like they’re in a Dickens novel.

‘If you insult my beard, sirrah, then mayhap you insult the whole make up department of the BBC.’

2. The Doctor says something enigmatic about the future which we as a modern audience understand, but none of the historical characters get.  This comment is directed at no-one in particular, and usually makes you want to punch him.  Yes, Doctor, you’re a time traveller.  You’d think the buzz would have worn off by now.

3. The Doctor discovers a villainous alien bent on changing history, but in a very fiddly way, like unscrewing Edison’s lightbulb or replacing Newton’s apple with an orange.  You never get the Master stopping the industrial revolution in its tracks by simply destroying the north of England, probably because the Thatcher estate would have sued for breach of intellectual copyright.

‘If we could just get George Stephenson to call his steam transportation machine ‘Thomas’, then we would create a franchise that could rule the universe.’

4. The Doctor, companion or his adversary inspires/causes a famous moment in history, which the Doctor thinks is hilarious, despite frantically stopping everyone else from mucking about with history for the other 99% of the time.

5.  The companion gets separated from the Doctor and gets locked up, usually by another faction from the ones they met when they first arrived, and always with inferior dental hygiene.

Tell me more about this thing called ‘flossing’, of which you speak, Doctor…

You only have to fiddle with one of the above to look incredibly clever, and look like you’ve re-invented the wheel, which co-incidently, is what the Master attempts in my next story, when he rips the fabric of the universe apart by telling Ug about dual suspension.

‘Trouble in Paradise’ is available here:

http://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/trouble-in-paradise-853

Hi. My name’s Clive, and it’s been ten years since ‘Firefly’ got axed.

June is going to be a busy month for me; after two years a new Mervyn Stone Mystery is going to surface, this time on a shiny CD…

Image

…in which Mervyn is challenged to solve a murder, and comes face-to-face with Phyllis Trilby, the TV executive who cancelled his show in 1992.

Any fan of a Television programme that gets suddenly ripped from their screens will sympathise with the murderous rage this person inspires…

‘Cos it ain’t fair, is it?  We don’t want the story to ever end, and we never have.  The frustrated grinding of teeth from deprived fans are, ironically, over-familiar sequels from years past; it’s probably the distant ancestors of ‘Babylon 5’ fans who bullied Homer into recounting ‘The Odyssey’, that disappointing follow-up to the Iliad.

Queen Elizabeth used the force of her magisterial power to fight wars, kill catholics, and nudge Shakespeare into rolling out Falstaff one more time in a crowd-pleasing but ultimately unwelcome prequel.  In many ways she was the first ‘Star Wars’ fan.

(Apropos of nothing, are the ‘Star Wars’ prequels the most sophisticated textual joke ever played on a movie-going public?  The message in the films is ‘those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it’, a cautionary motif that is contained both within the narrative of the story and the fact they exist at all.  Is the should-have-seen-that-coming impending doom visited on the Jedi actually a metaphor for the gullible optimism that fans deluded themselves that ‘this time round it’s not going to be a disaster’?)

Scheherazade saved her own life with the promise of ‘just one more story’.   Perhaps like many fans today, that Persian king might have looked back on his huge Scheherazade box set, and actually wondered if staying up red-eyed for a thousand and one nights was worth it, and he should have just chopped her head off and gone out to play football, or learned to play the piano, or something.

Writers pretend to share the fan’s rage, but secretly, we love it.  I’m sorry to tell you that, but yes, we do.  Joss Whedon may have popped his bottom lip out when ‘Firefly’ and ‘Dollhouse’ got the chop, but he’s a writer and writers are unsentimental bastards; his brain had finished with them the precise second they died, and already busy forming quips that could be delivered by buff men and women in spandex.  I’m sure the only reason why Chris Boucher regrets there was no ‘Blakes’ 7’series five is because then fans would not keep asking him WHAT THE F*CK HAPPENED NEXT?  because i’m sure he had no idea either.  He had the best thing that could ever happen to a writer.  He got to write a fantastic cliff-hanger and never had to resolve it.  As ‘Sherlock’ series three advances on us, and we are on the verge of what happened after that impossible ending, Steven Moffat  knows full well what a lucky bastard Chris was, because if the BBC pulled the plug after series two, Steven could still tantalise the viewers for years with ‘what could have happened’ anecdotes on chat shows, but he could have also powered down the macbook and gone to the pub.

We writers love it because it give us a feeling of power without having to do any work.  Someone has very helpfully taken our creations hostage on our behalf, put a gun against their head, and reminded the fans why they care about them.  And how much do fans care about them?  A lot more than the writer does.   We get bored much quicker than the audience, because we have to write the f*cking words.  Just look at Sherlock Holmes again; most of the time we just kill them off ourselves, Conan Doyle stylee, just to see if anyone cares anymore.  Marvel and DC comics do it every other week, to jolt some passion into their readers.  Shame they’ve done it far too many times and it doesn’t work anymore.

‘Stop the debrillilators boys, I’m calling Superman at 1992’

To this end, I have given ‘The Axeman Cometh’ a subheading of ‘Mervyn Stone’s Last Story’.  Modelled as it is on Agatha Christie’s ‘Curtain’, Poirot’s final bow, I am going to tantalise you and enrage with the possibility that this is the last you will ever hear from Mervyn Stone EVER again.

Of course it’s all rubbish, but you can’t blame a lazy writer for trying, can you?

‘The Axeman Cometh’ is available from here:

http://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-axeman-cometh-908

Douglas Adams once smiled warily at me in a corridor.

I had the great honour of doing a tiny bit for the Douglas Adams virtual 60th birthday at the Hammersmith Apollo.

I once had the great honour of not meeting Douglas Adams.  I wear the fact that he once passed me in a corridor in BBC Broadcasting House, and smiled, and I smiled back, and I didn’t run around him and buy him drinks, and scream at him like a lactating gibbon, as a badge of pride.  I hope he enjoyed the day unpunctuated by noisy hero worship.

I had the really great honour to have a drink with Douglas’s daughter, Polly on the night of this charity bash.  We talked about college, and places to live, and really really normal Mostly Harmless stuff.  We laughed.  It was fun.

I can’t fathom why some people on the internet get upset at the death of their idols because of the future books they’ll never write, the records they’ll never make, the jokes they’ll never think up.  Even if that’s your immediate response, pause with your fingers hovering the keyboard, and try and think about the future games they’ll never play with their children, the future surprise kisses they’ll never plant on the necks of their wives.  To me that’s work unfinished.

So thank you Polly, I hope you enjoyed the day.

Here is my sketch, as wonderfully performed by Joh Culshaw on the night, in his ‘Fourth Doctor’ persona.  Please be aware if you read a charity sketch, like the one below, you are legally obliged to contribute to the charity, so please visit

http://www.savetherhino.org/

DOCTOR WHO BLUNDERS ON STAGE IN A CLOUD OF SMOKE:

(LOOKS AROUND)

DOCTOR:  Oh dear.  Oh dear oh dear.  This won’t do at all.  I was planning to hop back to 1979 to have a chat with my old friend Douglas Adams.  I had this idea for a stunningly amazing and informative television show he could write, about endangered species.  He could call it ‘My Big Fat Gypsy wedding’.  Oh well maybe the title needs a bit a work…

But It seems I have overshot and landed in 2012.  Still, I’ll tell him all about it. I’m sure Douglas would be very amused.  Nothing much has changed on Earth.  The ape descended life forms in 2012 are still so amazingly primitive that they still think digital television is a pretty neat idea.

How fascinating!  Many of his predictions have come true, I see.  (PULLS I-PHONE OUT OF POCKET) all earthlings now own handheld devices that claim to tell us everything about the life, the universe and everything, and yet are wildly inaccurate.

(PEERS AT I-PHONE AND PRESSES A BUTTON) (CAN WE HAVE A GUIDE SOUND EFFECT HERE?) I see the wikipedia entry for Rupert Murdoch reads ‘mostly harmless’.

(PRESSES BUTTON ON I-PHONE) (SOUND EFFECT?)

The I-phone has this to say about Greece.

Monetary units: none.  Well there are actually three freely convertable currencies in Greece.  The Euro has recently collapsed, the goat can only be exchanged for other goats, and the banks refuse to take the Elgin marbles as they refuse to deal in fiddling small change.

Yes Douglas will be delighted to know that In 2012 the banks are still products of a deranged imagination.

(READS FROM I-PHONE) What else?  Ahh.  And I see in 2012 they’ve finally perfected the infinite improbability drive – or I assume so from watching the republican presidential elections. Douglas would be very impressed to hear about Newt Gingrich.  He would think it’s a sign of progress that they allow Vogons to run for president.

Let’s see what it says about David Cameron…

(HE PRESSES I-PHONE) (SOUND EFFECT?) Ah!  The i-phone has this to say about David Cameron.  Your plastic pal who’s fun to be with.

Yes Douglas, in 2012 the Prime Minister of the UK is a product of the Sirius cybernetics corporation – and they still can’t do genuine people personalities.

And remember that idea of yours for a ‘b’ Ark?  Where they put the useless third of the population and put them where they can’t harm the rest of us?  The people of earth are doing that in 2012.  Only they call it the BB ark.  Or big brother, as some of them call it.    The only problem is they’re only getting rid of them eight at a time, and they keep letting them out again.  Don’t worry I’m sure they’ll work it out one day.

And would you believe it Douglas?  This device even has the ultimate question, the one to which the answer is 42.  I have it here…

(PRESSES) ‘What is the dullest song ever written by Coldplay’?

I’d better get back to 1979 and let him know.  I’m sure he could work out what it all means.  He’s good at that.n  There was no limit to Douglas’s genius.

(A DISEMBODIED VOICE SAYS ‘I SEEM TO BE HAVING TREMENDOUS DIFFICULTY WITH MY LIFESTYLE’)

Oh no, that voice can only mean one thing.  A freak wormhole has appeared in the space time continuum.  It has brought a Douglas Adams sketch from 1974 and placed it here.  We must watch it carefully.  Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe.  It’s just us that’s in danger.

(HE LEAVES LAUGHING)

http://www.savetherhino.org/support_us/donate

The Drapes of Wrath.

Here is Lee Binding’s very lovely cover for a thing I have written.  It’s called ‘The Eternal Actress’.

Fans of the old television series ‘Dark Shadows’ will recognise the actor Donna McKechnie playing Amanda Harris.  Non-fans of the old television series ‘Dark Shadows’ will recognise skull, roses, pretty lady, curtains and creepiness.

It will be available from Big Finish in may.  If you buy it and get me to sign it, I guarantee all sorts of hilarity where I search for a non-murky bit where I can put my name.

Close the curtains Geoffrey, I'm Amphibious.

Tomorrow is Big Finish day.

Just a note to say I’ll be on my way to Barking tomorrow (the place, not the state of mind) where I’ll be signing copies of my books and CDs under the wary eye of such Sci-Fi luminosities as Tom Baker, Paul Darrow and David Warner.

http://www.tenthplanetevents.co.uk/big-finish-day-2—february-11-446-c.asp

Don’t miss it, or you’ll be completely barking (the state of mind, not the place).