Category Archives: Fiction

A Year In Review – Pt.1

Time is social. Harvests. Day and night. Diurnal clocks. Biorhythms and cycles. All that mushy wetware bio stuff I never learned but is real.

Long-suffering reader of the blog paul

The winter solstice was on Friday, and now we’re beginning the long dig out towards the long evenings of summer. So, as is traditional, let’s sit down in front of a big gold piano and reflect on the year.

Blap-Blap-Blap, beotches!
Yaas, Kween!

January (1)

As the annus horribilis that was 2018 dragged to an end, it seemed that 2019 could only be better. The Queen’s appeal that we put divisions behind us and simply make the best of what we had seemed like it was going to usher in an annus mirabilis as the newly refitted HMS Britannia prepared to begin its buccaneering voyage across an expectant world.

At home, Theresa May announced that she would be combining her passions of hiking and hating immigrants Doing Her Duty to the country by meeting the Hard-Working People of Our Precious Union™️ at the top of the highest peaks in each of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Theresa, do you remember that lovely new visitors’ centre atop Mount Snowdon?”

After the unexpected cancellation of the Mays’ trip to Snowdonia in Wales, they set off for Ben Nevis in Scotland in traditional wear for the English visitor on a day trip to the Scottish mountains – Theresa in leopard-print kitten heel hiking boots, and Dishy Philip in his preferred Savile Row suit and hipster glasses. As May Maynia gripped the country, enthusiastic Scots began their trek up the mountain…

January (2)

After the disappearance of the Mays in Glen Nevis, another popular favourite had to take to the House of Commons to announce the delay of the Meaningful Vote on the outcome of the UK’s Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

“The Government intends to proceed with the meaningful vote as soon as the Prime Minister is able to return to this Place” – Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington

Then, just as it seemed that the fabric of British society would rupture notwithstanding the desires of the Queen, the people were united by the empathy engendered by the release of the paperback of an astonishing new memoir on 22nd January…

Unflinching, mate.
“Are you sure that every word in this Year in Review is true?”

February

As the search for the Mays continued, questions began to be asked about the costs that were being incurred. Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell indicated that he would resign if the costs of the rescue operation exceeded £30,000.

When it was pointed out that Mundell had previously backtracked on promises to resign relating to Brexit outcomes for the Common Fisheries Policy and differentiation for Northern Ireland, he upped the ante considerably.

The Viceroy speaks
“Let me be absolutely clear: In the event I don’t resign, I’ll resign.”

March

As Brexit-related turmoil continued, Gatwick Airport entered its fourth month of flight cancellation. After police had announced in December that the drone that had caused 140,000 passengers to be stranded at the airport simultaneously:

  • had been discovered; and
  • had never existed

it emerged that Gatwick itself had never existed. The so-called airport was merely a hoax conjured by mentalist and illusionist Derren Brown. Each of the 140,000 stranded “passengers” was in fact a paid actor. Brown himself had travelled in time to turn-of-the-century Ohio to deliver the plans for powered flight to the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur.

Derren Brown and Wilbur Wright, 1903

Meanwhile, popular favourite David Lidington returned to the House of Commons to update the country on the status of Brexit.

Go on then, you draw David Lidington from memory.
“We must honour the PM by effecting the moment of her greatest triumph on 29 March, 2019”

To be continued…

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Open Hand

We’re thinking of going to pick up a new desk tomorrow. One of those ones that incorporates the wall into its structure, and folds flat into the wall when it’s not in use.

Don't you tell me to calm down, Wiinner
“Calm down, dear. You’re getting a bit ‘A Room of My Own‘”

Sorry, Michael. I’m going somewhere with this.

[Find out if I’m bluffing below. But first, check out the Apoplexy Newsletter.] Continue reading Open Hand

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The Old Man of Storr

Hi there! Sorry to miss you last week – Mrs Stroke Bloke and I had just spent the weekend in Skye. I’ve been particularly keen to get there since I read Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse during my creative writing degree.

This recording is mental
Over the bridge to Skye

That linked recording of The Skye Boat Song is bonkers. The production, for a start. Then there’s the incredible whistling of Roger Whitaker – you’ve never heard anything like it.  Take that, Otis Redding. And I’ve not even mentioned that someone thought it would be a good idea to get Des O’Connor in to sing it?!

[You’ll need a palate cleanser after that. Why not try the Apoplexy Newsletter?]
Continue reading The Old Man of Storr

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Democracy

Sometimes, it feels like the blog is being hounded by an abstract concept.

Gravity: not just a good idea – it’s the law!

The land, maybe. Or mythical creatures. Or The Onion‘s conception of Joe Biden. Right now, though, it’s something else. Maybe you can guess what?

[Get more whimsy and free gin* at the Apoplexy Tiny Letter.]

Continue reading Democracy

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Panama

Well, if there’s one thing that this week’s news has encouraged me to do, it’s go off and listen to some good music. With a hat-tip to Longsufferingreaderoftheblogpaul for sharing it aaaaages ago, here’s Reggie Watts’ cover of Van Halen’s Panama:

Where the original is – I’m told – about a race car, Reggie’s version is about the country. What do you think about, when you think about Panama?

[For more absurdity, whimsy, and brain droppings, check out the Apoplexy Tiny Letter.] Continue reading Panama

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The Gospel of the Unicerosaur

As (kind of) trailed by yesterday’s post, apoplectic.me is simulcasting with nerdbaitband.com this week, where Longsufferingreaderoftheblogpaul writes…

Hi, Friends of NerdBait!

Our new piece, The Gospel of the Unicerosaur, is our most exciting and ambitious work to date. We are really excited to share it with you.

So, let’s just cut to the chase… Continue reading The Gospel of the Unicerosaur

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Highlander

Mrs Stroke Bloke and I spent this past weekend in the Highlands. More precisely, we were visiting family in Strontian, on the banks of Loch Sunart. One of my cousins asked if I would be writing about our trip in the blog this week. And since she took me to see David Bowie’s Sound and Vision tour stop in Ingliston in 1990, I could hardly say “No.”

“Scotland, stay with us. I mean, do you know how much this coat cost?!”

But first, please note that on Monday, 4 April, I’ll be presenting Nerd Bait’s latest (and maddest) concept EP, The Gospel of Unicerosaurus, as part of Illicit Ink’s show at the Edinburgh International Science Festival!!!

Continue reading Highlander

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Lies, Lies, Lies, Pt. 2

What a busy week it’s been, on and around apoplectic.me.

  1. I’ve put Broken Mirror – The Collected Bird’s Fate Posts back up on the site. These posts have been absent from the site for a while, as they’ve been presented in other forums. But now the true story of how I met Susanne Whyte from Bird’s Fate, and found out heroes are just people like you and me, is back in one piece.
  2. Doing that was inspired by the posting of The Prof’s liner notes to an awesome cover of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You over at nerdbaitband.com.
  3. Meanwhile, my short story Phoenix Park went live over at The Dublin Inquirer. It’s part of their Christmas special fiction issue, which collects stories about superheroes set in Dublin. Pop over and have a look. And if you like it, please do leave a comment.

4. Er… that’s it.

Of course, if you’re on the distribution list for the Apoplexy Newsletter, you’ll be aware of all of this.

So, how could anyone possibly remember where we were last Monday, at the end of Lies, Lies, Lies, Pt. 1…? Continue reading Lies, Lies, Lies, Pt. 2

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To a Tee

Interested in Nerd Bait? Before digging into this week’s post, find out how The Wee Mermannie got the girl – deleted scenes from our Book Festival Gig are part of the bonus materials included in the first issue of the fabulous FREAK Circus!

FREAK Circus: Issue 1 Available Now!

The beautiful paperback artefact is here. The electronic version that includes the unexpurgated prose version of The Tail of The Wee Mermannie is here.

Right. Now. Back to the blog.

Last Monday, I noted neuroscientist David Eagleman’s remark that the idea that we are unitary people over time is merely an illusion of continuity.

The people each of us individually are at 10, 30, 40, “share the same name and some of the same memories, but we are quite different as a person.”

During the intervening week, I wrote a short story about a man who may – or may not – have lived a succession of quite different lives. Yet there are common themes in those lives. For example, in each case, the character’s father disappears from the scene in his early years.

Really? My dad died when I was 11! And mine! And mine! And mine! And mine! And mine!

It wasn’t until I was reading a passage in Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel All the King’s Men last night that I realised that my fiction had been taking a sideways look at Eagleman’s theme…. Continue reading To a Tee

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I Can Hear the Sirens Coming

Later this week, Phonefinderoftheblogbeth and I will be taking a trip to Inverness. The capital of the Highlands is an interesting place for all sorts of reasons – I’d recommend taking a look at what Ian Wiki has to say about it here.

Nessie, hiding behind Inverness Castle. By Dave Conner.

[Find out more about today’s post by getting the Apoplexy Newletter here.] Continue reading I Can Hear the Sirens Coming

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