Tuesday, 9 September 2008


I was recently having lunch with my writer friend, Rudy Dingle, who was telling me a little about his creative process. Apparently, he lies on a couch and dictates his novels to a French-speaking bonobo with an electric typewriter. It's a mystery as to why he has yet to be published.
Anyway, he went on for a good while about his work and I eventually lost my rag and told him to shut it. He didn't take too kindly to this and proceeded to punch me in the mouth at the dinner table. Thank God he was wearing boxing gloves at the time.
After I had asked for the bill, and he had agreed to pay for his meal because he had hit me and everything, he regaled me with a story about a recent visit to the delightful city of Stoke-on-Trent, which I will relate to you here;

"Stoke-on-Trent: the last refuge of all the scoundrels, drifters and hobos in the North Staffordshire area. Sure, you might think it's all fun and games, with its Alton Towers and its Potteries and such, but underneath, theres a seamy underbelly of corruption and crime.
I was visiting Stoke one afternoon to buy a new roof for my house, when I became stuck in a nasty traffic jam. I didn't know what the hold-up was at the time, but I later discovered that a Tate & Lyle lorry had overturned, leaving the road "too sweet" to be driven on safely.
After about five minutes, I saw a man looking at me from the pavement. I pretended like I didn't see him, but he just kept staring at me. He was a well-dressed gentleman, resplendent in a tweed suit and hat, and carrying a cane with a brass knob, so I thought he couldn't be that bad. Then, after I made eye contact, he walked over to my car and rapped on the window with his cane.
He looked at me and smiled, he had a sweet, old face so I wound the window down for him, I figured he needed directions or something. I noticed that he kept one hand behind his back as he leaned forward.
"Hello there," I said.
He looked at me, never losing his smile, and smashed me in the face with some pottery before running away, laughing.
Temporarily blinded, I grasped around the car, looking for a handkerchief or something, when the traffic in front started to move away. Soon, noticing my lack of forward momentum, the cars behind me began to beep and rev, and soon I had a line-up of motorists waiting to smash me in the face with pottery.
Needless to say, I didn't get to buy a new roof, and now I must go home and sit on my couch, being soaked by this damnable rain. But even though Stoke is the only place I can buy one, I will go without rather than visit that hellhole again. The horror. The horror."

He finished this story and waited for my response. I did nothing for a few minutes and told him that it all sounded a bit far fetched. I was expecting him to punch me again, but instead he calmly thanked me for my time and then left. The next day, I was sent a bomb through the post that singed my eyebrows beyond all recognition. I don't know, that's what you get when you're friends with these artsy types.

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