Author: Gavin McCallion

Story Time with Gavin: The Festive Fall

Story Time with Gavin: The Festive Fall

I bloody love Christmas, so I’m going to tell you a Christmas story. It’s my favourite Christmas story. There might be a lesson hidden in there about goodwill or… responsible alcohol intake over the festive period, but I honestly doubt it so don’t look too hard.

T’was the night a couple of days after Christmas…

Four of us stood outside one of two trashy clubs in Balloch, though I use the word stood wisely. See, this winter had been ferocious and stubborn. Night brought snow, day melted the snow, evening froze the ground, the night brought the snow. As a result, snow packed on top of black ice and left very little walking space on most of Balloch’s pavements.

So yeah, we weren’t really standing. We were in a state of flux, somewhere between slipping and standing still. Every gust of baltic wind or sharp intake of sub-zero air threatened to throw us one way or the other.

It matched the tone of our whole night, though. State of flux was the theme of the evening, considering we went out in that space between Christmas and New Year (flux), didn’t really know why we were out (flux) or for how long (flux) or who we were really out with (you get it).

The roster for our night changed several times, but it landed on Jamie (of this fall, this eating challenge and the panic attack brought on by this hot sauce), Michael (who kind-of surprisingly hasn’t shown up in any of my chronicles so far) and Tall Ian (who is twenty-feet tall).

Jamie, that evening

A bit of background story about Jamie that evening: Jamie was Christmas. He showed up for the evening in the best of moods and nothing would break it. Jamie attired himself in his lovely new cardigan. So very proud of his new cardigan was Jamie. I would like to say as much as ten minutes went by without him mentioning the bloody cardigan, but it didn’t happen. As I said, the weather was absolutely fierce, and every single shiver or complaint about the weather came with a smug grin from between the cosy collar of that bastard’s new cardigan.

Steadying ourselves on the ground outside that Balloch nightclub, we – at this point – wanted to be too drunk to feel the cold, but found ourselves wanting.

Jamie was toasty warm as he declined a trip to the takeaway. ‘Nah, no thanks. Don’t want to spill down my new cardigan,’ he said.

(I don’t think he actually said that. Sorry Jamie.)

Michael wanted chips and cheese. ‘M’gon’get chips n cheese…’ he slevered.

We waved him off into the front door of the takeaway, living somewhere between a slip and a stumble as he went.

We took time to lament on how he ended up quite so hammered.

Michael, in general

Well, Michael is an old soul, clocking in at twenty-two going on eighty-six (at the time, anyway… I think). Weather like this rolls around, and we all genuinely fear that he might not make it, that we’d find him curled up dead in his bed, frozen to stone. He wraps up tight in the winter and walks like he’s shit himself to make sure that he wasn’t to take a fall that day. Make no bones about it, though, Michael is so partial to a fall. It became an annual event. Michael’s Festive Fall. It’s a thing.

This old soul, dear Michael, can handle his drink. But can he handle an abusive amount of drink? Can he handle such a volume of drink when he hasn’t eaten?

Well.

Black Ice

Michael stumbled from the takeaway holding his portion of chips and cheese like a baby. He hobbled towards us, joining a chat about an after party round at Jamie’s. We’re all up for it, apart from Michael. He’s sorted. He’s got his food, which I was not allowed (if I wanted chips and cheese, I should’ve got some myself – he was right), and he wanted to get in a taxi and get up the road.

Jamie, kindness that he is, asked if he’s sure. Michael seemed a touch uneasy and slinging him in the back of a taxi seemed shady.

Michael insisted, and off he went.

Hobble hobble. Shuffle shuffle. Off to the front of the taxi queue. Ready to get himself up the road. His slippers waited on him there. His cosy slippers and chat with his dog about his evening. Sounded positively lovely and WHOOMF.

Black ice.

Into the air, he went.

But do not confuse this with any particular fall, dear reader, please don’t. This arsehole piece of the blackest ice in Britain waited on Michael. Michael had the bones of a bird, the density of a bird and, for a minute, Michael flew like a bird.

His legs were snatched from under him, like a giant ran his whole arm across the pavement and heaved poor Michael up and up, legs first. His entire bottom half boomeranged over his head, kicking at the clouds. For a moment he stayed there. Suspended in the air in the shape of a perfect C – a C engulfed in the frosty night air and a whole portion of chips and cheese, scattering through the sky.

And then he came back down to earth. Right on the back of his shoulders and neck with an empty thud, followed by every single chip and grating of takeaway cheddar.

The noise he didn’t make was so gutting that a bouncer from a skeezy nightclub ran away from the door to check on him.

Horrible People and the Nice Guy

Look. I’m not a good person. I laughed a lot and so did Tall Ian. There’s a general rule amongst my friends and me that if someone goes down for any reason, you first check they’re okay and then feel free to find it absolutely hilarious afterwards. We broke that rule that evening.

Jamie didn’t though. He made sure to glare over his shoulder at us in disgust as he jogged to Michael’s aid. ‘Fucking hell, guys…’ he muttered.

I regret nothing.

Especially since Jamie approached Michael, waved the bouncer off, helped Michael up to his feet, only to have him spew a stream of putrid yellow vomit all down Jamie’s lovely new cardigan.

‘FOR FUCK’S SAKE,’ Jamie cried, shoving Michael back and – consequently – right back on to his arse.

Jamie emerged with his arms held out, gagging at the smell. Jamie, bless his wee soul, is one of those whitey-makes-me-whitey kinds of guys. As a result, he had to take himself off for a bit of a spew, screaming about what an atrocious bastard Michael is.

When Michael got to his feet, a minute or so later (with the dulcet wretching of Jamie backdropping the affair), he approached me with the crippled remains of his chips and cheese box scrunched in his right paw. He approached with a face like thunder, as though he prepared to reprimand the fact that he could’ve pretty seriously hurt himself and I couldn’t stop laughing.

But that’s not what he was angry about.

He got creepy-close to me, looked me dead in the eyes, to the container in his hand, back to me, and said, ‘you been eatin’ my chips?’

Michael fancied the afterparty now, but Jamie no longer had any issue with slinging him in a taxi.

We mourned Jamie’s cardigan that night.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

I’ll be back next year. Catch me on Twitter, Facebook or Insta in the meantime – I’m there.

Alternatively, should you need a gift for a Kindle reader, and they are an avid fantasy fan with a taste for dark humour, then GIFT THEM MY BOOK.

(Though it should be noted I have no idea how to do this.)

It’s Gavin

 

A Love Letter to Superman Done Right

A Love Letter to Superman Done Right

Dropped off the radar for a bit there, I know.  Look, I’m not an exciting guy. If I don’t have stuff to say (about Justice League, Superman, The DCEU – important shit like that) and I try to force it, well… it turns out like this.

See what I mean?

Plus, I’ve taken a rockstar skid right into writing fiction again. Believe me, when I’m on a roll, when I’ve got my mojo back, when I’m writing like a man possessed, it is vital that I’m not disturbed. There’s been no blog for two weeks, but next year there’s plenty of fiction coming at you, and I’m very excited.

Alas, the lull comes to an end. If there’s anything to shake a blog hiatus, oh man you best believe it’s writing about superhero flicks. I managed to control myself with the two-thirds fantastic Wonder Woman, and I kept myself to a hundred words for the four-fifths (is that more than two thirds?) AMAZING Thor: Ragnarok, but I cannot and will not let the opportunity to talk about Justice League pass me by.

Spoilers to follow – let’s go.

It's Superman, in case that big photo of him in the background confused you.

The DCEU is not Good

I go pretty hard on the DCEU, like most of the world, I suppose. Wanna know why? Well, for a start, the films are shit. (Oh, don’t you dare defend them. I see you. The main problem I have arguing about the GULF in quality between the Marvel and DC flicks is the fact that half the time the DC side know their films suck but are too married to the cause to admit it.) But for a reason with a little more weight, I’m a Superman fan.

Y’know who isn’t a Superman fan? Zack Snyder, director of (fart) Batman v Superman and (less amusing fart, but doesn’t smell as bad) Man of Steel.

Since Man of Steel, it’s been clear that Zack Snyder doesn’t like Superman. It’s written all over both his films. Superman is painted as a villain in his own movie, an invader from outer space, friend or foe, what happens if he turns on us BLAH BLAH BLAH. He’s the good guy, you twit. Zack Snyder’s desperation to write the tortured anti-hero (read: why didn’t they ever pick me to direct the Batman films??) is blatant in Man of Steel, and it suffered for it.

And let’s not get into Batman v Superman (read: oh yay! I get to direct a Batman film! Let’s make Superman the villain in it!). I fear I’ll never stop.

Superman is My Hero

I’m a Superman fan. I was raised on Christopher Reeve. Give me a bright colour scheme, red pants, saving cats from trees and families from fires. Give me a hero with a moral compass pointed firmly the right way. Give me Captain America, Cyclops, Rick Grimes, Luke Skywalker or any other hero shunted and deemed uncool because of the rogue charmer that’s supposed to be on his side.

I thought I knew how Justice League was going to go. I thought Superman was gonna get brought back, mind-controlled by the baddie (I seriously can’t remember his name, and I refuse to Google it because I want to make the point that he was forgettable) and the heroes were going to have to turn him back. He’d be on the right side in the end, but he’d spend the film as the villain – as per Zack Snyder.

I would’ve put money on this. Hoo boy, I’m glad I didn’t.

The heroes brought him back because – and Jesus Christ I didn’t see this coming – Batman admitted he needed him! Batman, in this narrative, understood something that most of his fans don’t. Shoot me.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There was that brief (but necessary for the fanboys, I’ll admit) smackdown between the heroes when he first came back. He certainly looked like the baddie there, but it didn’t last long enough to worry about.

In no time he was pounding on… that lousy demon axe guy, saving a house of civilians from inevitable destruction, making genuine quips (LIKE AN ACTUAL COMIC BOOK CHARACTER), and doing it all in a costume looking considerably less miserable and washed-out than either of his previous two outings and still absolutely iconic when exposed beneath a ripped-open shirt. (I fucking love the tear-open-the-shirt-to-reveal-the-logo cliché). There’s my Superman. Even with a weird CGI jaw, that’s what my Superman looks like.

Uphill from Here?

So look, yeah… I guess I liked Justice League mainly because it treated Superman right. Aside from that, I do understand it was a bit of a mess. It was full of crucial, gaping plot-holes that don’t marry up with previous films in the series, and the CGI was the ugliest I’ve seen in a while; the film was far from perfect. But hey, Wonder Woman was great and this was a step in the right direction… for the first time, colour me excited about the future of the DCEU!

It’s a cruel twist of the knife that the film brought in just (yes, just) $93.8M on its opening weekend, and that is the lowest of any of the DCEU efforts. The content of the films is finally starting to look decent, but I can see the studio losing enthusiasm now that this major project has definitely underperformed.

I remember feeling the same with regards to Logan. Hugh Jackman’s last hurrah as the definitive Wolverine (and I fucking hate Wolverine) was the one film that was absolutely perfect. They finally got the character right, just in time to kill him off.

The next few years are going to make or break the DCEU… and I want a good Superman film out of Henry Cavill, because I do think the guy is excellent in the role. I’m owed a decent Superman film, goddammit. Henry Cavill deserves a Logan! If I could get one modern Superman film that invokes the sense of joy, optimism and (oh no, I’m going to say it) hope that’s classically synonymous with the big blue boy scout, I’d backflip on the spot.

Just one decent Superman film.

…It’s not gonna happen, is it? We’re just going to get a string of films for the rest of the Justice League, aren’t we? About characters Justice League did a pretty average job of building. A Wonder Woman sequel (which she definitely deserves) and *sigh* another trilogy of Batman films.

I’m tired of Batman films.

Is anyone else? (Oh God, stop throwing things at me!)

Funny thing…

What’s in equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious is that I know there is a five-star Superman film waiting to be made and adored by audiences of all ages across the globe – all DC would have to do is sell Superman to Marvel.

Nothing’s impossible, I suppose…

What did you think of Justice League? Let me know! Here’s Twitter and Facebook, or let me know down yonder in the comments.

Take it easy now, I’ll be back next week with my November round-up because – apparently – it’s December today.

Yep.

It’s Gavin.

That Infinity War Trailer Though

That Infinity War Trailer Though

Have we all seen the Infinity War trailer?

THIS ONE?? https://youtu.be/6ZfuNTqbHE8

Colour me so excited that fluids won’t stop coming from me. All orifices, all angles. It’s happening to me RIGHT NOW.

I’ll be back on Friday to talk about Justice League but it seems pretty fucking pointless now.

It’s Gavin

Uncomfortable Stories About Blood

Uncomfortable Stories About Blood

Blood.

There’s a cool opening sentence, right?

Giving blood is important.

I’m not here to preach about how you should seek your nearest donor and find out if you’re eligible as soon as possible. Even if you’re a rare blood-type or if your particular blood type is in low supply like these ones here, I am not here to insist that you wander off out and give blood. You should, but that’s not why I’m here. That’s not what this little slice of your Friday is about. Perish the thought!

I’m here to tell you that, across my fifteen donations, I’ve had some uncomfortable experiences giving blood. That’s what this slice of your Friday is about – uncomfortable stories.

Giving blood is a really, really straight-forward method of charity. It costs nothing, you’re helping people, and they load you up with biscuits and tea afterwards. It’s one of the easiest good-deeds you can perform with an hour of your time. But, of course, you know what they say about good deeds and punishment…

Here are three times giving blood was an uncomfortable experience that was detrimental to my health.

When I Decided to Drink Afterwards

In hindsight, of course I’m gonna find it easier to get drunk when I’m missing a pint of plasma. I don’t know why I ever thought I wouldn’t.

It was an early donation, maybe my fourth or fifth. I popped in, emptied my delightful O-positive into the bag (which they would not let me hold for a selfie, no matter how hard I asked)(selfies weren’t a thing back then – they likely wouldn’t let me hold it because they detected my status as “a dropper,” and this woman’s day was already long enough without some chubby ginger twit water-ballooning a bag of blood all over her floor), and then I wandered over to the little snacks counter and helped myself to – I dunno – like seven teacakes before I vanished off to the pub.

It took three pints of lager.

We’ve all been there: careening towards becoming an utter wreck, there sometimes occurs a period of time where I’m hyper-aware of how drunk I am. I take stock of every movement my body makes, of every word that tumbles from my mouth, of my tongue’s aching thirst to have some more booze splashed in to push me clear over the edge.

At that point, depending on what kind of night I’m having, I might decide to cut my losses and go home. This sensation usually hits me reasonably late in the evening, but not with a pint of blood missing!

I identified how floored I was about to become, and about half an hour later I was in bed, talking shite to my dog, spooning a kebab and watching early episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The next day I was so hungover I wanted to stick my hand in the toaster. I no longer drink after giving blood.

When I’m Fairly Certain They Took Too Much

Call me paranoid, I get it. I’m accustomed to the feeling of giving blood now. I also know how I should feel after giving blood and how long it takes to make me feel correct again.

Don’t talk to me in the first half hour after a donation; I’m more-or-less gone. I’ll eat my weight in carbs then go to sleep early. By the next day, I’m usually golden.

But on this occasion, I don’t know man. Something wasn’t right.

The room in which I gave blood was absolutely freezing on this day, and as a result, the process took longer. That’s probably right, right? (What? I know stuff about science.) I was sitting on the wee table getting drained for what felt like an hour and all I had to show for it was the same-sized bag of blood I usually produce? I call bullshit. They took a double dose and switched the bags halfway through.

I know this because after I had – I dunno, whatever – like eight teacakes and left the building, I wasn’t right at all. I couldn’t focus on anything. I fell asleep at my desk. I kept getting words jumbled up, and my mouth dropped open in the middle of a gulp of water.

I just wasn’t right. I didn’t feel good for a couple of days, and I’m confident it’s because they took too much blood.

Why would they do this to me? Seems obvious, doesn’t it? They kept half for the needy and gave the other half to the underground vampire syndicate that was keeping them running.

Duh.

When I Thought I Would Switch to Platelets

Flattery talked me into giving platelets. On one occasion where I gave blood, another nurse approached me and asked if I was interested. They measured my count and assured me I’m walking around swinging a massive lady killer dick of extra platelets that I do not need. She asked if I could spare them, instead of whole blood?

Of course!

The process takes much longer, and they would expect to see me once every three weeks or so, but I’m cool with it. People need my platelets, and apparently I’m a PLATELET BEAST.

A dull sidenote…

Right, just a boring bit about the process of donating platelets that’s totally necessary for the rest of the story, so here’s a photo from Megan Fox’s Instagram to make it sexy.

When you answer the door for the delivery like… @fredericks_hollywood #momlife

A post shared by Megan Fox (@the_native_tiger) on

Platelets need to be separated from the blood. To do this, the wholeblood is taken from me, mixed with a chemical and run through a machine that forces the separation to happen, sending the platelets off to a little bag that looks like it’s filled with snotters and the rest back into me.

Still here? Here’s more Megan Fox.


Now, see that chemical that gets mixed through the blood to assist with the separation? That shit is poisonous as fuck, but the body is technically supposed to be able to break it down once it gets into you. Technically.

Okay, we’re back:

So the nurse was kinda poisoning me

All this nonsense was explained to me without the delightful photographs. The nurse talked to me about how it will wreck my heart if I don’t break it down faster than they’re pumping it into me.

The key symptoms I needed to be aware of were tingling lips and a metallic taste in my mouth. If I felt like this, I needed to let them know RIGHT AWAY. They made it entirely clear that they were trying to scare me.

But was I worried? Me and my ten inches of solid, rock-hard, platelet-giving cock? No sir. I am the platelet master. I can handle some semi-poisonous gunk swimming about in me.

Nope!

As soon as that first batch of blood tumbled back into my veins, I knew all about it. I felt like someone had poured a piggy-bank of old coppers and alka-seltzer into my mouth.

So, thoroughly full of the fear, I let the nurse know. She paused the machine for a bit. Give my innards the chance to catch up, y’know? Ten minutes later I was asking her to turn it off again.

This repeated for seventy minutes as I just sat there, casually terrified I was about to die.

I came away pale, sickly and a bit shaky. I only managed – I dunno, no big deal – like five teacakes that day. All good shit for a good deed, right?

I went back to try again. They said I could give it another go as long as I filled up on calcium beforehand. Sadly, the process repeated and they informed me I might not be cut out for platelet donations.

Obviously, with a mouth full of metal sick, I agreed.

Have you ever given blood?

Any horror stories to go along with it? Let me know! Here’s Twitter, here’s Facebook and the comments live down yonder.

Also, if you missed last week’s October round-up, here it is: https://www.itsgavinwriting.com/2017/11/03/the-october-round-up/

And as always, here’s a book you should be reading: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072R5VWNP

It’s written by this sexual dynamo (…me), and it will make you giggle.

Enjoy your weekend!

It’s Gavin

The October Round-Up!

The October Round-Up!

I’m trying to be a little more positive in these blog posts, but y’know what I hate? I hate the cliché that getting broadband sorted is always a hassle.

I hate it more when that cliché ultimately proves true.

Your brand and spanking new broadband will be ready to go on the first of November, they said. My surprise when my lovely new router still glared at me with a red light at 23:59 on this date was minimal.

Second of November, while I’m out, a gentleman showed up at the door and said he was there to take a look at it. We expected no visit. The gentleman knew this. The gentleman was sent out because EE alerted him that our broadband hadn’t turned on and was sent out to investigate the fibre in the area. If anything, he was being a good sport by coming to the door to check out the source, but still, a phone call wouldn’t have killed.

Later that day, I came home to find that the reason it wasn’t working is that it wasn’t plugged into the central phone line hub or whatever. No worries. Sadly, the central phone line hub (or whatever) is in the back room of the flat. A room, given the density of the ancient walls in my home, I affectionately refer to as THE DEAD ZONE. No signal makes it in or out of that room, and the bloody router doesn’t work when set-up in any other room.

I upgraded my broadband. In one room, my internet is furiously quick, but the rest of the flat has actually suffered a downgrade.

So that’s why the blog is late today.

insta

October review time! Gonna try out a hundred-word format to keep my activities digestible. Grab a coffee and…

Grim Celebration!

Those of you who took a gander at the acknowledgement pages of Grim (my book, which exists here, just FYI…) might remember I only wanted to make enough money to take Simone for Mexican tapas. Well I got paid, baby! We got our tapas, cocktails and left with change to buy a ridiculous toy I won’t apologise for. You’ll see it on this blog soon. Thanks to everyone who bought Grim – you helped me become a PAID WRITER, and I owe you big time! (Though technically, I gave you a book… so I owe you nothing.) Check me out:

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Grim for Free!

In other Grim news – holy shit people really like free shit. I don’t know why this shocks me. FREE is the only word most street vendors of Stylist, Shortlist or NME bother to say as they thrust a magazine into your hands. For four days I gave away Grim for free and trampled all over the total sold copies. I’ve tripled my readership. Any of you brought here as a result of this free purchase, HEY! Did you enjoy Grim? Leave me a review! Help a brother out. Oh, and stick around here for nonsense every single Friday – people love it.

Club Noir

Club Noir is a strange beast. I mean… it’s a bit mental. It’s a burlesque show, a variety performance, a nightclub, and an all-inclusive carnival of the most creative people in Glasgow. I saw genderbends of Harley Quinn, Negan, and Rick and Morty. I saw the most convincing Miss Trunchbull this side of Matilda – he was terrifying. Legit: a witch cast a spell on a businessman, put him in a cauldron and cooked him until he burst out in a rainbow-clad, spectacularly camp performance of Little Mix’s Black Magic. The witch got naked. I went as a clown.

Stranger Things Season 2

*Not too spoilery, but proceed at your peril*

Pretty much perfect. Obviously. Hopper and Dustin stole the show (even if Dustin was THE DUMBEST BOY at one crucial point – you’ll know it), though most-improved definitely goes to Steve. Steve is the man. I’m rooting for Nancy to get back with him. I’m fickle, what can I say? The story was thrilling – DUH. Effects got the big-budget overhaul the show needed, pulling the whole production up a gear. The downer? Sigh. Eleven went fairly underused. Her subplot did the whole ‘send Luke off to learn from Yoda’ shit. Not cool. Aside from that? Yeah, pretty much perfect.

Thor: Ragnarok

I saw a tweet which sums up the new Thor film, it said: “They liked Guardians of the Galaxy, right? Let’s just turn that up to 11.” It’s pretty spot-on. It will make you laugh – loads. It’s the funniest Marvel flick since GotG. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its touchy-feely moments, just like GotG. I walked away from it wondering if the Thor in this film and the one in his prequels were even the same guy – the tone shift is that drastic. Absolutely BRILLIANT, though. DC have their work cut out for them next month…

Low Volume 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes

This comic is set in the distant future, where humanity is forced to live underwater because the sun has expanded and irradiated the surface. Bleak, but absolutely gorgeous. The story treads water (pun very intended) though. It ignores the cliffhanger from the last volume (fuck comics), but kept my attention with an arc about a girl getting her hope back. It’s a solid addition to the Low saga. If you’re into it, it’s going to keep you there. If not, don’t start here. You won’t have a clue what’s happening. I barely did, and I’ve read the last three.

Rat Queens Volume 4: High Fantasies

Here’s the fun shit. If you’re a fan of high-fantasy questing, dragons, beasties and taverns built on ale, or sassy humour and characters you know, even after a few pages, then Rat Queens is your jam. The Queens, a team of bad-ass multi-species bounty hunters, head out on an epic quest to… pretty much pay the rent… get a few drinks… pay for some cake… Girls gotta eat, y’know? It’s got dungeons, massive sky snakes, riddling goblins and a sprinkling of family drama. Rat Queens is good for fans and newbies alike.

Lord of the Flies

There’s been some… mild controversy surrounding this book recently. I (shamefully) had never read it, and I wanted in. Could this book be done with girls? Turns out of course it fucking can’t. Girls would act entirely differently (I’m not gonna say better or worse), so the plot would be different, wouldn’t it? Not really Lord of the Flies, is it?? And Jesus Christ WHY ARE MEN WRITING THIS? AM I TAKING CRAZY PILLS, HOLLYWOOD?? FOR FUCKS’ SAKE.

The book itself is a masterpiece though, no doubt about it. Fully deserves its place in history. Five stars. Woo.

And that was my October – what did you get up to? Any thoughts on Thor, Stranger Things? THE BASTARDING LORD OF THE FLIES NONSENSE? Let me know on Twitter, Facebook or in a caption underneath a photo of your dog on Instagram… or in the comments section below if you’re into that.

Also, while I have you, I snuck in an extra update earlier in the week about an awful experience I had with a pot noodle, check that out by clicking HERE.

Aaaaaand last week I gave some really, just excellent advice on how best to be an adult. If you missed that, correct that HERE.

Catch you next week, for another story time edition!

It’s Gavin

The Pot Noodle Fiasco

The Pot Noodle Fiasco

I just wanted to check in today and quickly tell you something that happened to me at the weekend.

I won’t take much of your time.

I want to talk about a very silly thing I did on Friday night. I was soundly defeated in a game of poker and proceeded to get blootered on cider and honey Jack Daniels. Not in one container, but I always had two drinks going. The Jack was straight.

My night took a violent turn somewhere. I became aware that I wasn’t fit to be outside anymore. I went home, staggering into my local newsagents (who were trying to shut shop) for a chicken and mushroom Pot Noodle on the way.

I got home and wanted a bit of hot sauce in my Pot Noodle. Now, dear reader, if you’ve been around for a while you might already be familiar with my substantial hot sauce collection. The smart thing to do here, since I was only after a little kick, would be to use one of the lighter ones.

No sir. Not me. The second hottest sauce in the run. The sauce that gave Jamie a wee panic attack upon testing.

And, of course, since I was too drunk to feel feelings anymore, let alone navigate a single drop of fairly-runny hot sauce from a nearly-full bottle, I managed to empty a full teaspoon of the stuff into my noodles.

I thought I could handle it.

Lord almighty, I could not handle it.

An account:

My nose immediately starts to run – first bite. I dip bread in to soak up the juice, nope, that bread is now fire. Three forkfuls in, I can feel the blood pulsing in my ears and am able to trace every noodle’s journey to my stomach by following the searing footprints they leave as they tumble down my guts. I’m not saying, ‘oh deary me, that’s spicy’ it’s actually painful. I feel like I’m breathing needles; the hot sauce has turned the air into needles. The inside of my cheeks buzz with electricity. My tongue swells to double its size. My eyes leak acid. It’s late. Don’t scream. A cushion, discarded to my floor, retrieved in a second, shoved into my face to muffle the cries, tempted (however briefly) to hold it there and end my pitiful existence.

The next morning, my pee burned. It burned so much I yelped in fright.

I put a pile of eggs and bagels inside me and they rolled around my raw innards. The ache lasted about an hour and I felt sick for every second of it.

Oh, and then I went to defecate and that was a whole different party. Here’s a tweet from that moment in time:

So, look, if there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s a straight-forward one. It’s like a tragic, tame version of those drink responsibly adverts where the guy thinks he’s Superman and climbs a scaffolding tower to retrieve something for a girl and then falls to his death. I should be in one of those adverts now, perched – sweaty and nude – over a toilet, grunting through the pain, passionately tweeting about my misery as I struggled to remember a time when there wasn’t magma pouring from my arsehole.

Yeah, that advert is me, now.

Don’t be a hero, drink responsibly. Put the hot sauce away.

Enjoy your week,

It’s Gavin

A Week in the Life of a Genuine Adult

A Week in the Life of a Genuine Adult

I have been such a grown-up this week, I honestly blow myself away. Are you ready for this?

Here are seven ways I was an adult this week, and seven ways you can be one too.

Like me.

Ready?

On Saturday I Stopped Drinking and Went to Bed

You heard me. My friends stayed up until six am while I was super-responsible and called it a night at half-three. I mean, think about all the chaotic banter I missed out on by doing that. Three hours of material, gone. Because I’m a damn grown-up. I mean, I was very sleepy. Grown-ups get sleepy.

Adult points: 1

On Sunday I Made it to my midday plans

Commitment to plans is essential to adults like me, and I committed myself to a three-hour session of musical instruments. And y’know what? I was definitely there. For some reason, I was severely hungover, which doesn’t feel fair when I went to bed so early, but I made it there… and I was definitely okay as a band member.

Adult points: 2

On Monday I cancelled my appointment to give blood

Y’see, I like giving blood. I do it often. Giving blood, as well as potentially saving a life somewhere, means I can get super drunk on three pints of lager. Like, get a kebab and go home to pish in the bread-bin drunk. Giving blood cheapens my whole night. However, on Monday, I woke up and sneezed. Can’t give blood if I’m not well! AW NAW. Sadly, it was the grown-up thing to do. I’d be a terrible adult if I went to give blood when my plasma’s all full of germs. I was really upset about it as I looked out into the rain. I nearly cried into my delicious cereal.

Adult points: 3

On Tuesday I Went to the Doctor

That’s right. I went to a doctor. Is there anything more grown-up than arranging an appointment with your physician? No. It was my first appointment with this physician because I refused to change from my old one in the area I haven’t lived in the past five years. Let me tell you something, straight from experience, when you go to a doctor that’s understaffed and overcrowded in an out-of-the-way spot like Alexandria and tell them that you travelled ninety minutes for an appointment, they do not like it. At all. I don’t understand why; I thought loyalty was important. Apparently, I’m using up appointments that people who ‘actually live in the area’ (or whatever) could have. Pft. Fuck them. I have a new doctor anyway. They gave me a lovely leaflet about ear wax and believed me when I said I was a moderate drinker.

Adult points: 4

On Wednesday I had a Milkshake

Healthy eating is important to an adult. I make sure to keep my diet balanced. So, as an aside to my twenty-box of chicken nuggets (for the protein), I also had a large vanilla milkshake.

Milkshakes are healthy. Why do you think all the boys were brought to the yard because of them? These virile young men were looking for the latest fad to keep them in shape and impress impressionable young dames. How do you think they got to the yard? They probably ran. Running is healthy.

I had a milkshake on Wednesday.

Adult points: 5

On Thursday I Went to the Gym

Yes, you heard me. I went to the gym. Maintaining a healthy fitness routine is crucial for adulting. As an adult, I make sure to go to the gym three times per week. Is it fun? Rarely. Sometimes I forget things like towels and need to dry myself with my bottoms. No big. It’s not like I enjoy lifting something onto my shoulders that’s ultimately too heavy to lift off. I mean. It’s okay to just stand there in the middle of the gym with a weight on my shoulders, unsure if I’ll ever be able to return to a time where my shoulders were light and lovely. It’s okay, though. I’m an adult. And adults definitely do not openly cry in the showers. Or occasionally feel a broad sense of penis envy at some of the old gentlemen swinging it around the locker rooms.

I’m an adult.

Adult points: 6

Tonight I’m going to a poker night

Losing money in the pursuit of money is basically the definition of being an adult.

Adult points: 7

How adult were you this week?

Let me know on Twitter, Facebook or the comments below. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and also the comments below. Also, if you have anything else to say, say it on Twitter, Facebook and also the comments below.

Here’s last week’s blog where I try to be helpful – a stark contrast to my week, I know.

And, in a very cool development, a book I wrote call Grim is currently FREE on Amazon. It’s so FREE that I actually hit NUMBER ONE on the top 100 dark comedy titles on Amazon. You need to get in on this, here’s the link: CLICK ME TO ACCESS A FREE BESTSELLER.

‘til next week!

It’s Gavin

 

Writing, Getting Started Again

Writing, Getting Started Again

I get it. I do. For whatever reason, you stopped writing. What happened? Maybe you just finished up a big project and gave yourself a break. Maybe you just lost the lust for it and fell away. Did white screen syndrome hit you like a brick in the face and you couldn’t face it ever again? Maybe every time you sit down to write, the rest of the internet gets its claws into you and drives you into a YouTube/Wikipedia/Twitter loop. Whatever, it happens, and I get it.

I love writing, but much like most everything else on the planet, it’s about good habits. Good habits are hard to grip (unlike bad habits, which welcome you with open arms, latch on to you and refuse to leave you alone), and if you let go for even a second, they slip away.

The gym. Eating right. Meditation. Shaving. Showers. Speaking to people. Y’know the stuff – chores, really, that are ultimately good for you and quite irritatingly make you feel amazing.

I love writing, but I’m best at it when I’m knee-deep in the middle of a project. Getting up in the morning to write is the least stressful thing in the world when you did it yesterday, and the day before, and the day before. I’ve written previously about my loose-end struggle after Grim finished. I’m only just now shaking off that rut with some fresh ideas and a dodgy first draft of a short story in hand.

I love writing, and maybe you do too, but if you struggle to do any when you’ve been away from it for a bit, I’m here to help.

To be used in order or isolation, here are three ways to get yourself writing again.

Bet you missed that background image, didn't you? It''s so relevant to writing

Writing Rubbish

When I came out of Grim, I was in editing mode. Because of that, I found myself scrutinising absolutely everything I wrote. It slowed me down and it badly held back the right-side brain that was trying to do all the fun, creative work.

You gotta write some rubbish to calm down that left side that’s being all boring logical.

When I was learning about writing (believe it or not, I did sit down with some people to learn some of this crap) I was taught that the easiest way to write rubbish is to pick a subject at random, set a timer, and remove the safety net beneath what you write.

Open a dictionary and pick a word. Timer set to five minutes. Pop out your delete key. Go nuts.

This pulls the absolute coolest ideas right from the excellent creative side of the brain.

Does it make sense? Rarely, very rarely. It’s usually just gibberish, but the creative side of your brain fucking LOVES gibberish and you should occasionally feed it.

Writing What You Know… Because It Happened To You

If you’ve been a reader here for any length of time, you’ve seen me tell stories as opposed to writing anything of any worth or with any type of depth. Danny stole forks here, Jamie fell off a wall here, people nearly died on a jet-ski here – it’s all nonsense that’s happened to me. I do this for two reasons. The first is that I find it deeply amusing, the second is because it’s good, easy work that keeps me writing.

Writing a story that’s happened to you is an excellent way to help get you back on the horse. It gets you familiar with writing again, even if it doesn’t at all strain your creativity. It’s a great way to wake up any dormant muscle memory or try out a new style of writing without having to worry about what actually happens.

Imagine the funniest story you know, go write it down. You’ll want to do it again and again with different stories until you’re awake enough to make something up.

Writing on the Drink

…he said, sheepishly.

It’s not a new idea. Hemmingway said it best, ‘write drunk, edit sober.’ So… aye. When you’ve written rubbish enough to want something of substance, and when you’ve blethered out enough glorified non-fiction to start to crave fiction, just go to the off-license and get a bottle.

I’m not saying get absolutely brutal and sit down in front of a blank page. Just trade out your coffee for a can of cider. Or like… two cans of cider. Or, y’know. A two-litre bottle.

Seriously though. Yes, seriously. I shook myself out of a funk with a can of cider to hand as I wrote recently.

There’s science to it, I swear. Much like a little bit of coffee turns you into a working machine and too much coffee turns you into an easily-distracted, slevering and jittery mess, a little bit of booze loosens up the imagination. It allows you to worry less about common typos, sentence structure, plot-holes, uncharacteristic behaviour, how loud you sing, all that stuff. That’s for the second draft to sort out. First drafts are a drunk man’s game.

And once that first draft is out of the way, hey! You’re writing again. Look at that. Easy as piss, right?

What do you do to shake yourself out of a rut? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to throw me a follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest… most places, really.

Additionally, that book I kept referring to is still very much on sale, and it probably will be until the end of time – you can get it here if you’re into humour in your contemporary fiction about the grim reaper being crap at his job.

Catch you next week!

It’s Gavin

The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Jet Ski DOOM

The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Jet Ski DOOM

This week’s blog was supposed to be about the importance of a good ending. Yeah, I think that’s what this was originally about. But then I got carried away with this almost mortal jet ski story and forgot most of the points I was planning to make.

What? I’m a professional, shut up.

So, endings.

Storytelling 101, perhaps even the very first thing I ever learned about writing, is that every story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end.

I’ve got a story to tell. A story within a story, actually. Fair warning: it doesn’t have an ending, and if you’re anything like me you will be infuriated by it. That’s why I’m here today – to infuriate you.

I mean, there's very very nearly a death by jet ski and I'm taking it.

It Started Light

Simone and I found ourselves in a local boozer on a Friday night. Friday beers are a tradition for us when we finish work at the same time, and it usually takes us to this pub. It’s been recently done up to add a bit of class to the area, with a damp, eclectic colour scheme and no two pieces of furniture that match, screens up alongside tiny booths built for two, old wood holding the place up above knackered staff and drunk clientele that never got the memo that the pub was upgrading.

We were sat in one of those cosy booths for two when two men approached us, a Dad and Son, so very in love with their day. Dad was a heavy guy in a nice shirt and a blazer, and he informed us that Son phoned him – entirely out of the blue – and asked if he wanted to go for a few beers that afternoon. It made his weekend. The son looked like Glasgow Ryan Gosling who never made it to Hollywood but instead took up a career in tough paper runs.

They hadn’t spent a lot of time together since the incident, Dad told us.

Son rolled his eyes, ‘Dad, please don’t.’

‘Naw, naw!’ Dad insisted. ‘They need to hear this story.’

We didn’t. We wanted our Friday beers and to go home for a takeaway. Sadly, the booth had us trapped. Dad and Son, both so-very past the peak of their evening, were here for the long haul.

Still Light

Dad’s eyes positively gleamed as he detailed the importance of Son’s job. He couldn’t be prouder of the career his son had carved out for himself as a… high-rolling… something or other.

I wasn’t really listening yet.

A few months back, about a week before the incident, Son phoned Dad and said that his wife – who, so Dad tells me with a little too much vigour, was stunning – had to pull out of a boat-themed gala his work had organised. He asked if his Dad wanted to go. Dad accepted with glee.

A week later, a few hours before the incident, they found themselves on a boat out on Loch Lomond. This was no ordinary boat, though. This thing was a few million pounds worth of boat. This was the type of boat that had a jet ski bay built into it. This is the type of boat bond villains and drug dealers kick about in for laughs. (God, I wish I could remember Son’s occupation) The party had a full staff of cocktail waiters pouring booze down the throats of the guests, and a special DJ brought in for the occasion. He was famous apparently. I didn’t ask. I still wasn’t really listening. But as we got closer to the incident I was starting to.

‘Dad… don’t- please stop talking…’ Son said, but this wasn’t some standard ‘oh my Dad’s so drunk, he should shut up.’ Son was genuinely harrowed by his Dad’s story, and he really didn’t want to hear it again. ‘Dad, c’mon.’

Regardless, Dad carried on.

But then it started to get dark

Up to a half-hour before the incident, Son was having a whale of a time. Dad, though, Dad was a bit out of his depths. Son had been lovely enough to bring his old man on a beautiful cruise around the Loch, but all the other employees brought wives, girlfriends or friends their own age. He felt alienated by his surroundings, he was sinking amongst them. He wanted to go home.

Son wouldn’t have that. He’d make sure his old man had a good time!

Dad laughed, nudging his boy, ‘s’that right, son? Determined to make me have a good time! Ha!’

‘Dad… enough?’ Son’s gin shook in his hand.

The Incident came upon them with a sentence, uttered by the Son to his ailing father standing alone on a boat, draining glass-by-glass of expensive free whisky like they were the last whisky’s he’d ever have. That sentence was: ‘Dad, let me take you out on one of the jet skis.’

Now I was listening. Bad ideas make the best stories, and this idea was fucking awful.

Son finished his gin and said he was going to get another.

Dad proceeded to explain that he strapped himself into a life jacket half his size. He staggered on the back of the jet-ski and Son revved it up. He asked Dad to hold tight, and he obeyed, of course. He knew how physics works, he understood. Jet ski goes forwards, man goes back. Hang on.

And he did hang on.

For a bit.

But this is where it got dark

‘I didn’t realise how fast it would go right away! I mean, the acceleration on these things was unreal!’

Hence the word jet, Dad, but whatever.

He held on for long enough that the boat shrunk behind them, dwarfed on a relatively murky Scottish pre-evening horizon. It rapidly became much too far away for Dad to swim.

Unfortunate because Dad then lost his grip and came belting off the back of the thing. He rolled over and over, tumbling across the surface like a pebble before splashing through it.

After the life jacket had done its job, Dad identified his son leaping from the now-stationary jet ski into the water and swimming fast-as-he-could to reclaim his old man. He said he screamed like Homer Simpson as he came off, which added a lovely bout of levity to a story that was becoming quickly awful.

Son returned to the table, disheartened that the story wasn’t over yet, and tried to get his Dad to finish his drink so they could leave, but Dad wasn’t done talking.

Son more or less pulled Dad back to the jet ski; he’s not a strong swimmer. He hauled him best he could back to the incredibly expensive piece of equipment. Did I mention the jet skis were expensive? I didn’t, did I? QUARTER MILLION. The fact the Son just leapt off of it to go back for his Dad was a financially risky play.

And this is where it got really dark

When they paddled back to the jet ski, a new problem arose. Dad couldn’t get back onto it. He didn’t have the strength, he was overweight, he was sore and very drunk. He couldn’t get back on the ridiculously expensive machinery for love nor money.

They said they tried until the cold of the Loch made them weak. They tried until their legs numbed. Until Son started to cry out of sheer frustration. Until there didn’t seem to be much other option than, well…

‘Son…’ Dad said, as the delicate flutes of My Heart Will Go On drifted in from somewhere beyond the Loch. ‘Listen… take care of yourself.’

The collective jaws of Simone and myself dropped. Dad spoke in solemn tones, explaining that he’d made peace, and he was quite happy to die there in the middle of the Loch.

Son, at this point, was desperate to stop the story, but Dad kept on (thank God).

‘Take care of yourself…’ he murmured as he gently pushed himself away from the jet ski, floating backwards. Somewhere, Celine started singing about what she sees and feels every night in her dreams (from what I hear, it’s you). ‘Just… take care of yourself.’ He thought he was floating away faster than he was. ‘Bye, Son.’ He bobbed mostly in the same spot. Waving. ‘Bye.’

But not on Son’s watch, no sir. He leapt back into the water and grabbed his Dad by the jacket, screaming at him that that was absolutely not an option. ‘DON’T BE A FUCKING IDIOT, DA.’

And then it just stayed dark

Eventually, they found a solution that was not a solution. There was a handle on the back of the ski and Dad thought he might be able to hang on to it and get dragged back to the boat. But his hands were too cold to hang on, he knew he would let go or lose his grip, just like he did before.

So, instead, he thought I’ll just get my hand stuck in it.

Celine was now assuring them that, regardless of the distance between them, whether it be near or far, her heart will go on.

They laughed the idea off. ‘It sounds ridiculous now, but it really was our only option at the time.’

Son finished off his second gin and said he was phoning a taxi. It had become apparent that Son was uncomfortable hearing a story about how he took his Dad out on a jet ski and forced him to face his mortality. I couldn’t blame him for wanting out, not really.

Dad forced his hand into the gap between the handle and the ski and then rotated his wrist so it wouldn’t come free no matter how fast they were going.

Son promised he would go slow and keep an eye on him, but he had to call out if he thought his hand was coming loose.

Dad said he would.

Son got back on the ski and took off at the slowest speed one of these quarter million jet skis could go.

It was not slow.

As the vehicle took off at a blistering pace, Celine and this love of hers decided to open the door, once more, even though he was actually in her heart, which would – apparently – go on.

The physics of a jet ski doesn’t lend itself to the gentlemen’s plan of action. I don’t find that shocking, do you?

When I imagine a jet ski ploughing through the water, I notice that the nose of the ski is up high and the back of it is low. So anything – say – attached to the rear of the ski might find itself immediately submerged in the water.

Right?

Celine assured Dad and Son that they’ll stay, forever this way, as Dad immediately started to drown.

Suddenly he needed to get his hand out of that handle, but he’d stuck it in too well. There didn’t seem to be anything he could do about it! His hand was very stuck, just as they’d planned.

He swallowed water. Mouthfuls of salty*, Scottish water, in torrents, collapsing down his throat.

He couldn’t get himself free. He couldn’t make it happen. For the second time in the space of an hour, he was sure he was about to die.

But apparently, his heart will go on.

And then.

The taxi showed up, and Son ushered his Dad out the door. It was lovely to meet us and all that, bye!

The doors of the pub slammed shut and left Simone and me there, in this beat-up old-man shop, dumbfounded. Teased, is what we were.

No ending.

It’s a genuine possibility that I was speaking to two very drunk ghosts here, but on the off-chance I wasn’t, I feel utterly cheated that I didn’t get to hear the end of that story. How the fuck did Dad survive? What happened? How are they still on the type of talking terms that would have them go out for day drinks?

It happened months ago. I’m still upset.

What do you think happened? Let’s write an ending together. Tell me on Twitter, Facebook or follow on Instagram or just write it down there in the comments.

If you missed last week’s September Round-up, here it is! I go places, I buy things.

Also, if you enjoyed this story – which (Celine Dion aside) is non-fiction by the way – then you should definitely check out some of my fiction! Grim is a funny little contemporary fantasy about the local grim reaper that’s awful at his job. It’s guaranteed to bang a smile on your face, and it’s free to read on the lending library or a casual £2.99 if you want it kept on your Kindle. Give it a bash, and let me know what you think!

Happy Friday!

It’s Gavin

*I’ve since been informed that Loch water is not salty. It’s actually drinkable. You got me, guys, I know nothing about the planet.

The September Round-Up!

The September Round-Up!

It’s October already. Fucking hell. Because it’s the first week in October, it’s time for Gav’s September round-up! What are you talking about, loyal reader? I do round-ups all the time. You sound mad. Speak to someone about this.

September is the best month, or so my BUSTEE LADEEZ calender tells me (this calendar does not exist)

I’ve had a bit of a lucky month. It’s pretty cool. It started with a night out after work, where a friend of mine who’s partial to a (insert a cool reference to gambling here) on the horses. He took me under his wing and showed me that even on a Friday night horses are running somewhere. I put a bet on at 4/1, and then said friend handed me a £20 note. That was very cool. He suggested that I reinvest my winnings, but I went and bought alcohol instead.

The following Friday, just like I do every Friday, I entered Where the Monkey Sleeps weekly Kurgan competition. Where Monkey Sleeps is a pair of hipster lunch shops in Glasgow and every week they put on a bloody ridiculous sandwich that usually melts my eyes. Every week I enter a competition to win one, and on this Friday, I did! It was fucking delicious. Friday’s get better with free food. Nothing is better than free food.

The following Friday, at another alcohol-themed evening with my work colleagues where they were already giving away four drinks per head, I won a random draw for six extra beverages! Sambuca happened. I regret everything.

And finally, I entered the Glasgow Urban Market £50 draw. Actually, it was Simone; I just tagged her back and came away with the win.

It’s been a sweet month… just wanted to say.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to in September.

September Out-and-Abouts

Glasgow Urban Market

So yeah, I won fifty quid for the Glasgow Urban Market. It runs the first and third Sunday of every month, and is well worth the visit if you live in town. There’s definitely something for everyone every time. I’m not too into stationery, arts and crafts, but I’m definitely into whisky and hot sauce. On the first Sunday of September, I wandered down to the Drygate Brewery, collected my £50 vouchers and came away with the following items:

A lovely plant named Edgar, a pair of excellent whisky glasses, and a couple of hot sauces.

The plant – and more specifically, the pretty pot in which he sits – is done by Zoe Scott. She does spectacular shit with concrete. Check her out.

The hot sauce was by Hawt Soss – yep. This stuff is good, and one of the jars I picked up will likely end up in a future hot wings challenge (because you know I’m definitely doing that again). The brown jar is a delightfully autumn pumpkin spice hot sauce. Yes, that’s probably the most hipster thing you’ll hear today, and I’m not even ashamed. I ran a dab of it through some haggis earlier this week, and it changed the game. The other sauce, a ghost chilli number, is a few degrees hotter. I’ve got a charged cigarette butt for a tongue these days, so it’s probably a good bit too spicy for casual use. If you’re into hot food, you’re into this.

La La Land in Concert

La La Land was the inspiration behind that whole self-publishing thing I did (have I mentioned on here I wrote a book called Grim?) so I was always going to catch it in concert.

Jesus H. Christ it was magical.

I’ve been to a similar show with Back to the Future, where they played the film on screen with a full orchestra performing the score as and when it played on screen.

I’m still not at all sure how the fuck they do it. I mean, I suppose it’s the orchestra’s job to know how to play as and when they’re told, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular to see.

If you ever get a chance to see something like this, I can’t recommend it enough. There’s a whole new appreciation to be had when every song is followed by applause.

September Reads

I put away a couple of books this month.

The first is The Three by Sarah Lotz.

This book is about four plane crashes that happen at the exact same time across the world, and each plane had a single child survivor. The book, narratively, is fascinating in that it’s told almost entirely through interviews, newspaper clippings, book extracts, magazine features and tape recordings. It’s a smart device, and it’s efficiently used to unwind the plot, bit-by-bit as the world falls apart. These three kids are suspected to be three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, or aliens, or possessed by demons, or miraculous healers. The world freaks out, and it’s… I mean… it’s not hard to believe. The book only really lets itself down with a vague ending, shortly after it slips into a much more standard third-person perspective, following the main character around. Aside from that, though – easy to recommend.

The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

The Commitments is an outstanding film. It’s a staple in the McCallion household and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. This book… it isn’t the film. It’s more or less a script for the film, mind you. The Commitments is a rise of the band tale, following the Irish saviours of soul from formation to the brink of a record deal. Roddy Doyle’s writing style of scene hopping lends itself well to a film. The pace, springing from dialogue to dialogue is absolutely rapid, and it holds all of the films charm. Awfully short, mind you. A hundred and fifty pages or thereabouts, but it’s an easy read which falls a touch short of the film (which is startling, because usually the books throttle the films).

September Flicks

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

I hate my friend, Jamie – of this ridiculous burger fame – for going to see the original Kingsman and never once telling me about it. Not once did he say ‘Gav, see Kingsman mate, it’s really good. Especially this one ridiculous fight scene where Freebird plays as brutal murder ensues. You need to see this.’ Not once did he ever say this to me, regardless of what he says on the matter.

I did eventually see the first Kingsman flick. It blew me away. It was a terrific film on its own, but it got a boost because of my low expectations. Thus, it went from very good to excellent.

I went to see the sequel in September and it wasn’t as good. It was still a good film, don’t get me wrong! It just suffered from the sequel problem. Expectations were high, there were clumsy callbacks to the original, the things everyone loved about the original were exaggerated for effect. It was just missing something.

It’s comparable to Guardians of the Galaxy. Not as good as the original and it was never going to be, but still a decent entry in the franchise.

The cast were excellent. I love everybody in that film. The plot was thin, but enjoyable once my brain turned off for a bit. The action was two big thumbs up, and every fight scene had a cool song playing over the top. This is what I like to see, and you should too.

Oh, and there was too much Elton John.

Yes. There is such a thing.

That’s me for September, I’ll see you next month. It mad that I didn’t read any comics in September. Like, at all. That’s not right, right?

Follow me on Twitter here, Facebook here, Insta here and catch-up with last week’s gluttonous mess of a blog here.

Enjoy your weekend!

It’s Gavin