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Robber Rabbit : The Scaryduck Brain Dump

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fifty things you couldn't care less about Scaryduck

1. I was born in 1966, the same year England won the World Cup
2. I was born in yuppie’s paradise, Parson’s Green, London, twenty years before the yuppies got there
3. I lived in Hammersmith for the first five years of my life
4. I lived in Vancouver for a year
5. As a kid, I also spent time in Seattle (it was closed) and Belfast (it rained)
6. I moved to Twyford, near Reading in 1972, which is where most of the Scary stories occured. By the grace of God, it’s still standing.
7. I moved to Charvil, a bit closer to Reading in 1982, where I lived near 60s singer Mary Hopkin and the late, great Kenny Everett
8. I moved into Reading in 1989, I had no famous neighbours, but the creepy bloke next door may have been in the Russian Mafia
9. I have a younger brother and an older sister who live in Essex and Cheshire respectively. We’re close like that.
10. My father, Professor Scary, is a virologist; while my mother was a State Registered Nurse.

11. At various times, I have gone under the aliases Albert O’Balsam, Bob de Bilde, Patrick Bateman, Peter Pervert, A Valued Microsoft Customer and Charles “Charlie” Charles on the internet
12. I once had a dental operation that led to me wearing a boxer’s gumshield glued to my teeth for six months. It made me look an utter twat and led to life-long mental scars
13. I went to school in Wargrave and ended up with nine O Levels and a CSE in Techincal Drawing.
14. I went to Bracknell college, where I discovered alcohol and left with three rubbish A Levels and a hangover.
15. I've got a degree in Politics from the Open University.
16. My first job was at the Dole Office in Reading. I spent three further years as a civil servant at the Ministry of Agriculture, where I met Mrs Scary
17. I’ve now worked for 18 years in the same job for a large broadcaster
18. In the line of duty, I’ve been to South Korea, Japan, The Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Cyprus and Jordan. And Evesham.
19. I got robbed by bandits in the Congo. How we laughed.
20. Mrs Scary and I got married in 1991.

21. We’ve got two kids: Scaryduckling and Scaryduck Jr.
22. We moved to Weymouth in 2002 to escape the rat-race
23. Unfortunately, I still work in Reading, leading to a bizarre twilight zone existance and an intimate knowledge of the South West rail network.
24. I speak French and German, and can read Russian.
25. I once broke my foot in bizarre circumstances.
26. I once broke my sister’s nose in bizarre circumstances.
27. I once broke my best friend’s thumb in bizarre circumstances.
28. If you believe everything written on this site, my entire life has been dogged by bizarre circumstance.
29. I captained the school chess team which won the Berkshire schools trophy. My finest moment of glory, for which Mr Stafford gave me fifteen house points.
30. I was knocked unconscious on my thirteenth birthday by my sister.

31. My next door neighbour topped himself on my thirteenth birthday. And the presents were rubbish too.
32. My first Scary story “I was a teenage bomber” was read out on the Danny Baker radio show.
33. I started writing, however, in 1987 with an article about the state of Wembley Stadium in a football magazine.
34. I wrote regularly for The Gooner fanzine for over ten years.
35. I support the mighty Arsenal Football Club after my father tried to get me to support Chelsea.
36. My maternal grandfather was a shipbuilder, who actually built a ship - HMS Torquay - that his son, my uncle, served on in the Royal Navy.
37. My paternal grandfather, a genuine cockney as it happens, served as NCO aircrew in the RAF during the Desert Campaign in World War Two.
38. The first record I bought was the Ying Tong Song by The Goons, after telling people for years that it was, in fact, "Pop Music" by M.
39. The first album I bought was Kings of the Wild Frontier by Adam and the Ants.
40. My first gig was Ultravox at the Hammersmith Odeon, but I’ve seen New Order five times since. Yes, I was a New Rom and I had no shame.

41. I was once a member of Mensa, but I have now made a full recovery.
42. I once told spoonbender Uri Geller to fuck off.
43. I onced own a Korg Poly 61 keyboard, and played in a band called Afansor. We sucked. I sold the keyboard to pay for my TV licence.
44. I have no musical ability whatsoever.
45. I once worked in a pub, where the manager kept falling down the stairs into the cellar.
46. I once had a lesbian mentallist cat, and a small dog who is still too young to bear any mental scars.
47. I once nearly had a vasectomy, but the operation was cancelled because Princess Diana died. It took me eight years to pluck up the courage to go back, and I am now officially "jaffa".
48. I once broke my finger in a rubber johnnie machine.
49. I got paid £1,000 by the Guardian for writing this stuff. I spent the money on a boiler.
50. My real name is Alistair. I blame the parents.


posted by Alistair Coleman at 8:53 PM (0) comments

Scaryduck: Know Your Enemy

“Who the hell are you?”

That’s very nice of you to ask. I’m a technical operator in my mid-thirties working for a rather large and well-respected broadcaster. Married. Two kids. Cat. I’m originally from London, half London, half Irish, half barking mad. Throw in a great-grandfather that was a Rabbi, and you’ve got three racial stereotypes for the price of one. I’ve managed to break out of this cycle and have now tell everybody I know that I’m Australian. I can live with the shame, cobber.

Currently living in a luxury beach-front condo on the south coast of England (OK, it’s a semi-detached in Weymouth, Dorset) and working in a secret location somewhere in the Thames Valley.

“Why Scaryduck?”

And why not? It’s a daughter thing. She came up with the name when she was about four years old and having frankly bonkers nightmares. Scary is a genuine rubber duck, currently living in a box in the loft for his own safety. She also has a cuddly bunny called Robber Rabbit, who robs stuff, while Scaryduck Jr has a penguin called Fletcher who likes fish and has his own weblog. Which is also mostly about fish.

“Why isn’t this a conventional Blog?”

Because conventional blogs are BORING. Check out any blog at random and it’s invariably the incredibly dull diary of someone with nothing to write about, but the’re going to write pages of it anyway. How they Hate Their Parents, How they Hung Out at the Mall with Weirdo and Spiggy, Aren’t Linkin Park Great, and Here’s A Kule Site I Found. Arse.

I only link to a few that I find different - b3ta, parallax view, Arseblog and Wil Wheaton. OK, every now and then, I throw in some dull diary stuff, but I won’t swamp you with the minutae of my life. Promise.

“Is this shit really true?”

Oh Good God yes. I am cursed with the ability to remember the most minute detail of my youth and set it down in a pithy, yet amusing anecdotal style. In true Hollywood TV movie of the week style, names have been changed and certain characters are the amalgamation of several people, but, yes, the basic facts are 100% true. We really did accidentally destroy a bus and I still get nightmares about hurtling down the side of a mountain in a wheelbarrow.

As the late Spike Milligan once said, “I’ve gone to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of my memoirs. I’ve just jazzed them up a bit.”

“Is there going to be more?”

Believe me, I’ve barely scratched the surface.

“I can’t be arsed to go through the archive. Where can I find more of your stuff?”

I keep it all backed up at www.scaryduck.co.uk for your reading delight.

“What happened to your playlist page?”

I couldn't be bothered with constantly updating it when I could be doing important stuff. Like updating the blog, for instance, or crawling under the vending machine at work looking for loose change. The same goes for any other blog project I have. Gets beaten over the head after a few weeks like a lame kitten, and left for carrion.

I'm listening to the Flaming Lips right now. Honest.


If you insist.

"Fuck off, you were only 21 when that photo was taken. Own up"

I couldn't possibly comment.

"And what's all this shit about dolphin sex?"

I live in Weymouth, UK, right by the entrance to Portland Harbour. Over the last year or so, we've had the pleasure of regularvisits from Georges the Dolphin. Georges used to live off the French coast, where the locals made a bucket of cash out of See-the-Dolphin boat trips. When Georges buggered off, they sent an Ameican "expert" to try get him back. He told the assembled news media that Georges was basically a sex fiend who'd lure any swimmer out to sea and shag them to death. The press lapped it up and Filthy Georges briefly became a world-wide star.

Invariably the French money dried up, and the "expert" headed home without Filthy Georges. The press drifted away and we were left with a reasonably happy dolphin which just happened to be on the Sex Offenders Register. In defence of Filthy Georges, I have been following his story and post irregular bulletins on the number of people he's shagged to death so far.

Current number of Weymouth Dolphin Sex-related deaths: NIL

By the way, dolphin sex is extremely dangerous. Don't try it at home.

“What's this about you winning a fortune then?”

I was fortunate enough to be named the Best British Weblog of 2002, earning me the fair-to-middling sum of a thousand pounds (about US$1,600), which has all disappeared into the Buy-Mrs-Scary-A-New-Kitchen Fund.

“You must be minted, lend us a tenner”

Bugger off.

"Can you get me naked Kirstie Allsopp pictures, then?"

You heard. Bugger off.


posted by Alistair Coleman at 8:47 PM (3) comments

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


posted by Alistair Coleman at 1:38 PM (0) comments

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

On barmy art teachers

A shameless repost

I went to one of those schools where they only ever employed the teachers that no other educational establishment would take.

Each and every department had at least one teacher who would euphemistically be called a "character". In fact, many were barking mad and invariably ended up teaching art and design.

Mr Law spent most of his lessons teaching anything but art, and would send pupils on bizarre errands, which mostly involved sending notes to the guy who owned the local bike shop, with whom he was enjoying a particularly vicious feud.

Mr Harman was the best teacher in the world, ever. He didn't so much teach, more pass on a life's worth of experience from one generation to the next. He taught woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing, but his forte was The School of Life.

He was, however, at his best away from the formal atmosphere of the classroom. For example, taking half a dozen of us up to the church to set up the lights for the Christmas Carol concert, we broke for lunch at twelve o'clock, feet up on the altar, munching sandwiches and passing round the Rothmans. What a man, and infinitely better than his metalwork colleague Mr Colbourne, who was rumoured to only have one foot and was called "The Penguin". Harman, naturally, was christened "Barmy 'Army".

He wasn't barmy, per se, but he had a habit of deliberately messing up his demonstration piece to show you what would happen if you did it wrong.

"This," he would say, pointing to a mess of molten aluminium bubbling away in the forge, "is what happens if you have the blow torch too hot."

"Don't hit the wood too hard," he warned, knocking the head off a sculpture he'd been working on for weeks, "or this will happen. And you wouldn't want that, would you?"

"Don't draw a big picture of a man's willy on your work like this, you'll lose marks in the exam."

A genius.

It was the times when you got a story out of him that were the best as he'd forget the lesson and give us all a salutary tale in the dangers of adulthood.

Before going into teaching, he worked in a factory, all lathes, drills and hairy-bottomed engineers. It appeared that absolutely no work got done there, ever - they were either working up a huge skive, or clearing up pieces of co-workers who'd left the safety cover off a large, rotating piece of machinery. We didn't need icky safety videos, we just needed Barmy's tales of workplace woe.

"You weren't even safe in the bogs," he said.

Apparently, and it still happens today, I am horrified to learn, people take a newspaper and a cigarette into the bogs, and spend thirty minutes or so having a good read and a smoke. That's tantamount to thieving.

Barmy was getting particularly hacked off with his workmate Mickey, who spent hours at a time away from his machine, feeding his nicotine habit on the toilets. So he hatched a plan.

The factory was not what you'd call the most modern of places. The toilets, for example, were just a row of seats that dropped directly into the sewage pipe below. If you were downstream, you could see everybody else's output flowing past if you looked down. Barmy knew this. Water finds its own level - it's all about gravity.

So, when Mickey went for his fourth smoke break of the morning, the rest of the shop floor waited a few minutes then sneaked in behind him. Barmy went into the cubicle that was furthest upstream and emptied a gallon of fuel oil down the bog. As you do.

It was only a matter of time. He'd have to drop his cigarette butt down the pan sooner or later.


Six foot flames roared out of every single toilet pan and scorched the paint off the ceiling. There was a cry of "YEOWWWWWWWW-KINHELL!" Mickey burst out of the cublicle, trousers round his ankles, shirt tail well alight, beating out his scorched bum-hairs with his rolled up newspaper to the cheers and applause of his workmates.

"And that," said Barmy, "Is why you shouldn't smoke."

Lesson well and truly learned, thanks.

Poor 'Army died last year. The world is a sadder, safer place as a result.

posted by Alistair Coleman at 2:47 PM (1) comments


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