Back-cover blurb

Jonathon Fairfax was astonished. This was nothing new. His first memory of being astonished dated from the age of three, when his mother had quite casually suggested that, instead of wearing a pair of comfy watertight pants, he should spend the rest of his life holding in his wee and poo. Now, seventeen years later, he was astonished because a huge, terrifying man in a smart dark-red balaclava was asking him directions.’

The man in the balaclava is on his way to a murder. From this point on, the range of things that astonish Jonathon Fairfax rapidly expands. Soon it includes not merely his own pants but conspiracy, secret government documents (lightly buttered), a strikingly cool private detective/loss-adjustor, a low-speed car chase, a fight to the death on a very small balcony, and a woundingly beautiful girl called Rachel.

‘Great – incredibly readable, very funny, and an engaging, well-crafted novel.’ 

Melissa Pimentel, Curtis Brown

I like my drinks impersonal

At Starbucks on the M1

A: Latte.
B: What’s your name please sir?
A: Why?
B: It’s just to make your drink more personal.
A: Don’t worry about it.
B: I’ll just put a smiley face on it.

I think they have picked the wrong country for this. But there was something beautiful about the determination of the server and the bemused surliness of the customer.

Labour schmaving

It occurred to me while using the automated self-checkout machine in Tesco today that I patiently accept a degree of shit from labour-saving devices that I would on no account put up with from people. Why should this be? The following is exactly what would have happened if a person had treated me like the machine in Tesco did.

Scene: A Tesco checkout, early afternoon, silken sunlight pours through veiled windows, etc. Continue reading

London Coffee Places and the Death of the English Language

Have you ever seen that episode of the Twilight Zone where a man finds that words are gradually being replaced? One day his wife asks him what he wants for dinosaur. He says ‘Dinosaur? Why don’t we call it lunch anymore?’ She says ‘because lunch is a sort of light red colour.’ He says ‘No, pink is a light red colour’ and she replies ‘Pink is a kind of long pole used by anglers to catch fish’. Continue reading