Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Station Of Critical Review By Kennedy Hiscox-Wormegay: The 13 O'Clock Podcast

The 13 O'Clock Podcast

Kennedy's Laborious Introduction

Sentiment of greeting, at you, from me! 'Twas too long a period of silence and no-speak, and it was high time for rectification. And here I am, ready to rectify. Rectii. Rectus, Rectum. That's probably Latin for something clever. I shall have my offspring check it on an internet for verification.

The last time I did dare venture out to offer my critical reviews, I was prevented by the cad, Dex Diabolo. And a cad he is. I would have had plenty to say about the wonders of Peter Davison's The Hunt For The Ptero-dactyle Apostates, amazing and full of wonder as it is. But shunned were I, and quiet I stayed.

But not no more. I am back, returned from the hospital ward where I was stowed, to bring to you my most achieviest achievement to date. Upon my headstone will be chiseled the words, "Here lay the greatest critic, Kennedy Hiscox-Wormegay, whose words toppled libraries."

(Kennedy won't be writing the headers, 'cos he's sh*t at them. - Ed.)

Jenny's and Tom's Guilty Pleasures: Real-Word Criminality and Bat-Shit Crazy People's Bat-Shit Crazy Paranormal Experiences

As my legion of four regular readers will attest, I am decidedly unfamiliar with the trappings of the Wide World Web. That said, I have been known to venture into its wiry and electronical depths, to drag facts out into the light for the consumption of my legion, which includes my psychiatrist, his psychiatrist, the editor of Beware! The Zine, and the guy who delivers my meals-on-wheels and who also proof-reads my work.

This week's wondrous digital offerings are made in the old British colony of the United States of America, which is an island off Cuba. It is a podcast, which is like a worm cast which you find on a beach, but instead of containing worm guts and sand, it contains information.

The 13 O'Clock Podcast is still relatively young, but has swept forward with its foul-mouthed, common-sense attitudes toward famous paranormal events and real-life crime stuff. The routine is of a weekly arrangement, alternating between spooky things, such as ghostly intrusions and cryptozoological weirdies, and evil murder killy moments of life-ending ferocity. 'Tis clear that the podcast boss and goth-fringe-wearer, Jenny Ashford, is dedicated to the study of these two disparate subjects, and she is accompanied by goth companion and romantic property, Tom Ross, who provides exposition and vape sound effects. The vaping is very audible. Is there a hidden message in the puff pattern of Tom Ross? Perhaps he is crying out for help? Or perhaps he is crying out for more vape? Or perhaps I am overthinking this.

But it is true that Tom vapes A LOT.  He sounds like a train puffing steam. He is Tom The Vape Engine.

(Enough with the vape talk! We don't need a lawsuit!- Ed)

Jenny Ashford and Tom Ross, of the 13 O'Clock Podcast.

One should make mention of the fruity linguistic palette with which Ashford and Ross paint their wordy deliberations. They like to use what colonists call curse-words, but which Britons call potty-mouth. Never in a million minutes did I think I would hear so exotic a word as f-f-f... Ack! I cannot bring myself to repeat it, lest I explosively blush all the blood out of my face and onto the floor! I shall leave such naughty-word-talk to Messrs Ashford and Ross! They are good at it.


This is what Tom shouts when Jenny describes a ghostly anything. It seems that once in Tom's young life, he lived upon a mountain where spectral mammoths did wander, and his home was invaded by them. I may have an incorrect end of the stick, but that is the gist. And every time Jenny does suggest a ghost, Tom doth utter, "Poltergiest!" and "That'll be poltergeist activity!" and "Are there kids there? That's poltergeist!" I think he really likes poltergeists. Or maybe just the word. Jenny Ashford wrote a book with Tom about his mammoth poltergeist problem.

Tom does not ever sound like a mad person in the podcast, and this lends weight to any strange things he might make utterance of. The Mammoth Mountain Poltergiest can be purchased here. Read it and know of Tom Ross's unusual life before he was an army man.

The Unseen Hand

Jenny Ashford likes to write. If it were not for her fondness for talking, one might make a speculation that it is all she does. Write and write. She is of a prolific disposition and has written about subjects other than Tom Ross's poltergeist-ridden childhood. She has written about an unseen hand. Now, one might wonder how much there is to say about a hand which cannot be seen, but I am ensured that this is a metaphor, and that I probably also misunderstood the mammoths in the previous paragraph. This book deals in exclusivity with poltergeist phenomena, which must make Tom Ross very extra happy. It is a lengthy and example-saturated collection of historical and newish cases, and each one is given just enough typed attention to be interesting, but not so much that it should be a different book – such is Jenny Ashford's skilled treatment of The Unseen Hand. The audio book is of welcoming nature, but regular listeners of the podcast might be perturbed by the lack of swearing and also the lack of Tom Ross.

Those who wish to roll their eyes upon the text of this may do so via Amazon, here.

That is all from me. If you missed me, the blame must fall firmly at the feet of Beware!'s editors. If you didn't miss me, you will learn to.

Faithfully yours,

Kennedy H-W

(If you want to hear/see more from Jenny and Tom, and you want to support them, consider purchasing one of their physical or audio books, or go to their Patreon page, here. And don't forget to listen to the podcast! - Ed)

Late Edition! Jenny added that she writes true crime literature, too. Check out 'The Faceless Villain' here.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Poetry Hallway - Otter Responds To Hate Mail

Regular readers will be familiar with our regular poetry column, with contributions from the likes of far-left Drew Walton, far-in Limpit Smike, and far-gone Croyland Otter. Our most recent rhyme, a seminal smattering of verse about Brexit and kicking out Poles, rightly attracted angry criticism from just about everybody, including many Brexiteers who understandably failed to grasp the gist of Otter's bollocky poem.

Otter had paid for his naivety and is reportedly in self-imposed exile. (He's in his shed.) We received this confused nonsense this morning, thrust meaningfully, Smike-style, through the letterbox of Poetry Hallway HQ. Shut up, Croyland.

Why Do They Poke? - by Croyland Otter

Scare me, they do, with all spiteful hurtings,
Fear-fill me, they will, with sweary-mouthed dirtings.
Deny me, they shall, all future flirtings,
With the woman who works making nice floral curtings [sic].

Political critics, they think they all know best,
Wind me up with words and now my bed is messed,
With crudulent brownness and fly-blown squirmed infest,
How fri't' all those threats make me; tightness in my chest.

How I hate all those lefties who shout at me, then get,
All rage-filled and screechy with brutal red mindset;
Now I swim in my sleep 'cos I've make my own bed wet,
Caused by mean-minded emails and Facebook-sent death-threats.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Poetry Hallway - An Ode To Nige - Croyland Otter

We're sorry, truly. Owing to the oversights of a previous PH staffer with signatory-level clearance, we find ourselves contractually obliged to share more of Croyland Otter's literary vandalism. This particular outing was accompanied by several pages of "supporting material" which comprised incoherent and naive political rants about how Otter isn't racist but simply wants to "make Britain more like it used to be" - though Otter didn't go into detail regarding which period he was talking about. Based on his prior efforts, we presume Otter would prefer 15th century England.

There's a definite shift in style and subject, which Otter says is his attempt to remain, ahem, "relevant". However, we suspect that he's simply producing poetry for his echo chamber. But there's no point trying to analyse his ramblings, so without further delay, here's some more shit from the Fen Laureate.

Out Of It - by Croyland Otter

I'm the one who voted,
And I also defended,
Getting out of Europe,
And getting Britain mended.

It's gonna be a party,
It's gonna be a blast,
I've picked the side I'll fight for,
Nailed my colours to the mast.

I've honoured all my heroes,
I've renamed my garage,
Somewhere to put my Fiat,
Parked my car in my farage.

I'll be very honest with you,
I'm not entirely clear,
What the EU stands for,
And why we all came here.

But I know that it's a bad thing,
'Cos that's what Nigel said,
Even though he went down with his plane,
And by rights he should be dead.

So maybe he's a zombie?
Or perhaps he's an imposter?
Could it be that all those things he says
Are the ramblings of a tosser?

But he's right about the Polish,
And he's right about the Romanians,
So it's probably not unlikely,
That's he's right about remainians.

And think of all the lovely cash,
Paying for new nurses,
And sending off those horrid euros,
In metaphoric hearses.

My neighbour calls me igna-... ignur-... ignorant,
He thinks I am quite stupid.
He says there'll be no money arrows,
From the Brexiteery cupid.

I wouldn't know, 'cos I don't read,
And what the hell would he know?
He gets the Guardian every day,
Just like a lefty homo.

And Poetry Hallway, (they'll bitch and moan)
And say that I can't say this.
They'll kick me off their lefty blog,
And tell you all I'm 'racist'.

Host organism (left), next to a parasite (right) which will eventually burrow up its arsehole.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Beware! Encyclopaedia of International Celebrity - Sylvester Stallone

In the galaxy of celebrity, there are some stars that shine so bright that it's almost impossible to believe they are just one star. One such pulsar is Sly "Sylvester" Stallone (born 1946-odd), a man who single-handedly squirted out a billion action films (Check this. Ed). The fastest writer in the business, Sly is said to have scrawled the script for the first "Ricky" film whilst popping to the toilet at Madison Square Garden on the night of the great Mohammed Ali v Henry Cooper fight. The original roll is now on permanent display in the Philadelphia Spread Museum.

After quitting his divinity course, Sly earned money as an extra for several years (third diner on the left in "The Godfather", bank customer in "Dog Day Afternoon", unnamed heavy in "Serpico Goes To Shanghai"). After he hit the big time, unscrupulous producers cashed in on his fame by editing together old audition footage and scenes from the cutting-room floor, recut to make Sly into the star of the highly surreal "God of the Quads".

A young, glistening Sly, courtesy
of Andy for MoMoJaJa.
Famous for catchphrases including "get you off me!", "hey!", and "aaahhaarrgghhh!" Sly cornered the market in action flicks. As hinted earlier, his speed is legendary: he wrote, budgeted, scored, costumed, filmed and edited "Ricky" in a day (the story of a little kid mechanic who becomes a lucha libre wrestler). A series of budget-busting bunker-buggers followed; notably "Ricky IV: The Quest For Democracy", released at the height of Reagan-era Cold War paranoia, in which the title character faced off against Brezhnev in a rigged-up ring in the UN HQ at Geneva; and "Ricky Horror", a gender-bending Vietnam musical which later saw Sly honoured for services to the corset industry.

As a leading box office draw, Sly's varied roles included a wronged man in prison; a wronged man in a mental ward; a man in a wrong prison; a ham in a pickle; and a mental wronged man on the loose. A method actor, Sly tunnelled into Slade Penitentiary to get into character for "The Lock-Down", but then couldn't find his way out again, causing a year-long delay in filming.

His work-out routine is infamously extreme. Gargling raw eggs until they scramble in the mouth, whilst hanging off a zip wire over a ravine. He bench-pressed live crocodiles. He exploded on five separate occasions. He tore down entire parking lots.

Sly still found time for life's little luxuries, like eating fine cuisine (his own restaurant chain, Knock-Down Foods), and sex (his own condom line, Sly's Tiger Eye).

He's held back from the political arena, which is perhaps a good thing as of course he's a Republican. 

With the wisdom of old age and the muscle definition of regular HGH injections, in recent years a still-stunning, still-slurring Sly made a comeback to the big screen with an adaptation of 90s Britcom "Waiting For God", starring all his action hero mates (Mr T, David Hasselhoff, Joan Collins) as residents of a retirement home/concentration camp fighting for dignity and freedom under the watch of bumbling villain Christopher Walken and his henchman, Grace Jones. To his legion of fans, however, Stallone will always be best known as a wronged man on the right screen. Our screen. Wrong may he reign.

Poetry Hallway - Limpit Smike Sounds Off

So, friends, what's another year, to someone who's lost everything that he owns? You might well ask. But here comes 2018, ready to put a further boot in whilst we shiver and shake in the cold room. This chilly extractor fan blast following that heavy, low-hanging, fart of a year doesn't really lend itself to reflection - we just want to pack up our genitals and run. Long-time collaborator and excremental badger Limpit Smike is going further than most, as he's decided to emigrate. He's getting in his retaliation first. What could go wrong?

An old Concorde, courtesy
of Andy for MoMoJaJa.
One Widdled From A Great Height by Limpit Smike

One day, I shall come back.
In my Rolls-Royce.
Yes, one sorry (really not sorry) day,
I shall return, from… Australia, say;
California – no – South Africa;
The champagne tastes so much sweeter down there.
The peasants shall raise their mud-streaked faces
And gasp at my lavish gold bootlaces;
As I gaze mocking at the old places.
They shall cry: “Limpit, take me when you go!”
And I, imperious, shall sneer a “No.”
My Rolls-Royce fits only me and my beau;
He enters more snugly than they could know.

Monday, 25 December 2017

The Beware! Encyclopaedia of International Celebrity - Sam Allardyce

The world of football is a muddy globe, a polished rounded scarab ball of muck, and you'd have to be mad to work in it. However, amongst the ranks of con artists, cheaters, hookers, hustlers, pimps and their johns, a few shining examples stand out, undigested vitamin pills in the effluent. One such supplement is the new England Crystal Palace Everton manager (Article a long time in the works? Ed). Trust Beware! to give you the lowdown on a high man amongst low lives. In mid-table.

Sam Allardyce (General Stout-Drawers; Lord Hoof of Route One; Grimlock Ironhide)

Step forward Samuel Allardyce, one of Italy's finest cultural exports. Brought up hand-to-frock in the haute couture world of Milan, small Sam foreswore the fashion industry of his fastidious forebears, instead pursuing an instinctive passion for the transcendent possibilities and balletic beauty of chess. There were no chess clubs in his town (the philistines!) so Sam reluctantly signed up for football class; but for the first term he mainly pretended to be a castle.

As this may hint, Allardyce's first break was not in football, nor chess, but acting. Talent-spotted by a very confused agent, for five long hard years Sam strove as Stan Magnum in "Magnum, I.P.", the cult cop splash about a stout-tached Bermuda short-sporting detective researching intellectual property rights in the Caymans. (The girls, the glamour. Check it out on Kodi!)

It is said that when he shaved off his Magnum tache, he gained 10 years and lost all his acting ability. Acting's loss was surely football's gain.

At a door-busting 8'2" and having absorbed several other defenders, and a manual on stone-masonry, Sam's playing career was predictably static as he perfected the art of spreading himself wide in front of the goal, planted hard, legs and arms and bellies. "None shall pass!" was his pithy catchphrase yelled from the top of his own turrets. Opposition players feigned nosebleeds to avoid facing him. Balls spontaneously deflated in order to stay out of harm's way. Later he played in the United States and frightened the Yanks off the game for a decade. Allardyce paid for some coaching badges and built a new career at pitch-side.

Big Sam has managed some unfashionable clubs - Limerick, Blackpool, Sunderland, Wisbech, Skaro - and has maintained a good rapport with Mackems, Fenlanders and Daleks alike, but insists: "There is no way I should be managing dour drab teams. I should be managing Real Madrid and Barcelona. If I managed Real Madrid, we'd win the Premier League every time."

Sam became noted for his pioneering use of scientific management. Players spent more time doing pilates, inhaling incense and sweating in Turkish baths than the more standard "run into the box and fall over" or "curse the referee's parentage". In the late 80s, Sam got "well into all this new fangled computing" and used pioneering Sinclair technology to track player movements and calculate e.g. the precise position from which each player was most likely to score. Unfortunately, the laser pinpointing was highly temperamental due to Sinclair's insistence on shoddy over-miniaturised parts, but Sam persisted and eventually worked out his players' best scoring positions were on the opponent's goal-line following a long hoofed clearance. Now there's tactics.

Players became used to foregoing alcohol, instead washing down bottles of vitamin pills with avocado smoothies. Big Sam prefers his vits in chewable form and often gets through 12 Haliborange - always Haliborange - in the course of one match.

Indeed, it is often overlooked how cultured Sam is. When he first applied to be England manager in 2006, Allardyce's application was written as a stand-alone app for high-end PCs combining C++, Pearl and Haskell. When it turned out that the FA system ran on DOS-based 486 machines, Sam had to run home and print out the entire thing, only for it to transpire most of the FA couldn't read either.

Away from pitch-side, he started a comedy duo with his friend and colleague, Portuguese deadpan Jose "No Comment" Mourinho, where the two saucy wags pretended to hate each other's guts. Their "stone age football", "bus parking tutor" and what an effing liberty" routines remain firm favourites. Sam also likes taramasalata, feng shui and The Mikado.

After the debacle of his short time in charge of the national team - it turned out that the FA had blacklisted Haliborange from pitch-side, unbeknownst to Sam who in his first match chomped through a pack of them on camera - an early retirement seemed on the cards; and there was a short-lived diversion into pro snooker, where his extreme no-potting tactics combined with dangerously long balls led to a life ban from the green baize; but the lure of football was too strong.

Now at his latest desperate club, Everton of Manchester, Sam discovered that the reason for their recent woes was an inability of other players to simply pass to star striker Mickey Rooney ("That lad has got goals coming out of his arse, he just needs some feeders"). Sam fixed that with his patented "effing-pass-to-Rooney" strategy, tested in computer simulation and aided by drones and magnetic boots. Long may this thoroughly modern innovator continue to tear up form books, rule books and record books. No cooking of the books implied.

Excessive consumption of Haliborange may cause laxative effects. Always squeeze the maypole.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Poetry Hallway - Ring All The Bells

Dear reader, let me ask you some questions in an old-fashioned style: Don't you long for change? No, really, don't you yearn for it? Deep in your bones? Also, how did they make your eyes so pretty? Where did you get that thong? Can I get one too? What time is love? How soon is never? And why are you backing away? Here in the Poetry Hallway, we salivate at the knees of change.

Ring All The Bells by Andy Brain

On the day when I leave this dump behind
A dead weight evaporates and I'm free
Free of all the hideous history
Free of the "that'll do" mentality
Free of the tight bands constricting my chest
Free of the stillness that fails to bring rest
On the day when the last link is severed
Ring all the bells on the way, bang them hard!
On the day when I, exhausted, can sigh:
"Enough, you stinky town, bog off and die!"
And may that day bring strength to all our hearts
The leaving of the town of dead old farts.
We'll meet in better places, raise a brow
At how we ever let it drag us down
At how we ever stuck around so long
That happy day when all of us are gone.

Next time: a frozen wonderland of your finest verses on the dark season.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Beware! Micro-Tales: Doctor Who and the Rusmoff of Disappointment

This roughed-out Doctor Who synopsis was rescued from a skip in Cardiff, and makes for disappointing (if familiar) reading... Don't worry: not long 'til Chibnall.

The Doctor and his over-confident and generally-very-rude companion encounter the Daleks for the fifth time this season. All of the other aliens from the previous series (the expensive ones) have pointless cameos. A same-sex relationship receives much attention, despite its irrelevance. A character uses a minor swear word, and another makes a pop-culture reference, perhaps to something relating to the Harry Potter universe.

The Dalek's leader turns out to be Davros, who has survived his last encounter with the Doctor, which is left unexplained.

Davros looking wrinkly.
Davros tells the Doctor his plan to destroy everything in unnecessary detail, and demonstrates the enormous power of his Rusmoff device by killing a couple of people who we met five minutes earlier. The Doctor is powerless to stop him. Davros has the means to destroy everything immediately, but dithers. The Doctors reiterates the extent of the problem to people who have also just heard Davros's explanation.

Rather than killing the Doctor and his assistant and destroying everything, he begins a timer. This gives another character from a previous episode time to use a special power they'd never had before to stop the timer and press a couple of switches, which kills all of the Daleks except Davros. Something on the ship goes critical for no reason, but not that critical. Doctor and co. have time to escape.

Davros shouts obscenities at the Doctor as he makes his escape. Davros's ship is shown to explode, but we're left to presume that Davros dies, even though we know he's alive, even though he can't be. The Doctor mourns something which he didn't seem to care about earlier, in order to make the victory seem hollow, because even killing all the Daleks goes against the Geneva Convention.

Roll Next Time and credits.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Poetry Hallway - Having A Trip To The Bank

Any change, guv'nor? At Poetry Hallway we are skint. Strapped. Scooped out. Brassic. We're borrowing a neighbour's internet, hand-cranking a tiny solar torch for light, and coming up with recipes incorporating whatever remains in the cupboard. Pasta, rice and noodle surprise, whoopee! - the surprise being whatever tiny sauce sachets we've filched on our travels along the high street earlier. Hunter-gatherers. Apply here. Please.

Things are so bad we're even thinking of renting out one end of the Hallway to amorous swingers in need of a quick bunk-up. So long as they don't mind sharing with a team of starving poets, and using a pile of old towels and junk manuscripts as a mattress, it could be a winner!

Sadly we're not the only ones with holes in our socks and our guts due to the holes in our funds (especially as we were counting on our latest promised payment from git-faced Limpit, that is until we actually read his latest poem):

Having A Trip To The Bank - by Limpit Smike

They turned me down, those naughty clowns,
They turned me down again;
My fine request for extra funds -
Allow me to explain.

My poet’s life has wheres and whys,
And often just “how much?!”;
But lavishness becomes me, so
I strive to keep in touch.

My bank has clean facilities,
And clean advances too;
But when I can advance no more,
They leave me in the stew.

They have no wit, those naughty twits;
They have no poet’s ear;
What squirt of life flows through their loins?
Quite none at all I fear.

How will I make to penetrate
Those hard, unyielding men?
Am I the Smike forever cursed
To rant and swear and moan?

Insinuate, or sit and wait
Until my verse takes flight?
Or use my lover’s deepness
And thrust with all my might?

A love that swells in all my parts
Would take them by surprise;
And surely soon, my overdraft
Would be quite energised.

Their deepest vaults would sweat and strain
As I thrust strong and tough;
If they would only give me some
I’d give back quite a stuff!