* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Make war, not supper.

17 December 2001
Victor: don't wave your spatula at me.

Thhhunnkk! As the colander whirrs through the air I catch sight of its intended victim, cowering at the far end of the hall. Rooted to the spot, blue eyes shining through the pallor, he makes no attempt to dodge the missile aimed at his left temple. It hits home: Keith falls lifeless to the floor. Seconds later I discern a rivulet of dark blood trickling from his ear.

Schhhlopp! Close combat now, Paul's demise. Jan is riding around on his shoulders, yanking his head back to expose his face. Brandishing a melon baller she endeavours to insert it into the right eye socket, her golden ringlets hanging down in front of her victim. The weapon finds purchase under the lower eyelid; Paul tries desperately to throw Jan off, to lower his head out of harm's way, but she is already in - twisting, levering, gouging. I expect it to pop out, roll along the floor. It doesn't. It is suspended, attached by nerves, string, elastic. In a Looney Tunes moment Paul endeavours to push it back in.

An unknown charges at me with a grapefruit spoon. As I parry his onslaught with a flourish of my two-in-one potato peeler and apple corer, Alan calls out for help. He has been set upon by the twins, Amy and Geraldine. They are both armed with family sized cheese graters, in the process of exposing his upper arms and knees. Trousers around ankles, Alan howls as the skin collects on the outside of the grater. Formidable tools, expertly wielded - the two-pronged attack renders poor Alan incapable of fending off either one, whilst the sharpness of the grater on all sides prevents him from grabbing hold of the offending utensils in an attempt at removal. There is nothing I can do to save him. I have to look out for myself.

In comparison to Clare I have got off pretty lightly. Scott has pinned her down on the parquet floor. With his right knee pressing on her windpipe he applies a battery- operated tin opener to a spot approximately three inches above the nape of her neck. As he makes his way further round the screams subside. Scott is disappointed to find that Clare has already passed out by the time he begins peeling back her cranium.

It is only now that I wonder how we have got to this. I know why we are here in this hall. It is the culmination of a long weekend's training in the art of self-defence.

Captain Handy McStab had told us his history: of Worcestershire stock, he had lost his chef father and mentor at an early age in a whisking accident. Traumatised by grief he had tried his hand at a number of schemes including petty theft (pans, food mixers) until it was suggested that he join the army. He seemed to have found his niche in the SAS until the storming of the Iranian Embassy - he was given a dishonourable discharge in 1982 for endangering the men in his unit (instructing them to frisk the terrorists for saucers).

In the midst of mounting personal resentment McStab hit on an idea that would marry his two loves - cooking and combat. He determined to instruct members of the public to use kitchen utensils in self-defence.

Why had we decided to enlist? The onset of terror in the western world, a profound and mutual sense of vulnerability which had dogged my group of friends since September. It seemed highly probable that I would open my door to an international rascal in a tea towel ready to blow my children sky high. It was time, I had reasoned, to defend my domestic environment.

As the weekend progressed we witnessed amazing feats of discipline and culinary skill. McStab showed us how to skin a live sheep in thirty seconds, to cause brain damage with a strategically placed pastry brush, to disembowel with tongs. But we were all itching to get down to the practical stuff, to get a feel for the implements. And, God, did it feel good. The touch of the cold stainless steel in my hand aroused urges in me which had lain dormant for generations. I thrilled to imagine what it would be like to beat one of those bastards with a fish slice. I constructed scenarios in which I heroically protected my family and my freedom from the Eastern threat to democracy.

Keith never really took to it: always the gentlest of the lot of us, he had never been able to make the leap. I tried to encourage him, fearing that he would be left behind, but to him kitchen utensils were just that. To the rest of us they are now much more.

After three days' intensive training we were looking forward to the end of course celebration: dinner and dancing, the usual conference set-up. But as we sat down to the soup starter we realised that dining would never be the same. I grasped my spoon: the guests either side of me tensed up. George lunged for the cruet set; Melanie for the butter dish; Nat (unwisely) was frantically hoarding toothpicks. There was a sudden rush to the kitchens, shelves and cupboards stripped in seconds. I thanked my lucky stars that I had concealed the potato-peeler-cum-apple corer on my person as a precaution.

In my pause for thought I am caught off guard. George is hurtling towards me with a silver pepper pot. I stand my ground. Catching his raised right arm with my left I thrust the point of the peeler into his chest. Twisting then removing as instructed, I stare into his eyes and realise that I have at most five seconds in which to renew my assault. In one deft curve I turn the tool round to expose the corer and plunge it into the old wound. I push down, twist again, remove again. George slumps. As he falls from my hands I clutch my prize - a dainty morsel caught in the corer, a slice of George's heart. A trophy.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
27 October 2003. Victor writes: Our Tune
6 October 2003. Victor writes: Sucking face (in a public place)
15 September 2003. Victor writes: You got any ID?
25 August 2003. Victor writes: Blood on the Boulevard
4 August 2003. Victor writes: In (paren)theses
10 July 2003. Victor writes: Island Fling
19 June 2003. Victor writes: Back (back) and forth (and forth)
2 June 2003. Victor writes: 300 clowns, 13 eight-year olds
12 May 2003. Victor writes: The swings and roundabouts of outrageous fortune
21 April 2003. Victor writes: ...just sitting there quietly contemplating suicide
31 March 2003. Victor writes: Victoria
6 March 2003. Victor writes: Relevant experience
17 February 2003. Victor writes: You will eat chips and go nowhere
27 January 2003. Victor writes: A bushy fish for fishy Mr Bush (after Juvenal)
6 January 2003. Victor writes: The Accidental Voyeur
16 December 2002. Victor writes: Gripper goes bang
25 November 2002. Victor writes: Bediquette
4 November 2002. Victor writes: Where have all the spastics gone?
14 October 2002. Victor writes: An Immodest Proposal
23 September 2002. Victor writes: Fastscan masterplan
2 September 2002. Victor writes: Dry Humping Social Club
12 August 2002. Victor writes: Beat the Mongol
22 July 2002. Victor writes: What life is not
1 July 2002. Victor writes: Stupor heroes
6 June 2002. Victor writes: Dry
13 May 2002. Victor writes: Muppet Suite
18 April 2002. Victor writes: gingermingeninja
25 March 2002. Victor writes: Sodomize with Pukka Pies
28 February 2002. Victor writes: Dave's problem
4 February 2002. Victor writes: King of the Aisles
10 January 2002. Victor writes: Here come the decorator gimps.
17 December 2001. Victor writes: Make war, not supper.
22 November 2001. Victor writes: Cough
29 October 2001. Victor writes:
4 October 2001. Victor writes: Green Gauges
10 September 2001. Victor writes: Blind weed
16 August 2001. Victor writes: Snout!
23 July 2001. Victor writes: You're not going to put this in a clown are you?
28 June 2001. Victor writes: What is a droll?
4 June 2001. Victor writes: Burt Pakamak
10 May 2001. Victor writes: Board to Death
12 April 2001. Victor writes: Tricolon with anaphora?
22 March 2001. Victor writes: Point of View
26 February 2001. Victor writes: Goth's Dinner
1 Feburary 2001. Victor writes: Les Miserables
4 January 2001. Victor writes: Flat-packed furniture
14 December 2000. Victor writes: Deliverance
20 November 2000. Victor writes: Bottomry: Exorcising Ghosts
26 October 2000. Victor writes: Body Art
2 October 2000. Victor writes: Disney must die
7 September 2000. Victor writes: Ice-cream in Offworld
14 August 2000. Victor writes: I like sweets that taste of medicine
26 June 2000. Victor writes: I've seen the future, and it's feathered

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