Tuesday, 22 May 2018

21st May 1942

Yesterday was my father's birthday. He would have been 76. Born in 1942.

Here he is in a picture that I now keep in my passport, probably taken by my mother when they went out on their many scooter rides together back in the black and white days. He's doing a Fonz impression, hands out palm up with a cigarette, shrugging with a smile. He's probably in his twenties as there don't seem to be any babies in the picture on a scooter side-car or such, meaning this photo must have been taken more than 50 years ago. 

Last night I raised a glass for him. Though we didn't see eye to eye much of the time growing up I had been looking forward to spending mellower times ahead with him, but that sadly wasn't to be, as cancer took him in March of 2012.

So the last lesson he taught me was this: 

Sometimes late is not better than never. Sometimes it's the same.

Hug your loved ones. Live life. Do it today.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Spiderman And The Battle Of The Bulge

My great uncle Ben 
is a prizewinning baker.
He says it's because 
he's a great flour maker.

But he doesn't take 
his creations too lightly.
He takes it real serious, 
often baking all nightly.

He shoots in each morning 

on his scooter mobility
"With great flour," he says, 
"comes great responsibility."

Jam donuts, yum yums,

danishes and such,
Caught in the act, he growls,
"Don't eat too much!"

"Don't eat this, don't eat that!" 

Drives me up the wall.
Had I not sticky fingers
From his cakes I might fall.

"But I'm fit as a fiddle 

I say with a grin
A fruit scone or two 
won't do me in."

"Fit as a cello's more like it," 
he grumbles and moans.
"On top form you ain't. 
Pushing pencils and phones.

Since starting your desk job
and your big promotion
you just don't have the puff
to deal with commotion.

"Your job's to catch bad guys,

To wait and then pounce.
But your web might snap
And then you might bounce!"

"I don't care if my muscles should bruise,

My bones should crack and my back should ache
Cos I'd rather die
than not eat this cake."

"You can't fit in your suit

You can't face the Green Goblin
With three double chins
and spare tyres wobblin'."

I'll show him,

I'll shift this weight
Just soon as I've scoffed
a cream donut or eight.

© Chris Young 2018 

Photo credit : https://www.flickr.com/photos/emiline220/4273700175

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Notes From The Multiverse

I'm very pleased to announce that not one but two of the short stories I wrote while voluntarily exiled to Japan are planned to be published along with a host of other great pieces from some excellent writers in the third West Lothian Writers anthology, "Notes From The Multiverse".

Mine are One Last Tale and Multiversal.

One Last Tale (2007) is a short story born (as many surely are) from the frustrations of not knowing what to write. It's set in the distant future when all the good stories have already been told (several times) and there really is nothing new under the sun. It begins with a publisher lamenting to an old friend that he has nothing truly original to publish any more. He refuses to hire the services of professional time-traveling heavies whose job is to go into the future and bring back original stories from authors not yet born, as they've been doing for centuries. But his friend has a surprise in store.

With all the sequels, prequels, remakes and origin movies around these days it's beginning to feel like this story is becoming a little prophetic.
Illustration © Miyuki Young 2018 

My wife, Miyuki Young, has drawn a scene from One Last Tale and hopefully this illustration will also find a place in the anthology.

Multiversal (2007) , as I've mentioned before on this blog, is about what happens when Bob reads in a science magazine that the multiverse theory has actually been agreed to be true by many notable and respected scientists. This is very loosely based on truth as it is inspired by what I actually felt and wanted to do upon reading the exact same article. But because I couldn't do it (or wasn't brave enough) I instead explored the possible chaotic and amusing ramifications of what might happen if I did, and made it into a short story.

I'm especially excited and honoured for Multiversal to be spearheading the theme of the anthology, and am very grateful to be picked up.

The book, expected to be about £5 or £6, will contain roughly two dozen pieces - short stories, poems and novel excerpts - and will no doubt be a very readable variety of genres, styles and imaginings from active writers in the West Lothian area.

Out soon!

© Chris Young 2018

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Modest Trumpeter Gets Fired

Ultimately we had to ask George to leave the brass band. He was just too modest. He hated to blow his own trumpet. The conversation went like this:
“I'm sorry George, you're really good, but you have to leave.”
“Because you don't do anything. Don't get me wrong, you're really the best player we've ever had, but you just sit there doing nothing, missing your parts and taking up a chair.”
“Well, I don't like to blow my own trumpet.”
“But you have to.”
“I don't want to.”
“Then why do you come here then?”
“I love music, it's a part of my life. I love playing the trumpet. It's like breathing. Out.”
“Yes, you're a real musician. We've never heard a better trumpeter.”
“Thanks. You're too kind, but it's really nothing.”
“But there's no point you being here if you don't play in the concerts. We need a trumpeter to play your parts.”
“But I don't like blowing my own trumpet.”
“I understand that.”
“Can I blow Tom's trumpet?”
“No, you can't. Tom blows his own trumpet. He needs his own trumpet for his parts.
“Can I play the clarinet?”
“But you're shit at the clarinet. Mary is much better than you at the clarinet.”
“I just have a problem blowing my own trumpet. Seems wrong somehow.”
“Have you taken it to a trumpet repair shop to have a look at it?”
“It's not that.”
“What is it then?”
“I think my trumpet may be haunted.”
“Why would you think that?”
“Every time I blow into it, I – I feel out of breath somehow. A strange stiffness in my joints. Especially the knuckles of my right hand. I hear voices.”
“Voices? What do they say?”
“They say 'Ooooooh, Ooooooh, Rrumpety pumpty pump.”
“Those are the noises a trumpet makes.”
“My trumpet used to belong to my great uncle Arthur, who died playing it one winter's day.”
“How did he die?”
“He got his tongue stuck. Maybe I could be the conductor?”
“That's my job. Look, I know you don't like to brag about it, but there's a time and a place where we have no choice other than to blow our own trumpet. Especially if you're a trumpet player and you're in a brass band.”
“How about the triangle?”

© Chris Young 2018
Image Credit : https://www.goodfreephotos.com