The recent ‘shocking’ Toblerone re-sizing scandal (See the NY Times article here) has sparked outrage amongst chocolate fans and has undoubtedly encouraged those people whom constantly whinge at the shrinking size of Christmas chocolate tins to be outraged. When we were kids everything seemed massive and it is natural for things to look much smaller when you’re now at least four foot taller (and wider if you’ve been constantly bingeing on those chocolates) but you cannot ignore the evidence provided. Whether it’s the uncertainty that Brexit or a new US President brings to financial markets and businesses they cannot hide the fact that chocolate and sweets aren’t what they used to be “in the good old days.”
Incidents such as the Toblerone scandal make me look back at what kids from my era (70s to 80s) loved to eat and drink. Personally I was never a lover of sweets as I think my low-level OCD didn’t like the mess and stickiness, which resulted from stuffing your face with a ‘10p mix’ of sweets in a scrunched-up, grubby paper bag. There were never any napkins handed out or pocket-hankies in those days so sticky mouths and fingers were wiped on sleeves or cuffs already soiled with dirt and snots (often with that unmistakeable snail trail cascading upwards from your wrist gaining you a clip around the ear when your Dad saw it.) Sweets that weren’t too messy, such as Barratt’s Sherbet Fountain, were the ones that I tended to go for but even then I was still weird with them. I never liked the Liquorice stick so I’d dip it into the sherbet to help loosen it up and pour the sherbet into my gob until the sherbet was all gone. The Liquorice stick would either be offered to my brother or a friend (un-licked of course, I wasn’t that mean) or simply binned – something I hated doing as I was, and still am, against wasting food. Continue reading →
Eyes swollen and encrusted with dried blood slowly flicker open; blurred images eventually coming into focus as the sticky clotted eyelashes blink into life.
‘Good, you’re awake again,’ Henry Bletchley-Ward said as he placed the Olympus digital voice recorder on the table and slid the long kitchen knife out of the wooden block. It hardly made a sound and his saggy jowls flapped as he shook his head and sighed. No sword-like metal sound as it was in the films. He yanked his notebook and pen from his back pocket and scribbled down some notes.
Henry crossed the room and waved the knife in the salesman’s face like a child swinging a foil sword and scrutinised every reaction before scribbling away once more. The blood-splattered laminate pinned to his chest read, ‘Clive Hedges. EDF Energy’ yet gagged and taped to Henry’s kitchen chair, face swollen, bruised and bloodied, he didn’t look like a Clive. Henry liked that, it made his character more believable. He adjusted the video camera’s tripod and zoomed in on Clive’s face. ‘01/12/1999 00:00’ flashed repeatedly across the screen and Henry cursed. He set the time and date and pressed record.
Apart from messing about with Bunsen burners, what else did you play around with at school to annoy your classmates or, if you were brave, the teacher?
Me? Well, I went through comprehensive school in Wales during the 80s, and there was that annoying green slime putty (which you could set ‘time delay’ charges on the ceiling and wait for them to lose their grip and splat onto someone’s head during the lesson), spud guns (if you could nick the potatoes without annoying your Mam too much), cap guns and cap rockets (into which you’d try and squeeze as many caps as possible in order to get the loudest possible ‘explosion’ when you threw it, although probably not in the confines of the classroom!), wet paper balls fired from out of Bic pen cases or pencil toppers launched at people’s heads.
The odd stink bomb strategically placed under the teachers desk or chair leg was guaranteed to clear the classroom and undoubtedly get you detention and/or lines. Whoopeecushions and fart spray, from the joke shop in Porthcawl, were also good for a few laughs but they’d get confiscated if you were caught, and that was just a waste of your pocket money. Continue reading →
How cool would it be to see the history of an object just by a single touch? You would be able to see everything and everyone that has come into contact with that object since it was first created. You could touch centuries old items and be dazzled by an amazing glimpse into its past – like time travel without the DeLorean or a big blue telephone box.
But what if that object was a murder weapon? Could you handle seeing the gruesome truth behind its bloody past down to every last bone crunching blood-spattered sinew and the heart-ache and suffering that undoubtedly follows?
At first you may be intrigued and become thick-skinned but in the end, as your head quickly fills with sickening images, could you continue?
Eldan Bethy, an Article Phenomenologist (AP), has this exact power.
To read more about Eldan and his work as an AP click on the link below:
Stephen King Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images
The Guardian newspaper recently ran a short story competition, which unfortunately I didn’t enter due to Open University study commitments, and the judge was none other than the master of horror himself, Stephen King.
The Guardian website wrote…
“The short story is alive and well in the UK according to novelist Stephen King, who this week picked the winner of a competition launched to celebrate his own latest collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.
More than 800 creepy tales were submitted to the contest, run by the Guardian and King’s UK publisher, Hodder & Stoughton. King, who chose the winner from a shortlist of six, said: “I never expected such quality, and it does my heart good. Every one of these stories would be publishable.”
The bestselling novelist picked Elodie Harper’s Wild Swimming – a sinister tale set around a reservoir in Lithuania – as the winner, describing it as “part of a small but interesting genre: the 21st‑century epistolary tale.” Harper, 34, is a reporter for ITV News Anglia.”
Here’s the first piece of fiction that I’ve written specifically for this site – all my other stories have been entered into competitions so can’t be published on here, at least not yet anyway.
The idea for this story came about from one of my weird dreams. I don’t always remember my dreams and those that I do tend to fade away within minutes. To prevent this happening I now have a ‘reverie’ notebook by the side of my bed to scribble things down when my sleep encrusted eyes snap open.
If you like the story, feel free to let me know. If you don’t like the story, tell me why and maybe I can fix it, if I agree with you that is 😉