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Week 273 – Folks Who Make Janet And John Cry, The MCC Almanac As Inspiration And ‘Surely Calpol Re-Animates

Well another week over and a new one is just about to begin.

I have sworn quite a bit this week. And you should have heard Diane! The oaths that lady doesn’t know are not worth knowing.

You know that phrase about ‘My giddy aunt’? Well, Diane adds the reason for the old dear’s giddyness.

The source of Diane’s annoyance, (Apart from the overuse of panties), is folks sending submissions without looking at the guidelines.

It is getting a tad annoying.

I know that I can call them fuckwits in this posting as they don’t read anything before sending. I’m actually surprised that they learned in the first place.

These stories will have very little chance of being read.

Would they buy anything without seeing it first? Would they go on a date with someone who had just written to them? Would they send money to a distressed Prince?

Shit…The internet can really fuck up a perfectly good point!

If you know anyone who is trying their hand at getting published, or you write a blog or give advice, tell anyone who will listen to do a wee bit of research first.

A shit submission hits the ‘No Chance’ folder a bit pronto.

I was saddened this week due to there being no Eurovision Song Contest. I’ve always enjoyed this annual contest especially when we had the spectacularly bad.

The contest has always attracted the fabulous but the spectacularly bad was a joy to behold.

All I could do on Saturday was drink a Pink Gin and experience ‘Rock Bottom’.

I’m big enough and ugly enough to embrace what I enjoy and not give a shit what anyone thinks –

So I don’t care if I was gay in a past life and no, I have no cupboards to walk from in a life that is a lot closer to the present!

From terrible submissions to terrible music and now to terrible judgement.

There is one type of submission that we get a load of and that is specialised knowledge stories.

This is a balance that I can never get right as my specialised knowledge is limited. In fact, ‘extinct’ may be a better word. When I think on the word ‘extinct’, it shouldn’t be used if something was non-existent in the first place.

Anyhow – Some writers can get this balance perfect and we are left with a very interesting story that makes you want to seek out more information on their topic.

Unfortunately more than often, the balance isn’t right and we are left with something that bores. When writing for a layman on a specific subject, it is even harder to engage the reader.

All emotions, human hardship, death and taxes are things that we may not completely understand in the same way but we have some sort of common experience. But writing a tale about Jim the Dung Beetles Migration to Djibouti in the form of the style and philosophy of Cappellanus is going to struggle. Fair play to the writer for using the common name Jim to connect with his audience of two. (His wife and granny who is losing it a bit.)

The one time that this is a shame when it doesn’t work is when someone is writing about sports. The passion and all forms of emotion can be felt but if there is too much technical content, it doesn’t work for the reader. The story needs to be carried by the characters and the social observation, the specifics of the sport can’t be the focus.

*That applies to every sport bar cricket. There is no excitement or passion in that no matter who tries to tell you otherwise. Cricket is a dastardly plot from the English Nation to bore everyone to death.

If sports were twinned with anything else, Cricket would be twinned with Morris Dancing.

Okay onto this weeks stories.

We had three new writers, me and one of our most industrious writers.

To all our new writers, we welcome them, hope they have fun on the site and most importantly, we want to see more of their work.

The topics this week included; A dread, siblings, a strong woman, dementia and a radio show.

As always our initial comments follow.


We thought that Monday was a good day to start.

Yash Seyedbagheri got us off and running with, ‘Cat Eyes‘.

‘The story was all about the relationship between the brother and sister.’

‘There was a lovely poignant tone to this.’

‘There was a sort of hopelessness and regret that would simmer forever.


I find it a bit strange that for such an innocuous title, this is the second time we have seen a story called ‘Soup.’

Shira Musicant was next up on Tuesday.

‘The words falling off after they’d been attached was a brilliant piece of imagery.’

‘Beautifully constructed.’

‘Sad, touching and a heartbreaking last line.’


On Wednesday the newbies kept coming.

Lovely‘ was Bela Khanna’s first story for us.

‘Sad, sensuous and unsettling all at the same time.’

‘There is a lot of emotion with a touch of madness.’

‘The woman was a fascinating character.’


There is no introduction needed for the brilliant Mr Fred Foote.

Anyone who wants a lesson on how to write should read every one of Fred’s fifty eight stories!

Super Bowl Blues‘ was published on Thursday.

‘This is a brilliant way to do some cutting social commentary.’

‘I was totally captured – I could hear the discussion.’

‘Fred has sold this. The call-in was so convincing.’


And I finished off on Friday with ‘The Eleventh Step.’

It was a wee horror tale for you to take to your bed with you.

As always, I need to thank Nik and Diane for all their encouragement and help.


So that’s us for another week.

The usual Wednesday Spiritual Union:

Please keep the comments coming. We love to see them on the site.

And why not have a go at the Sunday Re-Run feature. Just pick an older story that you have enjoyed, write a spiel or an introduction and throw in a couple of questions for the writer.

We will publish exactly what you send us.

Just to finish off, I started watching ‘The Frankenstein Chronicles’ and was astonished to see Mercury being used as a cure for syphilis.

I thought, ‘My God, how uninformed.’

Isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come. Now-a-days we use bleach for what it is most suitable and medicines for the likes of malaria are used specifically for those ailments.

As long as we don’t do that and stick the odd ultra-violet light up our arses, we will live a long and healthy life.

Talking about health, I’m having an awful problem with dandruff – Where’s my Laudanum?



I have a lot of time for a bit of Morris Dancing – and cricket is a great excuse for falling asleep in a deck chair. Really though – Hugh speaks truth in this post. Don’t just throw your hard work out into the ether, submit it properly to a place where it might stand a chance. I know we all expect to collect a gazillion rejections as we move along but that’s not really the point of it all. It really does get my knickers in a twist – was going to use the P word there but I just couldn’t do it. dd


Image – Tim Green from Bradford / CC BY (


6 thoughts on “Week 273 – Folks Who Make Janet And John Cry, The MCC Almanac As Inspiration And ‘Surely Calpol Re-Animates”

  1. Diane,
    What can I say about the image??
    The image says it all!
    I think Morris dancing was a fertility dance. If it was, I find that ironic as I don’t think any of these guys will ever get a girl!


  2. I have seen the Morris Dancers at a Traditional Music venue in a small town here that is populated mostly by cowboys. The wranglers and I had never seen anything like it, there were some rather bawdy aspects. It was kinda weird, like when I was in Mexico and we bicycled through a fog bound village of totally silent people dressed all in white, doing mime. How was there a sudden fog in the jungle? What was with the mime? Twilight Zone stuff. Anyway, back to the dancers. There were two guys in a horse outfit bopping around, and the cowboys liked that. I talked to a couple of the Morris folk about their history. Apparently, Oliver Cromwell was not a fan.


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