Sue Gray’s Partygate Report Released

I’m a little late to the party, but this week I published a zine, ‘Sue Gray’s Partygate Report’, alternatively titled, ‘The Case of the Forbidden Jamborees’.

A Partygate Report you might actually want to own

It’s an illustrated, 44-page zine that’s a satirical parody of the Government’s actual report, ‘Investigation Into Alleged Gatherings On Government Premises During COVID Restrictions’. Unlike the real report, this one actually contains pictures and addresses the elephant in the room – why the hell does this report exist?

My version of Sue Gray’s Partygate Report is available for download here, and from today, for purchase in print on my Etsy shop, Your Dad’s A Tory.

What Is Sue Gray’s Partygate Report?

It’s a satirical zine about UK politics – specifically, the current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s Partygate scandal. Unlike Joe Lycett’s highly publicised parody, this one extends well beyond a six point executive summary. It’s a full, 44-page report.

The Party Animals – (L-R), Spuds MacKenzie, Dr Feelgood, Boris Johnson & Sue Gray

Unlike a traditional parody report, thematically and structurally, this report’s a bit abstract. The premise is a Murder Mystery Party, hosted at No10 by Boris Johnson, during which Sue Gray and various other characters are invited to solve a mystery – whether Ministers and Officials have been partying during national COVID-Sars lockdowns. The party takes place across rooms throughout No11 & No12 Downing Street (where the parties actually happened), with different party and investigation themed scenarios on each page.

The main narrative is prefaced with a fake excerpt from a psychological journal, in a similar theme to JG Ballard’s experimental 1968 piece, ‘Why I Want To Fuck Ronald Reagan’. This is to provide criticism around the premise of the actual ‘Investigation Into Alleged Gatherings On Government Premises During COVID Restrictions’ – an investigation that really wasn’t necessary. Instead, it became a highly publicised waste of time, because the Prime Minister is a liar.

What Qualifies You To Write This?

Here’s the funny bit. I worked in Whitehall for seven years. Although I walked out well before COVID, I’ve been to a lot of parties at Downing Street; either as a Private Secretary or in a comms role. Further, I worked in a couple of Permanent Secretaries’ offices, which in practice means I’ve worked directly with Sue Gray and her former office when she was Director General of Propriety & Ethics at the Cabinet Office.

For a long time, I embraced the culture. I can attest that Whitehall does have a drinking problem. I can’t think of a Thursday or Friday when there wasn’t at least a case of opened Prosecco in the office. Office managers expected staff to come in with a hangover on Friday. It was a given. Hell, I used to end up at the Red Lion or Champagne Charlies on Villiers St almost every night of the working week.

I can also tell you that Cabinet Office and No10 were way boozier than other Departments. That’s why when the investigation was launched, the idea that Whitehall was boozing during lockdown really didn’t surprise me. It’s completely ingrained into the culture.

Why Did You Bother Writing It?

To be honest, I’m not sure. I went for a drink with some former Private Office colleagues a week before the actual early report came out. We were talking about Sue Gray’s investigation and agreed it’d be funny to produce something similar to the political zine I made in late 2019, called ‘Watch Out! Your Dad’s A Tory’.

However, it ballooned significantly beyond the initial scope, a weirder narrative blossomed and in the end, it became a much grander piece than it was intended to be.

What Is The Political Context of Sue Gray’s Report?

For those reading this who don’t understand the context, here’s a brief rundown. Evidence was released that proved that Officials, Special Advisors & Ministers had parties in Government buildings during periods of National Lockdown.

National Lockdowns

In the UK, from 2020 to 2022 during the global COVID-Sars epidemic, the British Government enforced a series of national lockdowns. These lockdowns significantly curtailed the public’s right to socialise and closed down a huge number of businesses.

At the height of these lockdowns, individuals were unable to see friends, family, visit other peoples’ houses under the penalty of a substantial fine (up to £10,000). Even pubs were closed, which in England is sacrilegious. However, these lockdowns were justified and largely supported by the public to prevent the spread of COVID-Sars, reduce pressures on the NHS and protect vulnerable individuals.

Allegations That Parties Were Held In Government Buildings

In late 2021, rumours and limited evidence leaked showing that parties had taken place on Government property during these national lockdowns. They were alleged to have happened in Downing Street, the Department for Education and HM Treasury. Government wasn’t exempt from lockdowns and neither were Ministers. These alleged parties were illegal gatherings.

Conga Line of Partygate Events – styled to mimic the Conservative’s famous ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ campaign material

Worse, evidence was released showing the Prime Minister at these functions. To deflect responsibility and stave off his forced resignation, Boris Johnson first requested Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary to conduct a review into the alleged events. When it was discovered that Simon Case had attended these parties, he was taken off the investigation and another Civil Servant, Sue Gray was pulled onto it.

The Findings

Sue Gray’s Report is a pretty dull read, but it found evidence that at least 12 ‘gatherings’ had taken place in Government Buildings during national lockdowns, that Ministers knew about it and that there was a culture of drinking in Whitehall.

What Happened?

Despite the real report’s rather damning findings, nothing’s happened.

Boris Johnson remains the Prime Minister (because seriously, who’s going to replace him?), some Civil Servants were forced to resign and the No10 Press Office’s wine cooler was removed. Right? The wine cooler was removed? Why didn’t they just buy an under the counter fridge? Who is so pretentious that they need a wine cooler? Particularly at work.

The public’s attention has (rightly) moved onto the on going Ukraine Crisis. More, while I hate to be a cynic, I’d wager that the outcome of this geo-political crisis will save Boris Johnson, as the 1982 Falkland’s War arguably secured Margaret Thatcher’s second term as Prime Minister.

But that hasn’t stopped this being a completely farcical episode of British politics. One of this Government’s many farcical episodes – from slashing benefits during a period of unprecedented rises in living costs, fighting to keep disadvantaged children hungry and knighting a man who is unable to distinguish one black man from another.

If you haven’t already given up on British politics or the traditional two party system, I’d suggest that you do now.

Download Sue Gray’s Partygate Report Now

So here’s my gift to you. A free, high effort parody report about the Partygate scandal. Because really, what else could I have done? Stayed working in Government and gone to one of the many parties there?

Download it now.

Peppa Pig’s Plan To Level Up Britain

Hands up who hates Peppa Pig! You all do?! Great.

Well thankfully, the obnoxious brat’s finally done something useful. She’s provided the trotters and snouts needed to make Britain ‘great again’. And no, that’s not in a Greggs sausage roll kind of way, despite flaky pastry being the closest thing we have to a national treasure.

It’s a relief, given the Prime Minister’s recent, rather honest admission that “No Whitehall civil servant could have conceivably come up with [a plan as good as] Peppa’s.” Perhaps forgetting that Peppa Pig is actually a cartoon for children conceived by the unwashed & unemployed (apparently anyway)

So it’s no wonder that Michael Gove’s new Department has drawn inspiration from the little swine’s theme park to set out exactly how they’re going to level up the UK. There’s a rumour that she even helped name his new department. Really? Well, who else but a pig would think the Department for Levelling Up would be responsible for anything but rubber stamping DnD character progression?

While I recognise that now would be a good time for a gammon joke, they’re as lazy as Daddy Pig, so make one up yourself (actually, how about, oh you Gammon? – I know, it’s funny. Don’t wet yourself).

What’s This About Boris Johnson Hiring Peppa Pig?

For anyone who missed it, this weekend the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s breaking announcement about his plans to remodel Britain in the image of Peppa Pig World. And what better place than the Confederation of British Industry’s weekend conference

So now it’s all out in the open, I thought I’d spill the beans. Don’t worry, I won’t get into trouble. Like all those other leaked announcements, everyone important already knows responsibility sits with Special Advisers or Dominic Cummings. 

What Is Peppa Pig World?

It’s a dreary theme park in Hampshire, where estranged single fathers take their teenage children to one up their former spouses. It’s also a beacon of hope and an architectural marvel, eclipsing the majesty of Great Yarmouth’s Merrivale Model Village.

Now that we’ve covered all the details, I bet you’re dying to know exactly what’s in store for Britain. 

Let’s dive into the trough and discover exactly how Peppa Pig’s going to change the course of British history.

Levelling Britain Up into a Pig Pen

Innovative, sensational & sexy. Here’s Peppa Pig’s Levelling Up Strategy: 

The Prime Minister’s ‘Policy’ Paper – ‘Peppa Pig’s Plan to Level Out Britain’, developed by lab rats at LUHC.
Officials tabbed it up for easier consumption

Right, so we’ve covered fishing disputes, covering up sleaze, mass transit projects, a way to send away the immigrants, a way to get everyone healthy, some stuff about space and a sanitised national anthem. Surely that’s enough experience for a level up?

Incredible that I wrote this tripe in half an hour.

What’s Going On?

I don’t know. However, it does seem like a better strategy to level up Britain than the current one. So maybe cut Boris a little slack. There’s no harm in talking about Peppa Pig at a business conference. I mean, had anyone in attendance managed to sell the rights to their crappy cartoon for £3.6 billion? No?

Coucou President Macron #1 – The Breakfast of Champions

How the President of France Became My Penpal

Did you know that Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, is my penpal? 

Probably not. I don’t think he does either. 

Yesterday, I sent a letter to him and it’s a masterpiece. It’s probably going to fix Brexit. 

I even put three second class stamps on it, so if you don’t see him this weekend, it’s because he’s working on his response.

I recently told someone that the Royal Mail was going to go bust after Brexit because it’s kept afloat by junk mail sent from mainland Europe

It’s such a great story that I had to share it.

Get ready for an epic episodic tale of brotherly love, political espionage & learning French.

I’d wager you’ll enjoy this even more than the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Even that bit when the train crashes and all those people’s face’s start melting.

Here’s how it happened.

How I Started To Feel Like French Toast

Imagine you’re French toast. Damp, sticky and filled with intrigue – at least when I make it.

That’s how I felt at the start of this adventure.

Despite achieving a commendable C in GCSE French, today, I can’t hold a conversation in the language.

You’re spitting your coffee out right now, aren’t you? Exclaiming, ‘Why’s that a problem?!

And you’re right.

If you’re English it’s your birth right to assume that everyone else can speak your language. 

However, I had a predicament. 

You see, at least four of my friends are French and sometimes they speak French to each other (for those who doubt I have four friends, they’re called Jean-Pierre, Jean-Claude, Jean-Renault and Jean-Bic). 

While I’m pretty sure I know what they’re saying, I don’t.

I’ve worked out that it’s one of these three subjects, but I need to know which one:

  1. Who fancies me the most
  2. How they’re not as handsome or successful as me
  3. What they’re having for lunch at the studio burger van. Probably breaking the fourth wall in French, while picking apart my lead role in the half-scripted reality tv show, Ultra Warrior (have you seen my abs?)

I’d quite like to know what they’re talking about. If it’s no.3, I’d be really interested in whether I have a clothing line of oversized print t-shirts. If I do, maybe I will make rent this month.

How I Paid To Learn French

When I had a job, I was enrolled on a French course for children at the Institut Français du Royaume Uni in South Kensington. 

It was great, except everyone else in the class was twelve. They weren’t from England and they were much better at French than I. English too.

However, despite these formidable challenges, I made a lot of progress on the course. 

I learned great phrases like, ‘tu est mon petit chou,’ which is how all students should address their teachers. I also learned that ‘why’ is pronounced ‘i-grec’.

But at £340 a term, after reneging on my job, I didn’t have the cash to start Baby-French-Plus. 

Yet I needed to learn more.

You see, after the course there was only one verb that I understood: ‘manger,’ to eat.

Je mange une orange

Je mange un ordinateur

Je mange un petit chat

Je mange la rue

You get the idea.

It was the linguistic equivalent to being a one year old.

I was unable to do anything except stick things in my mouth.

How To Master French For Free

No one gives out baguettes or visits to Élysée Palace for free. So I’ve had to devise my own ingenious strategies to master the French language with limited resources. 

It’s a pretty great three pronged strategy:

  1. Point at something, then ask your French girlfriend what it is in French. Ignore her response. Repeat
  2. Repeat the same lesson on Duolingo again and again and again (yes, I am calm & rich)
  3. Trick a very important French person into becoming your pen-pal so you can move to Paris and fully immerse yourself in the language. Finally, I’ll have that column in Le Monde. It’s the only thing that’s going to raise my Grandfather, the great Francophobe, from the grave.

So that’s it! This is point three of my master plan to learn French for free.

Why Write To President Macron?

Why ask? 

In France, there aren’t any monarchs. They got rid of them during that revolution. According to Napoleon, that makes the president the king. Writing to a king is WAY better than writing to someone in jail.

Also, President Macron fits a lot of important pen pal criteria:

  1. He can speak French at least as well as I can
  2. French people hate him, so he doesn’t have many friends
  3. We have a lot of common interests. He’s advising the EU on Brexit, and he like I would like to watch the UK burn
  4. He has to reply, because he’s a public servant
  5. He wants letters. Check it out. This website says that if you’re interested in current events & would like to share your thoughts you SHOULD write to President Macron. So he kind of had this coming

He’s the best person I could have written to.

A Breakfast of Champions

But what could I write to him want to be my new bosom?

Inexperienced at friendship, I figured it was probably like life. Everyone’s always saying that you should start things with the most important meal of the day – breakfast. So why not start there?

I was in luck too! At this stage I knew how to say most things about breakfast in French.

That’s why my first letter to President Macron begins with our favourite meal of the day:

I’m told ‘bisous’ means ‘yours sincerely’

Read on. It’s delish!

Coucou President Macron #1 – The Breakfast of Champions

Cou Cou Presidente Macron

Le petit déjeuner des champions

Je suis Henry, et je suis anglais. J’ai trente ans, et je ne travaille pas parce que je n’ai pas le droit de traverser la route. C’est trop dangereux !

En ce moment, j’apprends le français, et je pense que j’ai besoin d’un ami de crayon! Un correspondant et un ami très important ! 

Vous connaissez beaucoup de politique et moi aussi! Et je pense que vous avez besoin d’un ami de crayon aussi pour vous aider avec le Brexit et pour les affaires domestiques des français ! 

Toutes mes félicitations ! Je suis votre nouvel ami de crayon !

Parce que nous sommes amis maintenant, je vais écrire “tu” et non “vous”.

Comme toutes les belles amitiés commencent avec le petit déjeuner! 

Maintenant, le petit déjeuner des champions commence avec Henry (moi) et toi (Président Macron)! 

Je te promets que ça sera savoureux, très intéressant et délicieux.

En général, je mange un petit déjeuner traditionnel ! En anglais, ça s’appelle “English Breakfast” !. 

Dans le “English Breakfast” il y a deux saucisses, un œuf, des haricots de fuer, trois tranches de bacon, du pain frit, une tomate de frite et des champignons! C’est parfait, parce que les champignons sont pour les champions !

Mais, aujourd’hui je n’ai pas mangé de petit déjeuner traditionnel, parce que nous prenons le petit déjeuner ensemble et nous ne mangeons pas la nourriture ! Nous mangeons de bonnes idées !

Et toi ? En France, quel est le petit déjeuner traditionnel ? Je pense que c’est différent.

Je sais que tu parles avec le Premier Ministre du Royaume-Uni sur les achats préférés de la population. Et tu veux le meilleur prix ! Je sais qu’il adore manger du cochon. Tu dois lui dire, “Les cochons français sont bien meilleurs que les cochons anglais !”

Ces informations sont très utiles pour ta discussion sur le Brexit !

Hier, j’ai lu que les photographies de la police étaient interdites. Pourquoi ? Est-ce qu’ils sont très moches ? Je sais que les gens très moches gâchent les photographies, mais ils doivent se sentir très mal maintenant.

Peux-tu les prendre en photo pour moi et me les envoyer ? Je vais à savoir si c’est trop mauvais !

Quel super petit-déjeuner ! Je suis très content que nous soyons amis. Passe-moi le jus d’orange s’il te plaît !

Ecris-moi vite !

Bisous,

Henry (ton ami préféré)

Londres, Royaume-Uni

What I Think It Says

It’s a masterpiece, isn’t it?

What a beautiful friendship (L – Henry, R – President Macron)

For everyone who can’t speak French as well as I can, here’s what I *think* it says:

To break the ice, I begin with a lighthearted joke about how I don’t have a job because crossing the road is dangerous. Now Emma’s warmed up, he’s now ready to hear about the exceptional political expertise I have to offer him. 

I’m confident that we’re going to be friends, so after introductions, I drop the formality and start using ‘tu’ instead of ‘vous’.

Next, I explain the complexities of British culinary habits and how a deep understanding of them can and will improve Brexit deal outcomes for everyone.

Ever the caring friend, I invite him to tell me what the French people usually eat for breakfast, even though I already know it’s nesquik.

I then engage him directly on the Assemblée Nationale’s lower chamber’s recent passage of the Global Security Bill, which proposes to circumvent journalist’s ability to publish photographs of policemen and women online. Now, I’m worried that this wasn’t his decision, as he’s French and loves liberty. I assume because of this, he must have been kidnapped by someone who didn’t want their photograph taking. So, I help him alert me of his captor with a clever ploy – I invite him to send me a picture of them, in confidence.

Finally, I congratulate him on a superb breakfast and implore him to write back soon.

I have every confidence that he will.

The Exciting Next Episode of Coucou President Macron

Next week we’re going to take an imaginary trip to the countryside for a relaxed weekend.

We might also talk about why French cockerals say such stupid things.

I can’t wait. Can you?

Afterthoughts

What would you do if President Macron was your penpal? Stop dreaming. He’s mine. 

Still, this week I learned that it costs the same amount of money to send a letter from the United Kingdom to France, as it does to send it to Azerbaijan. 

Incredible. Maybe you can find someone to talk to there.

Why Russia’s Not The Hottest Potato

The biggest threat to UK democracy probably isn’t Russia. It’s probably disinformation peddled by the UK Government, political parties and campaign groups.

Yesterday, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) published a breezy report about how the UK Government “took its eye off the ball on Russia.

The report identifies that Russia poses a significant threat to the UK security, in part due to state-funded, malicious cyber campaigns targeted at the UK. These offensive attacks have allegedly attempted to influence every major democratic vote in the UK since the 2016 Scottish Referendum. 

It concludes that disinformation campaigns spearheaded by adversarial foreign states pose a threat to democracy in the UK, recommending that an appropriate defence against this threat would be new regulations for advertising on Social Media and a new set of powers for the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Even redacted, it’s a fun read; highlighting some of the current challenges faced in international relations. 

However, the recommendations at heart of the report highlight the UK Government’s continued lopsided stance on tackling disinformation in UK politics.

So What’s In The Russia Report?

Not a lot. 

It says Russia’s not a nice place, Russian’s hate the West and the Secret Intelligence Services should have done more about the threat from the mid-2000s.

On the whole, it portrays Russia as the misunderstood nihilist. You know, the one who sits at the back of the class, setting fire to things and misquoting Nietzsche.

The report then recommends that to establish the framework to address the situation, new Ministerial powers should be given to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Cabinet Office), empowering them to protect “democratic discourse and processes from [international] interference.” While the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) must establish a protocol with social media companies to ensure that they take covert hostile state use of their platforms seriously, and ‘name and shame’ those that don’t.

So What’s The Problem?

Delivering powers to prevent foreign interference with elections will not address the most potent challenges to democracy in the UK. 

Instead, reports like this arguably divert attention from serious domestic issues with UK politics that the UK Government should be actively addressing rather than just paying lip service to.

Briefly, here are some of the actual domestic challenges faced by UK democracy:

  • The Unchecked Ugliness of Electioneering. Take the 2019 General Election Fact Check UK scandal and well documented factual fallacies in the campaigning material used to support the 2016 EU Referendum Leave and Remain campaigns. In both instances, note the significant lack of consequences faced by those who benefited politically from misleading the public. Right now, during an election, there’s no effective punishment for those who don’t play by the rules. That’s a licence for anyone to lie their way into Government.
  • Prevailing Public Mistrust of the UK Government and Political Parties. There are plenty of reasons people don’t trust the Government or politicians; but it’s not helped by the UK Government’s continued reliance on misleading statistics. This could be anything from the continued use of heavily caveated unemployment and disability figures, misleading R&D investment totals to frequent misclassification of old funding as ‘new’. The same goes for political parties who misquote their record in Government. The average person is never going to verify claims like this themselves, and when they see claims that they are wrong in the Sun or Guardian, why should they continue to trust politicians.
  • The UK’s Failed Citizenship Test. The persistence of a relatively poor national understanding of how laws are made, how Government works and how MPs are voted into office. How can people actively participate in a democracy when they don’t understand it?
  • Continued Constitutional Failures of the UK Electoral System. How can every vote matter in a system in which every major party has endorsed some form of tactical voting during a national election? Or is willing to rewrite electoral boundaries without the check of Parliamentary scrutiny? Or is a vote in a country that still employs the first past the post system? What was the argument for it again? Namely that more often than not, it delivers a stronger Government than those ‘awful’ coalitions mainland Europe has to suffer.

However, unlike an international aggressor, these issues are pretty boring. Every time I try to force a conversation about constitutional politics with my friends, they call me a Lib Dem and ask if Nick Clegg’s my boyfriend.

But still, what’s the point in protecting a democracy when the electorate do not have the right to make informed decisions

Can you even protect a democracy when the electorate do not have the right to make informed decisions?

I’d argue not.

What Do You Do?

Whether the political system works is always going to be dependent on your definition of ‘works’. My definition of ‘works’ is that the electorate know what they’re voting for, and understand as best they can, the consequences of what they are voting for.

I really hate it when people write about issues, but don’t suggest how to resolve them. So, here’s how I think you’d go about rectifying some of these challenges:

  1. Proper Consequences for MPs and Parties Promoting Disinformation. Give the Electoral Commission the powers and resources necessary to assess when political candidates and their parties have lied or purposefully misled the electorate. Also give them powers to enforce adequate punishments on said parties. Parties and campaigning groups don’t care about monetary fines. They don’t work. Instead, why not force a reduction in the number of voting MPs that party can have at any one time; so the consequence is potentially the loss of majority, but not the complete loss of representation.
  2. An Independent National Research Unit. When there’s a General Election, political parties rely on their own research units to provide statistics for their campaigns. The electorate then has to rely on Fact Check UK, the BBC and other unaffiliated organisations to assess whether politician’s and party’s claims are factual. There should be a state funded, independent organisation that provides accurate information to those running for election, and debunks figures that have been manipulated for the electorate. This responsibility should not be given to Big Data companies, as they should not be part of a national election. This organisation’s definition of truth should not be influenced by possible commercial or political gain.

On the topic of education, I don’t think there’s a simple solution here. Specifically, I do not believe mandatory classes at secondary school would really increase anyone’s understanding of the system.

On the boundaries issue, as long as there’s no way to create laws that are immune to amendment, beyond actually introducing a written British Constitution, I don’t see how this could be achieved effectively.

However, on the whole, I’d argue that these two actions would do more for democracy in the UK than any action on Russia will.

Disagree with me? Great. Tell me why.

Postcard Story #006 – Apocalypstick

I bought six postcards at the Tate Modern last week, each featuring a different artist.

I’ve written a very short story on the back of each one. No, I didn’t realise Jan Carson has already done it.

It’s a fun exercise, so I thought I’d post the results here. This last one features Claes Oldenburg, Lipstick in Piccadilly Circus. Which means I should probably buy some more.

If you’re lonely, and isolated by Coronavirus, and want to get some mail, drop me a line and I’ll post one to you.

Second class, obviously.

Apocalypstick

Claes Oldenburg, Lipstick in Piccadilly Circus

Her son asked, “What was it like before?”

So she told him.

“Before they arrived, we ‘Tasted the Feeling’ and rejoiced at the ‘Tick Tock, it’s Guinness O’Clock’ sign.

Now such celebrations are over. Piccadilly’s Circus Lights don’t draw crowds, they just light up the six Lipsticks of the Apocalypse.

First we laughed, thinking it was a prank by Yves Saint Laurent or Mr L’Oréal. Lipsticks designed for giant, unblemished girls, who hung out on the side of buildings.

The bodies crushed below swivel cases were ignored and when the wifi stopped working, no one really cared.

“As time went on, instead of worshipping watches or handbags, we learned to give our devotion to our matching shade.

But whether nude, coral, orange or red, the truth was that each tint was made from the tallow of horses that rode the apocalypse, and we turned to evil.”

So honestly son, not that different.”

Postcard Story #005 – Boiled or Fried?

I bought six postcards at the Tate Modern last week, each featuring a different artist.

I’ve written a very short story on the back of each one. No, I didn’t realise Jan Carson has already done it.

It’s a fun exercise, so I thought I’d post the results here. Today’s is Sarah Lucas, Self Portrait with Fried Eggs.

If you’re lonely and want to get some mail, drop me a line and I’ll post one to you. Second class, obviously.

Boiled or Fried?

Sarah Lucas, Self Portrait with Fried Eggs

How did he like his eggs in the morning? Today, a side of shells would do.

The fat bubbled.

Three days AWOL, but she’d come back. He’d found her at the bottom of the stairs.

He wasn’t angry. All was forgiven. He’d offered her breakfast, hadn’t he? 

So what about her reaction to, “Boiled or Fried?” A half-arsed kick at her cigarettes was something.

The fat spat and caught his arm hair.

It was years ago. They hadn’t even been married. 

He’d give her one more chance to forget it. Across the kitchen he shouted, “Where the fuck have you been?”

No response.

He gripped the pan tighter. She probably still wanted some breakfast, didn’t she? 

Instead of eggs, how about a little snap, crackle and pop?

His flicked wrist sent two eggs, soaked in dripping, straight onto her chest. 

His accuracy surprised; her indifference did not.

Postcard Story #004 – Ready or Not

I bought six postcards at the Tate Modern last week, each featuring a different artist.

I’ve written a very short story on the back of each one. No, I didn’t realise Jan Carson has already done it.

It’s a fun exercise, so I thought I’d post the results here. Today’s is Tracey Emins, The Last Thing I Said to You was Don’t Leave Me Here II.

If you’re lonely and want to get some mail, drop me a line and I’ll post one to you. Second class, obviously.

Ready or Not

Tracey Emins, The Last Thing I Said to You was Don’t Leave Me Here II

“Five, four, three, two, one. Here I come.”

They say risk can excite a tired lover. 

Why not set the heart racing with a naked game of hide and seek?

This afternoon’s arena was the garden.

Tracey hid in the shed. She didn’t want the neighbours to see her moles. 

Her skin never sat well on her. That’s why she found her shame more manageable when huddled in the corner, facing two walls.

She’d agreed to the game, hoping it would climax with a surprise shoulder tap or embrace. But she knew it’d all be shattered by the scratch of the latch against the door.

Hearing footsteps approaching, she wondered what would hurt the most. The floor splintering against her back, or the friction of premature penetration.

Postcard Story #003 – No Final Notice

I bought six postcards at the Tate Modern last week, each featuring a different artist.

I’ve written a very short story on the back of each one. No, I didn’t realise Jan Carson has already done it.

It’s a fun exercise, so I thought I’d post them here. Today’s is Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust Of Wind.

If you’re lonely and want to get some mail, drop me a line and I’ll post one to you. Second class, obviously.

No Final Notice

Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust Of Wind

“Why were you at Five Pearson Drive yesterday?”

The door slammed in his face. His mornings began with accusations, not kisses.

Walking his route, he buried the thought of infidelities in his sack. The weight freed him to revel in delivering final notices.

Today, that satisfaction drove him down Pearson Drive.

Approaching number five, he pulled out an envelope stamped, “Final Reminder. Payment Overdue.”

Bypassing the letterbox, he hammered the knocker.

The door opened and as the letter was exchanged, he tapped it, saying, “Looks like trouble.”

Smiling, the man at the door said, “I’ve got something for you.”

A letter of divorce. So the bitch was fucking him.

Instead of going for the jaw, he threw off his sack, emptying the letters into a gust.

Because undelivered bills go unpaid, and sometimes misery needs a little more time to mature.

Postcard Story #002 – Boys Don’t Cry

I bought six postcards at the Tate Modern last week, each featuring a different artist.

I’ve written a very short story on the back of each one. No, I didn’t realise Jan Carson has already done it.

It’s a fun exercise, so I thought I’d post the results here. Today’s is Lucien Freud, Girl With A Kitten.

If you’re lonely and want to get some mail, drop me a line and I’ll post one to you. Second class, obviously.

Boys Don’t Cry

Lucien Freud, Girl With A Kitten

Anita sang,

“I would say I’m sorry,

If I thought that it would change your mind…”

Only to catch Jeremy wincing and trail off on the third line. 

Jeremy seized the microphone, words still scrolling on the screen. He said,

“I can’t cover it all up with lies,

Robert Smith doesn’t hiss or scream.”

His kitten clawed at the sofa’s upholstery. A distraction for delaying Anita’s wavering lip. But the diversion was momentary, and soon his words cut deep.

Karaoke had been his idea. Why was he such a pig?

Inflamed, she grabbed his cat and squeezed it like a microphone. 

No need to sing into it, that’d muffle the crunch of bone. 

Anita smiled at Jeremy and said, “Let’s see if boys don’t cry.”

Postcard Story #001 – The Last Splash

I bought six postcards at the Tate Modern last week, each featuring a different artist.

I’ve written a very short story on the back of each one. No, I didn’t realise Jan Carson has already done it.

It’s a fun exercise, so I thought I’d post the results here. Today’s is Ed Rusha’s Pool #2.

If you’re lonely and want to get some mail, drop me a line and I’ll post one to you. Second class, obviously.

The Last Splash

Ed Rusha, Pool #2

She remembered the last splash, her board’s reverberations and exclamations of glee come chaos.

Since the final pool party, she’d missed the touch of dainty toes and sandpaper heels against her spring.

She recalled the morning after, waking dry mouthed, with the bitter taste of iron against her basin and scarlet scum thick across her tiles. 

A folded sign now read, “No diving. Less than two metres deep.”

And they no longer came.

For no fun’s to be had in treading water.