Saturday, 18 December 2010

How presents get from parents to Santa

On the first day of December every year, "Jingle Bells" plays in the house of the Phwell for the first time. This is his call to wake up from the slumber that has engulfed him since the start of the new year and the sign that his work must begin. After a healthy breakfast and a cup of coffee he prepares himself for a busy period.

In Santa's early days he had a team of elves to make toys and presents for the children of the world. However, since toy companies came to be, the elves found themselves having less and less work to do. The Phwell was one of these elves but, instead of complaining about the reducing workload, he set to work finding a solution. He spoke to Santa about a delivery service, where he would pick up the presents from parents and deliver them to Santa.

He has a whole month to visit the parents, picking up the gifts they have bought for their children and friends. However, parents now buy the gifts a year in advance, allowing the elves more time to wrap the gifts and label them ready for Santa's deliveries. This also provides a chance for them to help load the sleigh in time for Christmas Eve. The Phwell is also responsible for collecting reports from parents about whether children have been naughty or nice. These are updated right up until Christmas Eve and the gifts of naughty children are turned into cheeseboards for supermarkets.

Once the Phwell has collected all of the presents from parents and Santa has delivered the presents collected the previous year there is a big party at Claus HQ. Mrs Claus makes a giant buffet and there is punch for all of the guests. The Phwell always joins in with his fellow elves as they celebrate another successful year before his sleep begins again in January.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The changing face of social networking

When I proposed to my wife I was using the internet daily, particularly for email and research. I was not really aware of social networking, although I believe Friends Reunited was established by then. I would never have considered using the internet to propose to my wife or to tell people about our engagement; these are things best done in person.

I started using Friends Reunited shortly afterwards, although I don't think I ever got in touch with my old school friends. Once the novelty had worn off I was back to checking emails and logging off almost stright away. My first real experience of using social networking came with MySpace, which offered me a chance to do a little advertising for the books I had started to write and get in touch with people I'd never met before, some of whom I still keep in contact with now.

Like most of my friends I abandoned MySpace for Facebook, which seemed to offer little more in the way of communication and photo sharing. I wasn't a fan of the layout, but I knew that if I stayed with MySpace I'd never hear from my online friends again. I have stayed fairly faithful to Facebook, joining Twitter mainly as a way of getting word round about our ever growing website. Both sites, however, remained fairly superficial in that I would use them for throw away comments and a spot of advertising but never as a voice-over for my life.

Two comments recently have got me wondering about the future for the human race. The first was a marriage proposal; this seemed like a joke at first as, although I know the two people involved are in love, I'd never put a proposal online as it seems to cheapen the moment. The second was when two people had broken up and the conversation finished at "I'll know she's serious when she changes her relationship status to 'single'". What about the hours of screaming phonecalls and the very definite response of 'I want you out of my life'?

Perhaps it's a good thing that we can monitor our lives online, maybe it's even cool that everyone else can. However I will continue to live life outside the glow of the monitor as I believe deaths in families, proposals, relationship meltdowns and house fires are private and should remain that way - at least until the dust settles.

Buy Lyvit books.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Co-created monstrosity

Alya Bessex and I have continued work on our joint venture, which is a collection of odd ramblings and Alya's landmark case against Colgate. The toothpaste people.

Due to the collossal weirdness of the project we will be giving it away to loyal Lyvit customers, although it will also be available to other folk for the default price of £5.99.

More details to follow.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Kama Slumber - the next book

Al Murray, The Pub Landlord, regards it as "The perfect book for somniacs and sleepaholics everywhere, golden slumbers guaranteed" while Robin Ince, author of 'Bad Book Club', suggests that "For so long the British have been laughed at for their unimaginative sleep positions, at last they can experimentally snooze properly with this important guide".

"Kama Slumber: A collection of sleeping positions for the adventurous unconscioteer" will be released on the 1st of October 2010 and will be available from, and to order in branches of Waterstones or WHSmith priced at £6.50.

The book is a tongue-in-cheek look at sleeping positions, each expertly modelled on its own page. As well as instructions on how to accomplish the position, it offers benefits and problems for prospective users. There are also sections within the book for the history of sleep, preparing for sleep and advanced sleeping practices. Although set out in a style reminiscent of similar publications it is intended as a humorous take on sleeping positions as opposed to a holistic approach that will genuinely benefit readers.

This information is supported by the back cover, which states the following: "This book is intended for entertainment only and it is not recommended that readers partake of the positions illustrated in these pages as an aid to sleep. There are no health benefits to be gained from copying the styles shown and the information provided is intentionally untrue. Still, it’s a laugh."

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Extract from "Don't Paint Your Camel With Enamel" (Lyvit Publishing, 2009)

New Day

(Tribute to Spike Milligan)

Ah, welcome to another day! Another day, another dollar. But I’ve never had a dollar in my life because I live in England, the land of milk and honey, which is why our buildings keep falling over. We do have the best tasting fields in the world, though.

Here we all love our work and love each other, or at least that’s what we pretend. Everybody walks around with a grimace on their face so that our peers can see how happy we are. How our face hurts at the end of each day! It’s all worth it to see so many smiles.

Milk and honey, faces and money, that’s what it’s all about. No time to dance though, there’s so much else to talk about.

On a fine morning there’s nothing better than looking up at the stars and realising that your clock is wrong. At least you’re not late and can sleep in, unlike those shift workers. Getting in at 3am, going back out at 6pm, and that’s on weekends when they’re visiting the pub! I was a shift worker once, but I got sacked for working the wrong shifts. That left me free to work the best shifts possible – none at all.

The biggest problems, shifts or not, come from the work. You don’t choose who you work with, you don’t choose the customers and you don’t choose your salary or bonuses. Why do we work then? Well, it would be rude not to.

Sitting at home all day, every day and scaring the postman is what we all dream about. Alas, dreams are all we have. Kayaking in the Mediterranean while eating chocolate cake is cheaper and easier to do when you’re asleep. I don’t recommend actually doing it while asleep though, as you may choke on your cake.

Indeed having your cake and eating it seems the best idea to me. Otherwise it would go stale and may need to be dunked into your tea. More cake? One lump or two? Plenty of time while we’re off work.

‘On the dole’, what a great expression. I get my money and sit on it or put it under the mattress and stay in bed all day. ‘I sign on’, it really is that simple. Have I done any work since we last met? How would you recognise me?

Getting up is a struggle some days. Yes, it’s a job to get up. Does this affect my entitlement? We’ll all be out of work soon as it’s drying up. Yes, it turns out work was just a spill on the carpet, which must be good news.

Colleagues, colleagues, colleagues – is there any other word that fills you with so much dread? Maybe ‘Wife’ or ‘Mortgage’, or both. With a wife and a mortgage, who needs enemies? The army, that’s who! Being employed to defend your country from nobody must be a boring job. The newsletter would suffer for a start.

We all dream of world peace, but we also want a piece of the world. Which piece? Our piece. But which one is ours? Undoubtedly the scrubbiest piece of land available. Can’t complain though, because we’re English. We must be subtle. Pardon me, How do you do. Excuse my French, but où est la gare routière? That’s what I thought.

I complain about a forty hour week. “Forty hours”, say some, “You’ve got it easy”. I disagree, as I’m a shark dentist. I’d do more, but I can’t hold my breath for any longer. It can be rewarding, particularly when a whole family tries to eat you in a week – at least I know that they appreciate their teeth. I would have been a chiropodist, but sharks don’t have feet.

Can we call them feet any more? Or are they metres? Half metres? Démi mĕtrès? I’m not against European policy, or for it, but what’s it all about? Everything’s changed colour, wires, ambulances, Parliament buildings. When I was a lad, red was red. Now, red is purple except on Sundays and Bank Holidays. What about the rest of us? Don’t we deserve a holiday, too?

Ah, government. Nowe their’s ay wurd thatz trikky two spel. Give me an hour in the Prime Minister’s seat and I’ll give you a warm seat. If you ever wanted to find a use for sandcastles, here it is. Build them, glue them, put them in office.

I had an office before all this. Now I just have a cupboard under the stairs. They don’t lead anywhere, but they’re useful for storing a cupboard under. The sockets are close by but the keyboard’s just out of reach. Just my luck. I learnt to play the keyboard in school, but it’s use has been extended to typing on a computer now. I wish I’d thought of it first, like those spoons that children can’t choke on. Genius! Why didn’t I think of that?

Other inventions that I would have thought of if born in time would include the telephone. I’m never off it, so I’d have to invent it as I could never go without. I’d invent ringtones, too, but would put an age restriction on them. Nobody over seventy. That’ll stop them playing with their phones on buses in their hoodies.

Excitement? I nearly couldn’t stop myself. Every time it came on I burst into flames. Then I burst into tears, which put the flames out. Then I burst into a flame retardant blanket and whisked myself off to A&E. Anne and Eddy weren’t too happy, but at that time of night I wouldn’t be either. I pulled myself together eventually, which made me feel all the more complete.

That was a close one! If they come any closer, I’ll have to move further away. It’s a wonder anyone comes through this way any more, they’ve built a bypass. No, they’ve built two. Now we can bypass the bypass, which makes it much faster to get anywhere. I’m hoping they’ll build something to bypass it all soon, just to increase traffic flow further.

Tangled webs and weaving, a story by Rory Spider. One I must get round to reading. I don’t know the basic plot, but he’s a favourite author of mine. I also like his work on flies. He’s a zip repairman, and a fine one at that. I can’t imagine taking my trousers anywhere else. He does forty hours a week, but he gets paid lunch breaks and has a pension plan. He also gets allowances for sickness, wellness and time off in the loo. All in all he probably works about an hour a week, but he still has time to fit me in. What a guy!

Guys and gals, may I present – Christmas. It’s only been a few months since the last one, but it’s only a few months until the next. Get shopping, buy one of everything for everyone and then buy a back up gift just in case. Christmas lists are off, it turns out we don’t want to insult anyone. Except my friend Patrick Benjamin, he’s a funny looking fella. There, it’s off my chest.

Hair, hair, everywhere, wherever I look I just see hair. Maybe I should sell the wig shop, it wasn’t me in the first place. What is me, if that’s the case? Well, I am. Of this I’m pretty certain.

Time to celebrate as it’s time I was off. I’ve felt on for too long, alas it was never to be. Continuing would just mean putting more words down and they’ve never done anything to me to deserve being put down. How much was Wordsworth? A thousandth of a picture, evidently. For the price of his collection, it must have been a big picture. So well constructed from the reviews I’ve been reading.

Take care, fellow reader, and enjoy this new day. There will be many others, but none much like it.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


It's the day you've all been waiting for - an interview with me going on about books.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Writing Race

Due to inspiration hitting me like a three ton truck I have found myself writing three books simultaneously. One of these is a joint venture with another author and was 3/4 written by the time I started the other two, so I naturally imagined I would be publishing that book first.

Out of the blue I have found myself ploughing my energy into my second new book and have found myself almost completing it over the course of the last couple of months. Due to the speed at which it is coming together I am now convinced that it will be my next book, not the co-written product I had first envisaged being Lyvit-13.

The third book has not gained much momentum so is on hold for the next couple of weeks while I polish up the next one and finish the original new book. Funding will be an issue when it comes to publication, so they will be released slowly over the coming months with the first hitting shelves around January or, if I get my way, just before Christmas.

Keep an eye on as it grows throughout the next few months.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Win "To Say Goodbye"

Goodreads Book Giveaway

To Say Goodbye (Paperback) by Terry Lander

To Say Goodbye

by Terry Lander

Giveaway ends November 20, 2010.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Revamp of Highway Code may be road to disaster

The Government’s radical new changes concern a number of motorists and driving authorities alike.

It’s a publication that many are aware of and have studied in the past in order to pass their driving test, but the Government has decided to make massive changes to the Highway Code to make the information easier to digest. Currently the rules of the road are only provided in a well recognised booklet, praised by many as being an informative and useful guide for a number of instructions such as signs and stopping distances.

The changes are being implemented by Donny Discharge MP, who states that current legislation is also going to be looked at. “Speed limits are outdated and could go out of the window altogether. Stopping distances vary from car to car and person to person, so a standard guide is as useful as throwing darts to find out how much your round will cost you”, he stated in a somewhat inebriated fashion. “The current booklet is invalid in today’s climate; unlike a nice bottle of wine, it has grown stale with age”.

Plans to implement the alterations are already in motion with a date to be set in the very near future. “We don’t want to drag our heels on this one. Like a nice glass of beer, the longer we leave it the flatter it will become”. Mr Discharge’s team consists of around fifteen individuals who have all agreed to the basic concept and are close to a unanimous vote on the final output. He told us, “With the new literature will come new locations and placement options. We could print the new code on beer-mats, for example, or perhaps even the drip towels that adorn most bars”.

Not everyone is keen on the idea. Non-motorist Sheila Peta told us, “Drivers these days don’t abide by the Highway Code as it is, let alone a new system with daft rules. This money could have been better spent on aviaries or estuaries. Maybe even a few garden centres. This man is a waste of much needed funds, plus my friend Rita says he’s a drunk”. The latter part of Ms. Peta’s statement has been denied by Mr Discharge personally, and should never have made it into this article.

However, despite the strong opposition, the Government believe the benefits far outweigh the problems and the move is almost certain to go ahead. Motorists are advised to read and remember the new code and to pass the information on, ensuring everyone is aware of the rules well before setting foot in a car again.

Mr Discharge has kindly provided a copy of the points to give our readers a head start:

1.Don’t hit anybody or anything with cars or car panels, such as doors.

2.Don’t get caught doing things you shouldn’t be doing in a car.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Next Book

Work has started on my next book, which will be a collaboration with Alya Bessex. It will contain his infamous Facebook campaign, "Alya Vs. Colgate", as well as a number of articles, stories and illustrations randomly put together by the two of us.

Due to be released in 2011, it will be like nothing we have ever written before. This is not a project to showcase our writing or to fit into a cetain criteria; it's a book we're enjoying putting together and having some fun with. This will not be an award winner or a magnet for critical acclaim - in fact, we're not even expecting good reviews.

Still, there's nothing quite like writing for the fun of it. Release dates will be confirmed at nearer the time.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Rain in Spain unlikely to fall on planes

Spanish scientists are developing a new ionising technique to ensure that planes repel rainwater.

Many speech therapists have long considered the phrase “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane” to be useful in the improvement of their patients. However, over time, many have started to believe that this means planes flying into Spanish airspace will suffer a drenching. Some have even taken the unusual action of flying to Portugal and hitchhiking to their Spanish holidays, meaning Spanish airports are losing out on lucrative descending, levelling and landing taxes.

Fortunately a number of Spanish scientists were tipped off by a group from Bristol. Known collectively as the Committee for Understanding of No Travel in Spain, these easily led holiday makers have believed the myth for years. “We set up a group on a popular social networking site to spread the word of the possible need for an umbrella when disembarking at Spanish airports. One of the group, Frankie, has witnessed it first hand. However, we have been reassured by the scientists who have convinced us that Frankie’s experience could have been a coincidence.”

To dispel the myth could take a long time; with this in mind, the scientists are working around the clock on an ionisation technique that would encourage rain to travel around the body and wings of aircraft, giving visual relief to thousands of fliers. “If people can watch the rain literally avoiding the aircraft, I’m sure they’d be relieved. This could help as they leave the craft too, as the rain would be forced away from the open door.”

The news has been welcomed by travellers the world over, though flights to Spain are unlikely to rise until the system is in place. “We trust that it can happen”, says Gill Rope of Taunton. “We just won’t be using Spanish airports until it’s tried and tested”. Despite this, scientists are unconcerned about the effectiveness of the system despite what it will mean for the Spanish economy. Professor Robot Wilson, head of ionisation and rehydrating small mammals, explains. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll just lie” he told us in complete confidence. “It half looks like the rain is repelled when it bounces off the wings anyway. We’ll just tell people that it’s due to the technique and that our work is done.

“This is guaranteed to be a 100% success.” He added, before chuckling and throwing his head back manically.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Review: "To Say Goodbye"

To Say Goodbye

Terry Lander (Lyvit Publishing)

You are not really ever prepared for this book. It is told from the point of view of a father who is writing to his three year old daughter, knowing he is dying from a brain tumour and will not see her grow up.

The first thing to mention is that although we are made aware that this in diary format from the start, the way it is written immediately forces us to accept the reality of the situation. We are both the father, tenderly talking to his daughter - but also we read as the daughter one day will, there is a real sense of empathy and fragility. Too often, books in this style suffer from gimmickry, or at the very least simply become a collection of pithy blog style musings. The clever part here – by leaving out the traditional constructs of story telling, as we read, our imaginations are given free reign, and their world is constructed with ease. There is no need for endless descriptive prose – the story builds around us as we delve further.

It is rare when adopting such a style that a book can evoke a world so fully. From the first page, we are thrown head first into a challenging and somewhat upsetting scenario. There is a child like naivety to the language that detracts from the sheer scale of the horror of cancer, and somewhat sugar coats it. This leaves some of the descriptions covered in a shroud of innocence, as if the darkness is bubbling under the surface. There is a tender sheath laid over a horrible truth, and it goes to create an odd mixture of calm and terror.

For all of these contradictions that so effectively reveal the story, one thing remains – the sheer beauty and conviction of the words on offer. It’s very British –very controlled, an almost serene dignity. There’s decorum here –it’s abundant. It has an edge though –the entries tell a girl of the things she did when she was younger, with which the character may have no memory of. There is oddness to reading a story about yourself with which you have no recollection, and this surreal state of mind permeates the page.

The tag line is “all they have is hope” and you feel this. Reading these words is like clutching onto hope, onto life. And that’s the ultimate extraction; this is joyous, full of hope -marking an end of a life but celebrating the start of another in the sweetest of ways – explaining the murky past to a damaged soul. It’s poignant and rather lovely in parts. Like distant symphonies, the space allows the reader to breathe, there’s much room to manoeuvre. The entries have a subtle grace about them; the book is filled with a vibrant compassion. It’s careful, yet in being this way, it spills over onto something altogether more encompassing.

Mark Hendy

"To Say Goodbye" is available from for £7.50

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Toast not on the menu for Duran Duran fans

According to a reliable source, toast was nearly struck from the breakfast menu during the 1980’s.

Bread manufacturers noticed it. Toaster manufacturers noticed it. The rest of the country was completely oblivious. The decline in the amount of toast eaten in Britain was very sudden and affected many, leaving just continental croissants or a lonely cup of tea to start the day.

It seemed a coincidence that the trend started on the same day that Duran Duran’s debut single hit the shelves, yet the transition from crunchy table dweller to redundant possible bread product was so well timed and happened so quickly that it was impossible to cite it as such.

During a secret government study a German reporter, who has remained anonymous to this day, investigated the incident by interviewing Duran Duran fans and asking what made them turn away from the jam and marmalade holding meal. The results were astonishing.

Many suggested that toast’s complex make-up went against everything their music stood for. “It’s coarse, multi-textured and often comes out different every time it’s made” said a twenty year old follower of the band, suggesting that the music really did influence the fans in more ways than just their speech and attitude. “You can see from the crumbs that there is a multitude of bonds keeping it together, making it seem one piece when really it’s not. Toast is a lie, man”.

Other comments included toast’s natural ability to escape from your hand, most unlike the loyal feeling experienced with a Duran song. “The tune’s stick with you, follow you and understand where you’re coming from.” Said a thirty year old at the time. “Toast just jumps out of your hand and into the nearest pile dust and mud. There’s no connection with toast”.

The fate of toast was almost written in stone. Where once it stood tall, above the cereals and muesli that were offered beside it, toast was literally crumbling in the hands of the mighty. The teapot shrugged, the kettle looked away, a nation forgot it’s great friend. All it could do was sit in the rack and watch.

All was not lost, however. Although toast missed out on much of the decade, the 1990’s were to bring a new era to the breakfast table. One Oasis fan stated, “The 90’s are all about falling out, having arguments and saying ‘forget you’ to everybody. Toast really fits that agenda”. This was to be the saviour of toast, which is now enjoyed, along with family arguments and mutual hatred, across the globe. “Toast has seen a real revamp since people started hating each other”, explained scientist Fred Hughes. “There’s nothing quite like shouting abuse at each other before ripping a big piece of toast in half and jamming it in your mouth”.

It is thanks to this new found sense of indifference and inability to incorporate each other that toast has returned, even to Duran Duran fans.