Friday, September 23, 2011

Writing in rhyme for kids

If you want to write children's stories in rhyme I've published a post on Hubpages which gives you a few ideas -

The story for The Lazy Seagull was written in rhyme because I think it adds extra interest to the story and helps the narrative to flow. Kids like words that have a sing song quality. Plus I like rhyme and I get a buzz out of making it work. It's not as difficult as you might think and there are online dictionaries which will find a rhyme for you. Job done!

Friday, December 17, 2010

How to find time for a second job?

How to find time for a second job?

Wouldn’t it be great to have a ‘Back to the Future’ time machine to make time stand still so you could catch up.. You work thirty seven hours a week or more, you are exhausted in the evenings, the family need you at the weekend, your folks complain you never visit, the leaky tap needs fixing, the cat has to go to the vet. No way you say. I’ve barely time for one job, never mind two.

Read it all at -

Where is liberation for the wage slave?

Where is liberation for the wage slave? 'Work for yourself' people say, 'you'll never get rich working for someone else', is the cry. Hey, not so easy chum. Isn't starting a business a risky business.

So how do you deal with a job you hate? Where is the hope?

So how do you deal with a job you hate? Where is the hope?

Train Toilette

Hubnugget winning blog -

Covers the strange practice of people moving their bathroom practices onto the train.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Its so hard sometimes just sitting down to write. I feel a bit dim today. But it will pass. What do I want to do???

Am sitting on a sheltered old tramp rack (bench) by the river. Its just coming up to 7am. There is a high tide, because of the New Moon perhaps. Its very still and quiet. A blackbird is serenading me from the gutter of the shuttered office building behind me. There is a musty sort of smell in the air and the air is very still. Not a breath. The smell is a bit like sweaty feet. It seems to be coming from the cowslip type plant which is all around be and on the river bank too. I've got a great view of the Humber Bridge and my alarm has just gone off in my pocket, shattering the peace and scaring the shit out of me. I'm supposed to get up now. Little does the alarm know I've been up since 4:30. Its summer time for the body clock!

I wanted to write some of my Australia book. But its hard just to launch into it. You have to have things running around in your head first. Little snatches of story. Grains of creative sand upon which to build a pearl of My grains of sand are more lumps of clay, dull and resistant to moulding.

Having said that, I'm picking up direction and focus once more. Now that I've come out of my 'permanent job' delusion and got back to being the real me, I can feel a plan coming on. Yesterday I told Gill in work that from now on I'd be working 3 weeks and taking 1 week off. Not much she can say other than 'Well I suppose we can't stop you'. Whenever I drop something on her like that I can see the grey matter running over all the permutations, like working out what card to play next in life's game of Bridge. This time I feel like I'm holding a few good trumps. Makes a change from having a few good trumps. Perhaps its not the cowslips after all.

Have also returned to eyeing up old vans. Part of me quite fancies a caravan. The gypsy part perhaps? If I can't make it as a writer I can always sell a few pegs or tarmac the odd drive. The marketing girls get the local paper every day so will start perusing the 'Vans for Sale' bit and see what's out there in van land. Van Land... didn't he play for Ajax?

Time for a bacon butty. My arse is going numb. How do the tramps put up with it???

Monday, October 06, 2008

Beauty and the Butcher

Beauty and the Butcher

Written and Directed by Johnny Parker

Beautiful Beautician loves Hunky Butcher… but can she overcome her shyness, her loathing of meat, competition from the cocky Estate Agent and a mountain of cruel obstacles to get to the man she adores?

The piece began life as a short story. A patchwork of real-life anecdotes and experiences, stitched together into a tale of modern love. Julie is a Beautician: gorgeous on the outside, meticulous and fussy about her appearance but shy, nervous and lacking inner confidence. She desperately fancies the High Street Butcher but can’t pluck-up the courage to ask him out. The local Estate Agent has no such trouble and confidently stalks the object of Julie’s desires. It doesn’t help that she hates the sight of meat and can’t bring herself to go into the shop. But she has a plan – an idea that will overcome all her self imposed obstacles – or so she thinks!

Beauty and the Butcher is Johnny Parker’s debut as a writer and director. He was ably supported by Belinda Greensmith on Camera and Make-Up. Belinda has worked on productions with $1million budgets and was able to put her considerable experience, and supply of fake blood, to full use in the film.

Amy Watkins, as Julie, is also making her debut in short films, having started her career in Theatre and Dance including a range of Shakespeare Productions with the MOPS Theatre Company. Amy took to the part straight away with an instinctive awareness of the comic and tragic feelings of the character.

Sam Hudson, as the Butcher, is a very experienced actor, who has starred in Brookside, Born and Bred, and Holby City. His wife Natasha Symms was the Pregnant Woman. The ‘lump’ is now a bouncing baby boy! Natasha is not only a new mum but also an accomplished actress having starred in Hollyoaks, Crossroads and Casualty.

Hayley Taylor-Jones, as the Estate Agent, like all the above, lives on the Wirral and has been in award winning drama, ‘A Mind of Her Own’ and is another up and coming local actress.

Rowe David McLelland, as The Doctor, has been in ‘Corrie’ and Emmerdale and kept us in stitches the whole time.

Music courtesy of The Great Northwestern Hoboes, a fabulous up and coming Liverpool Band. Check out more of their music here.

Thanks also to the wonderful shopkeepers of Bebington; Roy and Les Whieldon, who patiently allowed us to take over their Butcher’s Shop for the morning, while still serving customers. Also Dot Jones of Pinks Cards and Gifts who allowed us to film in the shop and Cathy Behan who allowed us to use her doorway.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Highway Illitterati

Published in Liverpool Daily Post Letters - Fri 21st March 2008

Highway Illitterati

March is the last month of winter, ‘Natures’ waiting room’, CS Lewis called it. But while the countryside in general clings to hibernation, the nation’s verges are blooming with perennial colour. The skimpy undergrowth and skeletal trees provide a perfect canvas for that most disgraceful display of modern art… roadside litter.

After the high winds of recent weeks, the plastic bag trees are heavy with their discarded fruit. The roadside margins and central reservations reveal blooming herbaceous borders of multi-coloured crisp bags, ever-yellow burger boxes and brown rimmed designer coffee cartons. The cornucopia of detritus is a lingering colourful collage, carelessly tossed by passing tossers. A veritable chavarrhoea of slowly bleaching waste.

Councils do their best to preserve the cleanliness of the urban space and individuals will often avoid polluting their own back-yards, but the open road is a landfill free-for-all. Aliens alighting on the A50 between Stoke and Derby would have no difficulty in discovering the life artifacts of our modern ‘civilization’. Even the backwaters are not immune; a short stroll along a quiet Welsh highway reveals not Sparrows nesting in the hedgerows but nappies, fag packets and quietly fermenting, urine filled, plastic milk bottles.

Nature however, will soon spring into life and wrap this indigestible human compost with long grass, nettles and bramble, leaving consciences quiet in the winter of our litter-bugging discontent.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bad Handbag Day - Short Film Script

Bad Handbag Day


John Parker

1. Int. Kitchen. Day.

Julie and Mother drinking tea.

Have you got a stamp Mum? I’ve got a Valentines card for that hunky Butcher!

Here you are love. I’ve only got second class.

That’s okay. I’ll write it out later and stick it in the post. I’m a bit too embarrassed to just give it to him.
Drops stamp in handbag. Mother glances at red circled day on calendar.

Have you got an appointment today?

Smear test. Letter’s here somewhere.

Rummages in pile of letters and bills behind the bread bin. Mother squirms uncomfortably and pulls a face.

I always hated that done to you. You feel like nothing more than a piece of meat.

It can’t be that bad… can it? This is my first time and I am a little bit worried.

Of course its bad. Having to flash your…’bits’ at a stranger… having cold metal thrust into you… well I can’t stand the indignity of it all. But I suppose its better than going under the knife for you know what and having you hair fall out and all that.

Julie finds letter and looks horrified.
Oh my God, the appointment is in an hour. Sorry Mum but I’ll have to jump in the shower.

That’s all right love, you’d better get yourself sorted: and don’t worry it’ll be alright. I’ll see myself out… Oh are your Dad and I still coming for tea tonight.

Oh yeh.. its sausage and mash…excuse for me to see the butcher!!


2. Ext. Front door. Day

Julie rushes out of house and slams door. Cut to shot of her running down the road/drive with skirt tucked in knickers.

3. Ext. On high Street outside Butchers. Day

Julie is bustling down the street but stops just short of the Butchers. She can see the hunky Butcher inside and she roots in her bag for her mirror. As she looks in mirror to check hair and lippy, the second class stamp is stuck to the middle of the mirror. She brushes it off back into the bag, puts the mirror back and walks seductively into the shop.

4. Int. Butchers shop. Day.

Julie approaches counter. Hunky Butcher walks into shop with meat carcass and throws it onto the block. He reaches to a line of knives and cleavers and picks up a large cleaver, raises it above his head for a mighty blow then notices Julie. Smiles, puts the cleaver down, approaches counter and asks provocatively…

What can I do for you?

Pound of sausages please.

Butcher weighs and wraps sausages while eyeing Julie’s legs and spotting skirt still in knickers. Takes money and asks…
In a rush today are we?

I am actually – running a bit late for my… er my er… appointment. How did you know I was in a rush?

Butcher looks down at Julie’s legs and leers at bare arse. Julie lets out embarrassed exclamation, pulls skirt down and runs out of shop. Butcher still holding sausages.

Oi… you forgot your sausages.

5. Ext. Clinic doorway. Day.

Julie rushes through doorway. Clinic sign on wall.

6. Int. Clinic. Day.

View of door with Ladies Toilet sign. Julie goes into toilet. Cut to head and shoulders of her sitting – sound effects! Cut to view of empty toilet roll.
Just my luck!

Roots in handbag. Cut to internal shot of handbag full of stuff. Pulls out all manner of objects, eventually finds crumpled Christmas napkin and makes use of it! Sound of Julie’s name being called outside. Flushes toilet and runs out stuffing things back in handbag, dropping a few things and stooping to pick them up. Checks knickers not tucked in again.

7.Int. Consulting Room. Day.

Julie barges through the door, sees Doctor in white coat and has flashback to Butcher in white coat covered in blood.
If you would like to undress behind the curtain and put on the gown. Call me when you are ready.

Julie pulls back curtain to reveal table. Flashback to meat being thrown onto Butcher’s block. She shivers. She undresses, gets on table wearing gown. Looks across to see line of instruments on table. Flashback to line of knives and cleavers in Butcher’s. Calls ok to doctor in half choked way.

If you would like to open wide this won’t take long.

Doctor sits between legs – only see her feet – and lets out an exclamation. Reaches out to table and picks up forceps then bends down between legs.

What have we got here then?

Places something in kidney bowl with forceps. Then picks up metal speculum. Julie has flashback of Butcher whacking carcass between legs with cleaver and appears to swoon.

All done now. Wasn’t as bad as you thought eh? You can get dressed.

Julie dresses in a daze and is just about to leave when she turns to see what the doctor put in the kidney bowl. To her horror it is the second class stamp. Appears to fill-up and rushes out of door.

9. Ext. High Street. Day

Julie is just about to walk hurriedly past the Butcher’s when hunky Butcher sees her coming and dashes out of shop and stops her in her tracks.

How was the appointment then.

I don’t want to talk about it. (Huffily)

Butcher pulls packet of sausages from behind his back and hands them to her.

Perhaps a nice sausage would cheer you up. (Winks)

Don’t be so cheeky.

Grabs sausages and storms off.

10. Int. Kitchen. Night

Julie crying and peeling spuds then moodily slams pan of spuds onto cooker. Pulls out grill pan with a clatter and get sausages from fridge. Unwraps package to find hunky Butcher’s phone number written on inside of wrapping. Julie smiles, blows nose on tea towel, then picks up phone.

Perhaps I won’t need that stamp after all.