Saturday, 14 September 2013

Ian Youngs, Skoob, Martin Shuttlecock,The Man Behind Cafe Spike.

Today I'm honoured to have as my guest my writing mentor, my friend, my editor, writer, author and owner of Café Spike an online magazine. Ian Youngs also known as Skoob1999 and Martin Shuttlecock.

Ian welcome and thank you not just for being my guest today but for the magic you sprinkle into to my fictional stories In Fantasies From The Kitchen Sink and the adventures of Fifi La Mott over at Café Spike. It's lovely to have you here.

You're welcome Fiona. I'm never sure where I am most of the time and I don't like talking about myself a lot because I'm basically very boring.

Where did it all begin, and when did you first start tapping the keyboard and sending your stories into Cyber Space ?

It all started in Hope Hospital, Salford. That's where I was born, just down the road from Old Trafford. And The Cliff, United's old training ground was just down the road from where I lived as a child so I'm naturally a United fan, although I went to Maine Road before I ever went to Old Trafford. I was forced into that and always tried to avoid the place. I survived by some kind of fluke and kind of drifted through life until I got to where I am today. I live down on the south coast now, but that's a long, long story. I'm still a Northern monkey at heart, the type who likes beer, fags and pies. I love soul music too - the late great Marvin Gaye was lucky enough to be in the same room as me twice at the Apollo down Ardwick Green back in the day. He did a bit of singing and piano playing. I just sat there listening.

As regards keyboard tapping - I saw a website and decided to have a go at writing comedy articles. I've been writing for as long as I can remember, I suppose because I just like writing. It's hard to explain. I used to work for a big multi-national corporation and used to make up joke posters that used to get faxed all over the world, which was nice. It was all happy days for quite a long time writing articles for the spoof news website, until the realisation came to me that some people just do that stuff for some kind of ego trip, with no respect for their readers. Basically there were people conning readers into clicking on headlines when there was little, if anything of any substance behind the headline.

A group of us got together and tried to change things. We tried to persuade people to forget about amassing points and concentrate on writing genuinely funny and/or interesting pieces as opposed to knob jokes and celebrity gossip stuff. In the end we got shouted down and the points whores won, so we moved on. That site's still going but in my opinion it isn't a patch on what it was when we were there - or what it potentially could have been.

Café Spike came about by accident really. It was never my intention to take the reins, but after a couple of other attempts to set a website up by writing mates failed I just went ahead and did it. I hadn't a clue what I was doing and still don't really. It's been a steep learning curve but I think we're getting there.

Where do you hope to take Café Spike in the future?

Wherever the contributors want to take it. I'm hoping to have a place where people can write and get published without too many restrictions. One thing I've learned since we got this thing rolling is that creative people don't take too kindly to being shoe-horned into boxes or restricted by over zealous guidelines. I try not to interfere. Fortunately the people writing for us seem to think along roughly the same lines so there's very little conflict. Having said that, we do like to have things properly presented so we go out of our way to get things right. Going back to the question - I'd like for us to be a fun site where people drop in to be entertained and like us enough to want to revisit. If we build some kind of fan base that'll be good enough for me.

Will we see more of your work on paper as in the next Dorking Review?

The next Dorking Review is more or less ready to roll but there was a glitch with the illustrations. I've been in touch with the editor, Gary Moore and I've pitched the idea of illustrations to a couple of artists. Hopefully I'll be able to help out on that front, and we'll be able to get things moving. I haven't given much thought to writing anything as a solo project because I have a full time job, a family and other interests and that and Café Spike mean that there isn't much time left for anything else.

Do you enjoy the editing side of the magazine?

Again, it wasn't ever my intention to get involved with that side of things, but I've noticed over the years that some writers have great ideas and come up with some very amusing stuff, yet struggle for a variety of reasons with the basics. If I can help out a little in that respect I'm more than happy to do so. Usually it's just a case of tidying up a few typos. I don't do sweeping changes to submissions because I think it's important for the writer not to have their original idea mangled beyond all recognition. I hate editing my own stuff though. That drives me mad.

Why comedy and satire?

I don't really know. It's the hardest thing to do as a writer. It's easy to make somebody cry, or get them riled up but making somebody laugh out loud is a tough call. I rarely laugh aloud at the printed word, although I recall cracking up reading 'The Wanderers' by Richard Wright and a Monty Python paperback, likewise with Spike Milligan's books, but I've laughed more since I started doing the online stuff. I'm lucky to have met a fine bunch of very funny people who've been inspirational - I don't need to name drop because they know who they are. Some of them are having difficult times at the moment for a variety of reasons and that's hard to take on a personal level sometimes because these people are friends, and it's been my privilege to get to know them.

Right - I'm off down the pub now.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Fantasies From The Kitchen Sink #4

Yummy-Mummy Musings Over The Marigolds…
Yummy-Mummy Musings Over The Marigolds…
More from Fifi La Mott and Captain Jean-Luc
Dorking Community Centre was a hive of activity. Ted Pemberton, Jim Blackcock, and Frederick Mansell all peered through the half open kitchen door as Fifi La Mott took to the floor. She was about to discuss her best selling novel: “ The Life and Crimes Of A Newcastle Stripper.”
Ted Pemberton, Dorking’s notorious book reviewer, took a large gulp from his hip flask, which contained his favourite tipple of Chivas Regal 25. “Nice arse,” he said a bit too loudly, as several vexed ladies’ heads snapped round to shush him.
Giggling like schoolboys, the three old men quickly closed the kitchen door.
They had volunteered their services to The Women’s Institute, as part of a sly, conniving plan of gaining access to Fifi La Mott, the sexy authoress. They had each volunteered to help carry the buffet and set out tables and chairs.
A large gathering was expected.
Hilda and Katy gave the men strict instructions that they must to be on their best behaviour and stay in the kitchen, whilst Fifi read an excerpt from her book and answered questions.
A loud knock on the kitchen window made the spying men jump with fright.
It was General Frankie.
The American ex-marine, had retired to Dorking, with his brassy wife Mimi, six months earlier. Already he had found his new platoon in Jim, Ted and Frederick. The men were on a mission.
“Bugger me Frankie! You could have killed Fredrick. He’s got a dicky heart,” hissed Ted, as he let Frankie into the kitchen through the back door.
“Okay men no, need for any alarm,” said Frankie raising his hands to surrender. “What’s the plan of action?”
“Bring Fifi to her knees,” replied Jim Blackcock, rubbing his crotch.
Jim Blackcock was always rubbing his crotch. It was common knowledge in Dorking that he was a dirty old man. No lady’s bottom was safe from Jim’s grubby little hands.
“What are these?” said Frederick, lifting the cellophane from a large tray of what appeared to be chocolate cakes. Immediately becoming pre-occupied by the delicious aroma.
“Chocolate Brownies ya stupid prick,” cackled Ted, turning to offer General Frankie a hit of his gentleman’s finest scotch from his flask.
“They smell lovely. I think Fifi La Mott made them,” said Frederick, mesmerised by dark, rich fondant swirls with sprinkles of what Frederick thought was chocolate. “Ya don’t think anybody would miss a few do ya?” He stuffed the biggest one into his mouth before handing the tray round to the other pensioners, who all greedily snatched at the cakes.
The chocolate brownies were the ones Fifi had baked earlier and deliberately handed to Frederick with a knowing sexy smile. She knew he wouldn’t able to help himself.
Fifi had used a recipe given to her by her friend Elspeth Taylor-Beverly Hills, the drag artist whom Fifi sometimes worked with back in Newcastle. Elspeth had a liking for cannabis sprinkles; she sprinkled everything she baked with the drug, which she personally imported from Amsterdam in her knickers.
Fifi finished reading the excerpt from her book and opened the floor to questions.
Hilda Blackcock was the first to stand and wave her hand .
Fifi smiled at Hilda’s floral dress and fuchsia pink lipstick. She reminded her of Mrs Slocomb from the television programme “Are You Being Served”
“Yes Hilda?”
“Fifi dear, have you really had sex with all those men, and did you really have a threesome with two Ethiopian Catholic priests when you went on holiday to Rome?”
Fifi smiled coyly. “What do you think Hilda?”
“I hope so deary, I really do!” answered Hilda excitedly
“Well, there’s your answer,” winked Fifi. “Next question please?”
“Fifi” said Mrs Patel jumping up from her seat. “As you know we ladies here at the Women’s Institute participated in a nude calendar last year. Well, what I wanted to ask was would you consider teaching us how to pole dance?”
The room erupted with the sound of applause. The questions flowed thick and fast. The evening was a great success.
Fifi agreed at the end of the session to set up a pole dancing class at the community centre.
Her publisher, who had driven in from London stood quietly observing at the back of the room. Fifi had sold 100 books in an hour. He always knew he would be onto a winner with Fifi. He climbed back into his Aston Martin and sped off to meet a pretty little English rose in a hotel room in Chelsea.
Fifi couldn’t wait to get home to tell Jean-Luc all about the evening’s events.
First she had to check her mission had been a success.
As it was such a warm pleasant evening she decided walk home via the town. In the distance Fifi could just make out a large sign for New Tesco Extra.
To her amusement, there up against the shop window in a star shaped position with his arms and legs sprawled apart and his chest pressed against the glass was Ted Pemberton. His tongue appeared to licking an advertisement for a large bowl of tortellini.
Ted Pemberton, Dorking’s eccentric controversial book reviewer, was stoned and intoxicated. This was nothing new. But licking advertisements in shop windows certainly was!
“Good evening Ted…are you all right?” asked Fifi, trying not to laugh.
Ted slowly removed his tongue from the window. His eyes rolled to the back of his head as he attempted to focus on her.
“I can’t move! I’m stuck! I’ve been like this for an hour or more! Help me!”
“I’d be a bit more careful if I were you Ted,” warned Fifi. “I’m sure I have just seen someone from the Dorking Review pulling into the car park. You wouldn’t want this picture on the front page of tomorrow’s paper now would you?”
She turned on her heel and walked away… just as the curious reporter spotted Ted and made a beeline for him.
Ted wasn’t the only one Fifi saw on her leisurely walk home. As she approached the lane where her pretty little cottage sat, there hiding in the bushes with his mail order binoculars round his neck, was Frederick Mansell.
“I’ll knock and tell Katy where you are shall I Fredrick?” Fifi called out as she strolled by. Fredrick scurried back into the hedgerow like a sewer rat.
General Frankie who lived in the largest house in the lane was in his garden, ranting to some brightly painted garden gnomes.
“Hey girly! Wanna come see what real men are made of?” called Frankie just before collapsing unconscious into a bed of dahlias.
Smiling to herself Fifi walked towards her house. She could see her neighbours Hilda and Jim Blackcock. They were dancing the tango naked in their front room. The curtains wide open for anyonel to see. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
Fifi closed the front door behind her and kicked off her shoes. She removed her poodles, Spock and Kirk, from their leads, then slowly climbed the stairs to her bedroom where Captain Jean-Luc was patiently waiting for her.
“The log Fifi,” he commanded, as she entered the room.
Fifi sat at her writing bureau and opened her laptop.
“Mission Hash Cakes accomplished Jean-Luc,” she said, whilst typing feverishly. “Ted Pemberton will make tomorrow’s news. Front-page headline: ‘Dorking Book Reviewer Caught Licking Tesco’s Window’.”
“Next mission Fifi – pole dancing fundraiser at the Women’s Institute,” dictated Jean-Luc.
Just then Fifi’s phone started ringing. It was Maureen, Fifi’s friend who lived in Australia. Maureen was internationally renowned as ‘The Orgasmic Chef.’
Fifi’s eyes twinkled. Long gone were the days of making jam and singing ‘Jerusalem’ at Dorking’s Women’s Institute. Fifi had arrived.
“Hi Maureen. What’s new? Really? Tell me more!”

Join me again soon for more of Fifi’s adventures here at Café Spike.
Visit Maureen at: – for food that’s better than sex. (Allegedly.)
Story – Fiona McAndrew. Follow me on Twitter @twtfiona