Bird Guano
The column that can play the bagpipes, but doesn't


READER:  Well, now that Christmas is banjaxed, any plans for the New Year?

MYSELF:  Yes of course. For us Northern Powerhouse types, the hogmanay is the main event.

READER: Och aye the noo! May yer lum reek like twa long-dead corbies. It’s a braw bricht moonlicht nicht the nicht. I'm half Scottish myself you know.

MYSELF:  I'm sorry to hear that, get well soon. Regarding my New Year's Eve plans; at midnight I generally have a tumbler of Buckfast's Fortified Wine with a hard, tasteless biscuit, followed by a wee dram of McFeenie's Auld Trossachs. At precisely 12-15am I take my customary swim in the sea, followed by a five mile naked bicycle ride to Upper Dicker and back.

READER: Brrrrr! Surely that’s going to be unbearably cold!

MYSELF: Not in the least.  I will be lathered in a two centimetre layer of goose fat reserved from the Christmas roast potatoes.



It is generally agreed that 2021 was absolutely clogged with events. Here are the highlights of the year:



July 2021 saw a concert to celebrate the grand opening of Hastings’ new music venue The Cat’s Pyjama. This was was the event to be seen at, showcasing as it did my favourite band, the reformed and much missed Meat Raffle. The reincarnation featured original guitarist Tit Bingo but was, alas, minus the other four original members. The band eventually staggered on to the stage 2 hours late and bulldozed their way through a 3 minute version of their 1997 Estonian chart-topping anthem Drive-By Shouting before handing over to DJ of the moment MC Squaird, whose unique blend of Psychotic Garage and Plantaginet Plainsong challenged even the most enthusiastic dancers. Regrettably the venue closed the following week when the proprieter Bill Darling ran off with the owner of the cake shop next door during the first days of lockdown 2.



Emily Wildebeeste’s epic novel The Epiphany of Cuthbert Wasp was, for me, the standout read of the year. Critics praised the author’s sensitive treatment of Monophrenia (The inability to lie convincingly), her louche grammatical swerves, and the colourful depictions by illustrator Rupert Doppleganger of the protagonist’s erotic adventures as a gas meter inspector.



Strictly Come Dancing, if only for its sheer, vile, unwatchability.


READER: I love Strictly, don’t be mean! Anyway what do you know about dancing?

MYSELF: Me? I’ll have you know I hold several ballroom dancing medals, including silvers for the quickstep and foxtrot and a bronze for the galloping major. Lionel Bart once described my feet as “like two miniature hovercrafts”




by Timothy Verruca, greeter and cocktail mixoligist at The Cat's Pyjama


3 fingers of gin.
I like to use Van Vlet’s Dykefinger No.2, still made in the traditional way with 900-year-old juniper berries from the Himalayan foothills and water from the Bagmati river basin which has been heated to steam temperature in an active volcano, then distilled and strained through the perforated eardrum of a Beluga Sturgeon before being hand-decanted into its distinctive pink triangular bottles. (Fortnum & Mason £450, 70cl)

Two slices of lemon - no more no less
Ideally, the two slices should come from entirely separate sources. My preferences are thus: the first should be a medium slice cut from the centre of a Kallakkia lemon picked from the only surviving Kallakkia tree, planted in the foyer of The Klikki-Klakki, an exclusive backgammon club in the Turkish sector of Cyprus by Alexander the Great before he had all the other Kallakkia trees destroyed.

This will be perfectly balanced by slice two, cut from a thawed pre-revolutionary Russian lemon preserved in amber, which my Grandfather had cryogenically frozen just before he died of cyrrhosis of the liver in 1959.

Indian Tonic Water.
One 200 ml bottle of Jadookah Paanee - tonic made from water which has been traditionally pumped from the Ganges by medical undergraduates at the point where it flows past Calcutta’s Institute of Malarial Studies, for over two thousand years.

ice cubes
I prefer to use ice chipped from Steindalsbreen, the great Norwegian glacier at Trompsø, just inside the Arctic Circle. The ice is chipped by the indigenous Sami people using crude axes fashioned from reindeer horns during a visible display of aurora borealis.

(Cubes available online from Chip‘ - £25.75 per cube +Vat)


Add all the ingredients to a pre-chilled 30 ounce Denbigh Crystal glass. I like to swirl the mixture with a miniature Cherokee divining rod which I picked up during a stay at the Long March Indian Reservation, Oklahoma, in the sixties. It's a genuine tribal artifact which, in the event of an unexpected power cut is capable of locating your drink in the dark. Serve at room temperature.

An Important note about room temperature.

The best way of achieving ambient room temperature is by covering all the windows with blackout curtains and placing a bucket of particulated asphalt in the centre to absorb any unwanted heliotropic vibrations, then boiling a kettle for six hours. Enjoy!



No contest. Tracy Eminem’s wonderful exhibition of car bumper stickers at the Cockmarlin Cube. My personal favourite? Honk If You Think I’m A Canadian Goose.




It has to be The Thrasher, Professor Thinktank’s revolving steam-powered cricket bat. A built-in light sensor detects the flight of the bowler’s delivery, and adjusts the face of the bat accordingly. The miniature boiler is cleverly concealed inside the hollowed out handle, which  also serves as a hand warmer for playing cricket in winter.



Alistair Milqueflote, always a favourite of mine, posesses the uncanny ability to spew verse like a downpipe in a thunderstorm. His new collection, Folliliquy, is no exception. Take this excerpt from the title poem.


To beard or not to beard, that is the  question

Whether tis nobler in the mind

to fluff up the chinless facades of outdated morons,

Or to take arms against these facial follicles,

And by epilation, end them.



Titanic-The Musical at the newly-refurbished Hestmonceaux Parthenon. I loved this ambitious production, despite its cruel panning by the critics. OK, during the big number Help! I’m Drowning! the water leaking out of the huge tank flooded the auditorium and several members of the audience were washed out to sea. Fair enough it closed on its opening night (just like the real thing). But on a positive note it did at least provide some relief from the usual fare of low grade tribute bands and racist comediens.


READER: I was there, and for once I agree with you. I just managed to get out in time.

MYSELF: I blame electronic cigarettes and Andrew Lloyd-Webber.

READER: Speaking of which, did you manage to make any resolutions?

MYSELF: You read my mind.



  • Stop making lists



Sausage Life!


"...Somewher between Viv Stanshall's Bonzo Dog Band, Penguin Café Orchestra and Frank Zappa"

- Alan Dearing, International Times


guano poundhammer

From the album Domestic Bliss

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Vote For Countryside Alliance

by The Hunt Cult. Click for video



"Sometimes you just need a tool that doesn't do anything"