Saturday, 15 October 2011


'What the hell was that noise?' I said, rubbing my eyes. 'There's someone downstairs.'

I stretched out an arm to retrieve my glasses in the darkness, so I could better focus on the solid black around me.

A groaning from below was clearly audible.  

'Wake up,' I hissed. 'I'm going down.'  As I reached out to prod my wife, it became evident that the other side of the bed was no longer occupied. Suddenly, I could hear raised voices in French, and I remembered where I was.

That was our first and last treehouse holiday, and the end of my wife's somnambulatory episodes - you can't sleepwalk if you're paralysed from the waist down.

Even today, four years after the accident, the sight of her distorted limbs makes me shudder - a salutary lesson of the absolute necessity of taking out holiday insurance.

Ironically, my new wife won't go near a treehouse - she has vertigo, and gets dizzy reading a tall story.

Friday, 7 October 2011


‘This is how it works. My mate Marv – sorry, my associate Mr Cooper – works in a fancy dress shop in the posh end of town.
‘A customer comes in and hires a costume for a party; they give Marv their name and address, and Marv engages in a bit of banter, finding out if the costume’s for a party or whatever.
‘In the evening, we follow all the likely leads on FaceSpace, find out which of their friends has a birthday for when the costume’s been hired, cross-reference against other recent hirers on our spreadsheet, go through any photos, biographies etc.
‘On the night of the party, I put on my costume, waltz in with a bottle of Blue Tower and chat to the guests.  If anyone asks, I know Tom from Leicester Uni, I used to work with Claire at HSBC – that sort of thing.  If the party’s not themed, I usually go as a burglar – striped jumper, mask, flat cap, gloves, bag labelled ‘swag’, the works – once I’m comfortable and the other guests  have had a bit to drink, I start filling my sack. It’s that easy.
‘Any problem – I mean if the cops are called – I’ve got Marv on one-touch dialling in my pocket.  Two minutes later, Marv and Jim (Marv’s brother) knock on the door in police costumes and arrest me.’
‘These people have serious mon…’
‘Hold on a minute; I need to turn the tape over.’
Dave looked around at the bare walls of the police interview room. He regretted now the deep sea diver suit that had slowed down his escape.
‘Ready to continue with your confession?’
Dave nodded.
‘Interview recommenced at 14:39 on tape one, side two.  Interviewing officer, Detective Sergeant Briscoe; also present, Constable …’
‘Peters, sarge’ said the tall youngster in the doorway.’
‘Also present, Constable Peters. Please continue, Mr Berwick.’

Monday, 3 October 2011


With university fees spiralling and the economy in recession, it is hardly surprising that many teenagers are opting to join the growing ranks of the undead.  The popularity of films such as '28 Days Later' and 'I am Legend' has shown the zombie lifestyle to be varied and interesting.  Disused warehouses and factories, remnants of Britain's past as an industrial powerhouse, are being snapped up by zombie start-ups eager for new blood willing to work unsociable hours.

When I was a youngster in the Seventies, boys wanted to be astronauts and girls wanted to have a horse. By the Eighties, the Apollo programme had been shelved and the French had eaten all the horses; boys wanted to be footballers and girls wanted to be supermodels (not models). In the Nineties, the Premier League and Sky TV arrived; more than ever, boys wanted to be footballers and girls wanted to marry footballers. The Noughties arrived and boys realised you needed to be a Bosnian on a Bosman to be a footballer; now they wanted to be DJs or MCs and girls wanted to flash their surgically-enhanced chests on reality TV.

With worldwide financial meltdown, and all these traditional career paths seemingly closed off, the teenagers of today are giving a big WTF to the IMF and opting to work nights feasting on human flesh. If you're one of those youngsters who's already largely lost the power of speech, you could be on the fast track to zombie team leadership. To join the undead denizens of the night, log onto