Thursday, 25 July 2013

Music 3

For the third instalment of my 'Ben shares his abominable musical tastes with the world', I have chosen 'Loser' by Beck.

"I'm a driver, I'm a winner. Things are going to change, I can feel it."

Monday, 22 July 2013

My Diary

So, I’ve decided to try and keep a diary, a bit like Joe does in my book (the Private Blog of Joe Cowley, available to pre-order here if you’re willing to wait nine months) The only problem with this is, I have a really boring life. I mean, look at this:

Monday 15th July
10 a.m.
Eating some biscuits. Think they might be a bit stale.

10.10 a.m.
No, they’re OK.

But today has actually been reasonably eventful, so I’ve got a bit of a second wind. Here we go:

Monday 22nd July
9 a.m.
Just been outside, sweeping leaves. This was much easier when they weren’t still attached to the tree.
Neighbour still not talking to me for some reason. And to think, I was about invite him to my next trombone night.

10.20 a.m.
Visited my so-called best friend, Fat Barry. He’s writing a list of possible Royal baby names.  He’s really into that kind of thing. He owns a Camilla Parker-Bowles tea set and everything. I’ve lost count of the amount of burned crumpets I’ve eaten off her face.
After a bit, he started getting all huffy with me so I left. He’s like a broken record, ‘They can’t call the royal baby Prop Joe, don’t be daft, blah, blah, blah.’

12 p.m.
Went to the supermarket. Did a bit of flirting with the attractive lady on the checkout. I like to think of myself as a body language expert, and the way she kept avoiding eye contact, tutting and calling security over the tannoy was pretty thrilling.

1.30 p.m.
Put my glasses on next door’s cat for a laugh, but then it climbed a tree and refused to come down. I was going to tempt it down with some fish, but I didn’t have any in the house, and I don’t think it’s falling for the fake one I made out of sugar paper.

2 p.m.
I was going to put some milk in a saucer to try and get it but it turned out I forgot to buy milk from the shop. Sneaked into the dairy farm down the road and squeezed a bucket full of milk from the first cow I could find.

2.05 p.m.
This milk tastes funny.

2.10 p.m.
Called the farmer to complain about his lousy milk. He said, ‘One: if I catch you trespassing on my land again, I’ll kill ya, and two: I don’t keep cows on my farm. Only donkeys.’

2.15 p.m.

2.40 p.m.
Still vomiting.

2.45 p.m.
Stopped vomiting.

2.50 p.m.
False alarm. Still vomiting.

3.05 p.m.
Gone out for some fresh air. Jehova’s Witnesses saw me and crossed the road. Last time they came, I kept them talking for three hours. Sometimes I get lonely.

3.10 p.m.
Had another quick vomit.

3.15 p.m.
Lost a staring contest against my dog. Shouted, ‘You win this round, Terry.’ Didn’t even blink. Sometimes I think this game would be more fun if Terry wasn’t a toy I won out of a grabber machine.

5 p.m.
Caught up with some friends. They’ll never outrun me.

5.10 p.m.
My so-called best friend Fat Barry came over and apologised for being rude earlier. I let him in and made him a cup of tea. A milky cup of tea.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Private Blog of Joe Cowley

Right. Here we go.

So here's the thing. I've decided to write a new blog post. About my book. It's called the Private Blog of Joe Cowley. So this is a blog about a book about a blog.

I know, right?

I'm as surprised as anyone that I managed to write a book. I mean, I normally have loads of important stuff going on. Like the time when I couldn't find any bottles of Coke with my name on, so I had to improvise.

This was an hour well spent.

But I've managed it and it's actually being published and everything! Now, I've always wanted to write for teenagers, because to me, it is the funniest period of your life.

Yeah, ha ha HA. Knobhead.

Of course, it doesn't feel like it at the time, and that's kind of what makes it so funny. It's a time when you're trying to figure out who you are and where you belong in the food chain of the jungle that is high school. A time of firsts and big emotions that can lead to rash decisions and embarrassing situations.

Not only did I buy this, I also bought Mambos 1-4.

Joe Cowley isn't happy with his place in the food chain. He's fourteen, nearly fifteen and is fed up of being the butt of every joke, being picked on by idiots like Gav James, being a kiss virgin and being useless at talking to girls. I should point out at this juncture that he is in no way based on me when I was that age.

Ladies . . .

I was actually quite the stud. I seem to remember girls in my year calling me 'the Shark.' Because I was deadly. And also, if you punched me on the nose, it usually made me go away.

And I stunk of fish.

By the way, in case you were wondering why that picture of me looked familiar . . .

There we go.

Anyway, Joe wants nothing more than to climb the social ladder and become more respected. But to do that, he has to become a completely different person. This is not going to easy. Firstly because he is NOT COOL in any way. He's not interested in football or modern music, and he's obsessed with Batman comics and Star Trek. Again, completely unlike me. I am not into these things.

Not at all.

Not even a little bit.

The second obstacle Joe faces is his inability to control what he says. This is a problem I was afflicted with when I was a teenager, back in the olden days.

We used these things, you know. Sometimes we even rewound them with a pencil! Kids these days don't know they're born.

My problem was, I could never find the right words when I needed them. I remember there was this girl I really fancied, but I was too shy to say anything. One day, we were talking and she said to me, 'You know, I'd like to go out with someone nice like you.'

And who could blame her?

Of course, I didn't know what to say to that, so I panicked and said, 'WELL GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!' and just walked off.


Joe is even worse than I was. He blurts out things that get him nowhere with girls and deep into trouble with bullies. He can't help it.

Like the time when he's apologising to Louise Bentley for puking on her at the fair.

He's a real catch.*

His explanation for the vomiting?
"It may have been the dodgy hot dog I ate, or all that candy floss. Who knows, it may have been the idea of kissing you for the first time."

Cain can't stand to watch your failure and he's the bloke that invented murder.

Even if Joe can get over his various afflictions, there is something big looming on the horizon. Something that will see his school problems and home problems collide in a way that will change his life forever. 

The important thing is, he doesn't overreact.

The Private Blog of Joe Cowley is out in April 2014 with Oxford University Press. More info can be found here.

* Joe Cowley illustration by Mike Lowery -