Beneath the Mask: an Insider’s view of Celebrity.


Who is “Andrew Manning?”

I have a friend who once worked as a (very special) agent to many of the world’s top celebrities. His specialisation was clearing up celebrity screw-ups. As such he lived in fairly dark, amoral world but it made him powerful and extremely rich. At some stage, though, he grew tired and disillusioned, gave up his agency and tried to create a new life for himself:

“Celebrity is vapid, shallow, a world of fakes and freaks, deviants, liars and cheats.” (Andrew Manning).

Last year I ghost-wrote a book for him (“I Really, Really Want It”); Andrew wanted to give something back to the world in the form of a “mea culpa” for some of the dreadful things he’d done over the years in his work for celebrities. That book has recently gone back on sale after some fairly lengthy legal battles with some very angry celebs (they shall remain nameless..) who wanted it banned and banned for ever.

As a kind of “celebration” of Andrew’s successful legal struggle to have his book seen, below is a little piece he has written himself for my blog which I believe gives an interesting insight into what really, really goes on the seemingly golden world of celebrity. Sadly, getting his book seen does not represent the end of Andrew’s legal struggles. Andrew sent the article beneath from the dubious comfort of a prison cell, he being currently serving time at Her Majesty’s pleasure on a a whole series of fabricated and entirely fictitious charges. Stay strong, Andrew, the truth will prevail, the monsters will be unmasked.


“I spent 20 years of my life prostituting myself at the altar of celebrity: I was the “go to” man for celebrities who, as a consequence of their own bad behaviour, had screwed up their careers. They came to me because I was rich, powerful and influential, a holder of secrets, a man who knew where all the bodies were buried (and that sometimes literally), a man who would break the rules and the law to restore sheen to tarnished celebrity. I worked for A-list celebs, AA-list celebs and Z-list wannabes and hasbeens: I wasn’t fussy, I’d work for anyone who was graspingly desperate enough to keep their place in the spotlight that they’d pay my ridiculously exorbitant fees.

Eventually I grew tired of celebrity and celebrities. Celebrity is vapid, shallow, a world of fakes and freaks, deviants, liars and cheats.

As a kind of penance for some of the dreadful things I did during my celebrity agent period and to try and explain to people how grossly, causally immoral, spiritually corrosive and awful celebrity is as a concept, I asked a friend to ghost-write a book for me which I would call “I Really, Really Want It.” As far as I’m aware, it’s the only book ever written that tells the truth about celebrity, that lifts the lid on a very, very disturbed world. It describes real events, real people, real nightmares: only the names have been changed to protect the…guilty.

Not long after the book came out (before the ban) it was reviewed by one of Britain’s biggest celebrity magazines. The review was awful, it said the book was a “horribly offensive attack on the cherished institution of celebrity, do not buy this book.” Of course, this particular magazine is an intrinsic part of the whole machinery that props up the weird and not wonderful world of celebrity, so I shouldn’t really have expected anything else.

Nevertheless I thought, as much for old times sake as anything else, that I’d call up the editor of the magazine and put the fear of God into the chiseling little git.

So, I call the mag and, using my real name, I get put through to the editor like that. Bish bosh. No messing around, straight away, without delay or hindrance. That’s the power of my name. These people still know who I am, what I know and what I’m capable of.

Mister Editor is nervous and defensive, he knows I’m calling about the review of my book, tries to justify it, comes out with crap about journalistic integrity and independence. Now that makes me laugh. Journalistic “integrity,” “independence.” Bollocks. As a rule, most journalists are the idiot children of the upper classes who wouldn’t get a job anywhere else so they carve out a career in the world of “journalism” which consists of unthinkingly repeating press releases word for word and calling it news. Journalists are propaganda-peddlers for the Plutocrats, working to make sure you don’t think too deeply so that everything can remain the same. Scum.

Anyway, Mr Editor’s bleating is totally doing my head in so I tell the idiot to shut right up. I remind him who I am and remind him of a few things he’s done in the past, starting from when he used to get done up the bum in the dorms of his expensive public school, to his perverse present day proclivities. I suggest he might like to speak to his fellow celeb mag editors, that it would be best they steer clear of mentioning my book.

By the end of the conversation Mr Editor agrees with me completely. He couldn’t be nicer, of course he’ll talk to fellow editors, he thought the book was wonderful, by the way, such a pleasure to hear from me. He simultaneously has his tongue up my arse and is hating my guts.

Like I said, celebrity is full of fakes and freaks.

I want you to understand that. That’s why I worked hard to get this book out there and keep it out there.

Celebrity serves two functions in this world. Its superficial glamour distracts the eye, blinds you to what’s really going on. In a world where the political system has been corrupted to the needs of the very wealthy and serves only them, an increasingly unequal world, it serves as a form of opium for the masses. It’s bright glitzy, loud…who cares that the world economy is on the brink of collapse when you “I’ve Got Ebola, Get Me Out of Here” is on the tele. Even better, look how stupid most celebs are. I mean, if they can become rich and famous, you can too, right…fuck it, I’ll just quote from my own book here…

“Somewhere along the line the bankers and the corporate classes and, well, people like me, reversed up the arses of the politicians and started pulling all the strings. We rolled back unionisation, we destroyed the working class by exporting their jobs and insourcing cheap labour and we undermined what social mobility there was by utterly devaluing the education system. We kept you lot quiet by stuffing your mouths with benefits or easy credit and by feeding you the dream of celebrity. You can be famous, you can be wealthy, you can escape your shitty, dull, drab life, and you don’t even have to work for it, you just have to want it enough. To really, really want it. And just to reinforce that point, every now and then we select some barely talented but viciously ambitious non-entity like Shelley Bright and use every trick in the marketer’s handbook to speed them up the ladder of fame. And all the time you’re distracted by the glitz of celebrity we’re siphoning more and more power and wealth upwards to ourselves slamming shut the windows of opportunity in your life one after the other. Don’t you see…people like you should be dragging people like me out into the streets and kicking us to death, people like you should be invading the City of London and dragging the bankers and traders out of their plush offices and stringing them up from lamp-posts. Believe me. Don’t believe me. But if you don’t believe me, you are so, so fucked.”

And of course, there’s celebrity’s second function: a refuge for the deviant, the fraudulent, the dishonest, the sociopathic and the downright abusive and dangerous. It’s here that the world of celebrity merges with the world of politics in that both attract the same kind of people for the same reasons. Celebrities and politicians pursue their respective careers with the aim of gaining power, respectability and influence. Both fields are ideal for sociopaths, providing both cover and opportunity for criminal behaviour. How do you think Jimmy Savile got away with abusing children for so long? People (who should have known better) were awed into silence by his wealth and fame. And the inquiry into abuse (and even possible murder) of children at the Elm Lodge Guest House and Dolphin Square flat by politicians, establishment figures and celebs? You really, really think that’s going to happen. Jog on, feller. Maybe when all the guilty parties are dead and gone something might happen…until then, no chance.

So, you see, celebrity is not a a “cherished institution.” It’s a stinking dungheap of shit, a dark-eyed golem staring back at you with dead, soulless eyes ,reflecting back your own dreams of fame and wealth but promising nothing and taking everything.” (c.2015 Andrew Manning)

REALLYCELEB“I Really, Really Want It” is available from Amazon (for now at least!!):




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The Man who Buried A Princess on An Island.

Princess-DianaOnce upon a time… many, many years ago in a world long since forgotten, there was a country called Anywhere. And in the land of Anywhere there was a fine and prosperous city called Anyplace and in this fine city there was a very, very wealthy man, a member of the Aristocracy and the Greedy One Percent.

As is the way with Aristocrats he was a deeply unpleasant man: he came from a long line of Stupid but Brutal and Cunning Sociopathic predecessors who had robbed, lied, cheated and murdered their way to great riches. Why, then would you expect him to anything else but a Pig Of A Man? After all, stupidity, brutality and a lack of compassion and even Basic Social Skills are common to all Aristocrats; a result of the Gross Inbreeding of their Limited Blood Lines and a Political And Legal System and Macro-Economic Environment that allows them to easily hold on to their stolen money and possessions despite their extra-ordinary ineptitude.

Anyway, this man, let’s call him from this point on The Aristocrat, had a younger sister who was as different from him as Chalk was from Cheese. You see, the sister’s birth had been witnessed by a Faerie who had just happened to be passing through that particular time and space, doing her usual work of checking up on the Doings Of Humanity.
Whilst entranced by the Eternal Beauty And Miracle of a new life beginning its cycle, the Faerie had been more than a bit disgusted by the stench of Corruption and Ignorance emanating from the Souls of the child’s Extremely Ugly Parents. Looking into the Soul of the newly-born child she was saddened to see that the girl would grow to be like the parents: she would become an Ugly woman, bereft of Intelligence, Grace and Care.

Feeling desperately sorry for the child, she cast a Faerie spell that would ensure the child would grow up with all the qualities so missing from her parents.

As these things do, the Faerie spell came to pass and the Child grew up into Beautiful and Intelligent young woman, so unlike other female Aristocrats with their podgy, shapeless bodies, buck teeth, crossed-eyes and inability to String A Simple Sentence Together. Even more strangely (for a member of the Aristocracy), she was a kind and compassionate woman and could even hold a conversation with the Ordinary Folk and relate to their lives and problems! Indeed, she spent much of her time with the Common People and invested much of her time in Charities And Organisations that were involved in their welfare.

Not surprisingly such a bright, attractive, intelligent and caring lady, a real and solitary jewel floating in the cesspool of Aristocracy, garnered much attention, soon becoming very popular with the Ordinary Folk and a darling of The Means Of Communication. Quite soon, this wildly popular and unusually attractive Aristocratic young lady came to the attention of the Royal Family of the land of Anywhere. They decided that such a beautiful woman, so popular with the Ordinary folk and The Means Of Communication, would make an ideal wife for their oldest son, The Prince, who being dense and strange even by Royal standards, needed a good marriage to improve his popularity amongst the Ordinary Folk.

And so, quicker than a Troll can run, the marriage was arranged. Truth be told, our sweet young lady, who we shall now have to call The Princess, did not want to marry The Prince: she considered him an unpleasant and ignorant man with very strange ideas and poor personal hygiene. But, being a Good Girl with a strong Sense Of Duty, she did as her family bade and married the strange Prince.

Alas, the marriage was not to be a happy one. If the Prince and Princess had been buildings he would have been a claustrophobic, grey Mausoleum housing the dead whilst she would have been a Dance Hall full of light and music. Both partners soon grew apart, for they had absolutely nothing in common. The Prince took an older, less attractive and stupider lover, with whom he felt more comfortable, whilst The Princess threw herself even more into her Charitable Works and even began to campaign for better treatment of, and land rights for, the Troll Community! She also took a lover and many years later it would be revealed that of the two children the marriage produced one was, in fact, not fathered by The Prince but by a dashing Army Officer: to give you a clue as to which child that was I shall only say it was not the ugly and stupid one but rather the better looking and more interesting one.

It soon came to the attention of The Means Of Communication and the Ordinary Folk how unhappy the Prince and Princess were together and this, together with the fact that the Princess had become more and more popular and was totally eclipsing her miserable husband in the eyes of all, became a source of great embarrassment to the Royal Family. Not to mention her campaigning for land rights for Trolls…that being in direct challenge to the interests of the Banker Class who covet Troll land for Lucrative Re-development Purposes. Unacceptable!

It was decided that Princess had become a problem about which Something Had To Be Done. Putting their almost empty heads together to Collectively Utilise their limited intellect the Royal Family and their Greedy One Percent advisors hit upon a solution. On e which had always worked for their type in the past.

The Princess had to be killed.

Orders Were Issued to Shadowy Government Departments and, in an operation overseen by the Evil Politician, Mass Murderer and War Criminal, Bonty Liar, the Princess was Tragically Killed in a Sad And Freak Accident.

Following the Princess’s death there was a howling of outraged pain from the Ordinary Folk and criticism by them of The Royal Family for the Ordinary Folk felt that The Royals, who were simply acting in their usual dead-eyed, soulless way to the pain of others, were not showing much sadness at the passing of such a Beloved lady (in fact The Royals were cock-a-hoop that this troublesome Princess was dead but the Common People were, of course, not aware of that).

Indeed, dis-satisfaction with The Royals reached such a clamour that a call went out from The Powers That Be to the tame Means Of Communication and the Owned Political Class to Co-Opt The Pain of the Ordinary Folk.
Various Royal Idiots were wheeled out (sometimes literally) to express their sadness at the death of the Princess, even The Prince was made to stand up and read a speech (written for him and transcribed in phonetics so that he would be able to read it) about his love for the Princess and how much he missed her. The Means Of Communication communicated on a twenty-four hour a day basis, day in day out how Dreadfully Missed was The Princess, how loved she had been by all, particularly by her husband and The Royal Family.

This Process Of Propaganda worked (as propaganda is wont to do) and soon The Reputation Of The Royals Was Rehabilitated

To finally placate The Ordinary Folk a lavish State Funeral was held for The Princess. At the funeral many Artfully Empty tributes were paid to The Princess by equally Artfully Empty people.

And at this point, I bring back into my little Tale the Princess’s brother – The Aristocrat, he who was a Pig Of A Man. For he too gave a speech at The Princess’s funeral. He stood up and talked about his sister in gushing and entirely false terms (in fact he had accepted a very large sum of money from The Royals to supply intimate personal details about The Princess that were of vital use in planning her murder, but what else would you expect from one of his class?), speaking of his deep “love” and “respect” for her. He then announced that, as her brother, he would be Custodian of Her Body and Her Memory. He would build a fine mausoleum for The Princess in which her body would lie permanently In State on an island in the middle of a lake on one of his estates. For a small fee, The Ordinary Folk would be allowed to cross the bridge to the island and visit the mausoleum (The Aristocracy will always try to make money in any way they can, no matter how gross or crass).

There was one other attendee at the funeral that day. Unbidden and unknown, fluttering quietly away high above The Princess’s coffin, was the same Faerie that had bestowed a spell upon The Princess at her birth. She had kept a keen eye on The Princess over the years and had been very proud of the way she had Turned Out, had come to love her even. Her Princess had been a proper person and not a Piece Of Filth like the rest of her Loathsome Family or, even worse, the Family Of Monsters she had married into. The Faerie was, then, understandably distressed by events, more so because she had Faerie Insight of the disgusting Plottings And Machinations that had gone into murdering The Princess, a barbarity that even her own brother had been party to.

Upon hearing The Aristocrat’s plan to bury his sister’s body on an island and charge admission she was less than amused and resolved that this was something that was simply Not Going To Happen. And with that, off she flew to consort with some friendly Trolls who owed her a favour or two.

By and by, the money-grubbing Aristocrat built his tasteless (and very cheaply done) mausoleum and installed his sister’s body there. But the mausoleum was to be a very short-lived business venture, for the night before it was due to open to Paying Customers, it was tragically (at least to The Aristocrat who mourned the loss of a Potentially Lucrative Income Stream) attacked and utterly destroyed by a mass Troll Depridation. Even worse, said Evil Trolls stole the body of The Princess, no doubt to use for Nefarious Purposes.

This incident was presented by The Means Of Communication (faithful servant as ever to the Bankers) as yet another example of the Vileness Of Trolls, yet another reason to never trust The Other and the Wickedness Of Those Who Are Not Understood.

In fact there was, of course, nothing wicked in what the Trolls had done. They had been doing as our Fairies had requested of them, the aim being to give The Princess the Peace And Dignity in death that she had been denied in life: and the Trolls had done it gladly for The Princess, being one of the few humans to ever speak in their favour, had been much Loved and Respected in the Troll community.

Following the Faerie’s instructions, the band of Trolls carried her body far into the wild countryside of Anywhere, climbing a high hill until they reached a beautiful, green and windswept plateau.

Here on this plateau they were met by a Mass Convocation Of Faeries and a huge crowd of Trolls, all having gathered to give The Princess a Proper burial. The Convocation of Faeries hummed the Rhythm Of Life, a Faerie song (or humming, rather for Faeries cannot sing) as old as time itself, as the Princess’s body was born into the center of the huge crowd of Trolls, where it was lain to rest on the richly scented soil from which it had originally sprung. From within the crowd of Trolls appeared four breathtakingly beautiful, blindingly white Unicorns, each with a fine, black horn. Using these fine horns, horns wrought by Magick, and their powerful hooves they dig a deep trench, into which was placed The Princess’s body.

One by one, the huge crowd of Trolls passed by The Princess’s new resting place, each picking up and casting into the grave a handful of rich, loamy soil. Two senior Trolls, old and wise in a way beyond any Human Experience, even paid to The Princess the ultimate display of Troll respect for the dead; each cutting off the little finger of his left hand and placing it in the grave with the body.

Soon The Princess’s grave was filled with earth and the crowd of Trolls dispersed, back to their Troll Holes, but still the Convocation Of Faeries remained in the air above the grave, still humming the Rhythm Of Life. One Faerie, our Faerie in fact, broke from the Convocation, flew downward and set herself upon the grave. In one last gesture, after which the Convocation would melt away, she said goodbye to the girl she had loved and sowed the earth in the grave with an enchanted mix of plant seed, beautiful and richly scented flowers which would grow and blossom every day of the year, be it winter, summer or anywhere in between, every single day of every single year until the Stars Fell From The Sky.

This story is taken from my forthcoming book, “The Curious Little Book of Extraordinary Big Tales, Vol. 2.” You can buy Vol 1 here:




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The ultimate Celebrity Scandal book is no longer banned! (For now-buy it quick!)

reallybanned (2)So…last year, based on my own experiences, I wrote a book about celebrities I’ve worked with: celebrities who are junkies, who eat human fetuses to stay young, who are secretly gay, who fake cancer for public sympathy, who sexually and emotionally abuse the young and vulnerable, who end up dead in the bathtub or swinging from the end of a rope.

Needless to say, my former clients, and the celebrity industry overall, were not impressed. Using their friends in the media, the world of politics (the perverse habits of the celebrity world are often shared by our corrupt political class) and amongst the One Percent (I like to refer to this obscene interface of celebrities, journalists, politicians and the very wealthy as “the pigocracy.”) they made damn sure that no-one would publish the book.

Fair enough, sod you, I thought. So, I self-published the bloody thing. My pigocrat friends were most not amused. They applied pressure and the book had to be removed from sale.

It’s taken me six months, but now my book is once again available to buy. I had to put the fear of God into a lot of nasty, scary people, to remind them that whilst I’m not in the position of power I once was, I’m still the man who spent years cleaning up their mess: I am still the man who knows where the bodies are buried.

At that point they (not for the first time) threatened to kill me and I had to remind them (again) of the countless little “information bombs” I have planted all around the world, primed to explode should anything “unfortunate” happen to me. They gave in, and my book was back. I fought the pigocracy and the pigocracy…lost.

If you really, really want to know what really, really goes on in the world of celebrity buy my book; be quick, I can’t guarantee how long it’ll be available for…

“I REALLY, REALLY WANT” available from AMAZON:




A darkly comic thriller about love, life, sex, celebrity, handbags and possibly a vampire.

Celebrities can behave very, very badly. Meet the man who picks up the pieces. And buries the bodies.

Andrew Manning has spent twenty years repackaging and reviving celebrities whose careers have been overshadowed by scandal and is now the very special agent to a stellar list of stars.

Shelley Bright, singer and fashion icon, wants a divorce from her secretly gay Premier League footballer husband. She asks Andrew to blackmail him. Will he help her and what is Shelley’s own destructive secret? Reality TV star Joey Camp’s career goes into free-fall after he launches an expletive-laden attack on The Queen: how far is Andrew ready to go to save Joey’s career and exactly why is Joey looking so ill? Janey Jax, international Pop Goddess, what is it she wants that is so twisted and sick it makes Andrew’s flesh crawl and what on earth is going on with her teeth?

Meanwhile, Johnny, Andrew’s partner, begins a descent into “celebrity-induced psychosis.” There are voices in his head, and they tell him to kill celebrities. Will Andrew be able to balance the demands of so many different and desperate characters, or will he just end up dead?

“Masterfully debunks the exquisitely perceived realm of celebrity. A riveting thriller from the start…truly original and distinctive.” (
“Clever prose…bitingly ironic and dark…a fast-paced story that will leave you breathless.” (
“A darkly addictive world you won’t soon forget.” (

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The Upstanding Lady Of Indeterminate Age and a Silence So Loud it was Deafening.

ladywindOnce upon a time…many, many years ago in a world long since forgotten, there was a country called Anywhere. And in the land of Anywhere there was a fine and prosperous city called Anyplace and in an Average Area of the city lived an Upstanding Lady Of Indeterminate Age. Sitting one day in her neat little home, alone as was normal in these later years of hers, she was deafened by the Screaming Silence of a house that used to be so Busy but that was now so Empty. She decided she had to escape this Persistent And Raucous Noise Of Nothingness. She craved the tranquillity of open, green countryside and the wide possibilities of Broad, Bright Blue Skies. She needed a change from the Numbing And Persistent Progression Of Her Silent Days.

Donning a pair of Sensibly Flat Shoes, the Lady Of Indeterminate Age strode decisively out of her house, heading for the hills outside the city: not those made ugly by the gross mansions of the Greedy And Reprehensible One Percent, but those that are Further On And Further Away.

Her journey was long but uneventful, even though it passed through territory known to be plagued by Faeries and Trolls. Not that this concerned our Lady: like Joan Crawford in your world, she had “been around the block” and there were no longer things in This Life that caused her fear. In fact, one Rheumy Old Troll did spot her but, using that Seventh Sense that Trolls have, he decided she was best left undisturbed for he knew, even if she did not, that this was one Lady who had an Appointment With Destiny.

Presently, the Lady came upon the chain of hills she desired to visit. Setting her sights upon the highest hill in the chain, she began to climb. Up and up, and up until the hill levelled off into a wide and peaceful plateau, carpeted in lush green grass, spotted with beautiful wild flowers, and open to the possibilities of the Broad, Bright, Blue Sky.
Setting foot on the plateau, our Lady became aware that a strong Wind was blowing, but it was a pleasant Wind: fierce, powerful but in some way warm and comforting. And as she walked through the Wind, attracted for some reason she could not fathom towards the centre of the lush greenness before her, it seemed to strip away the Everyday Physical Pain of being of An Indeterminate Age and soon it seemed even her Persistently Aching Knees were young and flexible. Our Lady was even sure that, had she had a mirror, she could have held it up to a face that was no longer wrinkled and saggy but firm and unlined, bejewelled with the Bright, Hopeful, Unclouded Eyes Of Youth. Even more remarkably, she was delighted to discover the wind had also succeeded in blowing away the Cobwebs Of Unhappiness And Loneliness that the capriciously malicious Blind Old Weaver that is fate had spun around the Later Years Of Her Life.

Truth be told, upon reaching the middle of the plateau, our Lady felt quite the Giddy Young Girl again.

And just there, in the centre of a green plateau under a Broad, Bright, Blue Sky, she decided to simply stand still and give herself to this Warm And Happy Wind and discover where it would take her.

As she stood, the Wind enfolded her. It wrapped its arms around her and Held Her Tight like her loving and loved husband, dead these ten years gone; a man who had woven a web beneath her, made of love and gossamer thread, to catch her should she fall. It whispered Enjoyable Nonsense in her ears, in the Endlessly Charming Voices Of Children now grown and living lives of their own and it sensuously caressed her breasts and between her legs like the stunningly Handsome Younger Lover she had taken in middle age, who taught her nothing of love but everything of the pleasures of the body. At some points the wind would grow to an intensity that our Lady was sure would knock her down, but then, instead, it would seem to be holding her up: using its own Strange Wisdom, the Wind knew never to blow stronger than she could bear.

The Wind became more and more intense, enfolding and absorbing, filling and possessing her body and mind until it felt to our Lady not like air rushing past her, but her life, played out in thoughts, feelings and emotions, a fast-flowing stream of consciousness. It was Her Story and it was very near its ending. In fact the last few words of the final chapter were being written as she stood here on this windy plateau, under the Broad, Bright, Blue sky. Nothing to regret, nothing to fear. The most natural thing in the world. A beginning, an ending. And another beginning.

Then the Wind reached a new peak of power, stripping away our Lady’s shoes and clothes and scattering them across the plateau. It blew the hair from her head, eyebrows and intimate areas, and as it began to peel off her skin in great, loose flaps our Lady had a sense of Coming Apart. She felt no pain, no panic, just a Sense Of Freedom.
Next to go were her eyes, the Wind popping them out of their sockets, the brain following closely behind, squeezing out of the spaces where the eyes had been. Cartilage, muscle and internal organs were the last to be blown away and now our Lady was nothing but a skeleton and a Soul, standing there on an open plateau, and had you also been there you would have been Blinded, for the Soul of the Lady burned with the Brightness Of A Thousand Stars, sitting Incandescent inside her ribcage until the Wind embraced it and carried it up higher and higher, speeding it triumphantly across a Broad, Bright, Blue Sky on a Final Exhilarating, Blissful Journey to That Which Lies Beyond.

Some months later, our Lady’s skeleton was discovered; just a pile of old bones, lying atop that isolated plateau. Nobody could be sure to whom these bones had once belonged and it was assumed that they were the Mortal Remains of some Unfortunate Traveller who had been attacked and eaten by Trolls. Thus the Upstanding Lady Of An Indeterminate Age slipped silently and unnoticed into the dense Fog Of Forgotten Stories which makes up so much of history.




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The Poor Man, The Rich Man and the Blind Old Weaver Of Fate.

ratsOnce upon a time…many many years ago in a world long since forgotten, there was a country called Anywhere. And in the land of Anywhere there was a fine and prosperous city called Anyplace. One fine summer’s day, early in the morning, a Poor Man was walking to work. Now this man lived in a run-down house in one of the Deprived Zones that encircle the Bustling And Golden Financial District of Anyplace, which is called The Anytown, and to get to his place of work (for he was employed as a cook at The Asylum For The Strange And Different) he had to cross The Thriving Hub Of Finance.
So there he was, a Poor Man in Ragged Clothes, strolling along the affluent pathways of this wealthy area. As he walked, he whistled, for the sun was bright and the sky was blue and there was Happiness In His Soul.
Coming in the opposite direction, walking towards the Poor Man, was a Rich Man. He was a trader in the new Financial Product that had taken Anywhere by storm in recent months, the HORFIOD (Highly Opaque and Risky Financial Instrument Of Death) and, as such, was a member of the families of The One Percent and lived, like the rest of his kind, in a Vast Mansion high in the hills outside Anyplace.
Now today was not a good day for the Rich Man as he was particularly Weighed Down with the Troubles And Cares Of Wealth and was running frantically from business meeting to business meeting and he was not happy, not happy at all.
He was somewhat affronted, then, to see the Poor Man. After all, here was this chap coming down the street towards him, smiling, whistling and obviously In Love With The World, yet from his Demeanour and Ragged Clothes he was equally obviously a Poor Man Of No Means And No Money. What right had he to be so offensively cheerful? What possible cause could he have to be so happy? Unacceptable! He determined that he would find out what was going on with this strange fellow, this insolent Poor Person
With this thought upon his mind and being by now in a Very Bad Mood, the Rich Man, upon drawing level with the Poor Man said, “You, Poor Man, stop!”
And the Poor Man stopped, looked the Rich Man in the eye and, smiling in an infuriatingly pleasant way replied, “of course, sir, how may I help you?”
“Well, I’ll come straight to the point. I found your obvious happiness an effrontery and most annoying and I wish you immediately to cease smiling and stop whistling. You have no right to be happy, I can tell simply from looking at you that you’re a Man Without Money And Means and as such your Position In Life should be one of Abject Misery and I demand that you behave in a manner fitting and appropriate to your Miserable Station In Life”
“But, sir,” replied the Poor Man, “respectful of your authority and all as I am, I have to beg to differ. You’re right, of course, that money is a constant worry but I have a roof over my head and food on the table and a job of work. I have a wife who I love very much and who loves me and I have two beautiful, healthy children who are the apple of my eye…these things are Jewels Beyond Price.”
“Jewels Beyond Price! Hah! What balderdash! Why, my Fine Mansion has twenty bedrooms and the largest of these is bigger, I’ll wager, than the entire hovel in which you no doubt live.”
“Then, sir, I’m sure you would win that bet for my home is humble indeed, but it is a happy home and that is enough for me”
“Ah, you fool! My wife is a Former Model and beautiful beyond compare, the kind of woman you most assuredly could not afford! Your own wife, I’m sure, is some fat, frumpy old fishwife and a pain to the eye.”
“But, sir, I love my wife as my life itself, as she does me. Every time I look at her I see the most beautiful woman in the world and that is more than enough for me.”
“What an idiot you are Poor Person! Why my children have the best of everything, they want for nothing, what do your mewling brats have?”
“Well, sir, it’d be true to say my children do not have as many…things…as yours but they are fed and clothed, loved and protected and encouraged in all they do and every night as I kiss them in their beds as they lay sleeping I see that they are smiling contentedly and that is certainly enough for me.”
“Hah! What a pathetic Poor Fool you are, you understand nothing. I am a powerful and feared man, and what are you…I mean, look at you…who would ever fear you!”
“No, sir, I am not feared, nor would I want to be, I am happier having the good friends I have who like me for being me, not because they fear me.”
“Moron! Fool! Imbecile! Look, let me put this in simple terms that even someone as impoverished and brainless as yourself would understand. I have more than you and this time next year I will have even more than you and the year after that I will have more again and the next year I will have still more than you and so on and so on until I have everything and you have nothing! There, now what do you say to that you Scummy Peasant!?”
“Sir, I can only say once again that I am blessed in what I do have, I do not like to waste my time worrying about what I do not have. Why would I want more when I already have enough?”
“Harrumph!” Harrumphed the Rich Man and, concluding, in sheer frustration, that there was no reasoning with this insolent fool of a man, span on his heel and walked away, leaving the Poor Man to continue his journey.
What a deluded idiot! Good grief! thought the Rich man. ‘Why would I want more,’ indeed! How stupid; after all, one always wants more, getting more is the point of everything. What kind of life can one have if one doesn’t have more? And yet…he could still hear that stubborn, insolent, stupid, happy Poor Man whistling as he walked away down the street. Happy? Nonsense! Love? Nonsense! Children? Nonsense! Happiness is money and then more money. Plain And Simple.
But with that thought, something strange happened to the Rich Man. Maybe it happened because he was having a bad day, too much stress, too much to do, or maybe it happened because a passing Faerie observed the conversation between our two protagonists and offended, perhaps, by the arrogance and sheer rudeness of the Rich Man, decided to bestow upon him one of those Notoriously Double-Edged “Gifts” that Faeries are so fond of Bestowing…
Whatever the cause, the Rich Man was suddenly struck by an intense bout of Insight: something which people of his class and wealth are normally Blissfully Free Of. He saw his life for what it was. His pretty, younger wife. Married not for love, but as a trophy. He didn’t love her. And she didn’t love him, not for a minute, his touch repulsed her. But she did love the money, the clothes, the parties, the house and the jewels. And as for the two children: they were far from being the apple of his eye. In fact he barely knew them, certainly didn’t love them: they were just something that had to be produced by a Man In His Position; to his wife, giving birth to them was part of the financial contract that was their marriage. Raised by nannies and governesses, his children were growing up Unloved And Unwanted and would become Troubled And Difficult Adults. And that big, beautiful mansion of his. Upon reflection it was big but not beautiful; rather, a cold, empty space devoid of meaning and feeling.
All he had was money. Lots and lots of money. But money can’t share a joke or a confidence with you; it cannot be your friend. It cannot hold your hand, or kiss you or hold you near.
With this Shock Of Insight the Rich Man suddenly felt very alone. He felt a sense of rising panic and anxiety, of sorrow and loss. He stopped walking. He felt hot and sick and dizzy and…and at that point his heart, weakened by years of Stress And Rich Living, decided to give up the struggle and Ceased To Beat.

The Rich Man fell to the ground, aware of an Absence Of Motion in his chest and An Inability To Breathe. This was it, he was dying. But this could not be, for surely he was Too Rich To Die?

And just before the Rich Man made the Final Journey from this world to the other, his Insight suddenly widened (to my mind this suggests the Rich Man had indeed been Equally Blessed And Cursed with the “gift” of Faerie-inspired Insight, but I suppose we could debate that point until the Trolls came home…) and he had a vision of the very inside of his Soul, and his last living feelings were ones of endless and deep despair. He saw his Soul for what it was: a vast, empty, barren desert in which there was not a living thing except a myriad rats, scuttling pointlessly and desperately back and forth in search of something they didn’t even know they were looking for, and across the thick, black fur of each of these rats was emblazoned, in blood red capital letters, the word GREED.
At this point the Rich Man’s existence passed into the dense Fog Of Forgotten Stories which makes up so much of history.

And the Moral Of This Story is very simple. When the Blind Old Weaver Of Fate decides to spin together the last few threads of your life, not even all the money in the world will save you or ease your passing. Only Love endures, only Love has true value.




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The Lonely Girl Who Chased Snowflakes.

snowflake Once upon a time…many, many years ago in a world long since forgotten, there was a country called Anywhere. And in the land of Anywhere there was a fine and prosperous city called Anyplace. In the hills surrounding Anyplace were the fabulous homes of those rich and wealthy people who would later become known as The Greedy One Percent, and who would be responsible not only for their own destruction but that of the land of Anywhere. But…I get many decades ahead of myself. Back to my simple Tale.
That particular year, Anywhere was having one of its Rare And Occasional cold winters and the city of Anyplace was abuzz one particular day with Rumours Of Snow To Come, something that had not occurred for many, many years.
Now, an old and wise Faerie, reaching the end of her 897 years and 13 days of life, had been listening to passing human conversations (as Faeries are wont to do) and had heard these Rumours Of Snow. Despite her many years of life, the Faerie had, as a result of Anywhere’s Mild And Temperate Climate, witnessed snow only a very few times. She did remember, however, that it was a Very Beautiful Thing Indeed and as she would soon be leaving this life, this would probably be her last chance to experience The Beauty Of Snow.
With this thought in mind, she resolved to fly to the hills outside Anyplace, aware that it would be cooler and probably snowier there than in the city. (Faeries have a surprising and entirely instinctive knowledge of meteorology).
So, the Faerie beat her Small But Powerful wings and flew. In no time at all, at least by the Faerie Clock, she was comfortably seated in a tall tree in the huge, walled garden (grounds more than garden, really) of one of the Fine Homes of the wealthy and powerful, high in the hills. And so she sat, in happy anticipation of The Beauty To Come. By and by, the wind got up, a rich hint of icy dampness could be scented in the air and the First Fat Snowflakes pirouetted gracefully downwards from the flat, grey sky, coming to rest on the cold ground: cool, white crystals of delicate intricacy blossoming like Flowers Of White Silk.

And the Faerie sat in her tree and watched the snow flutter down. And she thought of previous snowy days, of her younger self, of Faerie friends now Dematerialised And Gone, and of a Happy, Long Life, Well-Lived.

But her Wallowing In Pleasant Nostalgia was soon interrupted. A Small Back Door in the Big House at the end of the huge garden burst open and through the door came a small human girl (eight or nine years of age to the Faerie’s mind), dashing out into the garden, into the Swirling Snowflakes. The little girl seemed inexpressibly happy, her eyes shone and her face glowed with happiness and she began to chase the falling snowflakes around the garden and, whenever physics and opportunity would allow, she would jump into the air and snatch an individual flake into her mouth, a look of pure joy on her face as its refreshing coolness melted on her tongue.
The Faerie was entranced by the little girl: her innocence, her joy, her enthusiasm, her bright-eyed wonder. Her being so young, it must have been the first time the little girl had seen snow. No wonder she was so excited. And yet. And yet the more the Faerie watched the little girl, the more she saw something in the way she moved: there was a certain desperation there, and all the joy in her glowing expression could not mask something the Faerie saw as an Underlying Sadness. Curious, (for Faeries are Inveterately Curious Creatures) the Faerie decided to look into the child’s Soul and see exactly what was going with this strange little girl.
Fixing the jumping, Superficially Joyful Little Girl in her gaze, the Faerie peered through Flesh And Bone to locate the child’s Soul. As always with a child, her Soul appeared beautiful from the outside, like a fine jewellery box made of the most expensive wood, inlaid with precious stones and mother of pearl. But opening this fine box, the Faerie did not find the Stunning Jewels Of Jaw-Dropping Beauty normally found in The Soul Of A Child but instead lumps of excrement and rotting meat. There was something very wrong with this poor girl. And in an instant the Faerie saw it all: a poor, lonely, neglected little rich girl. A mother who was more interested in The Trappings Of Wealth than her daughter and constantly undermining of her own child, that stemming from sheer, malevolent jealousy of youth and the daughter’s place in her father’s “affections.” A girl to whom nobody really talked and who, in turn, could not talk to others, who had never made friends at school. And the father. The monster. The evil, rich, sociopathic, Successful Banker; ruthless and efficient. A man who took what he wanted because he knew his wealth and power made him untouchable: a man with Political Ambitions. A disgusting, perverse man, creeping into his daughter’s bedroom at night and sliding a corrupting, corrupted hand up her nightdress. The daughter begging him to stop. Crying. Pleading. Daddy, please. Stop. Stop. But Daddy never stopped. Daddy always took what he wanted. Untouchable.
The little girl’s story struck the Faerie like a slap to the face. The girl’s frantic chasing and swallowing of snowflakes was not the Exuberant Happiness of a child seeing snow for the first time, rather it was a girl who saw chasing snowflakes as chasing a freedom she could not envisage and swallowing snowflakes a way of taking a small, Icy Slice Of Beauty inside herself to brighten the Barren, Ugly Space that was her life. The Faerie rocked back and forth on the branch of the big tree she had settled herself into and she cried a silent tear, which crystallised into a solid diamond as it rolled down her cheek (for all Faeries cry diamonds) and she remembered a similar little girl in a similar situation almost nine centuries ago and she Resolved To Rescue this poor sad, abused child.

With a Decisive Beating Of Wings the Faerie flew into the air, leaving behind, for now at least, the Little Girl Who Chased Snowflakes. The Faerie knew two fearsome Trolls who owed her a favour. It was for their Troll hole she was bound.

Had she stayed, she would have witnessed the little girl’s mother running out into the garden and calling her Bitch, Idiot Daughter back into the house. She would have seen the light go out in the girl’s face and eyes to be replaced by a Hopeless, Blank-Eyed Sallowness; would have noticed how the little girl shrunk in on herself, exuded a hopelessness that was palpable and took on the demeanour of a dog that is Beaten Daily by its master. The Faerie did not witness any of these things, but would not have been surprised by them if she had.

The very next morning, all was Chaos outside the Opulent Home where the little girl and her parents lived, with Police And Neighbours milling around, all with Grave Looks Of Concern upon their faces. Or should I say had lived? For the little girl was nowhere to be found and her parents were dead, Torn Limb From Limb, Beheaded And Disembowelled. A Grisly Scene indeed and one that was, in Official Speak, “entirely consistent with a Troll Home Invasion.” The little girl had, no doubt, been taken alive by the Trolls, probably to be eaten or to be sold to Pirates, indeed there had been a Troll sighting in the area just prior to The Tragedy: it was highly unlikely that the girl would ever be seen again.
The little girl had, truly, been taken, not by the Trolls (who had simply discharged their debt to the Faerie by killing her abusive parents, a duty they found most agreeable for Trolls are, despite what humans say, fundamentally Creatures Of Love And Kindness and will always act in defence of these virtues) but by the Faerie. She would take the child to A Place That Is Secret And Sacred to all Fairies where, she would perform A Ceremony Of Magic incomprehensible to humans, which would relieve the child of the burden of her short human life, so prone to the vicissitudes of the Blind Old Weaver Of Fate and so sparse in its understanding of the Duality Of All Things, and see her reborn as a Faerie, a being of Magic And Grace who would have 897 years and 13 days of living in which to gain a full and proper understanding of the Way The Universe Works and The Love Of God.

Just as another Faerie had done for another scared and lonely little girl nearly nine centuries past.



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The Curious Tale Of Bonty Liar, a Politician So Corrupt he Burst into Flames.


“Any similarity with persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.”

Once upon a time…many, many years ago in a world long since forgotten, there was a country called Anywhere. And in the land of Anywhere there was a fine and prosperous city called Anyplace and in this city there lived, during the times of the ascendancy of the destructive and rapist Greedy One Percent, a politician called Bonty Liar.

Now Bonty was a hugely corrupt man, most definitely one of the Devil’s Special Children. From a well to do family, he had been educated at one of the Finest Public Schools in the land of Anywhere, benefiting from the Best Education Money Can Buy.

From school, with help from Friends Of His Father, he entered the legal profession and soon, by dint of the fact that he was a good actor, an adept liar and lacking in social or moral conscious he, not surprisingly, did very well in his chosen career and was soon a Promising Young Lawyer.

It was at the Promising Young Lawyer stage that he was spotted by members of The Greedy One Percent, who were always on the lookout for bright, morality-free, personable young men and women they could manoeuvre into positions of Responsibility And Power.

And so the inducments began. Having a Feral Ability to sniff out Bad Character, The Greedy One Percent recognised Bonty’s Dysfunctionally Strange sense of self-regard, his greed for money and power and psychopathic tendencies and suggested to him that he might enter the World Of Politics where, should he but do their bidding, he could be very useful to them and they could offer to him in return fame, power and lots and lots of money: a huge advance for a book of his memoirs at a later point in the future, a Guaranteed Income Stream from speaking tours (addressing members of The One Percent), lucratively paid non-executive directorships on the boards of Banks And Corporations, well-rewarded contracts to write articles for The Means Of Communication…these were just some of the inducements offered to Bonty to enter the World Of Politics.


Bonty accepted everything offered gladly: he was, and always had been, fascinated by the extremely wealthy and was desperate to join their ranks.


Mentored by The One Percent, quietly supported by their money and noisily supported by their tame journalists in The Means Of Communication, Bonty rose quickly in the Political Sphere, soon becoming Leader of his party and then Leader Of The Country.

Bonty now proved his worth to The Greedy One Percent. If a law needed changing or abrogating to allow them to pursue a business that had previously been seen as unconscionable or illegal, Bonty changed it. If a (rare as Trolls teeth) honest politician or journalist needed to be blackmailed or bludgeoned into silence, Bonty wielded the club. If corrupt policy had to be justified by lies, Bonty lied. If the Public Services or Benefits And Welfare had to be cut to impoverish The Ordinary Folk, Bonty did the cutting. If an Illegal War needed to be started in a Far Flung Land to enable The Greedy One Percent to steal its resources and make even more money selling arms…well, Bonty started it.

In short, Bonty proved to be an Invaluable Servant of The Greedy One Percent. If anything, they came to realise that they had, in fact, underestimated his greed for money and power and the depths of his psychopathic leanings: Bonty not only did what they wanted but during the course of his ten years as Leader, he managed to prostitute the entire Office Of Leadership to enriching himself and his Owners.

I suppose it could be argued that The Ordinary Folk of Anywhere had some blame in the rise of Bonty Liar. Perhaps they should have noticed the blindingly obvious fact that his surname was LIAR or perhaps they should have realised that his infuriating habit of smiling whenever he was talking was in fact a form of “Distraction Theft;” the cheesy grin distracting your eye whilst hands sneak round the back of you and steal your wallet, your Life Chances and the lives of your children. I suppose I would then have to say, how can people make informed decisions when The Means Of Communication function as a 24 hour, 7 day a week, 365 days a year Propaganda Mouthpiece for the wealthy and powerful?

Whatever the rights and wrongs and who was to blame, Bonty accumulated vast amounts of Blood And Treasure and became a happy man. And if his incredible success was built on the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Far Flung Foreign Lands and the impoverishment of others in his own country…well, then, what of it. You Ordinary Folk are but a detail of history.

Now one particular day, three years after stepping down as Leader Of The Country, Bonty (now an immensely wealthy non-executive director of numerous corporations and banks, columnist, after dinner speaker, author, property investor and, irony of ironies, Peace Envoy) was giving a speech (for a very nice fee) to a Select Group of Greedy One Percent Individuals and something very, very strange happened.

Bonty had spent a good half hour lauding the Wonderful And Generous Nature of the fabulously Wealthy and their Inestimable Contribution To The Nation, extolling the virtues of the Magick of “Trickle Down” theory and was just about to start telling a series of Vile Lies about the Leader of a Far Flung Foreign land, that being to lay the ground work for Propaganda in the next day’s Means Of Communication that would eventually become justification for another Illegal War, when his Soul decided it had had enough.

For, oddly, despite spending a lifetime in Bonty’s corrupt body, his Soul had remained Pure, close to God and In Equilibrium With The Universe. But as it saw yet more filth and lies coming down from Bonty’s mind, words aimed at starting yet another war in which yet more Innocents would die, his Soul decided enough was enough. It had always tried to do its God-Given duty, had spent decades telling Bonty, No Don’t Do That Its Horrible. Always it had been ignored, always squeezed out by Bonty’s lust for money and power, by his complete lack of regard for others. It was time to accept defeat and save itself from the Rampant Corruption that this man, this Child Of The Devil, represented. It was off, it was out of here and on to That Which Lay Beyond, Sod This For A Game Of Soldiers.

As Bonty uttered the first of his lies about the Leader of the Far Flung Foreign Land, his face became very red. Sweat broke out on his forehead and poured down his face, he paused as he spoke, discomfited by the intense heat that seemed to have flared up deep inside himself. Then he moaned in pain as more heat bubbled up from somewhere deep inside and steam came off him in great waves, he rolled his head back and screamed as his eyes turned all white, like an egg yolk being boiled… clouds of smoke billowed from his mouth, nostrils and ears and he suddenly, and explosively, burst into flames, fire consuming his body as he stood at his lectern.

Terrified by such a spectacle, his Rich Guests ran screaming from the room, sparing them the site of Bonty’s flaming head exploding into tiny fragments as his Soul made its exit from his Vile Body, a fast-moving Incandescence, shooting upwards, smashing through the nearest window, out into Fresh And Sweet Air and making its escape across a Broad, Bright Blue Sky.

What was left of Bonty’s body collapsed to the floor, lying smouldering by the lectern, and at that point the ground around began to shake and tremor and a large hole opened up in the ground by Bonty’s remains. It was hole so deep that it reached down to Hell itself and from it issued Flame and the Nauseating Smell of Brimstone, and out of the Hole crept a Large, Scaly, Red Hand which snatched away the remains of Bonty and dragged them down to Hell: the hand of the Devil himself, come to reclaim one of his Special Children.

And the moral of this tale is: never trust those who seek to put themselves in positions of authority above you. They are strange and twisted people and seek only to benefit themselves.

This story is taken from my forthcoming book, “The Curious Little Book of Extraordinary Big Tales, Vol. 2.” You can buy Vol 1 here:





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