the truth about pineapples

Fruit. Veg. It’s confusing out here. One minute you’re strolling along a quiet, shady lane in the park and the next you’re confronted with a load of enormous green dildos hanging from the sky. Except they’re not hanging from the sky, they’re hanging from vines, and they’re not enormous green dildos, they’re the eye-wateringly shaped vegetable known as gourds.

Yeah. Gourds. They’re a Thing. They’re like cucumbers, if cucumbers tasted like armpit-flavoured celery.

Fruit and veg out here isn’t what you imagine it to be. I mean, it’s incredibly varied and utterly delicious and everything, but it’s just not quite what you EXPECT.

Take pineapples. I discovered the truth about pineapples last Christmas. There we were, driving on the road to Chiang Mai quite innocently, when this pineapple-shaped monstrosity appeared along the road. Not being one to pass up an opportunity to admire gaudy fruit-shaped statues, I convinced James to stop so we could explore. It was some kind of weird pineapple-themed rest stop. Because… y’know… pineapples.

James got out, ordered a cha nom yen, and my eyes were snagged by a field, rows of small, spikey-leaved explosions planted at regular intervals along farrowed ground. I wandered over and stared for a second before my sun-fried brain (look, it was the middle of the day, ok?) suddenly realised what I must be looking at.

“Oh!” I said, actually exclaiming out loud like some badly-written Thai drama version of myself, “Pineapples grow underground?

I’d never bothered to wonder before this how pineapples grew. I suppose I’d assumed they grew on trees like coconuts. Come on, palm tree leaves look a lot like pineapple leaves.

My other half had meandered over by this point. He stopped beside me and stared at the plants in front of us.

“What are you talking about?”

“Pineapples,” I explained, surprised and pleased by my revelation, “they grow underground. I always thought they grew on trees! This is so weird!”

It was as if the world had been off-kilter, but now it was balanced. Everything made sense.

The Other Half, who grew up in Thailand and so knows better, stares at me. Stares a bit longer. Then starts to smile suspiciously, like I’m making fun of him.

“I’d just never thought about it before,” I explain, feeling the new knowledge push back the boundaries of reality in my brain, basking in the warmth of my newfou…

James starts laughing.

I scowl.

“I can totally see how you’d think that!”

He continues laughing, which I appreciate not a lot at all. I turn up the volume on my scowl. Add some narrowed eyes. Inexplicably, he doesn’t burst into flames.

I venture to ask him what he’s on about.

“Pineapples” he explains, helpfully. “I see why you’d think that.”

Not exactly over-endowed with patience in my daily life, I take an extremely long, extremely deep, extremely slow breath in.

“What,” I ask in my most patient voice, “do you mean?”

“They’re not like potatoes,” He tells me, as if I hadn’t realised the difference, “They grow on top of the plant”.

You what? Pineapple

Clearly that’s ridiculous.

In fact, the only thing that could be more ridiculous than the idea of pineapples growing on top of the leaves of these weird, spiky plants is the fact that this is ACTUALLY HOW THEY GROW.

In real life. Like, this actual reality.


Never mind that bananas grow upside down, with the neck at the bottom and the bottom pointing towards the sky. Never mind that jackfruit hang down from tree trunks like uncomfortably swollen and dangerously spikey tree scrotums (and taste like perfumed condom-fruits). Never mind that dragonfruit come from creeping cactuses and durien… well, imagine the most wonderfully fragranced flowers you’ve ever experienced. Imagine meadows and meadows of them. Imagine them in the sun. Decaying. Cloying. Rot-warm and sickly soft on the inside, flowery cum custard.

Imagine that.

But never mind it. That’s nothing. Pineapples grow, absurdly, on giraffe stalks in the middle of bushes.

Did you all already know this?


Go fuck yourself, Juxtaposition (also featuring bananas)

I haven’t shared my hilarious and insightful wisdom or sarcastic bile in a while. I presume that THE ENTIRE INTERNET has been tearing out its virtual hair wondering where I’ve been and what I think about Jonathan Stroud’s latest blog entry about caravaning in Norwich and about the progress of my non-existent NaNoWriMo project. Not to mention the roller derby: am I still a roller derby superstar? Actually, if anything, I’m even more famous in that respect than I was a month ago. I now feature on a certain Nottingham team’s recruitment poster. Surprisingly, this is not because I exemplify the lithe and powerful athletic form of those involved in the sport of roller derby, nor the image of a strong and independent roller girl, tattooed and unusual – an alternative to the mainstream, that roller derby teams often prefer. Alas not. They have used this image of me because I look like an overstuffed human sausage in a sports dress, and am conveniently located next to one of their particularly lithe and  particularly powerful-looking athletes.

Go fuck yourself, juxtaposition.

Anyway, enough. I’ll start back again with all the usual shit soon enough but for now all I want to say is that Neil Gaiman (smugly) eating a banana is nowhere near as good as Amanda Palmer eating a banana. Discuss.

Neil Gaiman ruins my life. Again.

I watched the movie ‘Stardust’.

It was dreadful and I absolutely LOVED (parts of) it. The female characters were all hideously offensive setreotypes, but Robert De Niro played a cross-dressing sky pirate and there was magic and adventure and an excellent cast. It didn’t so much make up for the stereotypes as distract from them, but that was sort-of-ok even though it was wrong.

I watched the whole thing, enjoyed great swathes of it (often despite myself) and then – as the credits rolled – realised the obscene truth: the nice little movie I’d been watching HAD BEEN ADAPTED FROM A NEIL GAIMAN NOVEL. That’s not even the worst of it. If only. The worst part was that the first thing that popped into my head when I realised it was a Neil Gaiman creation was “oh ace, can’t wait to buy the book and see how he imagined it”.

WHAT? EXCUSE ME? Did I just think, “I can’t wait to buy the book”? Did I accidentally express EAGERNESS to read something written by my nemesis? Since when am I a contributor to Gaiman’s Empire of Smug? Since when do I use my hard-earned farthings to support his smug lifestyle? NEVER! Imagine my horror. Imagine the cold prickle of disbelief, the overwhelming sense of self-loathing and betrayal. How could I possibly be thinking such things?

I’m even now inclined to get the book to read for myself.


American Gods? Neverwhere? Now this STARDUST? Where will it end? When will he stop torturing me with all his talent and his imagination on the one hand, and all his smug and his shameless self-promotion and his‘cool’ and his ‘nice’ on the other. ARGH. It kills me. At least I hated Coraline. At least I’ve got that to cling on to…

BREAKING NEWS: YA fiction author Lucy Christopher is living my dream

What do you mean you don’t know who YA fiction author Lucy Christopher is? She was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award! She won the Southern Schools Book Award! SHE WON A GOLDEN INKY!

For bookssake, what does a girl have to do to get noticed around here?

Yeah, I’m kidding obvs. I didn’t know who she was either until I decided that I wanted to branch out in my author stalking, clearly only because I dislike that the words ‘NEIL’ and ‘GAIMAN’ are so huge in my fancy tag cloud over on the right there. ————————->

So anyway I’ve started author stalking YA fiction author Lucy Christopher – in a FRIENDLY way, jeez! – of whose two published novels (Stolen and Freedom) I’ve read nil, nada, none und nichts. Yet. There is still time. So meanwhile, before I’ve perused her disgustingly well-received novels, I have found something else to entertain myself with. It turns out, quite coincidently, that YA fiction author Lucy Christopher is LIVING MY IMAGINARY LIFE!

Yes, that’s right folks: YA fiction author Lucy Christopher has somehow managed to break into my imagination, has STOLEN all my ideas for things I have imagined for my own life, and has made them a reality in her actual life! In other words, SHE HAS PRE-EMPTIVELY PLAGIARISED MY LIFE! I’m suing. I confess to not being particularly familiar with the fine print of copyright law but I have absolutely no doubt that this is covered somewhere in there. You remember the adverts: “Life plagiarism is a CRIME. DO NOT accept it. Demand an ORIGINAL life from your video store.” Or something.

YA fiction author Lucy Christopher’s List of Things She Has Stolen From My Imaginary Life

1. She has published THE DREAM plural well-received YA novels
2. She took THE DREAM Masters degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa** (AND got a Distinction for it)
3. She is doing THE DREAM creative PhD
4. She is doing THE DREAM lecturing-at-a-university-whilst-simultaneously-fitting-in-writing-more-novels.
5. She reckons she’s always wanted to go in a hot air balloon but, excuse me, that is my ACTUAL DREAM!
6. Finally, and to top it all off, she is represented by CHICKEN HOUSE. This of all things makes me fuge (pronounced ‘huge’). Chicken House is MY preferred publisher and has been for years, ever since that time I picked up a Chicken House book and saw that the editor had written a little note about the book in the front. I thought to myself “Oh, how lovely. What a wonderful personal touch – this editor must really care about this book, and this publishing house must really care about their authors and editors to let them do this. I can’t wait until I write my imaginary future award-winning YA novels because I’m going to send them to Chicken House and refuse to have them published by anyone else in the whole world EVER”. Why, YA fiction author Lucy Christopher? WHY? COULDN’T YOU LEAVE ME JUST THAT ONE SCRAP OF THE DREAM LIFE?

(** Actually, this isn’t a valid point: the ACTUAL dream MA is the Bath Spa MA in Writing for Young People, but it’s close enough.)

You know the worst thing? She sounds like she’s so damn NICE. Ugh. She says “Hi Guys” when she writes a blog entry. She takes her mum to book awards. She volunteers in South Africa.

Yeah, WHATEVER YA fiction author Lucy Christopher. I shake my fist at you. You may be a successful, prizewinning YA novelist who gets to travel all over the world living all the best elements of my dream life, but I’m in ADMIN.


She’s my hero.


Shit off NaNoWriMo. Nobody likes you anyway.

Except all of those millions (…hundreds of thousands? I’m not good with numbers) of people who are already cruising past 35K when I’m stuck back here in my halting, spluttering, rusting-around-the-outside, paint-flaking-off, crumpled-bonnet Skoda of a 15K wordfart.

Shitting heck. Just thinking about the atrocity exhibition that is my NaNoWriMo makes me feel all wrong, like being watched by a lone smug giant eye of Neil FRIGGIN’ Gaiman, gazing down on me from above like the I’m-so-cool Messiah of slightly kooky stories.


Skullduggery could take down Carabas, any day.

Did I really just write that?

Good. Shoot me now.